My White Friends

Apr 8, 2014
Myra Greene

Photographer Myra Greene spent years taking self portraits exploring her own black identity. But after sharing these photographs with a friend, she realized that not everyone thinks about race as much as she does. 

Former UNC Journalism Professor Chuck Stone died Sunday.  He was 89.
University of North Carolina

A much-admired former journalism professor at UNC-Chapel Hill died Sunday. 

Charles Sumner "Chuck" Stone, Jr. taught at the university from 1991 until he retired in 2005.

Stone was one of the founding members of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and he was the first African American columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News.

The Lavin Agency

Last month, Michael Dunn was convicted of attempted murder, after firing several rounds into an SUV of young black men. Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old, was killed in the incident. Dunn is 47, and he is white. Dunn invoked the "Stand Your Ground Law" to defend his actions, and the jury was deadlocked on whether to charge him for Davis's murder. He'll face a retrial this summer.

RAÇA, a documentary film
racafilme.com / Raca

Brazil is often touted as a racial democracy or a multicultural paradise. More than half of the country's population is of African descent, and there are more than 130 words to describe skin tone. But according to Afro-Brazilian filmmaker Joel Zito Araújo, there is much work to be done in the struggle for racial equality. The scholar-in-residence at UNC's Sonja Haynes Stone Center highlights the challenges in his new film, RAÇA. Host Frank Stasio talks with Araújo and the Center’s director, Joseph Jordan.

Book Cover for Legal Fictions: Constituting Race, Composing, Literature by Karla Hollway
dukeupress.edu / Duke University Press

From enslavement to the one-drop rule to the three-fifths compromise, United States law has defined African-American identity. Duke University professor Karla Holloway is exploring how black fiction connect racial identity and the creation of law for African Americans. 

Martin Luther King Jr.
UNC Librairies

The Reverend Martin Luther King Junior is remembered today for his dedication to racial equality and social justice. Many groups across North Carolina are gathering to march, pray, and volunteer in their communities.

Students and faculty from Duke and NC Central Universities and Durham Technical Community College will gather to assemble dry food packages for Stop Hunger Now. That organization provides food aid to disaster victims around the world.

This is the actual Woolworth lunch counter where the protest took place. It is now housed at the Smithsonian
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Background to this first person audio story from reporter Jessica Jones:

Back in 2010, I was thrilled to cover the opening of Greensboro's International Civil Rights Center and Museum, housed in the old Woolworth's store where the famous sit-in took place that led to the end of desegregation.

It was exciting for me personally because the assignment allowed me to meet and interview three of the surviving members of the Greensboro Four, the men who as college students showed such incredible courage in integrating the lunch counter.

The Editor and the Dragon
south.unc.edu / Southern Oral History Program

A new film debuts on UNC-TV tonight, Thursday January 9th. "The Editor and The Dragon: Horace Carter Fights The Klan" tells the inside story of a man of courage, the journalist Horace Carter.

Filmmakers describe the story this way:



The recent decision by Saturday Night Live to hire an African American woman underscores the lack of diversity on the show and in the wider media landscape.

In fact, Sasheer Zamata will be only the fourth African American woman to ever be a cast member on the show. She will be the first since Maya Rudolph left in 2007. Zamata makes her debut January 18.

Why do minorities still get short shrift in the entertainment industry?

suey park smiling
Suey Park

Lots of people are talking about race on Twitter this week, using the hashtag #NotYourAsianSidekick.

The person who started the conversation is the writer Suey Park. She says that there are so many stereotypes: Asians are submissive, good at math and science, and play the violin. She wants to have a fuller conversation about Asian Americans.

This minute and a half BBC video is a good intro to Suey and the topic:

Derrick Ivey (Left) as C.P. Ellis and Lakeisha Coffery (Right) as Ann Atwater
manbitesdogtheater.org / Manbites Dog Theater


  In 1971, civil rights activist, Ann Atwater, and ku klux klan grand exalted cyclops, C.P. Ellis chaired a community meeting to handle violence in the recently desegregated Durham school system. And those meetings started a unexpected lifelong friendship between the two. A play by Mark St. Germain retells the story of this unlikely friendship in the play, Best of Enemies

Unsung Founders Memorial, UNC-Chapel Hill
Don McCullough / Flickr.com

Tim McMillan is a senior lecturer at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill's Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies.  He is also the creator of The Black and Blue Tour.  In 2001 Tim was teaching a seminar called “Defining Blackness” when he realized how much of UNC’s  own racial history went overlooked.  He started the Black and Blue tour of the UNC campus to help people gain a more nuanced perspective. He knows these conversations can make people uncomfortable.

UNC Center for Civil Rights
UNC Center for Civil Rights

A new report from the UNC Center for Civil Rights highlights the issues faced by some segregated communities in North Carolina.

The report refers to these neighborhoods as “excluded communities.”

“What we’re talking about are communities that are somehow not fully included in the political, social, civic, and economic life of the state of North Carolina,” says Peter Gilbert, the author of the report

Acting White? Rethinking Race in Post-Racial America
http://global.oup.com/ / Oxford University Press

During President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, some public discourse focused on the “blackness” of the President. Some on the right critiqued him for being “too black,” but some on the left claimed he was “acting white.”

“President Barack Obama, has these public moments, where he has to deal with the facts of race. He’s in this complicated situation where he has to appeal to members of multiple racial groups and have them all support him,” states Mitu Gulati, professor at Duke Law. “And then these instances occur as with Trayvon Martin, and he has both of these groups watching him so very carefully to see how Black is he or how Black isn’t he.”

Host Frank Stasio talks with Gulati and his co-author and fellow law professor Devon Carbado of UCLA School of Law. Their book, “Acting White? Rethinking Race in 'Post-Racial' America,” (Oxford University Press; 2013) addresses the question: “What does it mean to ‘act white’?”

The film adaptation of Frank Yerby's 1946 best-selling novel, The Foxes of Harrow.

African-American literary authors like James Baldwin or Zora Neale Hurston are famous for their depictions of black life. But these novelists have also written books with white protagonists. Why is this unexpected? Is there a mandate that black authors write only about black characters?

Picture of marijuana plant
Colleen Danger, via flickr, Creative Commons

A new report from the ACLU says African Americans are more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in North Carolina.  The survey released today says African Americans were arrested at three times the rate of whites in 2010.  A US Health Department report from the same year showed similar rates of marijuana use among both ethnic groups nationwide. 

Have you ever thought of Jay-Z having multiple personalities? There's Jay-Z, Sean Carter, Hova, and Jigga. And they're all wrapped up inside one black man. In Mark Anthony Neal's latest book "Looking For Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities," he explores the complex identities of figures like Jay-Z, Avery Brooks and Luther Vandross (NYU Press; 2013).

Action Lab Entertainment / Jeremy Whitley

Comic book fans know the pleasure of becoming absorbed in an alternate world. One where weirdos and freaks reign supreme as superheroes and saviors. It’s the perfect escape for somebody that doesn’t feel as though they quite fit in. For Jeremy Whitley, comics were engrossing, so much so that he wanted to make his own. But then he had a daughter.

Gene Kendall, Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke and Nathaniel White Jr., the three surviving members of the first five undergraduate students to integrate Duke, attend their class reunion on April 21, 2012.
Duke University

Duke University celebrates 50 years of black students on Saturday, with an address by U.S. Senator William "Mo" Cowan.  The Massachusetts Democrat is a 1991 Duke graduate and one of two African-Americans currently in the U.S. Senate.

Writer Langston Hughes is famous for uplifting poems like "I, Too" and lyrical poetry like “A Dream Deferred,” but North Carolina State Assistant Professor of English Jason Miller says that hidden within Hughes' works are powerful statements about the practice of lynching. Host Frank Stasio talks to Miller about his new book, "Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture” (University Press of Florida/2011).

Alvin and Omelia Garner
Leoneda Inge

On this day - June 23, 40 years ago, the first interracial couple in Orange County was married. Alvin and Omelia Garner got their marriage license a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state laws forbidding such unions. To mark this year’s anniversary, the Garners decided to celebrate in style and have the wedding they never had.

NC Voices: Health Disparities

Oct 10, 2007

If you’re a white North Carolinian, you’re statistically likely to be born stronger, live healthier, and die later than your African American or Latino counterpart. You’re also not as likely to suffer from a chronic disease, and if you do, you’re less likely to die of it. Some say that’s because of racial bias within the health care system. But others say the problem’s much bigger than that – and health care alone can’t solve it. Laura Leslie reports for North Carolina Voices.