The State of Things

 

The issues, personalities and places of North Carolina right to you, every day in your podcast feed. Hosted by Frank Stasio and Anita Rao. Listen and subscribe on Google PlayApple Podcasts or wherever you get your favorite shows. Tweet us @state_of_things and see more show content on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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.

A white man, Donald Trump, standing in front of a wooden podium. The podium has a blue sign with a red border with the words 'Trump Pence' in bold, white text. Trump is wearing a dark colored suit and a red tie with a white shirt
Gage Skidmore

The election is over, but many big questions remain for the political future of our nation. Which political party will control the U.S. Senate? Will the Democratic Party move more to the left or more to the center under a Biden administration?

A brown skinned woman with two hands over her face, the hand on the right side is white and the hand on the left side is black. The same woman is also shown at the bottom right corner of the picture with her head and hands up, her mouth is also open .
Seeco

Activists and artists continue fighting to awaken U.S. arts institutions to the foundational Blackness of Rock, EDM and Punk. The whitewashing of music and dance is a supremacist project throughout the Americas. Choreographers and instructors oftentimes ignore the West African traditions undergirding salsa, merengue, tango, and bachata.

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.

Cannabis containers and advocacy materials reading 'No one should be in jail for weed.'
We Go High NC

Hemp — including smokable hemp — is legal in North Carolina. But that is only the case if the hemp does not contain more than trace amounts of THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. Hemp and marijuana can be similar in appearance. Both contain some level of THC, though hemp’s concentration is much lower.

Furniture out on the sidewalk in front of a red brick building
70023venus2009 / Flickr / CC

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium protects North Carolina tenants from evictions until the end of the year. Any tenant can provide their landlord with a declaration form that attests they are unable to pay their rent and at risk of homelessness.

A white man looking downwards into the camera. The white man has a white beard and round, black glasses on. He has a stern look on his face
Frank Stasio

What movie is the top of the list for a Buffalo-born, Durham-residing, grandchild-adoring talk show host? For host Frank Stasio’s grand “Movies on the Radio” finale, listeners have submitted their guesses. Is Frank a fan of car chases and cheap beer? Then it might be “Smokey and the Bandit.”

A graphic of an Asian woman, colored red with a white mask, holding a baby colored yellow, against a blue background.
Pixabay

In September, 865,000 women left the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Eighty percent of the people who stopped working or looking for work that month were women. It’s no coincidence that this large drop out happened around the same time that the fall semester began: data confirms that mothers disproportionately shoulder the burden of childcare, supervising virtual learning and domestic work. 

A group of five people standing together: one Black woman, three Black men and one white man.
Phil Cohen

He found his calling in a liberal college town, but no university degrees were needed for the fights Phil Cohen would go on to pick with union busters. 

An older Black woman standing in chef's gear: a black apron with a black buttoned shirt underneath and a black cap. The woman is looking off to the right and is wearing glasses
Courtesy of Sprouthouse Agency

When Hanan Shabazz was a child in her grandmother’s Asheville home, she remembers their house as the one where those in need of a good meal would come to be freely fed. The experience was formative for her as she grew up and opened Shabazz Restaurant in the early 1970s. The restaurant was part of Asheville's thriving Black business scene in the historic neighborhood known as The Block until urban renewal forced its closure. 

An animated picture showing a red and blue wolves circling a white lamb with DEMOCRACY in large letters above
john8322.blogspot.com

If there is one thing a majority of Americans can agree on, it is that we do not have much trust in our federal government. Congress currently boasts an 19% approval rating and presidential approval has dropped steadily for decades, according to Gallup. Despite these trends, citizens continue rallying around elections with the dream that this time will be different. But did you ever vote for the electoral system itself?

Friedman and Sow leaned against eachother and laughing outside.
Milan Zrnic

Friendships carry us through the high and lows of life. From celebrating our successes to helping salve the sting of rejection, the people we choose to surround ourselves with offer an unparalleled kind of support. But there is not much structural guidance on how to nurture our platonic, intimate relationships. 

A diptych with author Tracy Deonn on the left and the cover of her novel on the right. Tracy is a Black woman wearing a maroon sweater and a silver necklace. The novel has the words "Legendborn" in front of a Black girl with blue and red fire on her arms.
Simon & Schuster

Bree Matthews is a 16-year-old girl with a desire to separate herself from her old life after her mother’s passing. While attending a residential program for bright high schoolers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bree is thrown into the world of magic. 

Governor Cooper looks off-camera
NC Dept. of Public Safety

Down-ballot Democrats struggled in North Carolina’s 2020 elections. While Gov. Roy Cooper garnered a hefty lead over his challenger, Republicans furthered their control over the council of state and general assembly. While there is expected friction between Cooper and the GOP legislature over the usual issues like Medicaid expansion and public school funding, the party lines are drawn differently in the council of state.

President Trump, a white man with light orange and white hair, standing in front of a podium with a microphone. He is wearing a white shirt with a red tie and a dark suit jacket. His mouth is open
Michael Vadon

Three major broadcast news networks cut away from President Donald Trump’s press conference last week because of his on-air lies about election fraud. CBS, ABC and NBC cut away from his live stream to fact check the claims. Fox and CNN carried the entire press conference but reported afterward that the president had no evidence to back up his accusations about the election.

Eight young people pose making an X with their arms, which is the North Carolina Central University Eagles hand sign.
Peyton Sickles for WUNC

Youth voters came out in record numbers in North Carolina and across the nation. By the end of early voting, North Carolinians aged 18-29 had already reached 93% of their total 2016 turn out, according to data from NextGen America. More data about the impact of youth voters in the 2020 elections is still forthcoming, but preliminary analysis by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University suggests the youth vote helped power Biden into the White House in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The famous well at UNC-Chapel Hill, with a larger building in the background.
Courtesy of UNC-Chapel Hill

Do UNC-Chapel Hill’s admissions policies disproportionately favor underrepresented minorities? That question is at the center of a federal court case on trial in Winston-Salem.

Sandra Lawson

In 2018, Sandra Lawson became the first openly gay, Black female rabbi in the world. But her path to rabbinical school was far from traditional. Lawson grew up in a Christian household with parents who didn’t get along. When she got to college, she lacked focus and dropped out.

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

The United States hit a new record this week: more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day. The virus is surging around the country — including in North Carolina. The state broke its own record last week with 2,886 new infections in one day on Thursday, Oct. 29. 

A Black woman smiling, she is wearing a red top with white colored leaves printed in random fashion. She has golden earrings, they are a hoop shape with black tassles at the end. She also has a red and black head scarf on her head, it is tied into a knot
Shanequa Gay

When a Kentucky grand jury failed to indict police officers responsible for killing 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, multidisciplinary artist Shanequa Gay turned to her work in a search for justice. Her exhibit “holding space for nobility: a memorial for Breonna Taylor” opened last week at the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill. 

A Black woman standing with her hand touching her ear while looking off to the left. She is wea
Courtesy of DL Zene

DL Zene was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. As a young kid, Zene learned to love the overflowing harmonies of her aunts and mother singing atop her grandmother’s baritone voice. Zene began singing with the local gospel group Mary and Martha at age 13 and took lessons at the renowned jazz program at Elizabeth City State University, a historically black college. 

A close up photo of State of Things host Frank Stasio. He wears glasses, and half of his face is in shadow behind a wooden cutout.
Frank Stasio

Frank Stasio will join film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes one last time this November for his Movies on the Radio finale.

So we’re having a contest...can you guess Frank’s favorite film? It might be "Buffalo '66." Or perhaps it’s "Radio Flyer." 

We’ll reveal the answer later this month. Send your best guess to sot@wunc.org, or leave us a voicemail at 919-980-5419.

NCSBE

Over 5 million North Carolinians cast ballots in this year’s election, many of them opting for mail-in and early onsite voting. While there is still a lot we do not know about voter demographics, we do know that the pandemic did not deter voter engagement. 

Courtesy of KHX05

Does your sick leave policy include time off to care for roommates, best friends or chosen siblings? Over 60% of people under the age of 25 live in non-family households, and 28% of all adults live alone in the U.S. It is a distinct turn from historical numbers and the persistent, politicized ideal of the two-parent nuclear family. Workplaces and governments are beginning to broaden the definition of family to include non-biological relationships in their sick-leave protocol.

A group of people in yellow shirts, standing on both sides of a sidewalk. There is one person looking directly at the camera, appears to be a white man, smiling and holding a travel cup
Peyton Sickles/WUNC

Republicans outperformed polls in North Carolina and much of the nation in last night’s general election. But many results are still unclear and likely will be for days. The presidential and U.S. Senate races in North Carolina are still too close to call, and there are also 117,000 outstanding mail-in ballots that could impact the state’s results. 

A Pittsboro polling place with scattered individuals and a thicket of political signage.
Peyton Sickles / for WUNC

Election Day has arrived. North Carolinians must visit the polls today or turn in their absentee ballots to get their votes cast in the 2020 election. How will the day go for those voting in person? 

A student and teacher, both wearing masks, sit in front of a laptop in a classroom
Piney Creek School / Facebook

Report cards have been distributed for the first time in the 2020-21 school year, and in many school districts across the state, students have yet to set foot inside a traditional classroom. 

A group of people kneeling in front of a building with columns
Rusty Jacobs/WUNC

Law enforcement officers pepper sprayed peaceful protesters in Alamance County this weekend on the last day of early voting. The group of about 150 people were participating in a “Legacy March to the Polls” in downtown Graham that included a stop at the controversial Confederate monument there and a plan to march two blocks to an early voting site. 

A Black man in a blue USA track running outfit with USA and his last name 'Gillette' on the front. The man is running and the picture was captured while he was in mid air.
Credit: Joe Kusumoto

While he sprints toward the sand pit, his coach shouts and claps to offer direction. 16 steps. That is all it takes before Lex Gillette flies. After losing his sight at age 8, Gillette found others’ expectations burdensome. From the classroom to the playground, he sought out adults who understood his extraordinary skills. 

A red rectangular sign with a white border and white stars at the top reading 'Polling Place' in white text. There is a large white arrow between the words polling and place, pointing to the right. The sign in some grass near a street.
Sharon M Leon/Flickr/CC

More than a third of registered voters in the U.S. have already cast their ballots. North Carolina saw visits from the president and vice president this week as early voting winds down and Election Day approaches. 

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