The Filter, hosted by Ieshia Downton and Vicky Diaz-Camacho, mics up under-reported stories in Kansas City. The podcast will give context to issues centered on culture in Kansas City that we may not have considered before.
The Filter Ep. 6 | ‘Melanin’
Race has been even more top of mind lately. But there’s a little-discussed aspect to the conversation of race. Colorism and featurism are forms of discrimination that affect folks in all racial and ethnic groups, solely based on a person’s shade of skin tone and facial features.
Such discrimination lurks in the background of protests around the world, minority journalists spilling the tea on Twitter about racial inequity in newsrooms and discussions on the racist history that shaped our culture and institutions.
Colorism and featurism can affect relationships we have with our families, friendships, coworkers and, well, just about everyone. They also affect an individual’s success in school or the workplace because implicit biases based on skin tone or certain features can influence who gets a promotion or a raise. They can even affect behavioral and mental health outcomes.
In the 1950s, psychologists Mamie Clark and her husband Kenneth Clark conducted an experiment to measure the psychological effects of segregation with a group of children using two dolls, one Black with brown eyes and one White with blue eyes. Both Black and White children pointed to the White doll when asked, “Which doll is pretty?” or “Which doll is good?” Their research was later used in Brown v. Board of Education to overturn segregation in the ‘50s.
Where else does colorism or featurism manifest?
They are rife in popular culture. For instance, almost all Disney princesses have Euro-centric features — small noses and wide eyes. Another example is how lighter-skinned actors, even those in minority communities, often snag lead roles in films or shows versus their darker-skinned peers.
Antoinette Landor is a professor at the University of Missouri. She studies how skin tone and facial features impact self-esteem, behavioral outcomes and relationships across all racial groups. (Contributed | Antoinette Landor)
Here are just a few examples. “Martin,” a sitcom from the 1990s, cast the lighter-skinned character Gina as the love interest, and the darker-skinned Pam played the goofy best friend. The Netflix telenovela “La Casa de las Flores” only shows light-skinned Mexican actors. And it’s evident in the new “Indian Matchmaking” show on Netflix where being “fair skinned” is praised.
The Filter is here to talk about the personal implications of colorism and featurism and what experts know about the science behind this kind of discrimination.
In this episode, we tap an expert on the subject, Antoinette Landor, a social science professor at the University of Missouri. Then we get personal with special guest and Kansas City PBS summer intern Mawa Iqbal, whose parents are from Pakistan.
Antoinette Landor’s Paper on skin-tone traumaDownload
We bare all in this season finale, so sip your tea, coffee, beer or wine and hang with us.
Production credits: Jacob Douglas, Bryan Truta, Chris Cosgrove and Felicia Diaz contributed to this episode.
The Filter Ep. 5 | ‘Be Free’
In this episode, we mark Juneteenth, also known as Jubilee or Freedom Day, dig into the history of what that day was really about and connect the dots from late 1865 to 2020.
Did slavery really end that day, or did it merely evolve?
June 19 is honored as the day the last enslaved people in Texas were finally told they were free in 1865. Even though President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, it wasn’t until after the Civil War was over that Union Gen. Gordon Granger went to Galveston, Texas, to enforce it once and for all.
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
— General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865
Hosts Vicky Díaz-Camacho and Ieshia Downton chat with two historians, Lyle Gibson of Metropolitan Community College and Daive Dunkley of the University of Missouri, about the important milestones in history that stemmed from the Emancipation Proclamation to the Black Liberation movements. Then they visit with Azja Butler, a college student at the University of Kansas and a local organizer on the front lines of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Kansas City area.
(Library of Congress)
Credits: Jacob Douglas, Bryan Truta, Chris Cosgrove and Felicia Diaz contributed to this episode.
Dropping June 24: The Filter Connects the Dots, From Juneteenth to Black Lives Matter
Next Wednesday, The Filter will give you a history lesson that centers on Juneteenth, chronicling racism from the 1800s to now. Hosts Vicky Díaz-Camacho and Ieshia Downton chat with two historians about the important milestones in history that stemmed from the emancipation proclamation to civil rights movements. Then we talk to a local organizer on the frontlines of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Kansas City area.
Listen everywhere podcasts are available on June 24.
Credits: Original music and production by Felicia Diaz.
The Filter Ep. 4: ‘Graduation Day’
It’s graduation season. But for college graduates living in a pandemic, ceremonies have been postponed and family gatherings canceled.
Statistics abound about the pandemic, but COVID-19 has disproportionately affected black and Latinx populations in the U.S. – both in the number of cases and death rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The resulting pandemic anxiety has combined with academic stress to take a particularly heavy toll on students in those racial groups.
Even though students of color make up roughly 45% of the undergraduate student population, they are less likely to ask for help despite higher levels of depression and anxiety. This is exacerbated by student debt, racism on campus and lack of support.
A study published in the American Psychiatric Association online journal, found that college students in certain ethnic minority groups were more likely to report feeling “hopeless or so depressed it was difficult to function.”
In this episode, we learn why. We take it back to middle school, high school and college days and get real with three guests who now work in higher education.
Jeff Perkins, a Kansas City native, shares his journey from being a student in high school to attending a predominantly white institution where he encountered racism, and how his story as a black, queer professional fuels him as an intercultural specialist at Ohio State University.
Ivan Ramirez recounts his journey as an immigrant, his sense of belonging in school and how allies helped him become a Latinx mentor at Avanzando, a mentorship program for Latinos in academia at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Finally, Sandra Enriquez, a self-described “point-five” first-generation college graduate with a PhD, tells her story becoming one of the few Latina history professors at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“Where do I belong?” Perkins recalls, after cotton balls were thrown at the Gaines/Olham Black Culture Center at the University of Missouri – aka Mizzou. Now he helps minority and first-generation students at Ohio State University. (Contributed)Sandra Enriquez shares how lonely it feels when you’re the first person in the family to get a PhD, especially as a minority and a woman. (Contributed)Ivan Ramirez, leader of the mentorship group Avanzando at UMKC, says it was his white neighbor who helped him make it to college. (Contributed)
Hear the rest of their stories in this episode of The Filter.
The Filter Ep. 3: ‘Dear God’
Some people go on runs to cope with stress. Some tackle home projects. And others pray or meditate.
That got us thinking. What does spirituality mean to people right now? Some research suggests that religion and spirituality have positive effects on mental health and sense of well-being.
But we wanted to hear from real people. In this episode, we talk to guests in three different spiritual practices: Orthodox Christianity, Astrology and Islam.
They discuss the role of religion in social justice, the power of positive thinking and how learning a new language can forge a deeper connection with faith.
We have three guests in this episode. Joshua Loller is a lecturer in the religious studies department at the University of Kansas, as well as a priest of an Orthodox Christian church in Lawrence, Kansas. Cindy McKean is an astrologist and tarot card reader. And Mahnaz Shabbir is an entrepreneur and practicing Muslim.
Enjoy this episode of “The Filter.” Feedback is always welcome.
The Filter Ep. 2: ‘Alone Together’
In early March, the coronavirus pandemic didn’t seem like it would hit the U.S. this hard. And then it did.
The number of COVID-19 cases continue to spike, so leaders across the country are mandating that people stay at home under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Folks are advised to self-isolate or practice social distancing, which is a public health effort to stop the spread from sick to healthy people, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly ordered that residents in six Kansas counties – Wyandotte, Douglas, Doniphan, Miami, Leavenworth and Johnson – can only go out for essentials. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has issued the same “Stay At Home” order. Other counties in the metropolitan area have joined.
But this virus also revealed other symptoms. Racism. Othering. Political confusion.
“I think that casting the Coronavirus as the ‘Chinese Virus’ is soaking up xenophobia. … It has real world consequences.”jack zhang, political science professor at KU
So in this episode, we tapped Jack Zhang, an expert in U.S.-China relations who not only has the academic experience to share, but also a few personal takes. Then we had a candid conversation with 90.9 The Bridge’s Michelle Bacon, who delves into how this pandemic has affected her.
We cover topics like anxiety, feeling othered, and how socializing has changed (and changed us) in the past few weeks. So hang and learn with us.
If you have a question about this topic, let your voice be heard. Our public-powered effort called curiousKC is open for your questions. Read more about how you can get involved and submit here.
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A wise uncle ....
Pressing play puts an essential informative pause on my day. This podcast informs elements of life that keeps our human mind thriving!
Really great conversations!
Tuning into this podcast feels like sitting down to have coffee or tea with a friend. And the music in the background gives such a cool vibe. Glad to be in on yalls conversations!