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Is Texas Racist? And the Endless 290 Construction Project: Tuesday’s Show (June 13, 2017)

Since March, three different Texas voting laws have been struck down by the courts as intentionally discriminatory. And the Texas Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 4, the so-called “sanctuary cities ban,” which many immigrants rights’ groups are concerned will lead to racial profiling. That string of news got us wondering – is Texas racist? Does […]

Since March, three different Texas voting laws have been struck down by the courts as intentionally discriminatory. And the Texas Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 4, the so-called “sanctuary cities ban,” which many immigrants rights’ groups are concerned will lead to racial profiling.

That string of news got us wondering – is Texas racist? Does Texas have a trend of actual racist policies? Is there a different between systematic institutional racism and an individual’s prejudice toward another group? Or does individual prejudice just lead to institutional racism, since individuals elect the people who make up the institutions?

Ross Ramsey, columnist for The Texas Tribune, recently wrote an article about how some of these laws are hurting Texas’ reputation around the country – and how that might translate into real financial losses for the Lone Star State. On this edition of Houston Matters, we hear from him, and then we discuss this issue with Josh Blackman, associate professor of law at South Texas College of Law Houston, and Luis Fraga, director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Also this hour…

The Endless 290 Construction Project

Transportation in general is a common complaint among Houstonians. But there’s one project in particular that may annoy drivers the most, and that’s Highway 290. The highway is currently undergoing a $2.3 billion widening project. Officials say the project is supposed to wrap up by late next year. We talk with Karen Othon of TxDOT about the project to learn more about the big payoff for drivers once the project’s complete.

World Refugee Day

Saturday (June 17, 2017) is World Refugee Day Houston. We learn about how the day will be marked here, from two people involved in organizing it: Selene Escalera, co-chair of Houston World Refugee Day, and Elena Korbut with Interfaith Ministries. And we talk about the current state of refugee resettlement in the region — amid lower numbers being resettled in the Lone Star State as of late — with Lauren West of the Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees (PAIR).

Moody Gardens Aquarium Renovation

The aquarium at Moody Gardens in Galveston recently (May 27, 2017) opened the doors on its $37 million, multi-year renovation. Michael Hagerty recently toured the new exhibits and tells us that visitors will see plenty of new things and plenty of familiar things — with the biggest of them being a little of both.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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Abner Fletcher

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