MPR News with Angela Davis

Minnesota Public Radio

Conversations about life in Minnesota and how the state is changing, weekdays from MPR News.

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Thanksgiving is a time for food, family and friends. It’s designed for gathering and articulating our gratitude for each other and the fruits of the earth. Particularly in these trying times, practicing gratitude can help lift your spirits in the moment and create a positive outlook for a lifetime.  Guest host Chris Farrell spoke with three experts on wellness about the role gratitude plays in our overall health and the health of our relationships with other people and the planet. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Guests:  Annie Pezalla is a professor of psychology at Macalester College in St. Paul. She teaches about Positive Psychology and the practice of gratitude. Diane Wilson is the author of the novel “The Seed Keeper” and several memoirs. She's a Dakota writer living in Shafer, Minn. Mary Jo Kreitzer is the director of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota and a professor at the School of Nursing.  Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

Nov 24

48 min 5 sec

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released some heartbreaking statistics. Not about COVID-19, but about drug overdose deaths, which reached a new record high during the pandemic. In the 12 months between May 2020 to April 2021, over 100,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States. Three-quarters of those deaths were from opioids, the class of drugs that include heroin, prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. That’s an almost 30 percent increase in drug overdose deaths from the previous 12 months.  MPR News host Angela Davis talks to a history professor whose new book is about the opioid epidemic, an addiction doctor and a drug counselor about the devastating toll of opioid addiction and new approaches in treatment.  Guests:  Amy C. Sullivan is a visiting assistant professor at Macalester College and author of “Opioid Reckoning: Love, Loss, and Redemption in the Rehab State.” Dr. Emily Brunner is an addiction medicine physician at Workit Health, a telemedicine company that offers medication treatment for opioid addiction. She’s also on the board of directors for the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Yussuf S. Shafie is a licensed clinical social worker and a drug and alcohol counselor. He’s CEO and treatment director at the Alliance Wellness Center in Bloomington that offers multicultural mental health services and addiction treatment with a focus on East African communities.  Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Nov 23

49 min 45 sec

The pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain. Manufacturing, transportation and logistics have been affected by delays, labor shortages and rising prices. And that could impact everything from the price you’re paying for groceries to whether you can get a turkey for Thanksgiving.  MPR News host Angela Davis breaks down exactly what is going on with the supply chain and how it affects us.  Guests:  Kingshuk Sinha is a professor and chair of the Supply Chain and Operations Department at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. He is also the U’s Elmer L. Andersen Chair in Sustainable Supply Chain.  Chris Farrell is the senior economics contributor for MPR News.  Christine Lantinen is the president and owner of candy company Maud Borup. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Nov 22

48 min 33 sec

Courtesy of Alexandra Vang Pumpkin pie from Pie & Mighty in Minneapolis Are you looking forward to eating a slice of pie this Thanksgiving? Or two slices? Maybe you’re planning to make one. Pie is a classic finale to a holiday feast, comforting and distinctly American. Do you like pumpkin or sweet potato? Pecan or apple?   Many people discovered baking during the pandemic. But turning out that flaky pie crust can intimidate new bakers.  Host Angela Davis got tips from pie experts and listeners and explored why eating and making pies nourish our family and cultural traditions. Guests:  Rachel Swan is co-owner and chief pie baker at Pie & Mighty in Minneapolis. After years working in the restaurant industry she started selling pies by subscription in 2016 and opened the brick-and-mortar shop in 2020.    Ken Haedrich is founder of the online pie-making community thepieacademy.com and author of 16 cookbooks, including a comprehensive guide to pies for new and experienced bakers published last year, “Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings, with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More.”  Lachelle Cunningham runs Chelle’s Kitchen, a catering and food education business based in Minneapolis. She was previously founding executive chef at Breaking Bread Cafe, which opened in 2015 in north Minneapolis and still serves a variation of her uncle’s sweet potato pie recipe.  Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. We also asked listeners to tell us about their favorite pie recipes. Check them out below and tell us about your favorite here. Pumpkin Pie (with a kick!) Mix these 8 dry ingredients together in small bowl: 1 cup sugar1 tbsp. flour1/2 tsp. salt1 tsp. ginger1 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. nutmeg1/8 tsp. ground black pepper1/8 tsp. cloves In large bowl mix: 3 large eggs1 1/2 cups pumpkin scant 1 cup light cream Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients stir well, pour into a 9” unbaked pie crust. Bake 45-55 minutes at 400 degrees in the oven. Let cool, serve with whipped cream and grated nutmeg on top or with vanilla ice cream. Karen’s Pie Crust Mix together until pea sized pieces:3 cups flour1 1/4 cups butter 1 tsp. salt In one cup measure, mix: 1/4 cup cold waterI beaten egg1 tbsp. white vinegar Pour liquids into dry ingredients, mix to form a ball.Put flour onto board, divide dough into four equal pieces. Each ball is enough for 1 crust. The unbaked dough can stay in refrigerator for up to a week or freeze dough in small piece or in a rolled out pie crust. Penny's 5 ingredient Last Minute Pie I bring this when invited last minute. I stop at the store to pick up the items. When I arrive, I ask for a spatula and a mixing bowl. (I offer to do dishes in trade for my friends letting me in the kitchen for a few moments. ;-) ) 10" Graham cracker crust1 can sweetened condensed milk1 package Lemonade drink mix1 regular size Cool Whip1 can blueberry pie filling Put condensed milk in bowl, add lemonade drink mix. Stir until it starts to thicken. Add Cool Whip. Stir until completely mixed. Pour in crust. Top with berries. Put in refrigerator until after meal. Don't forget to do the dishes! (I use other drink mixes and pie fillings, too.) Festal Golden Pumpkin Pie Recipe by Marian Biersdorf, aka The Pumpkin Pie Lady! 1/4 (or 1/2) tsp. salt1 tsp. cinnamon1/4 tsp. cloves1/4 tsp. nutmeg1/4 tsp. ginger3 eggs, slightly beaten1 cup granulated or light brown sugar1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree1 cup evaporated (or regular) milk1 9-inch deep-dish pie crust, unbaked Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger, and mix. Add eggs and sugar. Mix well. Stir in pumpkin. Add milk and beat well.Pour pumpkin filling into crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 450. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake additional 40 to 45 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting knife into pie center. The pie is done when the knife comes out clean. Garnish with choice of topping. (Marian reduces the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. She also says it's fine to replace the evaporated milk with skim milk, to reduce the calorie and fat content.) Mixed Fruit Pie A 9 inch pie — double crust. 1 and 1/4 of blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb of any variation.1/2 tsp. of almond flavoring1 and 1/4 cup of sugar — or less1/4 cup of quick tapioca1/4 tsp. of nutmeg1/4 tsp. of salt1 tbsp. lemon juice Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Variation on the ‘Stir-N-Roll’ crust Submitted by Louise DiCesare. I use a completely different way to make the crust from Betty Crocker's original cookbook called Stir-N-Roll. Mix 2 cups sifted flour and 1 1/2 tsp. salt (I don't use any salt) Next, pour 1/2 cup cooking oil (I use Canola) and 1/4 cup of milk into the flour all at once. Stir with a fork. Wet countertop and put a piece of wax paper so the wax paper won't move. Put half the dough on the wax paper and put another piece of wax paper on top of the dough. Roll it out with a rolling pin. Lift off top sheet of wax paper and pick up bottom sheet with crust and flip onto the baking dish. Repeat with top crust. Make any filling and you can use a form to make the top crust to make it a lattice or separate top crust with a knife. From The Splendid Table Bourbon Pecan Pie Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

Nov 19

48 min 56 sec

As if the holidays aren’t stressful enough, many of us are still dealing with the mental health effects of the protracted pandemic. Host Angela Davis talks about navigating holiday stress during a pandemic and how to manage social anxiety when gathering in groups once again. 

Nov 18

46 min 30 sec

Courtesy Brett Newski Brett Newski's book When Sen. Josh Hawley described what he called an attack on men and masculinity in a speech to the National Conservatism Conference a few weeks ago, it raised the question of whether or not masculinity can be defined. Certainly there are societal traditions, norms and expectations, but are those what he’s defending?  Knowing how to be a man is increasingly vexing. Even the American Psychiatric Association is concerned. For the first time ever, they released in 2019 new guidelines for therapists specifically for working with men and boys.  Musician Brett Newski understands the confusion about being a man. In the midst of his storied career playing with every ‘90s band you’ve heard of, he’s written a book called “It’s Hard to Be a Person” about his struggle with anxiety as well as his struggle with asking for help.   Newski found some healing in the creative process and in reaching out to other men and feeling less alone, knowing he’s not alone. He joins host Angela Davis ahead of his show at the 7th St. Entry on Thursday night, to talk about managing his mental health as a man. Two Minnesota therapists who work with men on their mental health also join the conversation.  Guests:  Brett Newski is a musician and the author of the new book, “It’s Hard to Be a Person.” He plays at the 7th St. Entry in Minneapolis on Thursday night.  Anesh Patel is a therapist in St. Paul who works on men’s issues. Jacob Schuchman Falk is a therapist in Edina who also works on men’s issues. 

Nov 17

48 min 4 sec

A third of the people killed in Minnesota in 2020 were killed by a spouse, intimate partner or other family member — and the vast majority of these deaths were women. Advocates working to prevent family violence say the stress and close quarters during the pandemic increased violence in the home and calls for help. Is this cycle of violence unbreakable? Programs to help people who use violence, mostly men, have shown that people can change their behavior. The ones that show most promise are groups where men are held accountable and understand how cultural norms and their own past trauma influence their choice to use violence. MPR News host Angela Davis talks to advocates who help survivors heal and abusers change.  If you are being abused and need help, Day One is a network of domestic violence and sexual assault community programs in Minnesota. Their crisis hotline is 1-866-223-1111. Guests:  Melissa Pegrangelo Scaia is director of international training at Global Rights for Women and co-founder of Pathways to Family Peace, a program for domestic violence offenders to work to end their use of violent and abusive behaviors. Amirthini Keefe is executive director of Domestic Abuse Project in Minneapolis, a nonprofit organization that runs advocacy programs for victims and survivors and therapeutic programs for victims and survivors, adults who use violence and children who witness violence.   Biiftuu Ibrahim Adam is the victim, family and community relations coordinator at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a new role created in 2020 to support victims and families during crime investigations.  Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

Nov 16

50 min 5 sec

The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the economy, but economic recovery has been strong in 2021. As the economy recovers,  it’s crucial for the Twin Cities to close the economic opportunity gap, according to a new report released by the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Monday at 9 a.m., host Angela Davis talks with a McKinsey researcher about the new report and how Twin Cities companies can work towards a more equitable economic recovery.

Nov 15

50 min 2 sec

Host Angela Davis talks about how to support gender expansive children with teacher Tom Rademacher, who wrote a new book about what he’s learned raising his nonbinary art-nerd kid, a pediatrician who leads a gender health program and a nonbinary young adult who works with nonbinary teens.

Nov 12

49 min 51 sec

On Tuesday, state officials, veterans and citizens gathered to announce that 13 counties in central Minnesota have cleared their housing waitlists of military veterans, bringing the state that much closer to ending homelessness among veterans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, veterans are at higher risk for homelessness and currently are overrepresented in the homeless population.  Ending homelessness among veterans is an ongoing effort. It takes both governmental and nongovernmental agencies working together to succeed. And it takes a deep understanding of military service — what it means, how it plays out and the long-term effects it has on the lives of not just veterans, but also the people who live with them, work with them and love them.   On Veterans Day, host Angela Davis digs into the meaning of the phrase “Thank you for your service” with a veteran of the Iraq War who works as a veterans advocate, a therapist who works with veterans and a representative of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.  Guests:  Tom McKenna is a veteran of the Iraq War and a veterans advocate with Every Third Saturday, a nonprofit supporting veterans in Minnesota.  Eli Reding is a licensed clinical psychologist who works with veterans in his practice.  Brad Lindsay is the Deputy Commissioner of Programs & Services at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

Nov 11

49 min 50 sec

COVID-19 cases are once again spiking in Minnesota. On Monday, the state posted its highest single-day count of new cases since December. For some people who have contracted COVID, symptoms can linger months after they’ve recovered. The lingering side effects are known as long-haul COVID and can include persistent joint pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog and headaches.  Early studies show that anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of COVID patients will experience long COVID symptoms.  MPR News host Angela Davis spoke with two doctors about long-haul COVID — what we know about the condition, and how to treat it. And she hears from a woman who has long COVID. Guests:  Dr. Craig Bowron is a physician and writer based in St. Paul. Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn is a preventive, occupational and aerospace medicine specialist who leads the COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program at Mayo Clinic.  Kirstin Johnson-Nixon is a social worker who works with Minneapolis Public Schools. She spoke to Angela Davis in 2020 when her family had COVID-19. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

Nov 10

49 min 47 sec

Child care costs more than the mortgage for some parents, if they can even find it. Host Angela Davis talks about how the pandemic is straining the already struggling child care sector and whether a boost in public funding could support providers and bring down the cost for parents.

Nov 9

49 min 43 sec

A recent Gallup poll found that a record low percentage of women say they are satisfied with the treatment of women in society. Host Angela Davis explores gender disparities in Minnesota and how to address them. 

Nov 8

49 min 58 sec

The pandemic sent alcohol sales through the roof. So what are we drinking? As you gear up for Thanksgiving and beyond, we help you navigate the crowded landscape that is libations in Minnesota. 

Nov 5

48 min 27 sec

The pandemic has forced us to grieve differently. MPR News guest host Chris Farrell talks about how mourning rituals are changing and how we’re remembering loved ones who are gone. 

Nov 4

48 min 41 sec

Voters in the Twin Cities turned out in strong numbers to weigh in on city council, mayoral, schools board races and more. MPR News host Angela Davis recaps the election results and hears analysis on what the results mean for Minnesota.

Nov 3

48 min 28 sec

Where are you from? Is it a town on the Iron Range? A city block in south Minneapolis? Somewhere outside the United States? We all come from somewhere, and our hometowns shape who we are.  Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns thinks Americans should talk more about the places that define us as a way to learn about each other. He’s teamed up with country music legend Marty Stuart to campaign for a national day to honor our hometowns.  “The Honor Your Hometown campaign is a reminder that no matter where we’re from — big city or a small town, north or south, east or west — we are connected to the places and people who shaped us,” Burns explained in a video introduction. “So much more connects us than divides us.”  Host Angela Davis talks with two writers about their sometimes complicated relationships with their hometowns.  Guests:  Courtesy Haven Kimmel Haven Kimmel is the author of the bestselling memoir about her hometown, “A Girl Named Zippy: Growing up Small in Mooreland, Indiana,” as well as several novels and children’s books set in the Midwest. She now lives in Durham, N.C.  Courtesy Allen Eskens Allen Eskens is the bestselling author of a collection of literary mysteries set in Minnesota including “The Life We Bury” and “The Stolen Hours.” His stand-alone novel “Nothing More Dangerous” draws on his own experience growing up in Jefferson City, Mo. He now lives outside Mankato.  Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

Nov 2

49 min 50 sec

The so-called “great resignation” isn’t slowing down. Since April 2020, about 20 million employees have quit their jobs, according to Marketplace. And according to a Microsoft survey from March, 41 percent of the global workforce said they intend to leave their job this year.  The pandemic contributed to so many people leaving their jobs. But burnout is another factor. How can workers prevent their own burnout? And how can employers retain and recruit staff? MPR News host Angela Davis speaks with MPR senior economics contributor Chris Farrell and journalist Jennifer Moss, who recently wrote a book about burnout.  Guests:  Jennifer Moss is a journalist and the author of “The Burnout Epidemic” and “Unlocking Happiness at Work.”  Chris Farrell is a senior economics contributor at MPR News.  Here are four takeaways from the conversation. Editor’s note: The quotes below have been lightly edited for length and clarity. Burnout isn’t a personal problem. It’s a systemic problem. “It’s an ecosystem problem to solve. It’s a we problem to solve. Because for forever we have just said, ‘Do more yoga.’ Or ‘here’s an app that helps you breathe. And here are some subsidized gym memberships, and there you go, you can solve burnout with self-care.’ And although we do still have to practice self-care and make sure that we are increasing our well-being every day as individuals, that is not going to solve for overwork or systemic discrimination or lack of fairness or being bullied at work and not having psychological safety. You can’t just take 15 minutes to listen to rain and then all of it goes away. And so this has been a big gap that we treat these problems with band-aid solutions instead of way further upstream with really dealing at the root cause.” — Jennifer Moss The Great Resignation is happening across demographics and career fields. “It’s pretty much across the board. A lot of it does seem to be tied into mid-career, that period of time when you have established your career but often you have family, you might have younger children. … But a recent survey by LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, they had almost half of working Americans that they surveyed said the pandemic has affected how they feel about their career. And 73 percent of these workers said they feel less fulfilled in their current jobs. And when they were breaking it down, for example, those who were thinking about changing their jobs, 34 percent of those were 55 years and older, so Baby Boomers.  I think this is across the board, and I think an awful lot of it has to do with the way that employers have treated their employees for a long time, not just during the pandemic. … It’s been a harsh environment. And I think workers are fed up.” — Chris Farrell One solution? More data-based decision making. “That sounds like a big scary thing to suggest to a team of 10, but really, it’s just listening. It’s more consistent and frequent communication. We can solve for workload inefficiencies, which is one of the big leading reasons why we’re working 30 percent harder each day to hit our goals right now during the pandemic.” — Jennifer Moss Moss suggests that managers schedule a weekly meeting where they ask their teams these questions: What were the highs and lows of this week? What were the stressors this week? What was the impact of those stressors? What can we do for each other as a team, and what can I do as a manager to make next week a little easier? Employers should see the Great Resignation as an opportunity to create change. “This has a lot of momentum. And this is not going to end any time soon. That LinkedIn survey that I mentioned earlier, it says that more than one-third of workers they surveyed are looking for a career change. … To employers, here’s the message: Stop complaining. This is an opportunity to rethink the way you operate your business, the way you manage your people, and to end up with a more productive workplace.” — Chris Farrell Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

Nov 1

48 min 17 sec

This week, an FDA panel recommended COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11. Shots could be available to children as soon as the federal recommendations are finalized next week. Meanwhile, tens of millions of adults in the United States are eligible for booster shots of the vaccine. Guest host Stephanie Curtis talks with two doctors about the latest vaccine news and the public health guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19. And we get the latest news on the pandemic in Minnesota from MPR News senior reporter Catherine Richert.  Guests:  Catherine Richert is a senior reporter at MPR News covering the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Robert Jacobsen is a pediatrician and vaccine researcher with Mayo Clinic Children’s Center Dr. John Misa is the vice president and clinical officer for Allina Health Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Oct 28

49 min 45 sec

Sustainability is a way of life for Indigenous communities in Minnesota — and beyond. Unique Indigenous nations and cultures have survived over time in large part because of sustainable practices passed down through the generations. Across Minnesota, Indigenous communities’ connections to land, nature, language and culture honor the delicate balance between the past, present and future. In doing so, Native communities are ensuring their ways of life are viable today, and for the seven generations. How exactly are Indigenous communities of Minnesota reclaiming their lands and cultures, and their dreams for the future? What challenges, both old and new, pose the greatest threats to ensuring sustainability for future generations of Native people in Minnesota? In partnership with We Are Still Here Minnesota, MPR News presents In Focus: Sustainability in Indian Country, a conversation led by community leaders and moderated by Twila Dang, producer and cohost of MPR’s “small change: Money Stories from the Neighborhood” podcast.

Oct 28

48 min 35 sec

Rent stabilization is on the ballot in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Guest host Chris Farrell talks with supporters and opponents of St. Paul’s proposed new ordinance — should residential rent increases be capped at 3 percent annually? If St. Paul becomes the first city in the country to stabilize rents this way, will other places follow suit?

Oct 27

50 min 18 sec

Over the past decade, Minnesota has become less white and more diverse. Every county in the state became more diverse over the past decade. Nowhere is that more true than in Nobles County, which is the fastest diversifying county in Minnesota. What does that mean? Producer Samantha Matsumoto and MPR News host Angela Davis put a human voice to that statistic when they traveled to Worthington, Minn., in September. Monday’s show featured interviews with two women of color who call Worthington home, plus a demographer on change in Nobles County over decades and how that fits into the changing demographics of the state.  🎧 Read and listen Part 1: Welcome to Nobles County In part two, host Angela Davis talks about political representation with Worthington’s mayor, a young activist and a Catholic priest who has helped to guide the community for over a decade. Guests: Mike Kuhle has been the mayor of Worthington since 2014. He is not seeking another term. Cheniqua Johnson is the lead outreach officer for the Minnesota DFL. She was born and raised in Worthington and is part of a growing community of citizens of color and immigrants in Nobles County. Father Jim Callahan has been the pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Worthington since 2010.  Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

Oct 26

46 min 42 sec

Over the past decade, Minnesota has become less white and more diverse. According to the 2020 Census, about 76 percent of Minnesotans identified as white and non-Hispanic in 2020, compared to 83 percent in the last census from 2010.  Angela Davis brings you those conversations in the first of a two-part series on Nobles County. She talks with two women who live and work in the county. And she talks with a researcher about how the story of Nobles County fits into the changing demographics of Minnesota.

Oct 25

49 min 12 sec

Enrollment at colleges across the nation decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and community colleges have seen the steepest declines. Overall college attendance decreased by 5 percent last spring compared to the year before. At community colleges, enrollment was down by 9.5 percent. Enrollment at Minnesota’s community colleges has declined steadily over the past decade. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, those declines became more sharp. Last fall, enrollment decreased 5 percent, according to data from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.  Host Angela Davis discussed enrollment trends at community colleges in Minnesota with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities chancellor Devinder Malhotra, and asked a higher education reporter what community college enrollment says about higher education.  Guests:  Devinder Malhotra is the chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.  Lee Gardner is a senior writer for the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

Oct 22

50 min

Is it possible to be prejudiced without realizing it? The answer is yes.  We all absorb biases from the culture around us. Often these unexamined attitudes directly conflict with our values — like fairness and equality.   Host Angela Davis spoke to author Jessica Nordell about her new book exploring the harm caused by bias, how to recognize it and how to unravel bias in our individual lives and institutions. Courtesy photo Margaret Finders Courtesy photo Terrance Kwame-Ross Two Augsburg education professors joined the conversation to talk about how they’re addressing the bias baked into professional norms at predominantly white academic institutions. Guests:  Jessica Nordell is a science and culture journalist based in Minneapolis and author of “The End of Bias: A Beginning.”  Terrance Kwame-Ross is an associate professor of education at Augsburg University in Minneapolis.  Margaret Finders is a retired professor of education at Augsburg University. 

Oct 21

49 min 36 sec

It’s only been 16 years since the forces of social media entered our lives. But in those 16 years, they have moved from the margins — teenagers, game players, internet professionals and fame-seekers — to the center of culture. So much so that when Facebook and two platforms owned by Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, went offline on Oct. 4, analysts were alarmed. For many people, Facebook is the internet, so their outage stopped businesses in their tracks, paralyzed economic transactions and turned some workdays into spontaneous days off. What does this mean for and about us? Have we adjusted our social, emotional and economic habits in order to best support and cope with this new normal? Does social media have a greater influence than we have acknowledged? What should we do to adjust?  Guest host Chris Farrell dug into the shifting social media landscape with Macalester College professor Ana Marie Cox, founder of Wonkette and host of the podcast, “With Friends Like These” from Crooked Media, as well as and David Larson, a professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Guests:  Ana Marie Cox is the founder of Wonkette and the host of the podcast, “With Friends Like These” from Crooked Media. She teaches in the Media and Cultural Studies Department of Macalester College. David Larson is a professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Oct 20

49 min 38 sec

It’s a common American story: Immigrants and refugees come to the United States, and within a generation or two, children no longer speak the language of their parents and grandparents.  Evan Frost | MPR News 2018 Star Tribune columnist and former MPR News editor Laura Yuen interviews Yar Kang about the Miss South Sudan USA pageant in 2018. The loss of a language comes with its own kind of grief. Sometimes grandparents are left literally unable to speak to their own grandchildren. MPR News host Angela Davis explored the complex swirl of emotions around language loss, reasons for language attrition and efforts to ensure that more American children keep speaking the language of their elders.  As Star Tribune columnist Laura Yuen wrote in a recent column, the collective heartache over language attrition is felt by children and grandchildren of immigrants everywhere.  Yuen told Davis about being unable to speak the Mandarin or Cantonese of her immigrant parents. “It’s this weird sense of shame that follows me even to this day,” Yuen said. “When I walk into a Chinese restaurant, I can exchange pleasantries, but not really much beyond that.” The embarrassment of being unable to fluently speak a parent’s language was in display recently after Olympic gold medal gymnast Suni Lee was asked by a reporter to say something in Hmong to her Hmong audience. After stumbling through a phrase, Lee was later criticized on social media by some in the Hmong community. “A lot of folks commented on her inability to speak Hmong, even questioning if she was Hmong,” said psychologist Ia Xiong, who wrote about Lee’s experience in a Facebook post that went viral. Xiong, who says she identified with Lee’s embarrassment, made the point that loss of language is not an individual’s fault. It’s the result of social pressure and historical trauma. “What Ia has been able to do is speak directly to this generation and say, ‘the problem is not you,"‘ said Yuen. “We need to encourage our young people to have confidence. … We can’t keep shaming them. If the end goal is to farther fluency of our cultural language, then we need to be more positive about how we embrace young people for trying.” Reasons for language loss are complex, said Jenna Cushing-Leubner, an assistant professor of world language education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. “The history of language loss is really the history of the United States,” she said. It’s been experienced by Indigenous people, African language communities brought through enslavement and every subsequent wave of immigrants. “That actual physical freezing up when it comes to using your own family or heritage language, that’s really the embodied response of trauma experiences.” Cushing-Leubner said acceptance is growing for multilingualism in the United States and more programs are being created to preserve and teach children the language of their elders, from preschool settings to universities. “We also have different ways of doing ESL that are multilingual ways of learning English while also continuing to use and strengthen the home language at the same time,” said Cushing-Leubner. “There are powerful ways this is happening in pockets and it absolutely can be happening more.” One of these programs is a new Somali elementary language program in Minneapolis Public Schools headed up by the district’s ESL and Somali heritage language facilitator Deqa Muhidin. Just a few weeks ago, Muhidin watched children learn how to say “Good morning” in Somali. “Giving kids the opportunity to be able to hear speak and learn their heritage language only enhances their ability to succeed academically, and it strengthens their bonds with their families,” Muhidin said. Guests:  Laura Yuen is a columnist for the Star Tribune and former editor and reporter at MPR News. Ia Xiong is a first-generation Hmong American and psychotherapist in private practice in the Twin Cities. Jenna Cushing-Leubner is an assistant professor of world language education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Oct 18

49 min 53 sec

The great resignation is being attributed to the pandemic, but we know that some of you are quitting because you’ve had enough of your boss. Bad bosses are expensive — and not just because turnover costs money. There are hidden prices to pay when a manager is ineffective or downright damaging. Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary suggests that part of the popularity of Ted Lasso is that he’s everyone’s dream boss. Michelle joins host Angela Davis to talk about the high cost of a bad boss for everyone who has to deal with the offender. And our regular Monday guest, Chris Farrell, helps us understand how bad bosses affect the national and even the global economy, plus Le Betty Zhou from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota weighs in on self-regulation at work.

Oct 18

50 min 13 sec

Minnesota’s new poet laureate Gwen Westerman works with language and fabric. She’s an award-winning quilter as well as a poet, essayist and historian. As the first Native poet to be selected for the position, Westerman plans to use her role to shine a light on underrepresented poets in the state. Host Angela Davis speaks with Westerman about how her creative work honors the land and reflects her Dakota and Cherokee heritage. Guests:  Gwen Westerman is the Minnesota state poet laureate and a professor of English and humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate through her father and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation through her mother.  Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Oct 15

42 min 29 sec