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This Week In Race: Dog Whistles, Dreamers And Dead Dictators

Former President of Cuba Fidel Castro died Nov. 25 at age 90, provoking mixed reactions in Cuba and around the world.
Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo
Getty Images
Former President of Cuba Fidel Castro died Nov. 25 at age 90, provoking mixed reactions in Cuba and around the world.

This week in race: Sports (dog) whistles, protection for Dreamers, a special book—and some hunky calendar men. Really.

Now that the turkey endorphins have worn off, the leftovers are a distant memory, and the Obamas prepare for their last Christmas in the White House, we thought we'd put some of the things that happened over the holiday weekend (and this week) on a platter and offer them to you. No thank you notes required.

Race and Immigration:

The University of California system said no, gracias to suggestions that they cooperate in rounding up Latino students who have no papers. UC Chancellor Janet Napolitano said Dreamers and others without documentation should be able to pursue their studies without fearing deportation. Xia and Watanabe, LA Times.

Race and Policing:

A few weeks ago, the Justice Department announced it was phasing out private prisons. Now the New Yorker says the number of private prisons is expected to go up soon. Guess who that affects? Guess who's going to profit? Surowiecki, The New Yorker.

And, if you haven't seen Ava DuVernay's 13th — a riveting look at mass incarceration of black and brown men and who benefits from their imprisonment — get thee a Netflix account. Or go visit someone who has one. Here's the trailer.

Racial Acting Out:

Here's an It's-Not-About-You lesson that needs to be learned. The Guardian gave wide exposure to something that's been going on at Standing Rock, as Native Americans continue to block the oil pipeline they say violates sacred ground and threatens to despoil the environment. Apparently, some folks are treating the Dakota Access Pipe Line protests partly as an outdoor concert, partly as a personal spiritual journey. O'Connor, Independent.

Dog whistles: they're not just for campaigns anymore! They're also useful on the court and field, according to a crispy editorial by sportscaster Bryant Gumbel. In those games BG likes to follow, it's kinda hard to ignore the ways race almost gets talked about. Definitely worth a read (or viewing, if you want to see him on HBO's Real Sports) DePaolo, Mediaite.

When Flat White takes on an entirely different meaning at Starbucks: A white customer in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables who thought his latte was a little late had to tell the black staff about themselves. Some other customers didn't appreciate that. This is one of several taped instances in which the president-elect's name has been invoked, ostensibly to keep people in line. Iannelli, New Miami Times.

Race and Culture:

Moonlight, Barry Jenkins's stunning coming-of-age film continues to rack up praise—and now, what's expected to be the first of many awards. NPR's Linda Holmes reports for Monkey See. Holmes, NPR. And here's an interview in Vulture with Moonlight's co-writer, Tarell Alvin McCraney. Jung, Vulture.

Maybe you had a copy of Ezra Jack Keats' The Snowy Day in your bookcase when you were a kid—so many kids did. It's a charming little book about a boy who wakes up, discovers it snowed overnight, and wanders through his urban neighborhood, playing in the snow. The little boy was named Peter and his appearance sent shock waves through the country because little Peter was—gasp!—black. (Or, Negro. The Snowy Day was first published in 1963). It's since become a beloved children's classic. Now NPR's Lynn Neary reports about a new book that tells the story behind that story. Neary, NPR.

"She Would Have Said a Bad Word" about Fidel:

Fidel Castro, commandante of Cuba for more than 60 years, died over Thanksgiving weekend. Reactions differed depending on where you were. On this side of the Straits of Florida, our Adrian Florido spent time in Miami talking to families who'd waited generations for Castro's death. Florido, NPR.

Finally, little bits of comfort and joy:

"Haikus on Hotties" is the 2017 sequel to "Haikus with Hotties," a 2016 calendar featuring dishy Asian men and poems.
/ Courtesy of Haikus on Hotties
Courtesy of Haikus on Hotties
"Haikus on Hotties" is the 2017 sequel to "Haikus with Hotties," a 2016 calendar featuring dishy Asian men and poems.

We missed him when his The Nightly Show was cancelled, but this week ABC announced Larry Wilmore will be working with the network for the next several years. Wilmore helped shape Black-ish before being offered the late-night spot. And he co-created Insecure, HBO's fall hit series starring Issa Rae (it's just been picked up for a second season.) He'll be creating content and recruiting talent as part of his new deal, says the Hollywood Reporter. Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter.

And if you were happy to see Dave Chappelle back on Saturday Night Live right after the election, you'll be delirious to hear that he's just struck a deal with Netflix for three new comedy specials. Variety.

And, in case you missed it last year, here's another chance to fill someone's stocking with joy, sex appeal—and poetry. Drool bibs extra. Hat tip to our friend Phil Yu and his blog Angry Asian Man. Yu, Angry Asian Man.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: December 2, 2016 at 12:00 AM EST
A previous version of the story misidentified the author of the Angry Asian Man blog as Jeff Yang. In fact, the blog's author is Phil Yu.
Karen Grigsby Bates is the Senior Correspondent for Code Switch, a podcast that reports on race and ethnicity. A veteran NPR reporter, Bates covered race for the network for several years before becoming a founding member of the Code Switch team. She is especially interested in stories about the hidden history of race in America—and in the intersection of race and culture. She oversees much of Code Switch's coverage of books by and about people of color, as well as issues of race in the publishing industry. Bates is the co-author of a best-selling etiquette book (Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times) and two mystery novels; she is also a contributor to several anthologies of essays. She lives in Los Angeles and reports from NPR West.

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