Code Switch

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 head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we’re all part of the story.

Kamala, Joe, And The Fissures In The Base
Aug 13 • 44 min
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 8 • 29 min
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…
The Long, Bloody Strike For Ethnic Studies
Aug 5 • 38 min
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…
One Korean American’s Reckoning
Jul 29 • 26 min
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.…
Un-HolyLand? An Arab Muslim Reckoning With Racism
Jul 21 • 42 min
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 • 17 min
On what would have been Diahann Carroll’s 85th birthday, we’re celebrating the legacy of the actress, model and singer.
What’s In A ‘Karen’?
Jul 15 • 23 min
“Karen” has become cultural shorthand for a white woman who wields her race as a cudgel. But where did this archetype come from?
An Immune System
Jul 8 • 21 min
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…
We Aren’t Who We Think We Are
Jul 1 • 41 min
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…
They Don’t Say Our Names Enough
Jun 27 • 28 min
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…
Author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio Talks ‘The Undocumented Americans’
Jun 24 • 23 min
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…
DACA Decision: Check-In with Miriam Gonzalez
Jun 19 • 17 min
When the Supreme Court ruled that DACA could remain in place, recipient and case plaintiff Miriam Gonzalez was relieved. We talked to her right after she heard the news.
Why Now, White People?
Jun 16 • 28 min
White people are speaking up against racism and showing up to #BlackLivesMatter protests in numbers we haven’t seen before. So we asked some of them: What’s different this time?
Bonus Episode: ‘Not Just Another Protest’
Jun 12 • 42 min
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…
Unmasking The ‘Outside Agitator’
Jun 10 • 29 min
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 • 22 min
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 26 • 23 min
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.
COVID Diaries: Jessica And Sean Apply For A Loan
May 20 • 34 min
On March 1, two Los Angeles capoeira teachers signed an expensive lease on their new gym. Two weeks later, they had to close their doors due to the pandemic.
Ask Code Switch: The Coronavirus Edition
May 13 • 27 min
We answered our listeners’ burning questions about all things race and COVID-19.
What Does ‘Hood Feminism’ Mean For A Pandemic?
May 6 • 23 min
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated issues that disproportionately affect women—especially women of color. We talked to author Mikki Kendall about race, feminism and COVID-19.
When Poets Decide Who Counts
Apr 29 • 27 min
To close out National Poetry Month, we asked poets of color the question we’ve been asking in each episode this month: What does it mean to be counted in 2020?
Puerto Rico, Island Of Racial Harmony?
Apr 24 • 32 min
An overwhelming majority of people in Puerto Rico check “white” on the U.S. census, revealing a lot about Puerto Rico’s relationship with race, colonialism and the United States.
The News Beyond The COVID Numbers
Apr 22 • 18 min
This week, we’re shifting focus from census numbers to the numbers that everyone is obsessed with right now: coronavirus data, and how it breaks down by race.
Black Like Who?
Apr 15 • 35 min
Black identity is central to the question of reparations — and the difficulty of defining blackness becomes even more salient when there’s money at stake.
Why The Coronavirus Is Hitting Black Communities Hardest
Apr 11 • 24 min
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…
A Treacherous Choice And A Treaty Right
Apr 8 • 31 min
The Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation told his people to stay strong during this pandemic, and to remember how much they’ve endured over their long history.
Mother, Should I Trust The Census Bureau?
Apr 1 • 38 min
Right now, the U.S. Census Bureau is trying to count every person living in the country, but some people are very afraid of how that information will be used by the government.
Code Switch: Race. In Your Face.
Mar 25 • 1 min
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 • 22 min
We talk to the best-selling author Terry McMillan about her latest novel, It’s Not All Downhill From Here, and the topics the book tackles: aging, friendship and sex.
The All-Women Mariachi Group That’s Lifting Our Spirits
Mar 18 • 17 min
Flor de Toloache is making history by playing a style of music that has traditionally been dominated by men.
The Limits Of Empathy
Mar 11 • 36 min
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…
When Fear Of The Coronavirus Turns Into Racism And Xenophobia
Mar 4 • 25 min
The global response to COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — has made clear that the fear of contracting disease has an ugly cousin: xenophobia.
Claude Neal: A Strange And Bitter Crop
Feb 26 • 26 min
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…
Blexodus: The Black Exodus From The GOP
Feb 19 • 32 min
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,…
Pt. 2: Black Parents Take Control, Teachers Strike Back
Feb 12 • 51 min
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…
Black Parents Take Control, Teachers Strike Back
Feb 5 • 58 min
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 • 32 min
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 • 46 min
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,…
Ask Code Switch: What About Your Friends?
Jan 22 • 50 min
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 • 31 min
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 8 • 27 min
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 1 • 46 min
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…
The Birth Of A ‘New Negro’
Dec 25, 2019 • 37 min
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…
Slow Burn
Dec 18, 2019 • 45 min
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…
The Reverse Freedom Rides
Dec 11, 2019 • 43 min
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…
Death Of A Blood Sport
Dec 4, 2019 • 34 min
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…
Sometimes Explain, Always Complain
Nov 27, 2019 • 29 min
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…
Sex, Lies And Audio Tape
Nov 20, 2019 • 55 min
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,…
Status Update
Nov 13, 2019 • 26 min
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…
Is This What It Means To Be White?
Nov 6, 2019 • 25 min
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…
Fear In An Age Of Real-Life Horror
Oct 30, 2019 • 29 min
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…
A Strange And Bitter Crop
Oct 22, 2019 • 26 min
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…
President Trump’s (Anti-)Social Media
Oct 16, 2019 • 31 min
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…
That’s The Anthem, Get Your [Dang] Hands Up!
Oct 9, 2019 • 36 min
On this episode, we look closer at hit songs that have taken on broader resonances: from a wistful ode to Puerto to an enduring bop about pushy, unfortunate men — i.e., scrubs.
Political Prisoners?
Oct 2, 2019 • 30 min
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 • 35 min
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 • 60 min
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…
A Tale Of Two School Districts
Sep 11, 2019 • 30 min
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…
Searching For Punks
Sep 4, 2019 • 25 min
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 • 36 min
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…
All That Glisters Is Not Gold
Aug 21, 2019 • 32 min
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…
Dora’s Lasting Magic
Aug 14, 2019 • 38 min
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 7, 2019 • 27 min
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 • 25 min
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 • 19 min
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…
Oh So Now It’s Racist?
Jul 17, 2019 • 25 min
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 • 22 min
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 3, 2019 • 27 min
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 • 27 min
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…
Code Switch Book Club: Summer 2019
Jun 19, 2019 • 26 min
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 • 26 min
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 5, 2019 • 32 min
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…
Salt Fat Acid Race
May 29, 2019 • 24 min
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 • 30 min
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…
Anger: The Black Woman’s ‘Superpower’
May 15, 2019 • 19 min
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 8, 2019 • 44 min
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…
You Say Chicano, I Say…
May 1, 2019 • 21 min
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 • 35 min
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 • 29 min
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 —…
Love & Walkouts
Apr 10, 2019 • 33 min
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…
Why Is It So Hard To Talk About Israel?
Apr 5, 2019 • 38 min
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,…
Ask Code Switch: You Are What You Eat
Mar 27, 2019 • 32 min
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 • 37 min
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 • 32 min
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 6, 2019 • 22 min
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 • 40 min
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.…
Getting A Foot In the Door
Feb 21, 2019 • 23 min
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 • 28 min
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 7, 2019 • 27 min
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 • 47 min
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 • 29 min
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…
Perfect Son
Jan 16, 2019 • 38 min
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…
The Return
Jan 9, 2019 • 34 min
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…
America’s Other Anthems
Jan 2, 2019 • 30 min
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…
Race Underneath The Skin
Dec 26, 2018 • 31 min
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 • 26 min
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…
Code Switch Book Club
Dec 12, 2018 • 30 min
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 5, 2018 • 27 min
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 • 39 min
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…
Live From The Apollo…It’s Code Switch!
Nov 21, 2018 • 62 min
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 • 35 min
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 7, 2018 • 28 min
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 • 38 min
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…
The Cost To Cast A Ballot
Oct 24, 2018 • 35 min
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 • 23 min
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…
Our Homeland Is Each Other
Oct 10, 2018 • 28 min
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 3, 2018 • 24 min
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…
Sep 26, 2018 • 32 min
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 • 30 min
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…
Ask Code Switch: School Daze
Sep 12, 2018 • 42 min
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,…
Update: Looking For Marriage In All The Wrong Places
Sep 6, 2018 • 33 min
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 5, 2018 • 32 min
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…
So What If He Said It?
Aug 29, 2018 • 20 min
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 • 43 min
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…
Behind The Lies My Teacher Told Me
Aug 15, 2018 • 18 min
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…
Talk American
Aug 8, 2018 • 26 min
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 1, 2018 • 29 min
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 • 26 min
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 • 51 min
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 • 22 min
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,…
Code Switch’s Summer Vacation
Jul 4, 2018 • 35 min
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 • 33 min
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 • 32 min
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 • 31 min
We have one story of how blackface was alive and well on network television in Colombia until 2015.
What We Inherit
Jun 6, 2018 • 26 min
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 • 24 min
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…
Of Bloodlines and Conquistadors
May 23, 2018 • 33 min
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…
What’s Black And Gray And Inked All Over?
May 16, 2018 • 23 min
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…
Tough Questions For The World’s Toughest Job
May 9, 2018 • 31 min
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 2, 2018 • 28 min
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.…
It’s Bigger Than The Ban
Apr 25, 2018 • 42 min
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 • 31 min
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 • 35 min
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 ,…
The Road To The Promised Land, 50 Years Later
Apr 4, 2018 • 23 min
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…
Amara La Negra: Too Black To Be Latina? Too Latina To Be Black?
Mar 28, 2018 • 35 min
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…
The Madness Of March
Mar 21, 2018 • 26 min
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,…
Who Is ‘Us,’ Anyway?
Mar 14, 2018 • 20 min
“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 7, 2018 • 18 min
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…
A House Divided By Immigration Status
Feb 28, 2018 • 17 min
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,…
Throw Some Respeck On My Name
Feb 21, 2018 • 27 min
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…
Feelings, Finances And Fetishes: Love Is A Racial Battlefield
Feb 13, 2018 • 26 min
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…
It’s Not Just About The Blood
Feb 7, 2018 • 21 min
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…
The State Of Our Union Is…Uh, How Much Time You Got?
Jan 31, 2018 • 31 min
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…
The ‘R-Word’ In The Age Of Trump
Jan 24, 2018 • 24 min
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 • 19 min
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 • 31 min
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…
Before We Give 2017 The Middle Finger, Part 2
Jan 3, 2018 • 26 min
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…
Before We Give 2017 The Middle Finger, Part 1
Dec 27, 2017 • 37 min
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 • 26 min
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…
With Dope, There’s High Hope
Dec 13, 2017 • 26 min
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…
17,000 Islands, 700 Languages, And A Superhero
Dec 6, 2017 • 19 min
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…
Disrespect To Miss-Respect
Nov 29, 2017 • 27 min
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…
A Code Switch Thanksgiving Feast
Nov 22, 2017 • 20 min
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…
Live From Chicago…It’s Code Switch!
Nov 15, 2017 • 45 min
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…
Reflections On A Year At Ron Brown High
Nov 8, 2017 • 28 min
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…
To Fail Or Not To Fail: The Fierce Debate Over High Standards
Nov 1, 2017 • 49 min
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 • 46 min
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 • 43 min
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…
The Passing Of A “Failing” School
Oct 11, 2017 • 38 min
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…
Puerto Rico, My Heart’s Devotion
Oct 4, 2017 • 22 min
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…
Befuddled By Babies, Love And Ice Pops? Ask Code Switch
Sep 27, 2017 • 27 min
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…
A Weed Boom, But For Whom?
Sep 18, 2017 • 27 min
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 • 29 min
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 6, 2017 • 28 min
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 • 20 min
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…
The Unfinished Battle In the Capital Of The Confederacy
Aug 23, 2017 • 31 min
As calls to remove Confederate memorials grow louder, we head to Richmond, Va., where the veneration of Confederate leaders has been a source of local pride — and revulsion — for more than a century.
Aug 16, 2017 • 32 min
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 9, 2017 • 27 min
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…
The U.S. Census and Our Sense of Us
Aug 2, 2017 • 25 min
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…
What’s Good? Talking Hip-Hop and Race With Stretch & Bobbito
Jul 26, 2017 • 23 min
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…
What’s So Wrong With African Americans Wearing African Clothes?
Jul 19, 2017 • 24 min
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…
A Police Video From Charlotte
Jul 12, 2017 • 44 min
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,…
The Supreme Court Decides In Favor Of A Racial Slur…Now What?
Jul 5, 2017 • 19 min
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 • 33 min
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 • 22 min
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 • 30 min
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…
A Prescription For “Racial Imposter Syndrome”
Jun 7, 2017 • 29 min
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…
‘Give It Up For DJ Blackface!’
May 31, 2017 • 28 min
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…
We’re Still Talking About “My Family’s Slave”
May 24, 2017 • 31 min
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…
Japanese Americans Exiled In Utah
May 20, 2017 • 18 min
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…
Master of None’s Alan Yang Unpacks Season 2
May 17, 2017 • 23 min
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…
The Blessing (And Curse?) Of Miss Saigon
May 10, 2017 • 21 min
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 3, 2017 • 30 min
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,…
The LA Unrest (Or Riots) 25 Years Later
Apr 29, 2017 • 20 min
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…
John Leguizamo, Still In Search Of John Leguizamo
Apr 26, 2017 • 27 min
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…
Mailbag! Listener Questions and Comments That Got Us Thinking
Apr 19, 2017 • 24 min
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…
How One Inmate Changed The Prison System From The Inside
Apr 15, 2017 • 11 min
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…
The Beef Over Native American Hunting Rights
Apr 12, 2017 • 21 min
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 5, 2017 • 27 min
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…
Podcast Extra En Español: Jeanette Vizguerra
Apr 1, 2017 • 14 min
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…
Sanctuary Churches: Who Controls The Story?
Mar 29, 2017 • 21 min
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…
A Bittersweet Persian New Year
Mar 22, 2017 • 23 min
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…
The 80-Year Mystery Around ‘Fred Douglas’ Park
Mar 18, 2017 • 6 min
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…
Not-So-Simple Questions From Code Switch Listeners
Mar 15, 2017 • 20 min
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…
Safety-Pin Solidarity: With Allies, Who Benefits?
Mar 8, 2017 • 31 min
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…
In Search Of Puerto Rican Identity In Small-Town America
Mar 1, 2017 • 22 min
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…
The Horror, The Horror: “Get Out” And The Place of Race in Scary Movies
Feb 22, 2017 • 25 min
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…
Ten Thousand Writers… and Two Intrepid Podcast Hosts
Feb 15, 2017 • 16 min
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…
Oscars So Black…At Least, In Documentaries
Feb 8, 2017 • 24 min
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…
Encore Plus: Who Is A Good Immigrant, Anyway?
Feb 1, 2017 • 23 min
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…
So, What Are You Afraid of Now?
Jan 25, 2017 • 20 min
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…
Obama’s Legacy: Did He Remix Race?
Jan 18, 2017 • 31 min
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…
Obama’s Legacy: Callouts and Fallouts
Jan 11, 2017 • 36 min
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.…
Obama’s Legacy: Diss-ent or Diss-respect?
Jan 4, 2017 • 35 min
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…
Encore: Everyone Is Talking To Barry Jenkins, But Our Interview Is (Still) the Best!
Dec 28, 2016 • 38 min
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 • 28 min
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…
Hold Up! Time For An Explanatory Comma
Dec 14, 2016 • 28 min
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…
Audie and the Not-So-Magic School Bus
Dec 7, 2016 • 33 min
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…
Encore: Asian American Letter on Behalf of Black Lives
Nov 30, 2016 • 22 min
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…
Want Some Gravy With Those Grievances?
Nov 23, 2016 • 23 min
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…
Another Black President Says Goodbye To Washington
Nov 16, 2016 • 27 min
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 9, 2016 • 26 min
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…
Apocalypse Or Racial Kumbaya? America After Nov. 8
Nov 2, 2016 • 29 min
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,…
Everyone Is Talking To Barry Jenkins But Our Interview Is The Best
Oct 26, 2016 • 37 min
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…
Encore: “I’m Not Black I’m O.J.”
Oct 12, 2016 • 19 min
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…
Who Is A Good Immigrant, Anyway?
Oct 5, 2016 • 19 min
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…
The Code Switch Guide To Handling Casual Racism
Sep 28, 2016 • 24 min
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…
Warning! This Episode May Trigger Debate
Sep 21, 2016 • 31 min
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…
Why Do We Still Care About Tupac?
Sep 14, 2016 • 24 min
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 7, 2016 • 24 min
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…
Code Switch Extra: Singer Juan Gabriel’s Sexuality Was ‘Open Secret’
Sep 3, 2016 • 19 min
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…
What’s So Funny About The Indian Accent?
Aug 31, 2016 • 27 min
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…
Code Switch Extra: “Southside” and Black Love at the Movies
Aug 26, 2016 • 21 min
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 • 42 min
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…
Struggling School, Or Sanctuary?
Aug 17, 2016 • 41 min
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…
Say My Name, Say My Name (Correctly, Please)
Aug 10, 2016 • 26 min
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…
What Does “Objectivity” Mean To Journalists Of Color?
Aug 3, 2016 • 37 min
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…
A Letter From Young Asian Americans, To Their Parents, About Black Lives Matter
Jul 27, 2016 • 23 min
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…
46 Stops: The Driving Life and Death of Philando Castile
Jul 20, 2016 • 29 min
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…
Black and Blue
Jul 13, 2016 • 32 min
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…
Code Switch Extra: No Words
Jul 9, 2016 • 26 min
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…
“You’re A Grand Old Flag”
Jul 6, 2016 • 29 min
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 • 19 min
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…
I Don’t Know If I Like This, But I Want It To Win
Jun 22, 2016 • 29 min
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…
How LGBTQ People of Color Are Dealing With Orlando
Jun 15, 2016 • 33 min
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 • 28 min
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 8, 2016 • 20 min
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 • 37 min
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 9, 2016 • 2 min
Here’s a preview of our new podcast, exploring how race and culture collide with everything else in our lives.