Code Switch

Code Switch
10:34 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Beautiful Photos Of Everyday Life In 19th And 20th Century Iran

Iranian children buy ice cream from a vendor in Tehran around the turn of the century.
Antoin Sevruguin Freer|Sackler Gallery

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 1:47 pm

Since 1979, tens of thousands of Iranians have lived in exile in the United States. The Iranian Revolution forced large numbers of the population out of the country, and many have never returned. As Persian New Year, referred to by Iranians as Nowruz, approaches, many look back on old photos and remember an Iran they used to know. The holiday happens annually on the spring equinox and symbolizes a rebirth in Persian culture. Iranians in the U.S. now experience new lifestyles and culture that make Nowruz's themes of rebirth more real than they had imagined.

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Code Switch
2:39 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Photographer Helped Expose Brutality Of Selma's 'Bloody Sunday'

Spider Martin's most well-known photograph, Two Minute Warning, shows marchers facing a line of state troopers in Selma moments before police beat the protestors on March 7, 1965. The day became known as Bloody Sunday.
Spider Martin/Courtesy Tracy Martin

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 9:40 am

Note to our readers: This report contains some strong racial language.

This month Selma, Ala., will mark the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday." That's the day police beat demonstrators attempting to march to Montgomery in support of voting rights. Some of the most iconic images of that day were captured by a white photographer — the late Spider Martin.

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Code Switch
4:35 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Transgender Students Learn To Navigate School Halls

Eight-year-old Tomás Rocha, a third grader at Malcolm X Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif., is among a handful of gender non-conforming students at the school.
Brett Myers Youth Radio

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 11:28 am

The first time I learned that gender could be fluid was in sex ed in the ninth grade. I remember the teacher mumbling under her breath that some people don't identify their gender with the biological sex they were born with.

At the time it didn't faze me because I'd never known anyone who'd talked about it or felt that way. But now, three years later, I have a 16-year-old classmate who's transgender. His name is Jace McDonald.

"That is the name I have chosen," Jace says. "It's what my parents would have named me if I was born biologically male."

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Around the Nation
3:36 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

The Racist History Behind The Iconic Selma Bridge

In this Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, photo, marchers hold up cellular phones to record the rapper Common and singer-songwriter John Legend performing at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Brynn Anderson AP

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 6:06 pm

The 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., became known as Bloody Sunday because it ended in state troopers beating nonviolent protesters as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

In photos from that day you see the marchers being struck and trampled, and just above them are the bridge's big arches, with the name Edmund Pettus emblazoned across the steel beam.

The bridge has become one of the most hallowed places in America's civil rights history, but who was Edmund Pettus?

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Code Switch
2:56 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

A 'Black Tax' At Charlotte's Ritz-Carlton?

A photo of a table tent at the lobby bar of the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte during CIAA week.
Courtesy Patrice Wright

A Charlotte news station reported on Monday that the Ritz-Carlton, one of prosperous uptown Charlotte's swankiest hotels, added what looks suspiciously like a black tax to the lobby bar tabs of patrons in town last week for the CIAA, the popular mega-tournament for basketball teams at historically black colleges and universities from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.

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Code Switch
1:39 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Study: At 'Rate My Professors,' A Foreign Accent Can Hurt A Teacher's Score

The biggest gaps overall were in the South.
Kat Chow/NPR

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 6:21 pm

"So-and-so is really, really hard to understand." Or: "His accent is so distracting." I remember hearing off-the-cuff remarks like this a few times in college, complaints by classmates about teaching assistants and instructors, almost all of them of Asian descent and non-native English speakers.

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Code Switch
12:58 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Does The Redskins' 'Free Speech' Claim Hold Water?

Is this logo free speech?
Mark Tenally AP

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 2:27 pm

You're on the Internet, which means you're never more five seconds away from someone claiming you squashed their First Amendment rights by, say, blocking them on Twitter.

Repeat after me: the First Amendment prohibits citizens' speech from being infringed upon by the government.* But because the universe delights in dark humor, it turns out that one recent, obnoxious claim about free speech violations might have some real legs.

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Code Switch
11:59 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Why Is Milwaukee So Bad For Black People?

Milwaukee, Wis., lags behind in educating black children, incarcerates the most black men and is ranked one of the worst states to live for African-Americans.
Morry Gash AP

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 5:06 pm

A new report from UCLA finds that K-12 schools in Wisconsin suspend black high school students at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country and has the second-highest disparity in suspension rates between white and black students.

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Code Switch
3:09 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Here Are The Racist Emails Ferguson Officials Passed Around

Protesters demonstrate against racism in the "Reclaim MLK" march on Jan. 19 outside the Ferguson Police Department.
Michael Thomas AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:50 pm

The Justice Department's investigation into the Ferguson, Mo., police department reveals a series of racist emails passed around between Ferguson police officers and court officials.

The senders aren't identified by name, but the DOJ says commanders, police officers, and court officials were all involved.

Below are seven emails that the Department of Justice uncovered — it found more, but only published the ones below.

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Code Switch
11:03 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Black Bodies In White Words, Or: Why We Need Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine was nominated for a National Book Award for Citizen.
John Lucas

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 11:55 am

There is a cartoon circulating right now of two people holding protest signs — one is black, the other white. The black figure holds a sign that reads "I Can't Breathe;" the white figure holds a sign that reads "I Can't See." Recently, I have encountered many discussions reflecting the subtle wisdom of that cartoon: It's often white citizens who demand that citizens of color provide evidence that injustices exist — and sometimes, I'm the teacher in these moments.

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Code Switch
10:46 am
Wed March 4, 2015

A Few Reactions To The DOJ's 'Scathing' Report On Ferguson Cops And Racial Bias

A Justice Department investigation of the Ferguson, Mo., police department concluded that black residents of the city were disproportionately targeted by police and the courts.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 5:42 pm

The Justice Department reportedly did not find enough evidence to charge white former officer Darren Wilson with any civil rights violations for shooting Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Mo. But it did find plenty of evidence of routine discrimination by Ferguson police against black residents.

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Code Switch
8:50 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Rapper Jin Tries To Stretch His '15 Minutes' Of Fame

Jin poses for a photograph during an interview with the AP in Hong Kong in 2008.
Jerome Favre AP

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Code Switch
10:31 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Spic-O-Rama: Where 'Spic' Comes From, And Where It's Going

Construction of the Panama Canal
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 9:00 am

Editor's note: This post is about the evolution of a word that is highly offensive to some and includes other offensive language.

If, unlike me, you've never had cause to become familiar with the term "spic," you can see it in action in the story of a veteran Boston police officer who allegedly called his Uber driver a "fucking spic" and beat him up for going to the wrong address.

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Code Switch
5:38 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Before Rosa Parks, A Teenager Defied Segregation On An Alabama Bus

"I knew why they chose Rosa" Parks instead of her as a symbol of the civil rights movement, Colvin says. "They thought I would be too militant for them."
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 8:43 am

Rosa Parks is well-known for her refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on a public bus in Montgomery, Ala., in December 1955. But Parks' civil rights protest did have a precedent: Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin, a student from a black high school in Montgomery, had refused to move from her bus seat nine months earlier. However, Colvin is not nearly as well-known, and certainly not as celebrated, as Parks.

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Code Switch
3:11 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

The Time Nature And Racism Teamed Up To Wipe Out A Whole Town

People stand marooned on housetops in the community of Vanport, Ore. on May 30, 1948 while water swirls through debris of their town.
AP

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 11:11 am

Thousands of people crammed into a haphazard housing project, surrounded by a massive river, and secured only by a system of dikes. It was a recipe for disaster, one that saw a growing city reduced to flooded marshlands in less than a day.

In the 1940s, Vanport, Ore. was the center of a booming World War II-era shipyard industry, quickly becoming the second largest city in the state. But both its origin, and its destruction, came about thanks to the racially discriminatory housing practices of neighboring Portland across the river.

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Code Switch
10:38 am
Mon March 2, 2015

The Man Behind The Speech: Judge Carlton Reeves Takes On Mississippi's Past

District Judge Carlton Reeves has presided over key race and equality cases in Mississippi.
Courtesy of Jackson State University

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 12:03 pm

In a Mississippi courtroom in February, three young white men were sentenced for a hate crime: beating up a black man in a parking lot one June night in 2011, running over his body with a truck and leaving him to die. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, who heard the case, asked the young men to settle into their chairs before he delivered their sentence. He had something to tell them.

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Code Switch
4:29 pm
Sun March 1, 2015

How Pittsburgh's Freedom House Pioneered Paramedic Treatment

Freedom House paramedics, who first were deployed in the 1960s, provided a crucial service for Pittsburgh residents. The program became a national model for emergency medical transport and care.
Courtesy of University of Pittsburgh

In the 1960s, Pittsburgh, like most cities, was segregated by race. But people of all colors suffered from lack of ambulance care. Police were the ones who responded to medical emergency calls.

"Back in those days, you had to hope and pray you had nothing serious," recalls filmmaker and Hollywood paramedic Gene Starzenski, who grew up in Pittsburgh. "Because basically, the only thing they did was pick you up and threw you in the back like a sack of potatoes, and they took off for the hospital. They didn't even sit in the back with you."

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Code Switch
6:06 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Mr. Spock, Mixed-Race Pioneer

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. The character's mixed Vulcan and human heritage set him apart from the rest of the Star Trek crew.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 1:35 pm

At a time when the mere sight of Petula Clark touching Harry Belafonte's arm held the potential to upset delicate sensibilities, the half-human, half-Vulcan character Mr. Spock embodied an identity rarely acknowledged, much less seen, on television: a mixed-race person.

Sure, the mixing of races was allegorical in Spock's case, as was the brilliantly subversive mode for social commentary on Star Trek. But that doesn't mean it didn't resonate.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Murders Of Young Black Males Are Less Likely To Be Solved, Report Says

Isaiah Milton holds a candle during a memorial for his 19-year-old cousin who was shot in Chicago last year.
Credit Alex Wroblewski

When young black males in poor inner-city areas are murdered, their cases are less likely to be resolved, particularly if a gun is involved.

That’s the finding of Alonzo DeCarlo, division chair of social and behavioral sciences at the Springfield campus of Benedictine University. His findings, after a look into 10 years of Uniform Crime Reporting data kept by the FBI, were published in January by the journal Contemporary Social Science.

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Illinois Issues - Noteworthy
12:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Poverty Rate Doesn’t Budge Despite Recession’s End

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population universe used to calculate poverty is smaller than the total population of the state because certain groups of people, like unrelated children under age 15, are excluded.
Credit Social IMPACT Research Center / Heartland Alliance

The poverty rate in Illinois has held steady in recent years despite the fact that the nation has emerged from the Great Recession.

That’s according to a report issued recently by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center. The group reported that the 14.7 percent poverty rate in Illinois for 2013, which is the most recent data available for the analysis, has been unchanged since 2012. The 2011 poverty rate was slightly higher at 15 percent.

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Code Switch
4:53 pm
Sat February 28, 2015

Diversity Sells — But Hollywood Remains Overwhelmingly White, Male

Gina Rodriguez stars alongside Justin Baldoni in The CW's Jane the Virgin.
Danny Feld The CW

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 5:39 pm

If you want an accurate picture of ethnic and gender diversity in the United States, don't look to Hollywood.

That's the conclusion of the "2015 Hollywood Diversity Report" conducted by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA.

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Code Switch
9:03 am
Sat February 28, 2015

A 'Show Boat' With An Asian-American Cast Hits The Rocks

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 12:45 pm

A heads-up to our readers: This post quotes a racial slur.

When actress Erin Quill saw a casting notice earlier this month for a Show Boat musical revival with a completely Asian-American cast, she raised an eyebrow.

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Code Switch
7:04 am
Sat February 28, 2015

'The Black Summit' Draws African-American Skiers And Boarders To Aspen

Art Clay, 78, of Chicago takes a run in a light snowfall on Wednesday. Clay is a co-founder of the National Brotherhood of Skiers.
Sonya Doctorian for NPR

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 2:28 pm

We've all heard the old adage that every snowflake is different, but they do have one thing in common: They're all white. That's also the image that many have of the people taking part in winter sports, including skiing and snowboarding, here in the U.S.

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Code Switch
6:03 am
Sat February 28, 2015

Uncovering Hidden Black History, On Screen And On The Page

Viewers have criticized the lack of characters of color in Marvel's Agent Carter -- K. Tempest Bradford says it's just one of a long line of properties that overlook the presence of African-Americans outside of slavery, Reconstruction and the civil rights era.
Kelsey McNeal ABC

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 1:02 pm

One of the major criticisms leveled against the popular but problematic Marvel's Agent Carter (which just finished up its first season on ABC) is that it lacks black characters. The show takes place in New York City in 1946, and to some people that means the lack of diversity makes sense — and it's only the most recent example in an ongoing conversation/argument about books and other media set in the past — whether it's the real past or an alternate history — that are missing people of color.

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Code Switch
6:25 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy's Advice To A Biracial Girl In 1968

A young girl with a white father and a black mother wrote to the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock for advice on fitting in.
FaVE! Magazine, via My Star Trek Scrapbook

It wasn't supposed to be "Leonard Nimoy + Biracial Kids Day" here at Code Switch, but the news takes you where it takes you.

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Code Switch
3:18 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy On Mr. Spock's Jewish Heritage

Leonard Nimoy said that Mr. Spock was "an alien everywhere he went."
Jordan Strauss AP

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 11:48 am

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Code Switch
1:12 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

In The South, Way More People Are Identifying As Both Black And White

AP

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 7:40 pm

The number of people who identify as belonging to two or more races keeps climbing with each Census. The number of people identified as both black and white, for example, more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, from about 780,000 to 1.8 million.

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Code Switch
9:37 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Even If Chicago 'Black Site' Story Is A Stretch, It Stirred Up Bad Memories

Jon Burge, ex-Chicago police commander, has become synonymous with police brutality and abuse of power in Chicago.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 12:43 pm

There are plenty of possible explanations behind Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's failure to get enough votes in Tuesday's election to avoid a runoff. His tenure has been plagued by gang violence. Many African-American voters are disenchanted with Emmanuel's decision to close some 50 public schools.

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Code Switch
6:03 am
Fri February 27, 2015

This Month (And Every Month), Black Sci-Fi Writers Look To The Future

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 7:12 pm

Author Steven Barnes vividly remembers attending science fiction conventions when he first started in the field 30 years ago: "For almost 20 years, as far as I could tell, I was the only black male science fiction writer in the world," he says. The legendary Samuel R.

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Code Switch
8:41 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

As First Black American NHL Player, Enforcer Was Defenseless Against Racism

Val James of the Toronto Maple Leafs takes warmup prior to a preseason game against the Boston Bruins at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1986.
Graig Abel Collection Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 9:03 am

The first black American hockey player in NHL history is telling his story almost 30 years after he retired.

Val James was a revered and feared fighter — known in hockey as an enforcer — during short stints for the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1980s. But he was defenseless to the racist taunts and slurs that showered down on him from opposing teams' fans.

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