Equity

Race, Culture & Ethnicity

Helicopters from the power company buzz across the skies of this picturesque valley, ferrying electrical poles on long wires to workmen standing on steep hillsides.

The people of Castañer, an isolated village in Puerto Rico's central mountains, view the repairs to the electrical grid warily. Crews have come and gone, and people living along the mountain roads don't expect to get power until late summer, if ever. Power finally started flowing to the center of town last month, but the grid remains unstable, and the hospital continues to rely on its own generator.

One of my greatest lessons in the power of representation on TV came from watching an episode of Scandal.

In fall 2013, I spent an evening with a group of black and brown women watching an installment from the show's third season. We were gathered in a comfortable, tastefully decorated town house in Washington, D.C. Spirits were high — everyone was ready to watch political fixer supreme Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) tackle the latest bizarro crisis invented by series creator Shonda Rhimes.

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Starbucks has come under intense criticism after a video emerged last week of two black men being arrested inside one of the coffee chain's Philadelphia locations.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

Starbucks is closing thousands of stores across the U.S. on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct "racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores," the company said in a statement.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

New York City has removed a statue of J. Marion Sims, a 19th-century gynecologist who experimented on enslaved women, from a pedestal in Central Park.

The statue will be moved to a cemetery in Brooklyn where Sims, sometimes called the "father of gynecology," is buried. A new informational plaque will be added both to the empty pedestal and the relocated statue, and the city is commissioning new artwork to reflect the issues raised by Sims' legacy.

Police in Cambridge, Mass., tackled and punched a black Harvard student who was standing naked on a traffic island on Friday night. The incident was captured on video by witnesses, and the city's mayor called the video "disturbing."

Protests Continue At Philadelphia Starbucks

Apr 17, 2018

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It started with a sign pinned to Sana Afzal's backpack after the election in 2016. "I like Trump, you're fired."

At the 16-year-old's new high school in Gilroy, Calif., just outside San Jose, kids whispered in her Spanish class: "Allahu Akbar" — "God is great" in Arabic — in a derogatory way.

LGBTQ rights advocates have been pushing a measure they say would amend school code in a way that would be beneficial when it comes to noting the community's role in state and national history. Last week those representing groups like Equality Illinois urged lawmakers to pass the proposal, which has yet to reach a vote outside of committee.

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All right. Protesters took over a Starbucks shop in Philadelphia today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: (Chanting) A whole lot of coffee, a whole lot of wack.

The trial of American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson began Monday in Turkey, accused of aiding groups said to have organized a failed coup there in 2016. The case is further straining relations between the United States and Turkey.

The trial is taking place in Aliaga, a town on the Aegean sea north of Izmir. Brunson, 50, is pastor at the Izmir Resurrection Church and has lived in Turkey for more than two decades. He faces up to 35 years in prison.

Last week, John Boehner, the retired congressman from Ohio and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, announced on Twitter that he was getting into the weed game:

"I'm joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved," Boehner wrote. "I'm convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities."

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Updated at 1:32 p.m. ET Monday

Protesters gathered Sunday outside of a Starbucks in Philadelphia, where police arrested two black men Thursday, drawing accusations of racial profiling.

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And now a story about the struggle of American Muslims against discrimination. NPR's Leila Fadel concludes her series on a new generation of American Muslims with this report on a family in Northern California.

About 15 years ago, Carlton Pearson had what you might call a revelation.

It occurred to him that ideas that had informed his entire adult life — about heaven and hell, and what it takes to avoid one and enter the other — were just not true. What was a big deal for his personal faith became a much bigger one in his professional life, because Carlton Pearson presided over one of the country's biggest Pentecostal congregations in Tulsa, Okla., and his rejection of that theology for what he calls the "gospel of inclusion" would cost him just about everything he had.

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Nawaf Ashur Haskan says his brother always knew which family in their northern Iraqi village was making tashrib for the Yazidi New Year. He would arrive at that house at 11:30 a.m. knowing he would be urged to stay for lunch. Tashrib, a dish of long-simmered lamb, chickpeas and spices poured over flatbread, is served at holidays, weddings and funerals. Nawaf says it's also a great hangover cure.

At Auschwitz, death is everywhere, but this monstrous place was full of life this week, as thousands marched through the infamous iron gates to commemorate those who perished during the Holocaust.

Many who participated in the 30th March of the Living are elderly survivors or descendants of victims, and they were joined by youth groups from around the world. Most came from places of exile, like South Africa, Canada, the United States and beyond.

Tattoos are no longer taboo. According to a Harris poll, about half of American Millennials say they have at least one, and so do a third of Gen Xers. Once you have one, data show, you'll get more.

Updated at 1:56 p.m. ET

A video that's now amassed almost 7 million views on Twitter depicts police officers handcuffing two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks.

Onlookers in the background are incredulous.

"What did they do?" one man asks.

"They didn't do anything," a woman responds. "I saw the entire thing."

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The annual TED conference wraps up Saturday. It kicked off in Vancouver this week with a collection of short talks from this year's TED Fellows — a group of "rising stars" from across disciplines and around the world. They talks have become must-see sessions for those in the know, as they feature people doing cutting edge work that hasn't yet broken out. One theme that quickly emerged from this year's crop of Fellows: fighting systemic racism in the United States.

This week, we look at the language we use around race and religion, and what it says about the culture we live in.

The current furor over the Brooklyn Museum's appointment of a white woman to oversee the museum's African art collection is not surprising or infuriating to Steven Nelson. Nelson is an African-American art historian at UCLA who specializes in African art, and he says, "There are very few of us in the field."

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Updated at 3:10 a.m. ET

Pope Francis has acknowledged "serious mistakes" in his handling of Chile's sex abuse scandal and summoned the country's bishops to an emergency meeting in Rome to discuss the matter.

Francis blamed a lack of "truthful and balanced information" for misjudging the situation concerning Bishop Juan Barros, who he appointed to the small diocese of Osorno in 2015 despite allegations that he had helped cover up abuse by his mentor, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

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