Code Switch

Code Switch
12:17 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

The Sleepy Road Near Our National Conversation On Race

Linda Owen takes a photo of her husband, Al, in front of Ferguson Brewing Co. near the city's historic district. The couple are from an unincorporated section of St. Louis County and were visiting Ferguson. They don't get down to West Florissant much anymore, although Linda, a retired teacher, has former students who live there and said she worries about how they're doing.
Eric Kayne for NPR

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 1:25 pm

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.

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Code Switch
9:18 am
Thu August 21, 2014

An Officer Shot A Black Teen, And St. Louis Rioted — In 1962

News outlets in 1962 paired this image of injured police officers with a story about the aftermath of a riot in a St. Louis suburb.
Proquest Historical Newspapers Archive

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 9:34 am

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.

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Code Switch
3:52 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

To Achieve Diversity In Publishing, A Difficult Dialogue Beats Silence

Author Junot Diaz says the publishing industry must have uncomfortable conversations about diversity. The alternative, he believes, is "utter, agonizing silence."
Rick Reinhard Flickr

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 7:30 pm

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."

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Code Switch
11:35 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Two Miles From Protests, Residents Want Calm To Return To Ferguson

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

Code Switch
8:56 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Ferguson Killing Inspires Young Black Activists

Tiffany Flowers and Alderman Antonio French in front of QuikTrip in Ferguson, Mo.
Tiffany Flowers

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 12:20 pm

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.

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Code Switch
2:54 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

In Elite MFA Programs, The Challenge Of Writing While 'Other'

The Dey House, a 140-year-old mansion, is home to the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, one of the oldest MFA writing programs in the country. Director Lan Samantha Chang — who attended the workshop as a student — has made it a priority to attract students and faculty from diverse backgrounds to the program.
Linda Kahlbaugh AP

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 7:46 pm

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.

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Code Switch
11:23 am
Tue August 19, 2014

In Ferguson, Mo., A City Meets The Spotlight

Demonstrators protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown listen to rapper Nelly speak.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:17 pm

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.

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Code Switch
1:41 pm
Sun August 17, 2014

The Death And Uneasy Rebirth Of Cambodia's Psychedelic Rock

Bochan Huy is part of a community of Cambodian-American musicians, remixing and reviving psychedelic hits from 1960s Cambodia.
Mark Shelby Perry Bochan Huy

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.

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Code Switch
2:40 pm
Sat August 16, 2014

Code Switch Roundup: On Race, Policing And Ferguson

A protester holds up a clenched fist in front of a convenience store that was looted and burned following the shooting death of Michael Brown by police nearly a week ago in Ferguson, Mo.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sun August 17, 2014 6:33 am

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

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Code Switch
11:03 am
Sat August 16, 2014

Behind A Twitter Campaign, A Multitude Of Stories

Twitter

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 12:44 pm

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

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Code Switch
7:05 am
Sat August 16, 2014

Summer Camp In State Prison: A Chance To Bond With Dad

Hope House campers wear tie-dye shirts they made to the last day of camp at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md.
Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 12:56 pm

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.

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Code Switch
12:16 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

While Films And TV Shows Miss Latinos, A YouTube Outlet Grows

On the MiTú network's Guzii Style, Chef Guzii makes bolitas de chocolate.
MiTú

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 11:11 pm

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.

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Code Switch
11:46 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Roundtable: The Past And Present Of 'Yellowface'

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 1:55 pm

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.")

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Code Switch
9:59 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Wanted At Barneys New York: An 'Anti-Profiling Consultant'

People walk by a Barneys New York retail store in New York City.
Eric Thayer Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 12:22 pm

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.

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Code Switch
5:40 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Pentagon Does About-Face On Hair Regulations — Black Women Approve

Georgia National Guard Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs uses many hair products to do her daily hair treatment at her home in Atlanta on April 2. Jacobs railed against a military policy that placed heavy restrictions on how women could wear their hair. The policy has been overturned by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Hyosub Shin MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 8:36 am

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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Code Switch
3:23 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Why We've Been Seeing More 'Yellowface' In Recent Months

Katy Perry at the American Music Awards in 2013.
John Shearer AP

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 12:21 pm

You might have heard a lot about "yellowface" in recent months. It's the word widely used to refer to someone donning makeup or clothing to present the appearance of looking Asian. But why are we seeing the word — and the phenomenon it refers to — so much this year? Is it because it's happening more? Or are we just more aware?

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Code Switch
2:03 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

What Policing Looks Like To A Former Officer

Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown by Police.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 5:23 pm

Ronald Hampton worked in law enforcement in Washington, D.C., for 23 years, first on the street, and then as a community relations officer. He was also heavily involved in program development, education and crime prevention. He retired from the police force in 1994, but continued his work as the executive director of the National Black Police Association. Today he teaches criminal justice at the University of the District of Columbia.

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Code Switch
10:42 am
Wed August 13, 2014

What Policing Looks Like To A Former Investigator Of Misconduct

Doug Brinson sits on a stoop next to a makeshift memorial for Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y. Garner died after he was put in a chokehold by police officers while being arrested at the site last month for selling untaxed loose cigarettes. His death has been ruled a homicide.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:15 pm

When I was in my early 20s, my days were spent listening to New Yorkers tell me stories of how officers from the New York City Police Department had beaten them up. On most days, the person sitting across from me was a young, African-American man. (There were women, too, but they were fewer.) He would have filed an official complaint, either during his arrest or after, which then filtered through the city bureaucracy to land on my desk at the Civilian Complaint Review Board, or CCRB, an independent agency that investigates complaints against the NYPD.

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Code Switch
3:36 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Author Explores Irony And Identity In 'A Chinaman's Chance'

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 12:40 pm

The phrase "a Chinaman's chance" may include a racial slur, but Eric Liu's father would use it in a sort of "devilish, ironic way" to describe the most prosaic events, Liu says.

"If the Yankees were down by five in the ninth inning, 'Oh, they've got a Chinaman's chance of winning this game,' " he recounts. Or if they were hurrying to make it to a store before closing time and cutting it close, his father would say, "Ahh, you got a Chinaman's chance of getting there on time."

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Code Switch
4:41 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

At 73, Man Finally Gets Diploma Denied For Defying Segregation

Alva Earley shows off his diploma after receiving it from Galesburg Superintendent Bart Arthur.
Evan Temchin Knox College

Originally published on Sun August 10, 2014 4:42 pm

There was no pomp and circumstance, no procession with classmates, but on Friday a school district in Illinois finally handed Alva Early his high school diploma — more than five decades after he attended Galesburg High School.

In 1959, Galesburg banned Earley from graduating and denied him a diploma after he and other African-Americans had a picnic in a park that was unofficially off-limits to blacks.

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Code Switch
1:27 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

Private Prisons House More Latinos Than Do Public Ones, Study Finds

An inmate walks through the yard at the North Central Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio, which recently switched to private management.
Ty Wright Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 12:55 pm

In March, Rina Palta reported for Code Switch on a study that found private prisons were disproportionately filled with inmates of color. A broader recent study of federal data from 2005 has revealed something similar: The proportion of white inmates was significantly smaller in private prisons than in public ones, and the proportion of Latino inmates was larger.

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Code Switch
12:24 pm
Sat August 9, 2014

'Are You, Like, African-AMERICAN Or AFRICAN-American?'

President Obama spoke to young Africans who were held up as future leaders during this week's Africa Summit.
Charles Dharapak AP

Over at NewsOne, Donovan X. Ramsey contrasted two approaches President Obama has taken with black audiences: 1) the finger-wagging, pull-up-your-pants approach that he often takes with African-Americans, like the graduates at all-male Morehouse College ("We've got no time for excuses ... nobody is going to give you anything you haven't earned"), and 2) the laudatory tone he took with young African leaders who traveled to D.C. this week for the Africa Summit.

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Code Switch
12:53 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

In Chicago, Neighborhoods That Are More Black Don't Gentrify

The researchers found that most neighborhoods in Chicago that have seen dramatic gentrification are neighborhoods that were not predominantly black.
Darwin Bell/Flickr

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 2:27 pm

So here's one way folks tend to think about gentrification in big cities: Poorer (therefore: browner) neighborhood becomes more attractive to folks of more means (therefore: whiter) who are in search of lower housing costs. As more and more better-off folks move in, new amenities and fresh investment follow. And that, in turn, brings more demand for the neighborhood among potential gentrifiers, which pushes up housing costs and drives out the people of color who lived there before.

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Code Switch
6:08 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

'Boondocks' Creator Asks, 'What Would Black Jesus Do?'

Black Jesus is the latest from Aaron McGruder, who created the politically charged comic strip and animated series The Boondocks.
Adult Swim

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 5:43 pm

Black Jesus, a new show premiering Thursday on Adult Swim, is about, well, a black Jesus. Set in contemporary south Los Angeles, it presents a Jesus roaming around a neighborhood filled with liquor stores, mini-marts and people praying for help.

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Code Switch
11:02 am
Wed August 6, 2014

A State Court Says Rap Lyrics Can't Be Used As Evidence In A Criminal Trial

Vonte Skinner had his attempted murder case considered by New Jersey's Supreme Court, which ruled that lyrics he wrote years before the crime he was charged with were not admissible in the trial.
Uncredited ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 9:10 am

Just a few days ago, Code Switch wrote about the use violent hip-hop lyrics as evidence in criminal cases, a practice that some critics say violates defendants' First Amendment rights and plays up jurors' misunderstandings of the use of hyperbole in hip-hop.

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Code Switch
9:50 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Before 'Freedom Summer,' A Wave Of Violence Largely Forgotten

William Bryant Davidson was arrested for the shooting of Richard Joe Butler, along with Billy Woods and the Klansman Ed Fuller. No one ever went to trial in Butler's shooting.
Photo Courtesy of David Ridgen/National Archives

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 2:02 pm

This summer we commemorate the Freedom Summer participants who faced death — and in some cases were murdered — for trying to transform the racial landscape of America.

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Code Switch
2:04 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Forgoing School To Pay The Bills

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 11:12 am

Starting a career in a struggling economy is difficult, no matter what your background. But for young people in Langley Park, Md., a predominantly immigrant community near Washington, D.C., it is fraught with additional economic and family pressures.

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Code Switch
1:33 pm
Sun August 3, 2014

Anything You Can Spit Can Be Used Against You

Antwain Steward was arrested and charged with killing two people in Newport News, Va., in large part based on rap lyrics he wrote — even though his lyrics didn't sync up with the details of the crime.
YouTube

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 7:47 am

It was early May 2007. Two friends, 16-year-old Christopher Horton and 20-year-old Brian Dean, were sitting on a porch on 23rd Steet and Orcutt Avenue in Newport News, Va., in the city's downtown neighborhood.

Someone walked up to the porch where they were sitting and opened fire with a handgun, killing both Horton and Dean.

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Code Switch
8:45 am
Sun August 3, 2014

Can Google Build A Typeface To Support Every Written Language?

Google's Noto font as it displays for Devanagari script, used to write Hindi.
Google

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 3:43 pm

Google has taken on its fair share of ambitious projects — digitizing millions and millions of books, mapping the whole world, pioneering self-driving cars. It's a company that doesn't shy away from grand plans.

But one recent effort, despite its rather lofty scope, has escaped much notice. The company is working on a font that aims to include "all the world's languages" — every written language on Earth.

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Code Switch
7:17 am
Sat August 2, 2014

James Shigeta 'Led The Way' For Asian-American Lovers On Screen

Hidenari Terasaki (James Shigeta) kisses the hand of his wife, Gwen (Carroll Baker), in the 1961 film Bridge to the Sun.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 2, 2014 2:27 pm

Actor James Shigeta had the looks, the talent — and the voice.

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