Gene Demby

Gene Demby appears in the following:

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 ...


'It's Like Having A Crazy Family Member': On Southern Black Folks And The Rebel Flag

Friday, June 26, 2015

A few months ago, my girlfriend and I were driving south on Interstate 95 from D.C. to Richmond, Va., where we had tickets for a comedy show. On an otherwise nondescript stretch of highway not long into the drive, we were startled by the sight of an enormous Confederate flag ...


Is The Millennial Generation's Racial Tolerance Overstated?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dylann Roof, the white man accused of the deadly church shooting, is 21-- making him a millennial. That generation is often pointed to as a harbinger of U.S. future racial diversity and tolerance.


Dylann Roof And The Stubborn Myth Of The Colorblind Millennial

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The young age of Dylann Roof, who's charged with sitting alongside nine black churchgoers for an hour before standing up and shooting them dead, is sure to inspire some head-scratching in the wake of his attack. He's 21, which means he's a millennial, which means he's not supposed to be ...


Who Gets To Be Black? Honor The Struggle, But Don't Forget The Jokes

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The story of Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who has been living as a black woman, offers a 20-in-1 construction kit of ways to be offended. A popular one is the seemingly unimpeachable complaint that Dolezal hasn't paid her dues: She didn't grow up black, in a black family or ...


Should Rachel Dolezal's Story Change How We Think About Race?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rachel Dolezal has stepped down as the president of Spokane's chapter of the NAACP. But the discussion about race and identity sparked by her story continues.


The Rachel Dolezal Case Challenges The Definition Of Race

Sunday, June 14, 2015

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Coping With Calamity In Shimmering 'Cathedral'

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Back when I was losing sleep over various scenarios that could befall my aging parents, a friend would try to calm me with assurances that at most one of those things would happen, so they weren't worth worrying about in advance.

This came to mind as I read Kate Walbert's ...


Who Gets To Hang Out At The Pool?

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

It was an ugly scene. A fight broke out at a pool party in a McKinney, Texas, subdivision on Friday, allegedly after a white resident told a group of black teenagers to "go back to their Section 8 housing." Local cops show up in force. At some point, a ...


2 Biker Rallies: One White, One Black — One 'Badass,' The Other, Just 'Bad'

Friday, May 22, 2015

In his column this week, Charles Blow of The New York Times broke down the difference between "bikers" and "thugs" in the wake of the deadly biker gang shootout in Waco, Texas:

"The words 'outlaw' and 'biker,' while pejorative to some, still evoke a certain romanticism ...


Who Remembers the MOVE Bombing?

Friday, May 22, 2015

In 1985, Philadelphia police bombed a city block and killed 11 people. This month, NPR's Gene Demby reported on the anniversary and discovered much of his audience had never heard of it.

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