Gene Demby

Gene Demby is the lead blogger for NPR's Code Switch team.

Before coming to NPR, he served as the managing editor for Huffington Post's BlackVoices following its launch. He later covered politics.

Prior to that role he spent six years in various positions at The New York Times. While working for the Times in 2007, he started a blog about race, culture, politics and media called PostBourgie, which won the 2009 Black Weblog Award for Best News/Politics Site.

Demby is an avid runner, mainly because he wants to stay alive long enough to finally see the Sixers and Eagles win championships in their respective sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @GeeDee215.

Pages

Code Switch
2:30 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Takeaways From The Federal Report On Deadly Force By Philadelphia Cops

Two years ago, Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia's police commissioner, called for a federal review of the city's police practices. Ramsey called for a similar federal inquiry during his tenure as Washington, D.C.'s police chief.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 6:55 pm

Even before the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., or the Eric Garner incident in New York City last summer, Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia's police commissioner, called on the federal government to look into how the officers in his department used force, and how their use of force might contribute to the department's often strained relationship with the city's residents.

Read more
Code Switch
9:15 am
Thu March 19, 2015

From Hot Sauce To Diapers, 'Superconsumers' Of Color Buy More Of, Well, Everything

Fox's soapy hit "Empire" has rocketed to the top of the TV ratings in large part because of its eye-popping performance in black and Latino households.
Chuck Hodes FOX

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 2:29 pm

What do Fox's runaway hit Empire and booming sales of Goya rice and beans have in common? They're examples of the growing clout a segment of hyper-engaged, hyperconnected consumers of color, according to a new report from Nielsen.

Read more
Code Switch
5:29 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Off The Menu: Realness Is A Matter Of Taste

What kind of red wine pairs well with Chinese takeout?
Matthew Mead AP

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 7:47 pm

Read more
Code Switch
11:02 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Earl Lloyd Was Basketball's Jackie Robinson. Why Isn't He Famous?

Earl Lloyd of the Syracuse Nationals poses for a portrait circa 1950 in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Stevenson Collection/NBAE Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 1:55 pm

Jackie Robinson is a household name, a book report staple, an American hero. News of his 1947 debut in the major leagues appeared on the front page of the New York Times, above the fold. Fifty years after he first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, teams across the MLB held moments of silence on the field, and the league's commissioner retired Robinson's number across baseball.

Read more
Code Switch
1:58 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Does The Redskins' 'Free Speech' Claim Hold Water?

Is this logo free speech?
Mark Tenally AP

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 3:27 pm

You're on the Internet, which means you're never more five seconds away from someone claiming you squashed their First Amendment rights by, say, blocking them on Twitter.

Repeat after me: the First Amendment prohibits citizens' speech from being infringed upon by the government.* But because the universe delights in dark humor, it turns out that one recent, obnoxious claim about free speech violations might have some real legs.

Read more
Code Switch
7:19 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy's Advice To A Biracial Girl In 1968

A young girl with a white father and a black mother wrote to the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock for advice on fitting in.
FaVE! Magazine, via My Star Trek Scrapbook

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 7:25 pm

It wasn't supposed to be "Leonard Nimoy + Biracial Kids Day" here at Code Switch, but the news takes you where it takes you.

Read more
Code Switch
2:12 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

In The South, Way More People Are Identifying As Both Black And White

AP

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 8:40 pm

The number of people who identify as belonging to two or more races keeps climbing with each Census. The number of people identified as both black and white, for example, more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, from about 780,000 to 1.8 million.

Read more
Code Switch
3:21 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Supreme Court Looks At Abercrombie & Fitch's Hijab Discrimination Case

Samantha Elauf was not hired by the preppy retailer Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a headscarf during her job interview, which the company said conflicted with its dress code.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 8:27 pm

A closely watched case before the Supreme Court Wednesday could have big consequences for religious rights in the workplace. It involves Abercrombie & Fitch, the preppy, mall-based retailer, and a young Muslim woman who wore a headscarf to a job interview at the company seven years ago.

Read more
Code Switch
3:17 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

How Birthright Citizenship For American Samoans Could Threaten 'The Samoan Way'

Pago Pago Harbor, on the American Samoan island of Tutuila.
Taiger808 Flickr

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 8:28 am

American Samoans are in a very peculiar political limbo: Unlike on any other patch of U.S. soil in the world, children born on the small Pacific Islands are not automatically granted American citizenship. They are U.S. nationals, but not U.S. citizens.

Leneuoti Tuaua, one of the plaintiffs in a case for birthright citizenship in American Samoa that's currently before the Supreme Court, wrote an op-ed in Samoa News back in 2012 laying out what that means for everyday life:

Read more
Code Switch
3:22 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

A White Supremacist's Legacy Looms Over Schools In South Carolina

A statue of Benjamin Tillman, a governor and proud white supremacist, stands in front of the state house in Columbia, S.C.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

Earlier this week, the board of trustees at Clemson University in South Carolina decided not to change the name of the school's iconic clock tower, Tillman Hall, despite protests by grad students and professors.

Read more
Code Switch
5:01 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Did South Carolina Sabotage Its Public Historically Black College?

Supporters of South Carolina State University rallied at the state's capitol on Monday to protest a proposal that would close the historically black college for two years.
Jeffrey Collins AP

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 6:18 pm

Last week, South Carolina lawmakers proposed shutting down the state's only public historically black college for two years.

"We are looking at a bankrupt institution," state House Rep. Jim Merrill told reporters. "No one takes any pleasure in recommending this."

Read more
Code Switch
4:58 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Study: Locking Lots Of People Up Did Not Cause The Great Crime Drop

California's prison population had boomed since the 1990s. The Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that the levels of overcrowding were unconstitutional.
AP

The long-running debate over what's driving the country's staggering (and ongoing) drop in crime just got more complicated. With a major new report, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU has effectively squashed one popular theory: throwing massive amounts of people in prison did not bring down crime.

Read more
Code Switch
1:49 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

NYPD's Top Cop Wants To Make It A Felony to Resist Arrest

Bill Bratton, the NYPD commissioner, told reporters that "we need to get around this idea that you can resist arrest ... and we need to change that, and the way to change that is to start penalties for it."
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 2:37 pm

Last week, at a New York state Senate hearing on protests against police brutality, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton asked lawmakers to raise the penalty for resisting arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony.

"We need to get around this idea that you can resist arrest," he later told reporters. "It results in potential injuries to the officer, to the suspect. And we need to change that, and the way to change that is to start penalties for it."

Read more
Code Switch
4:57 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Lots Of Confusion Over Teacher Firings At Howard University Middle School

Students protest outside Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science.
Victoria M. Walker Howard University

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 1:41 pm

Updated on Feb. 4 at 12:30 p.m. ET: The board of directors for the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science issued a statement on the dismissal of three social studies teachers, indicating that the school is governed by an independent nonprofit organization and regulated by the D.C. Charter School Board. Its also confirms that three teachers resigned from the university effective Jan. 27. From the statement:

Read more
Code Switch
1:54 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

What Research Says About The Consequences Of PC Culture

One of the most popular arguments against political correctness is that it stifles speech, but a Cornell study found that it boosted creativity in mixed-gender groups.
Tamir Kalifa AP

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 3:32 pm

By now, you've surely seen Jonathan Chait's sprawling takedown of what he describes as a dangerous resurgence of political correctness in the 21st century. In his telling, a "PC culture" that flourished on college campuses in the '90s is back, stronger than ever thanks to Twitter and social media, and it's been crippling political discourse — and maybe even democracy itself.

Read more
Code Switch
5:00 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Join Us Tonight To Talk About The 'Whiteness Of Public Radio Voice'

is public radio too white?
Ben McLeod Flickr

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:21 pm

When Chenjerai Kumanyika sat down to record his first public radio piece last summer, he was thrown off by his own voice.

Read more
Code Switch
12:43 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

King's Family Builds Its Own Legacy Of Legal Battles

Bernice King is in a protracted legal battle with her brothers over control of their father's bible and Nobel Peace Prize.
John Bazemore AP

At the end of Selma, the new movie about a pivotal campaign in the Civil Rights Movement, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (played by David Oyelowo) rises to address a crowd in front of a courthouse.

It's a recreation of the moment in which King gave one of his most well-known speeches: "How Long? Not Long." You know the one: "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

But as the scene goes on, none of the actual language from that speech shows up.

Read more
Code Switch
12:09 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

A Search For The Story In A Long-Buried, Jim Crow-Era Photo

Gordon Parks wrote in his notes about the photo that "although the Negro woman serves as nurse-maid for the white woman's baby, the two would not be allowed to sit and eat a meal together in any Atlanta restaurant."
Gino Domenico AP

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 3:52 pm

James Estrin of The New York Times' Lens blog and his colleagues have become fixated on a old, recently rediscovered old photo taken by Gordon Parks, the legendary Life magazine photographer. So they've put out a call to their readers for any helpful info about it.

Read more
Code Switch
6:00 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

A Familiar Debate On Comedy In Which Contexts Collide

Mourners around France created makeshift memorials to the victims of the massacre at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Claude Paris AP

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 6:45 am

In the aftermath of the massacre Wednesday at Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine, there are obviously big questions about the attackers, their motives and what it might mean for French society. For more of NPR's coverage of the attack and of Charlie Hebdo, check out the Two-Way.

Read more
Code Switch
4:50 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Serial Isn't About Ferguson. (But It's Kind Of About Ferguson.)

Serial focuses on Adnan Syed, who was a teenager when he was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, despite big question marks in the case. (But you almost certainly knew that already.)
Courtesy of Serial

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 5:16 pm

As The Conversation About Serial reaches a fever pitch in certain circles, those of us behind Code Switch and Monkey See have been talking quite a bit about the show. You can read Matt Thompson's initial entry in this conversation here.

Below is the second part of our exchange, from Code Switch blogger Gene Demby.

Matt, Linda and Kat,

Read more

Pages