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Black Lives Matter And Civil Rights In Modern America49:45Download

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On Martin Luther King Day, a conversation about racism in America and Black Lives Matter with poet Claudia Rankine and activist DeRay Mckesson.

Protesters hold signs at a press conference in front of city hall in North Charleston, S.C., Friday, Jan 8, 2016, in the wake of the release of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager on bond. Slager was charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist in April 2015. Protesters from Black Lives Matters and the National Action Network listed demands they want meet, with the first being Slager back in jail. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Protesters hold signs at a press conference in front of city hall in North Charleston, S.C., Friday, Jan 8, 2016, in the wake of the release of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager on bond. Slager was charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist in April 2015. Protesters from Black Lives Matters and the National Action Network listed demands they want meet, with the first being Slager back in jail. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

The last year and a half have been hot in a way many didn't see coming on the subject of race in this country. From Ferguson on, exploding layers of dissatisfaction with the way things are - all these years after the civil rights movement. On this Martin Luther King Day, we’re taking on this new chapter in American race relations with celebrated poet Claudia Rankine and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson. This hour On Point, America’s next chapter on race.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Claudia Rankine, poet, essayist and playwright. Author of "Citizen: An American Lyric," "Nothing in Nature is Private," "The End of the Alphabet," "Plot," and "Don't Let Me Be Lonely." Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets and professor of English at the University of Southern California.

DeRay Mckesson, civil rights activist and Black Lives Matter organizer. (@deray)

From Tom's Reading List

The Atlantic: What Black Lives Matter Achieved in 2015 — "Activists are disturbed by the dark turn the election has taken. But backlash against Black Lives Matter is virtually guaranteed to galvanize support for the movement. Videos of deadly encounters between black men and police officers have fueled calls for reform. In much the same way, reports of racial slurs at Trump rallies make it difficult to deny the problem of racism in America."

New Yorker: Color Codes -- "'Citizen' begins by recounting, in the second person, a string of racist incidents experienced by Rankine and friends of hers, the kind of insidious did-that-really-just-happen affronts that startle in the moment and later expand, poisonously, in the mind. A friend jokingly calls you a 'nappy-headed ho' when you show up late to a date; a stranger wonders why you care that 'he has just referred to the boisterous teenagers in Starbucks as niggers'; standing outside a conference room before a meeting, one of your colleagues tells another that 'being around black people is like watching a foreign film without translation.' Such exempla end after the initial shock of confrontation, leaving it to the poet to channel the daunted response, the choked comeback."

New York Times Magazine: ‘The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning’ — "Anti-black racism is in the culture. It’s in our laws, in our advertisements, in our friendships, in our segregated cities, in our schools, in our Congress, in our scientific experiments, in our language, on the Internet, in our bodies no matter our race, in our communities and, perhaps most devastatingly, in our justice system. The unarmed, slain black bodies in public spaces turn grief into our everyday feeling that something is wrong everywhere and all the time, even if locally things appear normal."

This program aired on January 18, 2016.

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