Gene Demby | WYPR

Gene Demby

It was a week into the bizarre "red pill" Kanye West tour that the whole affair seemed to reach its zenith — or its nadir, depending on where you're sitting. Kanye completed his transmogrification into a sentient Reddit thread when he appeared on TMZ this week, parroting well-worn talking points about black-on-black crime and calling slavery in America "a choice." Van Lathan of TMZ was not having it.

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Lots of people are talking about Kanye West these days. He has been tweeting his support for President Trump and others on the political right. Yesterday, he told TMZ...

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

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

The suspect in the Austin bombings has been described as "troubled" by both police and the media. NPR's Audie Cornish speaks to NPR Code Switch reporter Gene Demby about why people seem reluctant to call him a terrorist.

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In 2009, the former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon took on the NCAA in a lawsuit that challenged the organization's ability to profit from the likenesses of college athletes in a video game. But as the case heated up, its stakes and scope began to sprawl, opening a can of worms that threatened to upend one of the bedrock principles of college sports: amateurism.

When the Eagles clinched their first-ever Super Bowl victory on Sunday — that will always feel wild to say — my friends and I joined the joyful, inebriated throngs in a spontaneous pilgrimage to Philadelphia's City Hall. And at Thursday's championship parade, you'd likely hear many of the same full-throated chants that we heard right after the win. The Eagles fight song, obviously.

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And now to that game that happened last night.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions. Eagles fans everywhere, this is for you.

When Arline Geronimus was a student at Princeton University in the late 1970s, she worked a part-time job at a school for pregnant teenagers in Trenton, N.J. She quickly noticed that the teenagers at that part-time job were suffering from chronic health conditions that her whiter, better-off Princeton classmates rarely experienced. Geronimus began to wonder: how much of the health problems that the young mothers in Trenton experienced were caused by the stresses of their environment?

One of the biggest stories in a year of big stories was the intersection of sports, race and politics, and it's looking like that story won't go away in 2018.

And at several key moments one of the people who seemed right in the middle of this story was ESPN's Jemele Hill.

Back in February, ESPN relaunched the evening edition of its flagship sports news show, SportsCenter, with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith as its new anchors.

One of the paradoxes of racial discrimination is the way it can remain obscured even to the people to whom it's happening. Here's an example: In an ambitious, novel study conducted by the Urban Institute a few years ago, researchers sent actors with similar financial credentials to the same real estate or rental offices to ask about buying or renting a home or apartment.

We take black mega-celebrity endorsers as a given today — Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, the husk that was once Tiger Woods. They wield a perculiar kind of agency that seems to continually reset the upper limits of black aspiration, while remaining more or less incidental to the median black condition.

As we struggled this week to make sense of what happened in Charlottesville, Va., some big questions bubbled up:

What lessons does history teach about white resentment in the United States? How is the experience of other countries and other times — like Germany — relevant? How are those in power reacting to President Trump's shifting response?

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.

UPDATE: On April 26, 2018, Bill Cosby, the comedian and philanthropist, was convicted on three counts of sexual assault. The following essay was published in June 2017, during Cosby's first trial on sexual assault charges in 2017. Those proceedings ended in a mistrial.

Do black and white children who live in assisted or subsidized housing experience different life outcomes?

That question was at the center of a new study by Sandra Newman and C. Scott Holupka, two researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. They combed through federal data on households in public housing or those that received housing vouchers from the 1970s through the first decade of the 2000s.

In recent weeks, the stories of missing black and Latina girls sparked an outcry on Twitter and Facebook because there seemed to be a flurry of new cases that were being under-reported by local news in the Washington D.C. area.

Gene and guest host Glen Weldon (our play cousin from Pop Culture Happy Hour) explore how comics are used as spaces for mapping race and identity. Gene visits Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse in Philadelphia and chats with proprietor Ariell Johnson, who is reclaiming the comic book store, which once made her uneasy as a black fan. Meanwhile, C. Spike Trotman, another black woman, has made a name for herself as an online comics publisher of Iron Circus Comics in Chicago.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York attended an event at a Manhattan synagogue in which he sharply criticized the city for not closing Rikers Island, the city's notorious jail.

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."

Do voter ID laws hurt minority turnout? Study says: Absolutely

The unrest in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown in summer 2015 drew renewed scrutiny to police violence and revealed just how little the public knew about its pervasiveness. At first, there were widespread calls to address what officers looked like since Brown was African-American and the officer who shot him is white.

Barack Obama took to the podium in the press briefing room on Wednesday, the second-to-last day of the first black presidency, and after eight years of that becoming increasingly normal, the moment made it all start to seem strange again. So this whole black leader-of-the-free-world thing really happened, huh?

The details of the story are unambiguously disturbing. Last week, a white 18-year-old man from suburban Chicago was found walking in the cold, disoriented and bloodied. Four people, all black, had held him against his will for four hours, tied him up, and assaulted him while livestreaming part of it on Facebook.

In the summer of 1822, Denmark Vesey planned to destroy Charleston, S.C.

He had been born into slavery in the Caribbean and brought by his owner to the United States, where he purchased his freedom for $600 in lottery winnings. But Vesey could not secure the emancipation of his wife and children, as South Carolina changed its laws in 1820 to effectively prohibit the owners of enslaved people from setting them free.

There is popular wisdom out there that conversations about race are most productive when the people engaged in them are deeply, emotionally vested in the well-being of one another. Family might be a rejoinder to that wisdom. Perhaps there's such a thing as being too vested.

On our post-election episode of the Code Switch podcast, Shereen Marisol Meraji and I interviewed Negin Farsad, a comedian and filmmaker, and Gustavo Arellano, the editor of the OC Weekly and the author of the satirical ¡Ask A Mexican! column.

As you probably have guessed, there has been a lot of conversation about race this week — So. Much. Conversation. — as folks, including us, try to wrap their brains around Donald Trump's election to the presidency. Here are some Code Switch recommendations for things you should hear and read.

So the family lore goes something like this: My mother was getting a checkup and some shots before a trip to Ghana with her boyfriend, who was from Accra. Then her doctor told her she was pregnant. Then more tests and more news: She was pregnant with twins. She would have to cancel her long-anticipated sojourn to the Motherland.

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.

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