Code Switch

Code Switch
8:03 am
Sat April 25, 2015

Questioning the Black Male Experience in America

Question Bridge: Black Males attempts to represent black male identity in America through a video question and answer exchange. Top center is Jesse Williams, the executive producer of Question Bridge.
Question Bridge: Black Males

How would you like to be remembered, in a word or two? That question was posed by a black man and answered by other black men in a multimedia art project called Question Bridge: Black Males. Some of the answers to that query included: warrior, sincere, motivated, dedicated, family-oriented, and father.

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Code Switch
5:09 am
Fri April 24, 2015

A Look At 'Blackbird,' The First Film On The New 'Black Netflix'

Blackbird is about a gay interracial romance set in the deep South.
courtesy of blackbirdthemovie.com

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 11:27 am

A tiny independent movie has been picked by one of Hollywood's biggest moguls to promote his latest venture. Robert L. Johnson created BET and now, the Urban Movie Channel — an online channel that's being called the black Netflix.

The first original film it has acquired is a gay interracial romance set in the Deep South. In Blackbird, the main character Randy is in high school. Everyone thinks he's gay, and they're totally fine with it.

Randy, 18, is fervently religious. Even though his best friend is gay, Randy's in denial about his own sexuality.

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Code Switch
11:51 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Chris Rock On The Whiteness Of Baseball: 'Baseball Should Be Terrified'

Chris Rock on black disinterest in baseball: "I don't care about this as a black guy — I care about this as a baseball fan."
Charles Sykes AP

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 5:56 pm

On the most recent episode of HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, Chris Rock talked about the loneliness of being a black baseball fan in 2015, at a time when fewer than 10 percent of baseball's players and fans are black.

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Code Switch
4:34 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

A History Of Beef Between Black Writers, Artists, and Intellectuals

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, left, escorts Dr. Cornel West across the stage during a symposium at Sharon Baptist Church, in Philadelphia, Pa, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2002.
Brian Branch-Price AP

Over the weekend, The New Republic posted a 10,000-word essay by black academic and author Michael Eric Dyson that's created quite a buzz within a certain segment of black America.

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Code Switch
1:06 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

In Its Season Finale, 'Fresh Off The Boat' Is Still Wrestling With Authenticity

"Why are you dressed like Chun Li from Street Fighter?" Eddie asks his mom Jessica.
Fresh Off The Boat/ABC

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 10:06 am

Note: This piece contains spoilers.

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Code Switch
10:26 am
Wed April 22, 2015

The 'Folk Feminism' Roots Of The Latina 'Chola' Look

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 2:41 pm

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Television
4:17 am
Wed April 22, 2015

Ben Affleck (Kinda) Apologizes For Asking PBS Program To Hide Slave-Owning Ancestor

"We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery," Affleck wrote.
John Shearer AP

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 10:09 am

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Code Switch
1:03 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

George Takei And Company To Hollywood Gatekeepers: Fix Your Diversity Problem

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 10:54 am

Remember that Deadline article from a few weeks back? In which the writer pointed out that Hollywood is diversifying — and claimed that's a bad thing?

At least one good thing may come of it:

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Code Switch
7:03 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Scenes From This Week's #BlackLivesMatter Protest In New York

Students across New York City staged walkouts from school to join a Black Lives Matter protest in Union Square on April 14, 2015.
Ryan Kailath NPR

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 9:05 am

Organizers with the Black Lives Matter movement staged protests across the country on April 14, 2015. Publicized online with the hashtag #ShutDownA14 — as in, shut down your cities on April 14 — the protests called for students and employees to walk out of school and work, to bring attention to the recent police killings of unarmed minorities.

Planet Money intern Ryan Kailath observed the day's rally in New York's Union Square, and spoke with several of the hundreds of protesters and passers-by.

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Code Switch
5:03 am
Sat April 18, 2015

It Took Two Centuries, But The Native Hawaiian Population May Be Bouncing Back

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 9:27 pm

In 1778, the British explorer Capt. James Cook became probably the first European to encounter the Hawaiian Islands. Things got really ugly, really fast: Not too long after their first encounter, Cook died in a skirmish with the Native Hawaiian population in which dozens of Natives were killed.

While no one knows exactly how many Native Hawaiians there were when Cook arrived, scholars agree that that contact with Europeans had disastrous consequences for the islanders.

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Code Switch
5:37 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Miss Piggy Has One. Marilyn Monroe Has One. Why Can't Selena Have One?

Grammy award-winning Tejano music superstar Selena, who was killed in 1995 when she was 23 years old.
HO Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 10:00 am

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Code Switch
2:40 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Deaths Of Unarmed Black Men Revive 'Anti-Lynching Plays'

Lauren Lattimore (left), Wi-Moto Nyoka, Edmund Alyn Jones and Courtney Harge rehearse a scene from Blue-Eyed Black Boy, a play about lynching that was written around 1930.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 1:06 pm

An obscure but riveting genre of theater is being revived in New York City.

They're called "anti-lynching plays." Most were written by black playwrights during the early 1900s to show how lynchings devastated African-American families.

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Code Switch
7:39 am
Wed April 15, 2015

At Walter Scott's Funeral, An Unexpected Conversation

Mourners arrive for the funeral of Walter Scott at W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center in Summerville, S.C., on April 11, 2015.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 11:02 am

This past Saturday morning, my wife, Saadiqa, and I pulled into the parking lot of W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center, a little brick church surrounded by lush oak and maple trees in Summerville, S.C., where Walter Scott's funeral was about to begin. Cars were parked all over the grass and lined the surrounding streets. On the lawn, friends and families exchanged warm, tight hugs, fully dressed in sharply pressed suits, dark dresses and elegant hats despite the already blistering heat.

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Code Switch
3:14 am
Tue April 14, 2015

How Asian-Americans Found A Home In The World Of K-Pop

Asian music hitmaker Jae Chong, at work in a studio in Seoul. His work is all over Asian charts, but his passport is American.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 7:33 am

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Television
3:56 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

How The South Korean Government Made K-Pop A Thing

Sun Hi (Megan Lee), Jodi (Louriza Tronco) and Corki (Erika Tham) star in Make It Pop.
Stephen Scott Nickelodeon

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 5:57 am

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Code Switch
12:57 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Some Key Facts We've Learned About Police Shootings Over The Past Year

Makeshift memorials to Walter Scott sprouted up at the scene of his fatal encounter with Michael Slager, the police officer who shot him in the back as he ran away following a routine traffic stop.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 10:25 am

We've done a lot of writing and reporting at Code Switch over the past year on deadly police shootings of unarmed black people, cases that have become such a part of our landscape that they have a tendency to melt into each other. Indeed, sometimes the pattern of facts seems to barely change: Just last fall, we followed the story of an unarmed black man in South Carolina who was shot following a police traffic stop.

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Code Switch
4:38 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Painting The 'Epic Drama' Of The Great Migration: The Work Of Jacob Lawrence

Each of the 60 paintings in Jacob Lawrence's Great Migration series is accompanied with a caption. For this panel, he wrote in 1941: "In every town Negroes were leaving by the hundreds to go North and enter into Northern industry."
Courtesy of The Phillips Collection

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 7:58 pm

There's no historical marker outside Jacob Lawrence's childhood home in New York City's Harlem neighborhood.

But Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has an idea of what it might say: "Here lived one of the 20th century's most influential visual artists, a man named Jacob Lawrence, who was a child of southern migrants."

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Code Switch
9:16 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Civilians Can Record Police Encounters, But When Is It Interference?

Cellphones were used to record a 2012 confrontation between protesters and police in Springfield, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 1:50 pm

The arrest of South Carolina police Officer Michael Slager, who shot and killed Walter Scott in North Charleston this week, came shortly after the release of a cellphone video recorded by an eyewitness.

The filming of police by civilians has also sparked controversy, and it often causes confusion about what is legal.

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Code Switch
7:51 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Who Gets To Dance In 'Swan Lake'? The Answer Is Changing

Misty Copeland (left) and Brooklyn Mack play Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried in this year's Washington Ballet production of Swan Lake. It is the first time that two black dancers star in Swan Lake in a major American production.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 10:47 am

Something rare is happening in the world of ballet: At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., two African-American dancers will be the leads in The Washington Ballet's production of Swan Lake. Misty Copeland, soloist with American Ballet Theatre, will dance the dual role of Odette and Odile, while Brooklyn Mack of The Washington Ballet will dance Prince Siegfried.

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Code Switch
4:00 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

The Navajo Nation's Tax On Junk Food Splits Reservation

About 15,000 families on the Navajo Nation live without electricity. So all of their food has to be non perishable.
Laurel Morales Fronteras

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 10:19 am

This month, the Navajo Nation did something that no other tribe has successfully done and only Berkeley, Calif., has passed something similar: taxing junk food and soda.

It is an attempt by Navajo leaders to trim obesity rates that are almost three times the national average. But half of the tribe is unemployed and say they can't afford more expensive food.

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Code Switch
11:00 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Remembering Phyllis Klotman, Who Amassed An Amazing Collection Of Black Cinema

The collection Klotman created would eventually contain more than 3,000 films.
Alvaro Barrientos AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 2:17 pm

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Code Switch
3:00 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

A Lesser-Known Human Trafficking Problem: Teenage Basketball Players

Elsa Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 9:08 am

Monday night's NCAA men's basketball final will attract millions of viewers. One player on Duke's team — Sean Obi — hails from Nigeria. He's not the only African player who has enjoyed a successful hoops career in the U.S. The most famous is Nigerian Hakeem Olajuwon, who starred at the University of Houston before going on to a Hall of Fame career with the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors.

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Code Switch
8:20 am
Sat April 4, 2015

The Time Coca-Cola Got White Elites in Atlanta to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Norway in 1964. In King's hometown of Atlanta, social conservatives at first refused to attend an integrated dinner in his honor.
AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 10:54 am

Wal-Mart, Apple, Angie's List, NASCAR — some of the biggest names in business this week pushed back against "religious freedom" laws in Indiana and Arkansas. They said the laws could open the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians and were bad for their business.

Such corporate intervention is not new.

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Code Switch
4:21 am
Sat April 4, 2015

In Freedom Seder, Jews And African-Americans Built A Tradition Together

Rev. Channing E. Phillips, (left) Rabbi Arthur Waskow, and Topper Carew on April 4, 1969, the night of the first Freedom Seder.
Courtesy of Arthur Waskow

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 9:30 am

Friday night marked the start of Passover, when Jews around the world tell the story of Exodus. That story, with its radical message of freedom, has resonated with African-Americans since the days of slavery.

More than 40 years ago, these two communities wove their stories together for a new Passover ritual — the Freedom Seder.

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Code Switch
3:48 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Way More College Students Are Studying Korean. Is 'Hallyu' The Reason?

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 5:12 pm

A recent study found that in general, college students aren't taking foreign language classes as much as they used to — a slowdown of nearly 7 percent since 2009. But for one language in particular, there's actually been a pretty amazing jump in the rate of enrollment: Korean.

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Code Switch
3:23 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Proposals To Diversify NYC's Top High Schools Would Do Little To Help, Study Finds

Black and Latino students make up around 70 percent of the student population of New York City's public schools, but makeup a tiny percentage at the city's three elite specialized high schools.
New York City Department of Education

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 6:44 pm

New York City's public school system is vast, with more than a million students spread across thousands of schools. And like the city itself, it's remarkably diverse — about 15 percent Asian, just under 30 percent black, about 40 percent Latino, and about 15 percent white, with all sorts of finer shadings of ethnicity, nationality and language in that mix.

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Code Switch
11:19 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Bitter Herbs And Collard Greens: An African-American Seder Plate For Passover

Chef and culinary historian Michael Twitty writes frequently about what he calls "koshersoul," his African-American and Jewish heritage.
Courtesy Michael Twitty

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 11:58 am

How do you say the Four Questions of Passover in Mende, a language of Sierra Leone?

I've been wondering this in preparation for tonight, the eve of Passover. The ritual of the Four Questions kicks off the first Seder dinner by asking, "Why is this night different from all other nights?" to begin the story of how Israelite slaves escaped Egypt to freedom.

But tonight, I'd like to ask the Four Questions in a different way. I want to say the words in Mende, one of the languages of my enslaved West and Central African forebears.

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Code Switch
6:42 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

The Fear Of Black Men In America: How It Feels To Be A Problem

A protester stands in front of police vehicles with his hands up during a demonstration in Ferguson, Mo., where in August 2014 a white police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old black man.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 7:05 pm

Over the past several days, Michel Martin has been leading a conversation across various NPR shows about how black men navigate a world that so often sees them as dangerous.

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Code Switch
2:16 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

This Isn't The First Time Network TV Discovered Black People

When fledgling networks like Fox, UPN and the WB started wooing black viewers in the 1990s, the prime-time audience began to split. Fox's Living Single was the highest-rated show among black viewers in 1994-95 but didn't crack the top 100 among whites.
The Kobal Collection Warner Bros. Television/The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 2:35 pm

Last week, Nellie Andreeva, the co-editor of the insider-y Hollywood trade Deadline, wondered aloud whether the explosion of diversity this prime-time TV season had gone too far. Might it be putting deserving white actors out of work? Clicks sufficiently baited, the Internet went apoplectic.

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Code Switch
2:13 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Trevor Noah Is A Quarter Jewish. Does That Make His Anti-Semitic Jokes OK?

Trevor Noah at a Comedy Central event in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2012.
Dominic Barnardt/Gallo Images Getty Images

Editor's note: This post contains words and sentiments you might find deeply offensive.

The glow had barely dimmed on Comedy Central's unveiling of comedian Trevor Noah as the new host of The Daily Show when Noah's Twitter past came under fire. His critics have called some of his old tweets offensive, racist, misogynistic, homophobic and — the charge that seems to be getting the most attention — anti-Semitic.

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