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.

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8:03am

Sat July 12, 2014
Code Switch

What We Talk About When We Talk About Violence In Chicago

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 11:28 am

Firefighters in Chicago hose down the scene of a shooting last fall where several people, including a toddler, were shot.
Paul Beaty ASSOCIATED PRESS

We have a default template for the way we process mass shootings. We scour through every available scrap of the perpetrators' interior lives – Facebook postings, YouTube videos, interviews with former roommates — to try to find out what drove them to kill. The sites of the massacres become a kind of shorthand: Columbine, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood. We conduct protracted, unsatisfying conversations about gun rights, and about mental illness, and about how we have to make sure that they never happen again.

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2:17pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Code Switch

Dress Codes Are Open To Interpretation — And A Lot Of Contention

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 3:37 pm

This spot forbids "urban wear" — and also orthodontia, apparently.
memestate flickr

A Minneapolis nightspot called Bar Louie landed in the news after some local residents took issue with its new dress code.

No flat-billed hats. No long white T-shirts. No large chains. No sleeveless under shirts. No athletic apparel. No sports jerseys without collars. No excessively baggy clothing.

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2:41pm

Sat June 21, 2014
Code Switch

Some Of Us Sacrifice More To Stay In Home Sweet Home

Originally published on Sat June 21, 2014 4:30 pm

Despite the challenges to finding affordable housing, blacks and Latinos still say they feel like home ownership is an excellent investment.
Jae C. Hong AP

If it seems like we talk about housing a lot on Code Switch, it's because we do. But the fact is it's really hard to talk about all the ways race correlates to different outcomes — in health or education, say— without talking about where people live. Take household wealth, for example: The major reason whites have so much more of it is because of how much likelier they are not just to own homes, but to own homes in places where that property might appreciate in value.

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3:07pm

Thu June 5, 2014
Code Switch

The Modest Bus Station At The Center Of A World-Changing Confrontation

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 3:38 pm

When the Freedom Riders arrived in Montgomery, they were greeted by an armed, racist mob, while the local police were conspicuously absent.
Anonymous AP

EDITOR'S NOTE: This summer, we'll be regularly spotlighting sites on the National Register of Historic Places that have some significance to issues of race and culture.

The Montgomery Greyhound Station, Montgomery, Ala.

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12:45pm

Fri May 30, 2014
Code Switch

In Historic First, Native American Brothers Win Lacrosse Trophy

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 3:26 pm

Miles Thompson of the SUNY-Albany Great Danes broke the record for goals in a season this year — a season which also saw his younger brother and teammate, Lyle, break the record for overall points.
Mike Groll AP

The Tewaaraton Award is college lacrosse's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, given to the best player in the country each year. The award takes its name from the Mohawk word for lacrosse, as a way to honor the sport's Native American origins. The bronze trophy depicts a Mohawk man with a lacrosse stick, surging forward.

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7:26pm

Wed May 28, 2014
Code Switch

In College Lacrosse, Two Brothers Flirt With Making History

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 10:13 pm

Miles Thompson (left) and his brother Lyle Thompson of New York are finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, college lacrosse's equivalent of the Heisman.
Mike Groll AP

UPDATE: The Tewaaraton Award was given Thursday night to both Miles and Lyle Thompson. This is the first time the annual award has been given to more than one individual in the same category.

The Tewaaraton Award is college lacrosse's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, given out each year to the sport's best male and female players.

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4:16pm

Tue April 29, 2014
Code Switch

How Donald Sterling Violated The NBA's Unspoken Social Contract

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends the NBA playoff game between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors on April 21.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

We play for each other, for our fans, and for our families — not Donald Sterling.

That was the general message that players for the Los Angeles Clippers reiterated, off-mic, when the Sterling fiasco blew up over the weekend. They were being buffeted by questions about how, exactly, they might respond to allegations that Sterling, the team owner, had been recorded saying that he did not want black people to attend his team's games. Would they boycott? Would they be focused enough to be able to play?

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7:03am

Fri April 25, 2014
Code Switch

What Exactly Qualifies As 'Racist,' Anyway?

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 10:05 am

Cliven Bundy, who has been locked in a dispute with the federal government for decades over grazing rights on public lands, has strong opinions on things. Things like black people.
David Becker Getty Images

Meet Cliven Bundy, a 67-year-old Nevada rancher and the latest person in public life recorded making pretty racist comments, only to later insist that they lack racist bones.

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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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