00:00:00 | 3:02:50




We begin with a discussion about Rachel Dolezal, the former Washington state NAACP chapter head who apparently pretended to be black, and how her story reflects larger questions about racial identity in the U.S. Then, in our weekly TV roundup, our critics hash out last night’s Game of Thrones season finale and more. Next, author Katherine Taylor talks to Madeleine about her new novel, Valley Fever, which is set in Fresno during a drought. And finally, why have border protection authorities decided not to take any action against agents who may have been involved in unjustified shootings?

Banner Image: Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal and Racial Identity 14 MIN, 44 SEC

The parents of Rachel Dolezal appeared on the Today Show this morning to talk about their daughter. Dolezal is a white woman who over the years began presenting herself as African-American. She was a student at the historically black college Howard in Washington, D.C.; she got her M.A. and now teaches in the Africana Studies Program at Eastern Washington University; and she headed the NAACP’s Spokane office until resigning today. She also lied about having black family members.

There seem to be no shortage of lies or half-truths Dolezal has claimed about her personal history. At its core it is a story about a woman whose identity, either consciously or unconsciously, was malleable to the point that she completely assumed a new race and disowned her white family. How unusual is her story, and what bigger questions does it point to in terms of how we create racial identities in this country?

Jody Armour, USC (@NiggaTheory)
Lacey Schwartz, writer, director and producer (@laceyschwartz)

TV Roundup: 'Game of Thrones' Bloody Finale, and More 11 MIN, 16 SEC

For those of you still smarting from the Game of Thrones finale last night, perhaps the new season of Orange Is the New Black will work as a salve? We talk about how HBO’s historical fiction/fantasy series ended its latest round of episodes, and more in our weekly television segment.

Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)
June Thomas, Slate (@junethomas)

'Valley Fever' 13 MIN, 42 SEC

Katherine Taylor’s new novel, Valley Fever follows a young woman named Ingrid Palamede, who returns to her parents’ farm in Fresno during a personal crisis. Ingrid is the focus of the book, but Valley Fever is also a novel about place. It paints a detailed, modern portrait of the Central Valley during the drought. Madeleine speaks with Taylor, who lives in L.A. and is originally from Fresno herself, about her inspirations.

Katherine Taylor, author, 'Valley Fever'

Valley Fever

Katherine Taylor

Border Patrol Shootings 6 MIN, 42 SEC

The Customs and Border Protection agency has spent a year reviewing 67 cases of border patrol officers using deadly force. The agency now says it won’t be taking any disciplinary or legal action against officers in any of those cases. The internal review was launched after a blistering report by an independent group called the Police Executive Research Forum. That report found that Border Patrol officers’ use of force was often unjustified. It also found a “lack of diligence” in the agency’s investigations into deadly force cases. So why no punishments?

Bob Ortega, Arizona Republic (@Bob_Ortega)

Subscribe to the 5 Things To Do newsletter

Never miss the best of what to do with your free time.


More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand


Latest From KCRW

View Schedule


View All Events


Player Embed Code