Equity

Comedy and race will meet head-on at this year's Academy Awards. Amid calls to boycott the Oscars over its lack of diversity, the host is one of today's most provocative black comedians. You can just feel the audacious Chris Rock rubbing his hands together in excitement.

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Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Last week, Mattel announced that Barbie is getting a makeover. A whole bunch of them, in fact. Now, 33 new Barbie dolls are available for purchase through the website, in three new body types — petite, tall and curvy — and seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 14 "face sculpts." We rounded up some sharp thoughts on this news, ranging from what this means for Mattel's bottom line to whether a widely hyped debut of Barbie's new looks is really a step forward.

Poverty rates for the biggest racial minority groups in Illinois are two to three times higher than those for whites.

In my house growing up, the walls of every room — including the bathroom — were decorated with several calendars. (Is this a Chinese-American thing? An immigrant family thing? I've always wondered.)

When the Sundance Film Festival kicked off last month, the subject of diversity was in the air. Just days after the Academy of Motion Pictures rekindled the debate on #OscarsSoWhite, thousands of filmmakers and journalists decamped to Park City, Utah's snowy mountains to discover new indie gems and meet the auteurs of tomorrow.

A Voice You Can Feel

Morris Robinson has the kind of bass voice that reverberates so strongly you feel it in your concert seat. Listening to it, you assume he's been singing all of his life. And he has — but not opera.

Morris Robinson has the kind of bass voice that reverberates so strongly, you feel it in your concert seat. Listening to it, you assume he's been singing all of his life. And he has — but not opera.

When some Western musicians picture life in India, they seem to think you can't turn a corner without someone blasting you in the face with brightly colored powder.

Editor's note: A previous version of this piece was published prematurely and contained a number of errors and mischaracterizations of Tom Gjelten's original reporting. We have corrected this post.

About 40 years ago, when she was 24, Consuelo Hermosillo had an emergency caesarean section at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. In the new documentary No Más Bebés, she recalls asking her doctor what type of birth control she should use going forward.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

So. Macklemore. I suppose we have to talk about Macklemore.

In families where biological parents are of different races and ethnicities, daughters are more likely to self-identify as "multiracial" than sons, according to a new study in the February issue of the American Sociological Review. This is especially true in families with one black parent and one white parent.

Once in a blue moon*, the film industry makes a decision that leaves us speechless.

Where a mainstream fashion magazine might do a special "black issue," like Italian Vogue back in 2008, or a black lifestyle magazine might run a queer feature, the perspective of queer black folks tends to occupy occasional outskirts in fashion and lifestyle glossies, never the mainstay.

In a high school theater in Arcadia, Calif., Amber Zhang and the rest of the teenage cast of a production of Molière's comedic play The Miser gather in a tight circle.

"Everyone say, 'Hey, hey, hey!' " bellows Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, an instructor at Arroyo Pacific Academy. "Helloooo!"

Zhang, cast as a spunky ingénue, throws her body — and pipes — into the exercise.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Office of State Rep. Tom Morrison

Legislation sponsored by a Northwest suburban lawmaker would require school boards to tell students they could only use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex. Males with males. Females with females.

Republican Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine says he sponsored the legislation to create an “objective standard."

"The vast majority of students are minors, and so it is appropriate that if they’re in school,  we need to make sure that we ensure their privacy within those changing areas.”

Black Lives Matter Champaign-Urbana

It’s one of the largest activist movements since the civil rights era of the 1960s. It’s more than just a hashtag, and it’s about more than police. What's the impact of Black Lives Matter as an organization and a philosophy? And will it be enough to bring about lasting and significant changes in Illinois and across the country? 

Last week saw the unhappy reprise of #OscarSoWhite, a Twitter hashtag that's becoming something of an annual tradition skewering the lack of diversity in nominations for the Academy Awards. Many fans and critics are frustrated — to say the least — that all of this year's nominees in acting categories are white, citing Michael B. Jordan's performance in Creed as one of a handful of expected shoo-ins for recognition.

Office of Rep. Andre Thapedi

Chicago State University won’t have funds to operate by March 1 if  state money is not released, officials there have said.

Rep. Andre Thapedi, a Chicago Democrat,  has sponsored legislation to have $25 million from the state go to predominantly minority public colleges. That would effect Chicago State University and several community colleges. Those colleges have minority enrollment of at least 75 percent.

Thapedi  said he sponsored the legislation because schools with large minority populations are dealing with the most vulnerable students.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Where Brunch And Housing Segregation Collide

Jan 14, 2016

There's been a lot of conversation lately about people of color dealing with "only one in the room" syndrome in the workplace. But in 2016, it's still remarkably easy to be the only person of color in any given social situation. My Code Switch teammate Gene Demby and I were talking about this yesterday.

Jeremy Arambulo, a Filipino-American comic artist who lives in Los Angeles, says he basically came out of the womb knowing the legend of Bruce Lee, the kung fu king. "He's like our Elvis," says Arambulo. "If we didn't have him, geez, who would we have? Charlie Chan? I don't know. Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's?"

On any given episode of East Los High, the highly addictive teen soap on Hulu that just got a fourth season, you'll see love triangles and heartbreak, mean girls and bad boys, and some seriously skillful dancing. Think a Latino Degrassi meets Gossip Girl meets Glee.

In this week's Barbershop, Anil Dash, a tech writer in New York, Rev. Kenn Blanchard, a gun rights enthusiast and NPR's Gene Demby talk about President Obama's tearful moment on gun policy earlier this week. They also discuss how the Netflix series Making a Murderer is shaking up the way people think about criminal justice.

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