Inequality in the Equality State: Race, Racism, and Identity

We're here to provide context and common ground as we examine these issues together. We'll continue to add resources to this page, stay tuned. 

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Wyoming and Race

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The Black West from Vineworks Film Co on Vimeo.

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Caroline Ballard

Nearly a quarter of Wyoming’s population is Native American. But how they are portrayed—by Natives and by whites—is complicated.

W. Kamau Bell

W. Kamau Bell is a socio-political comedian and host of the hit Emmy Award-nominated CNN docu-series, United Shades of America. W. Kamau Bell talks about his life work as a political comedian and what that means for him personally and professionally.

Two Native Americans were pulled out of a college tour this week when a parent told campus police the young men were making her nervous.

Wyoming State Historical Society

The Wyoming House passed a bill to create a day commemorating Estelle Reel. She was the first woman elected to a statewide office in 1894, as the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  

 

While the majority of lawmakers wanted to recognize Reel’s accomplishment, House Minority Leader Cathy Connolly said Reel’s discriminatory attitude toward Native Americans and women should make them think twice.

 

Connolly said she researched Reel and read multiple articles.

 

Sheridan.edu

Tribal leaders, national policymakers and educators came together last week at Sheridan College to talk about how to decrease racial tensions on their campus. Back in September, racial slurs were written on a whiteboard on the dorm door of two Native American students there, prompting a series of discussions about how to prevent future attacks.

Northern Arapaho Chairman Roy Brown participated in the roundtable and said he commends the college for taking action.

Jane W. Wolfinbarger

Jason Thompson serves as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion on the U.S. Olympic Committee. But back in the ‘90s, before he was running diversity initiatives for the Olympic Committee, he was the first black president of ASUW at the University of Wyoming. Now, he’s returning to his alma mater as the keynote speaker of UW’s MLK Days of Dialogue.

Anna Rader

As part of our series, “I Respectfully Disagree,” Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards journeyed into the heart of Wyoming’s coal country to the city of Gillette up in the northeast corner. Recently, it’s become an intensely divided community. In the last election, Wyoming went in greater percentage to Donald Trump than any other state, but Campbell County was one of the counties that supported Trump more than any other in Wyoming.

Sheridan College

In late September, two Native American women enrolled at Sheridan College were the target of multiple incidents of racist hate speech. Thursday, Sheridan College President Paul Young announced an action plan to address inclusion and safety for all students on campus.

 

Darrah Perez

Half of American Indians living in native majority areas say they or a family member feel they’ve been treated unfairly by the courts, according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It’s a lack of justice that Wind River Reservation residents say they live with every day. Now the tribes are working together to solve the problem.

One morning, Northern Arapaho member Rose was sitting at the table with her 14-year-old daughter, Latoya.

Spoken Words 12: Marlin Holmes

Nov 1, 2017
University of Wyoming

The difference between poetry and slam poetry is vibrant and apparent in this interview with University of Wyoming PhD student, Marlin Holmes. Taking inspiration from rap, hip-hop, and a high school English assignment, Holmes discusses his passion for the spoken word, and shares some of his creations; rotating between narratives of identity and race, and the journey of finding love. 

Darrah Perez

Wind River Reservation resident Clarisse Harris was one of the 40 participants who attended the “Against Racism” workshop put on by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. She says she attended the workshop thinking even she could be racist, but after attending the workshop, Harris came away thinking she wasn’t.

Only six of the 40 workshop attendees were non-native, two of them from Fremont County. Community member Chesie Lee says she was disappointed more non-natives community members didn’t attend.

Annie E. Casey Foundation

A new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds kids from immigrant families, as well as children of color, face persistent challenges that hinder their economic future.  

Martynas Barzda

How should Americans overcome racism and movements like White Supremacy?

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

By contributing your comment, you consent to the possibility of having it read on the air. 

Caroline Ballard

Fifteen-year-old Kade Clark stood shirtless at a water spigot outside the Niobrara County Fairgrounds in Lusk. He reached into a bucket full of red-brown dirt, grabbed a handful, and ran it under the water. Then, he began to paint himself.

“So we look like Indians and stuff. Yea you get it wet, it gets on easier,” said Clark.

Clark is white, and is one of the dozens of people, from toddlers to the elderly, playing Sioux Indians in The Legend of Rawhide, the annual July Pageant and Wild West re-enactment.

Tennessee Watson

Wyoming Senator Anthony Bouchard has had his share of media attention over the last month for a tense exchange with three University of Wyoming students and a professor. The controversy revolves around a class project about how African-American males are stereotyped as dangerous, which Bouchard said was anti-gun and an example of the one-sided approach to the issue he says is pervasive on campus.  

Over the past few months, we’ve been looking at the housing crisis on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The shortage of homes there—and the lack of funding to build more--has led to overcrowding and homelessness. Many Native Americans are often forced to find rentals in border communities off the reservation. Even there they still struggle to find places to live because of racial discrimination.

Brooklynn Gray

Hundreds of University of Wyoming students, faculty, and community members protested the outcome of last week’s election with a Solidarity Walk Out Monday.

Reports of discrimination and harassment of minorities have increased across the U.S. in recent days. The solidarity walk, which started at the Wyoming Union before heading downtown and back, was meant to show support for LGBTQ individuals, Muslims, immigrants and other marginalized groups.

University of Wyoming

  

The University of Wyoming’s new president, Laurie Nichols, recently met with tribal leaders to talk about recruiting more Native American students to the school. In her previous position as provost at South Dakota State University, Nichols says welcoming Native students was a big priority, and she’d like to do the same at UW.

She says both the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone business councils explained that their tribal populations are growing, and that means a lot more young people will be reaching college age in the coming years.

An African American woman was injured in what she said was a racially motivated attack in Laramie early Sunday morning. 

The victim is a former Laramie resident who posted on her Facebook page that she and two other African Americans were returning from a night at Laramie’s Jubilee Days when they were approached by a small group who shouted racial slurs at the victim's group and threatened to kill them. 

via Clear Creek Facebook

A substitute teacher in Johnson County School District claims administrators at Buffalo’s Clear Creek Middle School mishandled an offensive student project.

According to a news release written by teacher John Egan and published on social media this week, the 7th grade social studies project was a cereal box decorated with a picture of a stereotyped Mexican man with a cardboard knife sticking into him. The box was captioned “Can you pin the knife in the Mexican?”

The 20th anniversary of the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice kicks off Wednesday, April 6th. The event was started by two members of the College of Education at the University of Wyoming. In 2002, it was renamed in honor of slain UW student Matthew Shepard. Since then, the symposium has grown into a network of organizations and individuals working toward equality. On this milestone, symposium organizer Michelle Jarman says it’s time for a retrospective. 

The Modern West 8: The Contemporary Black Western Experience

Feb 16, 2016
PALACE OF THE GOVERNORS PHOTO ARCHIVES 050884

In honor of Black History Month, we’ll hear about the highs and lows of the black experience in the Modern West. 

Art collector Jordan Schnitzer bought his first painting as a teenager. Since then, he’s amassed one of the largest private collections in the country: 9000 prints by contemporary artists.

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