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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

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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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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