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Flight cancellations leave migrants stranded across county

 December 27, 2022 at 4:59 PM PST

S1: Migrants are left at San Diego bus stations just days before Christmas.

S2: Because of some of those flight cancellations and delays. The shelters were not able to move people on as quickly as they normally do.

S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jane Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition. And E-bike program expands statewide despite challenges in participation rates.

S2: What we found essentially is low participation.

S1: San Diego's Office of Education reaches out to visually impaired students and will hear the complex history of what humans think about their butts. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Many San Diegans are reporting airport delays and cancellations that have made holiday travel difficult , if not impossible. And among those hoping for some kind of flight connection were migrants left to their own devices after being released by the Border Patrol. Some migrants made their way to San Diego International after being left at bus stations across the county last Friday. Traditional shelters said they were too full to take them. So the U.S. Border Patrol released dozens of asylum seekers , some with no phones and no nearby relatives at the bus stations. Joining me is San Diego Union Tribune reporter Kate Morrissey. Kate , welcome to the show.

S2: Thanks for having me.

S1: This is definitely not the usual procedure in releasing migrants from Border Patrol custody.

S2: The first shelter is the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter. It was actually created when asylum seeking families generally were getting released to the streets a little over four years ago. And so this sort of looks like what would have been happening had that shelter not been created back then , but because it was because organizations came together and made it happen. People have largely had a had a shelter to go to where they could then be assisted in contacting their loved ones around the country. Make sure that there are no medical concerns about them traveling on and then be assisted in getting to the airport or getting to the bus station and getting to their their final destinations.


S2: As you know , that has made flights difficult for people all over the country. And because of some of those flight cancellations and delays , the shelters were not able to move people on as quickly as they normally do. And so because people were staying in the shelter longer , those those spaces weren't opening up for new arrivals. And it reached a point where they were having to make difficult choices and trying to still find rooms for the most vulnerable among the new releases. But a lot of folks were getting released to the bus stations instead.


S2: But the problem is that when people arrive , their phones often don't work. Maybe they don't have service in the United States. Maybe their phones are dead. Maybe their phones were lost in the journey and they don't even have a phone at this point. So those who could we're getting in touch with with their loved ones and trying to figure out travel arrangements , trying to figure out where they were even in order to to get on to their final destination. And so what I saw happening Friday evening when I was at the bus station in Oklahoma was that everyone who could found their way to the airport figuring that they would be able to buy tickets there. And oftentimes it would be one person who had the money or who had a relative who had the money to get an Uber or a taxi to the airport , and they would take as many additional people from the bus station as would fit into the vehicle. So you saw people sort of helping each other out to get to the airport. But as you said earlier , everybody is experiencing these these flight cancellations right now. And the flight prices for the flights that are leaving are especially high because of the holidays. And so we've seen a lot of people getting stuck then at the airport.

S1: Now , you reported that two people saw the Border Patrol drop off about 60 migrants at the El Cajon Transit Center on Friday. And those people were so troubled by what they saw that they jumped in to help.

S2: Yes , These are actually employees from the car dealership across the street who were getting off work and instead of heading home to begin their own holiday celebrations with their families , they stayed until very late Friday night trying to help the people who who didn't have working phones , connect with their relatives , make phone calls so that they could get flights booked or bus tickets. And even just figuring out where they were , figuring out what resources were around in the area. Some relatives might have even been booking hotels for their loved ones , but these two were we're trying to help facilitate those conversations with their own phones and sort of relaying messages between everybody.


S2: And they didn't say a whole lot beyond sort of that kind of vague we take care of everybody statement.


S2: In particular to invest more in the infrastructure here locally for receiving migrants at the border. And so we've definitely seen those calls continue. We have seen some voices who are sort of particularly concerned about migrants being left at the bus stations , being particularly critical of the federal government. But I would say in general , basically been a finger pointing at the federal government.

S1: Now , in national news , we heard that dozens of migrants bussed in from Texas were abandoned in front of Vice President Kamala Harris home in Washington , DC on Christmas Eve.

S2: You know , we've seen migrants getting biased in sort of political stunts for months now and getting dropped off in a variety of locations , including outside of her home before. And so , you know , what's happening here has to do again with the winter storms , the flight cancellations and people in general sort of not being able to move in the way that people are normally able to move away from San Diego. And I think what happened with buses being deliberately sent to the vice president's home is is more of a political message than weather related.


S2: So the people who were still at the bus station , by the time that I arrived there had relatives in Los Angeles and were waiting for those relatives to arrive. I saw a couple of the relatives arrive actually while I was there , and some of them were still waiting. I haven't heard from them to know that they made it to their relatives , but I would I would like to think that their relatives who said they were on their way did show up to pick them up at the airport. It's really hard to say. My colleague was there yesterday as we were reporting on the cancellations with Southwest Airlines , and there were definitely still lots of migrants at the airport yesterday. So as far as I can tell , people are still sort of stuck there and not having anywhere to go. I did report specifically on a man who had been separated from his pregnant wife while they were in Border Patrol custody , and she had ended up at a shelter in Riverside and he had ended up at a bus station and then managed to make his way to the airport. They were able to be reunited over the weekend and made it to their final destination in Minnesota. But it seems to me that they're they're among the luckier ones that that they managed to do that. I think a lot of people are still stranded.

S1: I've been speaking with San Diego Union Tribune reporter Kate Morrissey. Kate , thanks a lot.

S2: Thanks for having me.

S1: The state is spending $10 million to encourage people to use e-bikes as a more climate friendly form of transportation. But the San Diego organization selected to oversee the program has run into its own problems in getting people to use the bikes. The nonprofit Pedal , a head group in Normal Heights , has been conducting a loan to own program for the past three years. While they report wide distribution of the bikes and a waiting list , documents show the actual bike usage has not lived up to expectations. Joining me is AI news source reporter Jennifer Bowman. And Jennifer , welcome.

S2: Thank you.

S1: Tell us about the pedal ahead organization and what is its loan to own program. Sure.

S2: Sure. As you mentioned , you know , it's a relatively new program. It's launched here in San Diego in 2020. And until next year , it's only operating in San Diego. And essentially what they do is they distribute e-bikes to people under a two year program. They have to meet certain mileage requirements. So they have to ride the bike enough , essentially. And at the end of the program , if you meet those requirements , you're able to keep the bike. The goal , as you said , it's a it's meant to be a more climate friendly mode of transportation. I think people were more familiar. If you're not a bike user , more familiar with the cost of a car and all those associated costs. You know , these e-bikes pedal head , the model they use , it's about 1800 dollars. So it's meant to be a cheaper mode of transportation and meant to reach low income residents. Okay.

S1: Okay.

S2: They've given out close to 400 bikes. Their users together have logged over 300,000 miles , that there's a wait list to join the program. But , you know , Petrolhead also points to the other benefits that come with riding a bike. They talk about riders , mental health , their physical health , the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions , all those kinds of things are what we've heard from pedal ahead as they've been operating since 2020.

S1: But how many people have actually used the bikes enough to own them ? Yeah , what.

S2: We found essentially is low participation. So while the nonprofit definitely has some active riders , the data that we obtained shows that many users are logging far fewer miles than what's required to be able to keep that bike at the end of the two years. Some are not logging any miles at all. Some writers have been inactive for over a year. Ed Clancy , who's the founder of Pedal Ahead. He tells us that only about 50 participants have met the mileage requirements in order to keep that bike. Those requirements are essentially five daily miles. That's the average.

S1: So what's pedal is a response to this low participation.

S2: You know , part of it is they acknowledge , they tell us that , yes , those those are correct. But that the data we received only shows a snapshot in time. And they also say that it doesn't really show the additional efforts that they do in terms of outreach , communicating and engaging with their participants. They say they reach out to those participants who are kind of the low mileage users. And they also attribute some of the challenges to to being a startup. They say that they're implementing better practices as they go along. Things like mileage plans or offering extensions so people have more time to reach those requirements. Things like that.

S1: Pedal ahead has an income limit on who can participate in the loan to own program.

S2: It's not. So the program prioritizes people who make less than $50,000 annually. And as I've said , it's intended to get e-bikes to , you know , lower income residents. But in addition to the low participation , we also found that some participants surpass that income threshold. Some of them , in fact , are local government employees. We found the Metropolitan Transit System , which provides bus and trolley services here in San Diego. They confirmed to us that 20 of their employees participated , and as the agency itself acknowledges , the vast majority of staff at MTS are not considered low income. So this is something , again , the pedal head acknowledges and they say not all participants are low income. They told us that they also consider other factors , so they take into consideration your transportation barriers or your habits. And if an e-bike would fill those gaps or your your health. So pedal to head says 65% of its participants make less than $50,000 annually.

S1: So besides beating out other organizations statewide to oversee the state program , Pedal Ahead is also gotten a lot of support from the county.

S2: It's received several rounds of what ? Are known as community enhancement grants. It's about $200,000 total. And most of that going basically to fund the creation of the program back in 2020. Nathan Fletcher. Supervisor Fletcher is a vocal supporter of the program , an early supporter of the program. You know , he says he knows programs can run into challenges , but he's he's vouching for pedal ahead and says it has a lot of potential and is a cause worthy of the county's support.


S2: It'll go from San Diego to statewide. And when they were selected by the Air Resources Board , the Air Resources Board pointed to the pedal to heads proven on the ground experience. And that's how that's their words , not mine. So when we contacted the agency to respond to our findings , it actually declined to comment. You know , the agency only told us that they will design the program and that pedal ahead will be responsible for implementing it. And declined to comment on what they said was any past perceived success of what's been happening here with the San Diego program.


S2: In fact , as you know , as we report , we're seeing expansions and that continues to go on. But I do think what we are seeing are a little bit of tightening up of requirements , if you will. So the San Diego Association of Governments , which probably is more commonly known as SANDAG , they have their own pilot program under a partnership with Pedal Head. And this is just one example where instead of just making income a priority , it's actually a requirement. So sandbags own program with pedal to head will actually not accept anyone who makes more than $50,000. And they're leading the process to select participants where that's not the case with with the county grant funding. And we'll see that at the state level as well , where they'll have their own requirements on how a person qualifies to get into the program.

S1: Well , I've been speaking with AI news source reporter Jennifer Bowman. Jennifer , thank you.

S2: Thank you.

S1: This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. Schools teach children more than what's in their textbooks. The best education includes life lessons that forge a path to independence. And that's what the San Diego Office of Education is hoping to provide in its outreach to kids who are visually impaired. KPBS education reporter MJ Perez tells us how their special needs are being met and celebrated.

S3: Step up buttons in front for we left behind a button that's in front of you.

S4: These are very specific directions for a very specific young student.

S5: We use the back of the hand because we don't know if there is something on the button or if the button is hot.

S4: 15 year old Grace Dabiri is feeling her way across Orange Avenue in Coronado and listening to traffic all around her.

S5: Right off to my right shoulder is where the car should be.

S4: Grace has been blind since birth because of an underdeveloped optic nerve that can't carry messages from her eyes to her brain.

S5: It's a bit scary at first because there are literal cars. But after doing it for a few years , it gets easier because I know what to expect most of the time and it just becomes something I do every day.

S3: It's give us a safety sweep. Left to right. Very nice step.

S4: The voice she listens to belongs to Jim Brandi , an orientation and mobility specialist with the San Diego County Office of Education. He works with five or six visually impaired students every day in districts from Coronado to San Ysidro. Teaching them life skills and helping with accommodations for their school.

S3: It's not about failure. It's not about meeting my expectations. It's about them reaching the highest level of independence that they can in the amount of time that it takes to do that safely.

S4: He has worked with Grace since she was in second grade.

S5: I'm trailing the grass line. That's to my right. So I have a boundary.

S3: So I want you to find the.

S4: She is now a freshman at Coronado High School , already enrolled in Advanced Placement computer science , along with math and English classes. Grace is growing up with her other senses sharpened and has only a little interest in what she might never see.

S5: Honestly , probably just my family. And I've heard the stars are pretty beautiful , so I'd want to see the night sky. But I don't really want sight because I'd have to relearn everything.

S4: Brandy has more than six years of experience. That includes time as an EMT security officer , a credentialed special education teacher with a master's degree , a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu , and he is visually impaired.

S3: At 24 years old. I had an injury to my left eye where I had a retinal detachment and I lost the majority of the vision in my left eye and I didn't get it back.

S4: Sometimes Peron covers his one good eye so that he can relate to what his student is experiencing.

S3: So you're at the end of the 500 building. We're going to work on going to the front office in the nurse's office.

S4: At San Isidro Middle School. There is another student success story involving 12 year old Diego Chaparro , also blind since birth. With prosthetics for both his eyes , he has never seen light or even shadows , only complete darkness that has not stopped him from dreams of someday playing professional football.

S5: I love football. Yes.

S4: Yes.


S5: I haven't figured out yet What ? I'm throwing the ball. Someone just makes noise like a big clap or something. And I just thought at the direction.

S4: Diego is supported by his visual impairment teacher , too. Tonya Gonzalez is another member of the San Diego County Office of Education Team. Gonzalez is a person who can she and she says she has been educated by so many of her students who cannot.

S6: As students , can generally tell if a person is naturally kind good hearted , not because of the way they look , but by the way they're interacted with Diego's perseverance.

S4: That's an example for all the other visually impaired students across the county like him who just want success and happiness.

S5: Treat them normal.

S2: Treat them the way normal people are treated.

S4: That is a lesson for all of us. That is clear to see.

S1: Joining me is KPBS education reporter MJ Perez. MJ , welcome.

S4: Good to be with you , Maureen.

S1: Now , I learned a lot from listening to this feature. I didn't know that schools in the county had programs that help students with special needs actually navigate their lives outside the classroom.

S4: I want to teach you a new acronym , and that is SEL for CLP , LPA. It stands for Special Education Local Plan Areas , and there are several cell bills throughout the county. And the reason that significant is that the County Office of Education is responsible for working with all districts in those sectors to make sure that their students needs are met. In this case , involving special needs.

S1: It does. And I hope you can tell us a bit more about what a school coat orientation and mobility specialist like Jim Peron d what he actually does.

S4: So as we mentioned in the report , Jim himself is visually impaired because of an accident that he suffered. And as a result of that , he is especially qualified to help students who are blind , who are visually impaired in any way , who have partial vision and so forth. And so his job is really to get them on campus and safe. So that could include , you know , finding your way around from one class to another and transitioning from one class to another. In the case of the young lady that we spoke with , Grace , she is now attending Coronado High School and she lives in the area. So she has to walk to school. And that involves some very crowded , busy intersections. And that's part of his job , too.

S1: Now , Margie , I know that you used to be a special needs teacher.

S4: I worked with both populations. You might ask , Well , what is my child's disability ? That could be something as simple as a reading disability or something that is keeping a student from learning whatever that might look like. And of course , on the severe side of things , that would be somewhere on the autism spectrum , children who are blind and those kinds of disabilities. So there is a range of services that are available to students in those two classifications. There's something called an IEP , which is an individual educational plan , and that is specific to each student. So each student has goals , they have requirements. It's a legally binding document that teachers and administrators must abide by in order to make sure that that particular student is being serviced in the way that they need specifically.

S1: Now , it seems that there probably should be some special needs education given to the classmates of students like Grace and Diego.

S4: We talked to Diego , who I mentioned wants to be a professional football player and having sat across from him and he him telling me that I believe he's going to do it. And one plan for Diego is that his classmates would help him out on the field in supporting him to move around. So in that regard , they would actually be actively participating in his education. And there are other plans , you know , to use a football that makes a sound in order to allow him to at least have that initial experience. And then who knows where technology will take him from there.

S1: As a former special needs teacher , M.J.

S4: I worked with students at a school Wolf Canyon Elementary in the Chula Vista Elementary School District over a period of about three months. We started with basic theater exercises and games and that kind of thing. But because of the time of the year , we developed our own production of. It's the Great Pumpkin , Charlie Brown. I taught them how to write a script to memorize lines. And then we actually performed for the entire school on Halloween. The significance was one of the students I worked with was on the autism spectrum and completely non-verbal. By the time he got on stage in October , he was able to deliver two short lines. And for me , that was the moment I knew. First of all , I'm in the right business. And second of all , that that's really the victory. Small victories. And and he did that. And I'm told that after that , he was more verbal , if you will , in his other classwork after his performance , which I think is a great tribute to him.

S1: I've been speaking with KPBS , education reporter M.G. Perez. MJ , thank you very much.

S4: Thank you , Maureen.

S1: The PEN America Prison Writing Awards recognize exceptional works from incarcerated writers that will be published in a new anthology. The first place winner for both the fiction and nonfiction categories this year is San Diego. Anne Frank , Ken Saku. Sarah Goza. Sara Goza was homeless in San Diego for several years before being taken into federal custody on drug related charges. He was released earlier this year. He spoke with KPBS arts producer and editor Julia Dixon. EVANS And here's their conversation.

S2: You were just recognized with two prison writing awards from PEN America , both for works that you wrote while incarcerated. Before we talk more about your writing process , can you give us an idea of what it is you write about ? Sure.

S3: Yes. I was recognized by winning these awards and it was a big surprise to me. I started writing in prison about my life in addiction and about my life living homeless on the streets. So I guess those are the topics I really cover in my writing. Homelessness , addiction and incarceration.


S3: I used to be a college professor , and then I worked in social services for several years. I was in recovery for several years. And so from my perspective , I had a I had a normal life. And I was just trying to do the best I could in the world. And then one day it felt to me as if six years had gone by. And I find myself in a federal prison facing many , many years , a sentence of many , many years. And I didn't know how that happened. And I had these memories of living on the streets , of getting high all the time , of the psychosis that comes with that. And of all the things I had to do to keep getting high. And it was just , you know , they would come out in dreams. They would come out in these memories that would just intrude at these strange moments. And so I just began writing down kind of in a journal. And then after a certain point. I decided that I really wanted these writings to find some kind of a life , because I realized that what I was writing about was a community of people and experiences , of people that are really difficult and that not many people write about. And so I thought , This needs an audience. And so I was really trying to find an audience when I heard about the Pen Prison Writing awards.

S2: So Life in Pieces is your work of fiction , and it's a patchwork of those fragmented memories of homelessness in San Diego.

S3: That made me laugh at first. I lived in Manhattan , and I know what the East Village is. This is not the East Village. I mean , it's got that space for art. It's got a cool performance space. It's got cool new bars and restaurants. It's got a gritty , industrial vibe. There's a lot of new construction. But if you go far enough south and far enough east to the very corner of downtown , right where the East Village hits Barrio Logan on the south and Golden Hill on the east , where Vinnies is St Vincent de Paul and the Neil Good Day Centuries and the Alpha Project and that San Diego Skid Row. It's the heart of darkness. It's where homeless people go to shoot up light in the street , out in the open. It's where everything goes down.

S2: So one of the things evident in your writing is this distinct relationship you have with the streets of San Diego , particularly in this fiction piece.

S3: And it's funny because when I was housed in San Diego , I would go to the restaurants on the same streets. I had friends who lived in condos and apartments on the same streets. And so I would walk to work or to Petco Park or to wherever I was going and walk on the exact same streets that I walked on when I became homeless. But then when I was living on the streets , the same streets felt really different. All of a sudden , there was a. There was so much more detail , so much more variety and so much more that they weren't just a way to get from point A to point B anymore. They became places where whole lives were lived , whole communities were formed and all kinds of things went down transactions , commerce , relationships , all kinds of things.

S2: Let's also talk about that line between truth and honesty , between fiction and nonfiction.

S3: Because early on , when I was first incarcerated , I wanted to try to put all of this behind me and pretend it never happened. So as I started to try to write it down , what became clear to me is I didn't remember if things happened in this particular order or in a different order. I didn't remember if if I said something or if somebody else said something. And then I also realized that , you know , when you're unhoused and you're on the streets and you're high all the time , or at least when I was high all the time , there'd be days and days on end where I wouldn't sleep. And my life was in constant crisis and I wasn't eating regularly. And so I can't trust my memory or my cognition under those circumstances. And at the same time , because of using crystal meth on a daily basis , my mind was also in constant psychosis. And so you definitely can't trust what you think or what you remember under those circumstances. So I thought the only thing I can do is write what I believe to be true , represent my life and my experiences to the best of my ability. But I can't hold myself. Responsible for making sure that everything I say is factually correct because there's no way I can check. All I can do is do my best to tell the truth , but then just acknowledge the fact that my work is just right at that place where fiction and nonfiction meet. And what I strive for is honesty. But I can't necessarily strive for factual factuality.

S2: I wanted to go back to something you were saying earlier when we were talking about. How did you know you wanted your writing to reach people outside of prison ? And the hope that was represented in what you had said there. For someone who is in federal prison is is remarkable to once an audience and then to achieve it.

S3: Because I was locked up during COVID the entire time I was locked up , there were no visits. And so I guess if I didn't have hope that I could write and possibly get published. Then I would have no hope at all. It gave me an opportunity to imagine a world bigger than my prison cell. And really , that's what I want. I want my work to have a life of its own. And I want my work to reach people. I want to talk about and I want people to read about. What is it like living unhoused on the streets ? I want people to know a little bit more about individuals who become homeless and the communities that we form and the lives that we lead and the choices that we make and the reasons we make them. You know , I'm not trying to explain or justify anything. I'm just trying to tell the truth as I see it. And I hope that that truth is able to connect me with people in the world , not make me different or separate from them.

S2: Frank , thank you so much.

S3: Oh , thank you.

S1: That was formerly incarcerated San Diego. Anne Frank. Ken Sacco. Sarah Goza , winner of two 2022 PEN America Prison Writing Awards. Speaking with KPBS , arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans. You can read an excerpt from Sara Goss's work on our website. And the anthology that includes his work was published this month. It's called Variations on an Undisclosed Location. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. As 2022 nears its end and holiday feasting continues. It may be time to spend some thought on our own ends. Not the final goodbye , but the size of our butts. As it turns out , there's a complicated history behind what we think of our butts. Radiolab reporter Heather Radtke explores that in her new book called Surprisingly Bats A Back Story. She sat down with Midday Edition co-host Jade Heineman to talk about it. Okay , so.

S2: You start your book off by telling the story of Sarah Bartman. First , can you remind our listeners who she was and how what happened to her is still very relevant today. Sure. Yeah. So Sarah Bartman was an indigenous South African woman who was brought up to London in the early 19th century by two men who displayed her in London in a freak show because she had a big butt. And after that , there was a famous trial in London to determine whether or not she was an enslaved woman or whether she was free. And it was determined that she was free , although that's a very contested verdict. And then later she was brought to Paris , where she died very young , and her body was dissected by a famous French scientist named George Cary , who used his autopsy report , as did many other scientists in the 19th century , to reinforce and kind of codify racial stereotypes about black women and African women. And the story of Sarah Bartman is a truly tragic and pretty horrific one. And the stereotypes that basically made her an attractive freak show in London in the early 19th century. And then the stereotypes that were then reinforced in that autopsy report really do remain with us today. And we can see echoes of her story throughout the 19th and 20th and 21st centuries. And all of this is not too far in the.

S1: Past , is.

S2: It ? No , it's it's really not. And in many ways , I mean , queer , in addition to doing the autopsy on Sarah Bartman , also took her bones and parts of her body and displayed them in his museum. And actually , they remained on display in Paris into the 1980s , which is very , very recent. And her body was only repatriated to South Africa in the late nineties and early 2000s. There was a big project to bring her back. It's not old history and it's actually the legacy of that. History is really quite relevant in all kinds of ways throughout the past two and three centuries. You know , we see it in questions of cultural appropriation and we see it in the stereotypes that lots of people still have about about big butts in general and about blackness and big us , even with that painful history. In reality , for for many , a large posterior is something many people want.

S1: I mean , it's in fashion now. And one of the more.

S2: Popular surgeries is the Brazilian butt lift. We can get into why it's called that in another conversation. But what did you learn about people's present day perception of butts and why people are so fixated on.


S2: And so much of this has to do with the ways that hip hop became central and kind of the most dominant form of music in the late nineties and early 2000. And the kind of white interest in blackness changed during the same period of time. So these stereotypes about large butts and how they are sexualized and sexy kind of came back into the mainstream ones at around 1997. And then of course , you know , most people kind of associate that with Kim Kardashian. So then it kind of took off again in the late 20 tens as Instagram and other kinds of social media became dominant forces in our culture. And I think that the thing about it is that there's this idea that the big butt is associated with like a hypersexual woman or sexiness in all these different ways. And that's a that's a history I trace throughout the book. You know , we can look at Sarah Bartman , we can look at the bustle. We can look at ideas that are part of the scientific establishment , including ideas about fertility that have been really reinforced and were really put forward in the nineties in evolutionary psychology. And all of those are , you know , problematic and often not true ideas about bodies. In all of your research , when writing this book , what surprised you the most ? You know , I think that the thing that surprised me the most was how I when I learned that the reason why so many of us , we go into a dressing room and our clothes , it feels like the clothes don't fit us and they kind of can't ever fit us. Like I've never tried on a pair of pants that fits me well when I learned the history of why that is , and that's the history of clothing sizes. And then I learned that actually , like the garment industry really doesn't expect that they're going to fit me. I found that maybe more surprising that I should have actually , when I started. Don't thought about it because , you know , making clothes that can fit the wide variety of human bodies , it's basically impossible. And so , you know , now when I go into a dressing room , I often think instead of being like , oh , there's something wrong with me that these pants don't fit , I just try to remember that it's actually that there's something wrong with pants kind of as a concept , or the idea that , like , we have pants as an industrial product , that that's actually the problem. Who were.

S1: Clothes made.

S2: To fit ? Well , there's a there's a woman named Natasha Wagner who lives in L.A. and she's lovely. And she has a job that's called Fit Model. And what she does is she goes and clothing companies use her body as like the one body that the clothes are going to fit. And then they use mathematical formulas to make all the other sizes. So there's really only one person that the clothes are meant to fit. And her name is Natasha. Natasha. Okay. And so even is that process even racialized , do you think ? Yeah. I mean , I mean , Natasha is a white woman and so , I mean it's racialized to that extent. And then I think that maybe the broader point is that there's only one body instead of multiple bodies , and all of our bodies are different. But then , you know , the history of sizing is like a deeply racialized history. The first the first kind of project that where somebody was trying to figure out how to make standardised women's clothing sizes was this woman , Ruth O'Brien , in the 1930s. And she went and measured all these women , thousands of women across the country , and she was going to create basically take averages and create different sizes. Two , four , six , eight is kind of how it ended up. But she threw out all of the data from women of color so their bodies were not represented even in this original data set of in the history of sizing. So although that isn't the data that's used now , you can just sort of see how it's baked into the idea of size and sizing of women's clothes. Wow. I mean , it's such an interesting.

S1: Topic with a lot to unpack.

S2: What made you want to research and write about butts ? Well , I have a big board myself , and so does my mom. And I'm a white woman and I grew up in the nineties and the suburbs of Lansing , Michigan. And I was I was teased a little bit about it. And then as we talked about over the last 30 years , kind of the mainstream beauty ideal changed. And I just started to think about how , you know , my body had essentially kind of come into fashion and how strange it is that body types come in and out of fashion. And I was really interested in exploring kind of how and why that is and what that meant. And of course , any history of a body is always going to be a history of race and a history of gender. And so I pretty quickly started to find all of these other kind of interesting tendrils that could help us to understand what it really means for a body to come in and out of fashion.

S3: And what.

S1: Was your biggest takeaway from.

S2: This research and writing your book ? I mean , I think it's it's sort of a hard question. I feel like just that this idea that , like there's such a long history of bodies being controlled , but there's also a long history of people resisting that control and that , you know , I think when we think about bodies to just think a little bit harder , then maybe our first unconscious ideas box can be funny. Like , you know , even the idea of writing a book about books , like I've said the word , but to a million people as I've gone along on this process and it's fun to laugh about it , but that the things we maybe don't take that seriously often contain a lot of unconscious material that's worth unpacking and thinking harder about. I've been speaking with Heather Radtke , reporter with Radiolab and.

S1: Author of the new book.

S2: But's A Back Story. Heather , thank you so much for joining us. Thanks so much for having me.

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Migrants made their way to San Diego International after being left at bus stations across the county last Friday. Traditional shelters said they were too full to take them. So The US Border Patrol released dozens of asylum seekers, some with no phones and no nearby relatives, at the bus stations. Then, the state is spending 10 million dollars to encourage people to use e-bikes as a more climate friendly form of transportation. But the San Diego organization selected to oversee the program has run into its own problems in getting people to use the bikes. Plus, this fall, students across San Diego County are again adjusting to being back on campus – and face-to-face full time. The start of the new semester is especially challenging for students who are visually impaired. And, an award honoring literature from incarcerated individuals was given to a local author. Finally, a new book explores the history and social perception of butts.