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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.

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npr.org/sections/codeswitch/

Episodes

We Aren't Who We Think We Are

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.
2020-07-01
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They Don't Say Our Names Enough

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.
2020-06-27
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Author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio Talks 'The Undocumented Americans'

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.
2020-06-24
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DACA Decision: Check-In with Miriam Gonzalez

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.
2020-06-19
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Why Now, White People?

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?
2020-06-17
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Bonus Episode: 'Not Just Another Protest'

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.
2020-06-12
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Unmasking The 'Outside Agitator'

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?
2020-06-10
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A Decade Of Watching Black People Die

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.
2020-05-31
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Songs Giving Us (Much Needed) Life

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.
2020-05-27
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COVID Diaries: Jessica And Sean Apply For A Loan

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.
2020-05-20
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Ask Code Switch: The Coronavirus Edition

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.
2020-05-13
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What Does 'Hood Feminism' Mean For A Pandemic?

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.
2020-05-06
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When Poets Decide Who Counts

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.
2020-04-29
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Puerto Rico, Island Of Racial Harmony?

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.
2020-04-24
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The News Beyond The COVID Numbers

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.
2020-04-22
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Black Like Who?

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.
2020-04-15
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Why The Coronavirus Is Hitting Black Communities Hardest

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.
2020-04-11
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A Treacherous Choice And A Treaty Right

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.
2020-04-08
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Mother, Should I Trust The Census Bureau?

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.
2020-04-01
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Code Switch: Race. In Your Face.

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.
2020-03-25
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Sex, Friendship And Aging: 'It's Not All Downhill From Here'

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.
2020-03-25
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The All-Women Mariachi Group That's Lifting Our Spirits

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.
2020-03-18
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The Limits Of Empathy

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.
2020-03-11
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When Fear Of The Coronavirus Turns Into Racism And Xenophobia

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.
2020-03-04
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Claude Neal: A Strange And Bitter Crop

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.
2020-02-26
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Blexodus: The Black Exodus From The GOP

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.
2020-02-19
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Pt. 2: Black Parents Take Control, Teachers Strike Back

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.
2020-02-12
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Black Parents Take Control, Teachers Strike Back

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.
2020-02-05
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Books For Your Mind, Belly And Soul

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.
2020-01-29
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Bonus Episode: 'Between Friends' From WNYC

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.
2020-01-23
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Ask Code Switch: What About Your Friends?

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.
2020-01-22
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Is The Door To Iran Closed Forever?

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.
2020-01-15
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Carmen Maria Machado Takes Us 'In The Dream House'

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."
2020-01-08
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Beautiful Lies

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.
2020-01-01
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The Birth Of A 'New Negro'

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.
2019-12-25
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Slow Burn

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.
2019-12-18
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The Reverse Freedom Rides

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.
2019-12-11
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Death Of A Blood Sport

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.
2019-12-04
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Sometimes Explain, Always Complain

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.
2019-11-27
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Sex, Lies And Audio Tape

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.
2019-11-20
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Status Update

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.
2019-11-13
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Is This What It Means To Be White?

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.
2019-11-06
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Fear In An Age Of Real-Life Horror

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?
2019-10-30
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A Strange And Bitter Crop

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.
2019-10-23
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President Trump's (Anti-)Social Media

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.
2019-10-16
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That's The Anthem, Get Your [Dang] Hands Up!

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.
2019-10-09
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Political Prisoners?

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.
2019-10-02
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The Original Blexit

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.
2019-09-25
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The Black Table In The Big Tent

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?
2019-09-18
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A Tale Of Two School Districts

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.
2019-09-11
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