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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

Spit A Verse, Drop Some Knowledge

We've spent the past year trying to analyze, dissect and intellectualize all the ways that our world has changed. But sometimes the best way to understand our circumstances isn't through data and reports ? it's through art and poetry. So this week, we're hearing from some of the country's most critical observers: poets.
2021-04-07
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Why Are We Here?

Filipinos make up a small fraction of the nurses in the United States, but almost a third of the nurses who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. have been of Filipino descent. So what exactly is going on? Our friends over at The Atlantic and WNYC tried to understand more about this troubling statistic by telling the story of one woman: Rosary Castro-Olega.
2021-03-31
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Screams And Silence

Asian American organizers and influencers have been trying to sound the alarm over a dramatic spike in reports of anti-Asian racism over the last year, and have been frustrated by the lack of media and public attention paid to their worries. Then came last week, when a deadly shooting spree in Georgia realized many of their worst fears and thrust the issue into the national spotlight.
2021-03-24
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Lonnie Bunch And The 'Museum Of No'

The Blacksonian ? er, the National Museum of African American History and Culture ? was years and years in the making. It's closed down because of the coronavirus, but we got a virtual tour from the man who devoted his life to giving it life. He's also the first Black leader of the entire Smithsonian Institution. Baller status.
2021-03-17
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Saving A Language You're Learning To Speak

Every two weeks, a language dies with its last speaker. That was almost the fate of the Hawaiian language ? until a group of young people decided to create a strong community of Hawaiian speakers ? as they were learning to speak it them themselves.
2021-03-10
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David (Pronounced dah-VEED) Versus Goliath

Summer, 2004. The Olympics in Athens. The event? Men's basketball: U.S. versus Puerto Rico. And the whole world knows that Puerto Rico doesn't stand a chance. After all, the bigger, richer, imperial power always wins ? right?
2021-03-03
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'Payback's A B****'

We're ending Black history month where we started it...talking about reparations. On this episode, we're joined by Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow, who have spent the past two years exploring how reparations could transform the United States ? and all the struggles and possibilities that go along with that.
2021-02-26
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A Shot In The Dark

As the rollout of coronavirus vaccines unfolds, one big challenge for public health officials has been the skepticism many Black people have toward the vaccine. One notorious medical study ? the Tuskegee experiment ? has been cited as a reason. But should it be?
2021-02-24
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Becoming 'Black Moses'

Marcus Garvey was an immigrant, a firebrand, a businessman. He was viewed with deep suspicion by the civil rights establishment. He would also become one of the most famous and powerful Black visionaries of the 20th century. Our play-cousins at NPR's Throughline podcast went deep on how he became the towering (and often misunderstood) figure that he is.
2021-02-17
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Black Kiss-tory

Too often, Black history is portrayed as a story of struggle and suffering, completely devoid of joy. So we called up some romance novelists whose work focuses on Black history. They told us that no matter how hard the times, there has always been room for love.
2021-02-10
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Who's 'Black Enough' For Reparations?

Black History Month is here, which means we're diving into big, sticky questions about what exactly it means to be Black. So this week on the show: Who is 'Black enough' for reparations? Because you know...we got some bills to pay.
2021-02-03
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Stepping Out Of The Shadow Of 'Killer King'

For decades, residents of Compton and Watts in South Los Angeles had to rely on one particularly troubled hospital for their medical care. A new state-of-the-art hospital replaced it, but faced many of the same challenges: too few beds, too many patients who need serious help, not enough money. Then came the coronavirus.
2021-01-27
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The Last Four Years

The Trump administration is coming to a close, but which elements of the Trump era are here to stay? We spoke to NPR's White House reporter, Ayesha Rascoe, about where we were when Donald Trump took office ? and what he's left behind.
2021-01-20
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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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