Code Switch

The biggest takeaways from a new study on marriage by the Pew Research Center are these: Fewer Americans who are older than 25 are married than ever before, and by the time they're middle-aged, a record 25 percent will have never tied the knot.

That might not be too much of a surprise, since marriage rates have been sliding for decades.

A lot has been made of the suite of shows featuring families of color set to hit the airwaves this fall — ABC's Black-ish, the CW's Jane the Virgin, ABC's Cristela and the network's midseason replacement, Fresh Off the Boat.

This season happens to dovetail with the 30th anniversary of The Cosby Show, a seminal moment for families of color on the small screen that many credit with resurrecting the moribund sitcom genre.

This is what happens when voices that have normally been pushed to the background take center stage.

That's the reaction I usually offer these days whenever someone asks me about a race-based media firestorm — this time, in reference to the nuclear-sized backlash against New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley's bewildering commentary on Shonda Rhimes, one of the most successful showrunners in television history.

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MacArthur Fellow Trains Lawyers To Work For Clients, Not Judges

Sep 21, 2014

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what you get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.

Award-winning dramatists David Henry Hwang, Lydia Diamond, Kristoffer Diaz and Bruce Norris are some of America's most critically acclaimed contemporary playwrights. Their work captures the tensions and aspirations of an increasingly diverse America, but they all acknowledged that it was a challenge to bring a more diverse audience to theaters.

Sept. 20 marks the 30th anniversary of the premiere of The Cosby Show, the wildly successful sitcom starring Bill Cosby. Depending on whom you ask, that show can be credited with recasting the popular image of black family life, saving the flailing NBC network, or resurrecting the sitcom format itself. In the 1980s, Bill Cosby became one of the biggest non-Michael Jackson figures in American pop culture.

The Cosby Show celebrates its 30th birthday on Saturday.

It was a monster hit inspired by the comedy and life experiences of its star, Bill Cosby, as shown in the new biography Cosby: His Life and Times. In the book, author Mark Whitaker makes a strong argument that Cosby's comedic style and approach to race issues turned The Cosby Show into television's most quietly subversive program.

Over the past week, Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings' all-world running back and one of the NFL's biggest stars, has become the face of corporal punishment in America. Peterson turned himself in to police over the weekend on charges of child abuse after he allegedly hit his son with a switch that left welts on his body.

OK, I sort of made it to Broadway. It's WNYC's Greene Space in SoHo, the New York City neighborhood.

Friday is date night. But even if you are flying solo, come join us in person, or on Twitter.

We have a terrific lineup of some of the most exciting playwrights working today to talk about Broadway.

The first time author Jacqueline Woodson says she really understood poetry — and loved it — was after reading Langston Hughes in elementary school.

"Until then, I thought it was some code that older white people used to speak to each other. I didn't know what was going on with the line breaks and the words," Woodson recalls. "Once the floodgates opened, they opened."

How do you remake the award-winning AMC series Breaking Bad in Spanish?

Well, all you need — as the show's chemistry teacher-turned-drug dealer, Walter White, might say — is "a little tweak of chemistry."

Inside the cemetery, beneath the stained glass, the chapel is full. Mourners line the walls and spill out the door into the rainy day.

About 150 people are gathered for the funeral of a man who died 60 years ago.

Author and philosopher Alain Locke is widely known as the father of the Harlem Renaissance. He inspired Martin Luther King Jr., who praised him as an intellectual leader on par with Plato and Aristotle.

When New Mexico Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gary King told the crowd at the Democratic Party of Valencia County annual fundraiser on Sept. 6 that Republican Gov. Susana Martinez "does not have a Latino heart," he was reportedly paraphrasing previous remarks made by famous labor icon and native New Mexican Dolores Huerta. King probably meant to say that Gov.

In February, a state-run media outlet in China mocked Gary Locke, who was signing off as U.S. ambassador to that country. "Gary Locke is a U.S.-born, third-generation Chinese-American, and his being a banana — 'yellow skin and white heart' — became an advantage for Obama's foreign policy,' " the editorial read.

Years ago, a (possibly apocryphal) story circulated about Democratic activists throwing Oreos at Michael Steele, the black former head of the Republican party.

It seems some TV networks have gotten the message on late-night diversity and others have not.

Friday's news — that Saturday Night Live hired comic Michael Che to join Colin Jost behind the anchor desk on its popular "Weekend Update" segment — shows NBC's venerated late night comedy franchise may, finally, stand among those in the first group.

To commemorate New York Fashion Week, we're looking at some current perspectives on fashion and beauty. On Thursday, we examined a fashion that many regard as "dangerous" and deplorable. Today, contributor Erika Nicole Kendall looks at a phenomenon more and more are trying to claim.

Mary Sue Rich finally had enough.

The council member from Ocala, Fla., was tired of seeing the young people in her town wearing their pants low and sagging, and successfully pushed to prohibit the style on city-owned property. It became law in July. Violators face a $500 fine or up to six months in jail.

The Atlanta Hawks are in the headlines again after General Manager Danny Ferry apologized and received an undisclosed punishment for disparaging comments he made about prospective player Luol Deng — who was born in Sudan — were made public. Ferry reportedly said that Deng "has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back."

The recent shooting death of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked renewed national discussions about racial tensions, police actions and more.

NPR’s Michel Martin moderates a much needed and serious conversation with community leaders.

The audience also participates in the discussion, recorded August 29, 2014.

In the Gwanak-gu neighborhood of Seoul, there is a box.

Attached to the side of a building, the box resembles a book drop at a public library, only larger, and when nights are cold, the interior is heated. The Korean lettering on its front represents a phoneticized rendering of the English words "baby box." It was installed by Pastor Lee Jon-rak to accept abandoned infants. When its door opens, an alarm sounds, alerting staff to the presence of a new orphan.

For ballerina Misty Copeland, the role of the Firebird is a personally symbolic one. "It was one of the first really big principal roles I was ever given an opportunity to dance with American Ballet Theatre," she tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "It was a huge step for the African-American community."

I had just gotten home from another long, exhausting, but exhilarating day as a White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. I don't think I had even taken off my shoes when I decided to check the messages on my answering machine. The very first message came from a very familiar voice.

"Michel, this is Bruce Morton. I know you've been offered a job at CBS News but unless you really, really want to be in television — I mean you really want to be in television — that's not a good job for you. Not a good job. OK. Bruce Morton. Goodbye."

Just like that.

Black, Gay Cowboy: Michael Sam Steps Up

Sep 7, 2014

It's unclear what Michael Sam's future in the NFL will bring. He is only on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys, which means he's unlikely to take the field any time soon. As everyone has heard many times by now, he will be the first openly gay player in the league. No matter how exhausted some are with reports about Sam, his sexuality and what it does or does not mean for his football career, his story matters.

WUIS/Rachel Otwell

Racial tension and profiling by police were among the topics discussed at a community meeting held at Southeast High School in Springfield on Thursday. Over 300 people were in attendance for the meeting put on by the local chapter of the NAACP. It was organized as a response to the situation in Ferguson, Missouri where an unarmed black teen was shot and killed by a police officer. One common refrain was that blacks in Springfield often feel targeted by police simply because of their skin color.

In the weeks since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., families across the country are discussing how they approach "the talk" — not the one about sex, but the talk about safety and how young people should conduct themselves in encounters with the police. This difficult conversation has been part of the black family experience for generations.

The View just made history in naming Rosie Perez as a new co-host of ABC's daytime chat show.

ABC revealed Wednesday that Perez would join former GOP strategist Nicolle Wallace, teaming with stars Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg when The View's new season debuts Sept. 15.

In hiring Perez, a Brooklyn-born daughter of Puerto Rican parents, ABC did something new: It named the first Latina as a regular co-host in The View's 17-year history.

Which raises an important question: Will it matter?

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Over 300 people met at Southeast High School in Springfield on Thursday to talk about racial profiling and its effect on African American youth, among other things. It was hosted by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as a response to the fatal shooting of Micheal Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and its aftermath.

Before I went to Ferguson, Mo., to cover the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, a reported friend who was already joked that he was certain that he was sure that every person in the town had already been interviewed. And sure enough, the media crunch on was intense on West Florissant, the main boulevard that was the site of protests and clashes with the police in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown.

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