Code Switch

Code Switch
1:38 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Running Late? Nah, Just On 'CPT'

Almost there! Always delayed.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 8:19 am

In our semi-regular Word Watch feature, we take a look at a word or phrase that has caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story.

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Code Switch
12:16 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

Who Will Get The Biopic Treatment Next?

After Chadwick Boseman played Jackie Robinson in 2013's 42, he starred as a suspiciously tall James Brown in 2014's Get On Up.
Universal Pictures

Movie award season is upon us once again, which means that it's peak biopic season. You know what I mean — those big, sweeping epics about the life of a Very Important Person portrayed by a Very Serious Actor.

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NPR Ombudsman
2:27 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Asking Bill Cosby If He Is A Serial Rapist

Entertainer Bill Cosby pauses during a news conference. Cosby's attorney said Sunday that Cosby will not dignify "decade-old, discredited" claims of sexual abuse with a response.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 3:33 pm

Did host Scott Simon unfairly—and sordidly—ambush Bill Cosby by raising rape charges in a Weekend Edition interview that was otherwise about art?

The 77-year old comedian and wife Camille—she was present—were being interviewed on air Saturday about the many pieces of art that they are lending to the Smithsonian Museum when Simon, at the end, changed the subject:

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Code Switch
11:43 am
Thu November 20, 2014

4 Reasons Why 'Scandal' Is A Telenovela. And A Good One

Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope on Shonda Rhimes' political drama Scandal, one of TV's most talked-about broadcast shows.
Danny Feld ABC

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 12:47 pm

Editor's note: If you're not caught up, you may feel that some plot references below are mild spoilers. Fair warning.

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Code Switch
6:02 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Ex-Georgia Gov. Carl Sanders, Racial Moderate In A Split South, Dies

Former Georgia Gov. Carl Sanders shakes hands with members of the crowd at a campaign event leading up to a runoff against Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination for Governor in Atlanta.
AP

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 8:26 pm

Carl E. Sanders, who served as governor of Georgia from 1963 to 1967 and is credited with bringing about more racial integration to the state, died in Atlanta on Sunday. He was 89.

Sanders was considered to be a Southern moderate, and fought to create a "New South." His politics set him apart from lawmakers who tried to keep public schools and facilities segregated.

In his inaugural address in January 1963, Sanders said:

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Code Switch
11:19 am
Tue November 18, 2014

The Many Stories Behind Double-Eyelid Surgery

Double eyelids, single eyelids — ” why do we change our eyes, or keep them the way they are?
Claire O'Neill/NPR

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 12:23 pm

This is the second half of a look at the history and motivations behind the Asian blepharoplasty, popularly known as "double-eyelid surgery." On Monday, we dug into its background and some of its history. Today, we'll explore the "why."

A lot of assumptions are made about why people undergo double-eyelid surgery. Assumptions like: They wanted to look more white, or they wanted to look less Asian.

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Code Switch
4:12 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

In 'Straight White Men,' A Play Explores The Reality Of Privilege

Gary Wilmes, James Stanley and Pete Simpson star in Young Jean Lee's Straight White Men.
Julieta Cervantes

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 10:40 am

The straight white men of Straight White Men aren't what you might expect. Near the beginning of the new off-Broadway play, two adult brothers play a homemade, family board game, refashioned out of an old Monopoly set. Because the family is liberal and progressive, it's called "Privilege." It makes fun of their own straight-white-male privilege.

"Ah, 'excuses' card!" one of the brothers exclaims. The other reads it aloud. "What I just said wasn't racist/sexist/homophobic because I was joking," he deadpans. "Pay $50 to an LGBT organization."

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Code Switch
4:15 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Is Beauty In The Eye(Lid) Of The Beholder?

A plastic surgeon performs a double-eyelid surgery on a patient at the BK Clinic in Seoul in August 2007.
Han Jae-Ho Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 12:25 pm

This is part one of a two-part series looking at the history and motivations behind the Asian blepharoplasty, popularly known as "double-eyelid surgery." Find part two here.

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The Race Card Project: Six-Word Essays
2:44 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Six Words: 'With Kids, I'm Dad. Alone, Thug'

Marc Quarles, his wife, Claudia Paul, and their children, Joshua and Danielle, live in an affluent, predominantly white neighborhood in California. Quarles says his neighbors treat him differently when his children aren't around.
Courtesy of Marc Quarles

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 8:18 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.

Marc Quarles is African-American, with a German wife and two biracial children — a son, 15, and daughter, 13. The family lives in Pacific Grove, a predominantly white, affluent area on California's Monterey Peninsula.

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Code Switch
4:44 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Marvel's 'Black Panther' Isn't Just Another Black Superhero

Introduced, issue #52 of the Fantastic Four as a would-be for, the Black Panther would come to be a long-time ally.
Marvel Entertainment

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 4:26 pm

Last month Marvel Studios announced the roster for some upcoming features. In addition to Ant-Man and a female-led Captain Marvel film, Marvel's Kevin Feige confirmed that on November 3, 2017, the studio planned to release one of its longest-rumored projects: The Black Panther.

We in the nerdier parts of the Internet promptly lost our minds.

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Code Switch
4:05 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

How Hema Ramaswamy Found Healing Through Traditional Indian Dance

Hema Ramaswamy prepares backstage for her performance. She studied with Chitra Venkateswaran (right) for 4 1/2 years in preparation for this recital.
Preston Merchant

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 3:11 pm

Jewish girls become a bat mitzvah; 15 year-old Latinas celebrate with quinceañeras. But for generations of Indian-American girls, the rite of passage is performing a classical Indian dance before a crowd of hundreds. After years of preparation, Hema Ramaswamy of Middletown, N.J., is ready to unveil her arangetram.

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Race
8:38 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Political Diversity Pioneers Win Medal Of Freedom

Rep. Patsy Mink, D-Hawaii, talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in 1997.
Joe Marquette AP

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 2:13 pm

Several of this year's recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the national government gives to civilians, are people of color. They include recording star Stevie Wonder and the late Alvin Ailey, legendary choreographer and founder of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.

Still, many of the honorees made their presence felt on the political stage, challenging America's presumptions about people of color.

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Code Switch
2:29 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Director Gina Prince-Bythewood: It's Time To 'Obliterate The Term Black Film'

"My hope has always been to make movies with people of color in them but tell stories that are universal," says Gina Prince-Bythewood.
Suzanne Tenner Blackbird Productions

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 1:39 pm

Filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood is tired of hearing about "black films." In fact: "It is one of my goals in life to obliterate the term 'black film,' " she tells NPR's David Greene.

Prince-Bythewood tells love stories. She created the films Love and Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, and most recently, Beyond the Lights.

"For me it's just about putting people of color in every genre and making it become normal," she says.

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Code Switch
10:33 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Why The KKK Is Reaching Out Beyond White Folks

Back in 1925, thousands of Ku Klux Klan members paraded past the U.S. Treasury building in Washington, D.C., as part of a big rally. Throughout its iterations, the KKK has tried to position itself as a respectable, mainstream civic organization.
AP

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 9:21 am

As America's longest-lived white supremacist organization, the Ku Klux Klan has achieved a rare kind of name recognition. You know the way people say "Xerox" when they mean "to photocopy" or "Kleenex" when they mean "tissue"? "KKK" functions something like that, except it shorthands to "racial terrorism and extrajudicial killings."

It's a dilemma that some Klan groups are trying to address by being less, well, Klan-ish.

Back in April, after a 73-year-old Klansman went on a deadly shooting spree in Kansas City, a whole lot of avowed racists condemned the shootings.

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Illinois Issues - Code Switch Illinois
12:25 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

After Ferguson -- A Look At Obstacles Facing Young Black Males

"Isaiah Milton, 10, at a memorial for his 19-year-old cousin Jeremiah Shaw, who was shot to death in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago."
Credit Photograph by Alex Wroblewski

The shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has brought to national attention the obstacles that many young black males face - including racial profiling and a world where media portrayals of their peers are often less-than-flattering. Maureen McKinney took a look at the topic in Illinois. She joined Rachel Otwell for this interview: 

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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 Thu February 5, 2015 1:19 pm

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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