Lawrence Otis Graham reads from an account of how he left his job as a $105,000-a-year Manhattan attorney to enter the exclusive Greenwich Country Club the only way they'd allow a black man like him: as a busboy. He discovers just how invisible he can become once he gives up his seat at the table and starts clearing the dishes instead—so invisible that people make racist remarks right in front of him.
Is Paris still the racially tolerant place that Richard Wright and James Baldwin discovered in the 1940s? Janet McDonald talks about whether African-Americans are still welcomed in Paris so warmly, even after a half century of African migration to the city. Also: Why it's sometimes better for her to put on a bad American accent.
Producer Julie Snyder looks at what happens in one poor Chicago neighborhood when the community begins to undergo a revitalization and a new store comes to town.
What happens when a chicken crosses the thin yellow line that divides the animals we eat from the animals we keep as pets. Jonathan Gold, food writer for Gourmet magazine, tells how he accidentally came to adopt a chicken, and what happened to his opinion of chickens afterwards.
Before this show ended we wanted to know—how typical are the horror stories? What happens in a typical drug case? To find out, reporter Nancy Updike spent nine hours in Night Narcotics Court in Chicago. What she discovers is that the system is working as fairly as one could hope or expect, with one caveat: Nearly all the defendants are African-American, even though the jurisdiction contains an equal number of white drug users.
Host Ira Glass describes the moment when black single mothers became a national political issue—and a national symbol. It was 1965, when a young Assistant Secretary of Labor named Daniel Patrick Moynihan issued a report calling for action on the issue of African-American single mothers, and black leaders, including the Rev.
Professor Glenn Loury from Boston University and John Simpkins on basketball, hockey, and what makes a real black person.
Host Ira Glass with Eddy Harris. The first time Eddie set foot in a black nation in Africa, a man at the border found out he was an American—a black American—and said "Welcome home." But Eddy Harris says the Motherland doesn't really feel much like home.
Ron Copeland is a historical interpreter at the Conner Prairie Living History Museum, outside of Indianapolis. For several months a year, in his job, he pretends to be a slaveowner in the old south.
There's the pretending we do as individuals, and there's the organized pretending that happens in group therapy sessions, in the roleplaying games that are done in some clinical settings. Jack Hitt tells the story of the Mother of All Roleplaying Games.
Alix Spiegel travels with a group of white suburbanites as they pretend to be runaway slaves, at the Conner Prairie Living History Museum. Her goal: to find out what it is that people actually get out of this elaborate game of pretend.
Host Ira Glass describes what thousands of people do all over America on our holiday weekends: we go to historic sites with our kids and stare at bricks and statues, trying to feel some connection with the past. It's not easy.
Ira reads from an editorial from a 1957 newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi. It tries to scare white southerners about the NAACP by describing a Chicago human rights campaign called "Take a Negro Boy Home Tonight." The idea behind the campaign? "Racism can be combated by intimate relationships between Negro boys and white girls." No such campaigns really existed in Chicago.
Rich Robinson's father is black, his mother is white. They married during the civil rights movement, believing the whole nation was moving toward greater and greater integration.
Cedric Jennings grew up in Southeast Washington, in one of the poorest communities in the country. Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind followed him for over two-and-a-half years, as Cedric tried to make it through high school and work his way into an Ivy League university. Once he gets there, he discovers that all the qualities that got him out of the ghetto make him an outcast in the Ivy League.
Robert Krulwich's stories, on NPR, CBS and ABC, are neither wacky nor pompously serious. He explains, though, that if you try to occupy the territory between wacky and serious, there are dangers.
A how-to by Junot Diaz, from his book Drown.
A look at the Chicago political machine in the days before our story begins.
Independent producer Dan Collison, on Pilottown and a feature story that fell apart.
More than England, or Japan or Israel.... When we think of South Africa, it's a more interesting mirror of the United States than nearly any country, because we glimpse a distant echo of the most frightening parts of American society — and the most inspiring.
The first part of Josh Seftel and Rich Robinson's documentary about South Africa. Josh meets people who may be distant South African relatives.
Josh Seftel and Rich Robinson's trek across South Africa continues. They head to the "South African Woodstock" and to a group that's half Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign and half terrorist campaign.
Some stunning parallels between the political strategies of the two leaders, by John Matisonn.
Writer Malcolm Gladwell, reads from a story that he first wrote for the New Yorker magazine about his cousins, who immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica 12 years ago.