Code Switch

Code Switch
2:16 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Wonderful, Ridiculous, Head-Scratchingly Pointy Mexican Boots Are Now A Designer Item

A man wearing his extra long pointy boots stands next to women at a nightclub in Matehuala, Mexico, in 2011.
Dario Lopez-Mills AP

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 3:57 pm

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Code Switch
11:00 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Some Messy History Behind A Fight Over A Restaurant Called 'Chop Chop Chinaman'

The logo of Chop Chop Chinaman restaurant sits on a window outside the dinning area Thursday in Chicago.
Armando L. Sanchez Chicago Tribune/TNS/Landov

Over in Chicago, a restaurant called Chop Chop Chinaman has been getting a lot of heat for its name. In February, Chicago-area resident Jeannie Harrell was arrested for scrawling "F*** this hate crime s***. It's 2015" in lipstick on the restaurant's window, right next to the shop's decal sticker of a rickshaw and a man wearing a triangular hat.

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Code Switch
7:03 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Why It's So Hard For Us To Agree About Dong From 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'

The gesture Kimmy's making doesn't mean the same thing to Dong.
Eric Liebowitz Netflix

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 11:01 am

The very first time we encounter Dong Nguyen, one of several hotly debated characters in Tina Fey's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, he has just introduced himself to Kimmy in their GED class. And, as surely happens to Dong all the time, ever since he immigrated to New York from Vietnam, she's stifling a giggle over his name.

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Code Switch
1:30 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Takeaways From The Federal Report On Deadly Force By Philadelphia Cops

Two years ago, Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia's police commissioner, called for a federal review of the city's police practices. Ramsey called for a similar federal inquiry during his tenure as Washington, D.C.'s police chief.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 5:55 pm

Even before the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., or the Eric Garner incident in New York City last summer, Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia's police commissioner, called on the federal government to look into how the officers in his department used force, and how their use of force might contribute to the department's often strained relationship with the city's residents.

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Code Switch
7:35 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Retired Oakland Police Officer Recruits Locals To Police Their Own City

File photo of the Oakland Police Department as they salute at the public memorial service for slain Oakland police officers.
Michael Macor-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 11:40 am

Police departments around the county are under more and more pressure to diversify. In Oakland, Calif., officials say police-community relations also might be improved by increasing the number of cops who actually live in the city.

Margaret Dixon, a fiery retired Oakland police officer, grew up in a rough part of this city of 400,000. These days she's teaching classes at Merritt College, an Oakland community college — including one on policing and community relations.

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Code Switch
1:48 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

From A Congresswoman To A 'Queen,' Girl's Dress-Up Photo Series Rolls On

Lily Bushelle (right) dressed up as Shirley Chisholm. In 1968, Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to Congress.
Courtesy of Marc Bushelle

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 3:18 pm

Janine Harper and Marc Bushelle's photo series of their daughter Lily dressed up as different African-American heroines started as a Black History Month project.

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Code Switch
11:51 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Expert Hones In On Illinois Sex Trafficking

Jody Raphael

Sex traffic in the US isn't exclusive to people forced to come here against their will. Illinois residents and natives have also become part of the black-market industry. So says Jody Raphael, a DePaul University law professor and researcher. She'll speak Tuesday night at 7pm at UIS (info HERE). She recently spoke with us about her work:

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Race
4:01 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Family Secret And Cultural Identity Revealed In 'Little White Lie'

Lacey Schwartz grew up believing she was the daughter of white, Jewish parents. It wasn't until a university labeled her as black that she decided to explore the doubts she's always had about her race.
Courtesy of Independent Lens

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 2:39 pm

Lacey Schwartz grew up in Woodstock, N.Y., a mostly white, middle-class community. But even as a child she sometimes questioned why her deeper skin tone and curly hair didn't look like every one else in her family. Her parents, who are white and Jewish, explained that her inherited looks came from a Sicilian grandfather with darker features and coarse hair.

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Code Switch
6:31 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

From Selma To Eisenhower, Trailblazing Black Reporter Was Always Probing

Ms. Payne interviewing a soldier from Chesapeake, Va., in Vietnam in 1967.
Courtesy of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center/Harper Collins

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:39 am

When Ethel Payne stood to ask President Dwight Eisenhower a question at a White House press conference in July 1954, women and African-Americans were rarities in the press corps. Payne was both, and wrote for The Chicago Defender, the legendary black newspaper that in the 40s and 50s, was read in black American households the way The New York Times was in white ones.

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Code Switch
12:22 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

The Time A Cartoonist Was Told To 'Lighten Up' A Character

Cartoonist Ronald Wimberly was told to "lighten up" a Mexican and African-American character.
Ronald Wimberly The Nib

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 3:02 pm

In a beautifully illustrated comic over at The Nib, cartoonist Ronald Wimberly relays the story of working with an editor who asked him to lighten the skin tone of a character he was working on, Melita Garner, who has been described as Mexican and African-American, a reporter, and Wolverine's ex-girlfriend.

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Code Switch
2:16 am
Fri March 20, 2015

'A Proud Walk': 3 Voices On The March From Selma To Montgomery

Demonstrators of different races and religions from across the country united to take part in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., 50 years ago.
AP

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 3:39 pm

Fifty years ago, civil rights protesters began their successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., two weeks after a crackdown by police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. NPR talked with three people from different parts of the country, of different races and religions, who answered the call from Martin Luther King Jr. to join the marchers.

Todd Endo:

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Code Switch
8:15 am
Thu March 19, 2015

From Hot Sauce To Diapers, 'Superconsumers' Of Color Buy More Of, Well, Everything

Fox's soapy hit "Empire" has rocketed to the top of the TV ratings in large part because of its eye-popping performance in black and Latino households.
Chuck Hodes FOX

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 1:29 pm

What do Fox's runaway hit Empire and booming sales of Goya rice and beans have in common? They're examples of the growing clout a segment of hyper-engaged, hyperconnected consumers of color, according to a new report from Nielsen.

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Television
4:02 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Swagger On Display At 'Empire' Season Finale Parties

Jamal (played by Jussie Smollett) and Cookie (played by Taraji P. Henson) attend the all white party in the "The Lyon's Roar" episode of Empire.
Matt Dinnerstein FOX

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 11:18 am

Last night was Empire's season finale, and at one of D.C.'s biggest Empire watch parties, a sharply dressed crowd of hundreds is huddled around every flat-screen in The Stone Fish Grill Lounge downtown.

"Here we go! Here we go! Here we go, come on everyone! Round of applause!" shouts one of the hosts for the night. "It's Empire time!"

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Code Switch
3:47 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Starbucks Campaign Already Inspiring Awkward Conversations About Race

"It's also interesting because I'm actually black, but you assumed otherwise," Jay Smooth told Nancy Giles.
MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 4:12 pm

Starbucks' campaign to get people talking about race has already birthed a very public, very cringeworthy conversation about race. Jay Smooth, a radio DJ and video blogger, was on MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes Tuesday night, discussing the coffee company's "Race Together" campaign with fellow guest Nancy Giles, a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning.

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Code Switch
7:18 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Old Land Battle Resurfaces In Georgia Between The Gullah And The Government

Hundreds of adult wood storks gather on the tops of trees at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
Stephen B. Morton AP

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 3:19 pm

More than 70 years ago, the federal government took land from descendants of West African slaves, known as the Gullah, living in Georgia. Now they're fighting to get it back.

In 1942, they were given just weeks to leave marsh property on the Georgia coast so that the U.S. military could construct an air base for training pilots and conducting anti-submarine flights. Twenty years later, the former base and the land around it were converted into the 2,762-acre Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

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Code Switch
5:04 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Can New York Police Build Trust Among Public Housing Residents?

Reginald Britt first moved into the Taft Houses, a public housing complex in East Harlem, in 1976
Alexandra Starr

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 2:42 pm

In New York City, the police department has been re-examining the way it patrols public housing since the shooting of Akai Gurley late last year. Gurley, who was African-American, was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a rookie officer in a Brooklyn housing complex. His death highlighted tensions between police and the people who live in public housing.

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Code Switch
1:43 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Here's What People Are Saying About Starbucks' 'Race Together' Campaign

Me: "My name is Rigoberto." Starbucks barista: "Giorgio?"
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 7:49 am

If your name isn't traditionally white-sounding, there's a good chance it's been misspelled by a coffeehouse barista. It's awkward when that happens, but is it the perfect time to engage in a dialogue about race and ethnicity? Starbucks seems to think so.

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Race
6:25 am
Tue March 17, 2015

A Chinese Immigrant Gets His California Law License, 125 Years Later

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 7:02 pm

The state Supreme Court in California has posthumously admitted a Chinese immigrant to the state bar, 125 years after his application was denied. The law license application was rejected back in 1890.

Hong Yen Chang was sent to United States from China in 1872 to be groomed as a diplomat, a bridge between East and West. His training took him through Andover, Yale and Columbia Law School.

"So he really was about as integrated as one can be in the establishment at the time," says Gabriel Chin, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law.

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U.S.
4:55 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Once Lost, Internment Camp In Hawaii Now A National Monument

Hawaii's Honouliuli Internment Camp held thousands of prisoners of war and hundreds of Japanese-American citizens during World War II
Courtesy of Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 1:39 pm

The Honouliuli internment camp, not far from Hawaii's Pearl Harbor, held as many as 4,000 prisoners during World War II, including hundreds of Japanese-Americans.

In February, President Obama named the location a national monument.

The camp became known by prisoners as "jigokudani," or "Hell's Valley," says Carole Hayashino, the president of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

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Code Switch
8:03 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Univision Race Gaffe Shows Culture Gap

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 7:33 am

It happened again. The Spanish-language, Miami-based Univision — the fifth-largest television network in the U.S. — has another racial insensitivity mess to clean up.

On Wednesday, Univision talk show host and fashion commentator Rodner Figueroa said that first lady Michelle Obama looks like an apocalyptic ape.

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Code Switch
6:48 am
Sat March 14, 2015

These Nightclub Entertainers Paved The Way For Asian-Americans In Showbiz

Mai Tai Sing dances with her husband, Wilbur Tai Sing, in 1942.
Courtesy DeepFocus Productions Inc.

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 1:27 pm

As a kid growing up in San Francisco, filmmaker Arthur Dong often walked by a nightclub just outside of Chinatown. "I remember distinctly looking at the marquee and looking at the glass display case [with] all these wonderful black and white photos of Chinese people, but dressed in zoot suits and 1940s kind of gowns and tuxedos," he says. "And I had never seen Chinese dressed like that."

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Code Switch
6:03 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Reverend Willie T. Barrow, A 'Little Warrior' For Civil Rights, Dies

Rev. Willie Barrow, a 'superdelegate,' attending the opening night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The long-time activist, who was a mentor to President Obama, died on Thursday.
Melanie Stetson Freeman Christian Science Monitor/Getty

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 4:01 pm

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Code Switch
4:29 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Off The Menu: Realness Is A Matter Of Taste

What kind of red wine pairs well with Chinese takeout?
Matthew Mead AP

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 6:47 pm

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Code Switch
2:03 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

North Carolina Looking Into 'Black Tax' At Charlotte's Ritz-Carlton

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper in 2010.
Jim R. Bounds AP

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 5:30 pm

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has directed his Department of Consumer Affairs to look into reports that some African-American customers at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte were recently subjected to unwarranted fees.

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Code Switch
6:28 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Racial Tension Draws Parallels, But Madison Is No Ferguson

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin addresses a crowd of protesters on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Madison, Wis., during a protest of the shooting death of Tony Robinson.
Andy Manis AP

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 10:03 pm

Five days after a white police officer shot and killed 19-year-old Tony Robinson, an unarmed black man, in Madison, Wis., protesters are staging large rallies to demand that charges be filed. Meanwhile, officers are rallying at the Wisconsin State Capitol on behalf of the city's police.

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Code Switch
2:08 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Claude Sitton, 'Dean Of The Race Beat,' Dies At 89

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 4:56 pm

It may be that Claude Fox Sitton so outraged the white Southern segregationists he reported on throughout the civil rights movement because, by all appearances, he could have been standing beside them instead of writing about them in the New York Times.

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Code Switch
10:02 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Earl Lloyd Was Basketball's Jackie Robinson. Why Isn't He Famous?

Earl Lloyd of the Syracuse Nationals poses for a portrait circa 1950 in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Stevenson Collection/NBAE Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 12:55 pm

Jackie Robinson is a household name, a book report staple, an American hero. News of his 1947 debut in the major leagues appeared on the front page of the New York Times, above the fold. Fifty years after he first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, teams across the MLB held moments of silence on the field, and the league's commissioner retired Robinson's number across baseball.

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Code Switch
8:03 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Photos: From Grace Jones to Toni Morrison, Little Girl Dresses Up Like Black Heroines

Lily Bushelle, 5, as Toni Morrison.
Courtesy of Marc Bushelle

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 3:49 pm

While surfing the Web one day, Janine Harper came across a project where a photographer had taken pictures of her daughter dressed up as famous women, including Coco Chanel and Amelia Earhart. Harper showed the project to her husband, photographer Marc Bushelle, and together they thought it would be wonderful to adapt it for their 5-year-old daughter, Lily. Their goal was to create a fun learning method for Lily so that she could start to "see herself in the story" of black history.

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Code Switch
12:12 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

Will Exposure Fatigue Get Ferguson's Cops To Change Their Ways?

Police stand watch in August 2014 as demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 5:49 pm

When a 1975 New York Times cover story charged the NYPD with widespread graft and thuggery, we got Al Pacino as Serpico, one lone idealist who exposes the department and lives — just barely — to tell the tale. When the RAMPART report in the '90s likened the LAPD to a gang with badges, we got Training Day, where rookie Ethan Hawk manages to take out the corrupted veteran Denzel.

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Code Switch
4:30 am
Sat March 7, 2015

Two Women — One Brown, One White — Adopt A Black Son In 'Post-Racial' America

Nishta and Jill have experienced their share of awkward, and sometimes tense, moments raising their adopted son, Shiv, in Houston.
Courtesy of Guernica Magazine

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 12:17 pm

Over at Guernica magazine, writer Nishta Mehra, whose parents were born in India, shares the story of adopting her son Shiv, who is black, with her partner, Jill, who is white. Adoption can be a challenge for any family. But when you're an interracial family with two moms living in Texas, things get even more interesting.

Guernica has shared this excerpt of Mehra's story with Code Switch readers:

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