Race & Demographics

Shruti Shah

Every family looks different. But if your parents are a different race than you are, your family can expect to get looks … and personal questions too. That’s because transracial adoption was rare, even controversial, until relatively recently. The number of transracial adoptions has increased in the past 50 years — particularly white parents adopting children of color.

NCDCR, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wikimedia

This story was updated at 3:23 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2020.

While the Confederacy lasted just a bit longer than four years, its memory has lived on for lifetimes in the form of historical markers, the names of streets, counties and towns, its flag and monuments.

A logo of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
Elevatorrailfan / Wikimedia Commons

The chairman of North Carolina's Lumbee Tribe says that the tribe will not be getting federal recognition this year.

Legislation to federally recognize the tribe has failed.

A white rectangular sign with the words 'THE OTHER AMERICA MOVEMENT BRIGHTWOOD PERMACULTURE FARM' written in bold red, green, and black font. The sign is in the woods, there are brown trees and branches behind it
Laura Pellicer / For WUNC

Activist Skip Gibbs was in the midst of leading a protest in Durham this summer when he felt that something wasn’t right. In the crowd, which had gathered to demand that the city council redirect the police department budget into social services, he saw mostly white faces.

A Black woman with braids and a colorful collar necklace smiles, looking off camera.
Courtesy of Bree Newsome Bass

Activist Bree Newsome Bass gained national attention in the summer of 2015 when she was arrested for scaling the flagpole at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, and removing the Confederate flag. The act of civil disobedience took place in the wake of the killing of nine African-American people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

A black-and-white photo of a young woman behind a video camera, filming something.
Courtesy of Malinda Maynor Lowery

Malinda Maynor Lowery is a Lumbee Indian whose family goes back more than 10 generations in Robeson County. Lowery was born in Lumberton, N.C. but raised in Durham, where from an early age, she often fielded the question, "what are you?" Although she grew up in a family with a strong sense of Native identity, this question stayed with her much of her life, and eventually became the subject of much of her academic and documentary work.

Greensboro resident Candace Clapp heads toward the Greensboro protest for George Flyod with sage and sign in hand.
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

A task force commissioned by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in the days following George Floyd's death on Monday formally recommended far-reaching changes to police, criminal justice and court systems, with a goal of eliminating racial inequities.

A yellow triangular sign 'No Baby On Board, durex' on the back of a dark blue van
Spoon, YouTube

There will be no COVID baby boom in the United States. In fact, a decrease in childbirth is expected, with existential fear prevailing over hormones and boredom. Similar downward trends occurred during the 2008 recession and the 1918 Spanish flu. Now experiencing their second economic crash, 15% of millennials are less interested in having children due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, others made the decision long before the pandemic.

Fibonacci Blue / Wikimedia

A board of commissioners in a North Carolina county has voted to support reparations and apologized for the county’s role in slavery, segregation and systemic discrimination against Black residents.

A light brown, sand colored monument in front of a brown building. The monument is made up of bricks, the bricks are stacked ontop of each other, narrowing as it goes upwards
Billy Hathorn // CC

The Asheville City Council voted to remove the third and final Confederate monument from Asheville’s Pack Square Tuesday night. The 65-foot Vance Monument commemorates Zebulon Vance, North Carolina’s governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during Reconstruction who opposed civil rights for Black people.

A mask is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but choosing which mask to wear isn’t always about protecting oneself from the virus. It's a decision that can also affect the likelihood of encountering racial profiling.
 


An older bespectacled Black man in a suit gestures with one hand in front of a classroom in this black and white photo
Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago


When John Hope Franklin chaired former President Bill Clinton's initiative on race in the 1990s, he started with what he called "the naivete that often accompanies optimism." That he could be either naive or optimistic after documenting the long struggle for civil rights is remarkable, and was no doubt, the kind of optimism born of intellectual integrity and an open mind.

Jay Heike / Unsplash / Creative Commons

They threw her new cellphone on the roof of the station house and placed nails under the wheels of her pickup truck. As she prepared to answer a call, someone poured tobacco juice in her boots. It was too much for Timika Ingram to bear.

Iheoma Iruka has devoted her career to understanding bias in early-childhood education, but she has very few memories of that period in her own life. Iruka was born in Texas, but her parents moved back to Nigeria when she was 3. She stayed there until after second grade when she and two of her sisters moved to Boston with her mother, and the family was split between Nigeria and the U.S.

Leoneda Inge

The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is surging. And there is also a growing number of people getting tested for the disease, for the first time. A program based at a historically Black university in Durham is organizing COVID-19 testing and collecting valuable data at the same time.

A black background with the words 'I Am A White Mexican' in bold, yellow/gold letters
Latino Rebels

Scrolling through the comments on her article published in the online news platform Latino Rebels, Roosbelinda Cárdenas found a picture of herself alongside a lively discussion of her race. Non-Latinx white users weighed in, confident she did not meet their standards of whiteness. Others used their own genetics and apparent non-whiteness as evidence against her own assertion of whiteness.

Protester holds up a sign that reads: End systemic racism.
Pikist

A group that represents North Carolina's 130 hospitals has joined a growing number of organizations and governments that have declared racism to be a public health crisis.

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

A task force that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper created to address and eliminate racial disparities in North Carolina's criminal justice and court systems recommended on Wednesday that legislators decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Charles Lucas rest on a 1940's tractor inside a greenhouse on his farm in Montgomery County Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Jackson Springs, N.C.
Lynn Hey / For WUNC

It's a beautiful and crisp autumn day on the Lucas Farm in Montgomery County.

The sounds of cars whizzing by and birds chirping disturb the quiet peacefulness that Charles Lucas has grown accustomed to, living alone in Jackson Springs.

Virtual learning has changed almost everything about the classroom experience in North Carolina, but implicit racial biases remain as a hindrance to students' education. Microaggressions and discriminatory behavior from teachers and other classmates can have detrimental effects on students of color, especially young children in preschool.

On this episode of the Politics Podcast, we feature the WUNC podcast "Tested," and its host Leoneda Inge's conversation with Iheoma Iruka, professor of public policy and director of the Early Childhood Health and Racial Equity program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, about what's needed to create an “anti-bias classroom.”
 


Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Hannah McKnight, 20, is a "new voter." She's technically a junior at Duke University, but she took the semester off and started spending the past several weeks at the downtown Durham bus terminal. That's where she helped start Durham Drives.

A group of people, all in black shirts, standing in what seems like a city. There is one person in the front of the crowd holding a microphone, the person appears to be a Black woman. They are wearing a shirt that reads 'Black Lives Matter Los Angeles'
Creative Commons

Hundreds of thousands of women from across the country donning pink hats flooded onto the nation’s capitol in 2017 for the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. The Women’s March in Washington D.C. — along with sister marches held in all 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries — had some pundits claiming the 2016 election of Donald Trump had awakened the women-identifying electorate. 

Around the world, skin-lightening agents are a billion-dollar industry. Colorism and discrimination are major factors.
Flickr/CC

In the U.S. as well as around the world, skin color has long been associated with social perceptions of beauty, intellect and class. Studies have shown that many perceive lighter skin as indicative of higher intelligence. Research also suggests that those with darker skin experience higher instances of criminalization

There's a fall tradition that plays a significant role in the lives of historically Black college and university graduates across the nation: homecoming. These events are centered around a football game, sure, but the matchup on the field is no match for the fellowship that takes place as alumni, family and friends gather on campus for a unique kind of annual reunion.

Of course, COVID-19 has changed all that this year. And so, there's an effort to celebrate HBCU homecoming season virtually, by making a monetary donation to these schools right now. Leoneda talks to Shauntae White, a professor at North Carolina Central University who started the online fundraising push, and to Gregory Clark, president of the Florida A&M University Alumni Association, about that economic hit HBCU campuses and the cities they're in will take in the absence of homecomings.

Then, Leoneda makes a trip to the North Carolina State Fair, which is closed for attractions but open to customers seeking a fried food fix. 


Voting can be a complicated process for many.  The pandemic is exposing that, with many rules  only just now being widely discovered for the first time.  For instance, North Carolina’s witness requirement on absentee ballots. 

For new American citizens, the process can be especially hard to navigate. 

Contributed by Hassan Pitts

Many people know the role that Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr. played in the fight for civil rights. But what about Willena Cannon, a student at North Carolina A&T University who was arrested after protesting to integrate Greensboro’s businesses? Or Reverend Steve Allen, who founded one of the first African American law firms in Greensboro in 1979? 

Virtual learning has changed almost everything about the classroom experience in North Carolina, but implicit racial biases remain as a hindrance to students' education. Microaggressions and discriminatory behavior from teachers and other classmates can have detrimental effects on students of color, especially young children in preschool.

Host Leoneda Inge talks with Iheoma Iruka, professor of public policy and director of the Early Childhood Health and Racial Equity program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, about what's needed to create an “anti-bias classroom.”

Leoneda also discusses the disproportionate number of rejected mail-in ballots from Black voters in North Carolina, and hears from Pro Publica data reporter Sophie Chou about a recent analysis into mail-in ballots in the 2018 midterm election.


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to rename Vance High School in honor of Charlotte civil rights lawyer Julius Chambers.

In 1997, the CMS board agreed to name the high school in the new Governors Village campus for Zebulon Vance, a Confederate officer and slaveholder who led the state in the 1860s and '70s.

Paint And Poems: Combating Racial Injustice Through Art

Oct 12, 2020
Courtesy Assata Goff

WUNC Youth Reporter Manzili Kokayi highlights how local artists and activists are producing art during lockdown to cope with and amplify the lives taken by police brutality. The following is a transcript of her report:
 


The Greensboro City Council passed a resolution this week that officially apologizes for the police’s role in a tragedy often referred to as the “Greensboro Massacre.” On November 3, 1979, members of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party shot and killed five activists and injured many others during an anti-Klan demonstration. Now, 41 years later, the city is trying to make amends with an apology and an annual scholarship dedicated to the victims. 

Host Leoneda Inge talks with Reverend Nelson Johnson, co-executive director of the Beloved Community Center and a survivor of the Greensboro Massacre, about the city’s apology and what it means for social justice in Greensboro.

Leoneda also reflects on the merits of apologies from elected officials, and highlights the words of the late historian John Hope Franklin in 2005 after Congress apologized for not passing anti-lynching laws in 1950. 


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