Code Switch

There's been a lot of heated conversation over Jeb Bush's use of the word "anchor babies" in remarks about immigration reform, and his subsequent attempt to dig himself out from under the criticism over those initial remarks.

In today's crowded TV landscape, the casting director's job is no small thing. And that talent will be honored at the Emmy Awards next month. Jennifer Euston, who has been in the casting business for two decades, has been nominated this year for outstanding casting for a comedy series and for a drama series.

"I get the script, I read it, I break it down. Anyone who has a speaking part is my responsibility," she says. "Even if the person says, 'Hi' — one word."

Photographer Tony Gleaton died last Friday at the age of 67 after struggling with a particularly aggressive cancer for 18 months. He was working, signing prints, talking to museums (several have his work in their collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Harvard's Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem) and checking in with his friends right up to the last day. I admired his work, but also treasured his friendship.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump repeatedly referred to "criminal aliens" and "illegal aliens" in the immigration plan he released on Sunday. "Alien," and especially "illegal alien," have become such staples in the vocabulary of conservative pundits and politicians that many immigrant rights advocates now reject those terms as derogatory and dehumanizing.

But it wasn't always like that.

The year since Michael Brown died in Ferguson, Mo., several confrontations between African-Americans and police have become national stories. Often, black journalists have been leading the coverage on these incidents and the steady trickle of them have taken a psychological toll. Many of them shared their experiences with Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch team.

Though Larry Wilmore had always hoped to be a performer, his early career was as a comedy writer. He wrote for shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and In Living Color, and created The Bernie Mac Show. He moved in front of the camera as The Daily Show's "senior black correspondent" in 2006. So when Stephen Colbert ended The Colbert Report last year, Comedy Central tapped Wilmore to host the replacement show.

On an unbearably hot August afternoon last summer, I was walking along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., notebook in hand, when I ran into two good friends who were also on the clock, Joel Anderson of BuzzFeed and Jamelle Bouie of Slate. A few nights later, we got dinner with a couple of other black journos from D.C. We'd all known each other for years, and joked about how we rarely get together back home and here we were, eating wings at a gastropub in St. Louis.

Some people take the day off for their birthdays. Not Cynthia Hawkins. She's at the grill of Hawkins House of Hamburgers, making food that keeps her customers happy, like her bacon cheeseburger. And she's persnickety about the bacon.

In this season of anger in many black communities that are reacting to police brutality, we're remembering the largest urban riot of the civil rights era.

Fifty years ago this week in Los Angeles, the African-American neighborhood of Watts exploded after a young black man was arrested for drunken driving. His mother scuffled with officers and was also arrested, all of which drew an increasingly hostile crowd.

If you want to get a sense of how complex racial identity is in Brazil, you should meet sisters Francine and Fernanda Gravina. Both have the same mother and father. Francine, 28, is blond with green eyes and white skin. She wouldn't look out of place in Iceland. But Fernanda, 23, has milk chocolate skin with coffee colored eyes and hair. Francine describes herself as white, whereas Fernanda says she's morena, or brown-skinned.

SARAH KELLOGG | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio, Rachel Lippmann, has been following the events in Ferguson after the shooting death of Micheal Brown for the year since it happened. Protests emerged yesterday around the anniversary of that event - where an unarmed black teen was killed by a police officer. A state of emergency has been called and protests are expected to linger on throughout the week.      

Unless you grew up in a black family with deep Detroit roots, I'm betting you've never heard of Black Bottom. It was a self-sustaining, all-black neighborhood that flourished on Detroit's eastern edge at the turn of the last century. It's largely forgotten today, replaced by a four-lane highway, but back then its mile-and-a-half main drag bustled with black-owned grocery stores selling produce from local black farmers.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on August 9, 2015.

Fresh air, the smell of pine trees, the sounds of birds chirping and brooks babbling — all of these have helped American city-dwellers unwind for generations. But in the era of Jim Crow segregation, nature's calm also gave African-Americans a temporary respite from racism and discrimination.

By now, you may have heard about the new Broadway musical Hamilton. When it opened off-Broadway in February, it earned almost unanimous raves and awards for blending history and hip-hop. Its sold-out run had A-list celebrities and politicians clamoring for tickets. Thursday night, the story of Alexander Hamilton, and the Founding Fathers and Mothers, opened on Broadway.

Here's What Black Lives Matter Looks Like In Canada

Aug 7, 2015

When we're talking about police brutality, issues in Canada aren't on a lot of American's radar. If anything, there's a widespread belief that Canada is some sort of racism-free zone.

But according to many black Canadians, a #BlackLivesMatter movement is badly needed in that country — and it's starting to take shape.

The name "Brownsville" doesn't necessarily vibrate the way neighborhoods and cities like Compton, Englewood and Camden do, places that stay in national headlines thanks to the extreme risks their mostly black and poor residents have to deal with every day.

When Jonathan Ferrell knocked on a stranger's door after a car crash in Charlotte, N.C., he was probably disoriented and looking for help. The stranger's frantic 911 call after she saw a black man at her door brought the police, including Randall Kerrick. What happened next is now being argued in a Charlotte courtroom.

You're probably at least a little bit racist and sexist and homophobic. Most of us are.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of unarmed black youth Michael Brown's death at the hands of Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is set to open next fall in Washington, D.C., has already started collecting banners and posters from the Ferguson protests, as well as gas masks donned by protesters and cell phone videos taken at the various demonstrations.

They were under watch by the FBI and the New York Police Department. And by the early 1970s, the Young Lords emerged as one of the country's most prominent radical groups led by Latino activists.

Inspired by the Black Panthers, a band of young Puerto Ricans wanted to form a Latino counterpart to the black nationalist group. In fact, one of the founding Young Lords in New York City almost started a group called the "Brown Tigers."

Professor Maria Krysan
University Of Illinois At Chicago

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major opinion on housing discrimination. It determined that violations of the federal 1968 Fair Housing Act could occur even if intent to discriminate is not shown.

Meanwhile, the federal Housing and Urban Development administration announced new regulations that clarify the expectations of the act, which aims to limit racial bias in housing. They demand that cities and towns across the country analyze housing patterns for signs of racial discrimination and report the findings.

Last week, the Internet exploded after an episode of the WTF! Podcast with Marc Maron went online. The guest was the comedian Wyatt Cenac, who talked about being a writer and correspondent on The Daily Show for several years. He recalled getting into a heated argument with Jon Stewart over the host's impression of Herman Cain, which Cenac had found troubling:

Decked out in spandex and a yellow and orange racing jersey with Eastside Bicycle Club: Ride To Live on the front, Gabriela Bilich was hanging out at club founder Carlos Morales' bike shop before a Saturday evening group-ride last weekend, joking with the other cyclists in spanglish.

Bilich says a couple of years ago, she would never have imagined herself riding a bike through the streets of LA. She says the cycling world just didn't feel welcoming to a 40-something Latina from Southeast LA who struggled with her weight.

Two years ago, self-described "hillbilly sophisticate" and former magazine writer Chuck Reece, who was born and raised in the Appalachian foothills in Georgia, decided to start a different kind of conversation about what it means to be Southern. Like many great American stories, The Bitter Southerner was conceived at a bar. The digital magazine launched in August 2013, promising one great story from the South every Tuesday.

Several people commenting on my story last week: “Why Are Women Poor?” wrote that women in the story would not be in poverty if they had been married.

Last year, after months of watching — and re-watching — the movie Frozen, my daughter Selma, who is 6, announced she didn't want to be brown. "I wish my skin was white," she told me one day in our living room, where we were hanging out after school.

Alex Landau, who is black, was raised by his adoptive white parents to believe that skin color didn't matter. But when Alex was pulled over by Denver police officers one night in 2009, he lost his belief in a color-blind world — and nearly lost his life.

Last week, I wrestled with an idea that admittedly made me very uncomfortable: the possibility that for many defenders of racially loaded symbols like the Confederate battle flag and the Washington Redskins' brand, their affinity for these icons may be more understandable and — crucially — more relatable than many of us might like to admit.

Mountains cover 70 percent of the Korean peninsula, and in South Korea, an estimated 1 in 3 Koreans goes hiking more than once a month. Over the past few decades, hiking has become way more than a weekend activity. It's part of the Korean national identity.

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