Gene Demby

During the chaos of the Capitol on January 6, it was impossible to miss the flags and symbols. Taken together, they allowed for a kind of brisk vexillology of the American right. There were the Trump 2020 flags, of course — and, as has been widely noted, one rioter brandished a Confederate flag in the Capitol building, a historical first.

Guns are just about as American as apple pie. To many, especially white folks, they've represented all the highfalutin ideals enshrined in the constitution: independence, self-reliance and the ability to live freely. For Black folks, guns often symbolize all those same things—but, as we like to say on the show, it's complicated.

Who Is The White Vote?

Nov 5, 2020

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With the end of campaign season, we're going to hear a lot of conversation about the Latino vote or the Black vote. What you won't hear a lot about is the white vote. So I asked Gene Demby from NPR's Code Switch podcast team to come on the program and talk about why.

Our latest episode of Code Switch, we took a look at vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris's record as a prosecutor, and how she used her power as San Francisco's district attorney and later, as California's attorney general to shape the criminal justice system.

On this week's episode of Code Switch, we dove into Kamala Harris's past as a prosecutor, both as the district attorney of San Francisco and attorney general of California. It's a history that she has touted on the campaign trail, but it's also earned her flak from those who criticize what they see as a harsh and unyielding approach to prosecuting and incarcerating people—especially Black people—without due consideration of the ways the system discriminates against those defendants.

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With the distance of time, I can see that my first McDonald's was an unremarkable thing. There were the antagonistically hard plastic seats. The interior lights that seemed meant to shoo you away. The PlayLand with the broken-down carousel that yelped out tinny renditions of John Philip Sousa songs. And of course, there was that smell: maybe a little bleach, but mostly the aroma of cooking french fries that seemed engineered to induce a limbic response.

How — and to whom — should America distribute its resources? Who gets to be American? Those were the questions roiling the country 40 years ago this week when Morning Edition debuted. It's a time frame that encompasses most of post-civil rights America, and many of the issues that gripped the nation in 1979 are still being debated today.

But some of those issues have mutated in unexpected ways and are playing out in a country that has grown steadily browner, and more queer.

In September of 1885, a mob of about 150 white men, armed with rifles, descended upon the Chinatown in Rock Springs, Wyo. They issued an ultimatum to the people who lived there: you have an hour to leave town.

The assembled horde was angry at Chinese laborers in the region, who they blamed for keeping the choicest mining areas and depressing their wages. They felt that the Chinese were working the choicest areas of the coal mines, the part that would yield the most coal and thus the most compensation. The Chinese, they felt, were taking what was rightfully theirs.

When Angela Saini was 10 years old, her family moved from what she called "a very multicultural area" in East London to the almost exclusively white Southeast London. Suddenly her brown skin stood out, making her a target. She couldn't avoid the harassment coming from two boys who lived around the corner. One day, they pelted her and her sister with rocks. She remembers one hit her on the head. She remembers bleeding.

In 1996, the New Republic ran a bright, red cover that perfectly captured the tenor of the contemporary debate over welfare. "DAY OF RECKONING," a cover line read, above a photograph of an unidentified black woman. She was smoking a cigarette in one hand and holding a baby with a bottle in the other. The text beneath that image read "Sign the Welfare Bill Now." The racial optics were not subtle.

In Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam's press conference this weekend, regarding a racist photo from his yearbook, he said that he hoped the uproar over his yearbook photo would present an opportunity.

An opportunity for productive dialogue where we could address the difficult issues that "contribute to the greater racism and discrimination that defines so much of our history."

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In Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's press conference this weekend, he said he hoped the uproar over his yearbook photo would present an opportunity.

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Jazmine Barnes, a 7-year-old black girl, was buried this week in Harris County, Texas. She was fatally shot while sitting in the car with her mother and siblings on the morning of Dec. 30.

Initial reports stated that the shooter was a white man. Those reports led to a national outcry that this was a racially motivated attack. Activists and politicians demanded that the shooting be investigated as a hate crime. But in the days since the shooting, deputies in Harris County have charged two black men in relation to the shooting.

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President Trump's feud with the media seemed to take some ominous turns this week. There was that testy exchange with CNN's Jim Acosta.

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JIM ACOSTA: Are you worried...

When Boys Can't Be Boys

Nov 2, 2018

Editor's note: This column contains a racial epithet.

One day in the 1930s, a very young Martin Luther King Jr. was sitting in the passenger seat of his father's car when his dad accidentally ran a stop sign on a Georgia street.

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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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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.

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Today marks 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act. The law was meant to ban racial discrimination in housing. So how well has it worked? Gene Demby from NPR's Code Switch podcast spoke with Rachel Martin.

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.

: 3/25/18

In this report, we incorrectly refer to the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooter as being of Arab descent. In fact, his parents came to the United States from Afghanistan.

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.

On the afternoon of April 13, 2014, Dontre Hamilton was lying on the ground near a bench in a Milwaukee city park. A police officer on patrol walked over to Hamilton and asked him to stand up. Their encounter would end in disaster.

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.

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