Code Switch

When it comes to marijuana laws, the Justice Department is now treating American Indian tribes the way it treats states that have legalized pot.

The move, announced in December, has inadvertently sparked interest in the marijuana business. While many see dollar signs, others worry about contributing to the impact substance abuse has already had on Indian Country.

From what people remember, he fell like a tree. Malcolm X — all 6 feet, 4 inches of him — had taken a shotgun blast to the chest and a grouping of smaller-caliber bullets to the torso while onstage at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights on Feb. 21, 1965. After a ghastly moment of stasis, he careened backward. His head hit the floor with a crack.

On Dec. 1, 1963, Wendell Scott became the first African-American to win a race in NASCAR's top division. More than 50 years later, he is still the only African-American to have done that.

The new NASCAR season begins this weekend, and some in the sport are using Scott's recent induction into its Hall of Fame to celebrate a pioneering achievement — but also to examine why NASCAR still struggles with diversity.

Getting ready for the Lunar New Year once meant buying a new set of clothes for many families of Korean ancestry.

For centuries, the costume known as hanbok – a two-piece outfit traditionally made of embroidered cotton or silk worn by men and women – has played a central role in the new year's wardrobe.

James Comey's speech on race and policing last week was a big departure for a sitting FBI director. For one thing, Comey quoted a lyric from the Broadway musical Avenue Q: "Maybe it's a fact we all should face: Everyone makes judgments based on race."

The Hollywood Reporter is doing a series of interviews with voting members of the academy, the folks who decide who gets an Oscar. Yesterday's (anonymous) interviewee had this to say about why Selma didn't get a nod:

Earlier this week, the board of trustees at Clemson University in South Carolina decided not to change the name of the school's iconic clock tower, Tillman Hall, despite protests by grad students and professors.

Dr. Pauli Murray is hardly the household name that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is, but a recent profile in Salon argues she should be. As Salon's Brittney Cooper explains, Murray, who graduated from the Howard University School of Law in 1944, was one of the first lawyers to argue that the Equal Protection Clause's approach to racial discrimination should apply equally to gender-based discrimination.

Many East Asian cultures use zodiac animals to symbolize each New Year and predict a person's fortunes. But which animal represents 2015 is up for debate.

You may have seen goat, sheep or ram as the English translation for this year's animal according to the Chinese zodiac — yang, in Mandarin. All of them are correct, says Lala Zuo, a Chinese language and culture professor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.

"I don't think there's a wrong translation," she says. "I think there are various ways of translation. It really depends on the context."

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley apologized on Tuesday to the government of India for an incident, captured on a squad car's dashboard camera, in which officers slammed an Indian man to the ground.

In December 2009, 30 students at a high school in South Philadelphia, mostly recent Asian immigrants, were beaten up at school by their peers. Several had to be hospitalized.

Last week, South Carolina lawmakers proposed shutting down the state's only public historically black college for two years.

"We are looking at a bankrupt institution," state House Rep. Jim Merrill told reporters. "No one takes any pleasure in recommending this."

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins may be only 30 years old, but he's already compiled an impressive resume. His theatrical works, which look at race and identity in America, have been performed in New York and around the country. Last year, Jacobs-Jenkins won the best new American play Obie Award for two of his works, Appropriate and An Octoroon.

An Octoroon is currently playing at Theater for a New Audience in New York.

Rare glimpses of black soldiers from the Civil War come into view, their presence asking nothing more than to be remembered, if not celebrated. The documentary film Through A Lens Darkly draws audiences deep into a world of black photography, and will broadcast Monday on the PBS program Independent Lens.

This year, Black History Month carries a special significance, because America is marking not just the 150th anniversary of Emancipation, but also the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. It was propelled into reality through the heroic witness of non-violent demonstrations in Selma, Alabama and across the nation.

Illustrator and historian Joel Christian Gill is full of stories.

There's the one about Box Brown, a slave who escaped to freedom by mailing himself in a box, then became an abolitionist speaker.

And then there's the story of the first American stage magician, a black man from New Hampshire named Richard Potter.

And of course there's Spottswood Rice, a slave who escaped and then wrote two impassioned letters: a heartfelt message to his children still in slavery, and a threat to his former slavemaster.

A Haitian man was lynched at a public plaza in the Dominican Republic this week. Authorities there say it was the result of a personal dispute, but activists claim it's part of rising racial animus and anti-Haitian attitudes in the Caribbean nation.

Here's an astonishing speech by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, who in 2010 became the second African-American appointed as federal judge in Mississippi. He read it to three young white men before sentencing them for the death of a 48-year-old black man named James Craig Anderson in a parking lot in Jackson, Miss., one night in 2011. They were part of a group that beat Anderson and then killed him by running over his body with a truck, yelling "white power" as they drove off.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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:

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."

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.

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.

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."

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:

Part Asian-American, All Jewish?

Feb 10, 2015

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

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