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

Charlottesville  

After a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville spiraled into deadly violence, residents of the Virginia town do some soul-searching. Plus: a scholar on the politics of white resentment, and a GOP operative worries about the party's long-term future.

Who's Your Great-Great-Great-Great Granddaddy?  

Spit into a tube and get in touch with your ancestors! Or not. On this episode we interview the founder of a project that uses DNA tests to talk about race in America. And Kim TallBear, a Native American anthropologist, says why she thinks DNA tests don't really tell you much about yourself.

The U.S. Census and Our Sense of Us  

The Census is so much more than cold, hard data. It's about what we call ourselves, the ways we see ourselves and how we're represented. On this episode we ask the former head of the Census bureau why he quit. We talk about how the Census helped create 'Hispanic' identity. And we talk through some of the proposed race and ethnicity categories that may show up on the 2020 questionnaire.

What's Good? Talking Hip-Hop and Race With Stretch & Bobbito  

Shereen and Gene mix it up with the pioneering hip-hop radio hosts Stretch and Bobbito. These impresarios ran a legendary show in New York City during most of the 1990s. Now they're hosting an interview podcast featuring guests like Stevie Wonder, Dave Chappelle and Mahershala Ali.

What's So Wrong With African Americans Wearing African Clothes?  

Leila Day and Hana Baba are hosts of a new podcast called The Stoop. It features conversations black people have amongst themselves — but rarely in public. The pair swing by to talk with Shereen and Gene about their show, and share an episode about a very thorny question: Can African-Americans wear clothing and accessories that originated with African cultures they're not familiar with?

A Police Video From Charlotte  

This encore presentation goes deep on a case involving a white police officer and an unarmed black man in Charlotte, NC. Videos in police-involved shootings can add detail to these cases, but as our colleague Kelly McEvers of the Embedded podcast reports, what you see depends on who you are.

It's Our Anniversary  

Shereen and Gene celebrate our first year on the podcast. We take a look back to some memorable stories with updates from the team and some of our guests.

What To Make Of Philando Castile's Death, One Year Later  

In the aftermath of the acquittal of the officer who shot and killed Philando Castile, Gene and Shereen speak to a reporter who has followed the case since the beginning. We also speak to a friend of Castile's.

Encore: 'You're A Grand Old Flag'  

Why do some people of color embrace the American flag while others refuse to wave it? In this episode from the Code Switch archives, Gene Demby and Adrian Florido unpack the complicated patriotism and evolving use of the flag with immigrant rights protesters and Native American veterans.

A Prescription For "Racial Imposter Syndrome"  

Shereen and Gene look at "racial imposter syndrome." It's what one listener described as feeling fake, or inauthentic, in her identity. We invited listeners to write in, and hundreds of bi-racial and multi-cultural people shared their views. We'll also talk to social scientists about the basic need for belonging and the role language plays in identity. Later, writer Heidi Durrow joins us. She's founder of The Mixed-Remixed Festival, the largest annual gathering of its kind in the U.S.

'Give It Up For DJ Blackface!'  

This week, we follow the strange trend of white dance-music DJs who pass themselves off as black artists. Gene talks to legendary House music DJ Ron Trent. The European producer Guy Tavares chimes in from The Netherlands on what he sees as overhyped controversy. Piotr Orlov, who covers dance music for NPR weighs in on what this all means for music fans.

We're Still Talking About "My Family's Slave"  

This week, we join the global conversation on The Atlantic's essay "My Family's Slave," in which Alex Tizon writes about Eudocia Tomas Pulido, who was his family's katulong, or domestic servant, for 56 years. Why did Eudocia's story hit such a raw nerve in the U.S. and the Philippines? Shereen and Gene talk to Vicente Rafael, a professor who has studied and written about the practice in his native Philippines. We also hear from Lydia Catina Amaya, a Filipina who was a katulong in the Philippines and the United States. And we talk to Melissa Tizon, the author's widow. Eudocia Tomas Pulido lived in their home for the last 12 years of her life.

Japanese Americans Exiled In Utah  

The story of over 100,000 Japanese Americans enduring life in internment camps during WW II is well known, but a few thousand avoided the camps, entirely by, essentially, self-exiling. Code Switch correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates talks with research historian Diana Tsuchida, about the hidden history of Japanese Americans who survived by creating farming communities, like the one in Keetley, Utah. We also hear directly from survivors about life as internally displaced American citizens.

Master of None's Alan Yang Unpacks Season 2  

Gene and guest co-host Lenika Cruz, who covers culture at The Atlantic, welcome Alan Yang. He and comedian Aziz Ansari created an Emmy-winning comedy series that stepped comfortably out of the usual TV comfort zones. Master of None just premiered an already beloved second season, and Yang talks about making bold creative choices, crafting inclusive stories, and writing complex characters with an Asian American lead at the center of it all.

The Blessing (And Curse?) Of Miss Saigon  

Miss Saigon has returned to Broadway. When the hit musical was first performed was controversial for its stereotypes and story and casting choices. Shereen is joined by teammate Kat Chow to explore Miss Saigon's journey in 2017.

Talking Black-ish With Star Yara Shahidi And Creator Kenya Barris  

Black-ish creator (Kenya) and the show's 17-year-old star (Yara) talk about what's next for them on TV and in real life. Kenya explains why he's never felt pressure to explain cultural jokes. Yara breaks down ways Gen Z is ahead of the rest of us. Plus, they preview a possible spin-off!

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.

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