Code Switch

By NPR

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Description

Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get...stuck? Code Switch can help. We're all journalists of color, and this isn't just the work we do. It's the lives we lead. Sometimes, we'll make you laugh. Other times, you'll get uncomfortable. But we'll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic. Come mix it up with us.

Episode Date
Looking For Marriage In All The Wrong Places
1936
Online matchmaking sites are making it easier than ever for couples seeking an arranged marriage to meet. Well...not all couples.
Jun 20, 2018
Twenty-First Century Blackface
1874
We have one story of how blackface was alive and well on network television in Colombia until 2015.
Jun 13, 2018
What We Inherit
1598
On this episode, the story of one family's struggle to end a toxic cycle of inter-generational trauma from forced assimilation. Getting back to their Native Alaskan cultural traditions is key.
Jun 06, 2018
A Thousand Ways To Kneel And Kiss The Ground
1469
Last week, the NFL announced a new policy to penalize players who kneel during the national anthem. The announcement drew fresh attention to the century-old tightrope that outspoken black athletes — from Floyd Patterson to Rose Robinson to Colin Kaepernick – have had to walk in order to compete and live by their principles.
May 30, 2018
Of Bloodlines and Conquistadors
1993
Hispanos have lived side by side the Pueblo people for centuries—mixing cultures, identities and even bloodlines. But recently, tensions have risen among the two populations over Santa Fe's annual conquistador pageant, known as La Entrada, which celebrates the arrival of the Spanish.
May 23, 2018
What's Black And Gray And Inked All Over?
1435
Black-and-gray tattoos have become increasingly popular over the last four decades. But many people don't realize that the style has its roots in Chicano art, Catholic imagery and "prison ingenuity." (Yes, they were called Prison-Style tattoos for a reason.) Freddy Negrete, a pioneer in the industry, started tattooing fellow inmates in the early 1970s. And while he's no longer tatting people up with guitar strings and ballpoint pens, he's still using some of the same techniques he mastered back in the day.
May 16, 2018
Tough Questions For The World's Toughest Job
1877
Mother's Day is coming up, so we're taking on your most difficult questions around parenting. We'll talk about choosing a school, raising bilingual children, modeling gender identity, and what to do if your kid's afraid of black people.
May 09, 2018
Code Switch Census Watch 2020
1731
We've said it before: The U.S. Census is way more than cold, hard data. It informs what we call ourselves and how we're represented. On this episode, we explore the controversial citizenship question that the Trump administration added to the 2020 census. We also talk about how the U.S. Census helped create the 'Hispanic' label.
May 02, 2018
It's Bigger Than The Ban
2529
Muslims make up a little over one percent of the U.S. population, but they seem to take up an outsized space in the American imagination. On this episode we explore why that is.
Apr 25, 2018
Members of Whose Tribe?
1905
Today, Americans tend to think of Jewish people as white folks, but it wasn't always that way. On this episode, we dig into the complex role Jewish identity has played in America's racial story — especially now, when anti-Semitism is on the rise.
Apr 18, 2018
Location! Location! Location!
2119
It's the force that animates so much of what we cover on Code Switch. And on the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, we take a look at some ways residential segregation is still shaping the ways we live. We head to a border with an ironic name , before dropping in on a movement to remap parts of the South.
Apr 11, 2018
The Road To The Promised Land, 50 Years Later
1411
Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tenn. This week, we have two stories about the aftermath of his death. The first takes us to Memphis to remember King's final days. The second brings us to Oakland, Calif., where King's assassination "transformed the position of the Black Panther Party overnight."
Apr 04, 2018
Amara La Negra: Too Black To Be Latina? Too Latina To Be Black?
2136
People are constantly telling Amara La Negra that she doesn't fit anywhere. Sometimes, she's "too black to be Latina." Other times, she's "too Latina to be black." But Amara says afro-Latinas aren't rare and they're no cause for confusion — they're just in dire need of more representation.
Mar 28, 2018
The Madness Of March
1576
The NCAA men's basketball tournament is going on right now and will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The coaches and commissioners who benefit are overwhelmingly white. The players on the court are MOSTLY black. So what, if anything, are those players owed?
Mar 21, 2018
Who Is 'Us,' Anyway?
1217
"Shouldn't you help out your own community first?" That's the question we're exploring this week via our play-cousins at Latino USA. A black celebrity is criticized for helping a Latino immigrant. On this episode, that celebrity makes his case.
Mar 14, 2018
Searching For A Home After Hate
1097
In February 2017, Srinivas Kutchibhotla fell victim to an alleged hate crime. In the aftermath, his widow, Sunayana Dumala, had her life and her immigration status thrown into question. Now, she's trying to figure out what it means to stay — and find community — in the small Kansas town where her husband was killed.
Mar 07, 2018
A House Divided By Immigration Status
1069
All four of the Gonzalez kids grew up under one roof, in Los Angeles, Calif. But when the oldest was in middle school, she realized that she and her siblings might have drastically different lives. That's because she comes from a mixed-status family, where some members are free to work, and others are constrained by the fear of deportation.
Feb 28, 2018
Throw Some Respeck On My Name
1650
It's Alabama, 1963. A black woman stands before a judge, but she refuses to acknowledge him until he addresses her by an honorific given to white women: "Miss." On this week's episode, we revisit the forgotten story of Mary Hamilton, a Freedom Rider who struck a blow against a pervasive form of disrespect.
Feb 21, 2018
Feelings, Finances And Fetishes: Love Is A Racial Battlefield
1607
To get y'all in the mood for Valentine's Day, we're exploring some of our juiciest listener love questions. Should your race and gender affect how much you pay into a relationship? What's the difference between a preference and a fetish? And what's the quickest way for black women to find love?
Feb 14, 2018
It's Not Just About The Blood
1313
If you're Native American, who or what gets to define your identity? We dive into an old system intended to measure the amount of "Indian blood" a person has. We hear from two families about how they've come to understand their own Native identities and how they'll pass that on to future generations.
Feb 07, 2018
The State Of Our Union Is...Uh, How Much Time You Got?
1887
On the occasion of President Trump's first State of the Union speech, we're looking at where things stand on civil rights at the Justice Department, the state of play for the country's white nationalist fringe, and how Puerto Rico is faring as the federal government prepares to cut off its emergency aid.
Jan 31, 2018
The 'R-Word' In The Age Of Trump
1473
When Donald Trump allegedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries as "shitholes," we called his comments r-...rr-...really really vulgar. Why were we so afraid to call them racist?
Jan 24, 2018
A Racial Impostor Epidemic
1157
Our episode about multi-racial people and their search for identity struck a nerve. Now we're asking, "What other stories do you want to hear?"
Jan 17, 2018
This Racism Is Killing Me Inside
1860
On this weeks episode we hear the story of Shalon Irving, who passed away after giving birth to her daughter. Black women in the United States are 243 percent more likely than white women to die of pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. There's evidence that shows this gap is caused by the "weathering" effects of racism.
Jan 10, 2018
Before We Give 2017 The Middle Finger, Part 2
1579
This week, Gene Demby talks with ESPN's Jemele Hill. The SportsCenter anchor discusses becoming a lightning rod in the culture wars and the flimsy partition between politics and sports. And we'll look ahead to a year of looking back: the 50th anniversaries of the tumultuous events of 1968.
Jan 03, 2018
Before We Give 2017 The Middle Finger, Part 1
2265
In this episode: lessons learned post-Charlottesville, the Latinas who said "me, too" before it went viral, race-and-rep wins in pop-culture and some of this year's real-life losses. You'll yell, you'll cheer, you'll shed a tear.
Dec 27, 2017
Black Atheists, White Santas, And A Feast For The Deceased
1589
We're answering your holiday race questions: Why do we still think of Santa as white? Are POCs responsible for calling-out the racism at holiday parties? How do you tell your black family you're a non-believer? And, can you resurrect a dead family tradition?
Dec 20, 2017
With Dope, There's High Hope
1591
As of January 1, it will be legal to sell recreational cannabis in California. But as the legal weed market gains traction, people of color who were targeted by the drug war are being left out of the green rush. This week, we revisit the history of marijuana in the U.S. ― and how its criminalization has everything to do with race.
Dec 13, 2017
17,000 Islands, 700 Languages, And A Superhero
1143
Indonesia is one of the most ethnically diverse countries on Earth. And while that pluralism is embraced in the country's founding documents, its ethnic Chinese minority has been persecuted for generations. NPR's Ari Shapiro tells the story of a young Indonesian of Chinese descent, who is trying to navigate his country's roiling tensions.
Dec 06, 2017
Disrespect To Miss-Respect
1649
It's Alabama, 1963. A black woman stands before a judge, but she refuses to acknowledge him until he addresses her by an honorific given to white women: "Miss." On this week's episode, we revisit the forgotten story of Mary Hamilton, a Freedom Rider who struck a blow against a pervasive form of disrespect.
Nov 29, 2017
A Code Switch Thanksgiving Feast
1255
It's a Thanksgiving mashup episode! We speak to Lin-Manuel Miranda about Puerto Rico, a parenting expert about tense family gatherings, and a Native professor about the truth behind the holiday. And for desert, the debate of our time: pumpkin or sweet potato pie?
Nov 22, 2017
Live From Chicago...It's Code Switch!
2728
Hosts Shereen and Gene take on Chi-City with help from Chicago-natives Eve Ewing and Natalie Y. Moore, plus Code Switch's play cousin, Hari Kondabolu. Ewing opens the show with a poem from her new collection, Electric Arches. Kondabolu talks about his upcoming documentary, "The Problem with Apu." And Moore brings her Chicago-expertise to some tough questions from our listeners.
Nov 15, 2017
Reflections On A Year At Ron Brown High
1734
We spent the past three episodes looking at the first year of a high school for black boys in Washington, D.C. Now, we're taking a look back on our reporting. What does it mean for a school like Ron Brown to exist — and what does that say about our society?
Nov 08, 2017
To Fail Or Not To Fail: The Fierce Debate Over High Standards
2983
With 40 percent of its students at risk of failing, one radical new high school in Washington, D.C. wrestles with whether to lower its own high expectations.
Nov 01, 2017
'They Can't Just Be Average,' Lifting Students Up Without Lowering The Bar
2808
In a radical new high school in Washington, D.C., the push for academic success sometimes clashes with providing young men the love and support they need to thrive.
Oct 25, 2017
A Year Of Love And Struggle In A New High School
2596
Too many young, black men struggle in America's education system. Washington D.C. is trying to do something about it with a new, boys-only high school. NPR's Cory Turner and Education Week's Kavitha Cardoza spent hundreds of hours there, reporting on the birth of a school built on one word: Love.
Oct 18, 2017
The Passing Of A "Failing" School
2301
When a school shuts down, students lose more than a place of learning; they lose friends, mentors and a community. This is an experience that disproportionately affects black students in the U.S. Shereen Marisol Meraji looks at what it's like when a predominantly black suburb outside Pittsburgh loses its only public high school.
Oct 11, 2017
Puerto Rico, My Heart's Devotion
1351
The haphazard response to Hurricane Maria has underscored the tricky, in-between space that Puerto Ricans occupy. They're U.S. citizens — although nearly half of the country doesn't know that. But those who live in Puerto Rico don't enjoy many of the same privileges as citizens on the mainland. In this week's episode, Shereen travels to one of the most Puerto Rican enclaves in the country to explore the fraught relationship Puerto Ricans have with their American-ness.
Oct 04, 2017
Befuddled By Babies, Love And Ice Pops? Ask Code Switch
1671
When social interactions become racially charged, sometimes even the most woke among us are prone to faux pas. So this week, we're taking on our listeners' most burning questions about race. We'll talk weddings. We'll talk kiddos. And most of all, we'll talk paletas.
Sep 27, 2017
A Weed Boom, But For Whom?
1678
The history of cannabis in the U.S. ― and its criminalization ― is deeply interwoven with race. As the legal cannabis market gains traction, people of color who were targeted by the drug war could be left out of the green rush.
Sep 18, 2017
It's Getting (Dangerously) Hot in Herre
1786
On this week's episode we talk about why certain communities are more vulnerable to catastrophic weather events like hurricanes and heat waves. Saying "mother nature doesn't discriminate," ignores the fact that discrimination exacerbates her wrath.
Sep 13, 2017
An Advertising Revolution: "Black People Are Not Dark-Skinned White People"
1694
How do you get black people to buy cigarettes made for cowboys and antebellum-style beer? Turns out, you don't. On this episode: Tom Burrell, who transformed the ad industry with a simple motto, "Black people are not dark-skinned white people."
Sep 06, 2017
'I'm Not A Racist, I'm Argentine!'
1234
On this week's episode, a viral video gives us the opportunity to talk about racism towards and within the Latino community. When a Latino flipped over a street vendor's cart in Los Angeles, many were surprised it was a Latino-on-Latino incident. We'll talk about why the video is surprising and why it isn't.
Aug 30, 2017
The Unfinished Battle In the Capital Of The Confederacy
1885
As calls to remove Confederate memorials grow louder, we head to Richmond, Va., where the veneration of Confederate leaders has been a source of local pride — and revulsion — for more than a century.
Aug 23, 2017
Charlottesville
1920
After a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville spiraled into deadly violence, residents of the Virginia town do some soul-searching. Plus: a scholar on the politics of white resentment, and a GOP operative worries about the party's long-term future.
Aug 16, 2017
Who's Your Great-Great-Great-Great Granddaddy?
1630
Spit into a tube and get in touch with your ancestors! Or not. On this episode we interview the founder of a project that uses DNA tests to talk about race in America. And Kim TallBear, a Native American anthropologist, says why she thinks DNA tests don't really tell you much about yourself.
Aug 09, 2017
The U.S. Census and Our Sense of Us
1544
The Census is so much more than cold, hard data. It's about what we call ourselves, the ways we see ourselves and how we're represented. On this episode we ask the former head of the Census bureau why he quit. We talk about how the Census helped create 'Hispanic' identity. And we talk through some of the proposed race and ethnicity categories that may show up on the 2020 questionnaire.
Aug 02, 2017
What's Good? Talking Hip-Hop and Race With Stretch & Bobbito
1431
Shereen and Gene mix it up with the pioneering hip-hop radio hosts Stretch and Bobbito. These impresarios ran a legendary show in New York City during most of the 1990s. Now they're hosting an interview podcast featuring guests like Stevie Wonder, Dave Chappelle and Mahershala Ali.
Jul 26, 2017
What's So Wrong With African Americans Wearing African Clothes?
1498
Leila Day and Hana Baba are hosts of a new podcast called The Stoop. It features conversations black people have amongst themselves — but rarely in public. The pair swing by to talk with Shereen and Gene about their show, and share an episode about a very thorny question: Can African-Americans wear clothing and accessories that originated with African cultures they're not familiar with?
Jul 19, 2017
A Police Video From Charlotte
2647
This encore presentation goes deep on a case involving a white police officer and an unarmed black man in Charlotte, NC. Videos in police-involved shootings can add detail to these cases, but as our colleague Kelly McEvers of the Embedded podcast reports, what you see depends on who you are.
Jul 12, 2017
The Supreme Court Decides In Favor Of A Racial Slur...Now What?
1186
The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided in favor of Simon Tam, front man of the band The Slants. The group has been fighting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for nearly a decade, for the right to use the slur.
Jul 05, 2017
It's Our Anniversary
1998
Shereen and Gene celebrate our first year on the podcast. We take a look back to some memorable stories with updates from the team and some of our guests.
Jun 28, 2017
What To Make Of Philando Castile's Death, One Year Later
1322
In the aftermath of the acquittal of the officer who shot and killed Philando Castile, Gene and Shereen speak to a reporter who has followed the case since the beginning. We also speak to a friend of Castile's.
Jun 21, 2017
Encore: 'You're A Grand Old Flag'
1849
Why do some people of color embrace the American flag while others refuse to wave it? In this episode from the Code Switch archives, Gene Demby and Adrian Florido unpack the complicated patriotism and evolving use of the flag with immigrant rights protesters and Native American veterans.
Jun 14, 2017
A Prescription For "Racial Imposter Syndrome"
1773
Shereen and Gene look at "racial imposter syndrome." It's what one listener described as feeling fake, or inauthentic, in her identity. We invited listeners to write in, and hundreds of bi-racial and multi-cultural people shared their views. We'll also talk to social scientists about the basic need for belonging and the role language plays in identity. Later, writer Heidi Durrow joins us. She's founder of The Mixed-Remixed Festival, the largest annual gathering of its kind in the U.S.
Jun 07, 2017
'Give It Up For DJ Blackface!'
1710
This week, we follow the strange trend of white dance-music DJs who pass themselves off as black artists. Gene talks to legendary House music DJ Ron Trent. The European producer Guy Tavares chimes in from The Netherlands on what he sees as overhyped controversy. Piotr Orlov, who covers dance music for NPR weighs in on what this all means for music fans.
Jun 01, 2017
We're Still Talking About "My Family's Slave"
1919
This week, we join the global conversation on The Atlantic's essay "My Family's Slave," in which Alex Tizon writes about Eudocia Tomas Pulido, who was his family's katulong, or domestic servant, for 56 years. Why did Eudocia's story hit such a raw nerve in the U.S. and the Philippines? Shereen and Gene talk to Vicente Rafael, a professor who has studied and written about the practice in his native Philippines. We also hear from Lydia Catina Amaya, a Filipina who was a katulong in the Philippines and the United States. And we talk to Melissa Tizon, the author's widow. Eudocia Tomas Pulido lived in their home for the last 12 years of her life.
May 24, 2017
Japanese Americans Exiled In Utah
1091
The story of over 100,000 Japanese Americans enduring life in internment camps during WW II is well known, but a few thousand avoided the camps, entirely by, essentially, self-exiling. Code Switch correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates talks with research historian Diana Tsuchida, about the hidden history of Japanese Americans who survived by creating farming communities, like the one in Keetley, Utah. We also hear directly from survivors about life as internally displaced American citizens.
May 20, 2017
Master of None's Alan Yang Unpacks Season 2
1415
Gene and guest co-host Lenika Cruz, who covers culture at The Atlantic, welcome Alan Yang. He and comedian Aziz Ansari created an Emmy-winning comedy series that stepped comfortably out of the usual TV comfort zones. Master of None just premiered an already beloved second season, and Yang talks about making bold creative choices, crafting inclusive stories, and writing complex characters with an Asian American lead at the center of it all.
May 17, 2017
The Blessing (And Curse?) Of Miss Saigon
1319
Miss Saigon has returned to Broadway. When the hit musical was first performed was controversial for its stereotypes and story and casting choices. Shereen is joined by teammate Kat Chow to explore Miss Saigon's journey in 2017.
May 10, 2017
Talking Black-ish With Star Yara Shahidi And Creator Kenya Barris
1848
Black-ish creator (Kenya) and the show's 17-year-old star (Yara) talk about what's next for them on TV and in real life. Kenya explains why he's never felt pressure to explain cultural jokes. Yara breaks down ways Gen Z is ahead of the rest of us. Plus, they preview a possible spin-off!
May 03, 2017
The LA Unrest (Or Riots) 25 Years Later
1246
We hear from a Latino city councilman who was there when it all went down, a Korean-American who worked at her family's gas station in Compton and a prominent black pastor who gave a memorable sermon to his South LA congregation. Oh, and we tag in our play cousins Mandalit Del Barco and David Greene for this one.
Apr 29, 2017
John Leguizamo, Still In Search Of John Leguizamo
1650
This week, Gene welcomes NPR's Audie Cornish to talk about multi-talented writer, producer and comedian John Leguizamo. As a performer, he's mined his Latino identity through his own family and old New York neighborhoods for decades. Audie interviewed Leguizamo in New York during the current run of his latest one-man show, Latin History For Morons. Now a father, Leguizamo struggles with what he knows and what he can teach his son and daughter about being Latino in the U.S., while challenging himself to be the dad he'd always wanted his own father to be.
Apr 26, 2017
Mailbag! Listener Questions and Comments That Got Us Thinking
1459
Shereen and Gene tackle listeners' reactions to recent episodes. One wants to know the difference between Persian and Iranian. (It's complicated.) Another wants more details about the risks to churches for becoming sanctuaries. (We asked a lawyer.) And a professor gave us a "loving critique" of our episode on Native hunting rights and sovereignty. (Thank you.) Plus a special call-out to the racial imposter in you.
Apr 19, 2017
How One Inmate Changed The Prison System From The Inside
703
In this Podcast Extra, NPR correspondent Joe Shapiro recalls the life and legacy of Martin Sostre, someone he first reported on as a student in the 1970s. Sostre died a free man in 2015. But he spent at least nine years of his life in solitary confinement, including in the notorious Attica prison. Today, Sostre's life and pioneering prisoners' rights work is largely hidden from the public.
Apr 15, 2017
The Beef Over Native American Hunting Rights
1273
Shereen and Gene welcome reporter Nate Hegyi, who spent a day in Montana with a Nez Perce hunting party, a tribe that faces strong opposition from some who see these rights as unfair and out of sync with modern life.
Apr 12, 2017
Changing Colors In Comics
1647
Gene and guest host Glen Weldon (our play cousin from Pop Culture Happy Hour) explore how comics are used as spaces for mapping race and identity. Gene visits Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse in Philadelphia, and chats with proprietor Ariell Johnson who is reclaiming the comic book store, which once made her uneasy as a black fan. Meanwhile, C. Spike Trotman, another black woman, has made a name for herself as an online comics publisher of Iron Circus Comics in Chicago. We also talk to artist and designer Ronald Wimberly for his perspective as a black creator who has worked for Marvel and DC, the titans of corporate comics.
Apr 05, 2017
Podcast Extra En Español: Jeanette Vizguerra
856
Jeanette Vizguerra speaks with Adrian Florido about her experience living in the church where she's taken sanctuary as she fights her deportation case. Jeanette Vizguerra habla con Adrián Florido sobre su experiencia viviendo en la iglesia donde ha tomado santuario mientras disputa su caso de deportación.
Apr 01, 2017
Sanctuary Churches: Who Controls The Story?
1314
Code Switch's Adrian Florido has been covering the new sanctuary movement for us. For this episode, he spoke to key players to understand why hundreds of churches are ready to start a public fight with the current administration to prevent deportations of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. He also looks at why the movement has to wrestle with important questions: Who controls the story and the message? How much say does an individual or family have in how a sanctuary church leverages their story? Adrian also has a candid talk with Jeanette Vizguerra, who is living inside a Colorado church, as she fights a legal deportation battle. It could be years before she is able to step outside the church. As Adrian reports, the decisions, intentions and relationships complicate the work of sanctuary churches.
Mar 29, 2017
A Bittersweet Persian New Year
1418
It's springtime, and the celebration of rebirth and the New Year in Iranian-American communities is tempered by the recent rise in Islamaphobic incidents and ongoing uncertainties around the travel ban. To mark Nowruz, Gene and Shereen talk about what's bitter and what's sweet with Nilou Motamed, the Iranian-American editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine, and visit with Code Switch friend and comedian Negin Farsad.
Mar 22, 2017
The 80-Year Mystery Around 'Fred Douglas' Park
390
In Nashville, there was a time when the idea of a "Negro park" ruffled feathers. For more than 80 years, there's been confusion about whether a park originally created during segregation and named for a seemingly nonexistent "Fred Douglas" might have actually been intended to honor the great abolitionist and statesman. Reporter Blake Farmer of member station WPLN explores the park's controversial history and how the city finally decided to clarify the park's name.
Mar 18, 2017
Not-So-Simple Questions From Code Switch Listeners
1224
Gene and Shereen tackle some Code Switch listeners' questions about race and identity with a voice coach, a professor of children's literature, and two former interns who are now reporters: What's someone really asking when they say "What are you?" Where did the archetype of "The Magical Negro" come from? How has the meaning of "woke" evolved? And what does it mean to sound like an American in 2017? And many other questions in between the lines.
Mar 15, 2017
Safety-Pin Solidarity: With Allies, Who Benefits?
1891
Does wearing safety pins and giving speeches at awards shows make you an ally? On this episode we explore the conundrums of ally-ship with activist and blogger ShiShi Rose, who helped organize the Women's March, Taz Ahmed, co-host of the GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast, the Reverend Timothy Murphy, and our editor, Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. We also talk with the co-founder of a black-owned company that teaches white people how to be better allies, for a fee.
Mar 08, 2017
In Search Of Puerto Rican Identity In Small-Town America
1364
Puerto Ricans are migrants not immigrants, Spanish and English, domestic yet foreign — as we like to say on Code Switch, it's complicated. A hundred years ago this week, Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens by law with the passing of the Jones Act. Since then, they've had a complicated and fraught relationship with what it means to be American. Shereen traveled to Holyoke, Massachusetts to explore what the Jones Act has meant to Puerto Rican identity on stateside in the last century. Holyoke has the highest ration of Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. - nearly 50% of residents there have Puerto Rican heritage. An earlier version of this podcast stated that Myriam Quiñonez has three children. She has two.
Mar 01, 2017
The Horror, The Horror: "Get Out" And The Place of Race in Scary Movies
1524
It's one of the oldest clichés of horror movies: the black guy dies first. But that's not the case in the new film "Get Out," written and directed by Jordan Peele (best known for the Comedy Central series "Key And Peele"). Gene and guest host Eric Deggans chat with Peele about his new film, check in with African-American filmmaker Ernest Dickerson, who's directed many scary movies and TV shows, and dive deep into race in horror-movie history with Robin Means Coleman, who's been analyzing and writing about the genre for over a decade.
Feb 22, 2017
Ten Thousand Writers... and Two Intrepid Podcast Hosts
967
Gene welcomes Code Switch reporter Kat Chow as guest host and they camp out at one of the biggest conferences for writers on the planet, held by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. There, they talk with literary stars and publishing world veterans about everything from hip hop lyricism to the role of the artist in trying political times to buzz-worthy emerging writers of color.
Feb 15, 2017
Oscars So Black...At Least, In Documentaries
1466
A filmmaker of color is almost certain to win this year's Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. In fact, for the first time, African-American documentarians made up most of the nominees. We talk with Ava DuVernay, whose movie "13th," made her the first black female director to be nominated in this category. And the Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentarian Noland Walker, now of ITVS, tells us about how the film industry has responded to documentarians of color since he started as a production assistant on the landmark PBS documentary series, "Eyes On the Prize" in the late 1980s.
Feb 08, 2017
Encore Plus: Who Is A Good Immigrant, Anyway?
1409
Shereen and Gene are joined by Code Switch's own Adrian Florido to revisit a conversation about how advocates are challenging the narrative of the "good" or "bad" immigrant. Adrian previously reported on what happens when advocates try to champion an undocumented immigrant who was convicted of a crime. For many people, "DREAMers," were considered the most sympathetic characters in the immigration reform drama. But a new administration is in the White House, and what was once a very complicated landscape is changing. Later, economist Ike Brannon from the CATO Institute joins the conversation.
Feb 01, 2017
So, What Are You Afraid of Now?
1247
Code Switch listeners join Shereen and Gene in talking about their concerns and frustrations during the first hundred days of President Trump's administration. Our guest is MacArthur "genius grant" recipient Ahilan Arulanantham of the ACLU of Southern California.
Jan 26, 2017
Obama's Legacy: Did He Remix Race?
1905
We conclude our three part series of conversations on President Obama's racial legacy. It's likely that Barack Obama will be known not only as the first black president, but also as the first president of everybody's race. Many Americans and people beyond the U.S. borders have projected their multicultural selves onto the president. Gene and Shereen are joined by poet Richard Blanco, Angela Rye, head of the political advocacy firm IMPACT Strategies, and NYU history professor Nikhil Singh.
Jan 18, 2017
Obama's Legacy: Callouts and Fallouts
2216
Shereen and Gene continue our conversation on President Barack Obama's racial legacy. Where did the president fall short — or fail — people of color? We hear opinions about Obama's actions as they affected Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans. Janet Murguia is president of the National Council of La Raza. Simon Moya-Smith is editor of Indian Country Today and a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Carla Shedd teaches sociology and African American studies at Columbia University; she wrote the book "Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice."
Jan 11, 2017
Obama's Legacy: Diss-ent or Diss-respect?
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In the first of three conversations about President Barack Obama's racial legacy,Code Switch asks how much race or racism drove the way the first black president was treated and how he governed. Did the president misjudge the state of race relations in America? Real talk about the Obama legacy is just a click away on this week's podcast. Gene and Shereen are joined by Jamelle Bouie, Slate's chief political correspondent, and Tressie McMillan Cottam, sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Jan 04, 2017
Encore: Everyone Is Talking To Barry Jenkins, But Our Interview Is (Still) the Best!
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We revisit Gene's conversation with filmmaker Barry Jenkins to close out 2016. Jenkins' latest movie is Moonlight. There's buzz for awards nominations, including the Oscars.
Dec 28, 2016
A Chitlins Christmas: Bah Humbug!
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You know it when you see it or, maybe by the smell. It's the holiday dish no one really likes but someone always makes "because it's tradition." Not all food traditions are equally appetizing... but they often remind us who we are. We asked you to tell us about dishes you don't like, but that keep showing up during the holiday season. We check in with poet Kevin Young to find out why chitlins will always grace his table. And restaurateur Genevieve Villamora joins Gene and Shereen to talk about dinuguan ... a traditional Filipino pork stew with strong flavors (made with pig's blood). She avoided it as a kid, but now, it's served at her acclaimed Washington DC restaurant "Bad Saint."
Dec 21, 2016
Hold Up! Time For An Explanatory Comma
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Gene and Shereen ask how much cultural context to give when talking about race and culture. So, how much context should you have to provide? Comedian Hari Kondabolu, co-host of the podcast Politically Re-Active, deals with these questions regularly, both in his stand-up routine and on his podcast.
Dec 14, 2016
Audie and the Not-So-Magic School Bus
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NPR's Audie Cornish was bused to an affluent suburban school outside Boston in a voluntary integration program. She reflects on her experiences with Gene Demby and talks about stories she recently reported on kids using the program today. Matthew Delmont joins the conversation. He teaches history at Arizona State University and wrote the book "Why Busing Failed."
Dec 07, 2016
Encore: Asian American Letter on Behalf of Black Lives
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We present an encore episode from Summer 2016: Shereen Marisol Meraji and Kat Chow talk with Christina Xu about her project to open up a difficult race conversation between younger and older generations of Asian-American families. We hear from a daughter and her father as they discuss why she thought it was important to join Black Lives Matter marches.
Nov 30, 2016
Want Some Gravy With Those Grievances?
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For families of color, the recent Presidential campaign season and election results may affect the tone of conversations at Thanksgiving and throughout this holiday season. Shereen and Gene are joined by Kat from the Code Switch Team to dissect dinner table politics. We also hear from people who answered our social media call-out, and later, journalist and professor Asra Nomani and her father Azar talk with Shereen about how they came to terms with political differences in the family. Asra Nomani, a Muslim woman and immigrant, revealed in an op-ed that she voted for Donald Trump.
Nov 23, 2016
Another Black President Says Goodbye To Washington
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Actor Christopher Jackson steps down this week from his role as George Washington in the award-winning Broadway show Hamilton. Gene gets an exit interview.
Nov 16, 2016
A Muslim and A Mexican Walk Into A Bar....
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Gene and Shereen digest the surprising results of the presidential election with help from a comedian and a columnist. Negin Farsad hosts the podcast "Fake The Nation." Gustavo Arrellano is editor of "OC WEEKLY" in Orange County, California, and writes the column "¡Ask A Mexican!."
Nov 10, 2016
Apocalypse Or Racial Kumbaya? America After Nov. 8
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In just a few days, the election will be over. But the racism, anger and fear that have surfaced will still be with us. Gene and Shereen talk with Carol Anderson, historian and author of "White Rage," and Whitney Dow, creator of the Whiteness Project, about what happens to those feelings after Nov. 8.
Nov 02, 2016
Everyone Is Talking To Barry Jenkins But Our Interview Is The Best
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Just kidding. But seriously, "Moonlight," Jenkins' new film, is the movie of the moment. Gene talks with him about what it took to get the movie made, what it was like to film in the Miami projects where he grew up, and - yep - the theme of black masculinity.
Oct 26, 2016
Encore: "I'm Not Black I'm O.J."
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From the Code Switch archives: Gene talks with Ezra Edelman, director of the ESPN documentary "OJ: Made in America." For a long time, O.J. Simpson seemed to be running away from his race. "I'm not black, I'm O.J.!" he'd tell his friends. Gene and Ezra consider O.J.'s identity beyond the frame of the so-called "Trial of the Century." (A warning, this episode has some racially charged language.)
Oct 12, 2016
Who Is A Good Immigrant, Anyway?
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You might call "Dreamers" the most sympathetic characters in the immigration reform drama. But what happens when advocates try to champion an illegal immigrant who's a felon? Adrian and Shereen explore how advocates are challenging the narrative of the "good" and "bad" immigrant.
Oct 05, 2016
The Code Switch Guide To Handling Casual Racism
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Awkward comments. Rude questions. Casual racism. What do you do when it happens in your presence? The mental calculus is hard enough. It gets even harder when the comment is coming from your friends or family. Gene, Shereen, and Karen from Code Switch along with special guest Nicole Chung share stories and search for solutions.
Sep 28, 2016
Warning! This Episode May Trigger Debate
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It's time for some real talk on trigger warnings. Gene and Shereen dig into it with two college professors. What really happens in the classroom when hard topics come up, especially about race? Are trigger warnings necessary? We also hear the results of an NPR survey of more than 800 professors.
Sep 21, 2016
Why Do We Still Care About Tupac?
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Tupac Shakur died 20 years ago this week. Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji debate his legacy with the writer Kevin Powell, who covered the rapper for three years until Tupac's death. How should we view Tupac's talents and imperfections today?
Sep 14, 2016
The Dangers Of Life As An American 'Nobody'
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Marc Lamont Hill untangles the decades of dysfunction that have led to recent racial flash-points in his latest book, Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. He talks with Gene Demby about the book, and his support for one particularly unconventional approach to making our justice system more fair.
Sep 08, 2016
Code Switch Extra: Singer Juan Gabriel's Sexuality Was 'Open Secret'
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Many Mexican and Mexican Americans loved Juan Gabriel's music, but ridiculed his sexuality. Can his death open a new conversation about gay identity in the community? Code Switch's Adrian Florido explores how Juan Gabriel's sexuality complicated his fame and relationship with his fans.
Sep 04, 2016
What's So Funny About The Indian Accent?
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From Apu to Ashton Kutcher, mimicking the Indian accent is still widely seen as fair game. Even lots of ABCD's — American-born confused desis — do it. But is it out of love, or mockery? Code Switch's Tasneem Raja talks to Indians with and without accents on what "Thank you, come again" means to them.
Aug 31, 2016
Extra: "Southside" and Black Love at the Movies
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Code Switch's Karen Grigsby Bates and NPR movie critic Bob Mondello discuss "Southside With You," a fictionalized version of Barack and Michelle Obama's first date, and other black love stories in film.
Aug 26, 2016
Nate Parker's Past, His Present, And The Future Of "The Birth of A Nation"
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Actor Nate Parker is the center of a lot attention these days because of his upcoming movie The Birth of A Nation. Parker wrote, directed and stars as Nat Turner, leader of an historic 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia. Last winter, Parker won a multi-million dollar distribution deal for the movie at the Sundance Film Festival. As the anticipation grows for the film's release, a chapter from Parker's college past has come under scrutiny. He was charged and later acquitted in a rape trial as a student-athlete at Penn State. Code Switch's Karen Grigsby Bates moderates a conversation about how Parker's past and his responses in the present may affect what some already consider an important motion picture. Karen is joined by Gillian White, senior associate editor at The Atlantic, Michael Arceneaux, a columnist for Complex magazine, and Goldie Taylor, an editor-at-large of The Daily Beast.
Aug 24, 2016
Struggling School, Or Sanctuary?
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When a school shuts down, students often lose more than a place of learning; they lose friends, mentors and a community. This is an experience that disproportionately affects black students. Shereen Marisol Meraji looks at what it's like when a predominantly black suburb outside Pittsburgh loses its only public high school. Shereen's reporting, along with that of producer Chris Benderev, was originally produced for the NPR podcast Embedded.
Aug 17, 2016
Say My Name, Say My Name (Correctly, Please)
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When you have a name like Aparna Nancherla or Maz Jobrani, you get used to people butchering it. These two comedians, who both come from immigrant families, talk to Code Switch editor Tasneem Raja about their "Starbucks names," all of the weird ways people mispronounce their names, and whether having a "difficult" name has impacted their careers.
Aug 10, 2016
What Does "Objectivity" Mean To Journalists Of Color?
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News stories of conflict involving people of color raise questions about the role of diversity in newsrooms. With the current election cycle drenched with racially charged rhetoric, how do journalists of color deal with the idea of "objectivity," when it can seem at odds with the work of telling hard truths? Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji talk with veteran political journalist Pilar Marrero whose reporting appears in the Spanish language newspaper La Opinion; and with Wesley Lowery, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter on policing issues for The Washington Post.
Aug 03, 2016
A Letter From Young Asian Americans, To Their Parents, About Black Lives Matter
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The day after the police shooting of Philando Castile, hundreds of young Asian Americans connected online to write an open letter to their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, asking them to support movements like Black Lives Matter. It also broached a subject many felt deeply uncomfortable bringing up to their older relatives: anti-black racism in Asian American communities. The letter has set off countless conversations across generations of immigrant families in many different languages. Shereen Marisol Meraji and Kat Chow talk to Christina Xu, who started this project, and listen in to one conversation between a daughter and her father about why she chooses to join these marches.
Jul 27, 2016
46 Stops: The Driving Life and Death of Philando Castile
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When Philando Castile was killed by a police officer during a recent traffic stop, it was the last of at least 46 times he had been pulled over by police. How does that happen? And what does it say about policing in communities of color? Gene Demby talks with NPR's Cheryl Corley and Eyder Peralta, who reported on Castile's encounters with local police.
Jul 20, 2016
Black and Blue
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In the aftermath of deadly police shootings of black men and the deaths of five policemen by at the hands of a black gunman, Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby explore perspectives on policing while black. They talk with Gregory Thomas the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; Michael Rallings, interim director of police services in Memphis, Tennessee; and Jelani Cobb, of The New Yorker, who embedded for nearly a year with police in Newark, New Jersey for the recent PBS Frontline documentary, "Policing The Police."
Jul 14, 2016
Code Switch Extra: No Words
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It's hard to figure out what to say after the horrific violence of the last week, which began with two new viral videos of police shooting black men and ended with a deadly attack by a black gunman on police officers. But Shereen Marisol Meraji, Gene Demby along with Kat Chow of the Code Switch Team got some help from a Dallas resident as well as Harvard historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad, who has written extensively about race, crime and policing.
Jul 09, 2016
"You're A Grand Old Flag"
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Why do some people of color embrace the American flag while others refuse to wave it? Gene Demby and Adrian Florido unpack the complicated patriotism and evolving use of the flag with immigrant rights protesters and Native American veterans.
Jul 06, 2016
"I'm Not Black, I'm O.J.!"
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For a long time, O.J. Simpson seemed to be running away from his race. "I'm not black, I'm O.J.!" he'd tell his friends. The he was charged with murder, and his defense team needed that jury to see O.J. as black. So, they had to get creative. Gene talks to Ezra Edelman, director of the new ESPN documentary "OJ: Made in America."(A warning, today's episode has some racially charged language.)
Jun 29, 2016
I Don't Know If I Like This, But I Want It To Win
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Gene and Kat talk about "rep sweats," worrying over how people of color are portrayed on TV and in the movies. Kat remembers growing up watching TV with her sisters and yelling "Asian!" every time they saw someone who looked like them. Gene admits he is #TeamRafael. Also, a conversation with Hudson Yang, star of the ABC sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat," along with his dad Jeff Yang, a well-known cultural critic.
Jun 22, 2016
How LGBTQ People of Color Are Dealing With Orlando
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The tragedy in Orlando this week shook many people in communities that already feel vulnerable...LGBTQ Americans, Latinos, Muslims and people living at the intersection of those identities.
Jun 16, 2016
Re-Remembering Muhammad Ali
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Sure, Ali was the greatest, a humanitarian, an inspiration. He was also a complicated, messy figure. Gene and the team dig in, and wonder what people mean when they say Ali "transcended race."
Jun 10, 2016
Made For You And Me
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Black people don't hike? Latinos don't like camping? Asians are afraid of the sun? Adrian and Shereen dig into the stereotypes — and truths — about people of color and their relationship to the great outdoors.
Jun 08, 2016
Can We Talk About Whiteness?
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Gene and Shereen dig into why it's so hard to talk about white identity in America — and why it's really important that we figure out how.
May 31, 2016
The Code Switch Podcast Is Coming!
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Here's a preview of our new podcast, exploring how race and culture collide with everything else in our lives.
May 09, 2016