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Karen Grigsby Bates

Karen Grigsby Bates is the Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News. Bates contributed commentaries to All Things Considered for about 10 years before she joined NPR in 2002 as the first correspondent and alternate host for The Tavis Smiley Show. In addition to general reporting and substitute hosting, she increased the show's coverage of international issues and its cultural coverage, especially in the field of literature and the arts.

In early 2003, Bates joined NPR's former midday news program Day to Day. She has reported on politics (California's precedent-making gubernatorial recall, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign and the high-profile mayoral campaign of Los Angeles' Antonio Villaraigosa), media, and breaking news (the Abu Ghrarib scandal, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams).

Bates' passion for food and things culinary has served her well: she's spent time with award-winning food critic Alan Richman and chef-entrepreneur Emeril Lagasse.

One of Bates' proudest contributions is making books and authors a high-profile part of NPR's coverage. "NPR listeners read a lot, and many of them share the same passion for books that I do, so this isn't work, it's a pleasure." She's had conversations with such writers as Walter Mosley, Joan Didion and Kazuo Ishiguru. Her bi-annual book lists (which are archived on the web) are listener favorites.

Before coming to NPR, Bates was a news reporter for People magazine. She was a contributing columnist to the Op Ed pages of the Los Angeles Times for ten years. Her work has appeared in Time, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Essence and Vogue. And she's been a guest on several news shows such as ABC's Nightline and the CBS Evening News.

In her non-NPR life, Bates is the author of Plain Brown Wrapper and Chosen People, mysteries featuring reporter-sleuth Alex Powell. She is co-author, with Karen E. Hudson, of Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times, a best-selling etiquette book now in its second edition. Her work also appears in several writers' anthologies.

Bates holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College. Additionally she studied at the University of Ghana and completed the executive management program at Yale University's School of Organization and Management.

Give up. You will never, ever catch up with every new TV show that's out there. There's a reason for that, says Melanie McFarland, television critic for Salon: "There were more than 450 new shows that premiered last year across broadcast, cable and streaming."

Designers are rolling out their spring lines and the runways are looking more diverse than ever. But the comparative abundance of models who are people of color didn't happen overnight.

There was the occasional — very occasional — model who wasn't white in the 50s and early 60s on runways. But African-American models put American couture on the map in 1973 when they walked the runway in France in what's become known as The Battle of Versailles.

It was quite a week: The new GOP health plan was released to a decidedly tepid response. It's predicted to negatively affect millions of black, brown and low-income people. The president accused former president Barack Obama of having his Trump Tower home wiretapped, but he has not, as they say, brought the receipts. And here are a few other things...

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Let's start with Sunday night, because, how could we not? You already know about the Moonlight cock-up (leave it to the British to give us a perfect word for what that was), but did you know this: although Moonlight's Mahershala Ali was described as the first Muslim to win an Academy Award, Pakistan isn't having it. Apparently, the sect to which Ali belongs is outlawed in Pakistan. The Atlantic broke it down for us.

Harvard historian Caroline Light grew up with guns. Her family lived in Southwestern Virginia, and her parents regularly enjoyed hunting and shooting skeet (clay targets). They used guns on a recreational basis, not for what Light calls "do-it-yourself self-defense."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Stories about black women whose employers asked them to cut their dreadlocks or to trim their big afros have surfaced with more frequency in the last few years. Now a new study confirms that many people — including black ones — have a bias against the types and styles of natural hair worn by black people.

It's been a tense week for immigrants and people of color throughout the country, but there was some good news in California: a new study by the advocacy group National Council of La Raza points out that the state's Latinos, as a group, are doing much better in many areas.

The streets of Washington looked vastly different the day after Donald J. Trump's inauguration than they did the day-of. Instead of the largely white crowds that lined Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, people of all colors, classes and ages filled the streets for what's being called the most diverse march for women's rights ever.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Dr. Sammy Lee, the first Asian-American man to win an Olympic gold medal, died over the weekend after battling pneumonia. He was 96.

In the 1930s, Southern California had enough of the South in it that young Sammy Lee could only watch through the iron fence most days when other boys his age swam at the pool in Pasadena's Brookside Park. The pool, like the area's beaches and many other public facilities, was segregated. But not on Wednesdays.

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:

Yep. President-elect Donald J. Trump. That's still a thing. So while you continue to process that, we wanted to catch you up on some of some things you ought to read, hear and watch around the world of race and culture. And — good news — not all of it is election-related. (Okay a lot, but not all.) So.

The Post-Election Hangover Continues (pass the Alka-Seltzer)

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of several things, among them race. The law, however, doesn't define "race."

It also doesn't say anything about hair.

Which brings us to Chastity Jones.

Actress Taraji P. Henson has played a lot of characters in her 20-year career, but it took only one role to make her famous: Cookie Lyon, the matriarch of an ambitious, dysfunctional family on the hit TV show Empire.

Now Henson has a new memoir out called Around the Way Girl. Don't know what an "around the way girl" is? Henson explains: "Around the way is like saying from the neighborhood, like from the hood." Henson still proudly calls herself an around the way girl; she says the fame and the money haven't changed her.

In 1948, Atlanta added eight black men to its police force. This was at a time when, as author Thomas Mullen explains, a 1947 Newsweek article "estimated that one-quarter of Atlanta policemen were, in fact, members of the Ku Klux Klan."

Those pioneer police officers were the inspiration for Mullen's new novel, Darktown, a blend of history, mystery and violence that explores racial tensions in post-World War II Atlanta.

Ask Walter Mosley what he does, and he'll say, simply, "I'm a writer." And he's written a lot: 52 books, about 30 short stories and another 30 or 40 articles, he says. While most writers specialize in one or two types of books, Mosley refuses to be constrained. He has written mysteries, science fiction, erotica, young adult fiction, plays, opinion pieces and essays. He has even penned a slim book that instructs would-be fiction writers on how to get started.

Charles Kinsey, a Florida health worker, was swept into the national debate about police and African-Americans after video of police shooting him went viral.

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Flags in New York City began flying at half-staff Monday, in honor of Roscoe C. Brown. He died Saturday at age 94 and was one of the last few "Red Tail" pilots, a subset of the Tuskegee Airmen. The Airmen were part of a grand experiment in racial integration that the Army reluctantly undertook.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Terry McMillan's characters have grown along with her. So it's not surprising that her latest book — I Almost Forgot About You — is about middle age. Her protagonist, Georgia Young, is an optometrist. Dr. Georgia is attractive, successful and economically secure. But, McMillan says, Georgia's accumulation of fine things has left her wondering why she bothered.

Think of Etha Robinson as the Johnny Appleseed of pastry. Her mission, rather than planting apple trees, is to plant the idea of reviving the tea cake, a little cookie that has a lot of historical significance packed into it.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now let's report on the sale of Ebony and Jet. ClearView Group, an African-American private equity firm, bought those historically-black magazines. Karen Grigsby Bates from our Code Switch team reports in the magazine's founder, Johnson Publishing.

Muhammad Ali kissed me once.

Don't be a dope — it wasn't like that. It was in front of a whole bunch of people and my then-boyfriend and Mrs. Ali. (And two of his future wives. I'll get to that in a moment.) I was lucky enough to meet him a few times over several decades, but the first time was the most memorable.

Over the past few days, we've seen image after image of Muhammad Ali: triumphant in the ring, joking on talk shows and shakily lifting the Olympic torch at the 1996 Atlanta games. He's remembered these days as an athlete and a humanitarian, and that was, definitely, Ali. But so was the defiant, incisive Ali.

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