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Implicit bias has been a hot topic in the news. Some go as far as saying it's played a role in many police-involved shootings of African-Americans. Bias training expert Darnell Blackburn, himself a former police officer, says everyone has bias. He says the problem comes when it goes too far and results in bad choices.

Jane Kozhevnikova

Ben Schmidt-Swartz, a jazz tenor saxophonist who earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Western Michigan University, will perform new music from a project called 'Spiritus' at The Union Cabaret and Grille on Wednesday, April 3. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Schmidt-Swartz and vocalist Lexi Galla go behind-the-scenes with stories of how the project grew out of improvisation and a personal approach to faith.


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Johnaye Kendrick performs Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30, at 8 pm in WMU's Dalton Center Recital Hall at the Gold Company Vocal Jazz Festival. Friday's concert opens the event, which brings high school-age students to campus for performances and workshops during the day on Saturday.  Johnaye Kendrick will be joined by a quartet: Western professors Matthew Fries, piano; and Thomas Knific, bass; and student Madison George, drums. On Saturday, Kendrick will be the featured guest soloist with Gold Company.

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance and Gold Company director Greg Jasperse, Kendrick describes her artistic journey as a search for "a voice" that took time and experience to develop.  Her years at WMU, singing in Gold Company under Steve Zegree were formative, as was her further education at the Thelonius Monk Institute and at Loyola University. Today, she lives in Tacoma, WA, and recently released her second album, Flying, to rave reviews.


Poster for P.T. Barnum's show with Joice Heth J. Booth and Son, Wikimedia Commons
J. Booth and Son / Wikimedia Commons

Author Kevin Young says he started out writing about “why we deceive, and I ended up thinking about why we believe.” The result is the book Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake News. Young says there are many reasons we believe hoaxes, “but a lot of it is because we want too." Note: this interview originally aired in January. 


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Author Kevin Young says P.T. Barnum didn’t invent the hoax, but he came close to perfecting it. The author of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake News says Barnum provided people with a good show. But Young says some the acts are troubling “when you look at his shows up close.” Note: This interview was originally published in January. 

Young will speak at Western Michigan University Thursday March 28th at 7:00p.m. in room 2452 of Knauss Hall. His appearance is sponsored by the University Center for the Humanities and Western’s English Department. The event was scheduled for January, but was rescheduled due to weather. Young says hoaxes are not about the thin line between fiction and fact. Instead, he says they are about the deep divisions between people.


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