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Farai Chideya
Farai Chideya is doing radio specials about the midterm elections, produced by WNYC and distributed by APM. You can find out more, listen to audio of the shows, and watch video at

You can also find out more about Farai at

Entries by Farai Chideya

Standing Your Ground in Journalism, Even When Diversity Isn't Valued

(1) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 9:13 AM

Last weekend I went on cable to talk about media diversity, including how both legacy media and startups, for- and non-profit, were living in a post-racial America that doesn't exist -- meaning, not hiring people of color and not caring if they get called out about it. Writer and former...

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An Ode to the Innovating Women of Technology

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 9:13 AM

During one of the many recent battles over gender and technology companies, a series of comments online repeated the same message. Tech has done just fine without a lot of women around; maybe better than if they had been. How can you fault companies for being successful without women at...

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Without Anger There Is Only Sadness: Reflections On The Killing Of Mike Brown

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 10:14 AM

I do not want to know who Mike Brown is. I do not want him to become real to me. I do not want to empathize with his family... not sympathize, but empathize. That is: to feel a visceral connection to another, to feel a pain that is not theirs...

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Media Money and Power in a Post-Post-Racial Age

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 5:05 PM

Friday, Aug. 1, marks the final episode of NPR's Tell Me More, an hour-long show that focuses on top news and diverse communities. A show I hosted on the network, News and Notes, was cancelled in 2009. In both cases, managerial churn and budget deficits were partly to blame for...

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Working on Empty: America's Workers Are Spending Down Savings to Survive

(76) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 11:12 AM

As the President takes the podium for the State of the Union, the majority of people watching and listening to his speech will be almost certainly be worse off financially than they were when he took office. That's not allocating blame, just stating a fact. According to the Pew Research...

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A Very Buddhist Christmas

(42) Comments | Posted December 24, 2013 | 11:33 AM

Sitting in my mother's home in Baltimore, Maryland -- the state named for the mother of Jesus, by the many Catholic co-founders of the colony -- I listen to Barbara Streisand sing the divine melodies of Ave Maria. It's deliberate, serene, rich with gravitas and promise, with the vocal flourishes...

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Soul Train and Pain: New Book Explores The Legacy of Don Cornelius' Empire

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 11:36 AM


In her new book, Love, Peace and Soul: Behind the Scenes of America's Favorite Dance Show, Soul Train, author Ericka Blount Danois does more than a pop-chronology or even a look behind the scenes. She gets deeply into the history and sociology of a...

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An Open Letter on Diversity to Washington Post Buyer Jeff Bezos

(11) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 5:49 PM

Dear Mr. Bezos:

Congratulations on buying the Washington Post. It will be a tall task to "invent" and "experiment" while also living by your statement that "The values of the Post do not need changing" -- all words from your letter to the employees of the Washington Post.

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Bus 'Em to the Border

(5) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 2:06 PM

No, the headline of this piece does not refer to undocumented immigrants. I'm talking about Congress: the men and women who are right now deciding the future of the United States via immigration legislation. After months of wrangling and years of inaction, immigration reform seems to be closer to passage...

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Ode to the Black Tiger Mother

(8) Comments | Posted June 19, 2013 | 12:40 PM

When I read my friend Andrew Lam's graduation speech, I laughed in recognition. Although he -- author, most recently, of Bird of Paradise Lost -- was born in Vietnam and I in the U.S., just to name one of our many differences, we're kindred spirits... and children of different...

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Show Some Respect! Innovating Women Are Reshaping the World

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 10:16 AM

What's happening with women in technology entrepreneurship reminds me of two classic song lyrics. James Brown sang, "It's a Man's World." But Aretha Franklin responded, "They say that it's a man's world/Well you can't prove that by me..../Show some respect for me."

Aretha's lyrics could be the refrain for an...

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Why the President (Probably) Won't Legalize Marijuana

(56) Comments | Posted December 26, 2012 | 7:13 PM

If the New York Times runs an Opinionator column called "Give Pot a Chance," chances are things are changing in America... though not necessarily the way people assume. The column's argument calls on President Obama to legalize marijuana and have, as its kicker states, some "backbone." While that's one...

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Disadvantage Black? Race, Politics, and Gun Reform

(4) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 9:00 AM

President Barack Obama has weathered two seasons of thinly-veiled racial attacks, apparently a standard part of what it takes to be elected president if you're black. Before he took office in January 2009, there was a run on guns, sparked in part by the head of the...

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God Is Good: Brooklyn Version (and the Storm...)

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2012 | 9:15 PM

She was crying, in that quiet way that people do when they are in pain and not only don't care if anyone notices, but wouldn't know even if they cared. I was sitting across from her in one of the emptiest subway cars I've been on in years.

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Love Thy Haters, Mr. President, and Kick Some Ass

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2012 | 5:12 PM

The president... well, he wasn't the president then, but the senator from Illinois, yelled at me four years ago. It was during the South Carolina primary, after which he became the undisputed front runner. I began a phoner (a telephone interview for radio broadcast) by asking about Fox News' wall-to-wall...

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The Messy Majesty of America

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2012 | 1:33 AM

When my grandmother was dying of cancer I pulled out my tape recorder. Her life story unfolded like a trusty map annotated with Xs over hidden traps and circles around secret pleasures; worn with creases; warm from being folded in a back pocket. Mary Catherine Stokes was a Depression baby,...

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The Gulf: Can We Bring Empathy Back Into Politics?

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 3:47 PM

America is too big to wrap your brain around, at least all at once. So, apparently, is the GOP. At times, speakers at the Republican National Convention contradicted each other. Rand Paul's argument for cutting military spending was followed directly by John McCain's critique of military cuts. Ann Romney's ode...

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Why We Burn: Reflections on 25 Years of Burning Man and 13 of Personal Participatory Culture

(2) Comments | Posted September 8, 2011 | 2:15 PM

I drove out of Black Rock City at 11 p.m. last night, during a dazzling, dancing fireworks display that was the best I'd ever seen in my life. As I left this physical place, which is a manifestation of shared dreaming, I watched each burst of color, and a sustained...

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Why I'm Leaving Journalism... For Now

(3) Comments | Posted July 26, 2011 | 2:47 PM

"I feel very free to reinvent myself."

These words are written in Magic Marker on one of those huge Post-It notes the size of a signboard. It hangs in my bedroom and has sustained me for some time as I've examined my life, made some changes, and stared down an...

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Why to Save Public Media: It's Yours

(6) Comments | Posted February 15, 2011 | 1:02 PM

One of my favorite routines from George Carlin is about people wanting to save the planet. He said, It's not about saving the planet. "The planet is fine. The people are f***ed... The planet isn't going anywhere. We are."

I feel the same way about public media. Once again,...

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