NPR itself asked this question on a recent installment of the popular program All Things Considered, with non-white staffers reflecting on ways they change or modulate their speaking styles to sound “more white.”
From the Washington Post
It’s a question sometimes whispered but never boldly confronted: Does NPR, and public radio in general, sound too “white”?
NPR itself suggested Thursday that the answer might be yes in an unusual bit of public self-examination. In a commentary aired on “All Things Considered,” its signature newscast, and in a subsequent Twitter chat that quickly trended nationally, the public radio network lit the fuse on an explosive discussion about how a broadcast should sound.
The commentary came from Chenjerai Kumanyika, an African American who is an assistant professor of communication studies at Clemson University and a radio producer. Kumanyika’s “All Things Considered” piece left no doubt about his point of view: It was titled “Challenging the Whiteness of Public Radio.”
The segment sparked a conversation here at the Cafe’ amongst the team that produces the Lead. The Cafe’ team is diverse in lots of ways: age, geography, sexuality, gender, and probably others as well, but not racially. Though certainly not by design, we are reflecting on the ways we fall short of our ideals.
Of course, the Episcopal Church too is made up of a broad spectrum of people, but if one were to just be looking in from the outside, through our newsletters, journals, websites, social media pages and gatherings, how obvious would that be? Our origins are as an ethnically based church (English people), and that we rarely think of ourselves that way says alot about privilege and our sense of identity in this country. Are we stuck in a kind of way of speaking about ourselves that denies our reality and aspirations, or worse, turns away people who might find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church?
We don’t have answers, but the questions, we hope, are a start. What do you think?
posted by Jon White