Race

How important is it to have a role model?

A new working paper puts some numbers to that question.

Having just one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade reduced low-income black boys' probability of dropping out of high school by 39 percent, the study found.

And by high school, African-American students, both boys and girls, who had one African-American teacher had much stronger expectations of going to college. Keep in mind, this effect was observed seven to ten years after the experience of having just one black teacher.

Courtesy Trinity University/Keppler Speakers

What comes to mind when someone says the word "race"?

This is the question former NPR host Michele Norris investigates with The Race Card project, which curates candid submissions of six-word essays about personal experiences, thoughts or observations about race relations.

With her infant son in a sling, Monique Black strolls through a weekend open house in the gentrified Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a home — in this one, Monique notices, the tiny window in the second bedroom doesn't let in enough light. But for parents like Black and her husband, Jonny, there's a more important question: How good are the nearby schools?

David Martin Davies / Texas Public Radio

Vincent Valdez’s art studio is in an old San Antonio fire station built in 1910. Above the entrance stands a vintage statue of a vigilant fire fighter clutching his ax.

Inside, the art space is taken over by one colossal black and white painting — 43 feet long — broken up into six panels. It’s titled “The City.” It features 14 hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan caught in a candid moment on a bluff overlooking a city at night.

It's the summer of 1998 and I'm at the mall with my mom and my sister Anna, who has just turned 5. I'm 7. Anna and I are cranky from being too hot, then too cold, then too bored. We keep touching things we are not supposed to touch, and by the time Mom drags us to the register, the cashier seems a little on edge.

"They're mixed, aren't they?" she says. "I can tell by the hair."

Mom doesn't smile, and Mom always smiles. "I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about," she says.

Later, in the kitchen, there is a conversation.

Pages