Equity

Race, Culture & Ethnicity

On a Monday morning in June, Simon Tam woke up at his home in Portland, Ore., to 753 notifications blowing up his phone.

"At that point, I knew something had happened," Tam said. The Supreme Court had finally resolved his nearly eight year fight with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over the name of his band, The Slants.

Younger white people are much more likely than older white people to say that black people face a lot of discrimination. Most Republicans reject the idea that black people do. Black people are the racial group least likely to support same-sex marriage but the group most opposed to laws that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ people.

One year ago, Barack Obama was winding down his final term and Donald Trump was ... a candidate for president?

Last week, the New York Times published an op-ed titled "In Defense of Cultural Appropriation" in which writer Kenan Malik attempted to extol the virtues of artistic appropriation and chastise those who would stand in the way of necessary "cultural engagement." (No link, because you have Google and I'd rather not give that piece more traffic than it deserves.) What would have happened, he argues, had Elvis Presley not been able to swipe the sounds of black musicians?

A sinewy, grayish, vaguely human thing sits on the ice cap somewhere in the Arctic, before plunging into the water below. That's when a very unfortunate whaling vessel arrives and harpoons a whale, setting the thing on a rampage. It won't take long for readers put the pieces together: The creature is the Monster — as in Frankenstein's monster — and his encounter with the whaling ship sets him on a mission to destroy, pitting him against the humanity that rejected him centuries ago.

As soon as Philando Castile's mother Valerie heard last week that a Minnesota jury had acquitted Jeronimo Yanez, she stood up and declared "f*** this!" and left the courtroom. That's according to Minnesota Public Radio reporter Riham Feshir, who was there, and talked to Code Switch about it for this week's episode.

That trial ended Friday after five days of deliberations with a not guilty verdict for Yanez, the officer who fatally shot Castile as he sat in a car on July 6 of last year.

In most American cities these days, it seems like there's a Chinese restaurant on every other street corner.

But in the late 1800s, that ubiquity was exactly what certain white establishment figures feared, according to a new study co-written by Gabriel "Jack" Chin, a law professor at the University of California, Davis.

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Coming up this weekend there will be events around the state celebrating Juneteenth. It's the oldest known celebration marking the abolition of slavery in the U.S. It marks the 19th of June, the day the announcement was made in 1865 in Texas that slaves were to be freed.

Editor's Note: This piece contains language that some may find offensive.

It's Flag Day! On this week's podcast, we explore the ways that communities of color in the United States relate to the Stars and Stripes.

And we thought it worth a few moments to celebrate a flag created nearly a century ago for black Americans.

Fifty years ago, on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court's decision in Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage. Just two weeks earlier, shooting had been completed on a movie about that very subject — Stanley Kramer's soon-to-be-classic, Oscar-winning, box-office smash Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Houghton and Sidney Poitier.

Every Friday morning when I was very little, the women who ran the daycare center I went to would gather all the kids into a circle and goodnaturedly quiz us on what happened the night before on The Cosby Show.

I distinctly remember the first time I sat in that circle having no idea what The Cosby Show was, feeling whatever pre-kindergarteners understand as shame. The center's staffers were all black, as were we, the assembled moppets. Watching the Huxtables was quite literally my first homework assignment.

This week in race: Bill Maher crosses a line; Kevin Hart takes a pass on President Trump; a Cosby Kid stands up for Dr. Huxtable. Let's get to it.

It's tricky to nail down exactly what makes someone feel like a "racial impostor." For one Code Switch follower, it's the feeling she gets from whipping out "broken but strangely colloquial Arabic" in front of other Middle Easterners.

For another — a white-passing, Native American woman — it's being treated like "just another tourist" when she shows up at powwows. And one woman described watching her white, black and Korean-American toddler bump along to the new Kendrick and wondering, "Is this allowed?"

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Can white artists understand the racial traumas people of color undergo in America enough to apply them to their work? Creating art about cultures other than your own — especially of populations that have been marginalized or oppressed — has once again come under fire.

On a sidewalk in the Village in downtown Manhattan, an African-American woman leans on her elbows and knees, wearing only black underpants. Scrawled in black marker all over her body are the words "Ain't I a Woman?"

Across the street, another woman lies face down, sunbathing on a large sheet of tinfoil. The sentence "White Supremacy Is Terrorism" is inked across her white skin, which is turning pink under the hot sun.

Nearby, a young, black man is kneeling. His body is wrapped in duct tape inscribed with the phrase "Black People Die in Public."

It all started when a director and producer from a tiny theater in Portland, Ore., posted a message on Facebook; he was outraged that the Edward Albee estate wouldn't grant him rights to produce Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? because he'd cast a black actor in one of the roles. His post went viral, and a firestorm ensued.

As a child in elementary school, I hoped that my First-Nations heritage would give me supernatural abilities like uncommon tracking skills. Many Native sidekicks in movies and TV seemed to have the power to discern in the smallest detail what had passed their way. I remember sitting on a large yellow carpet with my classmates, convinced that I could sense when our teacher was about to return from the bathroom.

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Tennis queen Serena Williams is serious about trying new things this year. In addition to becoming engaged and being pregnant, La Serena has taken on the challenge of helping to diversify Silicon Valley — a task that might be hardest of all. Williams has joined the board of SurveyMonkey.

African-American students say they matriculated to Duke Divinity School expecting to enhance their calling with top-notch theological training at a prestigious program. But instead, they say, they entered a racial nightmare seemingly from another era, with students being called the N-word and other slurs in class, consistently receiving lower grades than their white colleagues.

Today, more Americans graduate high school and go on to college than ever before. But as the country becomes more diverse — the Census Bureau expects that by 2020 more than half of the nation's children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group — are colleges and universities ready to serve them?

Mistrust and alienation between black men and the police have become so entrenched that we need radical, sweeping change. The collective experience of black men in the criminal justice system is sobering. African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be arrested than whites, and numerous studies have shown that black men are disproportionately targeted, stopped, frisked, and searched through the practice of racial profiling.

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In the mayor's office on the second floor of Baltimore City Hall, Catalina Rodriguez-Lima has been uneasy lately. Rodriguez-Lima runs a city office whose mission is to attract new immigrants to Baltimore — a strategy for reversing decades of population decline. But President Donald Trump's plans to ramp up deportations of immigrants in the U.S. illegally have cast a pall over her efforts.

Oh, Code Switch fam: Has there ever been such a week? Because of the virtual smorgasbord of unfortunate news, you may have skipped putting these on your plate. Dig in. Keep a chaser of Pepto handy.

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This year will be the seventh one to see a PrideFest in Springfield, celebrating the local LGBTQ+ community through food, entertainment and fun. This year there's the new addition of a parade to kick off the event, and its Grand Marshal is Angelica Sanchez - the drag queen who was the lead performer at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Close to 50 years after interracial marriages became legal across the U.S., the share of newlyweds married to a spouse of a different race or ethnicity has increased more than five times — from 3 percent in 1967, to 17 percent in 2015, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

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