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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12:50pm

Tue August 19, 2014
Code Switch

In Ferguson, Mo., A City Meets The Spotlight

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 4:17 pm

Demonstrators protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown listen to rapper Nelly speak.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Etefia Umana says that Ferguson, Mo., is in some ways a media fiction.

We're sitting in the offices of Better Family Life, an organization that provides social services to people in the area. Umana chairs its board and lives in Ferguson.

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3:26pm

Sat August 16, 2014
Code Switch

Code Switch Roundup: On Race, Policing And Ferguson

Originally published on Sun August 17, 2014 7:33 am

A protester holds up a clenched fist in front of a convenience store that was looted and burned following the shooting death of Michael Brown by police nearly a week ago in Ferguson, Mo.
Charlie Riedel AP

Over the past week, much of the nation's attention has been trained on the town of Ferguson, Mo., following an incident there in which a police officer shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown. Like similar stories, the Michael Brown shooting has become a flashpoint for conversations about race and policing, and there have been heated, chaotic showdowns between the police there and protesters.

Here's some of what's been written about the shooting and the reaction to it in the week since.

FERGUSON AT A GLANCE

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1:24pm

Sat August 9, 2014
Code Switch

'Are You, Like, African-AMERICAN Or AFRICAN-American?'

President Obama spoke to young Africans who were held up as future leaders during this week's Africa Summit.
Charles Dharapak AP

Over at NewsOne, Donovan X. Ramsey contrasted two approaches President Obama has taken with black audiences: 1) the finger-wagging, pull-up-your-pants approach that he often takes with African-Americans, like the graduates at all-male Morehouse College ("We've got no time for excuses ... nobody is going to give you anything you haven't earned"), and 2) the laudatory tone he took with young African leaders who traveled to D.C. this week for the Africa Summit.

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8:03am

Tue July 29, 2014
Code Switch

What We See In The Eric Garner Video, And What We Don't

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 4:13 pm

Garner was confronted by police trying to arrest him on suspicion of selling untaxed, loose cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk, authorities said.
Family Photo via National Action Network/AP AP

The rough grooves of the Eric Garner story probably feel familiar to lots of folks by now: an unarmed black man dies after an encounter with the police, agitating old tensions between residents and the officers who patrol their neighborhoods.

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9:46am

Tue July 15, 2014
Code Switch

The George Zimmerman Trial, One Year Later

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 11:25 am

George Zimmerman's trial became the locus of heated debate about racial profiling, gun laws and the criminal justice system.
AP

George Zimmerman's trial for killing Trayvon Martin became a flashpoint for raucous, heated debates — conversations about racial profiling, gun laws and the criminal justice system. Zimmerman's acquittal was seen by many as an outrage, but any outcome would have been unsatisfying for many people, since criminal trials are horrible proxies for the resolutions of big, thorny social issues.

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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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11:03am

Fri June 27, 2014
Code Switch

The Elusive Dave Chappelle Re-Emerges, But For How Long?

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:50 am

Chappelle alluded to his decision to walk away from his hit Comedy Central show only obliquely.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Just before Dave Chappelle took the stage Monday as part of a sold-out series of shows at Radio City Music Hall, a song featuring a loop of LL Cool J's famous opening line from "Mama Said Knock You Out" blasted over the sound system.

Don't call it a comeback!

You could take it as a suggestion that Chappelle had never really gone anywhere. Or you could read it as a coy reminder that none of us should get too comfortable, because Chappelle might bounce again at any moment.

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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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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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