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This Week In Race: Census Worries, Yellowface And Kendall Jenner. Again.

The cast of "Miss Saigon" takes part in the curtain call on opening night at the Broadway Theatre on March 23, 2017 in New York City.
Michael Loccisano
Getty Images
The cast of "Miss Saigon" takes part in the curtain call on opening night at the Broadway Theatre on March 23, 2017 in New York City.

A lot of things in this country rely on information gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau every 10 years. Congressional districts. Federally funded public works (bridges, tunnels) and emergency services. Decisions based on population estimates affect everyone in ways large and small, so an accurate count of who lives where is critical. That's why it was big news when the current Census director, John Thompson, announced he's stepping down. The abrupt departure left Census-watchers worried. Science magazine outlines the effect a leaderless Census Bureau might have. His departure happened just as Thompson and his staff were trying to figure out how to modernize the Census count, including a new approach to how Hispanics/Latinx would becategorized.

Remember the presidents of HBCUs who squeezed into a photo op with the president a few weeks ago? After saying "cheese" for the photographer, the president cheesed them off by indicating he might cut $20 million of promised federal support for the historically black schools. Someone realized if that came to pass, the optics would be terrible (and why raise the ire of Black Twitter if you don't have to?) so apparently, some rethinking was done.

Franklin Roosevelt didn't just wake up one morning shortly after Pearl Harbor and decide internment camps were a great idea, says writer Joseph Lachman. His piece in the blog AngryAsianMan notes there had been decades of anti-Japanese sentiment in the U.S. before the war, and Executive Order 9066 was the result of that. Lachman says that historical context won't be included in an upcoming movie, Ni'hau, set in Hawaii right after Pearl Harbor. Not only that, the Hawaiian of Japanese ancestry who is the movie's hero will be played by ... Zach McGowan. To borrow from one of McGowan's shows, that's just Shameless.

You're a cop, a profession that doesn't have a reputation for being black-friendly. One day, you discover you're 18 percent black, and your colleagues decide to have some fun with that. And you sue. For racial discrimination. Not sure how that's going to end up.

He's baaaack: after his The Nightly Show was canceled, a lot of people wondered what Larry Wilmore would do next. The answer seems to be a lot of different things, among them, a podcast that dropped this week: Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air.

So Vogue India celebrates its 10th anniversary. But instead of putting Priyanka Chopra or Mindy Kaling on the cover, they chose ... Kendall Jenner. Why? The blowback has been fierce, as The New York Times reports. Fave clapback: "Disgustingly inappropriate. Were ALL the Indian women unavailable?" Apparently.

Variety reports more African-Americans and Asian-Americans went to the movies in 2016 than other Americans. Not such a surprise for one group, since this year had a few stellar movies with mostly-black casts (Hidden Figures, Moonlight, Fences), and African-Americans over-index in movie attendance anyway. The figures for Asian moviegoers were a surprise, since there wasn't a huge Asian presence on the big screen. But there were a handful of movies which featured white actors playing characters originally written as Asian. (Yes ScarJo, we're looking at you. And you'll remember the famous online dustup between Margaret Cho and Tilda Swinton. Oy.) Lesson to the industry: when you do better about diversifying your offerings, you do better.

It's not just Hollywood. This week Shereen and Kat talk Asian representation on Broadway, how they're seen, why there aren't more of them. And why Broadway, too, needs to do better.

It's the weekend. Take your own turn at doing better at something. We'll be back next week.

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Corrected: May 14, 2017 at 9:00 PM PDT
An earlier version of this story spelled the name of a forthcoming movie set in Hawaii as Ni'hau. The correct spelling of the movie's title is Ni'ihau.
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.