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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. "We're talking to people who have been marginalized and underrepresented for so long, who are so hungry to see themselves represented fully and with nuance and complexity," says Shereen Marisol Meraji, co-host of Code Switch, Apple Podcasts' first-ever Show of the Year for 2020. "People recognize that, because we had been having these conversations for so many years in advance, we're a trusted place where they could go to better understand all the stories about race filling up their newsfeeds and social channels." Their weekly podcast launched in 2016 but truly came into its own during this historic, transformative year, as Meraji and co-host Gene Demby examine issues of racial, ethnic, and cultural identity through frank one-on-one discussions and incisive non-fiction. In a year dominated by discourse about race, this indispensable show furthered them by providing powerful and timely insight, offering diverse and empathetic personal perspectives to a broad audience. "There are certain lenses that we are bringing into, both as journalists and the people that we're bringing to these stories," Demby says. "But also, we are specific people with specific fascinations and broad curiosity. If we're telling these stories, you should assume that they're going to look and sound like us."

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Episodes

From The Fringe To The Capitol

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.
2021-01-13
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Finding 'A Perfect Match'

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.
2021-01-06
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The Fire Still Burning

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.
2020-12-30
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From Generation To Generation

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.
2020-12-28
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Family Stories, Family Lies

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.
2020-12-23
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Black And Up In Arms

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.
2020-12-16
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The Books That Got Away

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.
2020-12-13
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Stepping Back Inside Carmen Maria Machado's 'Dream House'

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.
2020-12-09
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Words Of Advice

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.)
2020-12-01
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Thank You, Next

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.
2020-11-25
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The White Elephants In The Room

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 voters.
2020-11-19
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Claim Us If You're Famous

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 booth.
2020-11-11
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We ... Don't Know Anything Yet

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.
2020-11-04
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An Historic Vote, Among Many

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.
2020-10-31
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The Latinx Vote Comes Of Age

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?
2020-10-28
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Is Trump Really That Racist?

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?
2020-10-21
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Let's Talk About Kamala Harris

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.
2020-10-14
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Hip-Hop, Mass Incarceration, And A Conspiracy Theory For The Ages

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.
2020-10-09
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A Treaty Right For Cherokee Representation

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.
2020-10-07
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A New Look For The Fashion Industry?

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.
2020-10-03
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Is It Time To Say R.I.P. To 'POC'?

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?
2020-09-30
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Battle Of The Books

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?
2020-09-23
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The Protests Heard 'Round The World

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.
2020-09-16
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The Kids Are All Right

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.
2020-09-09
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Balls And Strikes

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.
2020-09-02
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The United States' Pre-Existing Conditions

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.
2020-08-26
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Keep Your Friends Closer

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.
2020-08-19
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Kamala, Joe, And The Fissures In The Base

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.
2020-08-12
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Bonus Episode: Katrina, 15 Years Later

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.
2020-08-08
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The Long, Bloody Strike For Ethnic Studies

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.
2020-08-05
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One Korean American's Reckoning

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.
2020-07-29
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Un-HolyLand? An Arab Muslim Reckoning With Racism

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.
2020-07-22
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Remembering The 'Divine Diahann Carroll'

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.
2020-07-17
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What's In A 'Karen'?

"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?
2020-07-15
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An Immune System

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.
2020-07-08
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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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