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.

 

Actor Lamorne Morris standing in front of a public billboard with fliers in his hand, looking confused.
Photo by: Joe Lederer/Hulu

In the pilot episode of cartoonist Keith Knight’s new Hulu show "Woke," the main character Keef is putting up posters in a park when police officers show up, draw guns and slam him to the ground. The cops think he is a suspect in a string of muggings because he "fit the description": a six-foot-tall Black male. The nerdy character, played by Lamorne Morris, is understandably shaken after the incident. 

Author Carole Boston Weatherford reads to students
Carole Boston Weatherford

Carole Boston Weatherford wrote her first poem in first grade. She dictated it to her mother on the way home from elementary school in Baltimore. 

The front of the North Carolina Legislature building with an American flag and a North Carolina flag out front with two trees on either side
Jayron32

The North Carolina legislature passed the Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 Thursday, which allocates the nearly $1 billion left of federal CARES Act money. 

A poster mapping the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
AtlanticCoastPipeline.com

North Carolina has the largest state-recognized Native American population east of the Mississippi River. But until recently, state-recognized Native nations have had little input on issues of environmental governance. 

A laundry basket sits on a coffee table.
Sean Freese/Creative Commons

For months, families have been quarantining together during the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has forced parents and partners to rethink everything, from division of household chores and childcare duties to work-from-home needs and whether or not a job that cannot be performed remotely is even worth keeping, if childcare is unavailable or unaffordable. 

The book jacket for "Adverse Effects"
NYU Press

 

Before a pharmaceutical treatment can hit the pharmacy shelves, manufacturers must prove the product’s safety through a series of trials. Phase I trials are on healthy participants to find the best dosage with the fewest side effects and to prove the treatment is not unsafe.

RISMedia

Owning your first home is a rite of passage — a marker of true adulthood. For those privileged enough to buy a house, it is often the first step in building wealth. But millennials are not achieving that milestone at the same rate that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers did at their age. 

Frank Stasio
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Frank Stasio, host of The State of Things, is retiring on January 1, 2021. Frank has hosted the live, daily talk show since June 2006, and over the last 14 years, has covered a variety of important stories about North Carolina.

"I’m proud of what we built on The State Of Things," Stasio wrote in a letter to WUNC staff. "We made some powerfully good radio and, by most accounts, had a profound effect on our community. I’m grateful to all of you and our amazing listeners for helping to make this happen."

Beer cans, beer bottle and red solo cups on a table
Melissa O'Donohue / Flickr / CC

“Colleges may want to blame student partying for not allowing them to reopen successfully, but they have forfeited the moral authority to do so,” writes former Tar Heel Chancellor Holden Thorp in “The Chronicle of Higher Education.” Alternately decrying and advertising the party scene during his time in university leadership, Thorp confesses that fraternities and sororities play a key role in school finances. 

the home screen of a video game, set at a concert venue parking lot
Super Body Games RPG

Eiffel 65 is at the Cat’s Cradle playing their 1998 hit single “Blue” on repeat. Weeks pass. Only you can bring light to the dark musical landscape. Even for those who are not gamers or daily lurkers in downtown Carrboro, Super Body Games RPG is a dangerously fun way to remember the satisfaction of earning music. 

Headshot of Sherrill Roland, an African-American man wearing a green ball cap and black T-shirt
Sherrill Roland

Visual artist Sherrill Roland spent 10 months in prison for a crime he did not commit. What kept him going was a quest to fulfill his dream of going to art school.

Grant Baldwin / Flickr / CC

Last night marked the close of the most unusual political conventions in American history. Both the Republican and Democratic national conventions looked radically different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. For the Democrats, roll call was a virtual parade of state and territory landmarks, including Rhode Island’s trademark calamari. 

Flickr/CC

Nearly one of five students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are the first in their families to attend college. Many first-generation students come from socioeconomically-disadvantaged families and have access to fewer resources and support than their peers. These students are also less likely to graduate — they drop out of college after three years at more than twice the rate of their peers whose parents got a degree. 

Howard Burchette sitting in front of a microphone with a WNCU flag on it
Courtesy of Howard Burchette

Every Saturday evening for more than 15 years, Howard Burchette has hit the airwaves in Durham with a playlist of iconic tunes and interviews with masters of funk. On “The Funk Show” on WNCU, Burchette interweaves dance-worthy songs with stories from greats like Bobby Byrd, Chuck Brown and Bettye Lavette. 

Furniture sitting on a sidewalk curb
CC/Flickr

As of this Monday, Aug. 24, tenants in federally-subsidized housing are facing eviction, homelessness and increased vulnerability to COVID-19. More than just Section 8 public housing, the CARES Act moratorium on evictions that expired July 24 applied to many private rental companies and private landlords with federally-backed mortgage loans. 

Woman sitting at a kitchen table
Creative Commons

For many who suffer from eating disorders, COVID-19 has thrown a curveball into their usual management and coping methods. Social isolation has meant less accountability and a heightened ability to hide disordered eating. 

A woman wearing earrings and a white dress looks wearily at the camera. Behind her, a mirror shows her profile.
Library of Congress

Some of the most popular films in our nation’s cinematic history are about the life, culture and customs of the American South. “Gone With the Wind” — the story of Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara and her love life set against the backdrop of the Civil War and Reconstruction — remains one of the highest-grossing films to date. And the first film to ever be screened in the White House was the 1915 silent film “Birth of a Nation,” a film set in Civil War and Reconstruction-era South Carolina that glorifies the Ku Klux Klan. 

Students sitting on the North Carolina State campus wearing masks and socially distanced.
N.C. State University

Within one month of reopening campuses, positive COVID-19 cases are cropping up throughout the UNC System. Three of the system’s 17 schools have already pivoted to remote instruction: UNC Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and North Carolina State University have all ended in-person instruction, encouraging students to move off campus as soon as possible.

The cover of 'F*ckface' featuring a frog on a blue background with the title in bright red writing.
Henry Holt & Co

Forest fires, a rotting bear carcass, polluted water and industrial farming are both the settings and the main characters in "F*ckface: And Other Stories" (Henry Holt & Co/2020). Leah Hampton’s new collection is a kaleidoscope picture of the many ways land is expressed through human stories.

Morgan in a yellow dress lying calmly on her side on a wooden bench.
Courtesy of Nikki Morgan

Like SZA’s groundbreaking R&B album "Ctrl" (2017), Nikki Morgan’s "30 Something" puts to bed the gendered expectations of adulthood. On her first full-length album, the Wilkes County artist weaves her lilting music together with intimate vignettes of women reflecting on their age.

Clapsaddle's headshot
Courtesy of Annette Clapsaddle

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle spent years writing her first novel, and it garnered critical acclaim: she won an award and became a finalist for another. Yet she could not find an agent to publish it. So, she started again, this time with the support of the Great Smokies Writing Program. 

State officials have been preparing for a major spike in mail-in ballots since the initial COVID-19 lockdown in March. North Carolina will be the first state in the country to start sending out mail-in ballots this year on Sept. 4, and election officials are prepared to pre-process votes received by mail. 

Courtesy of Joe Troop

Singer-songwriter Joe Troop has been putting out a lot of music during the coronavirus pandemic — including a song he released on YouTube in late April called “A Plea to the US Government to Fully Fund the Postal Service." The song went viral and garnered more than 400,000 signatures to take action to save the post office. 

StarsApart/Flickr/CC

The North Carolina Supreme Court banned the state from reinstating the death sentence on a Black man named Marcus Robinson last Friday. Robinson was removed from death row in 2012  and sentenced to life without parole after a North Carolina judge found that his trial was influenced by racial discrimination in the jury. At Robinson’s original trial, the prosecution removed half of qualified Black jurors from serving — but only 15% of white jurors. 

A Black man looks directly at the camera with tired eyes. He's wearing violet lipstick and is wearing his bleached hair in dreadlocks. Atop his head is a glittering fabric crown.
Courtesy of D'Arcee Charington

How to disclose on Tinder … maybe a full-body profile picture? Is a wheelchair emoji in the bio too cliche? Maybe just mention it after matching? For people with physical disabilities, dating can be a barrage of stigma and questions about what their bodies can and cannot do. And no, an arranged date with another physically disabled person — usually with no regard for compatibility —  is not ideal either. 

A painting of Yusuf Hawkins, surrounded by protest signs, pink flowers and and the Black Liberation flag.
HBO

Sen. Kamala Harris is breaking barriers as the first Black woman and Asian American person to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket. The former California attorney general is already facing right-wing attacks on her “eligibility” to run and left-wing criticism of her reputation as a prosecutor. 

A photo of a tunnel at the Coker Arboretum in Chapel Hill.
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia Commons

A week after students returned for a combination of in-person and online classes, leadership at UNC-Chapel Hill moved to fully online learning in response to a surge of COVID-19 on campus. The positive testing rate among students rose from 2.8% in the week of Aug. 3 to Aug. 9 to 13.6% in the week of Aug. 10 to Aug. 16. 130 positive cases were reported during that period.

A graphic showing seven different photographs of faces.
Alex Aguilar/Children's Theater of Charlotte

When Ingrid Chen McCarthy tried to talk with her 5-year-old daughter about what happened to George Floyd, she quickly found herself in an awkward and difficult conversation. She inundates her children with messages about treating others with kindness. Simply saying that a Black man was killed by a police officer because of his skin color did not cut it for her daughter. So, how do you explain something like the systematic dehumanization of Black people to kids?

North Carolina Public Schools

In the 1990s, Tabari Wallace aspired to a career in the NFL. But during high school, he became a teen father and also found himself overlooked for college recruitment.  With his long-held dream and the future of his young family at stake, Wallace paid a visit to East Carolina University, where he introduced himself to the head football coach and gave him his athletic reel. 

A yellow warning triangle sign showing a person slipping on the ground.
Flickr / Creative Commons

North Carolina’s 1992 Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) is intended to protect workers from retaliation when they file complaints related to on-the-job injury and other health and safety concerns. It should keep employers from firing workers who complain.

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