Offen, Bernard — The Power of Good and Evil

In honor of Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day which falls on April 16, in 2015, we visit with Bernard Offen, a survivor of five concentration camps in Poland, when he was a young teenager during World War II. Bernard Offen leads tours of these concentration camps and says, “You don’t have to be a survivor or Jewish. It’s for all the wounded who want to understand the power of good & evil and want to create goodness in the world.”

When Bernard Offen visited the studios of Radio Curious in April 2005, he began our conversation by describing some of his early childhood experiences in Krakow, Poland in the years just prior to World War II. 

Bernard Offen recommends his own book that was published in 2010, entitled “My Hometown Concentration Camp.” 

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Bayer, Jaciara: Transracial Adoptions and White Privilege

We continue our discussion of racism and white privilege in Mendocino County, California, with a 30 year old Brazilian born woman,  who is currently studying for a master’s degree in social work at the California State University at Hayward.

Jaciara Bayer was adopted and brought to the United States at age 11 months by her single, white-American mother and grew up in Ukiah, California.  

A transracial adoption, which may be an international adoption, is the primary focus of Jaciara Bayer’s plan of study for her master’s degree.  Sharing her personal experiences, she tells us of being told she’s different, growing up in a white family and white privilege.  When Jaci, as she is often known, and I visited in the studios of Radio Curious on March 23, 2015, she began with her earliest memories.

The book Jaciara Bayer recommends is “In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want,” by Iyanla Van Zant.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Nawa, Fariba — Child Brides & Drug Lords

Imagine Darya, a twelve year old girl in a remote village of Afghanistan. Her father forces her to marry a drug lord as part payment for an opium drug trade. Her father is not home and she is about to be taken from her family. Desperately, her hands trembling, she implores you, a complete stranger: “Please don’t let him take me.”

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Fariba Nawa, author of “Opium Nation: Child Brides, Drug Lords and One Woman’s Journey Through Afghanistan.” Fariba Nawa was ten years old when her family fled Afghanistan shortly before the Soviet invasion in 1979. Eighteen years later Fariba Nawa met twelve year old Darya when she returned to her native Afghanistan as an Afghan-American investigative journalist. Her book tells Darya’s story, and reveals what the Afghan opium drug trade is doing to her native land in the midst of war.

Fariba Nawa and I visited by phone from her home near San Francisco, California on January 23, 2012. We began with her description of coming to the United States and flight from Afghanistan.

The book Fariba Nawa recommends is “Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War,” by Annia Ciezaldo.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Bainbridge, Dr. David — Why Women Have Curves

I presume that all of you have, at one time or another, noticed that within the greater animal kingdom, the female of our species has a curvaceous body shape visibly different from the shape of the male homo sapiens.  Why women have curves and how these curves reflect on other aspects of our lives, is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Dr. David Bainbridge, Professor of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Cambridge, in Cambridge, England and the author of “Curvology:  The Origins and Power of Female Body Shape.” 

When Dr. David Bainbridge and I visited by phone from his home in England on March 6, 2015, I asked him “why is it that female humans are curvy?”

The book Dr. David Bainbridge recommends is “Intelligent Life in the Universe,” by I.S. Shklovskii and Carl Sagan, published in 1966.  It is a product of a unique international collaboration between a world famous Russian astronomer and a leading American space scientist, presenting a modern discussion of the entire panorama of natural evolution.

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Durham, Bill — Racism in America:  One Man’s Experience

Radio Curious continues its series racism in a conversation with Bill Durham, a 59 year old black man, originally from Ohio who grew up in family of civil rights activists and now lives in Mendocino County, California.  We explore the effects of racism in the United States and how to end it.  Bill Durham, works as a journeyman carpenter, and hosts Club FM, a weekly blues, jazz and rock music program on KMEC radio in Ukiah, California with the moniker of MC Squared.

In this program, recorded on February 12, 2015, at Radio Curious, Bill Durham shares his experiences of being black in America, starting when he was very young, and his ideas on how to relieve racism.

The book Bill Durham recommends is “Supernatural:  Meeting with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind,” by Graham Hancock.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Massey, Orell — Racism in a Rural California Sheriff’s Department Part Two

Radio Curious continues our series on racism in Mendocino County, California. Our guest is Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff Orell Massey who, for the past 20 years has been the only black law enforcement officer in the county’s history.  A native of South Carolina, Deputy Massey was a 21 year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps assigned to the Foreign Service Embassy detail before he moved to Mendocino County. When I asked Sheriff Massey to be a guest on this program and share his experience as a black Deputy Sheriff, he asked:  “Are the people of Mendocino County ready to hear what I have to say?”    

In part one of our conversation, Deputy Massey describes some people’s reaction to him while he is in on duty.

In part two, recorded on February 1, 2015, in the Radio Curious studios, Deputy Massey gives his personal response when asked, “what is it like to be the only black Deputy Sheriff ever in the history of Mendocino County?” Later he shares stories about his off duty life, his goals and aspirations.

The book Deputy Massey recommends is “Code Talker:  The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of World War Two,” by Chester Nez and Judith Schiess Avila.

Click here to listen to part two or on the media player below.

Massey, Orell — Racism in a Rural California Sheriff’s Department Part One

Our guest on this edition of Radio Curious is Deputy Sheriff Orell Massey—a black man, native of South Carolina and a 20 year veteran of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department. He is also a 21 year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps where he was assigned to the Embassy detail.  When I asked Sheriff Massey to be a guest on this program and share his experience as a black Deputy Sheriff, he asked:  “Are the people of Mendocino County ready to hear what I have to say?”   

In part one of our conversation, recorded on February 1, 2015, Deputy Orell Massey shares his experiences.  You may decide if you are ready to hear what he has to say.

In part two, Deputy Massey gives his personal response when asked, “what is it like to be the only black Deputy Sheriff ever in the history of Mendocino County?” Later he shares stories about his off duty life, his goals and aspirations.

Click here to listen to part one or on the media player below.

Wilkerson, Isabel — America’s Great Migration: 1915-1970 Part One

In the years between 1915 and 1970 almost six million black American citizens from the south migrated to northern and western cities seeking freedom and a better life. Our guest is Pulitzer Prize winner, Isabel Wilkerson author of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” Her book tells the untold experiences of the African-Americans who fled the south over three generations.

Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,000 people for her book. She is the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and is a recipient of the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Her parents were part of the great migration, journeying from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington D.C.

In the first of two interviews recorded from Isabel Wilkerson’s home near Atlanta, Georgia, on September 28, 2012, she begins with a description of the “biggest untold story of the 20th century.” 

The book Isabel Wilkerson recommends is “The Ark of Justice,” by Kevin Boyle.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part two.

 

Cohen, James — Ferguson Grand Jury: A Legal Analysis, Part Two

We continue our look into the Ferguson, Missouri, investigation of the August 9, 2014, shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old black man, shot three times in the head by the now former Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. 

The St. Louis County, Missouri, grand jury, convened by District Attorney and Prosecutor Robert McCulloch failed to return any criminal charges against Wilson.  This occurred after three months of weekly grand jury meetings.  Prosecutor Robert McCulloch gathered and organized the information and facts presented to the grand jury. 

Our guest is Attorney and Law Professor James A. Cohen, who has tried over 100 criminal jury trials and teaches criminal law and related topics at Fordham University Law School in New York City.  

In part one, Professor Cohen and I reviewed the evidence, including Wilson’s spoken testimony, the written police reports and medical reports presented to the St. Louis, Missouri, grand jury, by District Attorney McCulloch.

In this second part of our visit with Professor Cohen we continue a review of Officer Wilson’s testimony and the forensic evidence.  We then examine the duties of a prosecutor before a grand jury; the potential for conflicts of interest; and the prosecutor’s ethical obligations.  Professor Cohen asserts that had a special prosecutor been appointed to present the evidence of the facts surrounding Officer Wilson’s shooting of Brown, it is likely that a significantly different decision might have resulted from the grand jury’s deliberations.

In this program, recorded on December 5, 2014, we begin part two with Professor Cohen’s analysis of Officer Wilson’s testimony about why he shot Michael Brown nine times, including three shots to the young man’s head.

The books that Professor Cohen recommends are those written by Anders Ericsson:  “The Road To Excellence: The Acquisition of Expert Performance in the Arts and Sciences, Sports, and Games” and “Development of Professional Expertise: Toward Measurement of Expert Performance and Design of Optimal Learning Environments.”

Click here to listen to part two or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part one.

Edge, Jerome — Unity and Healing After a School Shooting: A Native American Perspective

The shooting and deaths at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, on October 24, 2014, brought sadness, fear, unity and a special form of healing to the Tulalip and other Native people of the area. 

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Jerome Edge, a Native American of Swinomish and Upper Skagit heritage, hip-hop activist and radio host at KSVR-FM in Mt. Vernon, Washington. When Jerome Edge and I visited from his home in Mt. Vernon, Washington, we discussed the trauma and sadness caused by the shootings and the turn toward healing that then occurred.  We also discussed a developing hip-hop focus — a way to instill values of personal and community respect and strength.  The song “Rise Up,” which you will hear in the program sung by Shaundiin Zollner, is used by permission.

Jerome Edge and I began our conversation on November 16, 2014, when I asked him to put the shootings in a context of time and place.

The book Jerome Edge recommends is “The Indians of Skagit County,” by Martin J. Sampson.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.