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#BackChannel: ‘Racist’ Pool Rules In NC & ‘When They See Us’ Makes An Old Story Go Global

A private recreation center in Wake County is under fire for what some are calling racist pool rules. The Outdoor Recreation Center in Wendell shared a post on Facebook earlier this month detailing its rules, which included: “no baggy pants, no dread-locks/weaves/extensions or revealing clothes will be permitted or you will be asked to leave.”

The husband and wife co-owners said there was no racist intent to their rules, which they said have been posted in the pool office for years. They also told news outlets they apologize for their use of the word “dreadlock” and say the rules should have stated “no artificial hair.”

Critics and scholars, including Mark Anthony Neal, say the rules echo a long history of keeping black people out of private and public spaces. Neal and popular culture expert Natalie Bullock Brown join host Frank Stasio to talk about the story in the latest installment of #BackChannel, The State of Things’ recurring series connecting culture and context.

They also review “When They See Us,” Ava DuVernay’s new four-part dramatized series about the Central Park Five. The series has become one of the most popular on Netflix and led to new fallout for the real-life figures involved in the case.

'The newsrooms, national media and the judicial system were so white there were no advocates for those boys on the criminal justice side or the public opinion side,'- Mark Anthony Neal

Watch the trailer:

Plus, it has been 30 years since the premiere of Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing.” Neal and Bullock Brown analyze how the film and its soundtrack resonates today. And they share their take on the Netflix documentary “The Black Godfather,” which traces the story of NC-native Clarence Avant from his childhood in Climax, North Carolina to becoming one of the most prominent music executives and entrepreneurs who gave rise to the musical careers of artists like Bill Withers has mentored figures ranging from Sean “P. Diddy” Combs to Bill Clinton.

Watch the trailer:

'He is a kingmaker. It's so clear that people across spectrums respect and look up to him,'- Natalie Bullock Brown on Clarence Avant

Natalie Bullock Brown is a filmmaker and teaching assistant professor at North Carolina State University, and Mark Anthony Neal is the James B. Duke professor and chair of the department of African and African American studies at Duke University in Durham.

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.