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Strange Fruit

Jaison Gardner and Dr. Kaila Story talk race, gender, and LGBTQ issues, from politics to pop culture. A new episode every week, from Louisville Public Media.

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  • The 'Jim Crow Mentality' Of Social Media Trolls
    Between growing public interest in the racial justice movement, a polarizing political landscape and folks trapped indoors for nearly nine months now, online activism is at an all time high. Accordingly, white supremacists who spew vitriolic and violent language and ideas also abound across social media platforms. This week Ron Dawson joins us to discuss his recent essay, "There’s a Jim Crow Mentality on Social Media,” which outlines his experiences combating racist trolls and threats of violence online. Later, diversity trainer Risha Grant joins us to discuss her idea that "radical acceptance" of our diverse selves makes us more valuable personally and professionally.
  • Why Body Positivity Must Include Black Bodies
    The body positivity movement has been extremely important in combatting our country's fatphobia and teaching us all to love our bodies just as they are. Kelsey Miller, founder of "The Anti-Diet Project," is this week's guest and joins us to explain “How Whiteness Killed the Body Positive Movement.” Miller shares her learning journey about white privilege and intersectionality and she says the body positivity movement must heed the work and labor of Black fat positive activists in order to keep the movement growing. We also chat with Elijah Li, founder of SOULE magazine and the SOULE Foundation about why it's important for Black LGBTQ+ folks to see reflections of themselves in a world that is both anti-Black and anti-queer.
  • Using Light-Skin Privilege To Disrupt An Unjust System
    This week writer Leigh Green discusses her compelling op-ed, "White Supremacy in Me: Light-skinned and part of the problem," where she acknowledges the privileges associated with her skin tone, and challenges other light skin folk to begin the work of using their proximity to whiteness to disrupt an unjust system and spark a revolution. Later, we speak with Peter Mercurio and Danny Stewart, who adopted their son after finding him abandoned in a New York City subway. They join us to tell their story and talk about Peter's heartwarming book "Our Subway Baby," which details their family's journey.
  • Strength, Survival, And Black Families
    Nefertiti Austin was adopted by her grandparents when she was a kid because her parents struggled with addiction. She joins us this week, as a single parent of two adopted children, to discuss her book, "Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting." And we talk about her New York Times piece, "Grandparents, Kin and Play Cousins: The Soul and Survival of Black Families," which explores how African American families' use of fictive kinship ties and multigenerational structures have helped families survive through generations of violence, struggle and oppression. Later in the show, award-winning poet and Louisville native Joy Priest joins us to discuss her new book of poetry, "Horsepower," which was awarded the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry.
  • What White Parents Should Know About Transracial Adoption
    Abby Johnson, the anti-abortion activist who recently spoke at the Republican National Convention, found herself at the center of controversy after a video of her went viral. In it, she said her adopted Black son was "statistically" more likely to grow up to be a criminal than her white sons who would likely grow up to be innocent nerds -- and thus police would be right to racially profile and stop him. Her racist comments sparked conversations about transracial adoptions (adoptions where the adoptive parents/guardians are white and the adoptees are BIPOC). Transracial adoptee author Melissa Guida-Richards joins us this week to talk about her essay, “Abby Johnson’s Video Shows the Problem With White Parents Adopting Children of Color,” and she joins us to offer advice for white parents who adopt child of color. Later, we speak with Graham Ambrose of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting for an update on the recent financial settlement in the Breonna Taylor case.
  • 'Kitchen Table Wisdom' For And From Gay Men
    Navigating life as gay man in a homophobic and heteronormative society can be emotionally and spiritually taxing. This week author Britt East joins us to discuss his insightful new book, "A Gay Man’s Guide to Life," full of what he calls “kitchen table wisdom” to help gay men endure and thrive in an anti-queer world, by loving themselves more and by loving others as well. Later in the show, speculative fiction author and publisher Olivia Raymond joins us to discuss the creation of her Black publishing house, Aurelia Leo, her new anthology, "Dominion," and why Black characters in speculative fiction works are vital for all communities.
  • Interracial Household Dynamics In 2020
    As a historian of environmental justice and African American history, writer Faith Ashmore –- who is a white woman in an interracial marriage -– says she possesses the academic and intellectual knowledge to contribute to conversations about recent police killings with her Black husband but not the emotional knowledge. This week we discuss "What An Interracial Household Looks Like After George Floyd’s Murder.” Later, we speak to writer Allison Gaines about recent commemorations of the 19th amendment and how not everyone got to cast a ballot when women were granted the right to vote.
  • Young Adult Fiction Author Arvin Ahmadi
    Young Adult (YA) fiction is a literary tradition that has largely lacked diversity when it comes to the race and sexuality of its main characters. Author Arvin Ahmadi's new book, "How It All Blew Up," has a queer Iranian American teenager protagonist. He joins us this week to talk about how other authors of YA novels can be more inclusive of diverse communities and identities.
  • 'The Chi' Star Jasmine Davis
    Lena Waithe’s dramatic television series "The Chi" has garnered a strong following and has received critical praise since premiering on the Showtime network three years ago. Its season finale aired last week. This week we have a lively and insightful conversation with actress and model Jasmine Davis, who joined the cast of The Chi this season, to discuss her character Imani who is a multi-layered Black trans woman that is tender, loving and all kinds of fierce.
  • In Praise Of Quiet Allies
    The word "ally" is frequently heard in the fight for racial justice, usually used by a white person seeking to declare just how "not racist" they are. This week, our guest Bridgette L. Hylton joins us to explain why she says “If You’re a Real Ally, You’ll Keep It to Yourself,” which she recently wrote about for Medium.
  • 'Performing Black Harmlessness' Isn't Worth It
    Educator and writer Rodney Fierce thought that performing a type of muted Blackness would shield him from the usual pitfall and roadblocks of discrimination, microaggressions and racism. He was wrong. Fierce joins us this week to discuss his essay "The Price of Being Pleasing," and explains why performing Black harmlessness isn't worth the cost.
  • Interrupting Our Own Unconscious Biases
    This week we're joined by Chad Anderson, co-director of the new documentary “Dog Valley,” which details the largely unknown story of the brutal kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of gay college student Gordon Church in Utah in 1988. Later, we're joined by Michelle Silverton, author of ”Mom, Why Don’t You Have Any Black Friends,” and TEDx Talk, “We Are Not A Melting Pot: How to Stop Talking About Implicit Bias and Start Talking About Race." She discusses her work as a diversity educator and trainer and why she tells her white clients that in order to constructively talk about race in America, they must start by discussing and examining their own whiteness.