Equity

Race, Culture & Ethnicity

A few years ago, a pair of sociologists named Andrew Papachristos and Christopher Wildeman decided to study gun violence in Chicago. They focused on a specific community on the west side: overwhelmingly black and disproportionately poor, with a murder rate that was five times higher than the rest of the city.

Their approach was to look at gun violence the way epidemiologists study disease — examining the way it spread by social connections. And like a virus, they found that there were certain people who were especially at risk of being touched by it.

It was the first 2016 presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and NBC's Lester Holt was moderating. Holt's topic was how to "heal the divide" between the races, but the conversation had meandered from stop-and-frisk to no-fly lists to the Department of Justice's 1973 racial discrimination suit against Trump.

When Clinton mentioned the discrimination lawsuit, Holt prompted Trump to respond.

Barbershop: Trump's Comments And Latinos

Oct 1, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This week, the Code Switch team tackled this question: What do you do when a friend, loved one or stranger makes a comment that falls somewhere on the racism spectrum? On the blog and on the podcast, we and friends of Code Switch shared stories about those uncomfortable moments and how we reacted.

We've all been there — having fun relaxing with friends and family, when someone says something a little racially off. Sometimes it's subtle, like the friend who calls Thai food "exotic." Other times it's more overt, like that in-law who's always going on about "the illegals."

In any case, it can be hard to know how to respond. Even the most level-headed among us have faltered trying to navigate the fraught world of racial awkwardness.

Wearing overalls and a John Deere baseball cap, 79-year-old Norman Greer stands on the front porch of his home, looking out at his property. There's a grain bin, some tractors, a barn, and rows of corn and soy beans.

"Where I live, right here, is 52 acres, and I farm 300 acres," Greer says. He's also raised hogs and cattle, but as he points out vacant animal pens, he says, "I've gotten too old to fool with it."

Teen pregnancy rates are going down in Illinois and across the nation because teens are having less sex, and when they do, they’re using contraception more often. The reasons behind these changes in behavior are harder to pinpoint.  

Trigger warnings, the heads-up that college professors give to students to let them know disturbing content is coming, have gotten a lot of attention as the school year has unfolded. When a University of Chicago dean wrote a letter to incoming freshmen this fall rejecting the idea of those warnings, it sparked a nationwide debate on the use of advisories in the classroom.

"If the system was fair, would I be okay with prison? I'm saying that if the system was fair, there would be no prison."

-- Morehouse College Professor Marc Lamont Hill

African-American women have been wearing fancy hats to church for generations. That tradition is being celebrated at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, which officially opens in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24. Vintage turbans, caps and fascinators that span a half-century are on display — all from the shop of one woman.

Her name is Mae Reeves.

c/o California State University, San Bernardino

Jane Elliott was a teacher in Riceville, Iowa in the late sixties. She says she was disturbed by the way much of white America reacted to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. She had been teaching her third graders about him, presenting him as a hero for his work to end racism. But she didn't think it was enough, and she was afraid of what the parents of her students were saying about race at home.

"Tupac wasn't cool."

It felt sacrilegious to even hear my brother say those words the other day, but I knew instantly that it was true.

David and I were little kids when Tupac Shakur died. That was 20 years ago. We were stunned by the drive-by in Las Vegas; the four gunshot wounds; Pac's death on Friday the 13th.

I'd called David because I wanted to remember why we were once so obsessed with the rap superstar.

The Camp of the Sacred Stone is full of all manner of people — kids, elders, lawyers, laid-back hippies, and representatives of several Native American tribes — all gathered alongside the Standing Rock Sioux Nation to resist construction of a controversial oil pipeline that would cut across the American heartland.

At one end of Orlando's Fashion Square mall, between a karate store and a comic book emporium, is a clothing boutique called Verona. It's stocked with long-sleeved caftans, full-length slit-less skirts, and more than 300 varieties of hijabs. Inside, women peruse through racks of garments they once could only find online.

If you love movies or just like to follow what's going on in film, then you surely know the name Ava Duvernay. She directed the acclaimed film Selma and made history by becoming the first black woman to direct a $100 million film. She has an upcoming documentary premiering on Netflix called The 13th.

And as if that wasn't enough, she's also busy working on a commissioned film to be featured at the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture which opens later this month.

After Mexican vocalist Juan Gabriel died last weekend, tributes flooded in from across the Americas. Gabriel was arguably Mexico's most beloved living singer. He composed upwards of 1,500 songs, recorded music in practically every Mexican genre and beyond, and had an improbable rags-to-riches story.

Donald Trump plans to take his black voter "outreach" to a predominantly African-American audience with a visit to Detroit this weekend, perhaps to quell criticism that his recent speeches about African-Americans have been delivered primarily to whites.

If you've been on social media today, you've probably noticed there's a lot of talk about taco trucks. Confused? It started like this. Marco Gutierrez, a Mexican immigrant and the founder of a group called Latinos for Trump, went on MSNBC Thursday night and said something had to be done about Mexican immigration to the U.S.

"My culture is a very dominant culture. And it's imposing, and it's causing problems. If you don't do something about it, you're going to have taco trucks on every corner," Gutierrez said.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick dropped to one knee rather than stand during the national anthem at a preseason football game Thursday night. It's an extension of the protest Kaepernick began last week when he sat as the anthem played before an earlier game, declaring, "I am not going to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

Daddy would not have liked Colin Kaepernick. Had the San Francisco quarterback refused to stand for the national anthem in my father's presence, Daddy would have fixed him in a stare that could freeze the blood in your veins. Then, to no one in particular — but to everyone within earshot — he'd give the young man a two-sentence lesson in patriotic etiquette.

"You stand during the national anthem," he'd say, punctuating his words with fire. "People died for that flag."

The other day, I did something incredibly mortifying. I forced myself to mimic the Indian accent in front of Indians who, unlike me, have an Indian accent.

To back up a second, my mom and dad immigrated to the States from India and Pakistan in the '70s and '80s, and I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. That's why I, unlike many of the aunties and uncles I grew up around, call water ice "wooter ice" — Philly-style — and not "vaatar ice." (But never "Italian ice" or, shudder, snow cone.)

The idea of black capitalism goes back many decades. Civil rights activists Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey advocated African-Americans creating and doing business with their own to build wealth in their community.

This summer, the killings of black men and the Black Lives Matter movement rekindled campaigns to #BuyBlack and #BankBlack — but it's a call some supporters find difficult to heed.

Early Sunday evening, news broke that Juan Gabriel, one of the most famous Mexican singers in history, had died at age 66. At dinner, my friend and colleague Adrian Florido spread the word, explaining just how huge a superstar Juan Gabriel is. "This is the biggest loss in Mexican music since Selena," Adrian said. "He was universally beloved. There is no one in Mexico who isn't a fan."

As many have heard by now, Mexican music giant Juan Gabriel passed away on Sunday at age 66. Gabriel was one of Mexico's biggest superstars — a singer and songwriter who sold tens of millions of records and is adored by millions.

The AfroPunk Festival in Brooklyn has grown since the annual event began in 2005. As it has expanded, so have the choices it offers: you can see everyone from Ice Cube to George Clinton, to Brit Rockers Skunk Anansie. There's a lot to catch, so here are five artists to keep an eye out for, at the festival and beyond.


Jasmine's picks:

Laura Mvula

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Good news: We've got a Code Switch podcast extra for you this week — Karen Grigsby Bates sat down with NPR's movie critic, Bob Mondello, to talk about Southside with You, a new independent film about Michelle and Barack Obama's very first date, back in the summer of 1989.

The film takes place over the course of a single afternoon, and, as the title suggests, is set on the South Side of Chicago.

On this week's episode of the Code Switch podcast, Karen Grigsby Bates sat down with some folks to talk about the upcoming film The Birth of a Nation, and a recently resurfaced, 17-year-old sexual assault case against Nate Parker, the movie's highly lauded newcomer director.

The Pain Of Police Killings Can Last Decades

Aug 25, 2016

In recent months, the nation has witnessed how questionable police shootings of African Americans can spark anger and unrest across a community. But long after the demonstrations end, the streets go quiet and the cameras leave, families of those killed have to find ways to cope with their loss. And that's a private struggle that can last for decades and across generations.

Cordero Ducksworth has lived that struggle. He was 5 years old in 1962, when his father, Army Corporal Roman Ducksworth, Jr., was shot to death by William Kelly, a white Taylorsville, Miss. police officer.

It's the summer of 1998 and I'm at the mall with my mom and my sister Anna, who has just turned 5. I'm 7. Anna and I are cranky from being too hot, then too cold, then too bored. We keep touching things we are not supposed to touch, and by the time Mom drags us to the register, the cashier seems a little on edge.

"They're mixed, aren't they?" she says. "I can tell by the hair."

Mom doesn't smile, and Mom always smiles. "I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about," she says.

Later, in the kitchen, there is a conversation.

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