Code Switch

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

Declining Fortunes - Middle Class Faced Threats Prior to Great Recession

Gloria Davis, a meatpacker from Chicago, tell a state Senate committee that she is homeless because of working a minimum-wage job.
Credit Senate Democratic Caucus

America’s middle class faced threats to its financial well-being even prior to the Great Recession.

When Jorge Chapa was a student at the University of Chicago, he had a lab job collecting brain samples from a meatpacking plant. That’s how, in 1974, he became familiar with the industry and its bloody and backbreaking disassembly line. He revisited meatpacking 30 years later, as a sociologist. This time he analyzed it for a study showing how the once high-paying job had slid from providing a middle-class living into one paying minimum wage.

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

Rape Laws - Illinois Makes Major Moves Forward

Demonstrators protest planned cuts to social service agencies, including the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Credit Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Legal system makes major moves forward in its handling of sexual assault, especially in Illinois

In December, a Chicago area man was convicted of raping a woman in a hotel room following their date in 2009.

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

A Personal Story - I’ve Come To Re-Evaluate What It MeansTo Be Raped

This personal account is a sidebar to the feature story Rape laws by Kristy Kennedy

Three different men sexually assaulted me when I was a sophomore in college. That was 30 years ago or so. In that time, I’ve come to re-evaluate what it means to be to be raped. And I’ve kept in mind what I can do to help protect my daughter, who at 22 is a little older than I was in the early 1980s when I was assaulted while a student at Eastern Illinois University.

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Code Switch
4:24 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Is There A #PubRadioVoice That Sounds Like America?

#PubRadioVoice brought together our listeners with African-American and Latino radio journalists in a discussion on whether the voices on air truly represent the "public" in public radio.
Emily Jan NPR

Chenjerai Kumanyika, a professor at Clemson University and aspiring public radio journalist, sparked a challenging conversation with his commentary about the "whiteness" of public radio voices. We hosted a Twitter chat about his essay and invited listeners and public radio professionals to share their thoughts using #PubRadioVoice.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch
1:08 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Post-Recession Illinois Poverty Rates Didn't Decline

 The poverty rate in Illinois has held steady in recent years despite the nation’s post-Great Recession status.

That’s according to a report issued this week by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center. The group reported that the 14.7 percent poverty rate in Illinois for the 2013 (the most recent data available for the analysis) has been unchanged since 2012. The 2011 poverty rate was slightly higher than that at 15 percent.

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Code Switch
12:18 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

What Research Says About The Consequences Of PC Culture

One of the most popular arguments against political correctness is that it stifles speech, but a Cornell study found that it boosted creativity in mixed-gender groups.
Tamir Kalifa AP

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 2:32 pm

By now, you've surely seen Jonathan Chait's sprawling takedown of what he describes as a dangerous resurgence of political correctness in the 21st century. In his telling, a "PC culture" that flourished on college campuses in the '90s is back, stronger than ever thanks to Twitter and social media, and it's been crippling political discourse — and maybe even democracy itself.

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Code Switch
4:34 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Challenging The Whiteness Of Public Radio

Chenjerai Kumanyika worries that having a "public radio" voice won't allow him to sound like himself.
Linda Tindal Courtesy of Linda Tindal

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 9:32 pm

Editor's Note: This essay originally appeared on Transom.org, with a shorter version published on BuzzFeed. Author Chenjerai Kumanyika will join Code Switch — along with African-American public radio journalists — in a Twitter chat Thursday moderated by lead blogger Gene Demby. Join Code

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Code Switch
4:16 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

University Re-Imagines Town And Gown Relationship In Philadelphia

New apartment buildings are replacing empty lots in Mantua, one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods.
Will Figg for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 4:40 am

Dinner is served in the West Philadelphia neighborhood of Mantua.

"You look like you're ready to have a great Dornsife neighborhood partnership meal! Am I right about it?" Rose Samuel-Evans asks the crowd at a free community dinner of chicken marsala and stuffed flounder hosted by Drexel University.

Samuel-Evans works in this two-story, orange-brick schoolhouse; it's one of three refurbished buildings that opened last summer north of campus as part of Drexel's Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

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Code Switch
4:00 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Join Us Tonight To Talk About The 'Whiteness Of Public Radio Voice'

is public radio too white?
Ben McLeod Flickr

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 5:21 pm

When Chenjerai Kumanyika sat down to record his first public radio piece last summer, he was thrown off by his own voice.

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Code Switch
5:03 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Miss Colombia Wins Pageant; Miss Jamaica Wins Twitter?

Miss Universe contestants congratulate fifth-place-finisher, Kaci Fennell of Jamaica. Many pageant watchers on social media argued that Fennell should have won.
Wilfredo Lee AP

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:25 am

After Miss Colombia's Paulina Vega won the Miss Universe pageant on Sunday, she was greeted with a scepter, tiara and a kiss from the first runner-up, Miss U.S.A. But even as Vega took her first steps as Miss Universe, something that was happening elsewhere on stage caught a lot of attention.

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Code Switch
4:46 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

Black Doll Show Inspires With Wakandan Heroes And Jazz Superstars

For the past 34 years, the William Grant Still Arts Center has held a Black Doll Show to showcase diverse dolls for children. The exhibit features dolls submitted by artists and collectors from around the country.
Priska Neely NPR

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 5:38 pm

At The William Grant Still Arts Center in the West Adams neighborhood in Los Angeles, jazz superstars and comic book superheroes are gathered together — in miniature, as part of the Black Doll Show.

For the past 34 years, the center has held a doll show to showcase diverse dolls for children. The exhibit features dolls submitted by artists and collectors from around the country. This year's theme is A League Supreme: Jazz Superheroes.

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Code Switch
4:02 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

Between The Laughs, South African Comedian Hopes To Educate

Comedian Trevor Noah was born in South Africa during apartheid — "born a crime," as he says.
Byron Keulemans

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 9:03 am

Update on March 30: Comedy Central announced Trevor Noah will replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show later this year.

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Code Switch
6:56 am
Sat January 24, 2015

A Japanese Singing Competition Blooms In Colorado

Two performers rehearse a traditional Japanese dance for Denver's 2015 Kohaku Uta Gassen.
Chloe Veltman KCFR

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 11:00 am

At a Buddhist temple in downtown Denver, Junko Higdon is rehearsing a traditional song for one of the local Japanese community's biggest annual events.

Higdon is one of 30 amateur singers competing in two teams at this year's Kohaku Uta Gassen, which means, "red and white singing battle."

"White is for the men, red is for the women and whoever gets the most points out the teams wins the trophy," she says.

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Code Switch
4:24 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

In Recruitment Effort, Akron Police Seeks To Mirror The Community

The Akron Police Department training class works out at Kent State Basic Police Officer Training Academy. Donald Clayton is the only African-American in the class of 20.
M.L. Schultze WKSU

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 8:00 am

Two years ago, the Akron, Ohio, police recruiting video began with pulsing music and an image of police in helmets and camouflage with assault rifles ready. This year, the most prominent video demonstrates how to prepare for the physical tests to be hired.

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Code Switch
1:18 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Could The Battle Over 'Redskins' Change Trademark Law?

In his 2015 State of Indian Nations speech, Brian Cladoosby, president of the National Congress of American Indians, spoke out against the Washington football team's name.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 1:26 pm

In his yearly State of Indian Nations address Thursday, Brian Cladoosby — president of the National Congress of American Indians — quoted an 1863 advertisement from a Minnesota newspaper: "The state reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every redskin sent to Purgatory," he read.

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