I AM the youngest of 10 children in my family, and the only one born in the United States. My father was a municipal judge who fled Haiti during the Duvalier regime. He and my mother settled in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, but could not initially afford to bring over my four brothers and five sisters, who stayed in Haiti with relatives.

Since he did not speak English fluently, my father worked as a janitor and had a second job as a hospital security guard. He later took a third job driving a taxi at night to pay for my tuition at Nazareth Regional High School, a Roman Catholic school in Brooklyn. My parents were determined that I was going to get a good education, and wanted to keep me away from local troubles, which did claim two of my childhood friends.

Working so many jobs overwhelmed my father. He had a heart attack and died at age 59 behind the wheel of his taxi. My mother found it difficult to cope without my father and moved back to Haiti in 1989 with two of my siblings. I thought I would have to leave school because I had no money for tuition, but Nazareth agreed to pay my way.

I wound up sleeping in my car for almost three months, showering at school after my track team’s practice. I also held down two jobs, both in retailing, and one of my sisters and I rented a basement apartment in East Flatbush.

After graduating from high school in 1990, I attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn, on athletic and academic scholarships. I worked first at the New York City Board of Education, where H. Carl McCall was president, then in his office after he became New York State comptroller. I later worked in the office of Ruth Messinger, then the Manhattan borough president.

I broadened my nonprofit organization experience at the Faith Center for Community Development while earning my master’s of public administration at New York University. I married my high school sweetheart, Melissa, and we now have two children.

In 2001, I began to work toward my original goal — improving educational opportunities for children — and joined the city’s Department of Education. I was later recruited under the new administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to help start a program as part of his Children First reforms.

In 2003, I became the Department of Education’s executive director for parent and community engagement, and, two years later, senior counselor to Joel I. Klein, then the school chancellor. He taught me a great deal about leadership and how to change the education system. But I began to realize public education could not be transformed without great principals who function like C.E.O.’s of their schools.

So in 2006 I returned to the nonprofit world, to New Leaders, a national organization founded in 2000 to recruit and develop leaders to turn around low-performing public schools. Initially, I managed city partnerships and expanded our program in areas like New Orleans and Charlotte, N.C.

READ MORE

By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Published: October 25, 2012

DETROIT — Tired of battling legislative efforts to roll back union rights in state after state, organized labor is trying a new strategy: going on the offense. The first target is Michigan, the cradle of the United Auto Workers and a bastion of union power.

Michigan’s unions are asking voters to approve a referendum on the ballot this November, known as Proposal 2, that would lock a series of labor protections into the state Constitution, including the right of public sector unions to bargain collectively and a prohibition against the legislature enacting a “right to work” law.

The ballot campaign represents an attempt by unions and their Democratic allies to slow or stop the wave of Republican-backed measures adopted in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and other states in the last two years to curb collective bargaining and weaken unions, especially those representing government workers.

“Besides the presidential race, Proposal 2 is probably going to be the most significant thing on the ballot nationally,” said F. Vincent Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center, a conservative research center based in Midland, Mich. “Michigan is surrounded by Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio — states that have taken wildly different views of private and public sector unions. The nation is on a teeter right now on union matters, and Michigan will give momentum to one side or the other depending on how this plays out.”

Business groups and Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, say that if the referendum to enshrine labor rights in the Constitution is approved, it will cast a major cloud over the state’s business climate — broadcasting to the world that organized labor, whenever it deems fit, can use its muscle to go to the voters to trump the legislature and governor.

“Michigan’s union bosses are field testing a new weapon,” said Rich Studley, president of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “If this weapon is successful in banning legislation, we’ll see it deployed in the 21 other states that allow initiatives and referendums.”

Further flexing their muscles, unions are sponsoring two other proposals on the Michigan ballot. One would repeal a law that allows emergency managers appointed to oversee financially distressed communities to void union contracts. Another would amend the Constitution to guarantee home health aides the right to unionize.

Both sides are flooding the airwaves with ads about Proposal 2, with each side accusing the other of using misleading scare tactics.

In one union-backed commercial, for example, a firefighter is wearing an elaborate fireproof apparatus over his head. “This air pack I’m wearing gives me 30 minutes to look inside your burning house and find you,” he says. “Having the most modern dependable equipment when the clock is ticking, that counts. If it comes from collective bargaining, the politicians can’t cut it without our say-so.” READ MORE


DETROIT (AP) — Willie Horton Day is being celebrated in Michigan for the eighth consecutive year.

The Tigers great is being honored Thursday, as he has since former Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed House Bill 5200 into law in 2006 that permanently decrees Oct. 18 “Willie Horton Day.”

It coincides with the seven-time All-Star’s birthday.

Horton was a Tiger for 14 seasons, including their 1968 World Series-winning team.

Horton’s No. 23 is retired by the Tigers, and a statue of his likeness stands at Comerica Park.

He’s a special assistant to team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski.

READ MORE

By: Kimberly Bryant

When I was first introduced to computer programming, as a freshman in Electrical Engineering, Fortran and Pascal were the popular languages for newbies in computing and the Apple Macintosh was the new kid on the block. I remember being excited by the prospects, and looked forward to embarking on a rich and rewarding career after college.

But I also recall, as I pursued my studies, feeling culturally isolated: few of my classmates looked like me. While we shared similar aspirations and many good times, there’s much to be said for making any challenging journey with people of the same cultural background.

Much has changed since my college days, but there’s still a dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering and math professions, an absence that cannot be explained by, say, a lack of interest in these fields. Lack of access and lack of exposure to STEM topics are the likelier culprits.

By launching Black Girls Code, I hope to provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills to at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.

That, really, is the Black Girls Code mission: to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.

Imagine the impact that these curious, creative minds could have on the world with the guidance and encouragement others take for granted.

I have, and I can’t wait!

Learn more about:

BGC upcoming events
Past events
Contacting BGC for interviews

Kimberly Bryant , Founder of Black Girls Code
web: about.me/KimberlyBryant
email: KBryant@BlackGirlsCode.org
San Francisco, CA

NNAMDI OKONKWO        FRIENDS                                            52276                          GR PUBLIC MUSEUM

We Honor and Celebrate African American Artists at ArtPrize 2012

By George Bayard III

It is that time of year again. The annual ArtPrize competition is in full swing. ArtPrize, in it’s forth year, brings together 1,517 artists and performers from around the world to Grand Rapids to compete for the worlds largest art prize, $560,000 in total prize money. The public will decide the top 10 works in the first round (Sept. 19 – Sept. 29) then choose the winners in the second round (Sept. 30 – Oct. 4). Anyone over the age of 16 can register to vote.  Votes are cast on artprize.org, via text message and mobile application. The overall goal of this event is to initiate and continue a dialog about art.

That dialog has been somewhat successful as my colleagues and clients maintain the discussion about art and ask critical questions year round.” How do I locate art by African American artists?” “Why are there no venues in our community?” Do Black artists ever win prize money?” “Why is so hard to register?” These are but a few of the questions that I get every year when ArtPrize is concluded. The Grand Rapids Times has provided a list of African American artists each year if one wants to cast a vote. Derrick Hollowell’s L-Loft at 106 S.Division (second floor) has been one of the few Black-owned venues for ArtPrize located in the 3 mile, downtown area.

It really is not hard to register but could be a bit challenging for someone not “tech savvy”.   You can create an artprize.org account any time.  Then activate your voter account at any of the Registration Sites during ArtPrize 2012. You must be within the ArtPrize boundaries during the event to activate. Want to create an artprize.org account and activate your voter status all at the same time?  Visit any of the Registration Sites during the event with your email address and valid government ID in hand. Registrars will do the rest.  You can now sign up with Facebook, making it a one-click process. Well maybe it isn’t so easy to register. I encourage you to get out and visit the sites, enjoy the artwork and vote for your favorites.  We welcome nationally known artists Alison Saar, Steve Prince and Charles McGee into our community. Here is a partial list of African American artists and their works:

ARTIST                              TITLE                                                         VOTING #                                 LOCATION

JAMES C PALMORE       IMAGINE                                                      53335                                 THE L- LOFT

DAVE FERGUSON          TWIN TOWER TRIBUTE                             52447                                  PEPPINO’S

RODNEY TUCKER           CITY WORK IN PROGRESS                        52525                                   B.O.B.

GARNER                        MURDERIN ALL MY LOVE                           53112                                 ST. CECILIA’S

CHARLES MCGEE         FREEDOM BOUND                                      53959                                  GVSU

WALTER NICHOLS       GLASS MENAGERIE                                     53336                                  CITY ART GALLERY

MARK JACKSON          COKE AND LIME BACK                                53141                                   ST. CECELIA’S

WILLIAM LA GRONE    TRIBUTE TO WOMEN                                52551                                   DEGAGE MIN

ERIC HARTFIELD           SECRET ROOM 2                                        52658                                   JW MARRIOTT

RAMA HOSKINS            HOPE                                                           53254                                   BAKER TENT

EMEKA IKEBUDE          LIGHTHOUSE XI                                          52364                                   ROCKWELL

ROSE HAMMOND       CHARLY LOUISE DORSEY                           52158                                  VAN HOECKS

ALISON SAAR              FOISON AND FALLOW                               53048                                    MEIJER GARDENS

ANITA BATES               FRIEND AND FAMILY                                 53413                                  GVSU

KIM JOHNSON            STILL THEY WAIT                                        52434                               WEST COAST COFFEE

J AUTHUR SANDERS      LAKE MICHIGAN 1                                   53476                                PUB 43

RICHARD MITCHELL      GRANDPA MORGAN                                 52330                               HUNTINGTON BK

DON MCCULLOUGH    MOMENT OF IMPACT                              52845                              1ST CONGEGATIONAL

KARISA WILSON          SAD PORTRAIT                                             53574                                ST. CECILIA’S

STEVE PRINCE             BIRD IN HAND: SECOND LINE               52108                           WESTMINSTER PRESBY

BRIAN SNYDER           FLEUR JARDIN                                             52807                             HOLLIDAY INN

SERITA CROWLEY      DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL                                  53558                           CITY VIEW CHURCH

BRIAN WHITFIELD       CROSSING OVER                                       53386                     MONROE COMM CHURCH

HANKONDO SIBALWA     H2O                                                        52579                           SPECTRUM HEART

RODGER BRADY BELL      ULTIMATE SACRIFICE                         52187                          LYON DEN

CORRINE HUDSON           SWALLOW TAILS                               53277                          GR PIZZA GRPD

CHAKILIA HOSKINS      RESURRECTION                                      52691                          1ST CONGREGATIOAL

ERIC NYAMOR       BASKETBALL ALLSTARS                               53285                            PEPPINO’S

DERRICK PERKINS             GUARDIANS                                      52485                            1ST CONGREGATIONAL

The only African American venue is the L-Loft. They offer a complete schedule of events

Schedule
Sept 19- soft opening 5pm-10pm
Sept 21- opening reception 5-10pm
Sept 22- and 29- life drawing 1-3pm
Sept 24- lecture “Collecting Original Art-a beginners guide” w/ George Bayard 6-8pm
Sept 26 ,Oct 3- Art Movie Night (Basquait, Street Art) 8-10pm
Sept 28- Live Art Vibe 7-10pm
Sept 29- Children’s Workshop 1-230pm, 3-430pm
Oct 2- Artprize-”a critical discussion” 7-830pm
Oct 5- closing party- 7-11pm

Registration sites

The ArtPrize HUB @ 41 Sheldon Blvd.

Exhibition Centers
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 East Beltline Ave NE

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
303 Pearl St NW

Grand Rapids Art Museum
101 Monroe Center

Grand Rapids Public Museum
272 Pearl St NW

Kendall College of Art & Design
17 Fountain St NW

St. Cecilia Music Center
24 Ransom NE

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA)
2 West Fulton St
Other Registration Sites

Grand Rapids Public Library
111 Library St NE

Monroe Community Church
800 Monroe NW

Women’s City Club
254 East Fulton St

ED Note * AJ Woodstock (not African American)

A J Woodstock   Tuskegee Airmen

NNAMDI OKONKWO        FRIENDS

CHARLES MCGEE         FREEDOM BOUND

BRIAN WHITFIELD       CROSSING OVER

ERIC NYAMOR       BASKETBALL ALLSTARS

JAMES C PALMORE       IMAGINE

Source: The Guardian

In 2009, businessman Femi Akinde needed to travel quickly across Nigeria. Without immediate access to the internet, it took him a day to book a plane ticket. Finding a number to make a phone reservation took time; connecting – on erratic phone lines – even longer; and bank forms had to be filled in to withdraw money for paying.

“The fact that something that could have taken less than 10 minutes [online] took a torturous whole day got me thinking: if something like an airline ticket was this difficult to procure, how much worse is it down the economic food chain?” he explained.

Akinde, who had worked with US telecoms companies, saw a solution in mobile phones. He came up with SlimTrader, a service that allows customers to use their phones to get information and availability, and to pay for services ranging from airplane tickets to bags of fertiliser.

While in many parts of the world, such a service would use the internet, this option was not available for a large majority of Nigerians using basic feature phones. Instead, SlimTrader can be used entirely by text message. “We took the idea from what it could be in the western world to what it really has to be in the developing world. We went a step further, and said let’s make SlimTrader useable on any phone,” he said.

Using text messaging for technological advances makes sense in a continent where hi-tech sits cheek-by-jowl with fading technology. Days before it officially began selling in western stores, bootlegged copies of the latestiPhone were available from Lagos market vendors – many of whom were using phones with only basic internet. And while Google’s Lagos office has helped put some 25,000 businesses online in the past year, it is also making its mighty search engine available through the humble text message in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana.

Innovations like SlimTrader are a small part of a new technological revolution in sub-Saharan Africa. In west Africa, which has lagged behind its eastern neighbours, a new breed of home-grown entrepreneurs is adapting technology to local challenges. READ MORE

Recipient of the 2012 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize for Autogeography, Reginald Harris is Poetry in the Branches Coordinator and IT Director for Poets House in New York City. His first book, 10 Tongues (Three Conditions Press, 2001) was finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and the ForeWord Book of the Year. Pushcart Prize nominee, recipient of Individual Artist Awards for both poetry and fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, and an Associate Editor for Lambda Literary Review, his work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies

Source: La Petite Zine

While the Quartet Plays “Body And Soul”
Louie’s Bookstore Café, Baltimore MD 1998

A man strums his lover’s back like a guitar
My heart is sad and lonely
Conversations slide to whispers, end,
For you I sigh, for you dear only,

My heart is sad and lonely
All heads nod, familiar with the tune
For you I sigh, for you dear only,
Ringed fingers splay across a dark-sleeved arm.

All heads nod familiar with the tune
You know I’m yours for just the taking
Ringed fingers splay across a dark-sleeved arm
I’m all for you, body and soul

You know I’m yours for just the taking
Whisky’s a welcome fever in the throat
I’m all for you, body and soul
behind me someone whispers

Whisky’s a welcome fever in the throat
I can’t believe it, it’s hard to conceive it
Behind me someone whispers
Are you pretending, it looks like the ending

I can’t believe it, it’s hard to conceive it
Evening’s end plucks the skin like strings
Are you pretending, it looks like the ending
moving through the changes on a mission

Evening’s end plucks the skin like strings
My life a wreck you’re making
moving through the changes on a mission
I spend my days in longing

My life a wreck you’re making
in conversation about the measure of their days
I spend my days in longing
Joy is searching more than destination.

in conversation about the measure of their days
Why haven’t you seen it?
Joy is searching more than destination.
I’m all for you, body and soul

Why haven’t you seen it?
Conversations slide to whispers, end
I’m all for you, body and soul.
A man strums his lover’s back like a guitar.

“Body and Soul” lyrics by Robert B. Sour,
Edward Heyman, and Frank Eyton

Tony Norman began his journalism career at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1988 as a clerk. He was promoted to the Pop Music / Pop Culture beat a year later. In 1996, Norman became a general interest columnist for the PG. In 1999, Norman joined the PG’s editorial board. In 2005-2006, Norman took a year from his duties at the Post-Gazette and Chatham University to enjoy a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan. Since 1991, Norman has won more than two dozen local, state and national journalism awards including first place in the National Association of Newspaper Columnists and multiple first place Golden Quills, Keystone Awards, Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and the Matrix Award from the Association of Women in Communication. He is also the recipient of awards from the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Clarion Award.

Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that many of the most zealous advocates of voter ID laws object to anything that remotely smells like a national ID card.

Voter ID laws are designed to harass and discourage old people, young people and minorities inclined to vote Democratic in states with Republican-dominated legislatures. National ID cards like the one approved under the Real ID Act of 2005 mandate another layer of federal regulation for state driver’s licenses and personal identification cards.

By 2014, each state must issue driver’s licenses and ID cards that meet minimum federal requirements to be compliant with the law. The new cards will contain tamper-proof information and, eventually, biometric technology.

All citizens, not just Democrats, would be hassled by the implementation of this law. The burden and expense of providing required documents just to apply for Real ID would be universal. If you want to catch a commercial flight, gain access to a nuclear facility or enter a federal building, Real ID cards will eventually be the only acceptable form of identification.

As you can imagine, a bipartisan coalition of political interests filed lawsuits to block Real ID. State legislatures passed laws blocking cooperation. Civil liberties organizations objected to it as an unwarranted invasion of privacy by the federal government that consolidates private information.

Libertarians and conservatives argued that the loss of liberty, the billions it will cost to implement it and the red tape required to comply with the law violated the principal of limited government; they joined groups like the ACLU and the NRA in challenging the legislation as an unconscionable overreach by the Congress.

Predictably, Christian conservatives sounded the alarm that the Antichrist himself was at the door with a high-tech “666″ branding iron in the form of Real ID.

But it wasn’t the Antichrist pushing for a national identity card — it was President George W. Bush. The 43rd president was determined to keep Americans safe by preventing terrorists from easily entering the country and obtaining driver’s licenses.

The logic was simple: Require onerous amounts of information from the rest of us that potential terrorists and illegal aliens would be unable (or unwilling) to provide.

The minimum documentation required just to apply for the new, improved national identity card and driver’s licenses include: A photo ID or a non-photo ID with name and birth date ; documentation of birth date; documentation of legal status including Social Security number; proof of principal residence.

Once implemented, the Real ID card will have the following displayed on the front: photograph of the citizen; full name; signature; birth date; gender; unique identifying number; legal address. It also will contain discreet pieces of embedded information.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/tony-norman/voter-id-real-id-might-clash-for-some-653783/#ixzz27NaSghRb

Interview by ANDREW GOLDMAN
Published: September 21, 2012

You once wrote that Michael Jackson stopped working with you because he felt threatened by the credit you were getting for his music. Considering he was never able to repeat the success he had with “Off the Wall,” “Thriller” and “Bad,” how much credit do you deserve?
Well, What do you think?

I don’t know. I wasn’t in the studio.
You heard the albums, didn’t you? That’s nothing to do with any one person. That’s the combination of the two of us. You’re looking at one of the most talented kids in the history of show business. Michael was very observant and detail-oriented. You put that together with my background of big-band arranging and composing, we had no limitations.

Did he really never personally tell you he was moving on?
He didn’t, no. It’s O.K., man. It’s not like I’m gonna roll over and die. He told his manager that I was losing it, that I didn’t understand the business because I didn’t understand in 1987 that rap was dead. Rap wasn’t dead. Rap hadn’t even started yet.

You arranged and conducted for both Sinatra and the Rat Pack. A lot of the Rat Pack banter is hard to listen to now. Sammy always seems to be the butt of their jokes, like their black mascot.
Sammy was playing along with it. He used to sign his telegrams to Frank as “Smoky.” That used to be a bad name, like “darky.” But Vegas was so racist. I had no idea, man. They would not allow Nat Cole and Lena Horne in the casino. Frank by himself changed that, for Basie, for Sammy. When I went there with Frank in ’64, we weren’t allowed, but Frank put a bodyguard on each one of us. I saw it.

Sammy got a lot of grief when he married the Swedish actress May Britt in 1960. All three of your wives have been white.

Have you had any trouble?

Never. What you have to understand is that a lot of the jazz guys, that was part of their revolution. Nobody can tell me who I can socialize with. Charlie Parker’s wife Chan was white. All the cats was doing that, man. The richest white ladies in America, like Nica Rothschild, who lived at the Stanhope, took care of all the jazz guys, Arthur Taylor, Thelonious Monk, everybody. She had apartments where they could have jam sessions, she carried them around in her Rolls-Royce.

Do you have a girlfriend?
A lot of girlfriends.

During the “We Are the World” session, great singers like Smokey Robinson didn’t even get solo lines. How do you tell Bette Midler, “Kim Carnes gets a solo, but you don’t”?

It was not easy. If you’ve got 46 people and only 21 solos, you’re gonna have a problem. That’s why we did all the background lines before I told them who would sing solos. If they did the solos first, they’d all disappear. READ MORE

NPR

When NPR Books invited audience members to nominate and vote for their favorite Young Adult novels, more than 75,000 responded. The extraordinary outpouring speaks of the passion connecting the books section and its followers.

But in that response also lie the seeds of a defect, for lack of a better term, in the poll. The resulting “Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels” included only two books whose protagonists are people of color, which critics called unjust. The two were Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. One of the four heroines in a third book, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares, is half Puerto Rican.

As lovely an honor as this is, it also made me sad.
- Author Laurie Halse Anderson
Even one of the selected authors reacted in dismay.

“This just might be the whitest YA list ever,” wrote Laurie Halse Anderson on her personal blog. Two of Anderson’s books, Speak and Wintergirls, made it on the list. Still, she wrote, “As lovely an honor as this is, it also made me sad. And angry and frustrated.”

Much of the criticism was directed at the white panel of experts, but the censure is misplaced. After speaking with editors and studying the poll, I find that the problem was not the experts, but the nature of the poll and the make-up of the audience. This is not to condemn either—let’s celebrate engagement!—but it does raise a question as to how NPR should protect its editorial integrity when publishing a popularity list that realistically will be taken as NPR’s own and have great influence in schools and sales.

As a reading and English teacher in Minneapolis identified as “Shaker Laurie” wrote:

The problem is not that amazing books about teens of color don’t exist. They do. My kids latch obsessively onto books about teens like them and read them voraciously because adolescents in all their self-involved glory enjoy reading texts that remind them of, well, themselves. Sherman Alexie and Sandra Cisneros certainly deserve their received accolades: The House on Mango Street is a beautifully poetic account of a Latina’s coming of age, and Absolutely True Diary poignantly tells the story of a boy who struggles with life on a reservation and his desire for a strong education. Judith Ortiz Cofer, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, and Matt de la Peña’s work also comes to mind, so when NPR comes along and declares 100 books the “Best-Ever” and leaves nearly every single young adult title written about people of color off the list without caveat or mention, damage is done.

NPR’s audience skews white. The poll result was innocent, normal and natural. If still sad.
The issue with NPR’s audience is that it skews white and mature. As I detailed last year in a report on diversity in NPR, roughly 87 percent of the radio audience was white, compared to 77 of the country’s over-18 population, according to NPR’s Audience, Insight and Research Department. African-Americans and Hispanics are particularly under-represented; Asian Americans are slightly over-represented, but they are a much smaller group.

While there is no profile of the 75,000 voters themselves, they surely reflect this overall audience to a great degree. It thus seems reasonable to me to assume that many of the voters merely selected the books they knew, loved and identified with when they were teens.

The poll result, in other words, was innocent, normal and natural. If still sad.The good news is that the proportion of non-whites in the NPR audience is growing as the proportion of African-Americans and Hispanics graduating from university in the nation grows. More than two-thirds of NPR’s listeners are college grads. The bad news is that so long as the nation, and especially the universe of college graduates, is overwhelmingly white, then a popularity poll on books is likely to skew in favor of white authors or white protagonists.

The methodology of the poll, moreover, may have further guaranteed a non-diverse result. Readers submitted more than 1,200 titles, a panel of experts narrowed the list to 235 books that they judged were actually eligible, and the audience responded a second time by voting for their top ten. By picking only 10, voters reasonably went for the books they really most loved or identified with, statistically reinforcing the bias of the audience breakdown. The small number left little room for adding books that a reader might think is also good medicine. READ MORE

About The Black Bottom Blog

theblackbottom.com is a blog dedicated to the critical discussion of African American politics and culture in Michigan, the Great Lakes region, and the United States as a whole.This blog is located in West Michigan and operated out of Grand Rapids.


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