This is the archive for's 2010 midterm election specials, which aired on 100+ public radio stations across America, and included additional video and blog content. This series of specials on political, racial, and economic tensions -- and solutions -- in America took us on a literal road trip over hundreds of miles of American landscape.

Pop and Politics was launched by Farai Chideya in 1995 as a personal political/cultural blog. It later grew into a multi-person blog and a journalism training institute funded by the Knight Foundation, operating at San Francisco State University and the University of Southern California. Later, the site housed these specials on race, class, and politics in America, funded by the Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Park Foundation, WNYC/New York Public Radio, and Deborah Santana. American Public Media was the distributor. Pop and Politics has concluded its work, but we hope you enjoy and learn from what we've done.

The production staff for the 2010 radio/multi-media specials were host/co-producer Farai Chideya; executive producer Kerry Donahue; senior producer Suzie Lechtenberg; multimedia and video producer Aaron Ernst; associate producer Nona Willis Aronowitz; and producer Ave Carillo.

Thank you to all who supported, contributed to, and read/watched/listened to Pop and Politics over its fifteen year run.

How Jay Z Can Turn the Barneys Incident Around

November 4, 2013 Blog, Featured No Comments

Here’s my latest for the Root on how Shawn “Jay Z” Carter can get Barney’s to take a proactive stance on customer service and hiring (without blaming them for anything), and also remind his own young consumers about the difference between financial and intrinsic worth. Check it out.

#1 Florida: Race, Rage, and Reconciliation

September 6, 2010 Pop & Politics, Radio No Comments

OCTOBER 21: Race, Rage, and Reconciliation Listen, or download the transcript here. Chideya and team go to Florida to talk about the ways the American Dream is colliding with reality, and what it means in the voting booth. Chideya speaks with Colonel Allen West, a black Tea Party candidate; residents …

#2 Arizona: New Voters, New Challenges

September 6, 2010 Pop & Politics, Radio 2 Comments

OCTOBER 28: New Voters, New Challenges Subscribe to our podcast: or . Download a transcript of the show here. Chideya and team go to Arizona to look at immigration and jobs, and check in with new voters to see if they’re getting involved. With the passage of the state’s controversial …

#3 The New Map: America, Redrawn and Reconceived

September 7, 2010 Pop & Politics, Radio 1 Comment

NOVEMBER 4: The New Map: America, Redrawn and Reconceived On Wednesday November 3rd, Pop & Politics brought panelists, a live audience and web viewers to talk about the roles race, rage, and the economy played in the the 2010 midterms. Guests included actress Rosie Perez (visit her arts organization here …

Stories From the Road: Voting For Pedro

November 4, 2010 Pop & Politics, Videos No Comments
Stories From the Road: Voting For Pedro

18-year old Pedro Lopez left his girlfriend and a comfortable existence in Phoenix to register voters in Yuma, one of Arizona’s most conservative towns. Spurred by passage of Arizona’s anti-immigration law SB-1070, he was also motivated by what he saw as apathy on the part of non-registered Hispanics.

Growing up Muslim in an age of Islamophobia

October 18, 2010 Pop & Politics, Videos No Comments
Growing up Muslim in an age of Islamophobia

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States has had at best an uneasy relationship with Islam. As this year’s midterm elections approach, that relationship is again taking center stage, with politicians like Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharon Angle asserting that Sharia law has taken over in some parts of …

Tallevast’s Search for Justice

October 8, 2010 Pop & Politics, Videos No Comments
Tallevast’s Search for Justice

One of the issues we will be addressing in our radio specials is the responsibility the government bears towards its citizens in exchange for their vote. Ideally we give power to our representatives in exchange for their agreement to work on behalf of our interests.

Is home ownership still the American Dream?

October 12, 2010 Pop & Politics, Videos 1 Comment
Is home ownership still the American Dream?

Housing has been on this journalist’s mind lately. I just moved back to New York City after being gone for a while, and the reality of real estate here has hit me like a punch in the gut. Shiny condos that sit half empty have replaced warehouses and greasy spoons …

Congressman Kendrick Meek on His Senate Race, Florida, and Family

September 13, 2010 Pop & Politics, Videos No Comments
Congressman Kendrick Meek on His Senate Race, Florida, and Family

Congressman Kendrick Meek met us straight after getting off a plane from New York, where he’d been fundraising for his Senate race with President Bill Clinton, a longtime supporter. His Congressional and campaign offices are inside the same nondescript building in Miami Gardens, a working-income, heavily African-American area where there are a significant number of foreclosures.

Sheriff Joe: Ego Over Sound Immigration Policy?

October 1, 2010 Pop & Politics, Videos No Comments
Sheriff Joe: Ego Over Sound Immigration Policy?

What strikes you immediately when sitting down to an interview with Sheriff Joe Arpaio is how clearly he relishes the attention that his law enforcement policies have brought to Arizona, generally, and to him, specifically.

Farai Chideya Interview with Allen West: Tea Party Star in Florida

September 15, 2010 Pop & Politics, Videos 1 Comment
Farai Chideya Interview with Allen West: Tea Party Star in Florida

Pop and Politics host Farai Chideya interviews Florida Tea Party candidate Colonel Allen West about his views on race, anger among voters, and why he believes he can win in Congressional District 22 in Florida.

Pop & Politics talks about the results the morning after

November 4, 2010 Pop & Politics 1 Comment

On Wednesday November 3rd, the Pop & Politics live event at WNYC’s Greene Space brought together panelists, audiences and web viewers for a fascinating discussion about how race, anger and the economy affected the outcome of the November 2010 midterm elections. Guests included actress Rosie Perez (visit her arts organization …

Voting The Bums Out, Again and Again

November 3, 2010 Pop & Politics No Comments

What happens when you vote? You get a certain amount of say over who takes office. But what happens once they take office? How do you stay in touch with the person you elected and hold them accountable? Well, that’s where the wheels fall off the wagon… Most people do …

Who Exactly is the Tea Party?

November 1, 2010 Pop & Politics No Comments

Pundits, politicians and the press continue to speculate about the effects the Tea Party will have on tomorrow’s midterm elections. But who exactly is the Tea Party anyway?

New Ruling, New Voters

October 27, 2010 Featured, Pop & Politics No Comments

Our second Pop and Politics special, set in Arizona, deals with, among other things, the diverse and growing Latino voting population and younger voters… both part of a broad look at how the American electorate is changing. And courts are clarifying a crucial voting law. From A six-year-old Arizona …

"The Border Will Always Be Porous"

October 27, 2010 Pop & Politics No Comments

When Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed SB-1070, a bill that required local police officers to enforce federal immigration law, Arizona became the flash point for a national debate about how best to deal with illegal immigration. On July 28th, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked key provision of the law …

The Truth About That Danged Fence

October 25, 2010 Pop & Politics No Comments

It’s hard to argue against the idea of a border fence designed to keep out undocumented immigrants. Those who do risk sounding like they are for illegal immigration. John McCain probably knew that when he recorded a campaign ad urging the government to “complete the danged fence.” But in reality, …

Will Latino Voters Tip the Political Balance in 2010?

October 21, 2010 Pop & Politics No Comments

In the presidential election of 2008, candidate Barack Obama captured 67% of the Latino vote, far above the 31% captured by John McCain. The political landscape has drastically changed since then. We’ve been through a near meltdown of the global financial system, a massive government bail-out of the same institutions …

"Race beyond the Race," Blogger/Tweeter Conversation with Farai Chideya

October 20, 2010 Pop & Politics No Comments

Today, Wednesday, October 20th at 12:30 pm EDT, Farai will be hosting a short strategy call for bloggers, media makers and thought leaders around how we can share resources to drive and shape dynamic conversations on race, religion and immigration as they relate to the upcoming midterm elections. We want to know …

What to do with children of undocumented immigrants?

October 15, 2010 Pop & Politics 12 Comments

For many of you, no doubt your vote in this mid-term election hinges on where your states’ candidates stand on one of the major issues facing our country — unauthorized  immigration.  As part of our road trip across the country, we wanted to hear the arguments on both sides of …

What one word describes race in your community?

October 13, 2010 Pop & Politics 24 Comments

One of our missions at Pop and Politics is to explore how the issue of race affects the way Americans cast their vote. This question was foremost in our minds as we traveled across the country, from the foreclosure-ridden neighborhoods of Miami, Florida to the borderlands separating the U.S. from …

Putting the "Civil" Back in Civil Society

October 11, 2010 Featured, Pop & Politics No Comments

I went on The Takeaway this morning to talk about a new move to get anger under control in politics. Farai Chideya on The Takeaway Recently , a group called Former Members of Congress for Common Ground (politely) laid down a gauntlet. Their petition to current candidates embraces the concept …

Politics and Population Density: Not Quite Arizona


Our team returned this weekend to New York (left) , a city with, to say the least, a high population density. Similar sky, but not quite Arizona (right). One of the more thoughtful articles I’ve read recently about America’s differences in attitude and governance touched on population density as a …

The Border Story You Don’t Hear: The Tohono O’odham Nation

October 3, 2010 Pop & Politics No Comments

When the media cover “the border,” they pit Mexico against America, Spanish against English, two increasingly melding cultures separated by a porous partition. But what happens when a border cuts straight through your own people’s land? What happens when you’re the forgotten voice in a three-way conversation – which hurts doubly, …

Wounded But Still Standing: America in an Age of High Anxiety

September 21, 2010 Featured, Pop & Politics 1 Comment

Our journeys took us to Gainesville, a college town where a threatened Koran burning turned into a media circus with an upside… an interfaith gathering that brought together people of many backgrounds. We also got to visit Tallevast, a small black town dying a slow death from toxins leached from a plant.

Gainesville: From Planned Koran Burning to Unity

September 11, 2010 Pop & Politics No Comments

A pastor of a 30-person church near Gainesville, Florida, was able to get on the media map for a planned mass burning of the Koran, the Islamic holy book. Pastor Terry Jones named his church Dove World Outreach, and despite its small size, their plans to burn the Koran inspired comments from the President and a call from Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking Pastor Jones to cancel the burning.

30 New Citizen Journalists Inducted in Miami

September 9, 2010 Pop & Politics No Comments

Yesterday we figured out the perfect mix of next-stage journalism and fun, which is to say that we threw a Tweetup in Miami. Sponsored by the Knight Foundation, this Tweetup brought together folks from public radio, newspapers (daily and alternative weekly), politics, activism, and the arts.

  • Me and Van Jones, 6/22/12, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.


Twitter Faves of @Farai


Discover Magazine: The Bypass Cure

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Worth a read — this Discover Magazine article on how the Roux-en-Y bypass technique for weight loss can literally cure diabetes overnight.

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Mayor Bloomberg to Talk Climate Change

Via Politico: At 1:30 p.m. tomorrow, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg will deliver a major speech in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard outlining the risks New York City faces from climate change and the steps the city should take to protect neighborhoods.

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Notebook: Climate Change and New York

Watch the video of this panel on climate change and Sandy. Columbia University scientist Klaus Jacob said “On a nice sunny day in the year 2100, the water level will be almost as high as it was during Sandy.”

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Consumer Culture and Freedom

Consumer culture is not freedom.

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Voter Suppression: It’s Real. Now What Do We Do About It?

Voting lines in Florida. AP/Alan Diaz via

“Many vivid anecdotes of purported voter fraud have been proven false or do not demonstrate fraud,” says the Brennan Center for Justice. A new article by Roger Simon of Politico blows open GOP plans to block the vote.

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Giving Thanks 2012


A long list of gratitude for things that are both beautiful and troubling — all of them are part of our world, and our lives, our realities.

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A Hot New Musical About the Search for Home


Because the story is about a black woman and not a black archetype or stereotype, anyone who loves the art of theatre and the place where struggle meets the sublime can relate to GIRL shakes loose her skin. I don’t know when it will hit the stage next, or what major theatrical producer will step up to bankroll it, but I’ll be there.

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Should President Obama Push for Criminal Justice Reform?

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Head on over to the Columbia Journalism Review’s site to read my piece on the President and criminal justice reform. Now that the election is over, these questions are more imperative than ever.

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Why the “Foreign Policy” Debate Wasn’t One

Please go to The Root and check out my piece on why the “foreign policy” debate was nothing of the sort….

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Politically Viral: Videos to Watch

Picture 52

Props to Thanh Tan for her article about the GOP Washington State gubernatorial candidate bringing it Gangnam Style; plus Sesame wants Big Bird out of Obama ad.

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