Video: Celebrating 75 Years of ‘These Are Our Lives’

Contemporary documentary projects such as StoryCorps and Humans of New York thrive today in a spirit similar to that which led the vision of the Federal Writers’ Project and These Are Our Lives. They remind us that every life has a story, and every story matters.

Sarah Mayorga-Gallo: What We’re Missing When We Talk about Integrated Neighborhoods

What is the relationship between residential segregation and racial inequality? Scholars have spent decades analyzing data and arguing that residential segregation is the “linchpin” of racial inequality in the United States. The conclusion that many draw, therefore, is that residential integration is the key to reducing racial inequality. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, not quite.

Excerpt: Behind the White Picket Fence, by Sarah Mayorga-Gallo

The use of non-White bodies by Whites to designate neighborhood space as distinct from racially segregated suburbia is an important commodifying and classifying practice of this white, urban, middle-class habitus. Important to note here is that in Creekridge Park very few White residents have relationships with their non-White neighbors. Whites did, however, regularly refer to non-Whites during our interviews to signal neighborhood diversity and interracial interactions.

Zandria F. Robinson: OutKast Reunion Tour: After Twenty Years, the South Still Got Something to Say

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I grew up watching OutKast videos on the now-defunct Video Jukebox Network, affectionately known as “The Box.” Although OutKast received some play on MTV and BET in the early 1990s, it was on The Box, which featured a range of underground southern hip-hop artists, where I could be sure to see André “André 3000” Benjamin, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, and other southern rappers in regular rotation. Although initially record labels largely ignored southern artists, through homegrown ingenuity, southern rappers soon emerged as a formidable force in the global music industry. By 2005, top spots on music charts were regularly held by southern hip-hop artists, southern R&B singers, or hits produced by southern artists. As Memphis rapper Project Pat noted in 2006: “Now y’all was thinkin’ Dirty South was like, ‘hee-haw, hee-haw’/Is you worth over a hundred mil? We are, we are.” Indeed, the South had something to say.

The Best of Enemies: Durham History from Page to Stage

Durham’s ManBites Dog Theater hosts “The Best of Enemies,” a play based on the book by Osha Gray Davidson about the unlikely friendship between a poor white member of the KKK and a poor black civil rights activist in 1960s North Carolina.

Interview: Mical Raz on poverty, mental health, and U.S. social policy

Poverty is often seen as a personal failure, whereas success is a mark of hard work; thus economic status serves a surrogate for individual self-worth, and not an indicator of society’s structure and its limitations. Poor men and women are still often portrayed in stereotypical terms as being lazy and unmotivated.

Laura Browder: Women’s Gun Culture in America

The image of the armed woman as white, suburban-looking, and thoroughly domesticated is but one aspect of women’s gun culture, and women’s relationship to guns, in the United States.

Join us on Twitter for a #FreetoBe40 event with Lori Rotskoff

It’s a Twitter event! This Wednesday, December 12, from 9-10 pm EST join @LoriRotskoff, @uncpressblog, and @MamaDramaNY for a Twitter celebration and discussion of the 40th anniversary of Free to Be…You and Me, the popular nonsexist children’s album/book/TV special that has helped shape the childhoods and parenting practices of generations.

Interview: Lori Rotskoff and Laura L. Lovett, editors of When We Were Free to Be

Lori Rotskoff and Laura L. Lovett, editors of When We Were Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children’s Classic and the Difference It Made discuss the legacy of Free to Be…You and Me after 40 years.

Interview: Nicole Fabricant on Mobilizing Bolivia’s Displaced

Mobility is a central trope in the book because it informed my thinking about indigeneity and movement building in Bolivia. I realized that in order to effectively capture the Landless Peasant Movement’s ( Movimiento Sin Tierra/MST) organizational strategies, I would have to be in constant motion. I traveled with MST activists on the back of agricultural trucks for nearly 20 hours from the city to their communities, lived in two MST agro-ecological communities, traversed regional spaces, as well as national and international spaces of organizing. The life of an organizer is in constant motion and, as an ethnographer, I too had to be constantly traveling.

Carrie Hamilton: Sexual Diversity in Cuba

It would be a mistake to say that Cuba’s revolutionary leaders came clean on the history of anti-homosexual discrimination and violence. But there were public signs of a willingness to revisit that history in a new light. The most famous example was the 1993 release of the film ‘Strawberry and Chocolate,’ by Cuba’s most prominent film director, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, a friend and ally of Fidel Castro.

Excerpt: Making Marriage Work, by Kristin Celello

By 1930 divorce had indeed become a reality of everyday American life. At the same time, however, many Americans were deeply anxious about what the escalating divorce rate meant for the family, women, and the very future of the nation. Such fears were fanned by an emergent group of experts who spent the first several decades of the twentieth century identifying a “crisis” in American marriage.

Isaac Campos: Today’s Synthetic Drugs Provoking New Reefer Madness

Have the recently reported bizarre behaviors related to synthetic drugs been primarily caused by these chemical compounds or by the set and setting of their ingestion? The answer is still unclear, but history and science suggest that anxiety produced by unfamiliarity with these drugs and the accompanying horror stories in the press are probably contributing in some way.

Carrie Hamilton: New Cuban Women

At first glance, the stories of Cuban women in heterosexual relationships seem to confirm clichés about the island’s machismo. But interviews with other men and women tell a subtler story. They show that the Revolution has changed gender relations, even if some patterns are hard to break.

Jorge Duany: The Fear of the Other

The prevalence of xenophobia in diverse places and historical periods invites us to reflect on its common causes and consequences.