Robert Goodwin

Host

Robert Goodwin is a substitute host on The Jefferson Exchange and the host of the monthly segment "The Keenest Observers."  Through it, he leads our exploration of issues affecting people from minority communities, and how all of us think and talk about race.

Rob's full-time job is as Associate Director of Education and Engagement at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  His work in theater is complemented by journalism training in college.  Rob hails from a college town, Carbondale, Illinois, the home of Southern Illinois University, one of his alma maters.  Rob finished his education with an MFA in acting from DePaul in Chicago.

"The Keenest Observers" is heard on the last Tuesday of most months in the 9:00 hour of The Exchange.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

To call Octavio Solis a prolific playwright is a big understatement.  He's written enough plays to fill a shelf, enough plays to give someone a cramp picking up all the scripts. 

And the work continues; next year the Oregon Shakespeare Festival will host the world premiere of "Mother Road." 

Solis has had several of his plays staged at OSF already, and has participated in the "Play On" project, rewriting Shakespeare's works into modern English. 

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=456112

Many of the people who played "Indians" in Hollywood westerns were of Italian descent.  Orson Welles made a filmed version of "Othello" that featured Welles in blackface. 

Cultural appropriation still happens.  And it can be confusing to both the perpetrators and the people whose culture is appropriated. 

Surabhi Mahajan, from an immigrant family of color, hosts an Oregon Humanities Conversation Project on cultural appropriation, with sessions across the state. 

Bruce Haynes is used to studying people and urban communities in particular; he's a sociologist at the University of California-Davis.  But his latest book, with Syma Solovitch, turns the lens around, to focus on three generations of his own family, in Harlem. 

The book is called Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family, and it traces the rising and falling fates of the family and its community. 

This is the latest edition of The Keenest Observers.  Host Rob Goodwin returns to interview Bruce Haynes.