Equity & Justice

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

With the distance of time, I can see that my first McDonald's was an unremarkable thing. There were the antagonistically hard plastic seats. The interior lights that seemed meant to shoo you away. The PlayLand with the broken-down carousel that yelped out tinny renditions of John Philip Sousa songs. And of course, there was that smell: maybe a little bleach, but mostly the aroma of cooking french fries that seemed engineered to induce a limbic response.

Scientists have found a clue to how autism spectrum disorder disrupts the brain's information highways.

The problem involves cells that help keep the traffic of signals moving smoothly through brain circuits, a team reported Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

The team found that in both mouse and human brains affected by autism, there's an abnormality in cells that produce a substance called myelin.

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Over the weekend, an old feud reared its head at an Iowa event for Bernie Sanders.

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DIONNA LANGFORD: We're classy here. We're classy.

RASHIDA TLAIB: Oh, no. I'll boo. Boo.

John Ho Photograhgy / Flickr (BY-CC 2.0)

Income of about $1.4 billion a year for Illinois workers would be generated if paid parental leave became law — that’s according to a report out today from a pair of Illinois think tanks.

Paid-leave legislation was introduced last year, and state Rep. Mary Flowers, a Chicago Democrat, told NPR Illinois she would introduce a version of that again this legislative session.

Among devout Orthodox Jews, the intense study of Talmud is no longer just a man's world. Women are increasingly delving into this central religious work, and American expats in Israel are at the forefront of the trend.

They're following a custom called Daf Yomi, Hebrew for "daily page," which involves reading a page a day of this centuries-old, multivolume collection of rabbinic teachings, debates and interpretations of Judaism. It takes about seven years and five months to read all 2,711 pages.

A Code Switch Playlist For Black History Month

Feb 1, 2020

Black History Month is here, and it's the perfect time to listen to Code Switch! We've got episodes all about the hidden heroes and buried history of black America. To help you dive right in, check out our new playlist. It's got stories on everything from sports activism, to the Black Panther Party, to one woman's fight for respect that went all the way to the Supreme Court. So as you grind through the middle of winter, listen to our recommendations to be inspired, enlightened and moved.

If you want to learn about....

The Senate Chaplain Presides And Abides

Jan 31, 2020

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The Senate impeachment hearings begin every day with a slow, sonorous voice.

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BARRY BLACK: Eliminate discordant static with the music of your wisdom.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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Even before he was elected, candidate Trump had harsh words for Muslims.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think Islam hates us.

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This week, the Code Switch team is sharing conversations with some of our favorite authors about the books we're starting the decade with. On Friday, producer Kumari Devarajan talks with Robyn Crawford about her recent memoir, A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston.

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On a recent Saturday in Everett, Mass., Native American women have gathered to learn some self-defense techniques. Before the class starts, sage is burned and instructor Shanda Poitra smudges and asks any Native energies to be with her.

"I just prayed, in my mind, thanking [the] Creator for opportunities and being with me today and helping really get the point across today," Poitra says.

The point?

Native women have a basic right to protect themselves.

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Illinois today joined Virginia and Nevada, in filing a federal lawsuit to get the Equal Rights Amendment on the books now that it’s been ratified by enough states.

Virginia on Monday became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, but President Trump’s administration is trying to block it from being added to the Constitution.

This week, the Code Switch team is sharing conversations with some of our favorite authors about the books we're starting the decade with. On Thursday, host and senior producer Shereen Marisol Meraji talked with Kristen Meinzer about her upcoming book written with Jolenta Greenberg, How to Be Fine: What We Learned From Living by the Rules of 50 Self-Help Books.

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Health care has been a leading issue in the presidential campaign over the past year, as Democratic candidates have clashed with each other, and especially with President Trump. But voters, who tell pollsters that health is among their top concerns, also complain that the health debate has been confusing and hard to follow.

With voting about to begin in many states, here's a guide to some key health care terms, issues and policy differences at play.

Universal coverage, "Medicare for All" and single-payer are not the same thing

This week, the Code Switch team is sharing conversations with some of our favorite authors about the books we're starting the decade with. Today, senior correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates talks to Susan Straight about her new memoir, In The Country of Women.

This week, the Code Switch team is sharing conversations with some of our favorite authors about the books we're starting the decade with. First up, editor Leah Donnella talks to Tomi Adeyemi about Children of Virtue and Vengeance, the second volume of her YA fantasy trilogy.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Let's talk about fast food — and I bet you have a jingle in your head right now, because according to a new book, on any given day in America, an estimated one third of all American adults is eating something at a fast food restaurant.

University of Illinois Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield professor Jason Pierceson recently published an encyclopedia detailing LGBTQ politics. It includes profiles on candidates, officials and activists; a timeline of events;  government documents; speeches; and court cases. Pierceson recently talked about the two-volume work with reporter Maureen McKinney, as well as the Trump administration's handling of LGBTQ issues. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation is considering tightening the rules for taking service animals on planes after increased customer complaints and lobbying from the airlines who think current regulations are too lenient.

In a case with potentially profound implications, the U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority seemed ready to invalidate a provision of the Montana state constitution that bars aid to religious schools. A decision like that would work a sea change in constitutional law, significantly removing the longstanding high wall of separation between church and state.

Yiddish has been described as a language without a country. But it’s deeply woven into the fabric of the United States.

And it’s not just Jewish people who have a connection to Yiddish. Goys do, too — from bagels and bubbes to kvelling and kvetching.

In the last century, Yiddish has become a huge part of the American vernacular — and comedy. Vaudeville, Mel Brooks, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and other forms of entertainment have thrust the language into the spotlight.

How has Yiddish changed America? And how has America changed Yiddish?

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a major case that could dramatically alter the line separating church and state.

At issue is a Montana state constitutional amendment that bars direct and indirect taxpayer aid to religious institutions. Conservative religious groups and advocates of school choice are challenging the "no-aid" provision.

A highly publicized approach to lowering health costs failed to pass rigorous study this month, but hospitals, insurers and government health programs don't intend to give up on the idea. It just needs to be modified, they say.

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"I'm not anti-hospice at all," says Joy Johnston, a writer from Atlanta. "But I think people aren't prepared for all the effort that it takes to give someone a good death at home."

The third Monday in January is a U.S. federal holiday honoring the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., but two Southern states — Alabama and Mississippi — also use the day to celebrate Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate forces during the Civil War.

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