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THIS WEEK IN RACE: Bans, Boycotts, Awards — And a Little Kitchen Magic

Director Ava DuVernay of 'The 13th' speaks at a film festival at the Arlington Theatre on February 7, 2017.
Matt Winkelmeyer
Getty Images
Director Ava DuVernay of 'The 13th' speaks at a film festival at the Arlington Theatre on February 7, 2017.

Ooo-Whee: It's Been a Full One

Starting with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision on Thursday evening to not intervene to lift the temporary restraining orderof District Judge James L. Robart. The Seattle-based judge instated the TRO to allow continued travel for people from the seven predominately Muslim countries. The three-panel jurists' decision was unanimous. The president reacted by tweeting "I'LL SEE YOU IN COURT."

A few days before the Ninth Circuit made its decision, the New York Times ran a story featuring actual Muslims who shared how the ban might affect them.

Bans Stayed — For Now — But Deportations...

In Arizona on Wednesday night, protesters gathered after 36 year-old Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who has lived in the US since she was brought here as a 14 year-old, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after a routine bi-annual ICE check-in. Nigel Duara reported for the Los Angeles Times And the Arizona Republic's Daniel Gonzales live-tweeted the protest.

Super Bowl As Litmus Test For Race?

That Game in Houston that quickly became an unwitting parallel to last year's election.Stephen Crockett at The Root opined on why some of the haterade being poured over the Pats had its roots in race.

It's become custom for the championship team to visit the White House soon after the Super Bowl. Three black players for New England have announced they'll skip that trip, though.

Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennett and Dant'a Hightower will be otherwise engaged. Kinda like Tom Brady was in 2015. (Others have also skipped White House visits in the past.)

When Ms. Lizzy Had Them In a Tizzy

A Senate divided on party lines confirmed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as United States Attorney General late Wednesday. The confirmation was not a surprise, nor was the objection by several civil rights groups. Icon Coretta Scott King objected more than 30 years ago, when Sessions was up for an appointment to the federal bench: "Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge," King wrote at the time.

When Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren attempted to read the text of King's letter on the Senate floor before the official vote, she was officially silenced — so she read it on Facebook instead, and got 9 million hits in short order.

At a press conference after the vote, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, after lauding Mrs. King's achievements, praised the new AG: Spicer said Sessions' "record on civil and voting rights, I think is outstanding..." Spicer went on to say he hoped that if Mrs. King was still alive she'd reassess her 1986 objection to Sessions.

Awards Season Continues...

It's Awards season and two biggies will be broadcast over the weekend.

The NAACP Image Awards air on Saturday evening, and rumor is that Lonnie Bunch III, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (it's a mouthful — you can just call it the Blacksonian if you want) will be presented with the President's Award. The honor is given "in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service." He'll be in good company: previous honorees include Muhammad Ali, Ruby Dee and former President Bill Clinton.

The Grammys come the next day. The pregnant-with-twins Mrs. Carterwill be there — she's racked up nine nominations, and will go head-to-head in a couple of categories with Adele (Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year...) We're watching to see if the Grammys follow the other awards shows, where political speeches — pointed and oblique — have been the norm lately.

And we're keeping an eye on the Oscars. This year they aren't so white — there are POCs in several major categories. And a wealth of ethnic perspectives in the documentary section. In our latest podcast Shereen and Gene talk with Ava DuVernay, who's nominated for "13," her film about the rise of the prison-industrial complex. Former "Eyes on the Prize" producer Noland Walker, now of the Independent Television Service (ITVS), also weighs in on the significance of being a Black documentarian.

Lick the Plate

Finally, some happy food for thought: food writer, editor, columnist and radio host Francis Lam will be the new host of "The Splendid Table" when its beloved host Lynne Rossetto Casper steps down at the end of the year. Lam has a self-deprecating, cheeky humor that is addictive — and he always draws connections between food and culture. Here's a preview: Francis' Ginger Scallion Sauce will help turn your sad grocery rotisserie chicken or frozen cutlets into a savory treat. https://youtu.be/J1IsvLU0o8c

Bon appétit. See you next week.

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

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.