Code Switch

The United States Department of Labor recently published a report with a detailed breakdown of the different economic outcomes that various Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have faced.

"Ugh, she dresses like SUCH an aunty!" is usually not something you'd want to hear about your style, if you're South Asian.

An "aunty" or "aunty-ji" (depending on where you want to fall on the graph of respect and familiarity) is what you call a lady roughly around your mother's age. So, the family friend who has seen you grow up, your mom's co-worker, the lady next to you in the grocery line or the nosy neighbor whose questions about your love life you endure because she makes a killer biryani — they all qualify.

(Editor's Note: NPR's Michel Martin was invited by St. Louis Public Radio to moderate a community conversation on Thursday around race, police tactics and leadership following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The following story is based on what happened at the event.)

Michel Martin Goes #BeyondFerguson

Aug 28, 2014

We are in Ferguson, Mo., at Wellspring Church to hear from the community in the aftermath of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Together with St. Louis Public Radio, we are also hosting a Twitter chat using #BeyondFerguson. This is an opportunity to share your reactions, ideas and frustrations, as well as talk about ways to move forward. (Scroll down to see participants.)

After Sofía Vergara's controversial appearance at the 2014 Emmy Awards, we wanted to see more perspectives exploring the cultural dimensions of the controversy. You can read Juan Vidal's reaction here. Here's a response from contributor Daisy Hernandez.

After Sofía Vergara's controversial appearance at the 2014 Emmy Awards, we wanted to see more perspectives exploring the cultural dimensions of the controversy. Make sure to read Daisy Hernandez's reaction. Here's a response from contributor Juan Vidal.

Courtesy of The Hoogland Center for the Arts

Putting on older theater productions can be a dilemma for those who want to preserve the art in its original form. Some production groups may decide to reinvent pieces that could be seen as problematic in modern times. An operetta currently being performed in Springfield by local actors has sparked controversy for what many consider to be racist qualities.

Football season is upon us once more, which means another year of swirling debate around just what to do about the Washington Redskins' name.

Now, the Redskins' hometown paper, The Washington Post, has waded into the fray: Its editorial board announced Friday that the nickname would no longer appear on its op-ed pages.

Fifty years ago this summer — a half-century before the protests in Ferguson, Mo. — riots broke out in seven cities in New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania, sparked by confrontations between black residents and their predominantly white police forces.

In Philadelphia, the violence began after dark, in late August.

"It was a hot day and just wasn't too much activity in the hood, as they say," remembers Kenneth Salaam, who was 15 years old in 1964.

Lorraine Spencer has been watching the news from Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black 18-year-old was shot and killed by police, and worrying about her own son's safety. Jermaine is 16 years old and bi-racial, with a dark complexion. He also has autism and wants to be more independent, especially as he nears adulthood.

"It's my worst nightmare," she says. "I have the issue with him not understanding, possibly, a command to put your hands up or to get on the ground. So, yes, it's scary."

This story is one that is meant to be heard. Click on the audio player above to give it a listen. (We have more radio stories from Ferguson that are worth a listen.)

This week we've been exploring the question of diversity in the publishing industry.

From the classrooms of M.F.A. writing programs to the corporate offices of the big Manhattan publishers, NPR's Lynn Neary has reported on why there is an absence of people of color across the industry. Publishers agree that as the country's readers become more diverse, reflecting a diverse readership is increasingly becoming smart business for those who make and sell books.

On television, it's hard to get a sense of just how small the stretch of West Florissant Avenue — the thoroughfare in Ferguson, Mo., that's drawn international attention after the killing of Michael Brown — really is.

Amid the flurry of coverage about Michael Brown's death and the reaction in Ferguson, Mo., journalists have been unpacking St. Louis' long, tense history of racial unrest. In some of these stories, the parallels between the events of years past and those of the past few weeks are striking.

Last spring, a group calling itself We Need Diverse Books launched a Twitter campaign to press for greater diversity in children's books. Writer Daniel José Older supports the campaign, but he doesn't think it goes far enough.

"We need diverse agents, we need editors, we need diverse book buyers, we need diverse illustrators, and we need diverse executives and CEOs at the top, too."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The nation has been gripped by the ongoing protests following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. But the demonstrations sparked by his death have spread far beyond the streets in his community. Young activists from around the country tell us how the events in Ferguson moved them, and what they hope might come from this moment.

For many writers, a contract with one of the major publishing houses is the Holy Grail — and getting accepted to a prestigious Master of Fine Arts program may bring aspiring writers one step closer. But these elite writing programs have a history steeped in whiteness, and writers of color don't always feel welcome.

Etefia Umana says that Ferguson, Mo., is in some ways a media fiction.

We're sitting in the offices of Better Family Life, an organization that provides social services to people in the area. Umana chairs its board and lives in Ferguson.

Many of the old images in Bochan Huy's "Chnam Oun 16" music video are haunting — fleeting, grainy footage of workers in rural Cambodian labor camps and Phnom Penh's crumbling shops and streets, emptied of life.

Over the past week, much of the nation's attention has been trained on the town of Ferguson, Mo., following an incident there in which a police officer shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown. Like similar stories, the Michael Brown shooting has become a flashpoint for conversations about race and policing, and there have been heated, chaotic showdowns between the police there and protesters.

Here's some of what's been written about the shooting and the reaction to it in the week since.

FERGUSON AT A GLANCE

Earlier this week, media outlets across the country (e.g.

On the list of activities for this summer camp: visiting Dad in a maximum security prison. The nonprofit group Hope House runs three camps to keep children connected with incarcerated dads who might not be close to home.

There are also plenty of arts and crafts, mosquito repellent and campfire songs.

Carol Fennelly founded Hope House in 1998, after a Washington, D.C.-area prison was closed, sending thousands of inmates to far-flung institutions. That made it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for relatives to visit.

Over the past few months, there's been a lot of coverage of the paucity of Latino depictions on American movie and television screens, particularly given that Latino audiences are disproportionately driving box-office ticket revenues. The Wrap recently completed a four-part series on the subject.

Every few months, there's a renewed discussion about "yellowface" — when people wear makeup or clothes in an attempt to look more Asian. In just the past year, the subject has come up in conversations about How I Met Your Mother, The Mikado, Magic in the Moonlight and a performance by Katy Perry. (And now, HBO's show Jonah from Tonga is sparking a similar discussion on "brownface.")

The luxury retailer Barneys New York is hiring.

WANTED: an "anti-profiling consultant."

The hire is just one part of Barneys' new settlement with the New York state attorney general's office, as The Two-Way reported this week.

When the Army issued updated grooming rules this spring, many black military women were offended and dismayed. The natural hairstyles many of them favored had been declared illegal: Cornrows were okay, but only if they were no larger in diameter than 1/4 inch (about the size of the diameter of a no. 2 pencil — thin). Dreadlocks were forbidden completely. And the twists and double ponytails many women had used to stay neat while out in the field no longer were allowed either.

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