Hansi Lo Wang

Hansi Lo Wang is a reporter covering race, ethnicity, and culture for NPR's new Code Switch team.

Based in Washington, D.C., he previously served as a production assistant for NPR's Weekend Edition and was awarded the NPR Kroc Fellowship, during which he reported for NPR's National Desk and Seattle public radio station KUOW.

A Philadelphia native, Wang founded a radio reporting program for high school students in Philadelphia's Chinatown in 2008. He has also worked as a refugee housing coordinator.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science from Swarthmore College. As a student, he hosted, produced, and reported for a weekly, student-run program on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a native Chinese speaker of both Mandarin and Cantonese dialects.

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Code Switch
5:58 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

The Harlem Hellfighters: Fighting Racism In The Trenches Of WWI

The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel by Max Brooks, retells the story of the first African-American unit to fight in World War I.
Caanan White Courtesy of Broadway Books

The 369th Infantry Regiment served 191 days under enemy fire in Europe. They returned home one of the most decorated American units of World War I.

"The French called them the 'Men of Bronze' out of respect, and the Germans called them the 'Harlem Hellfighters' out of fear," explains Max Brooks, author of The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel about the first African-American infantry unit to fight in World War I.

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Code Switch
5:04 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Latinos Live Longer But Struggle To Save Enough For Retirement

Isaias Hernandez (left) counsels Paul Garcia on his finances at the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation in Montebello, Calif.
Courtesy of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 1:26 pm

Many American workers find themselves financially unprepared for retirement. Among racial and ethnic groups, Latinos are the least prepared.

They're one of the fastest-growing racial or ethnic groups, and they have a longer life expectancy than whites and blacks — at about 81 years old.

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Code Switch
6:16 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Changing Demographics A Factor In Rhode Island's Gubernatorial Race

Two supporters of gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo walk past protesting union members outside a rally at which Raimondo announced her run for the Democratic nomination in Rhode Island in January.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 10:06 am

Parades, social clubs and awards dinners are part of the routine of political campaigns everywhere. But if you're running to be Rhode Island's next governor, then there's one more stop you just can't miss.

Namely, the makeshift studios of Latino Public Radio, which is housed in a two-story, single-family home complete with a living room, dog and cat.

This local Spanish-language radio station based in Cranston, R.I., was co-founded almost a decade ago by Pablo Rodriguez.

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Code Switch
4:40 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

To Play The Part, Actors Must Talk The Talk — In Chinese

Chinese billionaire Xander Feng, played by Terry Chen, shakes hands with Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, in Netflix's House of Cards.
Nathaniel E. Bell Courtesy of Netflix

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:08 am

The success of the Netflix series House of Cards lies in the details.

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Code Switch
5:53 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Asian-American Contestant, 'Villain' Of 'Jeopardy,' Set To Return

Game show contestant Arthur Chu with host Alex Trebek on the set of Jeopardy!
Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 12:55 pm

If there are any unwritten rules to playing Jeopardy! Arthur Chu may have broken them all.

During his four-day winning streak in late January, he sometimes interrupted host Alex Trebek and cut in before the host could finish a sentence. He often jumped to the hardest clues on the board first and furiously tapped his buzzer whenever he knew the answer.

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Code Switch
6:07 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

For Abused Native American Women, New Law Provides A 'Ray Of Hope'

Deborah Parker, vice chair of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington state, reacts to President Barack Obama signing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 in Washington.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

This Thursday, three Native American tribes are changing how they administer justice.

For almost four decades, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling has barred tribes from prosecuting non-American Indian defendants. But as part of last year's re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a new program now allows tribes to try some non-Indian defendants in domestic abuse cases.

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Code Switch
10:37 am
Wed February 19, 2014

After Tour, Medal For WWII Japanese-American Soldiers Returns Home

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, shown here in a 1944 photo taken in France, returned home from World War II as one of the most decorated U.S. military units.
Courtesy of National Archives

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 10:55 am

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Code Switch
9:53 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Walking Down The Widening Aisle Of Interracial Marriages

Kelly Mottershead and Louie Okamoto held a beach party last October for their wedding ceremony in Carmel, Calif.
Dana Barsuhn Courtesy of Louie Okamoto

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 11:13 am

Editor's Note: Code Switch has been engaged in a month-long exploration of romance across racial and cultural lines. Follow the Twitter conversation via the hashtag #xculturelove.

The numbers are small but growing.

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Code Switch
12:13 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

National Puerto Rican Day Parade Reorganizes After Misuse Of Funds

Parade onlookers cheer marchers in last year's National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 3:32 pm

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be marching down New York City's Fifth Avenue under new leadership this year.

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Around the Nation
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Even As Ban Lifts, Many Remain Wary Of Tap Water

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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Code Switch
3:59 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

White House Picks Choctaw Nation To Fight Poverty In Oklahoma

Chief Gregory Pyle (left) and Assistant Chief Gary Batton stand in front of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma's Capitol building in Tuskahoma, Okla.
Larissa Copeland Courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared his "War on Poverty," President Obama issued his own plan to combat poverty Thursday with the nation's first five "Promise Zones."

All "Promise Zones" will receive a competitive advantage when applying for federal grants, on-site support from federal officials, and, pending congressional approval, tax incentives for businesses hiring and investing in the community.

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Code Switch
1:21 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Films With Black Actors, Directors Go To 11 In 2013

Monica Calhoun (left), Melissa De Sousa and Nia Long star in The Best Man Holiday, one of this year's eleven top-grossing films starring black actors and by black directors.
Michael Gibson Universal Pictures

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 9:33 am

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year — numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. You'll hear the stories behind numbers ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

When it comes to race and film, the number of the year is 11.

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Race
2:34 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Chinese-American Descendants Uncover Forged Family Histories

William Wong (standing) poses with his parents and nephew in an old family photo. Wong's mother immigrated to the U.S. from China as his father's "sister" to bypass the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Courtesy of William Wong

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:30 pm

What if you discovered the last name you've lived with since birth is fake?

That's what happened in many Chinese-American families who first came to the U.S. before World War II, when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned Chinese laborers from legally entering the country.

The law, formally repealed by Congress 70 years ago Tuesday, prompted tens of thousands of Chinese to use forged papers to enter the U.S. illegally.

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Code Switch
12:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

New Pilot Program Gives Immigrant Detainees Public Defenders

Matthew Diller, dean of Yeshiva University's Cardozo School of Law, talks with press about the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project in June.
Cardozo School of Law

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:34 am

In the American criminal justice system, you have the right to an attorney. And if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

That's not the case if you're a defendant in U.S. immigration court. Immigration proceedings are civil matters, and the Constitution does not extend the right to court-appointed attorneys to immigrant detainees.

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Code Switch
1:07 am
Tue November 19, 2013

A New Life For An Old Slave Jail

Formerly known as the Alexandria Slave Pen, this ashen gray row house in Alexandria, Va., once housed one of the country's largest slave-dealing firms.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 5:31 pm

President Abraham Lincoln stood on a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa., 150 years ago and declared "a new birth of freedom" for the nation.

That same year, an African-American man named Lewis Henry Bailey experienced his own rebirth. At age 21, Bailey was freed from slavery in Texas. His journey began in Virginia, where he was sold as a child in a slave jail.

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Code Switch
3:20 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Asian-American Lawyers Act Like '22 Lewd Chinese Women'

Attorney Francis Chin (center) runs through his lines with Yang Chen at a rehearsal for 22 Lewd Chinese Women, the latest trial re-enactment by the Asian American Bar Association of New York.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

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NPR Story
3:46 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Amid A Rough Patch, Howard University Faces Flagging Morale

Students walk by Founders Library on Howard University campus in Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 3:12 pm

Howard University, one of the country's most prominent historically black schools, has hit a rough patch in recent months.

The school's Faculty Senate recently voted no confidence in leaders of the school's Board of Trustees. That vote came just weeks after Howard's president announced a surprise early retirement and Moody's Investors Service downgraded the university's credit rating, as my Code Switch teammate Gene Demby has reported.

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Law
5:11 am
Sun November 3, 2013

N.Y. Stop-And-Frisk Reforms On Hold For New Year, New Mayor

New York police officers walk through a Brooklyn housing development in August.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 1:45 pm

In New York City, the country's largest police force has been involved in a high-profile legal battle over its stop-and-frisk policy.

Few policies of outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have been as controversial as stop-and-frisk, the tactic New York police use to stop people on the streets without a search warrant.

The police department says it's been vital in catching criminals and reducing the city's crime rate.

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Code Switch
4:01 am
Sun October 27, 2013

N.Y. Chinatown Family Finds Roots In Early Chinese Cinema

Harold Lee's son Henry, perched on the roof of a camera truck, helped produce and import Chinese-language films from Hong Kong and China in the late 1940s.
Courtesy of the Lee Family

Douglas Lee thought he knew just about everything about the family business.

Since the late 1930s, the Lee family has sold insurance at 31 Pell Street in New York City's Chinatown. Their entrepreneurial roots in the Chinese-American community stretch back to 1888, when the Lees opened a grocery store at the same location.

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Code Switch
4:44 am
Sat October 19, 2013

'12 Years' Is The Story Of A Slave Whose End Is A Mystery

In the new film adaptation of Twelve Years A Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841.
Jaap Buitendijk Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 9:18 am

There's a true American saga on screens this weekend.

Twelve Years a Slave tells the story of Solomon Northup. He was an African-American musician from New York — a free man, until he was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., and sold into slavery. After an unlikely rescue from a Louisiana cotton plantation, he returned home and wrote a memoir, first published 160 years ago.

But the end of Northup's story is an unsolved mystery that has confounded historians for years.

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Code Switch
4:37 am
Sat October 5, 2013

'Linsanity': For Asian Fans, It Felt Just Like 'Young Love'

Jeremy Lin fans cheer during a game between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in March 2012.
Drew Hallowell Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 10:44 am

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Code Switch
5:01 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

After Drop, Number Of Immigrants Illegally In U.S. Levels Off

Young people stand in line in Los Angeles to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows qualified immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to study or work openly.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

The latest estimate by the Pew Research Center puts the number of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. at 11.7 million.

This new number, based on U.S. government data, can be found in a report released Monday titled "Population Decline of Unauthorized Immigrants Stalls, May Have Reversed." The key word in that headline is "may." As the authors write in the report:

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Economy
2:55 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

Stuck In Poverty Amid Signs Of Recovery

Food distributed by the Manna Food Center is packed in cardboard boxes to be loaded into clients' cars.
Chloe Coleman NPR

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 3:45 pm

For the third year in a row, the poverty rate has remained stuck at about 15 percent. Nearly one in six Americans was living in poverty in 2012, according to a new report by the Census Bureau. Despite a slow-moving economic recovery, these latest numbers show that for poor Americans, there are few signs of any recovery.

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Code Switch
5:19 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

'Baby Veronica' Custody Battle Continues

Veronica, the child at the center of an adoption dispute, smiles in the bathroom of the Cherokee Nation Jack Brown Center in Oklahoma.
Mike Simons/Tulsa World AP

The U.S. Supreme Court may have decided almost three months ago the case known as Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. But the young Native American girl known as "Baby Veronica," who turns 4 years old on Sunday, is still stuck in legal limbo.

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Code Switch
3:46 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Asians-Only Volleyball Brings Community Together

Sam Li, 52 (center, lime green) has been playing 9-man volleyball for nearly 30 years and keeps up with the younger players.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 9:23 am

Volleyball games are stopping traffic on one of Washington, D.C.'s landmark streets, Pennsylvania Avenue, this Labor Day weekend.

More than 1,000 players from across the U.S. and Canada have gathered in the nation's capital to bump, set and spike in an annual tournament with unusual rules.

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U.S.
10:33 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Crowd Amped Up For March On Washington Commemoration

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

Fifty years ago today, more than a quarter million Americans stepped out of chartered buses, trains and cars and marched towards the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. This morning, thousands have come again to the nation's capital to retrace those steps and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for jobs and freedom.

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Race
3:07 pm
Sat August 24, 2013

50 Years Later, A March On Washington Among Generations

Demonstrators on Saturday in Washington, D.C., commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 1:55 pm

They came by the beat of drums: grandparents with their grandchildren, community organizers and activists, church members and college students.

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Code Switch
1:18 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Renowned Kung Fu Master Inspires Slew Of Action Flicks

Tony Leung (center) fends off challengers as Wing Chun kung fu master Ip Man in Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster.
The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 11:34 am

Forty years after his death, there's a name that's become practically synonymous with Chinese kung fu films.

And no, it's not Bruce Lee.

It's actually his teacher, Ip Man.

The late kung fu master's life story has inspired more movie releases than Spider-Man. The five films so far include Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster, which opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

The Filmmakers' Creation

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Code Switch
1:05 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Not Just A 'Black Thing': An Asian-American's Bond With Malcolm X

Kochiyama looks at a memorial for World War II Japanese-American internees at the Rohwer Relocation Center in Rohwer, Ark., in 2004.
Mike Wintroath AP

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 10:55 am

The brief friendship of Malcolm X and Yuri Kochiyama began close to 50 years ago with a handshake.

Diane Fujino, chairwoman of the Asian-American studies department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, details the moment in her biography Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama.

Kochiyama and her eldest son, 16-year-old Billy, were arrested along with hundreds of other people, mainly African-Americans, during a protest in Brooklyn, N.Y., in October 1963.

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Race
3:29 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Chinatown's 'White Devil John' Sentenced To 20 Years

John Willis, also known as "White Devil John" in Cantonese, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for money laundering and drug charges.
Jane Collins for NPR

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 1:29 pm

The conviction this week of mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger put an end to one of Boston's highest-profile crime sagas.

Less well-known, though, is the case of John Willis, a white man from Dorchester, Mass., who was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.

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