Topic: Culture

Current Event May 17, 2019

Debate: Is encouraging people to speak only English unAmerican?

Culture Ethics Language

Opinions vary about the importance of speaking English in the U.S. Some people believe that it is unAmerican to speak languages other than English, while others believe that speaking multiple languages reflects the essence of what it means to be American. Listen to hear the opinion of one bilingual woman and her response to those with different perspectives. Then debate: Is encouraging people to speak only English unAmerican?

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Current Event May 16, 2019

Girls in Baseball

Culture Gender Sports

Baseball is arguably the oldest professional sport in the U.S. Though the sport has been around for a while, women have never played baseball in the major leagues. Advocates for girls in baseball say there is no inherent reason why women should not play baseball, but rather that societal norms are behind their absence at the highest level of the game. Listen to this story to learn about Jackie Mitchell, the woman who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and to hear about the prospects for girls in baseball.

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Current Event May 15, 2019

4th Grader Proposes Free Park Entry

Politics Education Culture Law Democracy Branches of Government

A fourth-grader in Texas had an idea to help kids put down their digital devices and have some fun outdoors. She partnered with a state representative to write a bill that would make state parks free to fifth-graders and their families. Listen to find out more about the case the student made to state legislators and next steps in making her idea a reality.

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Current Event May 9, 2019

A Teenage Executive Producer

Race Culture Entertainment

Marsai Martin is Hollywood’s youngest executive producer. The 14-year-old pitched the idea for Little, a new comedy about a powerful executive who wakes up one morning in a child’s body, and she stars in the film as well. The teen actor got her acting breakthrough at age 10 on the hit sitcom Black-ish. She is not classically trained, but her colleagues say she is wise beyond her years. Listen to hear more about how Little came to be and how Marsai Martin became its executive producer.

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Current Event May 7, 2019

Terrorism Expert Reflects on Sri Lanka Bombings

Culture Violence War

On Easter Sunday, bombings at multiple churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed hundreds of people. While the Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for these coordinated terrorist attacks, it is still unclear what role they may have played. Listen to this interview with a terrorism expert to learn more about the attacks and the current state of international terrorist organizations worldwide.

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Current Event May 6, 2019

Gangs in America

Culture Law Violence

The murder of rap artist and community activist Nipsey Hussle has brought renewed attention to the current state of gangs in the U.S. While gang membership totals have stayed relatively constant, gang members are getting younger, and they are still involved in serious crimes and violence. Listen to hear from a former gang member and a reporter about how and why gangs currently operate in the U.S.

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Current Event May 3, 2019

Debate: Should life sentences be abolished?

Culture Reform Government

A recent criminal justice reform bill that recently passed Congress has inspired hope in many people in the U.S. who are in prison. The bill ends automatic life sentences under the three-strikes penalty system, which led to significant growth in the prison population. Some are proposing that life sentences should be abolished altogether, particularly for juvenile defendants. Their arguments against life sentences include high costs, racial disparities in sentencing, and doubt about their effectiveness in deterring crime. Listen to hear more about life sentences in the U.S. and debate: Should life sentences be abolished?

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Current Event May 2, 2019

Data Bias Excludes Women

Technology Culture Health Gender

A new book makes the case that the data pool informing medicine, industrial design, digital technology, and a wide variety of other sectors reflects a clear, if unconscious bias towards men. The book provides examples of how this data bias plays out in women’s health and safety and in other aspects of life. Listen to this interview with the author to hear about the impact of this implicit cultural bias and her recommendations for addressing it.

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Current Event April 30, 2019

Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral

Culture Architecture

The Notre Dame Cathedral has stood as one of the most celebrated landmarks in Paris for more than 800 years. While much of the world famous monument survived a recent fire, portions of it, including the spire, were engulfed in flames for hours, while many people watched in helpless horror. Listen to hear from a Parisian journalist about how much Notre Dame means to Paris and how people are coming together to restore the beloved cathedral.

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Current Event April 25, 2019

Connecting through Poetry

Politics Culture Poetry

U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith has a new podcast called “The Slowdown,” in which she reads and reflects on a poem by a different poet each weekday. In the podcast, she shares personal thoughts and experiences related to themes that the poems address. Listen to this interview with Smith to learn how she thinks poetry can help people listen to and connect with each other, even across cultural and political divides.

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Current Event April 19, 2019

Debate: Can public memorials include religious imagery?

Civics/Government Culture Religion

The United States Supreme Court recently faced a case that tested the idea of “separation of church and state” that is a core tenet of American democracy. The case considered whether a giant memorial cross on public land might be unconstitutional. The justices heard a variety of arguments for and against the use of religious imagery in a public memorial. Listen to hear some of those arguments and debate: Can public memorials include religious imagery?

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Current Event April 15, 2019

Anti-Muslim Violence Effects

Culture Religion Psychology Violence

Mental health professionals worry that the trauma of the recent terrorist attacks at New Zealand mosques is not healthy for young Muslims who face intolerance on a daily basis. Muslim teens face racism and prejudice in their everyday lives, especially growing up in the era of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Listen to this story to learn about students’ experiences growing up Muslim in the U.S. today and what people are doing to support healthy identity development.

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Current Event April 12, 2019

Debate: Should women's soccer players get equal pay?

Culture Gender Sports Equality

The U.S. women’s national soccer team, which is the number one ranked team in the world, has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation because the players on the women’s team are paid less than their counterparts on the U.S. men’s national team. Opponents argue that comparing the two national teams is not really possible because of differences between men’s and women’s soccer internationally. Listen to this story to hear more about the details of the case and Debate: Should U.S. national soccer team players all get equal pay?

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Current Event April 11, 2019

Bonnie & Clyde Poetry

Culture Law Poetry U.S. History

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were notorious gangsters during the Great Depression. The Barrow gang robbed banks and stores, led prison breaks, engaged in gunfights, and were constantly on the run from the law until they died in a shootout in their 20s. Surprisingly, Bonnie and Clyde also wrote poetry, and their original poems were recently put up for auction, along with some photographs. Listen to hear excerpts of their poetry and reflections on what it reveals about the legendary criminals.

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Current Event April 9, 2019

The Last Baseball Glove Factory in America

Culture Sports KERA

In a small town in Texas, near cattle pastures and crop fields, is the Nokona baseball glove factory. The family-owned business is now the only baseball glove manufacturer left in the U.S. While Nokona gloves are not as well known as some other major brands, Nokona does have a respected and established position in the youth baseball market. Listen to hear more about the last baseball glove factory in the United States of America.

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Current Event April 4, 2019

Remembering Dr. Seuss and How He Grew

Culture World War II Children's Literature Visual Art

Dr. Seuss is well known for his popular children’s books full of fanciful rhymes and whimsical illustrations. His earlier cartoons, however, include many racist and anti-Semitic images, which the artist later regretted. Listen to this commentary by another children’s book author and illustrator who reflects on the importance of explaining Dr. Seuss’s evolution as an artist and a person in an exhibit of his work at the Dr. Seuss Museum.

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Current Event April 2, 2019

Football Protesters Settle with NFL

Race Culture Sports Social Justice

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, the first two NFL players to kneel on the field during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, have reached a settlement with the NFL. Kaepernick and Reid alleged that NFL teams were working together to keep them out of the league and filed grievances with the NFL. Listen to hear from a sports writer about what the players may have won in the settlement and what impact their actions have had.

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