Fri July 19, 2013
Listeners Hoping For Change To Come
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And now it's time for "BackTalk." That's where we hear from you. Editor Ammad Omar is back with us. What do you have for us this week, Ammad?
AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Hi, Michel, we got a lot of e-mails this week about the George Zimmerman verdict. A ton of listener responses, as you can imagine, and a lot of people were really angry this week. Some people were mad at the jury, some people were mad at the media for the way we covered the case.
There was some Twitter outrage that George Zimmerman's brother Robert came on the show. We heard the entire range. We got this e-mail from V.L. Whiteside (ph) in Midpines, California. She says, quote, I cannot believe the nonsense I'm hearing on the radio this morning and all weekend. This case was decided according to the law, and yet Negroes can't seem to understand that through their heads. The point is to teach your children to keep their hands in their pockets and never attack anyone. That lesson has not been learned. Address the factual issues and quit trying to make this a racial issue.
MARTIN: I see. OK. Other points of view, Ammad?
OMAR: We also got a lot of positive letters about your essay this week, Michel. You wrote about understanding each other's pain and that sort of thing. This letter came in from Kristin Rader (ph) in Atlanta. She says your essay really helped her, kind of, sort through all those different viewpoints and understand the case. She says, quote, I had become tired of hearing/reading everyone complain about the situation from many sides - pro-gun rights, pro-gun control, racial crimes, all about or nothing to do with race, legislation issues, etc.
Hearing your story about a woman who was screaming at the airport because she didn't have words to describe her pain, this moved me. I realized that I was being close minded to some of the larger issues surrounding this tragic event and trial. It is more than just a boy walking home and a man with a gun. It is the pain felt by so many people and how others don't appreciate where that pain is coming from.
She goes on to say, I find I even have trouble expressing how I felt after hearing your story. It helped me remember how important patience can be and the various emotional sides of these situations. Asking someone, are you OK, can I help? Michel, while you may not have known, you helped me with that story. Thank you.
MARTIN: Well, thank you for that. Thank her for that. I also wanted to thank all the people who wrote in with responses to my essay this week. I was very touched that - how many people were touched by what I wrote. So thank you all for that. Anything else?
OMAR: Yeah, we also had a little bit of music on the show this week. You spoke with the a cappella group Traces of Blue. And to be totally transparent, Michel, we taped that conversation before the George Zimmerman verdict came out and we played the segment this week. But we got this note from Kathleen Chavez Morris (ph) in Pasadena, California. She says, thank you for ending with such a beautiful song today. I was so moved by how wonderfully the song was performed. In light of this week's decision in Florida, this song has so much more meaning to me than it ever has before. Thanks for bringing me to tears.
MARTIN: So let's hear a little bit of the song in just a minute. But I think it's interesting to note that, with all of the anger and conversation flowing around the Zimmerman case, that was not the only thing on everybody's mind. Right, Ammad?
OMAR: Yes. We got this note from Ed Reese (ph) in St. Louis, who has an issue with how we start the show, Michel. He says, while on the whole, I like the show very much, I think it's absurd, ridiculous, outrageous that Ms. Martin refers to the news at the top of the hour as the headlines. In fact, it's news in brief, which is decidedly not the same as headlines. Also, in our time, headlines is at least as often as not, used as a way of denigrating news that is not in-depth. I'm surprised, therefore, that your own news department hasn't objected to this. I'm afraid that this otherwise fine newswoman makes a fool of herself every time she says this. Thank you.
MARTIN: Well, ouch. OK. Well, we will take that under consideration, Mr. Reese. Thank you for writing. Who knows? Maybe a change is going to come. Speaking of which, here's that song that so moved our other listener. It's the classic by Sam Cooke. It was performed on our program by Traces of Blue, and here it is.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A CHANGE IS GONNA COME")
MARTIN: And remember, at TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can send an e-mail to TELLMEMORE@NPR.org. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. The handle is @TELLMEMORENPR. Thanks, Ammad.
OMAR: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.