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.

9:32am

Wed April 16, 2014
Code Switch

Revisiting Pulitzer Nominees That Touch On Issues Of Race

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 12:56 pm

Washington Post writer Eli Saslow won a Pulitzer Prize for his series on the prevalence of food stamps in post-recession America.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

This week, Columbia University handed out the Pulitzer Prizes, which are widely considered among the highest honors in journalism. The occasion gives us a good excuse to shout-out some of the finalists and winning entries that touch on issues of race and culture. (Fair warning: These stories are very good journalism done in the service of illuminating some deeply dispiriting realities.)

Speak No Evil

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4:58am

Wed February 19, 2014
Race

Another Murder Case In Florida Sparks National Outrage

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:50 pm

Bobby Worthy, President of The Justice League, leads a chant outside of the Duval County Courthouse during the trial of Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday.
Reuters /Landov
  • The Messy Backdrop of the Michael Dunn Murder Trial

The Michael Dunn case is of a type that we see with harrowing regularity. An unarmed black man is shot and killed by a police officer or a white person. The shooter says he felt threatened.

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3:50pm

Thu December 19, 2013
Code Switch

Is A 'Pathway To Citizenship' The Right Concern?

Immigrants hold miniature U.S. flags as they listen to a video broadcast from President Obama during a naturalization ceremony in New York City.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Much of the debate over whether and how to overhaul the country's immigration policy has hinged on whether and how to create a pathway to citizenship. But a majority of Latinos now say that's less important for unauthorized immigrants than giving them relief from the threat of deportation.

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1:09pm

Thu October 31, 2013
Code Switch

Code Switch Roundup: Status Symbols, Sriracha And Soul Food

The maker of the popular Thai hot sauce Sriracha hot sauce is under fire — get it? — for allegedly fouling the air around its Southern California production site.
Nick Ut ASSOCIATED PRESS

Here are some things we've been musing on over the last few days. Share yours on Twitter or shout us out in the comments below.

"We shine because they hate us/floss 'cuz they degrade us." After two young, black customers accused the high-end retailer Barneys of racially profiling them after they made expensive purchases there, those customers themselves came in for criticism. Just why were these kids who probably aren't rich spending their money so recklessly?

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2:22pm

Tue October 29, 2013
Code Switch

When Will We Stop Side-Eyeing Relatives Who Don't 'Match'?

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 8:00 am

The children of the Ruseva family — at the heart of a story about a Roma child suspected of being kidnapped because she had blond hair and blue eyes — might not read to many as relatives. But they are.
BGNES AP

Last week, folks told us that that they found odd resonances in their lives with the stories of several Roma children in Europe who'd separated from their families. Like those blond, blue-eyed Roma children in darker-skinned, dark-haired families, people said that their own familial bonds had occasionally come under suspicion from strangers, who thought there was a "racial mismatch" between parent and child.

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3:57pm

Tue October 15, 2013
Code Switch

Remembering The Woman Who Gave Motown Its Charm

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 6:12 pm

Powell mentored Motown artists like Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and the Supremes. "Ladies dance with their feet, not their buttocks," she'd tell the girl groups.
Tony Ding AP

In 2007, decades after Maxine Powell had retired from training a generation of black artists at Motown, a reporter from a Cleveland television station asked her whether anyone had been particularly difficult to work with.

Powell cut her off before she finished. "I don't have that," she said. "No one is difficult. Each person is a beautiful, unique human being. So if you have a problem and you're acting negative, you have been conditioned."

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6:20pm

Wed October 2, 2013
Code Switch

Howard's President Steps Down Amid Tumult And Uncertainty

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:55 pm

Sidney Ribeau's tenure saw the university's endowment recover from the 2008 downturn and its alumni giving rate quadruple. But a trustee said the school was in "serious trouble" and called for a no-confidence vote against him.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Is Howard University facing an existential crisis?

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4:18pm

Sun September 15, 2013
Code Switch

Who's Really Left Out Of The CrossFit Circle

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 4:26 pm

CrossFitters exercise at a gym in Travis, N.Y. A blog posted to CrossFit's Facebook page has opened up a discussion about diversity in the CrossFit community.
Anthony DePrimo Staten Island Advance /Landov

Last week, the headquarters for CrossFit, the popular — and polarizing — workout genre, shared an item on its Facebook page from a blog called Stuff Black People Don't Like.

And according to an entry from February on the Stuff Black People Don't Like blog, CrossFit is anti-black:

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3:36pm

Tue September 10, 2013
Code Switch

New York Man Killed By Attacker In Possible Hate Crime

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 11:01 am

Jeffrey Babbitt was struck by a disturbed man as he walked through Manhattan's Union Square Park, above.
Mary Altaffer AP

Jeffrey Babbitt was walking through Union Square last Wednesday, near the Manhattan comic book store that he'd been going to for years, when he had a fatal chance encounter with a stranger.

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11:29am

Tue August 20, 2013
Code Switch

The Dream 9 Pushes The Envelope (And Their Allies' Buttons)

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 4:11 pm

The immigration activists known as the Dream 9 were arrested after attempting to re-enter the United States.
Samantha Sais AP

The national conversation around immigration has shifted dramatically over the past decade. That's in large part because of activists who have pushed to change the narrative around the undocumented.

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5:54pm

Tue August 13, 2013
Code Switch

For a Stop-And-Frisk Plaintiff, A 'Heartbreaking' Birthday

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 1:54 pm

Nicholas Peart, far left, was stopped by police on his 18th birthday.
Richard Drew AP

Not long ago, we wrote about The Talk, the conversation that many young men of color get from their parents about how to manage being seen as suspicious and navigate fraught encounters with police officers. It's why Nicholas Peart's story resonated with us. Peart, who lives in Harlem, was one of the plaintiffs in New York City's big stop-and-frisk case.

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4:11pm

Tue August 13, 2013
Race

Read The Most Important Bits From NYC's Stop-And-Frisk Ruling

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 5:33 pm

U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled New York City's stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional, and said the practice, as applied, unfairly targeted blacks and Latinos.
Richard Drew AP

Judge Shira Scheindlin has earned a reputation as an outspoken defender of civil liberties and a recurring foil for the New York City police. In her ruling in the closely watched stop-and-frisk case, Scheindlin criticized the police, and said the department discriminated against blacks and Latinos. She also said the police force has long ignored complaints about the way the tactic has been carried out.

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8:08am

Tue August 13, 2013
Code Switch

How Would You Kill The N-Word?

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 10:10 am

In 2007, the NAACP held a mock burial for the N-word to symbolize its campaign to stamp out the word's usage. But it's proved to be a hardy foe.
Carlos Osorio AP

We've decided to take a weekly look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology or just because it has an interesting story.

NOTE TO READERS: This is a post about one of the harshest racial slurs in American English. In the interest of forthrightness, we're going to use the slur throughout this essay. In other words, you'll see "nigger" used throughout the essay. We understand that the word is upsetting, so we wanted to offer people a chance to opt out now

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7:03am

Fri July 5, 2013
Code Switch

Who Will Be Our First Fake Latina President?

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 11:59 am

There have been more black Hollywood presidents — see Jamie Foxx, above — than there have been real-life black U.S. senators. WOMP.
Reiner Bajo Columbia Pictures

Jamie Foxx is Hollywood's latest black president.

In White House Down, which opened last Friday, Jamie Foxx plays the president of the United States, who teams up with a Capitol police officer, played by Channing Tatum, and battles terrorists who have taken over the White House. (As the A.V. Club points out, this is at least the third time that director Roland Emmerich has laid waste to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.)

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7:44am

Fri June 21, 2013
Code Switch

Jeah! We Mapped Out The 4 Basic Aspects Of Being A 'Bro'

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 8:45 pm

Alyson Hurt NPR

What up, bro? What's good, brah?

This is the chant of the bro, an equally parodied and celebrated genus of young men. (They've been designated "bros" mostly because, well, they say "bro" a whole lot.)

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10:26am

Wed June 12, 2013
Code Switch

The Many Different Faces Of Marijuana In America

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 1:10 pm

How fast are our stances toward marijuana changing? Washington, which legalized marijuana last fall, has had to acquire new drug-sniffing dogs who aren't trained to go after pot.
Elaine Thompson AP

On Tuesday, Vermont moved to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for quantities up to an ounce, replacing potential prison time for arrests with fines.

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7:03am

Sat June 8, 2013
Code Switch

So Single Black Men Want Commitment. Really?

Originally published on Sat June 8, 2013 7:56 am

Fun Friday tip: Gather your friends for a rousing game of searching iStockPhoto for images of "African-Americans" + "dating" (swap in your own ethnicity for maximum fun).
iStockPhoto

We recently found that single black men were much more likely to say they were looking for a long-term relationship (43 percent) compared to single black women (25 percent).

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3:56pm

Tue May 14, 2013
Code Switch

After A Mass Shooting, New Orleanians Rally Around A Local Tradition

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 9:01 am

Kenneth Terry with the Treme Brass Band plays the trumpet Monday during a community response to a shooting during a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans.
Sean Gardner Getty Images