Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Can we talk about race?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | May 18, 2015 3:37 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, May 19, 2015:

In the aftermath of the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968.

After the acquittal on murder charges of pro football Hall-of-Famer, film star, and sports analyst O.J. Simpson in 1995.

And then presidential candidate Barack Obama's More Perfect Union speech in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign.

All were occasions when race, racial differences, and racial inequality were discussed.

Usually, we'd hear "this is the catalyst for a frank conversation on race."

The violent and sometimes deadly confrontations between police and African-Americans and subsequent civil unrest over the past year has many calling once again for that race conversation -- a discussion many black and white Americans have difficulty with.

This time though there seem to be organized efforts to talk about race.  Communities, institutions like colleges and churches, and organizations are scheduling events.

One is set for Wednesday, May 20 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Harrisburg Area Community College's Lancaster campus.  Three of the planners of Leadership Summit: Dialogue on Race appear on Tuesday's Smart Talk.  They are Stephen Sharp, a school counselor at Landisville Middle School & Co-President of the Lancaster County School Counselors Association, Nick Peterson, adjunct faculty at Lancaster Theological Seminary & organizer with BLACKLIVESMATTER717, Dana Wile, a graduate student at Millersville University. 

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Stephen Sharp, Dana Wile, Nick Peterson

The Culture of Silence and Culture of Violence: A Conversation on Race and Authority is an event scheduled Thursday, May 28 at the Stuart Community Center in Carlisle.


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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-05-19 09:34

    Ashley emails:

    Doesn't the phrase 'Black lives matter' in itself segregate African Americans from other races ? What is being "black" if color is only a social construct and isn't this perpetuating the divide of "us" vs. "them" mentality. Why can't it be all lives matter ? If your making an argument for equity it should not be limited to some(only black lives) but to everyone who is being oppressed.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-05-19 09:46

    Michael emails:

    White people are not the only racists, black people are racists towards whites as well. Racism is the dislike, hatred and or mistrust of another race. Racism happens in all races.

    What is the white race? If black Americans are African Americans, then white Americans are German Americans, Italian Americans, Russian Americans, etc. Generally white Americans one generation removed from their European genealogy do not separate ourselves as “African Americans” do. If the geography in which you were born determine your race then we are all AMERICANS. If our genealogy determines our race then we are all separated which could create racism.

    Michael-non racist American with German and Scottish genealogy.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-05-19 09:52

    Eric emails:

    All humans are tribalistic in nature. We all see ourselves as a part of a particular group. This may me defined by income, education, nationality, religion. Is this a form of racism? If so, what can we do, in our day to day lives, to help those around us look outside our "group" without the fear that is normally associated with racism?

  • James in York img 2015-05-19 16:08

    Today I called in to Smart Talk with a question. The men killed by police were fleeing or resisting arrest. Things went downhill from there. It is unfortunate. The fact remains, they resisted. One man had an extensive criminal record. Another was fleeing as he had not been making his child support payments and did not want to go to jail. Why are these men being held up as good reasons for outrage over police brutality? Do you mean to tell me that there are no minority men being killed by police who have no police records and are upstanding citizens in the community? And where is the outrage in the minority communities over drive by shootings in our inner cities, where is the outrage over our minority students who choose to just drop out of school?
    The answer I received was a discourse on founding fathers who owned slaves. I get it, guys espousing equality, yet not following it themselves. When the commentator asked about compliance, the answer given gave me the impression that the speaker believed that if stopped, he would be shot, regardless of his actions. If this were true, we’d have many minority bodies down at the morgue. In this case you’d have more than enough highly regarded minority citizens gunned down by police whom you could hold up as examples of a system gone wrong.

    I asked this question in order to illustrate much of what I am seeing in the comments sections of many online news reports. The response from the speaker gave me this impression: We are victims. We always have been victims, and we always will be. Racism will always hold us back.

    Forget that we are seeing more and more minority families in what only 30 years ago were totally white neighborhoods. Forget that we are seeing more and more successful minority workers and business owners.

    People of ANY group may continue to use excuses to justify their plight. YES, discrimination does exist. Are you going to let that hold you back, or are you going to rise above it? Be a victim, or say, “I’m better than this, and no one is going to hold me back from my potential”.

    I suggest going to YouTube and type in Tony Evans. His first sermon is “Tearing down Strongholds”. As Reverend Evans states, many things happened in our lives. They have shaped us, given us ideas about ourselves. Yet we cannot continue to use these things as excuses for not moving forward and rising above.