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Students at Luther High School watch Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" before a class discussion.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Polls suggest this is one of the the most politically divided moments in American history. There are now tip sheets on how to survive Thanksgiving without disowning your family, and the comment sections of online news articles are full of vitriol.

Schools are not immune to the tension, but not everyone thinks that’s a bad thing.

Latino Legislators Remain Few But Represent Range of Districts

Jul 21, 2017

In just under one year, the number of Hispanics in Oklahoma’s statehouse has jumped 200 percent.

But that’s only because the election of one man to the House in November and another to the Senate last week brought the number of Hispanic, or Latino, lawmakers up from one to three.

Portrait of a Venetian Ambassador, Aged 59, II, 2006. By Kehinde Wiley.
Tony Powell

Artist Kehinde Wiley is known for his colorful portraits of everyday African-Americans in the style of classical European paintings. Raised in South Central Los Angeles and educated at the San Francisco Art Institute and Yale University, Wiley has lived and worked around the world.

Author Lauret Savoy
Provided

America’s history is the history of its people, and according to author Lauret Savoy, the history of the people is connected directly to the land. Savoy is a teacher, earth scientist, writer, photographer, and pilot as well as a woman of mixed African American, Euro-American and Native American heritage.

A member of the black student protest group Concerned Student 1950 gestures while addressing a crowd following the announcement that University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign, at the university in Columbia, Mo. - Nov. 9, 2015
Jeff Roberson / AP

From South Africa, to Palestine, to Haiti, to a small college town in the middle of the United States, you’ll find injustice everywhere.

Clemson University women’s leadership lecturer Saadiqa Lundy has created empowerment and development programs in Africa and the Caribbean, But when Lundy met her husband Chenjerai Kumanyika, she became more of an activist and a protester. She says teaching a subject like that is completely different than actually being there.

backpacks
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Four stories that were trending or generated discussion online or on KGOU’s social media platforms during the past week.

In All Cases, Police Find No Proof Of Racial Profiling

Dec 19, 2015
Daran Steele, of northeast Oklahoma City, alleges that two police officers improperly detained and frisked him in 2013 because he is black.
Nate Robson, Oklahoma Watch / YouTube

Over a four-year period, Oklahoma’s two largest police departments and two state agencies received about 60 complaints alleging unlawful racial profiling by officers.

Investigators substantiated none of the allegations, according to data obtained by Oklahoma Watch.

All of the complaints were probed by the law enforcement agencies against whom the complaints were filed, but investigators found insufficient evidence that officers had treated the person differently because of race or ethnicity.

As protests sweep across the University of Missouri, Yale, and other colleges, University of Oklahoma president David Boren reflects on how the campus he leads reacted to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon incident eight months ago.

University of Oklahoma students pose in solidarity with University of Missouri protesters on November 12, 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Protests at the University of Missouri, Yale, and other college campuses are forcing universities into uncomfortable discussions about race and diversity. In March, two University of Oklahoma fraternity members were videotaped singing a racist chant on a charter bus. Over the past eight months, the atmosphere has changed on OU's campus.

About 60 University of Oklahoma students, dressed in black, line up for a photo.

In the first picture, their fists are up. They smile in the second. For the third shot, they keep straight faces.

Most Police Seizures Of Cash In Oklahoma Come From Blacks, Hispanics

Oct 14, 2015

Nearly two-thirds of seizures of cash by Oklahoma law enforcement agencies come from blacks, Hispanics and other racial or ethnic minorities, an Oklahoma Watch analysis of high-dollar forfeiture cases in 10 counties shows.

Since a Snapchat video of University of Oklahoma football player Eric Striker's response to Sigma Alpha Epsilon's racist chant went viral, ESPN interviewed more than 40 players from 15 programs across the country and surveyed another 99 players anonymously about their reaction to Striker and their own encounters with racism and profiling. Many players applauded Striker for speaking out and were eager to share their own opinions and experiences that mirror his at Oklahoma.

'Waking Up White' Explores White Privilege

Aug 10, 2015

Debby Irving grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts, in a predominantly white, upper middle class community. For much of her life, she hadn’t given much thought to race, even though she had encountered racial tensions at work and her children’s schools.

The San Francisco-based group Culture Clash started some 30 years ago at a Cinco de Mayo event with six members, eventually winnowing down to three: Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza. Though they had a brief foray into television in the 1990s, Culture Clash finds its primary home in the theater.

The group often skewers stereotypes of Latinos and other minorities. They also enact the stories of people they interview, including a Muslim cab driver, a survivor of priest sexual abuse, and a transgender AIDS health worker.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Too few peers in the classroom. A lack of minority professors. Insensitive jokes. These were a few of the issues raised at a race and diversity town hall forum on Wednesday night at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The forum was hosted by Unheard and the Price College of Business.

Beyond The Racist Chant: The Facts About Black Inequality In Oklahoma

Mar 11, 2015
Predominantly black northeast Oklahoma City is plagued by abandoned and vacant homes.
Shawntel Brown / Oklahoma Watch

Recent controversy over a racist chant at a University of Oklahoma fraternity focused attention on the state’s race relations. But the numbers beneath the headlines perhaps cast a longer shadow.

By almost every metric, blacks struggle in most of the quality-of-life factors in the state. Oklahoma is first in the nation, per capita, for blacks to die at the hands of police officers among states reporting. Blacks are about half as likely to own a home, are more likely to go to prison, less likely to go to college and less likely to graduate.