Code Switch

Editor's note: This post contains some language that many will find offensive.

Lots of people are looking for words to make sense of Freddie Gray's death and the subsequent unrest in Baltimore, and have turned to writers — from novelist and social critic James Baldwin to hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar — for an assist. They're sharing these writers' words on social media, as screenshots in tweets, Instragrammed pictures of open books, and Photoshopped collages uploaded to Facebook.

Here are some of the virtual readings that stuck out to us — with context.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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