Code Switch

Code Switch
6:03 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Study: Black Girls Are Being Pushed Out of School

According to a new study from African-American Policy Forum, black girls and teens are disproportionately impacted by zero-tolerance policies in schools.
Terry Vine Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 4:05 pm

News surrounding a confrontation in a Baltimore school is raising new questions about the role race plays in discipline for black girls. Baltimore television station WBAL has been reporting on an October incident that led to three students at the city's Vanguard Middle School being injured, and later arrested and suspended, after an altercation with a school security officer.

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Code Switch
4:53 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

FBI Director Faces 'Hard Truths' Of Policing Minority Communities

FBI Director James Comey tackled the topic of race and law enforcement at Georgetown University in Washington on Thursday.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 4:56 pm

There's a reason why new agents are required to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial during their training, says FBI Director James Comey. It's the same reason he keeps on his desk a copy of Attorney General Robert Kennedy's one-page approval of a request to wiretap King: "To ensure that we remember our mistakes and that we learn from them."

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Code Switch
3:58 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Study: Locking Lots Of People Up Did Not Cause The Great Crime Drop

California's prison population had boomed since the 1990s. The Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that the levels of overcrowding were unconstitutional.
AP

The long-running debate over what's driving the country's staggering (and ongoing) drop in crime just got more complicated. With a major new report, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU has effectively squashed one popular theory: throwing massive amounts of people in prison did not bring down crime.

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Code Switch
1:12 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

'Community' Actor Ken Jeong Might Be Getting His Own Show

There's more good news in Asian-American TV land.

ABC recently greenlighted a pilot starring Ken Jeong, best known as quirky Spanish language teacher Señor Chang in Community, also The Hangover villain Mr. Chow. Jeong, who worked as a doctor for seven years before turning to acting, will play a frustrated MD who's struggling to keep the rest of his life afloat.

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Code Switch
10:52 am
Thu February 12, 2015

In San Diego, Wild Discrepancies Between Video Footage And A Police Report

Diego Lobaton stands with his mother, Hedy Julca, and her son, Bruce, inside their cellphone store. Lobaton, Julca and Lobaton's brother Luis were arrested last year after San Diego police stopped the brothers on the suspicion they were breaking into the store.
Dustin Michelson

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 11:30 am

Voice of San Diego has a head-spinning story of a policing debacle involving a late-night cop patrol, two Peruvian-American brothers and a break-in that wasn't.

Late one night in July, Luis and Diego Lobaton were ambushed by San Diego police; Luis was beaten up and arrested. Their crime: walking into their family's store, to which they had keys, after a cigarette break. H.G. Reza reports:

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Code Switch
11:10 am
Wed February 11, 2015

One Of The Chapel Hill Victims Was Raising Funds To Help Syrian Refugees

Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, were shot and killed on Tuesday evening in North Carolina. The couple married last December.
Courtesy of Our Three Winners

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 2:28 pm

On Tuesday night, three young Muslims were shot dead near the University of North Carolina's Chapel Hill campus.

From member station WUNC:

"46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks has been charged with 3 counts of 1st Degree Murder for the murders of Deah Barakat, a second-year student [at UNC] in the School of Dentistry and his wife, Yusor, who had planned to begin her dental studies here in the fall. Her sister, Razan, a student at NC State University, was also killed."

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Code Switch
10:02 am
Wed February 11, 2015

What's It Like To Be Black And Have A Famous Nazi Grandfather?

Nigerian-German author Jennifer Teege discovered her grandfather was Nazi concentration camp commander Amon Goeth. The English version of her book, My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past, will be available in April.
Oliver Hardt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 1:36 pm

Jennifer Teege is a German-born black woman who — during her quest to learn more about her birth family — uncovered a surprising connection to the Holocaust and Amon Goeth, the Nazi commander famously portrayed in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. The following article appeared on the website of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which has made the story available to NPR readers as a courtesy.

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Code Switch
7:53 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

New Report Examines Lynchings And Their Legacy In The United States

A lynching attended by a large mob.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 8:52 am

Nearly 4,000 blacks were lynched in the American South between the end of the Civil War and World War II, according to a new report by the Equal Justice Initiative.

The report, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, says that the number of victims in the 12 Southern states was more than 20 percent higher than previously reported.

Lynchings were part of a system of racial terror designed to subjugate a people, says the Alabama-based nonprofit's executive director, Bryan Stevenson.

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Code Switch
1:08 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

NYPD's Top Cop Wants To Make It A Felony to Resist Arrest

Bill Bratton, the NYPD commissioner, told reporters that "we need to get around this idea that you can resist arrest ... and we need to change that, and the way to change that is to start penalties for it."
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 1:37 pm

Last week, at a New York state Senate hearing on protests against police brutality, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton asked lawmakers to raise the penalty for resisting arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony.

"We need to get around this idea that you can resist arrest," he later told reporters. "It results in potential injuries to the officer, to the suspect. And we need to change that, and the way to change that is to start penalties for it."

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Code Switch
11:42 am
Tue February 10, 2015

'Stop Telling Women To Smile': Denouncing 'Jackals' And Catcalling In Mexico

Magali, 33, describes the worst catcall she received from a soldier in Mexico City.
Courtesy of Fusion

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 6:36 pm

Note: This post contains language that some people may find offensive.

Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh recently went to Mexico City to talk with women who've gotten unwanted "piropos," as catcalling is known in Mexico. Here are some of the things they recalled hearing:

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Code Switch
6:03 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Part Asian-American, All Jewish?

Sociologists Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt look on during their son Ari's bris. They've worked together to research how kids with mixed Asian-American and Jewish heritage think about faith.
The Kim-Leavitt family

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 11:33 am

I was five years old when my mother threatened to give me away to journalist Connie Chung.

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Code Switch
4:38 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Jail Time For Unpaid Court Fines And Fees Can Create Cycle Of Poverty

Edward Brown, who was jailed for not paying fines he couldn't afford, is among 16 plaintiffs in two lawsuits filed against the cities of Ferguson and Jennings, Mo.
Joseph Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 5:27 pm

On a night last week when the temperature dropped to 17 degrees, Edward Brown, who's 62 and homeless, slept at the bus stop in front of the Jennings, Mo., city hall in St. Louis County.

"It was cold, very cold," he says. "It's so cold I can't really move so I kept playing with my feet — rubbing 'em, twisting 'em, trying to keep warm."

Brown's troubles started when he tried to fight the city of Jennings, and his story shows how court fines and fees can grow, turning an impoverished person's life upside down.

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Code Switch
3:26 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Authorities Probe Alleged Hate Crime Against Native American Kids

Oglala Sioux leaders and city officials at a press conference following the incident discuss possible charges, which could include child abuse, hate crimes and assault.
Charles Michael Ray South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 5:55 pm

An investigation into a possible hate crime is underway in Rapid City, S.D., after a group of men allegedly assaulted Native American kids at a minor league hockey game. The incident angered many in the community, and racial tensions in Rapid City are running high.

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Code Switch
10:41 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Graphic Novelist Adrian Tomine Takes On The Notorious Long Duk Dong

In 2001, graphic novelist Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings) published a pungent one-page comic describing his own history with the legacy of Long Duk Dong.
Adrian Tomine

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 2:35 pm

On Friday, I explained what's "cringeworthy" about Sixteen Candles' Long Duk Dong, whose broken English and social ineptitude left a painful stamp on many Asian-American children of the '80s.

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Code Switch
8:03 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Civil Rights Attorneys Sue Ferguson Over 'Debtors Prisons'

Tonya DeBerry (center) and her children, Herbert Nelson and Allison Nelson, have all been held in Ferguson and Jennings jails for unpaid traffic tickets.
Joseph Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 7:06 am

In a new challenge to police practices in Ferguson, Mo., a group of civil rights lawyers is suing the city over the way people are jailed when they fail to pay fines for traffic tickets and other minor offenses.

The lawsuit, filed Sunday night on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown, alleges that the city violates the Constitution by jailing people without adequately considering whether they were indigent and, as a result, unable to pay.

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Code Switch
5:27 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Korean Dictator, All-American Dad: One Actor's 'Very Unique Year'

Randall Park and Constance Wu co-star as husband and wife Louis and Jessica Huang in Fresh Off the Boat.
Gilles Mingasson ABC

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 8:53 am

When Randall Park realized just how big a deal Fresh Off The Boat was going to be, he got cold feet. The stakes were high for the first network sitcom in 20 years to feature an Asian-American family.

But he'd already filmed the pilot, in which he starred as family patriarch Louis Huang, a Taiwanese immigrant and firm believer in the American Dream. (The sitcom, which centers on Louis' son Eddie, begins as Louis uproots his young family from Washington, D.C., to suburban Orlando to open a steakhouse.)

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Code Switch
5:18 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

100 Years Later, What's The Legacy Of 'Birth Of A Nation'?

Actors dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia for scenes in 1915's The Birth of a Nation.
Hulton Archive/ Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:56 pm

One hundred years ago Sunday, the nascent film industry premiered what would go on to be its first blockbuster: The Birth of a Nation.

As the house lights dimmed and the orchestra struck up the score, a message from director D.W. Griffith flickered on the screen: "This is an historical presentation of the Civil War and Reconstruction Period, and is not meant to reflect on any race or people of today."

But its effects on race relations were devastating, and reverberations are still felt to this day.

Epic Film, Embedded Bigotry

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Code Switch
1:23 pm
Sat February 7, 2015

After Years In Lockdown, Rosa Parks' Papers Head To Library Of Congress

Rosa Parks, shown in Seattle in 1956, saved postcards from Martin Luther King Jr. and notes about carpooling during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. They're now being cataloged by the Library of Congress.
Gil Baker Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 2:02 pm

Archivists at the Library of Congress are hard at work cataloging the papers of Rosa Parks, received on loan recently after a legal battle kept them under lock and key for the past decade.

Among the collection are a receipt for a voting booth's poll tax, postcards from Martin Luther King Jr., a datebook with the names of volunteer carpool drivers who would help blacks get to work during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and thousands of other historic documents.

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Code Switch
9:03 am
Sat February 7, 2015

For Black History Month, Letters To Reveal And Inspire

Letters preserve a history that often doesn't show up in official accounts, says writer K. Tempest Bradford.
iStockphoto.com

Technology is always blamed for the loss of this or that traditional activity or cultural artifact. In February we take time to bemoan the waning art of letter writing, a tradition eroded away by social networks, email, typewriters, or non-quill pens — depending on the era the lamenter hails from.

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Code Switch
3:16 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

What's So 'Cringeworthy' About Long Duk Dong in 'Sixteen Candles'?

Gedde Watanabe as Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles.
Universal/The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 7:21 am

In Thursday's post about failed Asian-American TV shows, I called actor Gedde Watanabe's notorious performance as Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles "cringeworthy." Some of you piped up to ask, Hey, what's wrong with Long Duk Dong?

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Code Switch
11:37 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Illinois' female students in science, math classes fall behind nation

Illinois girls lag behind other states in the number that enroll in science, technology, engineering and math classes, according to a recent University of Illinois report commissioned by the Illinois State Board of Education.

In STEM courses, Illinois females represent 15 percent of the enrollments as opposed to 31 percent nationwide.

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Code Switch
2:55 am
Fri February 6, 2015

An Unlikely Alliance Fights HIV In The Bronx's Afro-Honduran Diaspora

A December celebration launching a partnership between members of the Garifuna community and a doctor in New York. The collaboration is aimed at reducing the HIV infection rate among the Garifuna.
Alexandra Starr NPR

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 10:25 am

On a recent winter evening in the Bronx, a group of men and women in red-checkered shirts and dresses encircled Dr. Julie Hoffman during a ceremony. They pounded wooden drums crisscrossed with thick rope and shook maracas as they danced and sang.

The event took on a somber tone when Hoffman talked about the crisis that had brought them all together.

"Too many members of this community continue dying," she said in Spanish. "That's why I'm here. I want to work with you."

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Code Switch
1:02 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

A Brief, Weird History Of Squashed Asian-American TV Shows

David Carradine played a Shaolin monk and martial arts expert in Kung Fu.
ABC Photo Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 9:54 am

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Code Switch
6:35 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Steven Yeun's 'Glenn': Slaying Zombies And Getting The Girl

Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) - The Walking Dead - Season 4
Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 7:48 pm

AMC's The Walking Dead holds the record for the most-watched cable television drama. If you've never seen it, it's about the zombie apocalypse and follows a group survivors trying to stay alive in Atlanta, Ga. If you're a fan — and there are millions upon millions of us out there — you know that no character is safe, and you've got a favorite character that you don't want to die.

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Code Switch
4:07 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Lots Of Confusion Over Teacher Firings At Howard University Middle School

Students protest outside Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science.
Victoria M. Walker Howard University

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 12:41 pm

Updated on Feb. 4 at 12:30 p.m. ET: The board of directors for the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science issued a statement on the dismissal of three social studies teachers, indicating that the school is governed by an independent nonprofit organization and regulated by the D.C. Charter School Board. Its also confirms that three teachers resigned from the university effective Jan. 27. From the statement:

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Code Switch
5:19 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Sundance Festival Opens Doors For Minority Filmmakers

This year's Sundance Film Festival generated buzz for Dope, an indie film with an African-American director, Latino and Asian-American producers and starring a multicultural cast.
David Moir Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 2:18 pm

The Sundance Film Festival wrapped up last weekend. For more than two decades, the festival and the Sundance Institute have been a springboard for independent filmmakers. This year, two of its darlings — Boyhood and Whiplash — are nominated for an Academy Award in the best picture category.

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Code Switch
2:03 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Journalist Jorge Ramos Takes On Obama, Republicans

President Obama participates in a town hall hosted by Univision with news anchor Jorge Ramos in 2011.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 7:51 am

My parents, who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, weren't so sure when I told them I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. "How about being a car mechanic?" they suggested gently. That is, until I informed them I was interviewing for an internship at Univision in Miami, where Jorge Ramos worked.

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Code Switch
4:16 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

The Success Of Fox's 'Empire' Reveals A Few Do's And Don'ts For TV

Taraji P. Henson, left, and Terrence Howard star as Cookie and Lucious Lyon in the Fox TV show Empire.
Chuck Hodes Fox TV

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 10:12 am

The TV industry is scrambling to understand the runaway success of Fox's Empire, the story of a family-run hip-hop music company that has set ratings records in its four weeks on air.

The questions, as always, are simple: Why are people drawn to this show? And how can a TV network pull it off again?

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Illinois Issues – Code Switch
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Question & Answer: Michael Schlosser - The Intersection Of Policing And Race

Michael Schlosser

Schlosser, a retired Rantoul police lieutenant with 20 years of experience, has been director of the University of Illinois’ Police Training Institute since 2012. Among other degrees, he holds a doctorate in education from the U of I, and his studies have focused on what he calls the intersection of policing and race. This an edited, condensed version of his conversation with Managing Editor Maureen Foertsch McKinney.

Q. As an academic, I believe your research focused on the intersection of race and policing.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
12:00 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Study Shows Summer Jobs Trimmed Youth Violence

A summer program that provided jobs for youth in Chicago successfully reduced violent crime, according to a recent analysis.

A researcher working with the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the University of Pennsylvania set out to determine if the city’s One Summer Plus program had an impact on crime. The program offers summer jobs and on-the-job mentoring to middle and high school students living in neighborhoods with high rates of violent crime. 

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