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Tracing family’s roots gives a ‘broader sense of self’

GinaPaige 600WASHINGTON– For African Americans, the quest to trace one's origins is fraught with mystery and dead-ends. But with time and a willingness to dig, it's totally feasible – and often rewarding.

"Now that I know or have an idea about my family and genetic past, it gives me a broader sense of self," says James Morgan III, who has been tracing his lineage for the past six years. "To be able to view myself more – not as a one-dimensional person, just American – but as a citizen of the world, of space and time, is something that I think everyone deserves."

Morgan, a New Jersey native, began researching his ancestry in college. But his interest in topic began much earlier.

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Jason Collins allegedly receives gay taunts from fellow NBA player

JasonCollins 600Perhaps it was inevitable. As the first openly gay athlete in a major professional sport, some believed it was a matter of when, not if, Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins would be subjected to prejudice from his peers.

According to the New York Daily News, Collins has endured some homophobic taunting from one of his fellow players.

"One player, one knucklehead from another team," Collins told the Daily News. "He's a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That's how I conduct myself just being professional."

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Study: Violent video games with black characters fuel racism

violentvideogames 600You start your favorite video game, go to character select, pick a black avatar—be it a fighter or gangster—and start playing. As a white person, what effect, if any, does this have on you?

According to a new study, the effect is significant: White players who adopt black characters are more likely to exhibit aggression and express strongly negative attitudes toward blacks, even after ending the game.

"The media have the power to perpetuate the stereotype that blacks are violent, and this is certainly seen in video games," said Brad Bushman, an Ohio State University communications professor and psychologist who co-authored the study. "This violent stereotype may be more prevalent in video games than in any other form of media because being a black character in a video game is almost synonymous with being a violent character."

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Black theater success is reshaping one of America’s whitest fields

theatrediversity 600The theater world has long been considered one of the most elite—and least diverse—in American culture. And as I've previously covered for The Root, at present there are only a handful of African-American Broadway producers, despite the fact that 46 new shows opened last season.

Over the years, though, there have been occasional African-American playwriting successes. Lorraine Hansberry was the first black female writer to have a show—the classic "A Raisin in the Sun," produced on Broadway—and it recently returned to Broadway, 55 years after its debut, with Denzel Washington now as the star.

August Wilson became the first black playwright to win a Tony Award for best play in 1987. But when Playbill, the publication best known for publishing Broadway programs, attempted to compile a list of influential black playwrights in the late '90s, the number of those with actual Broadway productions or mainstream crossover success of any kind was uncomfortably small.

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