race

In a hall inside the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama on Saturday, long tables are draped with black linen. Experts are bent over tables, examining aging quilts, letters filled with tight, hand-penned script, and yellowing black-and-white photos tacked into crackling albums — all family keepsakes brought in by local residents.

The population in Ferguson, a city of about 20,000 people north of St. Louis, is about two-thirds African-American. The city’s police force has 53 officers, four of whom are black.

But Ferguson is not alone when it comes to a race gap in police departments. Hundreds across the country have forces with a white percentage that is more than 30 percentage points higher than the communities they serve.

Nick Castele from Here & Now contributing station WCPN took a survey of departments in northern Ohio.

A federal judge has ruled that the way city council members are elected in Yakima, Washington, disenfranchises Latino voters.

Angela Pierce

It's been nearly two weeks since black teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. His death touched off a wave of outrage that spread to cities across the country, including Seattle.

On Thursday evening, the Seattle King County NAACP hosted a rally at Pratt Park in the Central District.

KUOW Photo/Matthew Streib

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Devan Rogers and Yaninna Sharpley-Travis, two members of Youth Undoing Institutional Racism, about how they interpret the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, and how they interact with local police.

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

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story contains graphic descriptions and offensive language.

Alex Landau, who is African-American, was adopted by a white couple as a child and grew up in largely white, middle-class suburbs of Denver.

Still, "we never talked about race growing up," Landau tells his mother, Patsy Hathaway, on a visit to StoryCorps. "I just don't think that was ever a conversation."

"I thought that love would conquer all and skin color really didn't matter," Hathaway says. "I had to learn the really hard way when they almost killed you."

It's been a tense week in Ferguson, Mo. Protests erupted after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer Saturday. For many, the fear and frustration is familiar.

Amid the demonstrations Wednesday, the Rev. Willis Johnson tried to talk down 18-year-old Joshua Wilson. A photo in the Washington Post showed the two in a powerful moment.

Johnson says police were ordering protesters to move aside as police advanced, and that he was trying to keep Wilson out of harm's way.

He says he was not attempting to discourage protest.

The luxury retailer Barneys New York is hiring.

WANTED: an "anti-profiling consultant."

The hire is just one part of Barneys' new settlement with the New York state attorney general's office, as The Two-Way reported this week.

Following the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, many young African-Americans posted pictures of themselves on Twitter under the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. They were protesting the damaging ways in which young black men like Brown are often portrayed in the media. The response demonstrated the scope of what's informally known as Black Twitter, a virtual community of African-American Twitter users.

Why Drowning Is A 'Cultural Condition'

Aug 5, 2014
KUOW Photo/Phyllis Fletcher

Public health researchers have struggled with a leading cause of death in young children: drowning.

Black children face the highest risk – even when they're supervised. The most recent data for Washington state shows black children have more than 3.5 times the drowning risk of children of any other race.

Flickr Photo/Dann Cove (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes about whether a disproportionate amount of black people are issued tickets for public pot use. Holmes says he's working on a plan to provide public spaces that are safe to smoke marijuana.

We all have an image of the Oregon Trail: the covered wagon, mom with her bonnet, and dad handling the mules with a couple of kids riding shotgun. In that image, they’re probably all white.

Flickr Photo/Metro Theatre Vancouver (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks to Josephine Lee, English and Asian American studies professor at the University of Minnesota, about the checkered history of the Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado."

There are a lot of steps that come between an arrest and a conviction, and between conviction and sentencing. And throughout that winding process, a prosecutor's decisions carry enormous weight.

Does the prosecutor accept the case? Does she have the defendant jailed before trial? Is a plea bargain offered to the defendant, and if so, what are the terms?

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