Radiolab’s conduct during its September 24th Yellow Rain segment, in addition to violating NPR’s code of ethics, demonstrated a complete lack of racial, ethnic and cultural sensitivity.
In its podcast, Radiolab’s persistent repudiation and dismissal of the personal accounts of Eng Yang, Hmong refugee, genocide survivor, and official documenter for the Thai government -- and his niece, award-winning author and activist Kao Kalia Yang -- provoked an outcry among its listeners. Radiolab’s ongoing culturally insensitive handling of the issue has since been criticized in several places; The Good Men Project, Hyphen Magazine and Minnesota Public Radio, to name a few.
18MillionRising will send the following letter to NPR's VP of Diversity, Keith Woods, and WNYC's Chief Content Officer, Dean Cappello, to call for a meeting with the APIA community. You can add a personal comment using the box to the right.
Dear Mr. Woods and Mr. Cappello,
NPR is a powerful, respected, nation-wide media outlet that lists being "the most relevant, trusted and consumed news source in the U.S." as one of their primary goals. However, Radiolab of WNYC's conduct around the Yellow Rain podcast has discredited NPR as a relevant and trusted news source to the Asian Pacific Islander American community and its allies.
These events are particularly disappointing since NPR also recently received a $1.5 M grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to launch a “major journalism initiative to deepen coverage of race, ethnicity and culture, and to capture the issues that define an increasingly diverse America.” These efforts are commendable, but the recent Radiolab Yellow Rain segment and the dismissive way in which Eng Yang and Kao Kalia Yang were treated during its production, conflicts with the diversity initiative NPR is receiving funding for, and the values which NPR aims to demonstrate.
We are calling for NPR to host a meeting with Keith Woods, Radiolab of WNYC, and concerned members of the Asian Pacific Islander American community to ensure that events like this never happen again.
Also supported by the following organizations:
Asian American Association at Ohio State University
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
Asian Services in Action (ASIA)
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF)
Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association (ITASA)
Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA)
Southeast Asian Coalition (in partnership with the Vietnamese Association of Charlotte)