Earlier this year, Victor Barillas decided to get on the HIV prevention pill called Truvada. When taken every day, the pill is nearly 100 percent effective in blocking the transmission of HIV, even through unprotected sex.

In 2012, Harvard Business professors Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca launched a study to look at whether black hosts on AirBnB earned less than their non-black counterparts. Edelman and Luca examined the pricing strategy of all AirBnB hosts in New York City and found that, on average, non-black hosts charged 12 percent more than black ones.

East of Eden, John Steinbeck's 1952 novel, is on stage at Chicago's legendary Steppenwolf Theater through November 15. I remember reading the book as a teenager growing up in Boston and being pleasantly surprised to find that it featured a Chinese-American character named Lee.

Ah, the fine art of Columbusing. Code Switch has explored the subject in the past:

If you've danced to an Afrobeat-heavy pop song, dipped hummus, sipped coconut water, participated in a Desi-inspired color run or sported a henna tattoo, then you've Columbused something.

The world of children's lit has always traded in grisly topics — children's literature scholar Jerry Griswold deems "scariness" one of the five elemental themes of the genre.

Voices For Illinois Children, National Women's Law Center

Illinois fares poorly in a recent national report looking at access to child care assistance. In fact, the state ranks dead last after after cuts were made in July to drastically reduce maximum income levels for families to qualify. The report, by the Washington, D.C.-based National Women’s Policy Center, compared policies between the states as well as the District of Columbia.

It used to be that American Muslims who wanted a halal meal had to live in a major city and know a good butcher. Want to find an eligible spouse? Get your parents involved. In the market for halal cosmetics? Good luck.

Times are changing though.

Greg Howard is a staff writer at Deadspin, a Gawker Media site that covers sports and culture, and has written and reported on everything from the Black Lives Matter movement to the shortcomings of boomerangs. But he's become best known for his writing over the past year about the behind-the-scenes turbulence at a planned ESPN site called "The Undefeated," which meant to focus on issues of sports and race.

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump is scheduled to host Saturday Night Live on Nov. 7. It's a hosting choice that has raised questions over whether TV stations will be required to give equal time to other candidates — and raised eyebrows, because of Trump's controversial statements about Mexican immigrants.

As debates over race and SNL swirl once more, NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans offers this commentary:

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

A civil rights icon made a stop in Springfield this week to talk about activism and his new books. John Lewis, a Congressman from Georgia, is the last living member of a group of civil rights leaders known as the "Big Six." Martin Luther King Jr. was also in that group, and mentored Lewis.

Over at the New York Times, Jack Hitt considers the ubiquity of one particular icon of the post-Confederate South. "In front of nearly every courthouse or at the main intersection of nearly every town in the South, you will find a Confederate memorial," Hitt writes. "From the late 19th century to the early 20th, the icon of choice was not a fountain or an obelisk but a young man in the prime of courage. He is Johnny Reb, staring attentively ahead, at something."

Some new research suggests that ending America's devastating problems with school segregation is good for white kids, too. Over at NPR Ed, our colleague Anya Kamenetz describes these findings:

It was 2 p.m. at the Code Switch desk and conversation turned, as it often does in post-post-lunch stupor, to snacks. Who had some? Who needed some? Why does the NPR cafeteria close so early? (It's called, are you ready for this, Sound Bites.) Doesn't anyone have a Toblerone stashed in a drawer?

When Academy Award-winning filmmaker Shirley Clarke made her groundbreaking avant-garde documentary Portrait of Jason in 1967, it was the first-ever feature film about being a black gay man. Her subject was raconteur, entertainer, and self-professed hustler Jason Holliday (nee Aaron Payne), whom Clarke interviewed for twelve hours straight in her Chelsea Hotel penthouse.

Update on October 29, 2015 at 2pm EST: Teach for America reached out to Code Switch with comments on this post. We've updated this post with portions of their response that directly address criticisms raised below, and more broadly illuminate TFA's path forward.


  People in the transgender community deserve the same rights as anyone else. So said more than 80 percent of respondents in a national survey conducted by the

University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office.

A Muslim pop culture website: The idea seemed so obvious, Zainab Khan waited years for someone else to make one. A place for jokes about nosy aunties, sharing hijab hacks and Ramadan recipes, and advice on navigating Minder (yup, there's a Muslim Tinder).

The Legacy Project

Learning about the past to change the future: it's a goal of many academic institutions. But when it comes to the LGBT community - not enough has been done to memorialize and honor figures who've been overlooked due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. That's the opinion of Victor Salvo - founder and director of The Legacy Project.

I remember catching Andrew Ahn's short film Dol (First Birthday) at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2012. Having attended a few dol parties myself, I was familiar with the intimate cultural milieu of Ahn's film about a Korean-American family celebrating a child's milestone first birthday: the adorable little boy dressed in traditional costume, the dining table laden with Korean dishes, and, after the meal, the mat spread on the floor before the child, strewn with objects representing his future career paths.

So far, this season of Empire has been all about whether Lucius Lyon, the diabolical record executive played by Terrence Howard, is going to be convicted of a murder he committed in the show's first season. Last week, the rest of the Lyon family staged a big outdoor rally/concert to drum up public support for Lucius, who is behind bars ahead of his pending trial.

Growing up during the crack era in East Baltimore, author D. Watkins saw firsthand how the drug destroyed communities. "It trashed my neighborhood," Watkins tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm old enough to remember before crack really hit, and once it did hit, it changed a whole dynamic of how drug culture worked."

Suddenly, Watkins says, teenage kids — himself included — were selling crack on street corners. But the drug wasn't leaving the neighborhood with each sale. "Everybody's parents were junkies," he says. "And all the kids were selling or using."

"A young black man, Henry Dumas, went through a turnstile at a New York City subway station," reads an invitation by Toni Morrison for a posthumous book-launch party she threw for Dumas in 1974, six years after he died. "A transit cop" — who was white — "shot him in the chest and killed him. Circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear. Before that happened, however, he had written some of the most beautiful, moving and profound poetry and fiction that I have ever in my life read."

Back in the heyday of Jet magazine, that weekly digest of short, fizzy articles about black life, there was a back-page feature simply called "Television." It was a no-frills rundown of nearly every black person who would be appearing on prime-time TV over the coming week, just their names, which show and what time.

The PGA Tour makes a stop in Atlanta this week. Top golfers like Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson will compete for the FedEx Cup. The course that hosts the event — the East Lake Golf Club — is in the middle of a once-struggling neighborhood known for poverty, crime and a troubled public housing project. The golf club has played a central role in a sparking redevelopment, and the neighborhood has avoided some of the typical pitfalls that come with such a transformation.

The hip-hop drama chronicling the ups and downs of record mogul Lucious Lyon and his family became the breakout hit of last year, and the breakout hit of the show was Taraji P. Henson's character, Cookie Lyon.

Cookie is the ex-wife of drug dealer turned hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (portrayed by Terrence Howard), and the character is famous for speaking without a filter.

Every time Pope Francis washes the feet of prisoners, embraces an orphan, speaks of social justice and "the least of these," it reflects the Catholic Church as I would like it to be, the church of the Scriptures. Pope Francis has not altered doctrine or dogma; yet words and deeds have their own kind of power. His U.S. itinerary includes stops at a Harlem school and a Philadelphia correctional facility. It's a visit that may bring me closer to a faith that has not always been so welcoming to black Catholics like me.