Equity & Justice

Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Culture, Income, and Justice

To read Isabel Wilkerson is to revel in the pleasure of reading — to relax into the virtuosic performance of thought and form one is about to encounter, safe and secure that the structures will not collapse beneath you.

In the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's first book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, Wilkerson evinced a rare ability to craft deeply insightful analysis of deeply researched evidence — both historical and contemporary — in harmonious structures of language and form.

Editor's note: NPR will be continuing this conversation about Being Black in America online and on air.

When Imani Brown, a 38-year-old from San Francisco, hit the streets to protest the recent police violence against Black Americans, she felt inspired and energized. Her parents fought for racial justice before her, so her participation felt like a part of her inheritance.

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Um Hiba's trauma over being enslaved, raped and beaten by ISIS after fighters raided her village didn't end when she was freed three years ago. Instead, like thousands of other survivors of the genocide against Yazidis, she languishes, still traumatized, with what's left of her family.

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The past five months, we've heard from people all over the country about how the pandemic has affected them. Mary Tate is the secretary of Morning Star Baptist Church in Marion County, W.V.

Five months after the coronavirus forced houses of worship across the country to close their doors, a new survey finds that two-thirds of regular churchgoers feel it's now safe to resume in-person worship.

A county official in Michigan is defending his use of the N-word — by repeatedly saying the slur, and insisting that it does not imply he is a racist.

Leelanau County Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle has been facing calls to resign since Tuesday, when he reportedly used one of the most taboo words in U.S. society to explain why he would not be wearing a face mask.

"Well, this whole thing is because of them n****** down in Detroit," Eckerle said, according to the Leelanau Enterprise.

O, The Oprah Magazine has commissioned 26 billboards calling for the arrest of the police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor to be placed across Louisville, Ky., the magazine said in a Friday article.

"Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged," each of the 26 billboards — one for every year Taylor was alive — reads.

There are two kinds of reactions to Beyoncé's new Black Is King video: lavish praise – and deep criticism. The praise comes from her many fans and from many reviewers. The criticism often comes from Africans.

We are both from Africa. Esther Ngumbi was born and grew up in Kenya. Ifeanyi Nsofor was born and grew up in Nigeria. We can understand the critiques – and have some of our own. But in the end, we think the positives outweigh the problems.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Our Relationship With Water

Water is life. Yet in the eyes of the law, it remains largely unprotected. Legal scholar Kelsey Leonard says granting water bodies legal personhood can transform how we value this vital resource.

About Kelsey Leonard

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Our Relationship With Water

Flint, Michigan is the site of one of the worst ongoing water crises in recent U.S. history. Artist LaToya Ruby Frazier has spent years capturing the stories of life living with toxic water.

About LaToya Ruby Frazier

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Our Relationship With Water

Kelsey Leonard was taught we are born with a deep connection to water and a duty to protect it. But today, she says, most of us have lost that connection—and the world is suffering because of it.

About Kelsey Leonard

After Mississippi lawmakers voted in June to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state's flag, they asked people to send in designs for a new flag — and received nearly 3,000 submissions.

A Louisiana man will continue to spend his life in prison for stealing a pair of hedge clippers, after the state's Supreme Court denied his request to review a lower court's sentence.

Fair Wayne Bryant was convicted in 1997 of stealing the hedge clippers. Prosecutors pursued and won a life sentence in the case, a penalty permissible under the state's habitual offender law. Bryant appealed the life sentence as too severe.

The police chief in Aurora, Colo., has apologized after officers handcuffed children and reportedly drew their weapons on a Black family — an incident captured on video this week that renewed criticism the department is racially insensitive and disconnected from its community.

A woman and four girls were wrongly detained, police later acknowledged.

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It is early days, but so far, so good for the NHL in the pandemic. Hockey players returned to the ice on Saturday. Twenty-four teams are hunkering down in two separate bubbles - one in Edmonton and the other in Toronto. And after more than 7,000 COVID tests given, the league says there have been no positive cases. Earlier, I talked to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman about the state of play, and he first took us back to the start of hockey's shutdown.

Updated at 10:47 a.m. ET Thursday

A former Atlanta police officer, charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man in a Wendy's parking lot in June, has sued the city's mayor and interim police chief over his firing.

In the suit filed Tuesday against Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and interim police Chief Rodney Bryant, former Officer Garrett Rolfe's attorneys claim that his use of deadly force against Rayshard Brooks had been justifiable.

Nearly 30 years ago, Hindu extremists armed with pickaxes tore down a 16th-century mosque in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya, sparking riots that killed thousands of Muslims.

On Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfilled a campaign promise to his Hindu nationalist base by laying the cornerstones of a grand Hindu shrine on that very same spot. The ceremony coincides with the first anniversary of India's revocation of special rights in Kashmir, its only Muslim-majority state.

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There was already a lot embedded in the name Karen. But it really caught on after this incident in New York.

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Madison Parr

Franny Cole’s now-estranged husband had been emotionally abusive and financially controlling. She thinks sometimes about what might have happened had she not gathered the strength to leave prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amnesty International says it has documented 125 separate instances of violence against protesters for racial justice in the U.S. over an 11-day period earlier this summer.

In a report published Tuesday, the human rights organization says that in the five years since 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Mo., "there has been a disturbing lack of progress ... in ensuring that police officers use lethal force only when there is an imminent risk of death or serious injury to themselves or others."

President Trump declined to praise the late Rep. John Lewis in an interview with Axios on HBO, claiming that he himself had done more for the Black community than anyone else. And Trump criticized the civil rights icon's decision not to attend his 2017 presidential inauguration.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson says racism is an insufficient term for the systemic oppression of Black people in America. Instead, she prefers to refer to America as having a "caste" system.

Wilkerson describes caste an artificial hierarchy that helps determine standing and respect, assumptions of beauty and competence, and even who gets benefit of the doubt and access to resources.

"Caste focuses in on the infrastructure of our divisions and the rankings, whereas race is the metric that's used to determine one's place in that," she says.

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