Listeners Shares Views On Immigration, Survival Stories From Nashville

Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Lee Hill, the program's "digital media guy," comb through listener feedback and offer important news updates to recent conversations heard on the program. This week, hear more reaction to the controversial new immigration law in Arizona and a candid story of survival from a listener who survived the devastating floods in Nashville.

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MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

And now it's time for a Back Talk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners.

Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here with us, as usual. Hi, Lee.

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. This week, our listeners also had more to say about that tough, new immigration law in Arizona. We've been hearing from lots of folks who say it could easily lead to racial profiling. Now, separately, Michel, in your commentary Monday, you raised another perspective. It was based on research showing that ethnic minorities - which includes many immigrants - come to the U.S. with racial biases themselves. You pointed out that ethnic baggage is no excuse for discrimination by anyone.

MARTIN: There's another matter that gets less attention and deserves more, which is whether immigrants will be called upon to surrender their own prejudices regarding race, skin color, sexual orientation and religious preference.

HILL: As always, lots of people took to our Web site to weigh in with their thoughts. Blogger Tegin(ph) says racial prejudices held by non-natives slices both ways. Americans are guilty, too. She writes, quote: "The more racially influenced laws are out there, the more these immigrants are not going to feel inclined to assimilate immediately and trust their host culture."

MARTIN: Thank you, Tegin. Lee, we've also been following the devastating aftermath of the floods in the Nashville area. Some 18 deaths are known so far to have been caused by the flood. Thousands, of course, are displaced. Yesterday on our blog, you reported on how much of the region remained submerged in water after being dumped with over 13 inches of rain. That's the most since 1979.

We asked our audience in Nashville to tell us how they're fairing in all this. We heard from Tyler, who had this to say.

TYLER: It's hard. You grow up in a place that you've called home all your life, and then you watch the flood waters rise into it, and it's heartbreaking. People are in their boats, helping to pull out any victims. The community aspect of Nashville has been always been there, but you can definitely see it now that we're in one of our hardest times.

HILL: Thanks, Tyler, and know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers.

MARTIN: Absolutely. Very much thinking about you in these difficult times, and we hope we'll have more on this story next week.

Lee, anything else?

HILL: Just one thing we need to clarify. When talking about those heated Senate hearings with Goldman Sachs for alleged fraud in last week's Barbershop, NPR political editor Ken Rudin made an incorrect reference. He said: Anthem Blue Shield in California decided to raise its premiums 39 percent during the height of last year's health care debate. Actually, Blue Shield is a separate entity and is a not-for-profit health plan. Blue Shield is not affiliated with WellPoint, the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross of California.

MARTIN: Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thanks, Michel.

MARTIN: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log on to our Web site. Just go to npr.org, click on Programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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