The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

Trevor Noah
Photo by Evan Agostini / Invision/AP, File

Ever since President Donald Trump announced he was running for president in 2015, late-night television shows have taken on a new tone. Programs like “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers” have adopted more political rhetoric, while “The Daily Show” continues to offer political satire with a diverse staff. 

National Guard soldiers in Houston in August of 2017
Texas Army National Guard photo / FBI

Floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey still filled the streets in Texas when Hurricane Irma blew ashore in Florida. As the latest storm moves toward North Carolina, Duke scientists explore whether these rare weather events are growing more frequent or more extreme. They also analyze how communities and governments can become more resilient.

Jocelyn Casanova
Courtesy of Jocelyn Casanova

Joceyln Casanova grew up in North Carolina and was a high achiever who dreamed of going to college and becoming a lawyer. A few days before she graduated from high school near the top of her class, a college interviewer revealed a secret her parents had kept from her her whole life: Jocelyn was undocumented. 

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

On Tuesday the state of North Carolina initiated a lawsuit against the Chemours Company for allegedly dumping the contaminant GenX into the Cape Fear River. 

Library of Congress

Is North Carolina moving toward prosperity and justice for all, or is the state repeating political mistakes of the past? That is a question a state lawmaker and history professor were both keen to explore. 

Bahamas Junkanoo woman
Jerry Samet

The National Folk Festival returns to Greensboro this weekend with approximately 300 performers showcasing folk traditions from all corners of the world. Performances include everything from cajun music to beatboxing. 

Robert Lee IV, a descendant of Confederate General Robert Lee, speaks out against racism at the 2017 VMA's on 8/27/2017. Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, appears on stage.
Matt Sayles / AP - 2017

Robert W. Lee IV is a North Carolina minister and descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Robert W. Lee IV has made it his mission to counter the racist and problematic legacy of his ancestor by writing and speaking openly about the continued effects of racism in the U.S. 

Julia Gibson, star of PlayMakers Repertory Company production of 'The Cake'
VegaBlue Studios

Bekah Brunstetter grew up in Winston-Salem and was raised in the conservative values of the Southern Baptist church. But as she grew older, her perspective started to shift and she found herself caught between conservative and liberal worlds. 

Courtesy of Alan Gratz

Tens of thousands of people are forced to flee their homes each day due to conflict and persecution, according to the UN Refugee Agency. More people around the world are displaced now than ever before. 

DACA rally in downtown Durham
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program yesterday.

Courtesy of Benjamin Rachlin

In 1987 Willie Grimes was wrongfully accused of raping a 69-year-old widow in Hickory, North Carolina. Despite little evidence against him, Grimes was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life plus nine years in prison.

Courtesy of Heather Bell Adams

Attorney Heather Bell Adams is used to crafting persuasive stories. But in the courtroom they have to be entirely factual.

Doctor checks on baby at hosptial
Slava / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/8mh8fz

Hospital executives announced last week that the state’s largest hospital system, Carolinas Healthcare, would combine with UNC Health. They called the nearly $14 billion move “a marriage, not a merger.” 

Man stares at phone in dark room.
Japanexperterna.se / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/sBDC4d

Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC tech podcast “Note to Self,” has spent years thinking about how people interact with technology. Zomorodi led tens of thousands of listeners through an experiment to help them unplug from their devices. 

The cast of South Pacific
VanderVeen Photographers

In 1949 composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein premiered their hit musical “South Pacific.” It tells the story of how an American nurse and lieutenant find new love across cultural and racial lines. 

Duke University

Makeba Wilbourn has been immersed in the subtleties of language since she was a child.

As the daughter of a northern white mother and southern black father, she constantly changed the way she spoke to her own family. And as she grew older, she realized she had to be an expert at code-switching in order to succeed as a biracial woman.

Today, Makeba studies how children develop those differences in language, and how that might contribute to our racial biases.

Trump sits at head of table to discuss public safety operations in Texas in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.
Evan Vucci / AP Photo - 2017

President Donald Trump traveled to Texas this week in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. He met with a number of government officials and rescue workers but received criticism for not meeting with flood victims. 

Takao Bill Manbo / Courtesy of Eric Muller at Scapegoat Cities

Seventy-five years ago the U.S. government relocated more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans into internment camps following the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Parents were separated from their children, and many individuals were forced to give up their property.

From left: Robert Thornhill, Pattie Hopkins, Ben Parker, Scott E. Warren, and Hank Smith
Courtesy of Hank, Pattie and the Current

Classically-trained violinist and fiddler Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw and bluegrass banjo player Hank Smith might seem like an unlikely duo. But Hank Smith grew up testing the limits of his instrument and bending the conventional genre in unexpected ways. 

Female barista at espresso machine
Wikimedia Commons

Millennials have a reputation for being overeducated and undermotivated when it comes to working and saving money. But a forthcoming report from the left-leaning North Carolina Justice Center explains that millennials face pressures previous generations were not subject to, and that state and national policies compound their difficulties in building wealth and finding good jobs. 

patrons at self checkout
Wikipedia Commons

The balance of people and machines in the workplace is shifting. 

Courtesy of James Costa

There is no doubt that Charles Darwin’s trip to the Galapagos Islands in the 1830s changed his life’s work. It  put him on the path to develop his game-changing theory of evolution. But Darwin’s observations were not isolated to one exploration. For years after his pivotal excursion, Darwin conducted unorthodox and innovative experiments to test his speculations, and he often did so in his own backyard. 

Jurassic Park at Universal Studios
Marco Becerra / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/aKoNmk

Dinosaurs have graced the silver screen since the early 20th century. But depictions of the pre-historic creatures in movies are often comically inaccurate. 

Cover of 'The Salt Line' by Holly Goddard Jones
Courtesy of Holly Goodard Jones

Holly Goddard Jones was in between projects when she sat down to write a little horror story about killer ticks. But literary questions kept sneaking into her thoughts, and as she probed the backstories and motivations of her characters, her short thriller grew into a novel. 

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina House and Senate have approved new plans for dozens of district boundaries. 

Gone With The Wind (1939) - Vivien Leigh & Hattie McDaniel
Rossano aka Bud Care / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/prAfHm

Hollywood was just getting its glamorous start in the early 1900s, and Southerners played a surprisingly important role in the fledgeling industry. Notable southern producers and corrupt movie theater moguls helped shape the growing industry, just as their subject matter shaped perceptions of the South and propagated racial stereotypes. 

from left to right: Dana Marks, Drina Dunlap, Jessica Hudson, Meredith Sause)
Kim Black

Viv Albertine was a guitar player for The Slits, a British punk band from the late ‘70s. She rubbed elbows with members of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, but unlike her male punk peers, she heard ‘no’ much more often than she heard ‘yes.’ But that did not deter her from doing what she wanted to do anyway. 

Courtesy of Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Stephanie Elizondo Griest grew up between two cultural identities: her father is white from Kansas, and her mother is Chicana, or Mexican-American.

Autumn Sandeen, veteran, holds a picture of herself as a man and navy seaman recruit.
Gregory Bull / AP Photo

In the past decade the military has become increasingly open to service members of different genders and sexual identities.

Jedediah Purdy and Norman Wirzba sit together on some rocks.
Donn Young / Duke University

The Anthropocene is considered by many scholars and scientists to be the epoch in which humans became a dominant force in shaping the world around us. 

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