Code Switch

Southern Baptist leaders were supposed to be talking about bioethics this week at a summit in Nashville, Tenn. That changed in December after a New York grand jury declined to return an indictment in the police choking death of Eric Garner.

When Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, sent out tweets expressing his shock, there was pushback. Should the church get involved in a divisive political issue?

Over in Chicago, a restaurant called Chop Chop Chinaman has been getting a lot of heat for its name. In February, Chicago-area resident Jeannie Harrell was arrested for scrawling "F*** this hate crime s***. It's 2015" in lipstick on the restaurant's window, right next to the shop's decal sticker of a rickshaw and a man wearing a triangular hat.

The very first time we encounter Dong Nguyen, one of several hotly debated characters in Tina Fey's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, he has just introduced himself to Kimmy in their GED class. And, as surely happens to Dong all the time, ever since he immigrated to New York from Vietnam, she's stifling a giggle over his name.

Even before the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., or the Eric Garner incident in New York City last summer, Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia's police commissioner, called on the federal government to look into how the officers in his department used force, and how their use of force might contribute to the department's often strained relationship with the city's residents.

Police departments around the county are under more and more pressure to diversify. In Oakland, Calif., officials say police-community relations also might be improved by increasing the number of cops who actually live in the city.

Margaret Dixon, a fiery retired Oakland police officer, grew up in a rough part of this city of 400,000. These days she's teaching classes at Merritt College, an Oakland community college — including one on policing and community relations.

Janine Harper and Marc Bushelle's photo series of their daughter Lily dressed up as different African-American heroines started as a Black History Month project.

Sex traffic in the US isn't exclusive to people forced to come here against their will. Illinois residents and natives have also become part of the black-market industry. So says Jody Raphael, a DePaul University law professor and researcher. She'll speak Tuesday night at 7pm at UIS (info HERE). She recently spoke with us about her work:

Lacey Schwartz grew up in Woodstock, N.Y., a mostly white, middle-class community. But even as a child she sometimes questioned why her deeper skin tone and curly hair didn't look like every one else in her family. Her parents, who are white and Jewish, explained that her inherited looks came from a Sicilian grandfather with darker features and coarse hair.

When Ethel Payne stood to ask President Dwight Eisenhower a question at a White House press conference in July 1954, women and African-Americans were rarities in the press corps. Payne was both, and wrote for The Chicago Defender, the legendary black newspaper that in the 40s and 50s, was read in black American households the way The New York Times was in white ones.

In a beautifully illustrated comic over at The Nib, cartoonist Ronald Wimberly relays the story of working with an editor who asked him to lighten the skin tone of a character he was working on, Melita Garner, who has been described as Mexican and African-American, a reporter, and Wolverine's ex-girlfriend.

Fifty years ago, civil rights protesters began their successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., two weeks after a crackdown by police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. NPR talked with three people from different parts of the country, of different races and religions, who answered the call from Martin Luther King Jr. to join the marchers.

Todd Endo:

What do Fox's runaway hit Empire and booming sales of Goya rice and beans have in common? They're examples of the growing clout a segment of hyper-engaged, hyperconnected consumers of color, according to a new report from Nielsen.

Last night was Empire's season finale, and at one of D.C.'s biggest Empire watch parties, a sharply dressed crowd of hundreds is huddled around every flat-screen in The Stone Fish Grill Lounge downtown.

"Here we go! Here we go! Here we go, come on everyone! Round of applause!" shouts one of the hosts for the night. "It's Empire time!"

Starbucks' campaign to get people talking about race has already birthed a very public, very cringeworthy conversation about race. Jay Smooth, a radio DJ and video blogger, was on MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes Tuesday night, discussing the coffee company's "Race Together" campaign with fellow guest Nancy Giles, a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning.

More than 70 years ago, the federal government took land from descendants of West African slaves, known as the Gullah, living in Georgia. Now they're fighting to get it back.

In 1942, they were given just weeks to leave marsh property on the Georgia coast so that the U.S. military could construct an air base for training pilots and conducting anti-submarine flights. Twenty years later, the former base and the land around it were converted into the 2,762-acre Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

In New York City, the police department has been re-examining the way it patrols public housing since the shooting of Akai Gurley late last year. Gurley, who was African-American, was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a rookie officer in a Brooklyn housing complex. His death highlighted tensions between police and the people who live in public housing.

If your name isn't traditionally white-sounding, there's a good chance it's been misspelled by a coffeehouse barista. It's awkward when that happens, but is it the perfect time to engage in a dialogue about race and ethnicity? Starbucks seems to think so.

The state Supreme Court in California has posthumously admitted a Chinese immigrant to the state bar, 125 years after his application was denied. The law license application was rejected back in 1890.

Hong Yen Chang was sent to United States from China in 1872 to be groomed as a diplomat, a bridge between East and West. His training took him through Andover, Yale and Columbia Law School.

"So he really was about as integrated as one can be in the establishment at the time," says Gabriel Chin, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law.

The Honouliuli internment camp, not far from Hawaii's Pearl Harbor, held as many as 4,000 prisoners during World War II, including hundreds of Japanese-Americans.

In February, President Obama named the location a national monument.

The camp became known by prisoners as "jigokudani," or "Hell's Valley," says Carole Hayashino, the president of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

It happened again. The Spanish-language, Miami-based Univision — the fifth-largest television network in the U.S. — has another racial insensitivity mess to clean up.

On Wednesday, Univision talk show host and fashion commentator Rodner Figueroa said that first lady Michelle Obama looks like an apocalyptic ape.

As a kid growing up in San Francisco, filmmaker Arthur Dong often walked by a nightclub just outside of Chinatown. "I remember distinctly looking at the marquee and looking at the glass display case [with] all these wonderful black and white photos of Chinese people, but dressed in zoot suits and 1940s kind of gowns and tuxedos," he says. "And I had never seen Chinese dressed like that."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has directed his Department of Consumer Affairs to look into reports that some African-American customers at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte were recently subjected to unwarranted fees.

Five days after a white police officer shot and killed 19-year-old Tony Robinson, an unarmed black man, in Madison, Wis., protesters are staging large rallies to demand that charges be filed. Meanwhile, officers are rallying at the Wisconsin State Capitol on behalf of the city's police.

It may be that Claude Fox Sitton so outraged the white Southern segregationists he reported on throughout the civil rights movement because, by all appearances, he could have been standing beside them instead of writing about them in the New York Times.

Jackie Robinson is a household name, a book report staple, an American hero. News of his 1947 debut in the major leagues appeared on the front page of the New York Times, above the fold. Fifty years after he first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, teams across the MLB held moments of silence on the field, and the league's commissioner retired Robinson's number across baseball.

While surfing the Web one day, Janine Harper came across a project where a photographer had taken pictures of her daughter dressed up as famous women, including Coco Chanel and Amelia Earhart. Harper showed the project to her husband, photographer Marc Bushelle, and together they thought it would be wonderful to adapt it for their 5-year-old daughter, Lily. Their goal was to create a fun learning method for Lily so that she could start to "see herself in the story" of black history.

When a 1975 New York Times cover story charged the NYPD with widespread graft and thuggery, we got Al Pacino as Serpico, one lone idealist who exposes the department and lives — just barely — to tell the tale. When the RAMPART report in the '90s likened the LAPD to a gang with badges, we got Training Day, where rookie Ethan Hawk manages to take out the corrupted veteran Denzel.

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