Code Switch

Code Switch

United States

Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get...stuck? Code Switch can help. We're all journalists of color, and this isn't just the work we do. It's the lives we lead. Sometimes, we'll make you laugh. Other times, you'll get uncomfortable. But we'll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic. Come mix it up with us.

Episodes

The LA Unrest (Or Riots) 25 Years Later  

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 play cousins Mandalit Del Barco and David Greene for this one.

John Leguizamo, Still In Search Of John Leguizamo  

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 Leguizamo in New York during the current run of his latest one-man show, Latin History For Morons. Now a father, Leguizamo struggles with what he knows and what he can teach his son and daughter about being Latino in the U.S., while challenging himself to be the dad he'd always wanted his own father to be.

Mailbag! Listener Questions and Comments That Got Us Thinking  

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 professor gave us a "loving critique" of our episode on Native hunting rights and sovereignty. (Thank you.) Plus a special call-out to the racial imposter in you.

How One Inmate Changed The Prison System From The Inside  

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 confinement, including in the notorious Attica prison. Today, Sostre's life and pioneering prisoners' rights work is largely hidden from the public.

The Beef Over Native American Hunting Rights  

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  

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 reclaiming the comic book store, which once made her uneasy as a black fan. Meanwhile, C. Spike Trotman, another black woman, has made a name for herself as an online comics publisher of Iron Circus Comics in Chicago. We also talk to artist and designer Ronald Wimberly for his perspective as a black creator who has worked for Marvel and DC, the titans of corporate comics.

Podcast Extra En Español: Jeanette Vizguerra  

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 santuario mientras disputa su caso de deportación.

Sanctuary Churches: Who Controls The Story?  

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 immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. He also looks at why the movement has to wrestle with important questions: Who controls the story and the message? How much say does an individual or family have in how a sanctuary church leverages their story? Adrian also has a candid talk with Jeannette Vizguerra, who is living inside a Colorado church, as she fights a legal deportation battle. It could be years before she is able to step outside the church. As Adrian reports, the decisions, intentions and relationships complicate the work of sanctuary churches.

A Bittersweet Persian New Year  

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 bitter and what's sweet with Nilou Motamed, the Iranian-American editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine, and visit with Code Switch friend and comedian Negin Farsad.

The 80-Year Mystery Around 'Fred Douglas' Park  

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 actually been intended to honor the great abolitionist and statesman. Reporter Blake Farmer of member station WPLN explores the park's controversial history and how the city finally decided to clarify the park's name.

Not-So-Simple Questions From Code Switch Listeners  

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 did the archetype of "The Magical Negro" come from? How has the meaning of "woke" evolved? And what does it mean to sound like an American in 2017? And many other questions in between the lines.

Safety-Pin Solidarity: With Allies, Who Benefits?  

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 GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast, the Reverend Timothy Murphy, and our editor, Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. We also talk with the co-founder of a black-owned company that teaches white people how to be better allies, for a fee.

In Search of Puerto Rican Identity in Small-Town America  

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 then, they've had a complicated and fraught relationship with what it means to be American. Shereen traveled to Holyoke, Massachusetts to explore what the Jones Act has meant to Puerto Rican identity on stateside in the last century. Holyoke has the highest ration of Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. - nearly 50% of residents there have Puerto Rican heritage.

The Horror, The Horror: "Get Out" And The Place of Race in Scary Movies  

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 chat with Peele about his new film, check in with African-American filmmaker Ernest Dickerson, who's directed many scary movies and TV shows, and dive deep into race in horror-movie history with Robin Means Coleman, who's been analyzing and writing about the genre for over a decade.

Ten Thousand Writers... and Two Intrepid Podcast Hosts  

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 veterans about everything from hip hop lyricism to the role of the artist in trying political times to buzz-worthy emerging writers of color.

Oscars So Black...At Least, In Documentaries  

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 black female director to be nominated in this category. And the Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentarian Noland Walker, now of ITVS, tells us about how the film industry has responded to documentarians of color since he started as a production assistant on the landmark PBS documentary series, "Eyes On the Prize" in the late 1980s.

Encore Plus: Who Is A Good Immigrant, Anyway?  

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 undocumented immigrant who was convicted of a crime. For many people, "DREAMers," were considered the most sympathetic characters in the immigration reform drama. But a new administration is in the White House, and what was once a very complicated landscape is changing. Later, economist Ike Brannon from the CATO Institute joins the conversation.

So, What Are You Afraid of Now?  

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 California.

Obama's Legacy: Did He Remix Race?  

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 the U.S. borders have projected their multicultural selves onto the president. Gene and Shereen are joined by poet Richard Blanco, Angela Rye, head of the political advocacy firm IMPACT Strategies, and NYU history professor Nikhil Singh.

Obama's Legacy: Callouts and Fallouts  

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. Janet Murguia is president of the National Council of La Raza. Simon Moya-Smith is editor of Indian Country Today and a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Carla Shedd teaches sociology and African American studies at Columbia University; she wrote the book "Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice."

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