The Keenest Observers

By Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA - Counter-protest against Donald Trump rally, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57202595

Remember the talk of American becoming a "post-racial society?"  It seems like a while ago now. 

Social justice activist Paul Kivel has watched with great interest as the country has twisted and turned in dealing with people of different colors and nationalities. 
He has completely updated his 1995 book, for a fourth edition of  Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice

Robert Goodwin, who hosts our segment The Keenest Observers, handles the interview. 

OSF Photo Illustration

The plays of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival show clearly the festival's commitment to diversity.  Characters of all colors and genders appear. 

And the work of OSF extends well beyond the boundaries of its stages.  The education department at the Festival reaches out to the community in a number of ways, including an upcoming project called "Take Them Into the Dirt."

It's an immersive experience--meaning audience involvement--that explores indigenous stories. 

Rob Goodwin, our host for "The Keenest Observers," is part of the project at OSF. 

The Keenest Observers: Zinzi Clemmons

Aug 28, 2017
Nina Subin, zinzieclemmons.com

No one can know absolutely what it's like to live in another person's skin. 

But Zinzi Clemmons shares what it is like to come of age as an African-American woman in her debut novel, "What We Lose." 

Clemmons is Philadelphia-raised, with roots in South Africa and Trinidad. 

And she is host Robert Goodwin's guest in another edition of The Keenest Observers. 

Government Alliance on Race and Equity

Racism continues to bedevil our country. 

Even people who have the best of intentions can be completely surprised when they are shown the effects of their words and deeds from the point of view of a person of color. 

Racism won't vanish without further effort; the Racial Equity Coalition in the Rogue Valley encourages people to learn how to host frank discussions about race through its Race Tool Kit Project, and we explore its features in another edition of "The Keenest Observers."  Robert Goodwin returns to host, with guests Alma Rosa Alvarez and Majorie Trueblood-Gamble. 

The Keenest Observers: The Urban/Rural Divide

Apr 24, 2017
Gary Halvorson/Oregon State Archives

Our region is full of out-of-the way places. 

But being off the beaten path is not a good thing for everyone.  Small towns can feel boring and even repressive to young people looking to make their way in the world. 

The urban/rural divide is the focus of this month's edition of "The Keenest Observers," hosted by Robert Goodwin. 

TKO: Racial Histories Of Oregon

Jan 30, 2017
An Oregon Canyon / Donnell Alexander

The Keenest Observers is an occasional segment dealing with difference and inclusion in a place where the vast majority of people are white.

This month we look at how race is inscribed on Oregon geography.  Donnell Alexander is a filmmaker and writer, whose recent work documents place names and early African-American homesteaders. Randy Blazak is Chair of the Portland-based Coalition Against Hate Crimes (CAHC). He speaks to the history of the KKK in Oregon, and the perennial re-emergence of white supremacist messaging through fliers, websites and radio programs.

TKO: African-Americans In The GOP

Nov 28, 2016
University of California Press

Race loomed large in the recent election. 

One commentator referred to the election of Donald Trump as a "whitelash."  Exit polls indicate the story is more complicated than that, but racial and party identification can correlate closely. 

And sometimes not, as Corey D. Fields demonstrates in his book on African Americans in the Republican party: Black Elephants in the Room

The Keenest Observers host Rob Goodwin returns for this segment. 

Documenting The School-To-Prison Pipeline

Nov 1, 2016
elementarygenocide.com

From the slave trade to legal segregation, many public policies throughout American history have harmed Black communities.

These days African-Americans make up more than a third of the prisoner population in the U.S., despite their being just 12 percent of the general population.

Filmmaker and activist Raheim Shabazz says this skew begins in public schools, which have become one end of the school-to-prison pipeline. His films, "Elementary Genocide," parts one and two, screen at Southern Oregon University this week. 

The Keenest Observers: Votes And Barriers

Oct 17, 2016
Mark Buckawicki/Wikimedia

The Keenest Observers are often the people who stand outside a group or situation. 

So that's the name we've given to our occasional explorations of conditions and experiences of people who might be considered outside the mainstream within our region. 

Robert Goodwin returns to host The Keenest Observers, focusing on voter participation in America, and how the effects can break differently in the population, depending upon skin color and other differences.

The topic weaves the legalization of marijuana into the nuances of a simple question: "Does my vote count?"

The Keenest Observers: LGBTQ Concerns Explored

Sep 19, 2016

The Keenest Observers are often the people who stand outside a group or situation.  So that's the name we've given to our occasional explorations of conditions and experiences of minority communities within our region. 

Robert Goodwin returns to host The Keenest Observers with members of the LGBTQ community; there's never a shortage of topics, from "bathroom bills" to the coming SO PRIDE festival (October 1-9). 

Guests include Southern Oregon University Queer Resource Center coordinator Thomas Arce and Evan Mouldeoux of Lotus Rising.   

The Keenest Observers: Immigration

Aug 29, 2016
JPR News

A presidential candidate or two may have whipped up a bit of a frenzy on immigration this year, but it's always a hot topic in America.

And it is the focus of the latest installment of our perusal of issues facing non-white people in a region where whites are the overwhelming majority. 

We're calling these sessions "The Keenest Observers," because often the keenest observer is the outsider. 

Robert Goodwin of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is back to host this hour, with JPR News staffer Jessica De Nova--about to become a U.S. citizen--among the guests.  Also on the panel: Carlo Alban and Ricardo Lujan Flores. 

Living In Color In Southern Oregon

Aug 4, 2016
JPR

It's hard for most residents of the region to imagine what it's like to live as a person of color.  Because there are so very few. 

And the overwhelming whiteness of the population has produced some regrettable events and periods in the region's history, like the rise of the Ku Klux KIan in the 1920s. 

People of color still experience discrimination today.  We assembled an all non-white panel and host to explore the issues. 

Robert Goodwin of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival hosts the discussion.