Gene Demby

Gene Demby appears in the following:

In Tackling Bias In Policing, 'Zootopia' Veers Into The Uncanny Valley

Monday, March 14, 2016

The hit animated Disney movie is an ambitious look at racial profiling and policing. It's also evidence that these issues don't neatly lend themselves to pop culture.


Watching A Brown 'Hamilton' With A White Audience

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

On Friday night, I finally got to see Hamilton, the critically acclaimed musical I've been surprisingly obsessed with since Frannie Kelley's glowing write-up of the cast album last fall.

I say "surprising" because I am not a fan of musical theater, the kind of not-a-fan-of-musical-theater who pointedly self-describes ...


Combing Through 41 Million Tweets To Show How #BlackLivesMatter Exploded

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

It's been only a year and a half since the social protest movement around police violence commonly referred to as Black Lives Matter emerged as a major political force.

Much of this movement's momentum-building and organizing happened on Twitter, and a fascinating new study by media scholars Charlton McIlwain, ...


#OscarsSoWhite, #ForSoLong

Thursday, February 25, 2016

You may have read something like this over the past few weeks, in the run-up to this year's hotly contested Academy Awards ceremony:

"The fact that there is an absence of African-American nominees at the awards this year is something I'm less concerned about than how that reflects on ...


I Guess We Gotta Talk About Macklemore's 'White Privilege' Song

Friday, January 29, 2016

So. Macklemore. I suppose we have to talk about Macklemore.

By now you've heard — or heard about — the white Seattle rapper's nine-minute song "White Privilege II," about his tricky relationship with hip-hop and black protest movements. It's typical Macklemore — earnest, more than a little hamfisted — and ...


Making The Case Against 'Colorblind Casting'

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Over at The Atlantic, Angelica Jade Bastîen has a smart essay pushing back on the supposed benefits of "colorblind casting" in Hollywood — that is, putting actors of color in roles that weren't explicitly written as people of color.

She points to Oscar Isaac, the prolific, charismatic actor who ...


In 2015, Race And Tolerance Permeated The National Dialogue

Thursday, December 24, 2015

When NPR's Steve Inskeep sat down with President Obama for his year end interview, the president said he is optimistic about where the country is heading. We explore the topic further.


NPR's Code Switch Team Explores Political Correctness On College Campuses

Friday, December 18, 2015

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch team about his recent article, "The Long, Necessary History of 'Whiny' Black Protesters At College."


The Long, Necessary History Of 'Whiny' Black Protesters At College

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a young black woman who recently graduated from Louisiana State. I asked her how she liked it there. She smiled, then sighed in exasperation. Without prompting, she brought up race. She had enrolled at LSU knowing Louisiana is one of the blackest ...


Mizzou Points To Bigger Shifts In How College Athletes See Themselves

Thursday, November 12, 2015

This summer, football players at Northwestern University came very close to successfully forming a union — not to demand that they be paid, but to demand better scholarships and safety protocols. Had their bid succeeded, it might have changed college athletics — and, indeed, higher education — in some ...


A Graphic Shows How Much The 'Race' Question On The American Census Has Changed

Monday, November 09, 2015

In 1890, a shoemaker from Louisiana named Homer Plessy indentified himself as "black" on the decennial U.S. Census population survey. Plessy did this even though, as a Creole who was one-eighth black, he was light-skinned enough to pass for white.

A few years later, the fair-skinned Plessy climbed onto a ...


'Diversity' Is Rightly Criticized As An Empty Buzzword. So How Can We Make It Work?

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Over at the New York Times Magazine, ambivalence toward capital "D" diversity courses through Anna Holmes' excellent essay "Has 'Diversity' Lost Its Meaning?" Holmes, the founding editor of Jezebel and now an executive at Fusion, notes that while corporate odes to "diversity" are de rigeur these days ...


Making A Home In The Shadow of Confederate Symbols

Monday, October 19, 2015

Over at the New York Times, Jack Hitt considers the ubiquity of one particular icon of the post-Confederate South. "In front of nearly every courthouse or at the main intersection of nearly every town in the South, you will find a Confederate memorial," Hitt writes. "From the late 19th ...


'Empire' Nods To A Very Different Take On Policing Than We Usually See In Prime Time

Friday, October 02, 2015

So far, this season of Empire has been all about whether Lucius Lyon, the diabolical record executive played by Terrence Howard, is going to be convicted of a murder he committed in the show's first season. Last week, the rest of the Lyon family staged a big outdoor rally/concert to ...


Remember When You Had To Flip To The Back Page Of 'Jet' To Find Black People On TV?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back in the heyday of Jet magazine, that weekly digest of short, fizzy articles about black life, there was a back-page feature simply called "Television." It was a no-frills rundown of nearly every black person who would be appearing on prime-time TV over the coming week, just their names, ...


What We Lose When A Neighborhood School Goes Away

Monday, September 14, 2015

A few years ago, a good friend and I were walking near downtown Philadelphia, not far from my old elementary school, Thomas C. Durham, on 16th and Lombard. The school was built on the edge of a black neighborhood in South Philly in the early 1900s, and its design ...


How Black Reporters Report On Black Death

Thursday, August 20, 2015

As calls for newsroom diversity get louder, we might do well to consider that black reporters covering race and policing literally have skin in the game.


On Wyatt Cenac, 'Key & Peele,' And Being The Only One In The Room

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Last week, the Internet exploded after an episode of the WTF! Podcast with Marc Maron went online. The guest was the comedian Wyatt Cenac, who talked about being a writer and correspondent on The Daily Show for several years. He recalled getting into a heated argument with Jon Stewart ...


A Compromise On Displaying The Confederate Flag

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Last week, I wrestled with an idea that admittedly made me very uncomfortable: the possibility that for many defenders of racially loaded symbols like the Confederate battle flag and the Washington Redskins' brand, their affinity for these icons may be more understandable and — crucially — more relatable than ...


When The 'Heritage' In 'Heritage Not Hate' Is More Skynyrd Than Stonewall Jackson

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Friday's ceremony to remove the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina's state Capitol grounds was scored by loud cheers and applause from the huge, largely black crowd who came to see it off. The contrast between the cheers and the official pomp — marching soldiers in dress grays funereally handling ...