'BPP' on the Web: Listeners Check In

What's clicking on the Bryant Park Project blog.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

You know, here on the BPP radio show, we talk for, you know, roughly two hours a day.

MIKE PESCA, host:

I would argue that there's a fair amount of listening.

MARTIN: There is some listening. It's mostly you listen.

PESCA: We let other people talk.

MARTIN: You talk.

PESCA: There's some music.

MARTIN: I listen.

PESCA: I've got an internal monologue...

MARTIN: Yeah.

PESCA: But you, too - you know, even during the breaks we talk, often to great effect.

MARTIN: Well, yeah, there's so much talking, but we don't talk nearly as much as all you all out there in the BPP universe. You know who you are. You people talk all day and all night, all the time. Here to help us wade through those conversations is the BPP's very own web editor Laura Conaway.

(Soundbite of music)

PESCA: Ah, now I know it's official.

MARTIN: And there's the music.

LAURA CONAWAY: Good morning.

MARTIN: Hey, Laura.

CONAWAY: How are you guys doing today?

MARTIN: We're doing well.

CONAWAY: Yeah, me, too. I've been turning on lots of comments. People are all over this thread we had about race yesterday.

MARTIN: Yeah.

CONAWAY: It started off with this segment about a white person's nightmare, which is, apparently, seeming racist. This Northwestern professor, Jennifer Richeson, just wrote this study, and basically she says, for a lot of people, it's a real fear.

Dr. JENNIFER RICHESON (Social Psychology, Northwestern University; Study Coauthor, "The Threat of Appearing Prejudiced and Race-based Attentional Biases"): People are concerned about appearing prejudiced, and some people respond with a lot of anxiety. And what we're arguing is that this anxiety, then, precludes the very diverse encounters that would lead people to actually become less biased.

MARTIN: Meaning that people are so freaked out about it that they actually will avoid interactions with people of a different race.

CONAWAY: Yes.

PESCA: I have an example of that.

CONAWAY: Shoot.

PESCA: When you said a white person's nightmare, something immediately flashed to mind, and often I'm the kind of guy who would say that thing, but for fear of appearing racist, I didn't say it, but I'm going to say it now, and you can judge if I'm being racist. Say a white person's nightmare.

CONAWAY: Do you want me to just say it?

PESCA: Just say a white person's nightmare.

CONAWAY: A white person's nightmare.

PESCA: Like "Rush Hour 4." That's all I'm saying. You see?

MARTIN: Thank you.

PESCA: It's popular, Chris Tucker - it's more a Chris Tucker. Jackie Chan.

MARTIN: You can chime in on our blog at npr.org/bryantpark.

CONAWAY: All right. So I'm going to give Marcus a chance here to say something. He's a commenter. He came in, and basically I don't think he's really buying the results of this study, or at least he's not feeling too sorry for anybody who's in it. He writes, it seems many whites just have a difficult time accepting that racism exists, or maybe they just don't care.

PESCA: And another listener, AY, writes, I really wanted to comment on this, but after three tries at not sounding racist, I gave up. There really is no freedom of speech when it comes to white individuals talking about real or perceived concerns they have about blacks. That might be a bit of self-censorship on AY's part, as opposed to freedom of speech.

CONAWAY: We posted it.

PESCA: That's right. We posted it. He could say that. He could say whatever he wants.

CONAWAY: I was - me, I was struck by this guy Carlos, who comes in and says that different parts of America feel like entirely different countries. He says, diversity is not a part of America as a whole. We have to be patient with each other, and with time we'll get to know each other, and trust each other. Seems kind of sane to me.

PESCA: Yeah. You know, I like the ones that are not as - like, who could disagree with that? You know, with time, we have to be patient.

CONAWAY: Right.

PESCA: But I like somewhere between that and the guy saying, everyone's so racist - I like a little bit edgier, but constructive.

CONAWAY: A bunch of people came in, and said they weren't sure what words to use. One word that came up for me actually dealing with the text of the story is Caucasian.

PESCA: Yes.

CONAWAY: Caucasian is a word I don't necessarily know that I can use. Here I am using it again, Caucasian, Caucasian, but I mean, seriously, can you say Caucasian?

PESCA: Unless you're like...

MARTIN: Why?

CONAWAY: I don't know, because I just - I don't know if I can say it.

PESCA: Unless you're a cop - if you're a cop describing the suspect was five-foot-eight and Caucasian.

CONAWAY: Well, right, exactly. Somebody wrote in and said that he...

PESCA: It's antiquated.

CONAWAY: And friends at work had been trying to decide whether you could describe - whether you could use the word Jew as an appropriate word, if you're not Jewish, because he feels more comfortable saying Jewish people, but we do say Muslims, Christians. It's interesting.

PESCA: Yeah. Woody Allen has a good joke about that. When asked, are you a Jew? He says, "Joo-wish (ph)."

MARTIN: Right.

CONAWAY: There you go. There was also a lot of fun with the baby picture yesterday. Alison Stewart sent a picture of her new little bundle of, let's just say, horror. He's red faced. Poor baby Ike, his hands are clenched, his eyes are squeezed shut, and we asked listeners to take on the challenge of writing a caption for this, and basically, what was that baby's trying to say?

PESCA: Laura said the baby was trying to say, I want teef (ph), damn it!

CONAWAY: Certainly hasn't got any.

MARTIN: Joe wrote in and said, will the Democratic primary ever end?

CONAWAY: Kind of a theme there. Matthew comes in and says Twitter is too slow.

MARTIN: Mora writes in and says leave Hillary alone.

PESCA: And Janine (ph) wrote, help, where'd my mommy go? I can't see. Oh, wait a minute, my eyes are closed.

CONAWAY: It's so hard to be that young, you know? In the second hour, I just want you guys to know, I'm going to go out there. What I'm going to do right now is put together pictures from this guy's work, Paul Cesewski.

MARTIN: Yeah. I talked to him.

CONAWAY: He is the artist-in-residence at the San Francisco garbage dump, and we're going to put some pictures of his work on the blog. Also worth noting, PC World just named npr.org as one of the year's best products.

MARTIN: Ooh.

CONAWAY: We're at number 23, which puts us just behind Safari, and just ahead of Photoshop CS3.

PESCA: Also, could I plug - I saw Ian's slideshow on the blog - on the branding thing.

CONAWAY: Yeah. Shoot.

PESCA : That was a great slideshow.

CONAWAY: That was pretty cool.

PESCA: I enjoyed NPR's part in that. Brand Tags, it's a good slideshow.

CONAWAY: It's part of what makes us so good.

PESCA: I talked to my wife about it, and she found it interesting, which is actually pretty high bar.

MARTIN: Web editor Laura Conaway, thank you, ma'am.

CONAWAY: Thank you.

MARTIN: Go to our website. Check out all that good stuff we just talked about at npr.org/bryantpark, and this does it for this hour of the BPP. I'm Rachel Martin.

PESCA: And I'm Mike Pesca. This is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

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