Equity

Race, Culture & Ethnicity

Lots went on, per usual. Let's get to it.

A new documentary challenges the narrative we've heard for the past two years about the late Michael Brown. Stranger Fruit, which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this week, re-examines the hours leading up to Brown's death at the hand of officer Darren Wilson. And gives rise to questions for many. Not, apparently, the St. Louis police, who didn't release the footage earlier because they deemed it irrelevant to the investigation.

If you had to rank Harriet Tubman and Kanye West in order of blackness, who would be first? Who's blacker, Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr.?

When Policing And Race Cross Paths In Silicon Valley

Mar 16, 2017

Silicon Valley, a region that attracts a diverse population from across the country and world due to its thriving tech sector, faces an existential question with real-world consequences: how might its mix of cultures change local policing?

Some recent history has created fertile ground for such a question.

The new film, Get Out, defies easy classification. Though it has funny moments, it's primarily a horror film, with racial anxiety at its center. Writer-director Jordan Peele tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he thinks of Get Out as a "social thriller."

Sarah-Ji

The Lit Review is a grass-roots podcast based in Chicago. It's headed by two young women out to educate and inspire change. 

On a Friday evening in January, people spilled out of a storefront into an alleyway in San Francisco's Chinatown. Neighborhood business owners, parents with young children, and artists in warm coats chatted with one another. Nearby, youth from a martial arts school practiced with wooden staffs under the alleyway lights.

Recent executive orders on immigration have sparked an outpouring of donations from the general public, with national groups like the American Civil Liberties Union seeing the bulk of the financial windfall. For example, the ACLU recently raised $24 million in a single weekend.

flickr / user: Benson Kua

Illinois State University in Normal kicked off a new Queer Studies concentration, under the Women & Gender Studies department, this academic year. It's a burgeoning field, one that might not be as well understood as more traditional academic areas of study.

Native American & Indigenous Student Organization - UIUC

Chief Illiniwek was retired from being the official University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign mascot a decade ago, but he's still a large presence on the university campus. Some students say that’s not okay.

Over the weekend, I was in Los Angeles and attended a production of Zoot Suit, by the trailblazing Chicano playwright Luis Valdez.

Why Mixed-Race Americans Will Not Save The Country

Mar 8, 2017

Americans like to fantasize that a mixed-race future will free them from the clutches of racism.

But this illusion is incompatible with an America in which the presidential election was won by the candidate who ran a "Make America Great Again" campaign, which many critics have pointed out was widely heard as a call to "Make America White Again."

In early December, Joann Lee and her family were crossing the street in front of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A white van was stopped at the light. Out of nowhere, Lee says, the driver of the van, a white woman, said to Lee's 7-year-old daughter, "You are the most disgusting girl in the whole world. Your family killed my family so you could enjoy a day at the museum."

Writing Past The White Gaze As A Black Author

Mar 4, 2017

When I started writing stories four years ago, I knew, in a very vague but urgent way that I wanted to tell "my story," or at least the stories that were important to me: stories about the people I knew and loved, black and brown people, first-generation kids and our parents, poor people and working-class people and barely-middle class people trying to find meaning and connection and comfort.

Rachel Dolezal just won't let it go.

The white civil rights activist and former NAACP leader outed by her parents in 2015 for passing herself off as black is making the rounds with news that she is living on food stamps, a month away from homelessness, can't find a job and, perhaps most shockingly, has legally changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo.

Let's start with Sunday night, because, how could we not? You already know about the Moonlight cock-up (leave it to the British to give us a perfect word for what that was), but did you know this: although Moonlight's Mahershala Ali was described as the first Muslim to win an Academy Award, Pakistan isn't having it. Apparently, the sect to which Ali belongs is outlawed in Pakistan. The Atlantic broke it down for us.

At a congressional luncheon in their honor Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told leaders from historically black colleges and universities that the Department of Education "will continue working closely with you to help identify evolving needs, increase capacity, and attract research dollars. We will also work closely with you to launch new initiatives that meet the needs of today's students."

Rachel Otwell

African American read-ins started to be promoted by educators nationwide in 1990. The purpose is to highlight Black authors during Black History Month. Lincoln Library, Springfield's public library,  joined in this year, listen here:

Charles Collins and his wife, Joyce, were cruising down one of the main streets in Milwaukee's North Side one spring evening in 2014, headed home after a day of babysitting their infant granddaughter. They had just dropped the little girl off with his son.

"You know how you have a leisurely ride?" Collins said this week by telephone. "That's just what we were doing, just enjoying my lady."

Harvard historian Caroline Light grew up with guns. Her family lived in Southwestern Virginia, and her parents regularly enjoyed hunting and shooting skeet (clay targets). They used guns on a recreational basis, not for what Light calls "do-it-yourself self-defense."

Mark Seliger / lifeafterhate.org

Christian Picciolini used to be a neo-Nazi. He was raised by Italian immigrants in Blue Island, a Chicago suburb. He says he didn't grow up with hate ideologies at home, but as a teenager he wanted the community and sense of purpose white supremacists promised him. He went on to lead white supremacist bands and become a large part of the movement.

We know that in times of heightened stress, human instincts tell us to fight or flee. For some American Muslims, the current political climate has created a need for more Muslims to stand up and fight by seeking political office.

"Muslims didn't ask to be dragged into the spotlight, but now that we're there and we need to push back," said Robert McCaw, director of government affairs at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "Getting into elected offices is one of the best means."

Tales of talented black students on majority-white campuses running through a racial gauntlet that has them questioning their brilliance, abilities and place are familiar to parents like me who have a college-bound child at home.

Black parents across America have long instructed their children on navigating discrimination and avoiding its sometimes deadly consequences. But for black immigrant Muslims, this conversation takes on an entirely different dimension.

facebook.com/blmcu

Champaign-Urbana is the only city in Illinois, other than Chicago, to have an official chapter of the Black Lives Matter organization. Evelyn Reynolds has been heading it.

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Across the country, activists who say they stand in opposition to many of the Trump administration's goals are organizing. Many call themselves the 'Resistance', a nod to terminology previously used by those living under authoritarian regimes. They've been key players in the Women's March on Washington (and in other cities), which has been called one of the largest demonstrations in the U.S. 

What's in a name? A lot, according to a new study from researchers at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, both in Canada.

In the first of three conversations about President Barack Obama's racial legacy,Code Switch asks how much race or racism drove the way the first black president was treated and how he governed. Did the president misjudge the state of race relations in America? Real talk about the Obama legacy is just a click away on this week's podcast. Gene and Shereen are joined by Jamelle Bouie, Slate's chief political correspondent, and Tressie McMillan Cottam, sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Shereen and Gene continue our conversation on President Barack Obama's racial legacy. Where did the president fall short — or fail — people of color? We hear opinions about Obama's actions as they affected Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans. Janet Murguia is president of the National Council of La Raza. Simon Moya-Smith is editor of Indian Country Today and a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Carla Shedd teaches sociology and African American studies at Columbia University; she wrote the book "Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice."

We conclude our three part series of conversations on President Obama's racial legacy. It's likely that Barack Obama will be known not only as the first black president, but also as the first president of everybody's race. Many Americans and people beyond the U.S. borders have projected their multicultural selves onto the president. Gene and Shereen are joined by poet Richard Blanco, Angela Rye, head of the political advocacy firm IMPACT Strategies, and NYU history professor Nikhil Singh.

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