Code Switch

A national effort by NPR to explore the frontiers of race, culture and ethnicity. 

This page is a local effort by WUIS to bring that exploration home.  Please join in the civil conversation by commenting on any of the posts here or email WUIS to suggest ideas for discussion.

10:00 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Unequal Skylines For An Unequal Nation

Lead in text: 
What would our cities look like if wealth was represented by the height of buildings? Here's Chicago...
Over the summer, designer and blogger Nickolay Lamm re-envisioned New York's skyline such that the height of buildings represented the wealth of the people who inhabited them. The art was striking, and exposed the city's vast inequalities. "I feel a lot of people look at New York's skyline and think, 'that's where dreams happen, that's where dreams are made," he says.
Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Impoverished in Illinois

In some areas of Englewood, one of six homes is vacant, according to a recent Crain's Chicago Business investigation.
Robert Loerzel WUIS/Illinois Issues

This story first appeared in the January 2014 issue. Statistics have been updated where new numbers were available.

In some pockets of Illinois, where one in every three people live in poverty or close to it, the need is visible in the landscape: empty lots where buildings once stood in Cairo; abandoned houses marked with X’s in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood; families living in ramshackle trailers in Kankakee County’s Pembroke Township.

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Code Switch
12:25 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

"Ferguson And Beyond" Special With NPR's Michel Martin

Image by: Photo credit: Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

The recent shooting death of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked renewed national discussions about racial tensions, police actions and more.

NPR’s Michel Martin moderates a much needed and serious conversation with community leaders.

The audience also participates in the discussion, recorded August 29, 2014.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Race & Education: The Real Issue is About Justice

School Segregation Protesters

 

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."

— Frederick Douglass

 The balls in this Illinois lottery bounced inside a clear bowl as the number-holders anxiously watched. I was among them in a middle school commons in Matteson, a south suburb of Chicago. Our daughter’s number was 10. But would it be our lucky number tonight? 

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Code Switch
12:19 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Springfield Performs ‘The Mikado’ – Is It Racist?

Actors in The Hoogland's version of The Mikado
Credit Courtesy of The Hoogland Center for the Arts

Putting on older theater productions can be a dilemma for those who want to preserve the art in its original form. Some production groups may decide to reinvent pieces that could be seen as problematic in modern times. An operetta currently being performed in Springfield by local actors has sparked controversy for what many consider to be racist qualities.

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Code Switch
3:59 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

How Slavery Shaped America's Oldest And Most Elite Colleges

An early flier for an event at King's College --” which would later become Columbia University — included an advertisement for a slave auction.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 7:45 pm

A few years ago, Brown University commissioned a study of its own historical connection to the Atlantic slave trade. The report found that the Brown family — the wealthy Rhode Island merchants for whom the university was named — were "not major slave traders, but they were not strangers to the business either."

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Code Switch
12:04 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

How I Learned To Swear In Cuban

Guillermo Álvarez Guedes, the Cuban comic who made a common Cuban expletive his trademark, died last week in Miami at age 86.
Gaston De Cardenas/El Nuevo Herald MCT via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:38 am

Editor's note: Fair warning — this essay is, in part, about Spanish profanities, and it includes several.

The man who taught me to swear in Cuban died last week.

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Code Switch
2:49 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Science Rap B.A.T.T.L.E.S. Bring Hip-Hop Into The Classroom

Jayda Neor and Kephra Shaw Meredith, seventh-graders from KIPP Bridge middle school in Oakland, Calif., perform a rap song about the discovery of DNA's structure in front of a green screen.
Tom McFadden

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 11:48 am

This story comes to us from our friends at the science desk. They produced the 7-minute video documentary you see above.

"Modern-day rappers — all they talk about is money, and all these unnecessary and irrelevant topics," says Victoria Richardson, a freshman at Bronx Compass High School. Richardson's rhymes tackle a much less-popular subject: DNA.

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Code Switch
10:17 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

We Need to Talk

Do you code switch?

Is the way that you speak to a business associate different than how you catch up with a friend?  Do you talk to the opposite sex differently?  How do you address people of other races?  NPR has launched a new effort examining the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting.

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Code Switch
6:41 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Who, Exactly, Is A Gringo?

A man walks past anti-U.S. graffiti that reads "Gringos out" in Spanish.
Howard Yanes AP

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 7:14 am

A college classmate asked me, "Where are you from?"

I gave him the long answer: I was born in Guatemala, but my mother is from Nicaragua, and I have lived in the U.S. my whole life.

"So, you're Guatemalan," he said. No, I'm not.

I may have been born in Guatemala, but I was raised in Florida. Regardless of the fact that I have lived in the U.S. since I was 2 years old, most Americans would find it strange to hear my grandma occasionally call me media gringa -- a half-gringa.

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Code Switch
6:01 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Remembering 6 Shooting Deaths At Wisconsin Sikh Temple

A year ago, a white supremacist shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis.
Morry Gash AP

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 5:41 pm

One year ago Monday, Wade Michael Page, a gunman with links to neo-Nazi groups, went to a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and killed six worshippers. Family members, law enforcement and the larger community marked the anniversary over the weekend.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker praised the Sikh community for calling for greater understanding and peace.

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Code Switch
5:32 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

The Racial Backdrop Of The Tawana Brawley Case

Tawana Brawley and the Rev. Al Sharpton at a protest in 1988.
Neil Brake AP

As our colleagues at The Two-Way reported, Tawana Brawley, the central figure in one of the most bizarre and racially polarizing cases in New York City's recent history, has begun to pay part of the more than $430,000 judgment against her.

Brawley accused a group of men of having raped her repeatedly. Among those she accused were several police officers and a prosecutor.

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