Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:50 pm
Pedro Quezada, winner of a $338 million Powerball lottery prize in March 2013, is being sued by his ex-girlfriend for a greater share of the winnings. In the course of the legal proceedings, Quezada's lawyer made public an interesting tidbit: Quezada has sent a whopping $57 million to the Dominican Republic. It's a high-profile and big-ticket example of an everyday phenomenon where immigrants to the U.S. send a total of billions and billions of dollars back to their country of origin.
Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:46 pm
Singer Chris Brown was in the news last week after being accused of punching a fan outside a Washington, D.C., hotel. Police later identified the alleged victim as 20-year-old Parker Isaac Adams. Brown maintains it was his bodyguard who threw the punch and only after Adams tried to board the singer's tour bus.
Adams' uncle came to his defense after the incident, insisting to reporters that his nephew wasn't a troublemaker.
"Parker's not some kind of hoodlum," Creighton Adams told the AP.
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?
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 10:08 am
The Slants, a six-member band from Portland, Ore., calls their sound "Chinatown Dance Rock" — a little bit New Order, a little bit Depeche Mode. They describe themselves as one of the first Asian-American rock bands. Their music caters to an Asian-American crowd, they've spoken at various Asian-American events, and they're proud of all of it.
It's been 521 years since the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus "sailed the ocean blue/in fourteen hundred and ninety-two." Since then, there have been thousands of parades, speeches and statues commemorating Columbus, along with a critical rethinking of his life and legacy.
But the question remains, how did a man who never set foot on North America get a federal holiday in his name? While Columbus did arrive in the "New World" when he cast anchor in the Bahamas, he never made it to the United States.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 9:27 am
UPDATE October 9,2013: As of early Wednesday morning, all of the demonstrators arrested at Tuesday's rally have been processed and released. A U.S. Capitol Police spokesperson also provided the final tally of protesters arrested, and the article below has been updated to reflect that number.
Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 3:16 pm
"Ugh, I have to visit my aunt out in the boondocks this weekend."
How often have you said or heard something similar? For more than half a century, Americans have used the phrase "the boondocks" or "the boonies" to indicate that a place was in the middle of nowhere. However, few people realize that the phrase is a relic of American military occupation in the Philippines, and that it was later brought to mainstream attention because of a now largely forgotten, fatal training accident on Parris Island.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 12:49 pm
A big survey by the Pew Center is out today on Jewish life in America, and it shows a stark shift away from religious belief and toward cultural identification.
Nine in 10 American Jews born before World War II identify themselves as Jewish by religion, but nearly a third of Jewish millennials — that is, people born after 1980 — identify as having no religion at all.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 3:59 pm
Like so much of the advice that parents give their children, conversations about race often say a great deal about the values parents hold most dear. And like so much other parental advice, kids are often keen to reject it outright — or remix it for themselves. (In July, when news broke that George Zimmerman was acquitted of manslaughter, we asked parents to share what they told their kids after the verdict was announced.)
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 10:04 am
On Wednesday, the MacArthur Foundation announced its newest class of fellows — "geniuses" who have made remarkable contributions to their fields. We wanted to know what happens to a "genius" after the fellowship is over, so we spoke with Ramón Gutiérrez, a Preston and Sterling Morton Distinguished Service Professor in U.S. history at the University of Chicago, and one of the MacArthur fellows in 1982.
Young people stand in line in Los Angeles to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows qualified immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to study or work openly.
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 7:01 pm
The latest estimate by the Pew Research Center puts the number of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. at 11.7 million.
This new number, based on U.S. government data, can be found in a report released Monday titled "Population Decline of Unauthorized Immigrants Stalls, May Have Reversed." The key word in that headline is "may." As the authors write in the report:
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 2:21 pm
What happens when a perfectly innocuous phrase takes on a more sinister meaning over time?
Case in point, the expression "to call a spade a spade." For almost half a millennium, the phrase has served as a demand to "tell it like it is." It is only in the past century that the phrase began to acquire a negative, racial overtone.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 9:30 am
During one of our morning editorial meetings here at Code Switch, we chuckled heartily at this bit from Dave Chappelle's ongoing comeback tour. In this recording, Chappelle was recalling a conversation with a mixed-race couple in the front row of a recent performance. The comedian wanted to know: Where are you from?*
"The wife was obviously Asian. The husband his [expletive] was more mysterious. Might have been Mexican, might have been from Bangladesh — could have gone a lot of different ways.
A few years ago, Brown University commissioned a study of its own historical connection to the Atlantic slave trade. The report found that the Brown family — the wealthy Rhode Island merchants for whom the university was named — were "not major slave traders, but they were not strangers to the business either."
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 6:14 pm
Editor's note: After the crowning of Nina Davuluri as Miss America, we solicited this commentary from writer Anna John, one of the co-founders of the blog Sepia Mutiny. This post includes several embedded tweets that contain explicit language.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 9:38 pm
The poet Langston Hughes liked to wryly describe the Harlem Renaissance — the years from just after World War I until the Depression when black literature and art flourished, fed by an awakening racial pride — as "the period when the Negro was in vogue." Note the past tense. Two new books published Tuesday explore the blossoming of black cultural life in two different decades.