Midday | WYPR

Midday

Monday-Friday from noon-1:00, Tom Hall and his guests are talking about what’s on your mind, and what matters most to Marylanders:  the latest news, local and national politics, education and the environment, popular culture and the arts, sports and science, race and religion, movies and medicine.  We welcome your questions and comments. E-mail us at midday@wypr.org, tweet us: @MiddayWYPR, or call us at 410-662-8780.
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Meet the Midday team

Midday programs with Sheilah Kast as host ended on September 16, 2016

Archive prior to October 5, 2015

Photo Courtesy Flickr

It’s the Midday Newswrap: The Labor Department released the monthly job numbers this morning, and, as has been the case for the last seven or eight years, the numbers continue to be good.  The unemployment rate has stayed steady at 3.9%.  The economy added 201 thousand jobs in August, and wages grew by .4 percent , up nearly three percent for the year.  Analysts have observed that wages are growing at a faster rate than inflation for the first time in a long time.

In a controversial op-ed in the NY Times submitted by a person identified by the Times only as a "senior administration official,"  the author claims that she or he is one of many people working for President Donald Trump who have been alarmed by the "amorality" of his decision-making, and who are now working "to frustrate parts of his agenda, and his worst inclinations.”  Just what parts, just how many people, and who is making this claim, are not yet known. 

Also this week: the NFL opened its season Thursday night in a broadcast that featured a new Nike commercial narrated by Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who ignited controversy by kneeling during a game-opening national anthem to protest racial injustice in America.  We’ll talk about Nike’s decision to place Kaepernick front and center in its 30th anniversary ad campaign.

Tom is joined in studio by Michael Fletcher, a senior writer with ESPN’s The Undefeated, the online platform that explores the intersection of race, culture and sports; and Ian Samuel, an associate professor of law at Indiana University, and the co-host of a podcast about the Supreme Court, called First Mondays.

Stephen Houseworth Photography

The fourth annual Madonnari Festival kicked off this weekend in Little Italy.  The festival is the brainchild of Cyd Wolf, who runs Germano’s Piattini, a great cabaret venue here in Baltimore.  Madonnari is art that literally takes it to the streets.  60 artists from all over the world are hard at work as we speak creating Chaulk art on the streets of Little Italy and in front of the American Visionary Art Museum.  You can see their work come to life all weekend. 

The festival also includes 100 performing artists, and we hear now from three musicians from Italy's Liguria region: Carlo Aonzo is an Italian mandolin player, who is joined here in Studio A by Lorenzo Piccone on guitar and Luciano Puppo on double bass.  Together they are the Carlo Aonzo Trio.

Photo courtesy Cinereach Films

It's another edition of Midday at the Movies, our monthly look at trends in the film industry, and some of the new movies lighting up local screens. We're joined again by our regular movie-mavens: the Maryland Film Festival's founding director, Jed Dietz, is with Tom in the studio.  And Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday joins them on the line from Toronto, Canada, where she is reporting on the 2018 Toronto Film Festival.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Early in September each year, Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck skips her usual weekly review to look ahead at the upcoming theater season, and spotlight some of the interesting productions coming to the region's stages.

Judy begins her 2018-19 Season Preview by noting the exciting news from Baltimore Center Stage, which last month announced its new artistic director, Stephanie Ybarra, currently Director of Special Artistic Projects at The Public Theater in New York City.   She assumes her new role at Center Stage in October.  

Of course, the big theater event coming up in Baltimore will be The Hippodrome's production of Hamilton, toward the end of the season next June.  The historic theater will also be staging a revival in April of the Tony Award-winning musical Come From Away, based on the true story of how the people of Gander, Newfoundland, welcomed a crush of airline passengers stranded there by the 9/11 attacks.  Among the many other Tony laureates getting revivals in Baltimore this season is the uplifting coming-out musical, Fun Home, now set for a January-February run at Center Stage.   

Spires photo by Celia Bell; Collier photo courtesy Michael

Today, it’s Midday on Poetry:  Tom and his guests explore a variety of poetic styles that all resonate with universal themes. 

Tom is joined first by two local poets who enjoy international acclaim.

Michael Collier has written numerous books of poetry over the past forty years, including The Ledge -- a finalist for the 2000 National Book Critics Circle Award.  He served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 2001-2004, and he stepped down last year after more than two decades as director of the prestigious Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference @Middlebury. He leads the creative writing program at the University of Maryland.  His latest evocative collection, published by the University of Chicago Press, is called My Bishop and Other Poems.

And Elizabeth Spires is the author of seven collections of poetry and six critically acclaimed children’s books.  She is a Professor of English at Goucher College, where she holds the Chair for Distinguished Achievement.  Spires' new book is a searing collection of probing and poignant work called A Memory of the Future

On this installment of Midday Culture Connections: we  look at one of the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade that might not immediately come to mind:  modern business management.  A new book looks at how the pecuniary practices of slave owners have endured and how those practices continue to inform capitalism.    

Caitlin C. Rosenthal, an Assistant Professor of History at UC Berkeley in California, details the correlation between modern finance and chattel slavery in her new book Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management.  She joins us on the line from her office in Berkeley. 

Plus, a conversation about the cities and industries profiting from the increase in what’s become the big business of detaining immigrants and asylum seekers.  

 Dr. Sheri Parks is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Maryland Institute College of Art.  She’s the author of Fierce Angels: Living with a Legacy from the Sacred Dark Feminine to the Strong Black Woman, and she joins us on the first Tuesday of the month for Midday Culture Connections.   She is also the host of Beyond the Ballot here on WYPR, which airs twice a month on Thursday afternoons during All Things Considered.

Photo by Robert Kniesche/Baltimore Sun

(This program originally aired October 10, 2017.)

Today, we present an archive edition of Midday for the Labor Day holiday: MiddayWYPR and the Baltimore Museum of Industry team up for a special program -- presented as part of BMI's Issues in Industry series -- examining Baltimore's calamitous de-industrialization, the challenge of rebuilding the city's workforce, and the future of work in Baltimore's increasingly dynamic industrial landscape.  Broadcast in front of a live audience at BMI's Communications Gallery, the hour-long discussion features guest panelists Anita Kassof, BMI’s executive director; Dr. Nicole King, associate professor and chair of the Department of American Studies at UMBC;  Phillip J. Pack, a retired Sparrows Point steelworker and union trainer; Lauren Purviance, with Jane Addams Resource Corp., a Baltimore job training firm; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, a labor economist, author, media commentator and CEO of Economic Education, LLC; and Joe Jones, Director, Center for Urban Families, a Baltimore nonprofit.

The panel also addresses audience questions and comments emailed and tweeted during the show.

Associated Press photo

(This program originally aired August 7th, 2018)

Today, a conversation about what has come to be known as the "Black Tax."  It is imposed on people of color, in different ways and in different places, every day. 

Reports of hate crimes are on the rise, and in 2017, once again, African Americans were targeted more than any other group.

And in the last few months, social media have been rife with instances of people of color being harassed in public spaces by white people: A 7th grader mowing a lawn; a group of Black women playing golf; a former White House staffer moving into his apartment in Manhattan; a graduate student at Yale taking a nap. 

What are the psychological, social and political implications of this disturbing uptick in racial profiling? Tom considers the question with two astute observers.  

(This program originally aired on July 11, 2018.)

Today, a conversation about sports -- kinda, sorta.  Not the World Cup.  Certainly not the Orioles, God help us.  Not the Ravens, who start training camp a week from Thursday, but instead, we’re going to talk about a simple question, that when applied to certain moments and historical realities in sports can lead to some delicious fantasizing.  That question is “What if?” 

What if Billie Jean King had LOST to Bobby Riggs?  What if Richard Nixon had been Good at Football?  What if the Olympics had never dropped Tug of War?  What if Muhammad Ali had GOTTEN his draft deferment?

 

Mike Pesca has assembled a group of essayists to pose those and other questions in a great and engaging and funny and sometimes profound book called Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History. 

Pesca is the host of The Gista podcast on Slate.com, and a former sports reporter at NPR.  He joins Tom from Slate's studio in New York.

Copyright Epic Photography Jamie Schoenberger

(This program originally aired on October 24, 2017.)

Tom’s guest today is Alice McDermott, the New York Times best-selling author of eight novels. Three of them, After This, At Weddings and Wakes and That Night, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Another novel, Charming Billy, won the National Book Award in 1998.

Her eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, published in 2017 and available in paperback in September 2018, is a profound and moving contemplation on the big issues: love, family, faith, religion, and bringing meaning to one’s life. The story is told with tenderness and compassion, by an artist at the height of her creative and literary powers.

Alice McDermott is the Richard A. Maksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. 

The author will read from her work at an event at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, on November 29, 2018 at 6pm.

(This program originally aired on August 9, 2018.)

Today, Tom's guest is Dr. Brit Kirwan, chair of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, better known as the Kirwan Commission. For the past two years, the commission has been studying the public K-12 education system in our state, and it’s planning to release a series of recommendations as to how the state should re-order its educational priorities, improve accountability, and fund schools. This past January, the commission released a Preliminary Report of its findings.

Dr. Kirwan was the President of the University of Maryland, where he served on the faculty for 34 years, and the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland from 2002-2015. Prior to that, for four years, he served as the president of Ohio State University.

This conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page. To see that video, click here.

Photo Courtesy Sean Yoes

This program originally aired on July 16, 2018.  

It has been a little more than three years since the city of Baltimore was convulsed with violence following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody on April 19, 2015.  After the National Guard went back to their barracks, after the fire at the CVS Drugstore at the corner of Penn and North was extinguished, and after the curfews were lifted, there was a frenzy of finger pointing as to how the city responded to the crisis.  The Mayor at the time, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, would decide a few months later not to seek re-election.  A new police chief was appointed, and political leaders at the state and local levels promised decisive action to address the underlying problems of poverty and inequality that were seen as the root causes of the unrest.  The business community and numerous non-profits pledged to redouble their efforts to help lift neighborhoods like Sandtown Winchester out of its economic and social morass.

So, what, if anything, has changed since 2015?

Photo Courtesy Associated Press

On this edition of the News Wrap: pressure continues to mount on the White House this week with a conviction and a guilty plea in the cases of two of President Trump's associates, and an increasingly contentious relationship between Trump and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.

Guest Host Nathan Sterner speaks with David Smith, the Washington Bureau Chief of The Guardian about the tumult swirling around the Trump White House and the potential negative impact these latest events may have on GOP candidates as midterm elections loom ever closer. 

Here in Baltimore, there are new developments in the case against Keith Davis Jr. as a prosecutor who worked on the case for the States Attorney's office is fired after details of a DWI conviction are brought to light, and Maryland's Catholic Community reflects on child sex abuse in the church following the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing acts of  sexual violence perpetrated by 301 predator priests on over 1,000 children.  Many are calling for Attorney General Frosh to initiate similar investigations here in Maryland.  Baltimore Sun investigative reporter Jean Marbell and Real New Network Reporter, and contributor to the Baltimore AFRO,  Stephen Janis join us for a look at these stories and more.

photo courtesy NASA.gov

Earlier this month (August 1), a special edition of The New York Times Magazine went online, and a few days later hit the newsstands.  The issue contained a single 30,000 word article titled, “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change.” Penned by NYTMagazine writer-at-large Nathaniel Rich, with grant support from the non-profit Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and based on 18 months of reporting and over a hundred interviews, it tells the story (along with a gallery of stunning photos and online videos by George Steinmetz) of the decade between 1979-1989 when an international scientific and political consensus first emerged on the causes and dangers of climate change.

In his detailed narrative history, Rich describes how those hopeful efforts nevertheless failed to develop an effective national and international response to what was known to be an impending global catastrophe.

Spotlighters Theatre/Shaelyn Jae Photography

It's Thursday, and time again for our weekly visit with theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck. Today, she joins guest host Rob Sivak with a review of Consent, a new play about medical ethics from local playwright Glennyce Lynn. It's being produced by the Spotlighters Theatre in collaboration with the Baltimore Playwrights Festival.

Directed by Andre Tittle, the play is set in an unfamiliar near-future, where civilians volunteer to undergo traumatic medical testing, consenting to torturous procedures in exchange for “favors” from the government. In an unexpected turn of events, two doctors suddenly find themselves in lockdown with their angry and unruly patient, and they are forced to confront the questionable ethics of  their work.

Consent continues at the Spotlighters Theatre through Sunday, August 26th.

Photo Courtesy Joy Buolamwini from the Coded Gaze

On, today's program a discusion about the basic unit of Artificial Intelligence – The Algorithm.  What does it do? Who creates an algorithm? Who’s served by it? Who’s ill-treated by it? And why?

Sci-fi movies and books give us dramatic scenarios about possible dystopian futures,  impending singularities, and computers overthrowing their human creators and spelling the destruction of our species, but the reality is that Artificial Intelligence is already here, and we already trust it with some really important decisions.  But even in its infancy, AI is already veering off in seriously problematic directions.

Guest host Aaron Henkin sits in for Tom Hall today for a conversation about racial and gender bias in AI. Joining Aaron on the line from California is Dr. Safiya Noble, Assistant Professor at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, and author of the book, “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.”

And from WBUR studios in Boston, we are joined by Joy Buolamwini, the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League to fight coded bias, and a researcher at the MIT Media Lab where she is also working on her PhD. 

U.S. Department of Education

Guest host Jamyla Krempel sits in for Tom Hall today for a conversation about sexual education. In the era of the “Me Too” movement – with its steady stream of stories about actors, politicians, clergy, executives, people in virtually every profession being accused of sexual assault, is sex ed teaching students about how power can be used to hurt others, and about the importance of consent? Have schools updated their curricula to reflect students’ gender identity and sexual orientation?

Photography by Saylor Denney

Tangier Island, Virginia, has been home for eight generations to a unique community of now some 470 hardy souls, many of whom make their living harvesting the region’s prized blue crab. But their island home -- a barely 2-acre sliver of mud and sand and grass in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay -- is fast disappearing beneath the waters.  Whether the culprit is erosion by the Bay’s relentless currents, as most Islanders believe, or the rising sea levels scientists say have been triggered by global climate change, the outlook for Tangier Island and its people is bleak.  

Today, Midday senior producer and guest host Rob Sivak spends the hour with Virginia-based writer Earl Swift, a long-time reporter at the Virginia-Pilot who has spent more than 30 years writing about the Chesapeake region, and who has circumnavigated the Bay in his kayak.  The Chesapeake is the setting of Swift's newest book -- his seventh --  which chronicles the daily lives and hopes of the Tangier Islanders, against a backdrop of environmental and political forces that seem beyond their control. 

The book is called Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island, published by Dey Street Books (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

This program was streamed live on WYPR's Facebook page, and that video can be viewed here.

Photo courtesy Baltimore Sun

Time for another edition of The Midday Newswrap, when we look back at some of the week's important local, national and international developments, and invite perspectives from guest panelists.

In the first segment: Three years after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, a scathing report by the Justice Department and a consent decree, a viral video shows a police officer assaulting a citizen.  The officer has resigned, and been indicted. We’ll have reaction from Baltimore's 2nd District City Councilman Brandon Scott, chair of the Public Safety Committee. 

In the second segment: Paul Manafort awaits a verdict on 18 counts of fraud.  Robert Mueller negotiates conditions for an interview with the President.  Mr. Trump revokes the security clearance of a prominent critic, and a prominent Navy Admiral asks that his be revoked too. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter  Scott Shane of the New York Times DC Bureau looks behind those and other Washington headlines.  

photo courtesy Victoria Vox

And now, a little music from a former Balti-moron who enjoys both a national and international career.  Victoria Vox is an award-winning singer/songwriter who is one of the leading artists on the ukulele scene.  She’s also a fixture on the national folk music scene.  She’s opened for Jackson Browne, Leo Kottke, Cheryl Wheeler and Tom Chapin, among others.  She moved from Baltimore to Costa Mesa, California, a couple of years ago, and she’s back in the area doing some events this weekend.  Victoria is giving a songwriting workshop at the Creative Alliance tomorrow afternoon.  She’s playing in Columbia on Saturday, in Westminster on Sunday afternoon, and in Hagerstown Sunday night. 

Her new album is called Colorful HeartShe’s been kind enough to stop by, with her ukulele…and her inimitable mouth trumpet.  Victoria Vox performs these songs from her new CD, in this order:  Only Time Will TellDaytime Moon; and Sounds of Summer...

Today's performance was live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page, and you can find the video here.

A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of traveling to Chestertown for a live broadcast of our show from historic Sumner Hall, a building that was for many generations central to the lives of African Americans on the Eastern Shore.  

One of our guests that afternoon was a community activist and former member of the Kent County Historical Society, Airlee Ringgold Johnson.  She told us a little about Legacy Day, an annual celebration of African American history on the Eastern Shore that takes place in Chestertown on Saturday.  This is the fifth Legacy Day celebration in Chestertown.  Every year, there’s a different theme.  This year, Legacy Day will examine the desegregation of Chestertown public schools.  She joins us today from Washington College in Chestertown.

Bill Leary joins us as well.  He is a historian who offered the first course in African American history at the University of Virginia in the late 1960s.  He also worked at the National Archives and on the staff of the National Security Council.  He’s also on the line from Washington College.

And with Tom in Studio A, Vanessa Issacs Ringgold.  A native of Chestertown, she currently lives in Owings Mills.  She was among a group of five students who integrated Chestertown High School in the 1960s.

Kelli Finch Photography

It's Thursday, and that means our theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins us for her weekly review of one of the region's thespian offerings.

Today, she spotlights a show about love and loyalty: ArtsCentric's new production of Aida, on stage at the Motor House on North Avenue in Baltimore.

This Aida is not the famed Verdi opera, but rather the Disney-produced version (with book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang and tunes by Elton John and Tim Rice),  a multiple Tony Award-winning pop musical that premiered on Broadway in 2000 and ran for four years.  Like the opera, it tells the tale of  forbidden love between a Nubian princess named Aida (played by Awa Sal Secka) and an Egyptian soldier, Radames (played by Jo'Nathan Michael). Radames' engagement to the Pharaoh's daughter, Amneris (played by Kanysha Williams), and Aida's loyalty to her people threaten to tear apart their star-crossed romance.

Directed at The Motor House by Kevin S. McAllister, Aida presents a bevy of Elton John/Tim Rice compositions, including "Elaborate Lives" and "The Past Is Another Land," and showcases the work of musical director Cedric D. Lyles and choreographer Shalyce N. Hemby.

ArtsCentric's production of Aida continues at The Motor House through August 26th.

Photo Courtesy Flickr

Today, we’re going to talk about education in Baltimore City.  Tom's guests are teachers in the city school system, who teach at the elementary, middle school and high school levels.  We hear a lot about teachers, but it’s not as often that we hear from teachers.  Their perspective comes from daily interactions with students, parents, and colleagues, and they know better than most the challenges they and their students face.

Karen Ginyard teaches the 3rd grade at The Mt. Washington School.

Tavon McGee teaches 6th grade math at City Springs Elementary/Middle School on the city’s East Side.

And Robert Marinelli teaches Science and chairs the Science Department at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, known for generations as Poly, on Coldspring Lane in North Baltimore.

Today's conversation was Live-Streamed on WYPR's Facebook Page. You can watch the video here.

Boyd Rutherford: Republican for Lt. Governor

Aug 14, 2018

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates: the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Boyd Rutherford, joins Tom in Studio A.

In a Gonzales poll released this morning (08/14), Republican Governor Larry Hogan -- with whom Mr. Rutherford is running for re-election on November 6th --  enjoys a 16 point lead over Democrat Ben Jealous.  If he sustains that lead through November, he’ll be the first Republican Governor to serve a second term since Theodore McKeldin in the 1950s. 

Boyd Rutherford has chaired a task force on Opioid Abuse, worked on Public-Private partnerships, and regulatory reform, among other issues. 

What has the Lt. Governor accomplished in those areas? And will he continue focusing there, or shift  his priorities to other issues, if he and Mr. Hogan are re-elected?

Boyd Rutherford is Tom's guest for the hour;  the conversation is joined in the final segment by the Baltimore Sun’s politics reporter, Luke Broadwater

We're live-streaming today's discussion on WYPR's Facebook  page.

Today, Tom's guest is Rudolph S. Chow, the director of Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works, an agency he has led since 2014. 

One of the DPW's many responsibilities is the water system.  And when it comes to water, the department’s reach extends far beyond the city's   615,000 residents, but actually services 1.8 million people in the region. 

The city’s infrastructure is aging, and fragile.  Water main breaks are commonplace.  Sewage overflows into tributaries and even private homes with regularity.  To pay for repairs to the system, the city has levied fees and increased water rates by nearly 30% over the last three years.  As we discussed here on Midday a couple of weeks ago, those fees and rate hikes have made the cost of water prohibitively high for as many as half of city residents. 

The DPW, for the third consecutive year, is offering a ten-week, small-business development course for women and people of color: DPW Small Business Development Program.

We livestreamed this conversation at the WYPR Facebook page.  To see that video, click here. 

photo by Peter Foley/Bloomberg News

Today on the Friday News Wrap, guest host Nathan Sterner takes a look back at a week of dramatic political news, from the Paul Manafort trial to the arrest of Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York on corruption charges, and a special election in Ohio that’s given Democrats new hope for winning a majority in the House this November.  NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley joins Nathan on the line from NPR studios in Washington to help us make sense of it all...

Today, Tom's guest is Dr. Brit Kirwan, chair of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, better known as the Kirwan Commission.  For the past two years, the commission has been studying the public K-12 education system in our state, and it’s planning to release a series of recommendations as to how the state should re-order its educational priorities, improve accountability, and fund schools. This past January, the commission released a Preliminary Report of its findings.

Dr. Kirwan was the President of the University of Maryland, where he served on the faculty for 34 years, and the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland from 2002-2015.  Prior to that, for four years, he served as the president of Ohio State University. 

This conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  To catch that video, click here.

Today we begin the hour with another edition of the Midday Healthwatch Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen is here to discuss some of the troubling new data on Maryland’s opioid problem, and some new efforts by Congressman Elijah Cummings and Senator Elizabeth Warren to help address it. She'll explain why the city has joined a lawsuit to stop the Trump Administration’s continuing efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act, and why Baltimore is fighting a White House plan to restrict Title X funding for women’s health programs. Dr. Wen also describes the importance of last week's Breastfeeding Awareness Week...and she takes your questions and comments about public health!

Today's Healthwatch was live-streamed on Facebook; the video is available on WYPR's Facebook page.

Margot Schulman

Today our theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins Tom (a day earlier than usual) to share her take on the new political musical, Dave, now playing at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C. 

Directed by Tina Landau (SpongeBob SquarePants) and adapted from the 1993 Oscar-nominated film of the same name, Dave tells the story of Dave Kovic -- played by Drew Gehling (Waitress) -- a high school teacher with an uncanny resemblance to the President of the United States (also played by Gehling).  Dave is recruited by members of the White House staff  to stand in as the President's secret double when the Commander-in-Chief falls into a stroke-induced coma.  As Dave  struggles to manage the complex charade, he realizes that he must also gain the trust of the American people -- and the First Lady, played by Mamie Parris (School of Rock, Cats).

Photo Courtesy Associated Press

Today on Midday, a conversation about what has come to be known as the Black Tax.  It is imposed on people of color, in different ways, and in different places, every day. 

Reports of hate crimes are on the rise, and in 2017, once again, African Americans were targeted more than any other group.

And in the last few months, social media has been rife with example after example of people of color being harassed in public spaces, by white people.  A 7th grader mowing a lawn, a group of Black women playing golf, a former White House staffer moving into his apartment in Manhattan, a graduate student at Yale taking a nap. 

Dr. Kimberly Moffitt is an associate professor of American Studies at UMBC.  She’s also in the departments of Africana Studies and Language, Literacy and Culture.  She studies subjects ranging from Black hair to body politics and Disney movies.

Dr. Lester Spence is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Spence specializes in black politics, racial politics, urban politics, and public opinion.  His latest book is called Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics. 

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