Host Ira Glass describes what thousands of people do all over America on our holiday weekends: we go to historic sites with our kids and stare at bricks and statues, trying to feel some connection with the past. It's not easy.
We ask 18-year-old Chana Wiliford and her father in Texas if they'd be willing to have a conversation on tape in which each of them gets to ask the other the questions they've never asked before. In the conversation, Chana is half his child, half his peer.
This is a story about an odd breach of trust between father and child, done unintentionally, and what happens next. Lawrence Weschler is an author and journalist. He and his 11-year-old daughter Sara tell the tale.
Ira reads from an editorial from a 1957 newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi. It tries to scare white southerners about the NAACP by describing a Chicago human rights campaign called "Take a Negro Boy Home Tonight." The idea behind the campaign? "Racism can be combated by intimate relationships between Negro boys and white girls." No such campaigns really existed in Chicago.
Cedric Jennings grew up in Southeast Washington, in one of the poorest communities in the country. Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind followed him for over two-and-a-half years, as Cedric tried to make it through high school and work his way into an Ivy League university. Once he gets there, he discovers that all the qualities that got him out of the ghetto make him an outcast in the Ivy League.
Host Ira Glass talks with a guy who hit the road after his mother's death, hoping for some experience that would change him and shed light on what just happened. This never happens to him, or to most of us.
A high school student named Rebecca tells the story of a friend of hers who changed over the course of four years from a preppy alternative kid to a member of the Latina clique to a ghetto girl to a Clueless girl (a girl who models herself after the girls in the film and TV show Clueless). It's hard to imagine many boys changing style this quickly, this willfully, this many times.
Ira with "The Hens," a group of nine middle-aged women who've known each other since girlhood. They play recordings of their recent three-day road trip from Chicago to a casino in a cotton field in Mississippi.
In the early stages of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, there was a period when one of the questions raised by the whole affair had to do with monogamy. Around that time, Roy Romer, the Governor of Colorado and Chair of the Democratic Party, admitted that for 16 years he'd had a relationship with an aide that his wife and family knew about.