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One Serious Problem Gone (Jewish Journal, February 1, 2012)

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The City Council's Shameless Pander (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

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Stout Awards Honors Olney, Morrison and Mantle (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

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Dance With Who Brung ‘Ya (Jewish Journal, September 28, 2011)

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Jury Got It Right in the ‘Irvine 11’ Case (The OC Register, September 23, 2011)

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'Irvine 11' Muslim student protesters found guilty on both charges (KPCC’s Airtalk, September 23, 2011)

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Voting Rights Act Outdated in Modern Day LA (The Daily News, August 21, 2011)

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What Los Angeles Can Teach the UK (BBC News World, August 15, 2011)

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When Did Carrying An ID Become A “White Thing”? (The OC Register, August 15, 2011)

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Bill Crafts Disneyland Version of History (The Sacramento Bee, July 14, 2011)

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An Education Game Changer (The Wide Angles, July 12 2011)

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A Flotilla of Fools (The Wide Angle Blog, July 8, 2011)

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Advocacy, the Academy and Mushy Thinking (The Wide Angle Blog, July 1, 2011)

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Tragic Fiction comes to Life (The Wide Angle, June 23, 2011)

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Coalition Sues to Keep Circumcision Ban Off Ballot (The Jewish Journal, June 22, 2011)

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The Circumcision Wars (The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2011)

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Male Circumcision Ban Proposed in Santa Monica (The Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2011)

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Right Goal, Wrong Strategy (The Wide Angle Blog, May 11, 2011)

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The Bus Has Left the Station (City Journal, April 1, 2011)

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UCLA Leads the Pack (The Wide Angle Blog, March 29, 2011)

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Mixed Race Marriages and Our Attitudes (The Wide Angles, March 25, 2011)

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The Uncle Tom Accusation, Again (The Wide Angle Blog, March 18, 2011)

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A Forward Looking Decision in Civil Rights (The Wide Angle Blog, March 9, 2011)

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A Rising Wave of Anti-Semitism (Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2009)

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The Wide Angle, A Community Advocates Blog (July - September, 2009)

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Israeli Consul General, Palestinian Lobbyist Reach Mock Peace Agreement (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 6, 2009)

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Critical Issues Seminar—Mock Peace Summit in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, April 29, 2009)

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In Battle Between Teachers, LAUSD, It’s the Kids Who Lose (Daily News, March 6, 2009)

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L.A. at the Tipping Point (www.RonKaye.LA, February 13, 2009)

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Theatrics by the Teachers (Daily News, February 8, 2009)

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Chicago Vs. Los Angeles Their Supe Is Obama’s New Education Man. Our Supe is Nice But… (LA Weekly, January 23, 2009)

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Critical Issues Seminar—Millennials Remaking America with KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, January 21, 2009)

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The Good News About Gaza in America (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 21, 2009)

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What Oakland Should be Protesting (Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2009)

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Calling All Radical Reformers to LAUSD (Daily News, December 14, 2008)

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Attention Politicians: Pandering Won’t Fly (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, November 12, 2008)

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Presentation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Ziegler Prize for Courage of Conviction (Japan American Theatre, October 22, 2008)

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The Problems and Potential of South L.A., A Dust-Up Exchange between Joe R. Hicks and Earl Ofari Hutchinson (Los Angeles Times, August 11-15, 2008)

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Find Fresh Ideas to Battle Hate, Letter to the Editor (Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

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Fast Food Freeze is a Good Choice for South LA by Jan Perry, Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

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Do You Want Poppycock With That? by Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2008)

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Fast-food Moratorium is Meddling (Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2008)

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Critical Issues Seminar on the Role of Race in the 2008 Elections in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, June 27, 2008)

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Shalom is not Funny (Letter to the Editor, Los Angeles Downtown News, June 23, 2008)

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A Dangerous and Precedent Setting Intrusion (Jewish Journal, June 13, 2008)

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“Ziman and Lee” (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 16, 2008

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We Don’t Need More Gabfests on Diversity (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 2, 2008)

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Families Deserve More than a Moratorium (Los Angeles Times, Blowback, April 10, 2008)

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On Any Given Sunday, Rev. Wright is Wrong (www.theroot.com, March 26, 2008)

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Obama’s Minister (KPCC’s Airtalk, March 18, 2008)

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LA Gang Violence Spikes (Associated Press, March 6, 2008)

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Critical Issues Seminar on The State of the Black Civil Rights Movement Today in conjunction with the Los Angeles Public Library and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February)

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Asking Too Much (Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2008)

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Playing a Frayed and Faded Race Card (Jewish Journal, January 18, 2008)

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Limiting Fast Food Outlets---Path to Better Health? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 20, 2007)

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The State Bar and Revealing Data on Minority Passage Rates (KCET’s Life & Times, December 18, 2007)

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Divisions in the Jewish Community—Talking About Jerusalem (KCET’s Life & Times, December 12, 2007)

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Do Los Angeles’ Anti-Gang Programs Work? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 6, 2007)

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Sharpton Leads Call for Federal Investigation of Hate Crimes (Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2007)

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Race Card Backlash (Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2007)

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Critical Issues Seminar on Charter Schools in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 5, 2007)

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The Private Lives of Public Officials (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, October 2, 2007)

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“Smart Growth” and Los Angeles Planning (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 20, 2007)

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Civil Rights in Louisiana (To the Point, KCRW-FM, September 20, 2007)

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The Racial/Ethnic Educational Achievement Gap (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 12, 2007)

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Board Vote Not Aimed At Students (Los Angeles Daily News, September 9, 2007)

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Healthcare Reform and Politics (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 5, 2007)

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The Constitution and Sex Offenders (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, August 30, 2007)

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‘Profiles in Courage’ ( Jewish Journal, August 24, 2007)

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Where’s the Fire? (Washington Post, August 2, 2007)

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Race and Politics in a Changing South LA (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 20, 2007)

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Gangsta Rap and its Impact (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 13, 2007)

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Mexican Americans and Drunk Driving (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 6, 2007)

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Baseball and the Decline in African-American Players (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 30, 2007)

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Los Angeles Unified’s New Board (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 23, 2007)

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Hollywood and its Impact on Political Discourse (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 16, 2007)

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New Times and the NAACP (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 9, 2007)

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Downtown Homeless and the LAPD (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 2, 2007)

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Immigration and the new Sanctuary Movement (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 25, 2007)

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The Teachers’ Union and School Reform, (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 18, 2007)

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Drop the Race Card (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

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The Takeover of the Times (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 11, 2007)

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The Governor’s Health Care Plan (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 28, 2007)

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Racism in the LA Fire Department? (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 14, 2007)

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Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February 26, 2007)

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“Has the Nanny State Gone Too Far?” (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, February 28, 2007)

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“Justice Takes A Beating In Long Beach Racial Hatred Case” ( Jewish Journal, February 16, 2007)

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“Gang ‘Marshall Plan’ - Will It Work?” (KCET’s Life & Times’ Kitchen Table Conversation, February 14, 2007)

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“Living Wages or Dying Businesses?” (KCET’s Life & Times Kitchen Table Conversation, January 31, 2007)

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“Gangs of New York and LA” (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, January 26, 2007)

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KCET’s Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “The Future of the Middle Class in Los Angeles” (Life & Times, January 17, 2007)

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“Does Abe Foxman Have An Anti-Anti-Semite Problem?”, (New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2007)

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Military Recruitment on Campus---Right or Wrong?” January 3, 2007

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Is There An Assault on Christmas?” December 13, 2006

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Racism Claims a Stretch" (Daily News, December 1, 2006)

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “What is Racism Today?” November 29, 2006

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"Racism in Entertainment", (KCRW's "Which Way LA?", November 27,2006)

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KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Border Fence---Boondogle or Barrier?” (life & Times, November 15, 2006)

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“LA’s Jews and Other Minorities---Oh How They Danced” (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, November 11, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Racial Profiling and a National ID Card" (Life & Times, October 18, 2006)

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Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 9, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Immigration Debate Divides Conservatives" (Life & Times, October 5, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Drugs in Sports" (Life & Times, October 3, 2006)

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Award Dispute", KPCC's Airtalk, September 15,2006

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"Two Faced On Terrorism", Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2006

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Award to Islamic Leader Hathout Stirs Dispute", KCRW's Which Way LA?, September 14, 2006

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "California's High School Exit Exam?", ( Life & Times, August 23, 2006)

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"4 Los Angeles Latino Gang Members Convicted of Anti-Black Conspiracy" (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2006)

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"Muslim Council's Bias All Too Clear" (Los Angeles Daily News, August 1, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "UCLA's Minority Admissions, (Life & Times, July 19, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Celebrity Causes--Ego or Altruism?", ( Life & Times, July 13, 2006)

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Did Anti-Semitism Take Root at the South Central Farm? (Jewish Journal, June 23,2006)

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KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversations regarding Immigration and Employment (Life & Times, June 21,2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of news segment on the South Los Angeles Farm controversy (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kithcen-table Conversation regarding the Mayoral takeover of the Los Angeles Unified School District (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

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Letter to the Editor regarding Race, Religion, and Demographic Change (Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Hybrid Cars and Energy Conservation (Life & Times, May 23, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Teen Sex (Life & Times, May 18, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black Brown Tensions in LA (Life & Times, May 2, 2006)

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Debate education policy, not race (Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Fatherless Parenting (Life & Times, April 11, 2006)

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Border Protests Not Fight for Civil Rights (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, April 7, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black-Brown tensions (Life & Times, April 4, 2006)

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Civil Rights? How About Lawlessness? (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2006)

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KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Immigration (Life & Times, March 30, 2006)

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Differing Views of Race in L.A. Collide in 'Crash' (Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2006)

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Disputed Film Draws Muted Response (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, February 10, 2006)

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Blacks vs. Latinos at Work (Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2006)

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The Munich Concern Is Us--Not Film (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 20, 2006) with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

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NAACP Leader Turned Heads By Backing Tookie (Baltimore Sun, January 15, 2006) Joe Hicks quoted

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Munich Portrays Real World Issues (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, December 23,2005), with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

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New Farrakhan Embodies Old Message (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, October 21, 2005)

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Levees Let Loose An Ugly Flood of Black Paranoia (Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2005)

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Lessons From the Ruins (LA Weekly, August 12, 2005)

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Let's Make A Diploma Mean Something (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

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Police Beating of Minister Disputed (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

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We Only Burned Ourselves, Baby (Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2005)

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Knee-jerk Activists and Their Tantrum Politics (Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2005)

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"Crash" Is No Picture of the Real Los Angeles (Los Angeles Daily News, June 24, 2005)

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Hit Film Paints Inaccurate Picture of Diverse LA (89.3 KPCC Perspectives, June 23, 2005)
Joe Hicks, the vice president of Community Advocates, says the hit movie Crash ...
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Jackson Trial Reaction Shows How Unimportant Race Is in US (Los Angeles Daily News, June 19, 2005)

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"Reel Life" (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, June 10, 2005)

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Joe Hicks talks about the election results (89.3 KPCC AirTalk, May 18, 2005)
with KPCC's Larry Mantle and reporter Adolfo Guzman Lopez, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Raphe Sonenshein, Bill Rosendahl, Rick Caruso, Antonia Hernandez, , Joel Kotkin and D.J. Waldie.
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Joe R. Hicks
 
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JFrom the Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2006

Differing Views of Race in L.A. Collide in 'Crash'
The Oscar-nominated film's depiction of a city seething with mistrust inspires fans and critics.

By Cara Mia DiMassa

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton has seen the film three times, and encouraged the deputy chief in charge of LAPD's professional standards to pass copies around the department. But Joe Hicks, the longtime African American community activist, believes the movie so distorts the state of race relations that it could hurt Los Angeles' reputation.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa loved the movie. His lawyer, a former member of the county Human Relations Commission, hated it.

"Crash" opened 10 months ago, but it continues to resonate across Los Angeles for reasons that have little to do with the six Oscars it is up for Sunday.

The movie has become something of a Rorschach test for Angelenos, separating those who believe the city's multicultural residents usually get along and those who feel race relations remain an open wound. Is the Los Angeles of "Crash" an accurate depiction of racial strife lurking just below the surface, or is it a cartoonish collection of stereotypes presented as the real L.A.? It's a debate that has played out at dinner tables, in classrooms and online.

While previous films about race relations in Los Angeles, such as "Grand Canyon" and "White Men Can't Jump," focused on main characters who stood for racial tolerance even when society did not, "Crash" offers about a dozen loosely based stories with few heroes.

A young black man complains when a white woman clutches her purse as she walks by him, then carjacks her SUV. An LAPD officer goes on a racist rant against a black employee of an HMO and later saves the life of a black woman. An Iranian shop owner is the victim of a hate crime and takes his anger out on a Latino locksmith. A Latina police detective and a Korean woman exchange racial epithets after a fender bender.

To its fans, "Crash" offers a raw, unsentimental but ultimately honest view of race in Los Angeles.

"There's nothing I saw depicted there that I've not experienced in my own years of policing, that my wife has not," Bratton said in an interview last week. "Just under the surface there is, unfortunately, a tension."

Since he became police chief nearly four years ago, no issue has more consumed Bratton than the fragile relationship between his department and African Americans. He's been called a racial healer and a racist as he grappled with an officer's fatal shooting of a 13-year-old black boy and the videotaped beating of a black car-chase suspect that some compared to the Rodney King assault a decade earlier. More recently, his department has been dealing with reverberations from racial tensions between blacks and Latinos in the county jails and at several high schools.

"It's like a scab that doesn't get to heal and it gets picked at and comes right to the surface," the chief said. "The relationship between the city's African American community and the Police Department is a clear example of that."

The film's fans praise it for challenging the popular notion that as Los Angeles becomes more diverse, it also becomes more tolerant.

Jamal Watkins, Western regional director of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, said that despite milestones such as Villaraigosa's election last year as the city's first Latino mayor in modern times, Los Angeles is still a city divided by class and race. "Crash," he said, captures that.

"People live in their own enclaves, whether insulated by class or wealth or status. A part of the challenge is that we are expected to merge together, meld together in the workplace, the classroom," he said. "What the movie shows is that all of the issues around race, stereotypes and prejudice have not died out — because we have these enclaves within the city."

The movie's critics acknowledge that racism and divisions remain in Los Angeles. But they argue that "Crash" is over the top in its portrayal of a city always on the verge of exploding with racial resentment. Some are particularly turned off by the explicit dialogue in which many conversations between characters of different races devolve into ugly exchanges of prejudice and stereotyping.

"L.A. is a different place to me," said Melany de la Cruz, assistant director of the Asian American Studies program at UCLA, adding she didn't recognize the city depicted on the screen.

De la Cruz, a Filipina who is engaged to a Latino, said she feels race relations have improved since the 1992 riots — but one would not know that by watching the film.

She remembers attending a march in Koreatown marking the 10th anniversary of the riots and how proud she felt that Koreans, whites, blacks and Latinos joined to try to heal old wounds.

After the riots, "coalitions and organizations sprang up … so there's no longer such polarity," she said.

Activist Hicks, vice president of Community Advocates Inc. and former head of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said "Crash" presents a Los Angeles where most people are filled with prejudice and vitriol, such as the wealthy Brentwood housewife who assumes her Latino locksmith is a gang member.

"What it says about L.A. is something that is completely untrue about the kind of human relations we experience in this city," Hicks said. "It is looking at things, viewing them from some distortion, presenting things as they want them to be to feed into some political agenda."

"Crash" director and co-screenwriter Paul Haggis said he knew the film would touch a nerve because it challenged the conventional wisdom about race in Los Angeles.

"I knew if we did it right it would get under people's skin, and they would react one way or the other," Haggis said in an e-mail from France, where he is working on his next film. "So it doesn't bother me when people say they hate it for this reason or that. It got to them, it made them look at something they would rather not have looked at, so the movie succeeded, at least for me."

Haggis, who was inspired to write the film years after having his own car stolen at gunpoint, said he finds that those who are most critical of the movie see it as an attack on multiculturalism in the city.

"They tend to be upper-middle class liberals, of any color, as those are the people, like myself, I was writing about," he said. "We like to think we are good people, that we champion the underdog and that if there really were race and class problems in our city — or any city — we would have fixed them….

"But the truth is that we live in a society where fear still resides under the Hockney-colored surface," Haggis added, referring to the British painter.

On one Internet message board, Haggis' view of Los Angeles was much debated — with the majority seeming to support it. "I don't understand why everyone doesn't love the movie 'Crash,' " wrote one poster on imdb.com. "It shows an emotional and powerful idea of racism in L.A."

But when Todd Boyd, a professor at USC's School of Cinema-Television who specializes in race and popular culture, screened the movie for a class of about 250 students, most felt the movie was unrealistic.

"When you see these characters as they come on the screen, they are familiar because they are so stereotypical, not because they are real," Boyd said.

Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A., said the visceral reactions provoked by the film are largely because it deals with issues of hatred that people prefer not to talk about.

Regalado enjoyed "Crash," but his three adult sons each had differing opinions that they've debated endlessly. His oldest son said he recognized in the movie "a place we call home." His youngest son thought it was too stereotypical to be real. His middle son fell somewhere in between.

But not all "Crash" fans are pessimists about race relations in Los Angeles.

Villaraigosa said in an interview last month that his election showed how far the city has come to bridge racial gaps. He carried not only the Latino vote but also the Jewish vote, a majority of the San Fernando Valley and nearly half the black vote.

Still, the mayor has said he believes "Crash" has become a catalyst for important conversation among Angelenos about issues of race and ethnicity.

"We talk about race every day, except we do it within our own group," he said on ABC's "Nightline." "There's very little opportunity to talk about race and ethnicity between groups."

 

 
   
 
 
   

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