Code Switch

Code Switch
9:18 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Is America Ready To Fall In Love With The Telenovela?

Ivonne Coll, Gina Rodriguez and Andrea Navedo star in Jane The Virgin from the CW.
Tyler Golden The CW

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 12:13 pm

Most reviews of the CW's Jane The Virgin mention that it was loosely adapted from a Venezuelan telenovela called Juana La Virgen. Then they predictably misrepresent a telenovela as a Latin American soap opera.

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Code Switch
4:09 pm
Sat November 8, 2014

As GOP Swept Congress, Black Republicans Took Home Historic Wins

Republican Mia Love celebrates with her supporters after winning the race for Utah's 4th Congressional District on Tuesday.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 5:33 pm

The Republican Party made historic gains during this week's midterm elections. Among their victories were three wins by black Republicans, who seem to be building momentum for diversifying the GOP ranks.

Mia Love — who is Mormon and Haitian-American — is one of those three, and Republicans in Utah's 4th District will be sending her to Congress next year.

"Many of the naysayers out there said that Utah would never elect a black, Republican, LDS woman to Congress," Love told a crowd on Tuesday. "And guess what? Not only did we do it, we were the first to do it!"

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Code Switch
11:49 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Why We Have So Many Terms For 'People Of Color'

Leigh Wells Getty Images/Ikon Images

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 3:14 pm

A heads-up to our readers: We use some language in this post that some folks might find offensive.

Last week, the Toronto Star found itself in the midst of one of those blink-and-you-missed-it Internet kerfuffles over race.

Here's what happened. The Ontario Human Rights Commission had settled on a term to use in reference to people of color — "racialized people."

The commission wrote:

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Code Switch
5:06 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Drummer And Tuba Player Work To Stay Sharp For Band And College

The Sonic Boom of the South at Jackson State isn't just a band; it's the university's most visible marketing tool.
Keith O'Brien NPR

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 5:44 pm

Six months ago, we brought you the story of the Edna Karr High School marching band in New Orleans. Two members of the band in particular, snare drummer Charles Williams and tuba player Nicholas Nooks, or Big Nick as his friends call him, earned scholarships to Jackson State University in Mississippi — their dream.

The marching band at Jackson State is known as the Sonic Boom of the South. Band camp began in August with 164 freshmen. But after weeks of late nights and early mornings, musical training and also push-ups, 24 had quit.

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Code Switch
11:51 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Coding Diversity Into Keyboards One Emoji At A Time

A diagram depicting how the Unicode Consortium could create a more diverse array of ethnic emoji.
Unicode Consortium

Every time you type on your cellphone's keyboard, you're punching in tiny bits of Unicode, a universal standard for creating text, numbers and emoji.

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Code Switch
9:35 am
Tue November 4, 2014

'La Chancla': Flip Flops As A Tool of Discipline

Code Switch
3:41 pm
Sun November 2, 2014

Why Corporate Executives Talk About 'Opening Their Kimonos'

Lurking behind this giant pink bow may be a ruthless executive who's decided on a policy of corporate transparency.
Calvin YC Flickr

As business jargon goes, there are certainly duller expressions than "open the kimono."

Translation: To disclose information about the inner workings of a company.

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Code Switch
6:03 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Video Calls Out Catcallers, But Cuts Out White Men

A viral video called "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman" shows the harassment a woman faces walking the streets of New York. Most of the men who street-harass, catcall, yell and follow the woman are black and Latino.
Hollaback!

Originally published on Sat November 1, 2014 1:54 pm

There's a video that's been circulating online since Tuesday, and it frames itself like this: a woman walks around New York City for 10 hours, with a camera secretly recording as she gets street-called 100 times by men.

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Code Switch
9:02 am
Fri October 31, 2014

The Creepiest Ghost And Monster Stories From Around The World

Popobawa promo.
Phoebe Boswell for NPR

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 3:32 pm

It's Halloween — a time for Frankenstein monsters and vampires and werewolves. But many of us have our own monsters from different cultures, and When we threw out a call to our readers asking what ghost stories and folktales they grew up with in their own traditions, we got back stories of creatures stalking the shadows of Latin American hallways and vengeful demons from South Asia with backwards feet. (And that's before we get to the were-hyenas and the infernal bathroom stalls.) Below are some of the best we've found or that were told to us from Code Switch readers.

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Code Switch
7:36 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Navajo Nation Presidential Candidate Suspends Campaign

Chris Deschene greets supporters in Arizona in early October.
Felicia Fonseca AP

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 2:47 pm

Days before Election Day, Chris Deschene's campaign to become Navajo Nation president has officially gone into limbo.

Deschene, 43, made it onto the Nations ballot after receiving 19 percent of the vote — second to Dr. Joe Shirley Jr., a former Navajo president. But Navajo law requires that all presidential candidates speak the Navajo language fluently, and Deschene quickly came under fire when he was accused of not passing that test.

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Code Switch
7:37 am
Wed October 29, 2014

The Struggle Of Being Asian-American For Halloween

The author (right) and his sister, one awkward Halloween day.
Courtesy of Steve Haruch

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 12:05 pm

The other night, at a large outdoor Halloween-themed party, I saw a young white girl, probably about 3 or 4, dressed up in a long, purple kimono. I felt an involuntary uneasiness. I wanted to ask her parents who she was supposed to be — maybe it's a character in some cartoon I don't know about, I thought — but I didn't want to embarrass anyone. Which is to say, Problematic Dress-up Season is in full swing.

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Code Switch
4:04 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Some St. Louis Teachers Address Ferguson With Lessons On Race

Vincent Flewellen leads a lesson on Ferguson during his eighth-grade multicultural studies course at Ladue Middle School.
Tim Lloyd/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 7:21 pm

This story is a consolidated version of a three-part series by St. Louis Public Radio that profiles how issues of race and class sparked by Ferguson are being discussed in St. Louis-area schools.

It was early September and Vincent Flewellen had just wrapped up his day teaching at Ladue Middle School, in an affluent suburb about 13 miles south of where protests erupted in Ferguson.

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Code Switch
6:03 am
Tue October 28, 2014

A Timeline Of Sitcoms Featuring Families Of Color

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the early days — with the original Aunt Viv, too!
AP

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 11:30 am

We've heard some of the same comments a lot about this fall's television lineup, which includes the shows Black-ish, Cristela, Selfie and Fresh Off the Boat: "Why is diversity all the rage now?" asked Robert Rorke of the New York Post. And Esther Breger called this season the "most diverse in recent TV history."

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Code Switch
11:08 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Navajo Nation Changes Language Law

Supporters of Navajo presidential candidate Chris Deschene gather outside an administrative court in Window Rock, Ariz. Questions about his fluency in the Navajo language have dogged his campaign.
Felicia Fonseca AP

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 1:30 pm

In the space of a few months, the quest for one candidate to become the next Navajo Nation president has become intertwined with the changing culture of Indian Country. It has turned into what could be described as a political thriller with a distinctly Navajo hue.

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Code Switch
10:42 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Today's Irish Dancers Step Away From Stereotype

Julia O'Rourke (center) wins the 2014 World Irish Dancing Championships. Here, she poses with the top five performers in her age group.
Jimmy McNulty FeisPix

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 3:03 pm

When Riverdance debuted 20 years ago, Irish step dancers — whether citizens of Ireland or any other country — looked, well, stereotypically Irish. The red-haired, freckle-faced lass doing a jumpy jig still comes to mind for many. But the All Ireland Dancing Championships, currently underway in Dublin, will show how that image no longer reflects the reality.

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Code Switch
4:24 pm
Sun October 26, 2014

'Gotham' Resurfaces Hollywood's Tricky History Of 'Painting Down'

Fox's Gotham stars (from left) John Doman, Camren Bicondova, Jada Pinkett Smith, Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith. The show was recently criticized for initially selecting a white stuntwoman as a body double for a black guest star.
Fox TV

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 12:19 pm

The new show Gotham has been one of fall's most successful television debuts. But earlier this month, the show found itself in hot water when it hired a white stuntwoman as a body double for a black guest star.

"They took the white stuntwoman and put her through hair and makeup and they applied the black makeup on her, so that she could pass as the black guest star," says David Robb, a reporter at Deadline Hollywood. It's a practice known as "painting down."

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Race
6:52 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Rare Silent Film With Black Cast Makes A Century-Late Debut

Scene still from Bert Williams Lime Kiln Field Day Project. Bert Williams, Walker Thompson (standing center), John Wesley Jenkins (seated right). In a concession to white audiences, Williams, the lead, wore blackface, but the other black characters did not.
Museum of Modern Art

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 10:17 am

A rare, untitled 1913 silent film is the subject of a new exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibit, 100 Years In Post-Production: Resurrecting A Lost Landmark of Black Film History, tells the story behind the silent film's production.

The film features Bert Williams, one of the era's famed black entertainers and the first black Broadway star. He performed in blackface on the stage, and does the same in this film, a romantic comedy with a large black cast of actors.

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Code Switch
2:11 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Tips For Avoiding Racial Missteps From The Makers Of 'Dear White People'

It's a minefield out there.
Ashley Nguyen AP

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 4:03 pm

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Race
5:48 am
Fri October 24, 2014

A Black Cosmetic Company Sells, Or Sells Out?

Real Housewives of Atlanta star Lisa Wu Hartwell gets a hair treatment at a "Curl Party" hosted by Carol's Daughter and theYBF.com in 2010.
Paras Griffin Landov

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 1:50 pm

Cosmetics giant L'Oréal purchased Carol's Daughter, a beauty company that sells natural hair and skin products for black women, earlier this week. It may seem like an unlikely chapter in the story of a business that began in a Brooklyn kitchen.

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Code Switch
3:53 am
Fri October 24, 2014

A Tale Of Asian Gangs Unleashed In 'Green Dragons' Film

Paul Wong (Harry Shum, Jr.) leads the Green Dragons, a young, Asian-American gang that trafficked Chinese immigrants into the U.S. with help from the so-called "Snakehead Mama" (Eugenia Yuan).
Courtesy of A24 Films

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 4:40 pm

Thousands of Chinese immigrants took to the seas in the 1980s and 1990s. Many stowed away on cargo ships, spending months on voyages to America organized by Chinese-American gangs in New York.

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Politics
3:33 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Concern Over New-Voter Registration In Georgia Ahead Of Election

A voter casts her ballot at a polling site for Georgia's 2014 primary election in Atlanta.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 4:26 pm

This election season is proving to be tough for Democrats, but many believe they can turn the red state of Georgia blue with the help of new voters.

One voter registration campaign led by the New Georgia Project, a "nonpartisan effort" according to its website, has targeted black, Latino and Asian-American residents.

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Remembrances
4:27 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Model Remembers Oscar De La Renta As An 'Extraordinary Gentleman'

Bethann Hardison said that Oscar de la Renta wasn't scared about putting models of color on the runway in his clothes.
Evan Agostini AP

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 7:48 am

Bethann Hardison was one of the "spiritual mothers of the supermodels who ruled the '90s," and she credited some of her rise to prominence to Oscar de la Renta, the influential Dominican-born fashion designer who died this week at the age of 82.

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Code Switch
7:03 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Apps Make Googly Eyes At Riders Tired Of Being Snubbed By Cabbies

Cities like New York and Washington, D.C., have strict penalties for taxi drivers who don't pick up passengers based on their race or destination. But some investigations show that drivers routinely pass up black and brown customers.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 11:50 am

One night last fall, I was walking through Chinatown in Washington, D.C., with my friend Terryn. We were not far from a dude who was in his mid-20s — slim, with neat, shoulder-length locks, skinny chinos, loafers and a leather briefcase slung across his torso — standing on the corner, his arm raised skyward. He was trying without luck to hail a cab.

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The Race Card Project: Six-Word Essays
3:35 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Six Words: 'Must We Forget Our Confederate Ancestors?'

Waverly Adcock, a sergeant and founder of the West Augusta Guard, prepares his company for inspection and battle at a Civil War re-enactment in Virginia. Sara Smith, whose great-great-grandfather was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg, holds the Confederate battle flag.
Courtesy of Jesse Dukes

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 7:55 am

NPR continues a series of conversations from The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words.

Jesse Dukes does not have Confederate ancestors. But in the time he has spent writing about Civil War re-enactors, he has met many who say they do.

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Code Switch
4:24 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

The Boston Herald's Missed 'Cartoongate' Lessons

The Boston Herald published this cartoon earlier this month.
The Boston Herald

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:38 am

The worst fate of all may be to make a terrible mistake and then learn the wrong lessons from the experience.

That's the thought I had reading a heartfelt column about the Boston Herald's unfortunate decision to publish a cartoon featuring a White House gate-crasher asking the nation's first black president if he had "tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste."

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Code Switch
4:08 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Watching 'Dear White People' At Harvard

Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) plays Lionel Higgins in Dear White People
Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 12:28 pm

A new movie about race and identity is out in select theaters today. It's called Dear White People, and it's a satire set at a fictitious ivy league college. Or, as the promotional materials say, it's "about being a black face in a white place."

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Code Switch
3:57 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Navajo Presidential Race Shaken By Language Gap

Navajo presidential candidate Chris Deschene greets supporters ahead of a hearing in Window Rock, Ariz., to determine whether Deschene is fluent enough in Navajo to qualify for the presidency.
Felicia Fonseca AP

According to Navajo law, Navajo Nation presidents must speak the Navajo language to hold office. Chris Deschene is a strong contender for the position, but there's a problem: He's not fluent in the language.

The challenge to Deschene's candidacy has become a window into how the Navajo Nation views itself and its cultural future, as well as how Native people continue to define themselves in the face of cultural change.

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Code Switch
6:03 am
Wed October 15, 2014

In The World Of Chefs, Asian-American Women Are Turning Up The Heat

Chef Niki Nakayama.
Zen Sekizawa Courtesy of n/naka

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 1:54 pm

Food writers have argued that Asian-American chefs are having a moment. Besides running popular food establishments, chefs David Chang, Roy Choi and Eddie Huang have each inspired his own cultlike fan base. All three have published best-selling books; Huang's Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir is the basis for a highly anticipated sitcom debuting this fall on ABC.

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Movies
5:09 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Animated 'Book Of Life' Celebrates Día De Los Muertos

Manolo (voiced by Diego Luna, left) meets Carmen Sanchez (voiced by Ana de la Reguera) in the Land of the Remembered.
20th Century Fox & Reel FX

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 1:07 pm

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) — a holiday that celebrates those who have passed — will come alive this Thursday in the movie The Book of Life. It is director and animator Jorge Gutiérrez's first feature film, and he says it's his own take on what happens after death.

Set in the 1920s in Mexico, the animated movie centers on the fiery and brave Maria Posada (voiced by Zoe Saldana), and her two suitors: the handsome town hero Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and the soft-spoken Manolo (Diego Luna), who comes from a long line of bullfighters.

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Code Switch
2:19 am
Mon October 13, 2014

What's In A Name? It Could Matter If You're Writing To Your Lawmaker

And so continues Code Switch's battle with illustrating studies about the subtle biases that inflict our email outboxes.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 8:42 am

In recent years, social scientists have tried to find out whether important decisions are shaped by subtle biases. They've studied recruiters as they decide whom to hire. They've studied teachers, deciding which students to help at school. And they've studied doctors, figuring out what treatments to give patients. Now, researchers have trained their attention on a new group of influential people — state legislators.

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