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Host's Return Home Stirs Listener Reflections

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Host's Return Home Stirs Listener Reflections

Host's Return Home Stirs Listener Reflections

Host's Return Home Stirs Listener Reflections

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/92230963/92230951" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Hear listener and blogger reaction to recent conversations heard on the program. This week, listeners and bloggers respond to Michel Martin's visit to her old Brooklyn neighborhood. Plus, hear from a man who says the patriotism of African-Americans often marches to a different tune.

MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now, it's time for BackTalk, 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 man, is here with me, as always.

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Welcome back from New York.

MARTIN: Thanks, Lee. What do you have for us?

HILL: Well, we've got a lot of comments about our New York stories. The Tell Me More crew was in New York City earlier this week to mark the launch of the show on WNYC. Now, Michel, New York is your home town, and while you were there, you took an interesting trip to your old neighborhood and stopped by the house of your childhood friend, Leslie Gross(ph).

MARTIN: It's hard to imagine anybody else living here other than Leslie and her family. This was always a special place for me. It seemed like there was always a pot of chicken and rice on the stove and a pitcher of her mom's special Kool-Aid concoction in the fridge and Leslie's folks, and I don't know, it's amazing to be back here.

HILL: Well, Michel, we got a lot of thoughtful feedback to that visit, and this note from Earl kind of sums it up, who agrees that returning home can be bittersweet.

EARL: The segment on your return to Brooklyn almost - it almost brought tears to my eyes. Since I'm a grown man, that's pretty significant. But I'm from Brooklyn as well, and the mixed emotions that you expressed really resonated with me, and I myself have had times where I felt like I would return. But when I would go back, and I would visit, you know, think of the quality of life issues, it sobers me up real quick, and I come back home to Houston.

HILL: But we also had this note from your fellow New Yorker, Leon.

LEON: There are many native New Yorkers who, upon getting an opportunity to see another way of life, never even think about reentering the high voltage alternating current that is New York. And then there are many others like me who are privileged to go away to college and do a stint in D.C. but never seriously considered calling anywhere else home. Welcome back, even if only to hear your own voice mixed with the sounds of the city that made you and still makes me.

MARTIN: Thank you to Earl and to Leon. And Leon, I should mention, is an old friend and colleague. Not only did we work together at the Wall Street Journal, in another life, we were also summer interns together at the Washington Post.

And now, onto another topic. We asked you to tell us your thoughts about patriotism - if it needs to be expressed in terms that are acceptable to the broader culture. Saint Francis(ph) left this on our comment line.

Ms. SAINT FRANCIS: I find it very, very difficult that quote, unquote, "mainstream America" has difficulties with how other people - other people meaning even people who have lived here forever, and yet, they are treated like a second -lass citizen here - they expect us to show our patriotism in the same way that they do, and I find that very, very disturbing.

MARTIN: Thank you, Saint Francis, for that comment and thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: Remember to tell us more about what you think. You can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. That number again, 202-842-3522, or go to the Tell Me More page at npr.org and blog it out.

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