Podcast

Code Switch

What's CODE SWITCH? It's the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for. Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race with empathy and humor. We explore how race affects every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, food and everything in between. This podcast makes all of us part of the conversation — because we're all part of the story. Code Switch was named Apple Podcasts' first-ever Show of the Year in 2020.

Episodes

  • Painting By Numbers

    Oct 20 2021

    The 2020 census data is finally here! At first glance, it paints a surprising portrait of a changing United States: The number of people who identify as white and no other race is smaller; the share of multiracial people has shot up; and the country's second-largest racial group is... "some other race." But resident census-expert Hansi Lo Wang told us that when you start to unpack the data, you quickly find that those numbers don't tell the whole story.

  • Skeletons In The Closet

    Oct 13 2021

    In a small suburb of Washington, D.C., a non-descript beige building houses thousands of Native human remains. The remains are currently in the possession of the Smithsonian Institution. But for the past decade, the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been fighting to get some of them back to Florida to be buried. The controversy over who should decide the fate of these remains has raised questions about identity, history, and the nature of archaeology.

  • The Once And Future 'Karen'

    Oct 06 2021

    If you've been paying attention to the news over the past couple years, you know what a so-called 'Karen' is: a white woman who uses her race and gender to wield power over someone more vulnerable. But long before most people became familiar with the term Karen, POCs have been calling out Karen-esque behavior.

  • The Rise Of The BBL

    Sep 29 2021

    Black women have always faced immense pressure to make their bodies look a certain way. But if done the "wrong way," achieving that idealized figure can lead to just as much scrutiny and critique. So today, we're talking about the cosmetic procedure known as a Brazilian Butt Lift, and what its rise in popularity illustrates about the type of bodies that do and don't get valued.

  • The Dramatic Life Of The American Teenager

    Sep 24 2021

    Kacen Callender started out as a kid in St. Thomas writing fan fiction. Today, they are the author of multiple middle grade and young adult novels full of empathy, learning, and a healthy dose of high school drama.

  • Who You Calling 'Hispanic'?

    Sep 22 2021

    But seriously, who? Because while it is Hispanic Heritage Month, the notion of a multiracial, multinational, pan-ethnic identity called "Hispanic" is a relatively recent — and somewhat haphazard invention — in the United States. So on this episode, we're digging into how the term got created and why it continues to both unite and bewilder.

  • The Making And Remaking Of Afghanistan

    Sep 15 2021

    For two decades, many Americans have seen Afghanistan depicted primarily through the lens of war. But that's not the full story — not even close. Afghanistan has a long, rich, complex history and culture. A lot of it flies in the face of the images those of us in the U.S. are exposed to. So this week, our friends at Throughline are helping us understand the fuller story.

  • The Lost Summer

    Sep 08 2021

    Twenty years ago, during the dog days of summer , a fledgling journalist named Shereen Marisol Meraji — maybe you've heard of her? — headed to Durban, South Africa. Her mission: to report on a meeting of thousands of organizers and ambassadors gathered at a global conference on racism. The conference filled Shereen with hope and optimism — all of which would soon be wiped away.

  • The Folk Devil Made Me Do It

    Sep 01 2021

    What moral panics reveal about the ongoing freakout over critical race theory in schools.

  • 'Seeing Ghosts' Across Generations

    Aug 25 2021

    Kat Chow was 13 when her mother died, and with that loss came profound and lasting questions about identity, family and history. In her memoir, Seeing Ghosts, the author and former Code Switch reporter explores how her mother's death has haunted her through the years, in ways that are profound, tragic and, sometimes, darkly hilarious.

  • Who Runs The World? Kids.

    Aug 18 2021

    OK, they're not all kids. But they're all students, they're all amazing, and frankly, we're concerned that they might be coming for our jobs. That's right — the Student Podcast Challenge is back, and this year, the stories are more powerful than ever.

  • Care To Explain Yourself?

    Aug 11 2021

    It's hot out, places are shutting down again, and things might just be feeling a little bit slow. So in the spirit of spicing things up, we wanted to give you all a question to fight about: How much context should you have to give when talking about race and culture? Is it better to explain every reference, or ask people to Google as they go? Comedian Hari Kondabolu joins us to hash it out.

  • Violence That Doesn't Go Viral

    Aug 04 2021

    We talk a lot on this show about people who have been killed by police officers. But there is so much police violence that falls short of being fatal, but forever alters the lives of the people on the business end of it. So this week, we're turning things over to the "On Our Watch" podcast, out of KQED and NPR's Investigations Team.

  • To Love And Not Forgive

    Jul 28 2021

    For much of her childhood, Ashley Ford's father was incarcerated, and her mother struggled to raise her while grappling with her own upended life plans. In her new memoir, Somebody's Daughter, Ford looks at how her upbringing shaped her understanding of childhood, authority, forgiveness and freedom.

  • Words To Set You Free

    Jul 21 2021

    Some of the best books can make you feel free — free from your daily grind, free to imagine a new reality, free to explore different facets of your identity. This month, the Code Switch team is highlighting books that dig deep into what freedom really means.

  • What Does It Mean To Be Latino? The 'Light-Skinned Privilege' Edition

    Jul 14 2021

    Maria Garcia and Maria Hinojosa are both Mexican American, both mestiza, and both relatively light-skinned. But Maria Hinojosa strongly identifies as a woman of color, whereas Maria Garcia has stopped doing so. So in this episode, we're asking: How did they arrive at such different places?

  • Égalité, Fraternité, And 'Libertie'

    Jul 07 2021

    This month on Code Switch, we're talking about books — new and old — that have deepened our understandings of what it means to be free. First up, a conversation with author Kaitlyn Greenidge about her new novel, Libertie, which tells the story of a young woman pushing back against her mother's expectations of what her life should look like.

  • A Good ACT To Follow

    Jun 30 2021

    Forty years ago this month, the CDC reported on patients with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. for the very first time. In the years since, LGBTQIA+ Americans have been fighting for treatment and recognition of a disease that was understudied, under-reported, and deeply stigmatized. On this episode, our friends at It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders delve into the history of ACT UP — an organization that transformed the way the media, the government, corporations and medical professionals talked about AIDS....more

  • 'Where We Come From': By Any Other Name

    Jun 27 2021

    Anyone with a name that isn't super common in the United States will tell you that the simple act of introducing yourself can lead to a whole interrogation: Where are you from? What does your name mean? Help me pronounce it using words I understand! So on this bonus episode from our friends at the "Where We Come From" series, we're getting into what, exactly, is in a name — and what names can tell us about where we've been and where we're going.

  • Ballers, Shot Callers

    Jun 23 2021

    The Supreme Court just ruled on a case that could change the future of college sports, potentially paving the way for NCAA athletes to be paid. But is paying student athletes a good thing? And how would it affect the already fraught racial dynamics of college sports?

  • A Taste Of Freedom

    Jun 16 2021

    Juneteenth commemorates the day that enslaved Texans found out — more than two years after Emancipation Day — that they were free. It's also a day known for celebratory meals and red drinks. But as the holiday becomes more widespread, we wondered: Is there a risk that certain people (and corporations) will try to keep the food and lose the history?

  • The Racial Reckoning That Wasn't

    Jun 09 2021

    In the wake of several high-profile police killings last summer, support for Black Lives Matter skyrocketed among white Americans. Their new concerns about racism pushed books about race to the top of the bestseller lists, while corporations pledged billions of dollars to address injustice. A year later, though, polls show that white support for the movement has not only waned, but is lower than it was before. On this episode, two researchers explain why last year so-called racial reckoning was ...more

  • Where Are You Really From?

    Jun 02 2021

    If you're a person of color living in the United States, chances are you've been asked more than you care to remember where you're from — no, where you're really from. In her new series "Where We Come From," NPR's Anjuli Sastry lets immigrants of color answer that question broadly, with the space and context it deserves.

  • Tulsa, 100 Years Later

    May 26 2021

    In the spring of 1921, Black residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma's Greenwood neighborhood were attacked by a mob of angry white people. More than 300 people were killed, and thousands were left homeless. Now, 100 years later, Tulsa is still reckoning with what lessons to take from that deadly massacre.

  • The Sum Of Our Parts

    May 19 2021

    People of color have a diverse set of interests, experiences, backgrounds and cultures. And the way we experience race and racism can be really different. So why do we continue to use big umbrella terms like "POC"? And what do we risk if we lose them?

  • The Kid Mero Talks 'What It Means To Be Latino'

    May 12 2021

    We've said it multiple times on the show: Latinos are the second largest demographic in the United States. But...what does that actually mean? Are Latinos a race? Ethnicity? Culture? We try (and fail) to answer some of these questions with Dominican American podcaster and entertainer the Kid Mero.

  • Show Me The Money

    May 05 2021

    Two friends living in Vermont decided to try a radical experiment: They asked White people in their community to give money directly to their Black neighbors — a DIY, hyper-local "reparations" program, of sorts. Our friends at the Invisibilia podcast took a look at how the community reacted, for better and for worse.

  • Live From Philly*: A Code Switch Jawn

    Apr 28 2021

    OK, so we weren't really in Philly (it's still a pandemic, after all.) But we did talk all things race and Philadelphia with special guests Erika Alexander and Denice Frohman. On the docket for the night: reparations, basketball, poetry and of course, the word "jawn."

  • A Utopia For Black Capitalism

    Apr 21 2021

    Floyd McKissick, one of the major leaders of the civil rights movement, had an audacious, lifelong dream. He wanted to build a city — from scratch — that would create economic opportunities for Black people and be sustained by the wealth they created. It was called Soul City. And although it's been largely forgotten, he almost pulled it off.

  • Do The Golden Arches Bend Toward Justice?

    Apr 14 2021

    Calls for racial justice are met with a lot of different proposals, but one of the loudest and most enduring is to invest in Black businesses. But can "buying Black" actually do anything to mitigate racism? To find out, we're taking a look at the surprising link between Black capitalism and McDonald's.

  • Spit A Verse, Drop Some Knowledge

    Apr 07 2021

    We've spent the past year trying to analyze, dissect and intellectualize all the ways that our world has changed. But sometimes the best way to understand our circumstances isn't through data and reports — it's through art and poetry. So this week, we're hearing from some of the country's most critical observers: poets.

  • Why Are We Here?

    Mar 31 2021

    Filipinos make up a small fraction of the nurses in the United States, but almost a third of the nurses who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. have been of Filipino descent. So what exactly is going on? Our friends over at The Atlantic and WNYC tried to understand more about this troubling statistic by telling the story of one woman: Rosary Castro-Olega.

  • Screams And Silence

    Mar 24 2021

    Asian American organizers and influencers have been trying to sound the alarm over a dramatic spike in reports of anti-Asian racism over the last year, and have been frustrated by the lack of media and public attention paid to their worries. Then came last week, when a deadly shooting spree in Georgia realized many of their worst fears and thrust the issue into the national spotlight.

  • Lonnie Bunch And The 'Museum Of No'

    Mar 17 2021

    The Blacksonian — er, the National Museum of African American History and Culture — was years and years in the making. It's closed down because of the coronavirus, but we got a virtual tour from the man who devoted his life to giving it life. He's also the first Black leader of the entire Smithsonian Institution. Baller status.

  • Saving A Language You're Learning To Speak

    Mar 10 2021

    Every two weeks, a language dies with its last speaker. That was almost the fate of the Hawaiian language — until a group of young people decided to create a strong community of Hawaiian speakers — as they were learning to speak it them themselves.

  • David (Pronounced dah-VEED) Versus Goliath

    Mar 03 2021

    Summer, 2004. The Olympics in Athens. The event? Men's basketball: U.S. versus Puerto Rico. And the whole world knows that Puerto Rico doesn't stand a chance. After all, the bigger, richer, imperial power always wins — right?

  • 'Payback's A B****'

    Feb 26 2021

    We're ending Black history month where we started it...talking about reparations. On this episode, we're joined by Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow, who have spent the past two years exploring how reparations could transform the United States — and all the struggles and possibilities that go along with that.

  • A Shot In The Dark

    Feb 24 2021

    As the rollout of coronavirus vaccines unfolds, one big challenge for public health officials has been the skepticism many Black people have toward the vaccine. One notorious medical study — the Tuskegee experiment — has been cited as a reason. But should it be?

  • Becoming 'Black Moses'

    Feb 17 2021

    Marcus Garvey was an immigrant, a firebrand, a businessman. He was viewed with deep suspicion by the civil rights establishment. He would also become one of the most famous and powerful Black visionaries of the 20th century. Our play-cousins at NPR's Throughline podcast went deep on how he became the towering (and often misunderstood) figure that he is.

  • Black Kiss-tory

    Feb 10 2021

    Too often, Black history is portrayed as a story of struggle and suffering, completely devoid of joy. So we called up some romance novelists whose work focuses on Black history. They told us that no matter how hard the times, there has always been room for love.

  • Who's 'Black Enough' For Reparations?

    Feb 03 2021

    Black History Month is here, which means we're diving into big, sticky questions about what exactly it means to be Black. So this week on the show: Who is 'Black enough' for reparations? Because you know...we got some bills to pay.

  • Stepping Out Of The Shadow Of 'Killer King'

    Jan 27 2021

    For decades, residents of Compton and Watts in South Los Angeles had to rely on one particularly troubled hospital for their medical care. A new state-of-the-art hospital replaced it, but faced many of the same challenges: too few beds, too many patients who need serious help, not enough money. Then came the coronavirus.

  • The Last Four Years

    Jan 20 2021

    The Trump administration is coming to a close, but which elements of the Trump era are here to stay? We spoke to NPR's White House reporter, Ayesha Rascoe, about where we were when Donald Trump took office — and what he's left behind.

  • From The Fringe To The Capitol

    Jan 13 2021

    Like all of you, we are still trying to make sense of Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Because even after the past four years, there are still new iterations of WTF. So on this episode, we're talking police, "terrorism", and the symbols of white nationalism that made it to the floor of the Capitol.

  • Finding 'A Perfect Match'

    Jan 06 2021

    Two close friends both suffered from the same aggressive form of cancer. After years of treatment, one lived and the other died. And while many variables factored into what happened, the woman who survived — reporter Ibby Caputo — couldn't help wondering what role race had played in the outcome.

  • The Fire Still Burning

    Dec 30 2020

    If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that history informs every aspect of our present. So today we're bringing you an episode of NPR's history podcast, Throughline. It gets into some of the most urgent lessons we can learn from James Baldwin, whose life and writing illuminate so much about what it would really mean for the United States to reckon with its race problem.

  • From Generation To Generation

    Dec 28 2020

    This month on Code Switch, we're thinking a lot about family and history. So we wanted to bring you this special episode from our friends at NPR's It's Been A Minute podcast, where producer Andrea Gutierrez tells the story of how her father was involved in the Chicano Moratorium of 1970 — and what that taught her and her sister about their identities.

  • Family Stories, Family Lies

    Dec 23 2020

    December is a month when a lot of people are thinking about family and tradition. Reliving memories. Retelling old stories. Each year, those stories get passed down — sometimes with new details, or a different twist. And eventually, many of those stories have nothing to do with what actually happened. This week, we're looking into one such story: the truth, and the lies of it.

  • Black And Up In Arms

    Dec 16 2020

    Guns. They're as American as apple pie. They represent independence and self-reliance. But ... not so much if you're Black. On this episode, we're getting into the complicated history of Black gun ownership and what it has to tell us about our present moment.

  • The Books That Got Away

    Dec 13 2020

    Listen, a lot has happened this year, and it's no shock that some things may have slipped under the radar. So our resident book expert, Karen Grigsby Bates, took a virtual trip around the country to talk to independent book store owners about their favorite underappreciated reads of 2020.

  • Stepping Back Inside Carmen Maria Machado's 'Dream House'

    Dec 09 2020

    It's no secret that Code Switch is a team full of book nerds. So this week, we're revisiting one of our favorite book conversations, with author Carmen Maria Machado. Her genre-defying memoir, In the Dream House, tells the story of how she survived intimate partner violence, despite having few models of how to deal with, or even recognize abusive dynamics in queer relationships.

  • Words Of Advice

    Dec 01 2020

    Let's face it — we could all use some help right now. So today on the pod, we're looking at a few of our favorite questions about race and identity from our "Ask Code Switch" series. We're getting into food, relationships, money, language, friendship and more, so you know it's about to get a little messy (in the best way.)

  • Thank You, Next

    Nov 25 2020

    It's Thanksgiving week, and like basically everything else about 2020, this holiday is on track to be...let's call it "different." But while the world has changed in innumerable ways this year, one thing that hasn't changed is that the country is still deeply politically divided.

  • The White Elephants In The Room

    Nov 19 2020

    One of the biggest storylines from the 2020 presidential race has ... well, race at the center of it. If you paid attention to the stories about exit polling, you heard a lot of talk about how Latinx and Black voters showed up in bigger numbers this year than back in 2016. But on this week's episode, we also focus on a conversation that's not happening: The one about a group whose support for Donald Trump hasn't wavered. We're talking about the white vote, and in particular, white evangelical vo...more

  • Claim Us If You're Famous

    Nov 11 2020

    Kamala Harris is the vice president-elect, which marks an impressive list of firsts: woman in the White House; Black woman in the White House, Asian American in the White House; etc. Her Indian heritage has gotten much less attention than her Black identity, and in many ways, it has been complicated by her Black identity. On this episode, we look at what Harris's identities can tell us about dual-minority POCs, South Asian political representation in the U.S., and what it all means at the voting...more

  • We ... Don't Know Anything Yet

    Nov 04 2020

    Election Day has come and gone, but we're still awhile away from knowing what the outcome will be. But while there's a lot we don't about the results, we do know that this election will tell us a lot about what our electorate looks like. With some help from our friends at NPR's politics podcast, we're looking at what happened, and waiting with bated breath to see what this portends for the future.

  • An Historic Vote, Among Many

    Oct 31 2020

    For a lot of reasons, the 2020 election feels historic. But in one important way, it's like so many elections throughout American history: Black and brown voters are being disproportionately prevented from casting their ballots. On this bonus episode, we're revisiting a conversation with Carol Anderson, author of One Person, No Vote, about what voter suppression has looked like throughout history.

  • The Latinx Vote Comes Of Age

    Oct 28 2020

    For the first time in election history, Latinos are projected to be the second-largest voting demographic in the country. The reason? Gen Z Latinx voters, many of whom are casting a ballot for the first time in 2020. So we asked a bunch of them: Who do you plan to vote for? What issues do you care about? And what do you want the rest of the country to know about you?

  • Is Trump Really That Racist?

    Oct 21 2020

    We know his rhetoric has been described as boundary breaking when it comes to race. But U.S. presidents have been enacting racist policies forever. So as President Trump wraps up his first (and maybe only) term in office, we're asking: In terms of racism, how does he stack up to others when it comes to both words and deeds?

  • Let's Talk About Kamala Harris

    Oct 14 2020

    The VP candidate's biography and heritage allow people to project all kinds of ideas onto her, and to see what they want to see. But Kamala Harris's identity is a very important lens into not just her own politics, but also Black politics around crime and punishment more broadly.

  • Hip-Hop, Mass Incarceration, And A Conspiracy Theory For The Ages

    Oct 09 2020

    Why are hip-hop and mass incarceration so entangled in the U.S.? That's the question that our play cousins at NPR Music, Sidney Madden and Rodney Carmichael, set out to answer on their brand new podcast, Louder Than a Riot.

  • A Treaty Right For Cherokee Representation

    Oct 07 2020

    On this week's episode of Code Switch, we talk about the relevance of a 200 year old treaty — one that most Americans don't know that much about, but should. It's a treaty that led to the Trail of Tears, but also secured a tenuous promise.

  • A New Look For The Fashion Industry?

    Oct 03 2020

    Fall is the time for glossy fashion magazines, full of dazzling looks and the seasons hottest looks. But this year, we noticed something unusual: The covers of a bunch of major magazines fashion magazines featured Black folks. So we called up fashion critic Robin Givhan to talk about fashion's racial reckoning...and how long before it goes out of style.

  • Is It Time To Say R.I.P. To 'POC'?

    Sep 30 2020

    Suffice it to say, we use the term "POC" a lot on Code Switch. But critiques of the initialism — and the popularization of the term "BIPOC" — caused us to ask: Should we retire POC? Or is there use in it yet?

  • Battle Of The Books

    Sep 23 2020

    The Code Switch team has been mired in a months-long debate that we're attempting to settle once and for all: What kind of books are best to read during this pandemic? Books that connect you to our current reality? Or ones that help you escape it?

  • The Protests Heard 'Round The World

    Sep 16 2020

    How did a police killing in Minneapolis lead people thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean to pull down the statue of a slave trader who's been dead for nearly three centuries? On this episode, we're going to the city of Bristol to tell the surprising story.

  • The Kids Are All Right

    Sep 09 2020

    Adults often find it really hard to talk about race. But kids? Maybe not so much. NPR received more than 2,000 entries in this year's Student Podcast Challenge, and we heard from young people all over the country about how they're thinking about race and identity in these trying times.

  • Balls And Strikes

    Sep 02 2020

    Matilda Crawford. Sallie Bell. Carrie Jones. Dora Jones. Orphelia Turner. Sarah A. Collier. In 1881, these six Black women brought the city of Atlanta to a complete standstill by going on strike. The strategies they used in their fight for better working conditions have implications for future generations of organizers — and resonances with the professional sports strikes happening today.

  • The United States' Pre-Existing Conditions

    Aug 26 2020

    How was the the richest and most powerful country in the world laid low by a virus only nanometers in size? Ed Yong, a science reporter for The Atlantic, says it's the inequities that have been with us for generations that made our body politic such opportunistic targets.

  • Keep Your Friends Closer

    Aug 19 2020

    As part of our Ask Code Switch series, we're tackling your toughest questions about race and friendship. We help our listeners understand how race and and its evil play cousin, racism, affect how we make friends, keep friends, and deal with friend breakups. And we're doing it with help from WNYC's Death, Sex & Money podcast. Be a pal and listen.

  • Kamala, Joe, And The Fissures In The Base

    Aug 12 2020

    Black voters are the Democrats' most reliable and influential voting bloc. But this election has underscored the tensions between those Black voters, along generational and ideological lines — which could have major consequences on turnout this fall.

  • Bonus Episode: Katrina, 15 Years Later

    Aug 08 2020

    It's hurricane season, so this week, we're bringing you a bonus episode, from the Atlantic's Floodlines podcast. On this episode, "Through the Looking Glass," host Vann R. Newkirk II looks at the way the media distorted what was happening in New Orleans in the days after the storm, scapegoating Black people for the devastation they were subjected to.

  • The Long, Bloody Strike For Ethnic Studies

    Aug 05 2020

    The largest public university system in the country, the Cal State system, just announced a new graduation requirement: students must take an ethnic studies or social justice course. But ethnic studies might not even exist if it weren't for some students at a small commuter college in San Francisco. Fifty years ago, they went on strike — and while their bloody, bitter standoff has been largely forgotten, it forever changed higher education in the United States.

  • One Korean American's Reckoning

    Jul 29 2020

    At a Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles, a young Korean American man named Edmond Hong decided to grab a megaphone. Addressing other Asian Americans in the crowd, he described the need to stop being quiet and complacent in the fight against racism. On this episode, we talk to Edmond about why he decided to speak out. And we check in with a historian about why so many people mistakenly believe that Asian Americans aren't political.

  • Un-HolyLand? An Arab Muslim Reckoning With Racism

    Jul 22 2020

    After his daughter's racist and anti-LGBTQ social media posts became public, an Arab-Muslim entrepreneur is fighting to keep his once-burgeoning business alive in the middle of a national — and personal — reckoning with anti-blackness.

  • Remembering The 'Divine Diahann Carroll'

    Jul 17 2020

    On what would have been Diahann Carroll's 85th birthday, we're celebrating the legacy of the actress, model and singer. Reporter Sonari Glinton went to her estate sale and took a tour of some of the objects that represent important moments in Ms. Carroll's life. And because Diahann Carroll achieved so many firsts, the exhibit was more like a civil rights exhibit than an auction.

  • What's In A 'Karen'?

    Jul 15 2020

    "Karen" has become cultural shorthand for a white woman who wields her race as a cudgel. And look, we all love to hate a good Karen. But where did this archetype come from? What will the next iteration of Karen be? And what are we missing by focusing on the Karens of the world?

  • An Immune System

    Jul 08 2020

    While it's technically possible to win a civil lawsuit against police officers for wrongdoing, there's a reason it almost never happens: a legal technicality called qualified immunity. On this episode, we look at how a law meant to protect Black people from racist violence gave way to a legal doctrine that many people see as the biggest obstacle to police reform.

  • We Aren't Who We Think We Are

    Jul 01 2020

    Every family has a myth about who they are and where they came from. And there are a lot of reasons people tell these stories. Sometimes it's to make your family seem like they were part of an important historical event. Other times, it's to hide something that is too painful to talk about. That last point can be especially true for African American families.

  • They Don't Say Our Names Enough

    Jun 27 2020

    This year, Pride Month intersects with a surge of protests against racism and police brutality. So this week, courtesy of The Nod podcast, we're looking back at the life of Storme DeLarverie — a Black butch woman who didn't pull any punches when it came to protecting her community from violence.

  • Author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio Talks 'The Undocumented Americans'

    Jun 24 2020

    In her new book, The Undocumented Americans, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio writes about delivery men, housekeepers, and day laborers — the undocumented immigrants who are often ignored while the media focuses its attention on Dreamers. "I wanted to learn about them as the weirdos we all are outside of our jobs," she writes.

  • DACA Decision: Check-In with Miriam Gonzalez

    Jun 19 2020

    When the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that DACA could remain in place, recipient Miriam Gonzalez was relieved. As a plaintiff in the case, she's been fighting to keep the program alive since 2017 and we've been following her story. In this bonus episode — an update on Miriam, and why this decision is such a big deal.

  • Why Now, White People?

    Jun 17 2020

    The video is horrific, and the brutality is stark. But that was the case in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 and Minnesota in 2016. This time, though, white people are out in the streets in big numbers, and books such as "So You Want to Talk About Race" and "How to Be an Antiracist" top the bestseller lists. So we asked some white people: What's different this time?

  • Bonus Episode: 'Not Just Another Protest'

    Jun 12 2020

    Suffice it to say, the past few weeks have been a lot to unpack. So today, we're bringing you a special bonus episode from our friends at It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders. The podcast explores how protests have changed over time, and how certain people's thoughts about race are evolving.

  • Unmasking The 'Outside Agitator'

    Jun 10 2020

    Whenever a protest boils up, it's a safe bet that public officials will quickly blame any violence or disruption on "outside agitators." But what, exactly, does it mean to be an agitator? And can these mysterious outsiders be a force for good?

  • A Decade Of Watching Black People Die

    May 31 2020

    The last few weeks have been filled with devastating news — stories about the police killing black people. At this point, these calamities feel familiar — so familiar, in fact, that their details have begun to echo each other.

  • Songs Giving Us (Much Needed) Life

    May 27 2020

    Talking about race can get real heavy, real fast. Listening to music is one way people have been lightening the mood and sorting through their feelings. So this week, we're sharing some of the songs that are giving all of us life during this especially taxing moment.

  • COVID Diaries: Jessica And Sean Apply For A Loan

    May 20 2020

    On March 1, two Los Angeles-based capoeira instructors realized a dream almost 15 years in the making — they opened up their very own gym. Two weeks later, California's stay-at-home order went into effect, and the gym shut its doors. This week, we follow the two of them as they navigate how to keep their dream alive in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Ask Code Switch: The Coronavirus Edition

    May 13 2020

    We take on some of your questions about race, the coronavirus and social distancing. The questions are tricky, and as usual on Code Switch, the reality is even trickier.

  • What Does 'Hood Feminism' Mean For A Pandemic?

    May 06 2020

    The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated issues that disproportionately affect women. So on this episode, we're talking to Mikki Kendall — author of the new book, Hood Feminism — about what on-the-ground feminism practiced by women of color can teach us that the mainstream feminist movement has forgotten.

  • When Poets Decide Who Counts

    Apr 29 2020

    All month long, we've been answering versions of one giant question: Who counts in 2020? Well, April is poetry month, so we decided to end our series by asking some of our favorite poets who they think counts — and how all of that has changed in these strange, new times.

  • Puerto Rico, Island Of Racial Harmony?

    Apr 24 2020

    Many Puerto Ricans grow up being taught that they're a mixture of three races: black, white and indigenous. But on the U.S. census, a majority of Puerto Ricans choose "white" as their only race. On this episode, we're looking into why that is, and the group of people trying to change it.

  • The News Beyond The COVID Numbers

    Apr 22 2020

    Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, numbers have been flying at us about the spread of the illness—and then the next minute those same numbers are refuted. This week, we're talking to Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic about why the data is so all over the place, and why that matters, especially for people of color.

  • Black Like Who?

    Apr 15 2020

    It's one of the thorniest questions in any theoretical plan for reparations for black people: Who should get them? On this episode, we dig into some ideas about which black people should and shouldn't receive a payout — which one expert estimates would cost at least $10 trillion.

  • Why The Coronavirus Is Hitting Black Communities Hardest

    Apr 11 2020

    Many have referred to COVID-19 as a "great equalizer." But the virus has actually exacerbated all sorts of disparities. When it comes to race, black Americans account for a disproportionate number of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. In this bonus episode from Slate's "What Next" podcast, reporter Akilah Johnson talks about the many reasons why.

  • A Treacherous Choice And A Treaty Right

    Apr 08 2020

    The Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation told his people to stay strong during this pandemic, and to remember how much they've endured over a long history that includes the Trail of Tears. This episode takes a look at the treaty, signed almost 200 years ago, that caused that suffering, and how it's being used now as a call to action.

  • Mother, Should I Trust The Census Bureau?

    Apr 01 2020

    Right now, the U.S. Census Bureau is trying to count every single person living in the country. It's a complex undertaking with enormous stakes. But some people are very afraid of how that information will be used by the government — especially given how it's been misused in the past. The first in our series about who counts in 2020.

  • Code Switch: Race. In Your Face.

    Mar 25 2020

    Code Switch is a weekly podcast that explores how race intersects with every aspect of our lives. Hosts Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby bring honesty, empathy and nuance to challenging conversations.

  • Sex, Friendship And Aging: 'It's Not All Downhill From Here'

    Mar 25 2020

    This week, senior correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates talks with the best-selling author Terry McMillan, famous for her novels Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. The two longtime friends chat about McMillan's latest novel, It's Not All Downhill From Here, and the topics the book tackles: aging, friendship, race and sex.

  • The All-Women Mariachi Group That's Lifting Our Spirits

    Mar 18 2020

    With all this pandemic anxiety swirling, we thought you might need some music to take your mind off things. So this week, we've got an episode from our friends over at Latino USA. It's about Flor de Toloache, an all-women mariachi group that's making history by bucking tradition and playing a style of music that's usually performed by men.

  • The Limits Of Empathy

    Mar 11 2020

    In matters of race and justice, empathy is often held up as a goal unto itself. But what comes after understanding? In this episode, we're teaming up with Radio Diaries to look at the career of a white writer who put herself in someone else's skin — by disguising herself as a black woman — to find out what she learned, and what she couldn't.

  • When Fear Of The Coronavirus Turns Into Racism And Xenophobia

    Mar 04 2020

    As international health agencies warn that COVID-19 could become a pandemic, fears over the new coronavirus' spread have activated old, racist suspicions toward Asians and Asian Americans. It's part of a longer history in the United States, in which xenophobia has often been camouflaged as a concern for public health and hygiene.

  • Claude Neal: A Strange And Bitter Crop

    Feb 26 2020

    Eighty-five years ago, a crowd of several thousand white people gathered in Jackson County, Florida, to participate in the lynching of a man named Claude Neal. The poet L. Lamar Wilson grew up there, but didn't learn about Claude Neal until he was in high school. When he heard the story, he knew he had to do something. Our final story about black resistance this month is about resisting the urge to forget history, even when remembering is incredibly painful.

  • Blexodus: The Black Exodus From The GOP

    Feb 19 2020

    How did the party of the Ku Klux Klan became the party of choice for black voters? And how did the party of Abraham Lincoln become 90 percent white? It's a messy story, exemplified by the doomed friendship between Richard Nixon and his fellow Republican, Jackie Robinson.

  • Pt. 2: Black Parents Take Control, Teachers Strike Back

    Feb 12 2020

    This is Part II of the story about the 1968 teachers' strike that happened in New York city after Black and Puerto Rican parents demanded more say over their kids' education. We'll tell you why some people who lived through it remember it as a strike over antisemitism.

  • Black Parents Take Control, Teachers Strike Back

    Feb 05 2020

    In 1968, a vicious battle went down between white teachers and black and Puerto Rican parents in a Brooklyn school district. Many say the conflict brought up issues that have yet to be resolved more than fifty years later.

  • Books For Your Mind, Belly And Soul

    Jan 29 2020

    Books help teach us about the world, our communities and ourselves. So this week, the Code Switch team is chatting it up with the authors of some of our favorite recent (and not-so-recent) books by and/or about people of color.

  • Bonus Episode: 'Between Friends' From WNYC

    Jan 23 2020

    A text message gone wrong. A bachelorette party exclusion. A racist comment during the 2016 debates. When our friends at WNYC's Death, Sex and Money asked about the moments when race became a flashpoint in your friendships, they heard about awkward, funny, and deeply painful moments.

  • Ask Code Switch: What About Your Friends?

    Jan 22 2020

    We help our listeners understand how race and its evil play cousin, racism, affect our friendships. And we're doing it with help from WNYC's Death, Sex & Money podcast. Be a good friend and listen.

  • Is The Door To Iran Closed Forever?

    Jan 15 2020

    In light of all the news coming out of Iran, we're talking with Jason Rezaian — an Iranian-American author and journalist who has experienced Iran's contradictions up close.

  • Carmen Maria Machado Takes Us 'In The Dream House'

    Jan 08 2020

    When Carmen Maria Machado started searching for stories about intimate partner violence in queer relationships, there wasn't much out there. But in her new memoir, she says that type of abuse can still be "common as dirt."

  • Beautiful Lies

    Jan 01 2020

    So many people's New Year's resolutions are centered around getting in shape, updating their skincare routine, and generally being more attractive. But beauty ideals have a funny way of reinforcing society's ideas of who matters and why. Once you start to unpack them, things get real ugly real quick.

  • The Birth Of A 'New Negro'

    Dec 25 2019

    Can travel change your identity? It certainly did for one man. Alain Locke, nicknamed the 'Dean of the Harlem Renaissance,' traveled back and forth between Washington, D.C. and Berlin, Germany. In doing so, he was able to completely reimagine what it meant to be black and gay in the 1920s.

  • Slow Burn

    Dec 18 2019

    The shootings of the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur in the late 1990s are widely thought to be connected, but have never been officially solved. On the latest season of the Slow Burn podcast, Joel Anderson has been examining the rappers' meteoric rises, untimely deaths, and what they illustrate about race, violence, and policing in the United States, then and now.

  • The Reverse Freedom Rides

    Dec 11 2019

    Many people have heard of the Freedom Rides of 1961, when black and white civil rights activists rode buses together to the South to protest segregation. But most people have never heard of what happened the very next summer, when Southern segregationists decided to strike back, using unsuspecting black families as pawns.

  • Death Of A Blood Sport

    Dec 04 2019

    Later this month, a Congressional ban will make cockfighting illegal in U.S. territories. Animal rights activists argue that the sport is cruel and inhumane. But in Puerto Rico, many people plan to defy the ban. They say cockfighting has been ingrained in the culture for centuries, and that the ban is an attempt to wipe out an integral part of Puerto Rican identity.

  • Sometimes Explain, Always Complain

    Nov 27 2019

    It's Thanksgiving week, so we wanted to give y'all a question to fight about: How much context should you have to give when talking about race and culture? Is it better to explain every reference, or let people go along for the ride? Comedian Hari Kondabolu joins us to hash it out.

  • Sex, Lies And Audio Tape

    Nov 20 2019

    Sometimes, in order to understand yourself, you fumble through a tough conversation with your mom. Other times, you roll up to a sex club with your best friend. In his new fiction podcast "Moonface," producer James Kim explores all the messy, scandalous, cringe-worthy ways that different parts of our identities collide.

  • Status Update

    Nov 13 2019

    Nearly 9 million people in the U.S. are part of a "mixed-status" family: some may be U.S. citizens; some may have green cards; others may face the constant specter of deportation. As the Supreme Court gets ready to decide the fate of DACA — a program that protects some undocumented people from being removed from the country — we check in with three siblings who all have different statuses, and whose fates may hinge on the outcome of this case.

  • Is This What It Means To Be White?

    Nov 06 2019

    In 1965, a white minister and civil rights organizer, James Reeb, was killed by a group of white men in Selma, Ala. Reeb's death drew national outrage, but no one was ever held accountable. We spoke to two reporters — white Southerners of a younger generation — about the lies that kept this murder from being solved.

  • Fear In An Age Of Real-Life Horror

    Oct 30 2019

    It's Halloween, and people are leaning into all things scary. But sometimes those celebrations of the macabre hit a little too close to home, brushing up against our country's very dark past. So how do you navigate fake-horror in the midst of so much that's actually terrifying?

  • A Strange And Bitter Crop

    Oct 23 2019

    Eighty-five years ago, a crowd of several thousand white people gathered in Jackson County, Florida, to participate in the lynching of a man named Claude Neal. The poet L. Lamar Wilson grew up there, but didn't learn about Claude Neal until he was working on a research paper in high school. When he heard the story, he knew he had to do something.

  • President Trump's (Anti-)Social Media

    Oct 16 2019

    The President's Twitter feed has become the White House's primary mechanism for communicating with the world. Ayesha Rascoe of NPR Politics took a deep dive into Trump's combative social media universe and found that he does not go after all of the objects of his ire in the same way.

  • That's The Anthem, Get Your [Dang] Hands Up!

    Oct 09 2019

    On this episode, we look closer at hit songs that have taken on broader resonances: from a wistful ode to Puerto Rico to a disco classic about outlasting and thriving to an enduring bop about pushy, unfortunate men — i.e., scrubs.

  • Political Prisoners?

    Oct 02 2019

    In "Prison City," Wisconsin, white elected officials are representing voting districts made up mostly of prisoners. Those prisoners are disproportionately black and brown. Oh, and they can't actually vote.

  • The Original Blexit

    Sep 25 2019

    How is it that the party of Lincoln became anathema to black voters? It's a messy story, exemplified in the doomed friendship between Richard Nixon and his fellow Republican, Jackie Robinson.

  • The Black Table In The Big Tent

    Sep 18 2019

    Black Republicans are basically unicorns — they might just be the biggest outliers in American two-party politics. So who are these folks who've found a home in the GOP's lily-white big tent? And what can they teach us about the ways we all cast our ballots?

  • A Tale Of Two School Districts

    Sep 11 2019

    In many parts of the U.S., public school districts are just minutes apart, but have vastly different racial demographics — and receive vastly different funding. That's in part due to Milliken v. Bradley, a 1974 Supreme Court case that limited a powerful tool for school integration.

  • Searching For Punks

    Sep 04 2019

    Once upon a time, Kai Wright saw a movie called "Punks." A romantic comedy about black gay men, it was like nothing he'd ever seen before. But then it disappeared.

  • '20 And Odd. Negroes'

    Aug 28 2019

    In August of 1619, a British ship landed near Jamestown, Virginia with dozens of enslaved Africans — the first black people in the colonies that would be come the United States. Four hundred years later, some African Americans are still looking to Jamestown in search of home and a lost history.

  • All That Glisters Is Not Gold

    Aug 21 2019

    It's a widely accepted truth: reading Shakespeare is good for you. But what should we do with all of the bigoted themes in his work? We talk to a group of high schoolers who put on the Merchant Of Venice as a way to interrogate anti-Semitism, and then we ask an expert if that's a good idea.

  • Dora's Lasting Magic

    Aug 14 2019

    Nickelodeon's Dora The Explorer helped usher in a wave of multicultural children's programming in the U.S. Our friends at Latino USA tell the story of how the show pushed back against anti-immigrant rhetoric — and why Dora's character still matters.

  • After The Cameras Leave

    Aug 07 2019

    Five years ago, the death of an unarmed black teenager brought the town of Ferguson, Mo. to the center of a national conversation about policing in black communities. Since then, what's changed, if anything, in Ferguson?

  • Puerto Ricans Stand Up

    Jul 31 2019

    It took less than two weeks for Puerto Ricans to topple their governor following the publication of unsavory private text messages. We tell the story of how small protests evolved into a political uprising unlike anything the island had ever seen.

  • Chicago's Red Summer

    Jul 24 2019

    Almost exactly 100 years ago, race riots broke out all across the United States. The Red Summer, as it came to be known, occurred in more than two dozen cities across the nation, including Chicago, where black soldiers returning home from World War I refused to be treated as second class citizens.

  • Oh So Now It's Racist?

    Jul 17 2019

    This week, an argument about what to call President Trump's rhetoric. NPR editors Mark Memmott and Keith Woods offer different ideas for how news organizations should try to stay credible.

  • The Return Of Race Science

    Jul 10 2019

    In the 19th century it was mainstream science to believe in a racial hierarchy. But after WWII, the scientific world turned its back on eugenics and the study of racial difference. We speak to author Angela Saini, who says that race science is back.

  • America's Concentration Camps?

    Jul 03 2019

    There's a debate over what to call the facilities holding migrant asylum seekers at the southern border. We revisit an earlier controversy to help make sense of it.

  • Some Of The People Knew Magic

    Jun 26 2019

    Fifty years after the Stonewall Uprising, queer and trans folks are uncovering hidden parts of LGBTQ+ history. A new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, "Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall," features works from from queer artists of color who were born in the years after Stonewall. We talked to four of them.

  • Code Switch Book Club: Summer 2019

    Jun 19 2019

    Our listeners suggestions include American history, compelling fiction, a few memoirs—and Jane Austen, re-imagined with brown people.

  • E Ola Ka 'Olelo Hawai'i

    Jun 12 2019

    Every two weeks a language dies with its last speaker. That was the fate of Hawaiian, until a group of second-language learners put up a fight and declared, "E Ola Ka 'Olelo Hawai'i" (The Hawaiian Language Shall Live!!!)

  • The Original 'Welfare Queen'

    Jun 05 2019

    It's a pernicious stereotype, but it was coined in reference to a real woman named Linda Taylor. But her misdeeds were far more numerous and darker than welfare fraud. This week: how politicians used one outlier's story to turn the public against government programs for the poor.

  • Salt Fat Acid Race

    May 29 2019

    Samin Nosrat is an award-winning chef, cookbook author, and star of the Netflix series Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. She's also an Iranian American woman trying to represent two cultures that are often perceived as being at odds with each other.

  • Dispatches From The Schoolyard

    May 22 2019

    In middle school and high school, we're figuring out how to fit in and realizing that there are things about ourselves that we can't change — whether or not we want to. This week, we're turning the mic over to student podcasters, who told us about the big issues shaping their nascent identities.

  • Anger: The Black Woman's 'Superpower'

    May 15 2019

    A Sapphire isn't only a jewel—it's also cultural shorthand for an angry black woman. In this episode, we look at where Sapphire was born, and how the stereotype continues to haunt black women, even successful, powerful ones.

  • We Don't Say That

    May 08 2019

    France is the place where for decades you weren't supposed to talk about someone's blackness, unless you said it in English. Today, we're going to meet the people who took a very French approach to change that. (Note: This story contains strong language in English and French.)

  • You Say Chicano, I Say...

    May 01 2019

    When members of the nation's oldest Mexican-American student organization voted to change its name, it revealed generational tensions around the past, present, and future of the Chicano movement.

  • Poets, The Life Boats

    Apr 24 2019

    April is National Poetry Month, so on this episode, we're passing the mic to a handful of talented poets — the people who narrate our lives and help us better understand our own experiences.

  • Can the Go-Go Go On?

    Apr 17 2019

    For more than two decades, a cellphone store in Washington, D.C. has blasted go-go music right outside of its front door. But a recent noise complaint from a resident of a new, upscale apartment building in the area brought the music to a halt — highlighting the tensions over gentrification in the nation's capital.

  • Love & Walkouts

    Apr 10 2019

    In 1968, thousands of students participated in a series of protests for equity in education that sparked the Chicano Movement. But for two of the students at one struggling high school, that civil unrest — which became known as East L.A. Walkouts — also marked the beginning of a 50-year romance. This week, Code Switch is cosigning that love story, brought to us by our play-cousins at Latino USA.

  • Why Is It So Hard To Talk About Israel?

    Apr 05 2019

    Support for Israel has long been the rare bipartisan position among lawmakers in Washington. But recently, several younger, brown members of Congress have vocally questioned the U.S.'s relationship with Israel — and were met with fierce condemnation, including charges that their criticism was anti-Semitic. On this episode: We're talking about why it remains so hard to have nuanced conversations about Israel.

  • Ask Code Switch: You Are What You Eat

    Mar 27 2019

    This week, we tackle reader questions on vegetarianism, the specter of grocery store Columbuses, and the quiet opprobrium directed at "smelly ethnic foods" in the workplace.

  • "On Strike! Blow It Up!"

    Mar 20 2019

    Fifty years ago a multi-racial coalition of students at a commuter college in San Francisco went on strike. And while their bloody, bitter standoff has been largely forgotten, it forever changed higher education in the United States.

  • Respect Yourself

    Mar 13 2019

    What does "civility" look like and who gets to define it? What about "respectable" behavior? This week, we're looking at how behavior gets policed in public.

  • When Disaster Strikes

    Mar 06 2019

    A deadly tornado ripped through Lee County Alabama this past Sunday. An NPR investigation found that white Americans and those with safety nets often receive more federal dollars after a disaster than people of color and Americans with less wealth.

  • On The Shoulders Of Giants

    Feb 27 2019

    When Colin Kaepernick stopped standing for the national anthem at NFL games it sparked a nationwide conversation about patriotism and police brutality. Black athletes using their platform to protest injustice has long been a tradition in American history. In this episode we tap in our friends at Throughline to explore three stories of protest that are rarely told but essential to understanding the current debate: the heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, the sprinter Wilma Rudolph, and the basketball ...more

  • Getting A Foot In the Door

    Feb 21 2019

    Anali, a young woman from Los Angeles, wants to break into the film industry. A local program taught her the skills of the trade and the language, but will any of that that matter in an industry that runs mostly on connections?

  • From Blackface To Blackfishing

    Feb 13 2019

    Okay, news cycle: you win. We're talking about blackface. This week, we delve into the hidden history of "blackening up" in popular culture — from a certain iconic cartoon mouse's minstrel past to Instagram models trying to pass as black.

  • We're Going To Start A Dialogue...Again.

    Feb 07 2019

    Another week of racial controversies, another week of calls to "start a dialogue on race." What does that even mean? We talk to two veterans of one high-profile attempt at a national conversation on race, who have different views of its effectiveness.

  • Pretty Hurts

    Jan 30 2019

    Some may think of beauty as frivolous and fun, but on this episode, we're examining a few of the ugly ways that its been used to project power.

  • Intrigue At The Census Bureau

    Jan 24 2019

    Another day, another drama: Last week, a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration's decision to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census. But if the Justice Department has any say, the fight will go on...all the way to the Supreme Court.

  • Perfect Son

    Jan 16 2019

    Jason Kim and his father were once very close, but drifted apart after the family came to the United States from Korea. They drifted even further after Jason came out to his parents as gay. But after a health crisis, Jason and his father try to reckon with the silence between them. This week, a story about a family's hopes, dreams, and obligations, brought to us by the dope folks at WNYC's Nancy podcast.

  • The Return

    Jan 09 2019

    Meet one of the people caught up in the Trump Administration's hard-line stance on immigration: Javier Zamora. He was living in the US legally under Temporary Protected Status but when the White House threatened to take it away, Javier went back to El Salvador to apply for a new visa. He didn't know if he'd ever return to the US, his home of nearly twenty years.

  • America's Other Anthems

    Jan 02 2019

    This week, we're uncovering the stories behind three American Anthems. First, we hear from two musical greats about their respective versions of "Fight the Power." Next, we learned about the transformation of the children's choir staple, "This Little Light of Mine." Finally, we took a trip down "Whittier Blvd."

  • Race Underneath The Skin

    Dec 26 2018

    Spit into a tube and get in touch with your ancestors! Or not. This week we're revisiting a conversation about DNA, and what it tells us about who we are.

  • Code Switch Goes To College

    Dec 19 2018

    A professor at the University of Texas San Antonio designed a college course based around episodes of the Code Switch podcast! In it, her students learned how to have tough conversations about race and identity, using Shereen and Gene as an example. But after an incident on campus involving the police made national news, their theoretical classroom discussions stopped being polite and started getting real.

  • Code Switch Book Club

    Dec 12 2018

    We checked in with authors, poets and great literary minds to see what books they think everyone should read this holiday season.

  • The Story Of Mine Mill

    Dec 05 2018

    Reporter Julia Simon tells us about a radical miners' union in Birmingham, Alabama. It laid the foundation for civil rights organizers in the South, and holds lessons for the future of labor.

  • Dog Show!

    Nov 28 2018

    On this episode, we're hanging out with pups. First, is Kat's anxious dog Samson really just a little beagle bigot? Then, the author Bronwen Dickey and the political scientist Michael Tesler explain how the pitbull transformed from America's most beloved sidekick to a doggo non grata.

  • Live From The Apollo...It's Code Switch!

    Nov 21 2018

    Gene and Shereen talk to poet Denice Frohman, percussionist Bobby Sanabria, chef Marcus Samuelsson and comedian Ashley Nicole Black at Harlem's World Famous Apollo Theater in New York City.

  • The House On The Corner

    Nov 14 2018

    The news item about the shooting was bare: one man shot another 17 times in a dispute over drugs. The actual story — of a family that feared for its safety but who couldn't rely on the police for help — was far more complicated.

  • Politics Podcast Pop Up

    Nov 07 2018

    We know where your mind's going to be this week: midterm election results!!! So, we're handing the reins over to our play cousins from NPR's Politics Podcast. They'll tell you what happened and what it all means.

  • Is Ron Brown High School Working?

    Oct 31 2018

    Ron Brown High School was built on a novel notion: a school for boys of color, based on a model of restorative justice. We visited the school last year for several episodes to follow its first-ever freshman class. This week, we're going back to see whether the school's unique approach to education is bearing fruit.

  • The Cost To Cast A Ballot

    Oct 24 2018

    This week: why people don't vote, why people can't vote, and two state races that might have national implications for 2020.

  • What So Proudly We Hail

    Oct 17 2018

    So "The Star-Spangled Banner" is kind of a mess: notoriously tough to sing and with some weird stanzas about slavery. This week, we're looking at two of the country's other anthems with their own messy histories to find out what those songs tell us about American ideals.

  • Our Homeland Is Each Other

    Oct 10 2018

    This week, we're handing the mic over to transracial adoptees. They told us what they think is missing from mainstream narratives about adoption, and how being an adoptee is an identity unto itself.

  • Deja Vu All Over Again

    Oct 03 2018

    Decades before Christine Blasey-Ford testified before lawmakers, the country had another reckoning with sexual misconduct set against the backdrop of a Supreme Court nomination. This week: what we have — and haven't — learned in the years since the Anita Hill hearings about identity politics, sexual harassment and power.

  • #CriticsSoWhite

    Sep 26 2018

    The reckoning that is reshaping Hollywood is finally making its way to the critic's perch. Bilal Qureshi joins us to talk about exciting movies coming this fall, and who gets to judge.

  • Puerto Rico's Other Storm

    Sep 19 2018

    Long before Hurricane Maria devastated the territory, the threat of financial disaster loomed over Puerto Rico. Now, an old, bitter struggle over who gets to chart the islands' economic future is upending life for everyday Puerto Ricans trying to pick up the pieces.

  • Ask Code Switch: School Daze

    Sep 12 2018

    For better or worse, classrooms have always been a site where our country's racial issues get worked out — whether its integration, busing, learning about this country's sordid racial history. On today's Ask Code Switch, we're talking about fitting in, standing out, and standing up for what you believe in.

  • Update: Looking For Marriage In All The Wrong Places

    Sep 06 2018

    In a unanimous decision, India's Supreme Court struck down a long-standing ban on gay sex. In light of this, we're revisiting an episode about same-sex love and dating apps for South Asians.

  • Stuck Off The Realness

    Sep 05 2018

    Prodigy made up half of the hugely influential hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, but spent his life in excruciating pain due to a debilitating disease called sickle cell anemia. On this episode, the hosts of WNYC's The Realness podcast chronicle Prodigy's struggle with the disease, share the story of how the disease was discovered, and explain how black revolutionaries pressed their communities (and the President of the United States) to do something about it.

  • So What If He Said It?

    Aug 29 2018

    In recent weeks, rumors of a recording of President Trump using the N-Word have resurfaced. But critics have been describing Trump as racist for years. So, if this tape were to exist, would it even matter?

  • Live From Birmingham...It's Code Switch!

    Aug 22 2018

    Shereen and Gene head to Alabama to talk about race in the American South. Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham talks about growing up in the shadow of his city's history. The poet Ashley M. Jones shares how she learned to love her hometown. And Gigi Douban of WBHM takes on some tough listener questions about race in the Magic City.

  • Behind The Lies My Teacher Told Me

    Aug 15 2018

    It's a battle that's endured throughout so much of American history: what gets written into our textbooks. Today we tag in NPR education correspondent Anya Kamenetz, and hear from author James Loewen about the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.

  • Talk American

    Aug 08 2018

    What is the "Standard American Accent"? Where is it from? And what does it mean if you don't have it? Code Switch goes on a trip to the Midwest to find out.

  • Word Watch, The Sequel: 2Watch 2Wordiest

    Aug 01 2018

    We're back this week with the grand finale of the Word Watch Game Show! First, we'll uncover the messy history of the term "white trash." Then we'll get into a ditty that signals ... anything "Asian." Come play with us!

  • Word Watch: A Code Switch Game Show

    Jul 25 2018

    English is full of words and phrases with hidden racial backstories. Can you guess their histories? On part one of this two-part episode, we're unpacking the meaning behind "guru" and "boy."

  • Rap On Trial

    Jul 18 2018

    Olutosin Oduwole was a college student and aspiring hip hop star when he was charged with "attempting to make a terrorist threat." Did public perceptions of rap music play a role? This week we're tagging in our friends at Hidden Brain to tell this story.

  • Word Up

    Jul 11 2018

    Since 1992, the study known as "The 30 Million Word Gap" has, with unusual power, shaped the way educators, parents and policymakers think about educating poor children. NPR education correspondent Anya Kamenetz joins us to talk about what it gets right, and what it misses.

  • Code Switch's Summer Vacation

    Jul 04 2018

    We're going on a trip, and we're taking you with us! From the peak of Mount Denali to the beaches of Queens, we're talking camp, suntans and our favorite summer jams.

  • Immigration Nation

    Jun 27 2018

    Anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise, and the prospect of mass deportation is in the news. But as much as this seems like a unique moment in history, in many ways, it's history repeating itself.

  • Looking For Marriage In All The Wrong Places

    Jun 20 2018

    Online matchmaking sites are making it easier than ever for couples seeking an arranged marriage to meet. Well...not all couples.

  • Twenty-First Century Blackface

    Jun 13 2018

    We have one story of how blackface was alive and well on network television in Colombia until 2015.

  • What We Inherit

    Jun 06 2018

    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.

  • A Thousand Ways To Kneel And Kiss The Ground

    May 30 2018

    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.

  • Of Bloodlines and Conquistadors

    May 23 2018

    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.

  • What's Black And Gray And Inked All Over?

    May 16 2018

    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 ...more

  • Tough Questions For The World's Toughest Job

    May 09 2018

    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.

  • Code Switch Census Watch 2020

    May 02 2018

    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.

  • It's Bigger Than The Ban

    Apr 25 2018

    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.

  • Members of Whose Tribe?

    Apr 18 2018

    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.

  • Location! Location! Location!

    Apr 11 2018

    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.

  • The Road To The Promised Land, 50 Years Later

    Apr 04 2018

    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."

  • Amara La Negra: Too Black To Be Latina? Too Latina To Be Black?

    Mar 28 2018

    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.

  • The Madness Of March

    Mar 21 2018

    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?

  • Who Is 'Us,' Anyway?

    Mar 14 2018

    "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.

  • Searching For A Home After Hate

    Mar 07 2018

    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.

  • A House Divided By Immigration Status

    Feb 28 2018

    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.

  • Throw Some Respeck On My Name

    Feb 21 2018

    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.

  • Feelings, Finances And Fetishes: Love Is A Racial Battlefield

    Feb 14 2018

    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?

  • It's Not Just About The Blood

    Feb 07 2018

    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.

  • The State Of Our Union Is...Uh, How Much Time You Got?

    Jan 31 2018

    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.

  • The 'R-Word' In The Age Of Trump

    Jan 24 2018

    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?

  • A Racial Impostor Epidemic

    Jan 17 2018

    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?"

  • This Racism Is Killing Me Inside

    Jan 10 2018

    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.

  • Before We Give 2017 The Middle Finger, Part 2

    Jan 03 2018

    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.

  • Before We Give 2017 The Middle Finger, Part 1

    Dec 27 2017

    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.

  • Black Atheists, White Santas, And A Feast For The Deceased

    Dec 20 2017

    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?

  • With Dope, There's High Hope

    Dec 13 2017

    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.

  • 17,000 Islands, 700 Languages, And A Superhero

    Dec 06 2017

    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.

  • Disrespect To Miss-Respect

    Nov 29 2017

    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.

  • A Code Switch Thanksgiving Feast

    Nov 22 2017

    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?

  • Live From Chicago...It's Code Switch!

    Nov 15 2017

    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.

  • Reflections On A Year At Ron Brown High

    Nov 08 2017

    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?

  • To Fail Or Not To Fail: The Fierce Debate Over High Standards

    Nov 01 2017

    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.

  • 'They Can't Just Be Average,' Lifting Students Up Without Lowering The Bar

    Oct 25 2017

    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.

  • A Year Of Love And Struggle In A New High School

    Oct 18 2017

    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.

  • The Passing Of A "Failing" School

    Oct 11 2017

    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.

  • Puerto Rico, My Heart's Devotion

    Oct 04 2017

    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.

  • Befuddled By Babies, Love And Ice Pops? Ask Code Switch

    Sep 27 2017

    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.

  • A Weed Boom, But For Whom?

    Sep 18 2017

    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.

  • It's Getting (Dangerously) Hot in Herre

    Sep 13 2017

    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.

  • An Advertising Revolution: "Black People Are Not Dark-Skinned White People"

    Sep 06 2017

    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."

  • 'I'm Not A Racist, I'm Argentine!'

    Aug 30 2017

    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.

  • The Unfinished Battle In the Capital Of The Confederacy

    Aug 23 2017

    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.

  • Charlottesville

    Aug 16 2017

    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.

  • Who's Your Great-Great-Great-Great Granddaddy?

    Aug 09 2017

    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.

  • The U.S. Census and Our Sense of Us

    Aug 02 2017

    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.

  • What's Good? Talking Hip-Hop and Race With Stretch & Bobbito

    Jul 26 2017

    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.

  • What's So Wrong With African Americans Wearing African Clothes?

    Jul 19 2017

    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?

  • A Police Video From Charlotte

    Jul 12 2017

    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.

  • The Supreme Court Decides In Favor Of A Racial Slur...Now What?

    Jul 05 2017

    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.

  • It's Our Anniversary

    Jun 28 2017

    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.

  • What To Make Of Philando Castile's Death, One Year Later

    Jun 21 2017

    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.

  • Encore: 'You're A Grand Old Flag'

    Jun 14 2017

    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.

  • A Prescription For "Racial Imposter Syndrome"

    Jun 07 2017

    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.

  • 'Give It Up For DJ Blackface!'

    Jun 01 2017

    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.

  • We're Still Talking About "My Family's Slave"

    May 24 2017

    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...more

  • Japanese Americans Exiled In Utah

    May 20 2017

    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.

  • Master of None's Alan Yang Unpacks Season 2

    May 17 2017

    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.

  • The Blessing (And Curse?) Of Miss Saigon

    May 10 2017

    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.

  • Talking Black-ish With Star Yara Shahidi And Creator Kenya Barris

    May 03 2017

    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!

  • The LA Unrest (Or Riots) 25 Years Later

    Apr 29 2017

    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.

  • John Leguizamo, Still In Search Of John Leguizamo

    Apr 26 2017

    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 him...more

  • Mailbag! Listener Questions and Comments That Got Us Thinking

    Apr 19 2017

    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.

  • How One Inmate Changed The Prison System From The Inside

    Apr 15 2017

    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.

  • The Beef Over Native American Hunting Rights

    Apr 12 2017

    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.

  • Changing Colors In Comics

    Apr 05 2017

    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 ...more

  • Podcast Extra En Español: Jeanette Vizguerra

    Apr 01 2017

    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.

  • Sanctuary Churches: Who Controls The Story?

    Mar 29 2017

    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...more

  • A Bittersweet Persian New Year

    Mar 22 2017

    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.

  • The 80-Year Mystery Around 'Fred Douglas' Park

    Mar 18 2017

    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.

  • Not-So-Simple Questions From Code Switch Listeners

    Mar 15 2017

    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.

  • Safety-Pin Solidarity: With Allies, Who Benefits?

    Mar 08 2017

    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.

  • In Search Of Puerto Rican Identity In Small-Town America

    Mar 01 2017

    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 t...more

  • The Horror, The Horror: "Get Out" And The Place of Race in Scary Movies

    Feb 22 2017

    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 wri...more

  • Ten Thousand Writers... and Two Intrepid Podcast Hosts

    Feb 15 2017

    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.

  • Oscars So Black...At Least, In Documentaries

    Feb 08 2017

    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 a...more

  • Encore Plus: Who Is A Good Immigrant, Anyway?

    Feb 01 2017

    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 l...more

  • So, What Are You Afraid of Now?

    Jan 26 2017

    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.

  • Obama's Legacy: Did He Remix Race?

    Jan 18 2017

    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.

  • Obama's Legacy: Callouts and Fallouts

    Jan 11 2017

    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 ...more

  • Obama's Legacy: Diss-ent or Diss-respect?

    Jan 04 2017

    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 Universit...more

  • Encore: Everyone Is Talking To Barry Jenkins, But Our Interview Is (Still) the Best!

    Dec 28 2016

    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.

  • A Chitlins Christmas: Bah Humbug!

    Dec 21 2016

    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 d...more

  • Hold Up! Time For An Explanatory Comma

    Dec 14 2016

    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.

  • Audie and the Not-So-Magic School Bus

    Dec 07 2016

    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."

  • Encore: Asian American Letter on Behalf of Black Lives

    Nov 30 2016

    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.

  • Want Some Gravy With Those Grievances?

    Nov 23 2016

    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 Noman...more

  • Another Black President Says Goodbye To Washington

    Nov 16 2016

    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.

  • A Muslim and A Mexican Walk Into A Bar....

    Nov 10 2016

    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!."

  • Apocalypse Or Racial Kumbaya? America After Nov. 8

    Nov 02 2016

    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.

  • Everyone Is Talking To Barry Jenkins But Our Interview Is The Best

    Oct 26 2016

    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.

  • Encore: "I'm Not Black I'm O.J."

    Oct 12 2016

    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.)

  • Who Is A Good Immigrant, Anyway?

    Oct 05 2016

    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.

  • The Code Switch Guide To Handling Casual Racism

    Sep 28 2016

    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.

  • Warning! This Episode May Trigger Debate

    Sep 21 2016

    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.

  • Why Do We Still Care About Tupac?

    Sep 14 2016

    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?

  • The Dangers Of Life As An American 'Nobody'

    Sep 08 2016

    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.

  • Code Switch Extra: Singer Juan Gabriel's Sexuality Was 'Open Secret'

    Sep 04 2016

    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.

  • What's So Funny About The Indian Accent?

    Aug 31 2016

    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.

  • Code Switch Extra: "Southside" and Black Love at the Movies

    Aug 26 2016

    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.

  • Nate Parker's Past, His Present, And The Future Of "The Birth of A Nation"

    Aug 24 2016

    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 stu...more

  • Struggling School, Or Sanctuary?

    Aug 17 2016

    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.

  • Say My Name, Say My Name (Correctly, Please)

    Aug 10 2016

    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.

  • What Does "Objectivity" Mean To Journalists Of Color?

    Aug 03 2016

    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 Pul...more

  • A Letter From Young Asian Americans, To Their Parents, About Black Lives Matter

    Jul 27 2016

    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. ...more

  • 46 Stops: The Driving Life and Death of Philando Castile

    Jul 20 2016

    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.

  • Black and Blue

    Jul 14 2016

    In the aftermath of deadly police shootings of black men and the deaths of five policemen 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 Fron...more

  • Code Switch Extra: No Words

    Jul 09 2016

    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.

  • "You're A Grand Old Flag"

    Jul 06 2016

    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.

  • "I'm Not Black, I'm O.J.!"

    Jun 29 2016

    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.)

  • I Don't Know If I Like This, But I Want It To Win

    Jun 22 2016

    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.

  • How LGBTQ People of Color Are Dealing With Orlando

    Jun 16 2016

    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.

  • Code Switch Extra: Re-Remembering Muhammad Ali

    Jun 10 2016

    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."

  • Made For You And Me

    Jun 08 2016

    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.

  • Can We Talk About Whiteness?

    May 31 2016

    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.

  • The Code Switch Podcast Is Coming!

    May 09 2016

    Here's a preview of our new podcast, exploring how race and culture collide with everything else in our lives.