Race, Culture & Ethnicity

Merely Torres-Garcia has been living in a hotel room in Hartford, Conn., with her husband and two kids after losing part of her house in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Maria. She said spending the Christmas season in the northeastern cold has been hard for her family. But on Saturday night, in the noisy atrium of Hartford City Hall, it felt a little bit like Christmas on the island.

"My kids are happy. We feel like home in here right now," she said.

Democrats And African-American Voters

Dec 17, 2017

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Pope Francis, in speaking to a group of journalists Saturday, addressed the importance of a free and responsible press while also warning against falling "prey to the sins of communication."

He was speaking to members of the Italian Periodical Press Union and the Italian Federation of Catholic Weeklies and said that in a field "dominated by the anxiety of speed, by the drive for sensationalism," reliable information is at a premium.

Chris Newman used to be a software engineering manager, well-paid, but he worked long hours, ate fast food and went to the doctor a lot.

Eventually, enough was enough. He and his wife moved from the Washington, D.C., area to Charlottesville, Va., to become farmers. Now he is healthier, has fewer stomach problems and can eat dairy products again. He raises pigs, ducks and chickens.

Ron Fleming is 74 now, but he's spent most of his life trying to recapture what life felt like when he was 21, fighting in Vietnam.

Fleming was a door gunner in the war, hanging out of a helicopter on a strap with a machine gun in his hands. He fought in the Tet Offensive of 1968, sometimes for 40 hours straight, firing 6,000 rounds a minute. But he never gave much thought to catching a bullet himself.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Going Undercover.

About Theo E.J. Wilson's TED Talk

Youtube activist Theo E.J. Wilson wondered about the people posting racist comments on his videos, and where they were getting their facts. So he adopted a pseudonym and joined their conversation.

About Theo E.J. Wilson

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Going Undercover

About Mubin Shaikh's TED Talk

In a far-reaching report on child sex abuse in Australia, a government commission is recommending that the country's Catholic Church lift its celibacy requirement for diocesan clergy and be required to report evidence of abuse revealed in confession.

Those are among the 400 recommendations contained in the 17-volume final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which is wrapping up a five-year investigation – the longest in Australia's history.

Kelsey Greene Photography

In the midst of the national #metoo phenomenon, Illinois women wrestle with their own experiences.

Veronica Mullen

Across the country, it appears that a cultural sea change is taking place. Sexism that has long been inherent in society is getting acknowledged perhaps more than ever, in large part due to the #MeToo movement and activist women who have organized as a result of the 2016 presidential election. It’s unclear what lasting effects might take hold.

In two weeks, 39-year-old Rottanak Kong will board a plane to Cambodia. He'll be accompanied by dozens of other Cambodians with deportation orders.

Kong — along with many in his situation — has not returned to Cambodia since his family left as a refugees. They fled the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, which killed more than two million people.

He was detained by U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement in mid-October. More than a decade ago, he was arrested for joyriding and sentenced to a year in prison, according to his lawyer. Because of that arrest, he is being deported.


From now until March 20th primary - the race for governor has candidates buying advertising slots and pounding the pavement to get their names in front of voters.

June 1963. Gadsden, Ala. Mary Hamilton, 28, stood in a courtroom before a judge.

She was a black civil rights activist, arrested for nonviolent protest. And the judge was losing his patience.

The atmosphere in Gadsden that summer "was truly frightening and terrifying," says Colin Morris, a history professor at Manhattanville College. "The Klan was highly active. On more than one occasion there had been attacks in Gadsden."

But Hamilton wasn't frightened. She was furious. She refused to answer the prosecutor's questions.

"England's First Black Princess!" lots of media blared a variety of that this week, immediately after the official announcement of what several tabloids have been speculating about for months: Prince Harry, brother of Prince William, son of Charles and Diana, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, is engaged. His intended, Meghan Markle, is American, divorced, three years older than the prince — and biracial. Which has led to a lot of breathless reporting that she is the first black member of the royal family.

"Do Indians celebrate Thanksgiving?"

I am asked this question at least once every fall. Which, by the way, is too many times.

The answer is that my family (though I can't speak for the other 5 million Indigenous people in America) doesn't. Not the "brave-pilgrims-and-friendly-savages" version of the holiday, anyway. Twenty or 30 of us might gather under the same roof to share a meal. We'll thank the creator for our blessings.

But that could be true of any Thursday night in a Wampanoag house.

Remember the Thanksgiving story you learned in school — how, way back when, Pilgrims and Indians got together at one giant dinner table and ate turkey and stuffing and green beans covered in Campbell's mushroom soup? And then there was peace on Earth?

We've all been hungry in a new place, scrolling indecisively through the results of a 'Google: food near me' search. You know you're not quite in the mood for a burger and fries, but unsure about which Pho restaurant is the best for a first timer.

So this week on Ask Code Switch, we're gonna whip up some wisdom for a reader who's in search of the best food from different cultures.

Here's Laura Epstein, from Magnolia, Del.:

One of the most difficult tasks in Hollywood is to get someone who is successful to admit they are dead wrong.

That's a lesson comic Hari Kondabolu learned the hard way, while making his compelling, layered, highly entertaining documentary airing on truTV Sunday, The Problem with Apu.

On the surface, it's kind of a comedy primal scream: a passionate exploration of why the Indian character on The Simpsons, Kwik-E-Mart clerk Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, is racist.

John Hanlon, Illinois Innocence Project
Illinois Innocence Project

The Illinois Innocence Project, based at the University of Illinois Springfield, has won a $641,000 grant for DNA testing intended to help exonerate wrongfully convicted inmates. 

It's time for another Ask Code Switch. This week, we're getting into the gray area between yellow and brown.

Amy Tran, from Minneapolis, asks:

She Served In Vietnam, But 'Nobody Had Ever Welcomed Me Home'

Nov 11, 2017

In the late 1960s, Karen Offutt was a teenager and considered herself very patriotic. She got chills whenever she heard "The Star-Spangled Banner." At 18, she dropped out of nursing school and enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Vietnam.

"I felt real proud to have the uniform on," Offutt, 68, told her 42-year-old daughter Kristin Glasgow at StoryCorps.

Josh Stepakoff was 6 years old in 1999, when a white supremacist opened fire on his day camp at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles.

Josh was shot in his leg and hip. The gunman wounded four others, and shot and killed another man a few miles away. The shooting was ruled a federal hate crime, and the gunman is serving life in prison.

If you close your eyes and listen to Joe Ide, you might think you were talking to a black man, a brother who knows his way around the neighborhood. The slang, the inflection. It's all there.

But Joe Ide is 100% Japanese-American.

And he has a simple explanation for why he sounds the way he sounds:

"Most of our friends [growing up] were black," he says.

A Colorful South LA Childhood

Ide (pronounced "EEE-day") grew up in South Los Angeles, with his extended family.

Valery Pozo still gets angry thinking about it. It was about a decade ago, and the immigrant communities in her hometown, Salt Lake City, were on edge because of recent immigration enforcement raids in the area. Pozo's mother, an immigrant from Peru, was on the sidelines at her son's soccer game when another parent asked whether she was "illegal."

"To me, that was clearly a racist question and a racist assumption," Pozo recalled.

But her mother saw it as a harmless comment, despite Pozo's best efforts to convince her that it was something bigger.

Indonesia is the fourth-largest country in the world, and its population very young. The median age is about a decade younger than in the U.S. or China. Half of Indonesians are under the age of 30.


The gender wage gap in the United States hasn’t changed much: On average, women overall still make 80 cents for every dollar a white male makes during a year. But this gap widens when women are broken down by racial group.  Latina Equal Pay Day is November 2--which raised awareness for the widest gap out of all racial groups.

The NFL continues to wrangle with its issue of players taking a knee during the national anthem, but this isn't the first time The Star Spangled Banner has collided with politics, race and a major sporting event.

This story contains language that some readers may find offensive.

"I can't teach the book right now," says Shaka Greene, algebra teacher at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. "Because my students are still learning to add 49 plus 17."

So begins Part 3 — the conclusion of our podcast series: Raising Kings: A Year of Love and Struggle at Ron Brown College Prep.

Friday, May 8, 1959. It was a typically clear Los Angeles day, that would come to be known by the residents of Palo Verde — or what was left of them, anyway — as Black Friday.