Listeners React to Stories on Thomas, Eldercare

In this week's BackTalk, hear listener feedback to the program's most recent stories, including conversations about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and ongoing coverage about eldercare.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now, it's time for Backtalk where we lift the curtain on conversations happening on the TELL ME MORE blog. They get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our Web producer, joins me here in the studio as always.

Hey, Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, they are calling it the tale of two Thomases - New York Knicks coach, Isiah Thomas, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Now, the two are of no relation but their cases on the surface seems somewhat parallel when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Now the fellows in our Barbershop weighed in on it. We offered up a couple of interviews here on TELL ME MORE, and now our listeners are having their say.

Roan(ph) in Philadelphia had pretty strong words for us about our conversation with columnist Armstrong Williams, a pal of Clarence Thomas. Aside from the sexual harassment drama, Roan says, just look at his record.

RONIN (Blogger): Your guest Armstrong Williams' statement that African-Americans should see how Thomas has, quote, "identified with their plight," unquote, is a real sincere tragedy because nowhere in any of Thomas' significant decisions over the past 15 years has he done so or even tried to identify with the plight of African-Americans as a Supreme Court justice. So please if you talk about Thomas, talk about Thomas' written decisions.

MARTIN: Okay, Roan, and I have to say Roan was not the only person to express that opinion. We hear you.

Next, over the past week or so we've taken a special interest in elder care on our blog. We asked you to share with us your questions, your experiences, what you've learned from taking care of an elderly loved one. One of our listeners, Yolanda(ph), wanted us to know about her experience and what she's now telling her children.

YOLANDA (Blogger): We've taken care of my husband's and my parents until their death, and they lived in our home. It was never a question. It was assumed that we would always. So thankfully my husband felt the same way. And also I have talked to my children over the years and they realized we helped our parents and they will help us. So I think in the long run, that's the best way we should go.

HILL: Thanks, Yolanda, for sharing your experience. And…

(Soundbite of song, "America")

Ms. RITA MORENO (Singer; Actress): (Singing) Puerto Rico, my heart's devotion. Let it sink back in the ocean.

MARTIN: Of course, that was Rita Moreno singing in the movie, musicale "West Side Story." We spoke with actress Rita Moreno about her fabulous career, and in my conversation with her, I incorrectly said that she had been the only woman to have ever won all four of show business' biggest awards - the Oscar, the Tony, the Grammy and the Emmy.

Well, not so fast. One of our librarians pointed out that Audrey Hepburn also won all four of those awards. I need to have a stern talk with my research assistant. Oh, wait. I am my own research assistant. Oh, well - anyway, maybe I was just overwhelmed by meeting Rita. What do you think, Lee?

HILL: Well, at least we can say Rita's in good company.

MARTIN: That's right.

HILL: Well, and on a good note. Finally, a note from Deborah(ph). She writes: I just wanted to let you know that I just caught Michel Martin's show yesterday. What a treat. I just loved it - the format, the topic and most of all, Ms. Martin. I will be sure to tell all of my friends about this show. I'm going to have to figure out how I can listen to the show while at work.

MARTIN: Well, good luck with that, Deborah. Thank you. Don't forget you can stream or Podcast the show. And can we call your boss? Well, thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: Remember to tell us more about what you think. Please go to our blog at npr.org/tellmemore. Blog it out.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin. You've been listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium.

Let's talk more on Monday.

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