Emily Bernard’s latest book of essays, Black is the Body: Stories from my Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine, was named a Best Book of 2019 by NPR and received the LA Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. She has a new essay in the New Yorker. She discusses race, racism, family, restorative justice, and what she hopes will emerge from the current movement for racial justice. (July 8, 2020 broadcast)
Emily Bernard, Julian Lindsay Green & Gold Professor of English, University of Vermont, author, Black is the Body
According to the ACLU of Vermont, “Every metric we have shows that Black Vermonters face systemic barriers to education, health care, employment, and justice.” Too often, conversations about racism consist of white reporters (like me) asking black people to explain their lives. In Vermont, this reflects the fact that most media outlets have few to no people of color on staff, an outgrowth of a system of white privilege that has provided countless opportunities for whites to advance in the world of journalism, while people of color are left off the airwaves and out of print. Maroni Minter, campaigns director at ACLU of Vermont and my nephew, discusses his own experiences with racism as an African American man in Vermont, and leads a conversation with Vermonters of color in a wide-ranging discussion about race and racism in one of the whitest states in the US. (June 17, 2020 broadcast)
John Gennari and Emily Bernard are both professors of English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Vermont. As academics, they explore the volatile interface of race, ethnicity, politics, literature, music and culture. As a married couple, they live the issues they teach: Gennari is Italian American, Bernard is African American. They discuss issues ranging from teaching the N-word, the relationship between Italian Americans and African Americans, their experience when their local high school in South Burlington, Vt. engaged in a heated debate over a mascot that evoked the Confederacy, and being an interracial couple. (June 7, 2017 broadcast)
More than three people per day were killed by police in America in the last month. The majority of the victims were men of color. What hope is there for progress on racial justice in this deadly environment? How can we shut off the school-to-prison pipeline, where school students are being sent to jail instead of the principal’s office? What are the lessons of Selma, Alabama, for the post-Ferguson America?