Facing Our Truth:  Ten Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege

Facing Our Truth: Ten Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege are the result of playwrights wrestling with the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, the trial and eventual acquittal of George Zimmerman.

The discussion ranged from how well the playwrights and actors developed their craft to portray these complex issues, to personal reactions to certain plays, to how knowledge & empathy can start a chain reaction for the betterment of society.

To listen to the Price Projection Room discussion of Facing Our Truth, click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player, or download and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

Tell ‘Em What They Need to Know: The Virtues of an Informed Electorate

They say we live in the Information Age, but more and more, it feels like the public understands less and less about what really matters. How should you invest your money in a volatile economy? How should you vote when you don’t like your choices? The information is out there, but often it’s manipulated, spun, and diverted from your attention. The more information we have, it seems, the more education we need to understand it. That’s why, according to Paul Haaga, good financial advice and good journalism have never been more valuable. In this episode, he gives us an ample share of both.

Listen to this episodes of Our American Discourse by clicking on the orange play arrow, or subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

Hidden Figures

This episode of the Price Projection Room features a conversation on the popular film, Hidden Figures directed by Theodore Melfi and starring the dream team of Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, among many others.

Hidden Figures is a crowd pleasing film which centers on the overlooked stories of women of color whose mathematical work contributed the first successful launch of a human being into orbit. We discuss how the film both illustrated the racial divide in America while showcasing the work & struggle of African American women. Though we all have some criticism of the work, in the end it may be the representation of strong, smart black women that matters the most.

To listen to the Price Projection Room discussion of Hidden Figures click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player on this post. Or download and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

Federalism and the Battle for Partisan Power

We think we know how federalism works. Republicans believe in states’ rights, and Democrats want a strong federal government, right? Not so fast. New research reveals a whole different tug of war playing out on Capitol Hill. Our legislators don’t always do what they say, but they do have a strategy to design and implement our laws. It turns out that federalism is ground zero in their battle for partisan power—and now we finally know how the game is being played.

In this episode, we go behind-the-scenes with the researcher who uncovered these terms of engagement, Pamela Clouser McCann.

Policy at the Playhouse

Theatre can bolster the status quo. It can foment revolution. It can make us question our identities and the identities of those around us. It makes us yearn and strive. It gives us closure, it leaves us wanting more. Theatre is a weapon. It holds up a mirror. It is politics. Theatre dissolves the distance between people. Theatre exposes humanity and inhumanity. Theatre connects us.

The Policy at the Playhouse podcast features conversations about how art, theater in particular, is an integral part of our civic lives, allowing us to question and inform our conceptions of citizenship and community.

Listen to individual episodes on the player here, the Policy at the Playhouse page, or subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

Bonus- Cop in the Hood (part 2)

In part 2 of our discussion of Cop in the Hood by Peter Moskos, we discuss the notion of discretion in the legal system – by police all the way to prosecutors & parole/probation boards. We think about discrimination in enforcement made possible by discretion. We think about conflicts of interest in investigations of police misconduct – especially in relation to the war on drugs. How should we move forward?

Cop in the Hood

We ask how to define “good” policing, as we discuss sociologist Peter Moskos’ Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore’s Eastern District. What expectations do we put on police officers? How do police departments measure success? What should we measure for success? What does “law and order” mean? Do police receive the right kind of training to deliver the service communities want them to provide? How does Baltimore differ from Los Angeles? We also discuss the epic policy failure of the War on Drugs and the idea of legalization.

Ghost in the Shell

Our third episode of the Price Projection Room features a discussion of the sci-fi film Ghost in the Shell directed by Rupert Sanders, based on the famous Japanese Manga written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow.

The film has also sparked controversy on its casting choices, with many critics claiming another instance of Hollywood whitewashing due to film’s Japanese origin. We discuss the nature of remakes, the whitewashing controversy, whether the film adds to the Ghost world, and Scarlett Johansson – is Ghost in the Shell the perfect conversation starter for the cultural moment?

To listen to the Price Projection Room discussion of Ghost in the Shell click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player on this post. Or download and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

The Underground Railroad

*Warning: Spoilers!*

In Colson Whitehead’s award winning novel The Underground Railroad, Cora, daughter and granddaughter of slaves, flees her plantation after a horrific punishment. She heads out with a fellow slave Caesar, who takes her to the underground railroad – in this novel, a real RR. She is passionately pursued by Ridgeway, a slave catcher while she experiences the horrors of American racism and the courage of the RR personnel. The book compares a mythological Southern narrative of slavery with Cora’s truths and Ridgeway’s version of the “American imperative.” Beautifully written, full of horrific incidents, the book reminds us of the power of racism, the government’s complicity in its implementation and persistence, and reminds us freed African Americans carried with them the legacy of violence, oppression, suppression, and more violence whether from the police, physicians, or any other institution.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Underground Railroad click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player here – or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play