Perspectives

Photos of Judge Byers and Tom Hodson with Spectrum logo

Conversations about Race and Racism Featured on WOUB’s Spectrum Podcast


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New episodes are released each Wednesday

ATHENS, OH – Over the past several weeks, WOUB’s Spectrum Podcast has featured conversations about race, racism and social justice. More episodes have been recorded and will be published over the summer.

To date, the conversations have featured racism confronted by a black female judge, racism and racial disparities in our criminal justice system, parenting black children in this era of unrest, the achievement gap and racial disparities in education, and racial biases in health care.

Spectrum will be featuring, over the next few weeks, racism in the entertainment field, code switching for blacks, and racism towards African Americans by some news media outlets.

“It is vital for us to have these difficult, in-depth conversations about race and white privilege,” says Tom Hodson, Spectrum’s creator. “For too many years, we ignored that racism still existed, and we never had the hardcore conversations about racial disparities and mistreatment.”

“We did not acknowledge the difference between claiming we were not racists and the affirmative position of being anti-racist,” he adds.

Judge Gayle Williams-Byers has been added to the podcast as a co-host of these critical episodes.  She is the first African American woman judge of the South Euclid Municipal Court in Northeastern Ohio and is a former Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) Assistant Prosecutor.

She also brings the perspective of being a mother of a black son.

“This podcast is important and necessary so that we can educate, enlighten, inspire and call to action all those who do not merely profess their stance of not being a racist, but rather is designed to jolt the listener into a position of purpose, because that is what it means to be anti-racist,” Judge Byers says.

“There have no doubt been flashpoints in our history when conversations about race were important and even necessary.  Our country revisited this issue with the unsettling series of events that unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri, but apparently not with enough sufficiency,” Judge Byers adds.

“Here we are, now some six years later, having watched the televised killing of George Floyd while also learning about other Blacks across this nation whose lives have been cut short with similar acts of violent disregard.  The names of Ahmaud Abery, Breona Taylor, Rashard Brooks and countless others are now etched into the “Black lexicon,” because of our inability to explain the seeming indifference to the Black life and equal difficulty in explaining to our children how to navigate a nation that after 400 years, still does not fully accept them,” she notes.

Judge Byers congratulates WOUB for creating this series of conversations.

“I am grateful to WOUB for using the power of this podcast platform to talk candidly about….not just the unjust disparities that we see in policing, but the several disparities that are not so readily obvious to those who have the comfort of privilege and will likely never have these experiences,” she says.

You may listen to these important conversations through Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and NPR One. Spectrum also is available through the NPR Podcast Directory, https://www.npr.org/podcasts/486931216/spectrum.

The Spectrum Podcast also is archived at https://woub.org/tag/spectrum/

New episodes are released on Wednesdays.