Racism

Best of 2014 - How We Talk About Race In N.H.

Dec 30, 2014
Sean Hurley / NHPR

This spring, after racist remarks by Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling and Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, outrage dominated national headlines. Now, after events in Ferguson and New York City, race relations seem more fraught than ever, but a call for a more honest conversation about race still resonates.

This program originally aired on June 5, 2014.

GUESTS:

Goldeneye via Flickr CC

New Hampshire officials are getting hit with calls, emails and tweets reacting to racist comments made by a town police commissioner.

Jim Bouley, mayor of the capital city of Concord, said the reaction from as far away as California included threats to cancel vacations in New Hampshire. The calls started Thursday after news reports detailed comments by Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, who admitted using the N-word to describe President Barack Obama.

IFC Films

Central Park was New York City’s place of refuge and openness until April 19, 1989 when a woman was brutally assaulted and left for dead. Author Sarah Burns turned her research about the event into a documentary film detailing the racially charged convictions of five black and Latino youth. They were exonerated over a decade later when another man confessed to committing the crime.

When community leaders wanted justice for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, they went knocking on the door of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. And that's been happening a lot lately.

The shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Florida has sparked heated reactions across the country, but there was a lag before mainstream media picked up on the story. Not so online, where a more immediate outcry grew into a petition drive this week to encourage a federal investigation.

Now the Justice Department is looking into Trayvon Martin's death at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer, and black media and social media were key in demanding closer scrutiny.

In his 2010 Comedy Central stand-up special, comedian Louis C.K. pondered a sometimes-epithet and the fine line between desciptor, and slur. Joking aside, C.K.’s take hits very close to home for the townspeople of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire, who, for the past several months, have been engaged in a fierce debate about whether or not a small local pond’s name on federal maps,  “Jew Pond” is offensive, and whether the pond should get a new mo