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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Code Switch
1:22 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

When Will We Stop Side-Eyeing Relatives Who Don't 'Match'?

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

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:00 am

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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Code Switch
12:26 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Recent Findings Question State Support Of Black Colleges

Morgan State University in Baltimore is one of the state's four historically black institutions.
Marylandstater Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 10:49 am

This week, a federal judge found that historically black colleges in Maryland were harmed when better-funded traditionally white institutions offered up the same degree programs in the state.

Tricia Bishop of The Baltimore Sun summed up the judge's ruling this way:

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Code Switch
2:57 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Remembering The Woman Who Gave Motown Its Charm

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

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 5:12 pm

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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Code Switch
8:00 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

A Rapid Shift For Jews Away From Religion, But Not Jewishness

Are Jews becoming less religious because they're marrying non-Jews or are they marrying non-Jews because they're becoming less religious? It's hard to say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:49 am

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.

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Code Switch
5:20 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Howard's President Steps Down Amid Tumult And Uncertainty

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

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 6:55 pm

Is Howard University facing an existential crisis?

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Code Switch
3:26 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Who's Really Left Out Of The CrossFit Circle

CrossFitters exercise at a gym in Travis, N.Y. A blog posted to CrossFit's Facebook page has opened up a discussion about diversity in the CrossFit community.
Anthony DePrimo Staten Island Advance /Landov

Last week, the headquarters for CrossFit, the popular — and polarizing — workout genre, shared an item on its Facebook page from a blog called Stuff Black People Don't Like.

And according to an entry from February on the Stuff Black People Don't Like blog, CrossFit is anti-black:

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Code Switch
2:36 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

New York Man Killed By Attacker In Possible Hate Crime

Jeffrey Babbitt was struck by a disturbed man as he walked through Manhattan's Union Square Park, above.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 10:01 am

Jeffrey Babbitt was walking through Union Square last Wednesday, near the Manhattan comic book store that he'd been going to for years, when he had a fatal chance encounter with a stranger.

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Code Switch
6:05 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Who Can Use The N-Word? That's The Wrong Question

The actress Gwyneth Paltrow tweeted the N-word while at a Jay Z/Kanye West concert. Her music industry friends shrugged it off. Twitter did not.
Joel Ryan AP

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 4:27 pm

Editor's Note: This a post about a racial slur, and there's no way around using it. Just a heads up.

The impulse to make the world neat and simple, with hard and fast guidelines, bumps up against the messiness of real life all the time.

Earlier this week, a New York City man named Rob Carmona was being sued by a former employee named Brandi Johnson, who said that Carmona harassed her and other employees. The story gained national attention because of what Carmona was heard saying on a recording Johnson made to document the abuse at the office.

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Code Switch
10:17 am
Thu September 5, 2013

College Enrollment Drops Overall, But Spikes Among Latinos

The number of Latino college students has been on a steady uptick since the mid-2000s.
Michael DeLeon iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 9:30 am

Here's the latest dispatch from our country's changing classrooms: Overall, there were half a million fewer students nationwide enrolled in colleges between 2011 and 2012, but the number of Latinos enrolled in college over the same period jumped by 447,000. The numbers come from a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.

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Code Switch
7:37 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Why Did Dave Chappelle Walk Offstage Last Night?

The mercurial Dave Chappelle's return to comedy has been hotly anticipated, but his show Thursday night in Hartford, Conn., went weirdly off the rails.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 3:19 pm

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