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Basic Black and Boston Institutions: The MBTA and The Boston Bruins

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Politics

Originally broadcast on April 27, 2012


Tonight, with "Riding The T," we continue WGBH News' weeklong focus on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Our discussion explores the significance of the MBTA in communities of color. Later in the show, our conversation digs deep into the deluge of racist tweets from Bruins fans towards Joel Ward, the black player from the Washington Capitals who scored the winning goal, thus ending the Bruins march towards the Stanley Cup.

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Basic Black: A Look at Secure Communities; Race in the Classroom

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Education | Politics

(Originally broadcast May 18, 2012)

The Secure Communities program is now officially in place in Massachusetts, despite objections from many state officials, including Governor Deval Patrick. Under Secure Communities, fingerprints from local jails are matched against a federal immigration database; Immigration and Customs Enforcement then the local jail detain people they think are here illegally. Supporters of the program see it as a tool in the fight against crime while opponents charge that the program encourages ethnic profiling.

Later in the show, we turn the discussion to race in education. In Boston, three City Councillors are pushing for more teachers of color and the integration of black and Latino studies into the curriculum. Basic Black poses the question: does the race of a teacher matter in learning the fundamentals? On a national level, last week there was a huge controversy about an article written in the Chronicle of Higher Education which advocated for elimination of Black Studies as a course of study in colleges and universities; the author described black studies as "left-wing victimization clap-trap." 6,500 petition signatures later, the author was fired. But what were the real lessons of this episode?

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Basic Black Live: The Black Church, Hip Hop and Gay Marriage

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Politics


(Originally broadcast on June 1, 2012)

From President Obama’s support of same sex marriage to the dominating influence of hip hop culture, the black church finds itself on the front page of a national conversation about its identity, relevance, and impact. Will support for Obama's presidential bid fade in the upcoming election? Has the church adequately addressed the needs of a younger generation? Is this an opportunity for new voices to emerge in the evolution of the black church?

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Basic Black: The New Black Politics in Massachusetts

Black Boston | Politics

(June 8, 2012)

The recently published Trotter Review examines political gains made by African American politicians at the beginning of the 21st century. Also, specific essays on why Boston has not elected a black mayor while the city of Denver has done so twice, and how Deval Patrick has served the interests of black communities while not alienating the larger population.


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Basic Black: The New Black Politics in Massachusetts

Black Boston | Politics

(June 8, 2012)

The recently published Trotter Review examines political gains made by African American politicians at the beginning of the 21st century. Also, specific essays on why Boston has not elected a black mayor while the city of Denver has done so twice, and how Deval Patrick has served the interests of black communities while not alienating the larger population.


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Basic Black Live: The Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act

Black Boston | Health | Politics


Originally broadcast June 29, 2012

June 28, 2012 was another historic milestone in the presidency of Barack Obama as the Supreme Court upheld the major provisions of his landmark legislation, the Affordable Care Act.  Basic Black explores the implications of the ruling for communities of color and the 2012 presidential election. Later in the show, a discussion of a more complicated Supreme Court ruling: Arizona’s SB1070, and its lingering impact on immigrant communities.

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Basic Black: Post Debate Wrap-Up

Black Boston | Politics


Originally broadcast October 19, 2012.

Basic Black kicks off its new season in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign. Our conversation takes a look at the most recent presidential and vice presidential debates. For some it’s about who won or lost, but what matters most is how each candidate plans to meet the challenges of leadership.


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Basic Black Live - The Black Church: The Call to Heal, Serve, and Transform

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Politics


(Originally broadcast December 14, 2012)

Black churches routinely discuss both scripture and issues  like gay marriage and voter suppression,and gun violence. Today’s tragic shooting in Connecticut is a fresh reminder of the ever present  violence assaulting so many black communities. What role has the black church played in dealing with the violence?  We'll look at that and examine the church's influence in shaping  opinion about current issues of the day.

Has the church become too political, or not political enough?  Has this institution re-invented itself in order to adequately meet the challenges of changing communities around it?


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Basic Black Live: The Emancipation Proclamation at 150

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Politics

(Originally broadcast January 4, 2013.)

The Emancipation Proclamation is 150 years old this week.  Historian Eric Foner called this document one of the most important documents in American history.  Does the Emancipation Proclamation have any meaning for contemporary times?

Also, our panelists look ahead with predictions for 2013.


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Basic Black: Invisible Man Comes To The Stage

Arts & Culture | Black Boston | Politics

(January 11, 2013)

Basic Black welcomes actor Teagle F. Bougere to the studio for a conversation on the themes raised in the play Invisible Man, based on Ralph Ellison's seminal work and currently on stage at The Huntington Theatre. Bougere is the lead actor in the production.

Among the many questions on the table:  Does this play have any resonance for a contemporary audience?  What does the play say about the experience of the African American man in particular? What would a contemporary version of the play look like or have as its focus?


(Photo by Astrid Reiken, 2012)

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