Code Switch

courtesy of Emma Todd

ILLINOIS ISSUES - Emma Todd, then a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Tulsa, found herself seriously contemplating suicide, again. This time, the Springfield native had made her way to the top of a building.

The moment comes a minute or so into the trailer for Dr. Ken, Ken Jeong's new fall comedy for ABC.

He's playing a Korean-American doctor with no bedside manners and a wacky family; not a bad setup for a sitcom that will straddle the work/family setting. Dave Foley, the ex-Newsradio star who plays Jeong's boss, chides his employee for insulting a patient, demanding he apologize.

"And if I don't?" Jeong replies.

Presented without comment. Because what is there to say, beyond "This is the music video for Beyoncé's 'Single Ladies' set to the DuckTales theme song"?

Happy Friday.

Photographer Gabriel Garcia Roman's portraits feature friends and acquaintances, activists and poets, Americans and immigrants — some naturalized, some undocumented.

All of them are queer people of color.

"I wanted to specifically focus on this community because queer and trans people of color are so rarely represented in the art world," says Roman, who is Mexican-American and also identifies as queer.

Today on Code Switch, writer and critic Roxane Gay, who's a favorite of ours, writes about the problem of all-white recommended readings lists.

Another day, another all-white list of recommended reading. This year's New York Times summer reading list, compiled annually by Times literary critic Janet Maslin, offered up zero books by non-white authors.

Like lots of little kids, Jeremiah Nebula — the main character of a children's book called Large Fears — has big dreams. He wants to go to Mars.

But Jeremiah is also pretty different from the characters that Myles Johnson, the author of the Kickstarter-backed book, met in the stories he read when he was growing up. Jeremiah is black, and he really, really likes the color pink.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Mat Johnson lived mostly with his mother in a black neighborhood. The son of an African-American mother and an Irish-American father, his skin was so light that he might have passed for white. But being biracial meant only one thing back in the '70s: "Um, it meant: black," Johnson says with a laugh. "There wasn't a lot of ambiguity there. I didn't hear the world biracial or didn't think of myself as biracial. And when I did hear that, I reacted to it defensively.

In his column this week, Charles Blow of The New York Times broke down the difference between "bikers" and "thugs" in the wake of the deadly biker gang shootout in Waco, Texas:

In his New York Times column this week, Charles Blow discussed bikers and thugs in the aftermath of the Waco shootout on Sunday.

On April 22, WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson were arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct after the couple reportedly had a fight in their Phoenix home. A week later, Griner pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and agreed to participate in a 26-week domestic-violence diversion program. On May 8, the couple got married in an outdoor wedding that was written up in The New York Times, and then, on May 15, each woman received an unprecedented seven-game suspension from the WNBA.

It's been more than 60 years since Ellis Island closed as a station for inspecting and detaining immigrants. But you can still take a ferry from New York City and cross the Hudson River along the old routes, right to the dock outside a red brick building trimmed with limestone.

"You're sailing in just the way a 1920s immigrant sailed in, only on a little better vessel," says Stephen Briganti, the son of an Ellis Island immigrant from Italy.

After my stories last week on the 30th anniversary of the MOVE siege in West Philadelphia in 1985, in which Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on a residential neighborhood, leaving 11 dead — including five children — we were surprised by how many people told us they'd never heard of the bombing.

The biker gang shootout this weekend in Waco, Texas, that left nine people dead, 18 wounded, and as many as 192 facing organized crime charges has sparked a lot of scrutiny over how police and media are treating this incident compared with how they approached the protests in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore.

Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren / Harvard

A recent study showed that children who grow up in poverty have a better shot at economic mobility depending on where they live.

The study, by economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard University, was based on earning records for millions of families and is part of an ongoing effort called The Equality of Opportunity Project.

"We show that the area in which a child grow up has significant causal effects on her prospects for upward mobility," the report states.

Of all the police officers involved in the recent deaths of unarmed men which have drawn national attention, only one is Asian-American – New York City Police Officer Peter Liang, the son of Chinese immigrants.

Despite the fiery, complicated past of the 6200 block of Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia, Gerald Renfrow is bullish on its future.

He's one to know; he has lived here forever. His parents bought one of the bigger houses on the corner of 62nd and Osage Avenue and he grew up there. When it was time for him to buy his own home, he landed just up the block and raised his own kids there.

Talk to some of the folks who lived through the bombing of 62nd and Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia 30 years ago, and you'll notice that they refer to the event by its full date. May 13, 1985.

Just outside Pittsburgh is the tiny borough of Braddock, Pa., best known as the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie's first steel mill. Today, it's something of a poster child for rust belt revitalization, a place where artists can buy property for pennies and even construct outdoor pizza ovens using the bricks from abandoned or demolished buildings.

The Harlem Children's Zone is a nonprofit known for its innovative, multifaceted approach to ending the cycle to poverty. It's garnered kudos from President Obama and philanthropists like William Louis-Dreyfus, who recently announced he would donate up to $50 million to the organization.

Zahra Noorbakhsh and Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed host the podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. But they don't have a shtick where one of them is good and the other is bad. It's more complicated than that.

Noorbakhsh, an Iranian-American comedian, and Ahmed, a Bengali-American writer and activist, say this podcast was born out of conversations about just what it means to be a "good Muslim."

Desilicious is a raucous dance party that was started by LGBT South Asians in New York. The name is a play on words; many people of South Asian descent refer to themselves as Desi, and hundreds regularly turn out for the event.

On a spring Saturday night in a New York City dance club, longtime Desilicious partygoer Sazzad Reza congratulates the event's founders on its big anniversary. The organizers have been staging the party every month or so since 2002.

Editor's note: In 2013, we wrote about a band named The Slants and the legal battle over its name. As the saga continues, we check back in on what it means to the band's members — and what it could mean for trademark law.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate a change in the flow of immigrants arriving in the U.S. from around the world and offer a look at what the nation will look like in the future.

NPR continues a series of conversations from The Race Card Project, in which thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words.

People make a lot of assumptions based on a name alone.

Jamaal Allan, a high school teacher in Des Moines, Iowa, should know. To the surprise of many who have only seen his name, Allan is white. And that's taken him on a lifelong odyssey of racial encounters.

It was after the bars had closed and well into the pre-dawn hours of an August morning in 1966 when San Francisco cops were in Gene Compton's cafeteria again. They were arresting drag queens, trans women and gay hustlers who had been sitting for hours, eating and gossiping and coming down from their highs with the help of 60-cent cups of coffee.

Yukia Harris Walker remembers the thrill of getting engaged, but the luster on that glow dimmed when she visited bridal salons and realized there weren't many dresses that would fit her. Walker was a size 14 at the time — as are a lot of American women — but there were no high end gowns for her to try, and the stores had to make-do.

It was a few days after the funeral for Freddie Gray, and the Baltimore streets that had exploded into violence this week had mostly calmed down.

Baltimore's lead prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced on Friday that the death of Freddie Gray was a homicide. Mosby, who took office in January, is charging six city police officers with a range of offenses — including second-degree murder and manslaughter.

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