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

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."

Obama's Legacy: Diss-ent or Diss-respect?  

In the first of three conversations about President Barack Obama's racial legacy,Code Switch asks how much was race or racism drove the way the first black president was treated and how he governed. Did the president misjudge the state of race relations in America? Real talk about the Obama legacy is just a click away on this week's podcast. Gene and Shereen are joined by Jamelle Bouie, Slate's chief political correspondent, and Tressie McMillan Cottam, sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Encore: Everyone Is Talking To Barry Jenkins, But Our Interview Is (Still) the Best!  

We revisit Gene's conversation with filmmaker Barry Jenkins to close out 2016. Jenkins' latest movie is Moonlight. There's buzz for awards nominations, including the Oscars.

A Chitlins Christmas: Bah Humbug!  

You know it when you see it or, maybe by the smell. It's the holiday dish no one really likes but someone always makes "because it's tradition." Not all food traditions are equally appetizing... but they often remind us who we are. We asked you to tell us about dishes you don't like, but that keep showing up during the holiday season. We check in with poet Kevin Young to find out why chitlins will always grace his table. And restaurateur Genevieve Villamora joins Gene and Shereen to talk about dinuguan ... a traditional Filipino pork stew with strong flavors (made with pig's blood). She avoided it as a kid, but now, it's served at her acclaimed Washington DC restaurant "Bad Saint."

Hold Up! Time For An Explanatory Comma  

Gene and Shereen ask how much cultural context to give when talking about race and culture. So, how much context should you have to provide? Comedian Hari Kondabolu, co-host of the podcast Politically Re-Active, deals with these questions regularly, both in his stand-up routine and on his podcast.

Hold Up! Time For An Explanatory Comma  

Gene and Shereen ask how much cultural context to give when talking about race and culture. How much cultural context should you have to provide? Comedian Hari Kondabolu, co-host of the podcast Politically Re-Active, deals with these questions regularly, both in his stand-up routine and on his podcast.

Audie and the Not-So-Magic School Bus  

NPR's Audie Cornish was bused to an affluent suburban school outside Boston in a voluntary integration program. She reflects on her experiences with Gene Demby and talks about stories she recently reported on kids using the program today. Matthew Delmont joins the conversation. He teaches history at Arizona State University and wrote the book "Why Busing Failed."

Encore: Asian American Letter on Behalf of Black Lives  

We present an encore episode from Summer 2016: Shereen Marisol Meraji and Kat Chow talk with Christina Xu about her project to open up a difficult race conversation between younger and older generations of Asian-American families. We hear from a daughter and her father as they discuss why she thought it was important to join Black Lives Matter marches.

Want Some Gravy With Those Grievances?  

For families of color, the recent Presidential campaign season and election results may affect the tone of conversations at Thanksgiving and throughout this holiday season. Shereen and Gene are joined by Kat from the Code Switch Team to dissect dinner table politics. We also hear from people who answered our social media call-out, and later, journalist and professor Asra Nomani and her father Azar talk with Shereen about how they came to terms with political differences in the family. Asra Nomani, a Muslim woman and immigrant, revealed in an op-ed that she voted for Donald Trump.

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