Kai Wright

Kai Wright
Kai Wright Editor-at-Large
New York, NY

Kai Wright is editor-at-large of Colorlines and a reporting fellow of the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. His investigative reporting on economic inequity has closely followed by the housing and jobs crises. He is a regular commentator on National Public Radio and in other broadcast media, and is reporting a series on health care reform for WNYC News.

Kai is author, most recently, of "Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York." He is also the author of two books of African-American history: "The African American Experience: Black History and Culture Through Speeches, Letters, Editorials, Poems, Songs, and Stories," and "Soldiers of Freedom: An Illustrated History of African Americans in the Armed Forces," which explores America's struggle with race as it has been dramatized by the need to staff a viable military.

You can follow Kai on Twitter at @kai_wright and on Instagram. Check out Kai's media appearances here.

BREAKING: Obama Asks Staff to “Closely Monitor” Arizona Law

by Kai Wright on April 23 2010, 11:43AM

President Obama chimed in this morning on Arizona’s pending new law requiring cops to check immigration status of people suspected to be undocumented. In a Rose Garden ceremony for to naturalize 24 service members, he said Congress’ failure to act…

Topics: Immigration

Washington’s War of Words Over Immigration Heats Up

by Kai Wright on April 21 2010, 10:09AM

After days of blistering criticism from Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, both the White House and Congressional Hispanic Caucus leadership pushed back yesterday on immigration reform, insisting the process is moving along. White House spokesperson Bill Burton told Roll Call that…

Topics: Immigration

Gutierrez Rattles Election Saber at Obama Over Immigration

by Kai Wright on April 20 2010, 10:49AM

Rep. Luis Gutierrez is pissed. The Chicago Democrat and Congressional Hispanic Caucus immigration task force chair was once one of President Obama’s loudest Latino advocates. No longer. Here’s what he had to say about the November elections in today’s The…

Topics: Immigration, Politics

Obama: Don’t Holler at Me About ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

by Kai Wright on April 20 2010, 9:27AM

The gay rights group GetEQUAL got under President Obama’s skin a bit last night at a fundraiser for California Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is facing a difficult re-election campaign. Five activists interrupted Obama’s speech big upping Boxer to demand…

Topics: Gender & Sexuality

Michelle: Congress, not Prez to Blame for Slow Immigration Reform

by Kai Wright on April 19 2010, 9:54AM

First Lady Michelle Obama told Univision in Mexico yesterday that the administration hasn’t moved immigration reform to the front burner, as promised, because Congress is too divided. As The Hill reports, Obama argued, “[W]hat we all have to understand…

Topics: Immigration

Regulators Who Ignored Banks’ Predatory Lending

by Kai Wright on April 16 2010, 2:27PM

Sen. Carl Levin spent the morning lashing into former banking regulators who were supposed to have prevented Washington Mutual’s spectacular 2008 failure, which was the largest-ever bank collapse. It’s now clear both the bank and federal regulators knew the subprime…

Topics: Economy

Goodwin Liu as Round 1 of the SUPCO Debate

by Kai Wright on April 16 2010, 11:58AM

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on Goodwin Liu’s nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco today and conservatives are on 10 about it. If approved, Liu will be the only Asian-American judge serving in…


Glenn Beck’s $32M Mouth

by Kai Wright on April 15 2010, 2:21PM

The NYT’s poll of Tea Partiers today offered some concrete answers to the question of who these folks are. More detail on that later, but the top line is they’re often white, male and at least consider their finances to…

Topics: Media

Barbour: Slavery ‘Goes Without Saying,’ Confederate History Flap’s a ‘Nit’

by Kai Wright on April 12 2010, 9:44AM

Looks like Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s on a roll. Fresh off of praising the federal response to Katrina as “generous” — in a speech in New Orleans, no less — the chair of the Republican Governors Association tells CNN…

Topics: History, Politics

GOP Governors’ Chair: Bush Did a Heckuva Job on Katrina

by Kai Wright on April 12 2010, 9:00AM

The Southern Republican Leadership Conference closed out a rich few days in New Orleans over the weekend. On Thursday, Sarah Palin once again urged the faithful to “reload.” A straw poll on Friday and Saturday found Mitt Romney running…

Topics: Katrina, Politics

Workers Tell Senators What They Think About Its Failure [VIDEO]

by Kai Wright on April 9 2010, 10:36AM

The Senate gets back to work next week after its spring break and the opening fight will almost certainly be over unemployment insurance. Before they adjourned, Senators failed to pass a short-term extension of the program — which the…

Topics: Economy, Race and Recession

Morning Browse: Katrina Cop Confession, Summer Jobs, Palin’s Pleased

by Kai Wright on April 8 2010, 10:24AM

Former New Orleans cop Michael Hunter plead guilty yesterday to shooting at unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge following Katrina, offering grisly details of the event that contradict official police reports. Hunter is the first cop actually involved in…

Topics: News Items

South Rides Again in Virginia Governor’s Office

by Kai Wright on April 7 2010, 8:30AM

It’s enough that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a GOP darling, has revived the tradition of declaring April “Confederate History Month.” But what’s truly astonishing is that in bringing it back he dropped from the ceremonial proclamation a previous obligatory nod…

Topics: History, Politics

Morning Browse: Confederate Pride Month, Closed Web, Haiti Schools

by Kai Wright on April 7 2010, 8:00AM

There went the Internet. The U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. ruled yesterday that the FCC lacked the authority to fine Comcast for selectively blocking traffic on its broadband network in 2007. Netroots activists have argued that such regulation is…

Topics: News Items

Urban Count in Census Lagging Again — So Far

by Kai Wright on April 2 2010, 9:57AM

If you live in a big city, particularly in a neighborhood full of people of color, you’ve likely been bombarded with Census advertising in recent weeks. Here’s why: Washington has spent a record $14 billion over the past decade…


Tavis Revives the Less Loved, More Anti-War MLK, Jr.

by Kai Wright on March 31 2010, 11:08AM

Tavis Smiley’s up to more than squabbling with Rev. Al Sharpton and hashing out the “Black agenda”. Tonight, PBS will air the second episode of his four-part, year-long series of special reports. This one will try to unearth a…

Topics: Media

Obama on Tea Party’s ‘Core’ Crazies vs. ‘Legitimate Concerns’

by Kai Wright on March 30 2010, 10:23AM

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy President Obama covered lots of ground on the Today show (taped Monday). Perhaps most interesting was his parry with Matt Lauer’s tired questions about the “tone in Washington.”…

Topics: Politics

Progressives and ‘Bitter’ White America

by Kai Wright on March 29 2010, 12:00PM

Yes, the Tea Party is madness. But what we need, with increasing urgency, is leadership that explicitly aligns working-class white folks and people of color.


Morning Browse: Truth in Spitting, Height’s Alive and Militia Raid

by Kai Wright on March 29 2010, 9:33AM

Tea Partiers say reports of their racist attacks on congressmembers last week are apocryphal. Well, now there’s video of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver getting spit on, at Huffington Post. WSJ explores the gap between Tea Party protest enthusiasm and Tea…

Topics: News Items

Obama’s Slow March Toward Foreclosure Relief

by Kai Wright on March 26 2010, 4:55PM

File it under better late than never: The White House has finally conceded that the foreclosure crisis will not ease until lenders start writing down principals. From the Obama administration’s start, consumer advocates and banking watchdogs have stressed that foreclosures…