Balls Don’t Lie

On the NBA, Black Lives Matter, and “the ritual exploitation that benefits—and damns—us all.”

Published: Sep 27, 2020
Length: 19 minutes (4,983 words)

What a Fraternity Hazing Death Revealed About the Painful Search for an Asian-American Identity

Jay Caspian Kang reports on the death of Michael Deng, a college freshman who died while rushing an Asian-American fraternity, and examines the history of oppression against Asians in the U.S. and how it has shaped a marginalized identity.

Published: Aug 9, 2017
Length: 29 minutes (7,433 words)

‘Our Demand Is Simple: Stop Killing Us’

A profile of two activists, Johnetta Elzie and DeRay Mckesson, who have emerged as prominent protesters in a leaderless movement during a time when police killings have become front-page news across the U.S.

Published: May 4, 2015
Length: 27 minutes (6,966 words)

Ending College Sexual Assault

College campuses are still having a difficult time addressing sexual assault allegations. Can a national movement of activists and a recent campaign by President Obama make things better?

Published: Sep 9, 2014
Length: 32 minutes (8,040 words)

Should Reddit Be Blamed for the Spreading of a Smear?

“Modern journalism is a kind of video game…to be silent is to lose points.” How social media editors for mainstream media sites, feeding off the Reddit community, incorrectly identified a missing 22-year-old Brown University student as one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. The family of Sunil Tripathi, who was later found dead, has now been forced to pick up the pieces:

“At 2:43 a.m., a Twitter user named Greg Hughes (@ghughesca), who was previously tweeting things like, ‘In 2013, all you need [is] a connection to the Boston police scanner and a Twitter feed to know what’s up. We don’t even need TV anymore,’ shifted the now-fervid speculation to established fact: ‘BPD scanner has identified the names,’ Hughes tweeted. ‘Suspect 1: Mike Mulugeta Suspect 2: Sunil Tripathi.’ (Hughes has since all but disappeared from the Internet, and where he got this information is unclear.) Seven minutes later, Kevin Galliford, a journalist for a TV station in Hartford, relayed the same information to his own followers; Galliford’s tweet was retweeted more than 1,000 times in a matter of minutes. The next multiplier came from Andrew Kaczynski, another journalist at BuzzFeed, who sent out the police-scanner misinformation to his 90,000 followers and quickly followed up with: ‘Wow Reddit was right about the missing Brown student per the police scanner. Suspect identified as Sunil Tripathi.’

Published: Jul 26, 2013
Length: 25 minutes (6,381 words)

The End and Don King

The fading spotlight of one of the biggest icons in boxing history:

“If King wants to reflect on the past during this, the evening of his career, he only has to look around his offices at Don King Productions, where he has surrounded himself not only with memorabilia, but also with the same people who helped him rise to the top. Dana Jamison, King’s vice-president of operations, has worked with King for 27 years. His personal photographer has been around for two decades. Of all the people I met associated with Don King, only Tavoris Cloud was under the age of 40. King’s productions feel even older and more out of date. While waiting for him to show up back at the headquarters of Don King Productions, I squeezed into a long-since-abandoned cubicle, careful not to disturb an ancient Brother typewriter and a stack of press releases and legal documents from the late ’90s. In the lobby, there was an old movie theater popcorn machine stamped with Don King’s emblem. One of his employees told me that in the ’90s, that machine had pumped the smell of fresh popcorn into the vents of the building. He couldn’t remember the last time it had been turned on. Out back in a warehouse behind the offices, more than 20,000 square feet of King’s possessions — mostly ornate furniture and towering bronze statues of lions — gathered dust along with seven of King’s cars. Earlier this month, Jessica Lussenhop of the Riverfront Times published an excellent article about King’s ongoing legal battle with St. Louis boxer Ryan Coyne, a conflict that started in November 2012. If you go to today, you will find a story titled ‘Undefeated National Champion Boxer Ryan Coyne Meets Cardinals Three-Time MVP Albert Pujols.'”

Source: Grantland
Published: Apr 4, 2013
Length: 26 minutes (6,640 words)

That Other School Shooting

A school shooting in Oakland—and the suspect, a Korean immigrant—leads to questions within the Korean-American community:

“’I know this shooting had something to do with han, with hwabyung,’ Chung went on. ‘I feel almost guilty saying that, knowing how hurtful those words might be to other members of the Korean community. But all my training, everything I’ve seen, everything I’ve read and my own personal experiences all point to that. This guy was suffering from something that was very Korean.'”

Published: Mar 28, 2013
Length: 22 minutes (5,511 words)

A Question of Identity

Jeremy Lin’s sudden stardom has also put the spotlight on how Asian Americans are viewed in the U.S.:

“Not since Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has there been so much national discussion about the appropriateness of discussing race. The 2008 election set the groundwork for an aggressive sort of colorblindness — as long as you voted for Barack and/or can celebrate, say, Jackie Robinson, you now have the right to flag down anything that might shake us from our post-racial dream. Statements like ‘I see everybody equally, therefore everyone should just talk about him as a basketball player’ and accusations of ‘playing the race card’ have become even more ubiquitous. And although the former signals a nice sentiment, it also provides convenient cover for those of us who benefit most from the status quo, regardless of race. Yes, Jeremy Lin became Linsanity because he has been playing at a level that has recalibrated expectations of any obscure player. And yes, there’s nothing more tiresome than a long-winded meditation on a basketball player, especially if he’s clearly been hijacked to promote some other agenda. But to strip Jeremy Lin of his status as the Great Yellow Hope not only seems dishonest and lazy, it also deprives the community he represents — willfully or not — of the unabashed joy of seeing one of its own succeed in the most improbable arena.”

Source: Grantland
Published: Feb 22, 2012
Length: 8 minutes (2,188 words)

Immigrant Misappropriations: The Importance of Ichiro

The seat was in Area 51, the section of bleachers directly behind the right-field fence that still serves as the unofficial Japanese cheering section. An older Japanese couple sat to my right. Both wore blindingly white Ichiro jerseys and flat-billed Mariners caps. They nodded, using the jerky, polite motion that many older Japanese use when greeting young Americans, and the husband offered me a bite of his plate of garlic fries. When I said, “No, thank you,” his wife smiled, revealing a gold canine tooth that reminded me, strangely enough, of a photo of my great-grandmother taken when she lived on an orchard in what is now North Korea, a few years before the Japanese occupation during World War II that forced her to flee to the South.

Source: Grantland
Published: Jun 14, 2011
Length: 16 minutes (4,125 words)

Online Poker’s Big Winner

The vast sums of money shuttled among the accounts of these young professionals — and the shocking aggressiveness and recklessness with which they played — deepened the divide between the young online players and the older guard who earned their millions when poker was still a game played by men sitting around a table. Since the rise of online poker in the early 2000s, every principle of the game, every lesson learned over hundreds of thousands of hours of play, every simple credo uttered in some old Western gambling movie — all those tersely stated, manly things that made up the legend of poker — has been picked apart and, for the most part, discarded.

Published: Mar 25, 2011
Length: 12 minutes (3,214 words)