Code Switch


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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, y...Show More
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A Year Of Love And Struggle In A New High School

43:16 | Oct 18th, 2017

Too many young, black men struggle in America's education system. Washington D.C. is trying to do something about it with a new, boys-only high school. NPR's Cory Turner and Education Week's Kavitha Cardoza spent hundreds of hours there, reporting on...Show More
An Advertising Revolution: "Black People Are Not Dark-Skinned White People"

28:14 | Sep 6th, 2017

How do you get black people to buy cigarettes made for cowboys and antebellum-style beer? Turns out, you don't. On this episode: Tom Burrell, who transformed the ad industry with a simple motto, "Black people are not dark-skinned white people."
The Unfinished Battle In the Capital Of The Confederacy

31:25 | Aug 23rd, 2017

As calls to remove Confederate memorials grow louder, we head to Richmond, Va., where the veneration of Confederate leaders has been a source of local pride — and revulsion — for more than a century.
Pretty Hurts

47:32 | Jan 30th

Some may think of beauty as frivolous and fun, but on this episode, we're examining a few of the ugly ways that its been used to project power.
Feelings, Finances And Fetishes: Love Is A Racial Battlefield

26:47 | Feb 14th, 2018

To get y'all in the mood for Valentine's Day, we're exploring some of our juiciest listener love questions. Should your race and gender affect how much you pay into a relationship? What's the difference between a preference and a fetish? And what's t...Show More
It's Not Just About The Blood

21:53 | Feb 7th, 2018

If you're Native American, who or what gets to define your identity? We dive into an old system intended to measure the amount of "Indian blood" a person has. We hear from two families about how they've come to understand their own Native identities ...Show More
To Fail Or Not To Fail: The Fierce Debate Over High Standards

49:43 | Nov 1st, 2017

With 40 percent of its students at risk of failing, one radical new high school in Washington, D.C. wrestles with whether to lower its own high expectations.
Who's Your Great-Great-Great-Great Granddaddy?

27:10 | Aug 9th, 2017

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 ...Show More
The U.S. Census and Our Sense of Us

25:44 | Aug 2nd, 2017

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 crea...Show More
What's So Wrong With African Americans Wearing African Clothes?

24:58 | Jul 19th, 2017

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...Show More
Encore: 'You're A Grand Old Flag'

30:49 | Jun 14th, 2017

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 pr...Show More
A Prescription For "Racial Imposter Syndrome"

29:33 | Jun 7th, 2017

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 al...Show More
We're Still Talking About "My Family's Slave"

31:59 | May 24th, 2017

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 ne...Show More
Dispatches From The Schoolyard

30:46 | May 22nd

In middle school and high school, we're figuring out how to fit in and realizing that there are things about ourselves that we can't change — whether or not we want to. This week, we're turning the mic over to student podcasters, who told us about th...Show More
Anger: The Black Woman's 'Superpower'

19:59 | May 15th

A Sapphire isn't only a jewel—it's also cultural shorthand for an angry black woman. In this episode, we look at where Sapphire was born, and how the stereotype continues to haunt black women, even successful, powerful ones.
We Don't Say That

44:35 | May 8th

France is the place where for decades you weren't supposed to talk about someone's blackness, unless you said it in English. Today, we're going to meet the people who took a very French approach to change that. (Note: This story contains strong langu...Show More
You Say Chicano, I Say...

21:05 | May 1st

When members of the nation's oldest Mexican-American student organization voted to change its name, it revealed generational tensions around the past, present, and future of the Chicano movement.
Poets, The Life Boats

35:38 | Apr 24th

April is National Poetry Month, so on this episode, we're passing the mic to a handful of talented poets — the people who narrate our lives and help us better understand our own experiences.
Can the Go-Go Go On?

29:10 | Apr 17th

For more than two decades, a cellphone store in Washington, D.C. has blasted go-go music right outside of its front door. But a recent noise complaint from a resident of a new, upscale apartment building in the area brought the music to a halt — high...Show More
Love & Walkouts

33:09 | Apr 10th

In 1968, thousands of students participated in a series of protests for equity in education that sparked the Chicano Movement. But for two of the students at one struggling high school, that civil unrest — which became known as East L.A. Walkouts — a...Show More
Why Is It So Hard To Talk About Israel?

1:04:15 | Apr 5th

Support for Israel has long been the rare bipartisan position among lawmakers in Washington. But recently, several younger, brown members of Congress have vocally questioned the U.S.'s relationship with Israel — and were met with fierce condemnation,...Show More
Ask Code Switch: You Are What You Eat

32:29 | Mar 27th

This week, we tackle reader questions on vegetarianism, the specter of grocery store Columbuses, and the quiet opprobrium directed at "smelly ethnic foods" in the workplace.
"On Strike! Blow It Up!"

37:24 | Mar 20th

Fifty years ago a multi-racial coalition of students at a commuter college in San Francisco went on strike. And while their bloody, bitter standoff has been largely forgotten, it forever changed higher education in the United States.
Respect Yourself

32:13 | Mar 13th

What does "civility" look like and who gets to define it? What about "respectable" behavior? This week, we're looking at how behavior gets policed in public.
When Disaster Strikes

22:23 | Mar 6th

A deadly tornado ripped through Lee County Alabama this past Sunday. An NPR investigation found that white Americans and those with safety nets often receive more federal dollars after a disaster than people of color and Americans with less wealth.
On The Shoulders Of Giants

40:41 | Feb 27th

When Colin Kaepernick stopped standing for the national anthem at NFL games it sparked a nationwide conversation about patriotism and police brutality. Black athletes using their platform to protest injustice has long been a tradition in American his...Show More
Getting A Foot In the Door

23:51 | Feb 21st

Anali, a young woman from Los Angeles, wants to break into the film industry. A local program taught her the skills of the trade and the language, but will any of that that matter in an industry that runs mostly on connections?
From Blackface To Blackfishing

28:18 | Feb 13th

Okay, news cycle: you win. We're talking about blackface. This week, we delve into the hidden history of "blackening up" in popular culture — from a certain iconic cartoon mouse's minstrel past to Instagram models trying to pass as black.
We're Going To Start A Dialogue...Again.

27:03 | Feb 7th

Another week of racial controversies, another week of calls to "start a dialogue on race." What does that even mean? We talk to two veterans of one high-profile attempt at a national conversation on race, who have different views of its effectiveness...Show More
Intrigue At The Census Bureau

29:55 | Jan 24th

Another day, another drama: Last week, a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration's decision to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census. But if the Justice Department has any say, the fight will go on...all the way to ...Show More
Perfect Son

38:09 | Jan 16th

Jason Kim and his father were once very close, but drifted apart after the family came to the United States from Korea. They drifted even further after Jason came out to his parents as gay. But after a health crisis, Jason and his father try to recko...Show More
The Return

34:51 | Jan 9th

Meet one of the people caught up in the Trump Administration's hard-line stance on immigration: Javier Zamora. He was living in the US legally under Temporary Protected Status but when the White House threatened to take it away, Javier went back to E...Show More
America's Other Anthems

30:32 | Jan 2nd

This week, we're uncovering the stories behind three American Anthems. First, we hear from two musical greats about their respective versions of "Fight the Power." Next, we learned about the transformation of the children's choir staple, "This Little...Show More
Race Underneath The Skin

31:37 | Dec 26th, 2018

Spit into a tube and get in touch with your ancestors! Or not. This week we're revisiting a conversation about DNA, and what it tells us about who we are.
Code Switch Goes To College

26:16 | Dec 19th, 2018

A professor at the University of Texas San Antonio designed a college course based around episodes of the Code Switch podcast! In it, her students learned how to have tough conversations about race and identity, using Shereen and Gene as an example. ...Show More
Code Switch Book Club

30:31 | Dec 12th, 2018

We checked in with authors, poets and great literary minds to see what books they think everyone should read this holiday season.
The Story Of Mine Mill

27:36 | Dec 5th, 2018

Reporter Julia Simon tells us about a radical miners' union in Birmingham, Alabama. It laid the foundation for civil rights organizers in the South, and holds lessons for the future of labor.
Dog Show!

39:15 | Nov 28th, 2018

On this episode, we're hanging out with pups. First, is Kat's anxious dog Samson really just a little beagle bigot? Then, the author Bronwen Dickey and the political scientist Michael Tesler explain how the pitbull transformed from America's most bel...Show More
Live From The Apollo...It's Code Switch!

1:02:52 | Nov 21st, 2018

Gene and Shereen talk to poet Denice Frohman, percussionist Bobby Sanabria, chef Marcus Samuelsson and comedian Ashley Nicole Black at Harlem's World Famous Apollo Theater in New York City.
The House On The Corner

35:48 | Nov 14th, 2018

The news item about the shooting was bare: one man shot another 17 times in a dispute over drugs. The actual story — of a family that feared for its safety but who couldn't rely on the police for help — was far more complicated.
Politics Podcast Pop Up

28:42 | Nov 7th, 2018

We know where your mind's going to be this week: midterm election results!!! So, we're handing the reins over to our play cousins from NPR's Politics Podcast. They'll tell you what happened and what it all means.
Is Ron Brown High School Working?

38:08 | Oct 31st, 2018

Ron Brown High School was built on a novel notion: a school for boys of color, based on a model of restorative justice. We visited the school last year for several episodes to follow its first-ever freshman class. This week, we're going back to see w...Show More
The Cost To Cast A Ballot

35:53 | Oct 24th, 2018

This week: why people don't vote, why people can't vote, and two state races that might have national implications for 2020.
What So Proudly We Hail

23:26 | Oct 17th, 2018

So "The Star-Spangled Banner" is kind of a mess: notoriously tough to sing and with some weird stanzas about slavery. This week, we're looking at two of the country's other anthems with their own messy histories to find out what those songs tell us a...Show More
Our Homeland Is Each Other

28:51 | Oct 10th, 2018

This week, we're handing the mic over to transracial adoptees. They told us what they think is missing from mainstream narratives about adoption, and how being an adoptee is an identity unto itself.
Deja Vu All Over Again

24:34 | Oct 3rd, 2018

Decades before Christine Blasey-Ford testified before lawmakers, the country had another reckoning with sexual misconduct set against the backdrop of a Supreme Court nomination. This week: what we have — and haven't — learned in the years since the A...Show More

32:31 | Sep 26th, 2018

The reckoning that is reshaping Hollywood is finally making its way to the critic's perch. Bilal Qureshi joins us to talk about exciting movies coming this fall, and who gets to judge.
Puerto Rico's Other Storm

30:42 | Sep 19th, 2018

Long before Hurricane Maria devastated the territory, the threat of financial disaster loomed over Puerto Rico. Now, an old, bitter struggle over who gets to chart the islands' economic future is upending life for everyday Puerto Ricans trying to pic...Show More
Ask Code Switch: School Daze

42:35 | Sep 12th, 2018

For better or worse, classrooms have always been a site where our country's racial issues get worked out — whether its integration, busing, learning about this country's sordid racial history. On today's Ask Code Switch, we're talking about fitting i...Show More
Update: Looking For Marriage In All The Wrong Places

33:08 | Sep 6th, 2018

In a unanimous decision, India's Supreme Court struck down a long-standing ban on gay sex. In light of this, we're revisiting an episode about same-sex love and dating apps for South Asians.
Stuck Off The Realness

32:25 | Sep 5th, 2018

Prodigy made up half of the hugely influential hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, but spent his life in excruciating pain due to a debilitating disease called sickle cell anemia. On this episode, the hosts of WNYC's The Realness podcast chronicle Prodigy's strug...Show More
So What If He Said It?

20:50 | Aug 29th, 2018

In recent weeks, rumors of a recording of President Trump using the N-Word have resurfaced. But critics have been describing Trump as racist for years. So, if this tape were to exist, would it even matter?
Live From Birmingham...It's Code Switch!

43:22 | Aug 22nd, 2018

Shereen and Gene head to Alabama to talk about race in the American South. Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham talks about growing up in the shadow of his city's history. The poet Ashley M. Jones shares how she learned to love her hometown. And Gigi ...Show More
Lies My Teacher Told Me

18:14 | Aug 15th, 2018

It's a battle that's endured throughout so much of American history: what gets written into our textbooks. Today we tag in NPR education correspondent Anya Kamenetz, and hear from author James Loewen about the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everythin...Show More
Talk American

26:23 | Aug 8th, 2018

What is the "Standard American Accent"? Where is it from? And what does it mean if you don't have it? Code Switch goes on a trip to the Midwest to find out.
Word Watch, The Sequel: 2Watch 2Wordiest

29:50 | Aug 1st, 2018

We're back this week with the grand finale of the Word Watch Game Show! First, we'll uncover the messy history of the term "white trash." Then we'll get into a ditty that signals ... anything "Asian." Come play with us!
Word Watch: A Code Switch Game Show

26:33 | Jul 25th, 2018

English is full of words and phrases with hidden racial backstories. Can you guess their histories? On part one of this two-part episode, we're unpacking the meaning behind "guru" and "boy."
Rap On Trial

51:22 | Jul 18th, 2018

Olutosin Oduwole was a college student and aspiring hip hop star when he was charged with "attempting to make a terrorist threat." Did public perceptions of rap music play a role? This week we're tagging in our friends at Hidden Brain to tell this st...Show More
Word Up

22:39 | Jul 11th, 2018

Since 1992, the study known as "The 30 Million Word Gap" has, with unusual power, shaped the way educators, parents and policymakers think about educating poor children. NPR education correspondent Anya Kamenetz joins us to talk about what it gets ri...Show More
Code Switch's Summer Vacation

35:40 | Jul 4th, 2018

We're going on a trip, and we're taking you with us! From the peak of Mount Denali to the beaches of Queens, we're talking camp, suntans and our favorite summer jams.
Immigration Nation

33:14 | Jun 27th, 2018

Anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise, and the prospect of mass deportation is in the news. But as much as this seems like a unique moment in history, in many ways, it's history repeating itself.
Looking For Marriage In All The Wrong Places

32:16 | Jun 20th, 2018

Online matchmaking sites are making it easier than ever for couples seeking an arranged marriage to meet. Well...not all couples.
Twenty-First Century Blackface

31:14 | Jun 13th, 2018

We have one story of how blackface was alive and well on network television in Colombia until 2015.
What We Inherit

26:38 | Jun 6th, 2018

On this episode, the story of one family's struggle to end a toxic cycle of inter-generational trauma from forced assimilation. Getting back to their Native Alaskan cultural traditions is key.
A Thousand Ways To Kneel And Kiss The Ground

24:29 | May 30th, 2018

Last week, the NFL announced a new policy to penalize players who kneel during the national anthem. The announcement drew fresh attention to the century-old tightrope that outspoken black athletes — from Floyd Patterson to Rose Robinson to Colin Kaep...Show More
Of Bloodlines and Conquistadors

33:13 | May 23rd, 2018

Hispanos have lived side by side the Pueblo people for centuries—mixing cultures, identities and even bloodlines. But recently, tensions have risen among the two populations over Santa Fe's annual conquistador pageant, known as La Entrada, which cele...Show More
What's Black And Gray And Inked All Over?

23:55 | May 16th, 2018

Black-and-gray tattoos have become increasingly popular over the last four decades. But many people don't realize that the style has its roots in Chicano art, Catholic imagery and "prison ingenuity." (Yes, they were called Prison-Style tattoos for a ...Show More
Tough Questions For The World's Toughest Job

31:17 | May 9th, 2018

Mother's Day is coming up, so we're taking on your most difficult questions around parenting. We'll talk about choosing a school, raising bilingual children, modeling gender identity, and what to do if your kid's afraid of black people.
Code Switch Census Watch 2020

28:51 | May 2nd, 2018

We've said it before: The U.S. Census is way more than cold, hard data. It informs what we call ourselves and how we're represented. On this episode, we explore the controversial citizenship question that the Trump administration added to the 2020 ce...Show More
It's Bigger Than The Ban

42:09 | Apr 25th, 2018

Muslims make up a little over one percent of the U.S. population, but they seem to take up an outsized space in the American imagination. On this episode we explore why that is.
Members of Whose Tribe?

31:45 | Apr 18th, 2018

Today, Americans tend to think of Jewish people as white folks, but it wasn't always that way. On this episode, we dig into the complex role Jewish identity has played in America's racial story — especially now, when anti-Semitism is on the rise.
Location! Location! Location!

35:19 | Apr 11th, 2018

It's the force that animates so much of what we cover on Code Switch. And on the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, we take a look at some ways residential segregation is still shaping the ways we live. We head to a border with an ironic name ...Show More
The Road To The Promised Land, 50 Years Later

23:31 | Apr 4th, 2018

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tenn. This week, we have two stories about the aftermath of his death. The first takes us to Memphis to remember King's final days. The second brings us to Oakland, Calif., w...Show More
Amara La Negra: Too Black To Be Latina? Too Latina To Be Black?

35:36 | Mar 28th, 2018

People are constantly telling Amara La Negra that she doesn't fit anywhere. Sometimes, she's "too black to be Latina." Other times, she's "too Latina to be black." But Amara says afro-Latinas aren't rare and they're no cause for confusion — they're j...Show More
The Madness Of March

26:15 | Mar 21st, 2018

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is going on right now and will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The coaches and commissioners who benefit are overwhelmingly white. The players on the court are MOSTLY black. So what, if anythi...Show More
The Madness Of March

26:16 | Mar 21st, 2018

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is going on right now and will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The coaches and commissioners who benefit are overwhelmingly white. The players on the court are MOSTLY black. So what, if anythi...Show More
Who Is 'Us,' Anyway?

20:17 | Mar 14th, 2018

"Shouldn't you help out your own community first?" That's the question we're exploring this week via our play-cousins at Latino USA. A black celebrity is criticized for helping a Latino immigrant. On this episode, that celebrity makes his case.
Searching For A Home After Hate

18:17 | Mar 7th, 2018

In February 2017, Srinivas Kutchibhotla fell victim to an alleged hate crime. In the aftermath, his widow, Sunayana Dumala, had her life and her immigration status thrown into question. Now, she's trying to figure out what it means to stay — and find...Show More
A House Divided By Immigration Status

17:49 | Feb 28th, 2018

All four of the Gonzalez kids grew up under one roof, in Los Angeles, Calif. But when the oldest was in middle school, she realized that she and her siblings might have drastically different lives. That's because she comes from a mixed-status family,...Show More
Throw Some Respeck On My Name

27:30 | Feb 21st, 2018

It's Alabama, 1963. A black woman stands before a judge, but she refuses to acknowledge him until he addresses her by an honorific given to white women: "Miss." On this week's episode, we revisit the forgotten story of Mary Hamilton, a Freedom Rider ...Show More
The State Of Our Union Is...Uh, How Much Time You Got?

31:27 | Jan 31st, 2018

On the occasion of President Trump's first State of the Union speech, we're looking at where things stand on civil rights at the Justice Department, the state of play for the country's white nationalist fringe, and how Puerto Rico is faring as the fe...Show More
The 'R-Word' In The Age Of Trump

24:33 | Jan 24th, 2018

When Donald Trump allegedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries as "shitholes," we called his comments r-...rr-...really really vulgar. Why were we so afraid to call them racist?
A Racial Impostor Epidemic

19:17 | Jan 17th, 2018

Our episode about multi-racial people and their search for identity struck a nerve. Now we're asking, "What other stories do you want to hear?"
This Racism Is Killing Me Inside

31:00 | Jan 10th, 2018

On this weeks episode we hear the story of Shalon Irving, who passed away after giving birth to her daughter. Black women in the United States are 243 percent more likely than white women to die of pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. There's evi...Show More
Before We Give 2017 The Middle Finger, Part 2

26:19 | Jan 3rd, 2018

This week, Gene Demby talks with ESPN's Jemele Hill. The SportsCenter anchor discusses becoming a lightning rod in the culture wars and the flimsy partition between politics and sports. And we'll look ahead to a year of looking back: the 50th anniver...Show More
Before We Give 2017 The Middle Finger, Part 1

37:45 | Dec 27th, 2017

In this episode: lessons learned post-Charlottesville, the Latinas who said "me, too" before it went viral, race-and-rep wins in pop-culture and some of this year's real-life losses. You'll yell, you'll cheer, you'll shed a tear.
Black Atheists, White Santas, And A Feast For The Deceased

26:29 | Dec 20th, 2017

We're answering your holiday race questions: Why do we still think of Santa as white? Are POCs responsible for calling-out the racism at holiday parties? How do you tell your black family you're a non-believer? And, can you resurrect a dead family tr...Show More
With Dope, There's High Hope

26:31 | Dec 13th, 2017

As of January 1, it will be legal to sell recreational cannabis in California. But as the legal weed market gains traction, people of color who were targeted by the drug war are being left out of the green rush. This week, we revisit the history of m...Show More
17,000 Islands, 700 Languages, And A Superhero

19:03 | Dec 6th, 2017

Indonesia is one of the most ethnically diverse countries on Earth. And while that pluralism is embraced in the country's founding documents, its ethnic Chinese minority has been persecuted for generations. NPR's Ari Shapiro tells the story of a youn...Show More
Disrespect To Miss-Respect

27:29 | Nov 29th, 2017

It's Alabama, 1963. A black woman stands before a judge, but she refuses to acknowledge him until he addresses her by an honorific given to white women: "Miss." On this week's episode, we revisit the forgotten story of Mary Hamilton, a Freedom Rider ...Show More
A Code Switch Thanksgiving Feast

20:55 | Nov 22nd, 2017

It's a Thanksgiving mashup episode! We speak to Lin-Manuel Miranda about Puerto Rico, a parenting expert about tense family gatherings, and a Native professor about the truth behind the holiday. And for desert, the debate of our time: pumpkin or swee...Show More
Live From Chicago...It's Code Switch!

45:28 | Nov 15th, 2017

Hosts Shereen and Gene take on Chi-City with help from Chicago-natives Eve Ewing and Natalie Y. Moore, plus Code Switch's play cousin, Hari Kondabolu. Ewing opens the show with a poem from her new collection, Electric Arches. Kondabolu talks about hi...Show More
Reflections On A Year At Ron Brown High

28:54 | Nov 8th, 2017

We spent the past three episodes looking at the first year of a high school for black boys in Washington, D.C. Now, we're taking a look back on our reporting. What does it mean for a school like Ron Brown to exist — and what does that say about our s...Show More
'They Can't Just Be Average,' Lifting Students Up Without Lowering The Bar

46:48 | Oct 25th, 2017

In a radical new high school in Washington, D.C., the push for academic success sometimes clashes with providing young men the love and support they need to thrive.
The Passing Of A "Failing" School

38:21 | Oct 11th, 2017

When a school shuts down, students lose more than a place of learning; they lose friends, mentors and a community. This is an experience that disproportionately affects black students in the U.S. Shereen Marisol Meraji looks at what it's like when a ...Show More
Puerto Rico, My Heart's Devotion

22:31 | Oct 4th, 2017

The haphazard response to Hurricane Maria has underscored the tricky, in-between space that Puerto Ricans occupy. They're U.S. citizens — although nearly half of the country doesn't know that. But those who live in Puerto Rico don't enjoy many of the...Show More
Befuddled By Babies, Love And Ice Pops? Ask Code Switch

27:51 | Sep 27th, 2017

When social interactions become racially charged, sometimes even the most woke among us are prone to faux pas. So this week, we're taking on our listeners' most burning questions about race. We'll talk weddings. We'll talk kiddos. And most of all, we...Show More
A Weed Boom, But For Whom?

27:58 | Sep 18th, 2017

The history of cannabis in the U.S. ― and its criminalization ― is deeply interwoven with race. As the legal cannabis market gains traction, people of color who were targeted by the drug war could be left out of the green rush.
It's Getting (Dangerously) Hot in Herre

29:46 | Sep 13th, 2017

On this week's episode we talk about why certain communities are more vulnerable to catastrophic weather events like hurricanes and heat waves. Saying "mother nature doesn't discriminate," ignores the fact that discrimination exacerbates her wrath.
'I'm Not A Racist, I'm Argentine!'

20:34 | Aug 30th, 2017

On this week's episode, a viral video gives us the opportunity to talk about racism towards and within the Latino community. When a Latino flipped over a street vendor's cart in Los Angeles, many were surprised it was a Latino-on-Latino incident. We'...Show More

32:00 | Aug 16th, 2017

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 futu...Show More
What's Good? Talking Hip-Hop and Race With Stretch & Bobbito

23:51 | Jul 26th, 2017

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, Da...Show More
A Police Video From Charlotte

44:07 | Jul 12th, 2017

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 rep...Show More
The Supreme Court Decides In Favor Of A Racial Slur...Now What?

19:46 | Jul 5th, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided in favor of Simon Tam, front man of the band The Slants. The group has been fighting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for nearly a decade, for the right to use the slur.
It's Our Anniversary

33:18 | Jun 28th, 2017

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

22:02 | Jun 21st, 2017

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.
'Give It Up For DJ Blackface!'

28:30 | Jun 1st, 2017

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 ...Show More
Japanese Americans Exiled In Utah

18:11 | May 20th, 2017

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...Show More
Master of None's Alan Yang Unpacks Season 2

23:35 | May 17th, 2017

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 ...Show More
The Blessing (And Curse?) Of Miss Saigon

21:59 | May 10th, 2017

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

30:48 | May 3rd, 2017

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. Pl...Show More
The LA Unrest (Or Riots) 25 Years Later

20:46 | Apr 29th, 2017

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 ou...Show More
John Leguizamo, Still In Search Of John Leguizamo

27:30 | Apr 26th, 2017

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 interviewe...Show More
Mailbag! Listener Questions and Comments That Got Us Thinking

24:19 | Apr 19th, 2017

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.) A...Show More
How One Inmate Changed The Prison System From The Inside

11:43 | Apr 15th, 2017

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 confin...Show More
The Beef Over Native American Hunting Rights

21:13 | Apr 12th, 2017

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

27:27 | Apr 5th, 2017

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 wh...Show More
Podcast Extra En Español: Jeanette Vizguerra

14:16 | Apr 1st, 2017

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 t...Show More
Sanctuary Churches: Who Controls The Story?

21:54 | Mar 29th, 2017

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 deportatio...Show More
A Bittersweet Persian New Year

23:38 | Mar 22nd, 2017

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 wha...Show More
The 80-Year Mystery Around 'Fred Douglas' Park

06:30 | Mar 18th, 2017

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...Show More
Not-So-Simple Questions From Code Switch Listeners

20:24 | Mar 15th, 2017

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?" W...Show More
Safety-Pin Solidarity: With Allies, Who Benefits?

31:31 | Mar 8th, 2017

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 GoodMuslimBa...Show More
In Search Of Puerto Rican Identity In Small-Town America

22:44 | Mar 1st, 2017

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. Sin...Show More
The Horror, The Horror: "Get Out" And The Place of Race in Scary Movies

25:24 | Feb 22nd, 2017

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 De...Show More
Ten Thousand Writers... and Two Intrepid Podcast Hosts

16:07 | Feb 15th, 2017

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 ...Show More
Oscars So Black...At Least, In Documentaries

24:26 | Feb 8th, 2017

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...Show More
Encore Plus: Who Is A Good Immigrant, Anyway?

23:29 | Feb 1st, 2017

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...Show More
So, What Are You Afraid of Now?

20:47 | Jan 26th, 2017

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 Souther...Show More
Obama's Legacy: Did He Remix Race?

31:45 | Jan 18th, 2017

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 b...Show More
Obama's Legacy: Callouts and Fallouts

36:56 | Jan 11th, 2017

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 Ameri...Show More
Obama's Legacy: Diss-ent or Diss-respect?

35:20 | Jan 4th, 2017

In the first of three conversations about President Barack Obama's racial legacy,Code Switch asks how much 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 ...Show More
Encore: Everyone Is Talking To Barry Jenkins, But Our Interview Is (Still) the Best!

38:31 | Dec 28th, 2016

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!

28:17 | Dec 21st, 2016

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 te...Show More
Hold Up! Time For An Explanatory Comma

28:15 | Dec 14th, 2016

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, ...Show More
Audie and the Not-So-Magic School Bus

33:08 | Dec 7th, 2016

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 Del...Show More
Encore: Asian American Letter on Behalf of Black Lives

22:52 | Nov 30th, 2016

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 daug...Show More
Want Some Gravy With Those Grievances?

23:57 | Nov 23rd, 2016

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 dinne...Show More
Another Black President Says Goodbye To Washington

27:31 | Nov 16th, 2016

Actor Christopher Jackson steps down this week from his role as George Washington in the award-winning Broadway show Hamilton. Gene gets an exit interview.
A Muslim and A Mexican Walk Into A Bar....

26:56 | Nov 10th, 2016

Gene and Shereen digest the surprising results of the presidential election with help from a comedian and a columnist. Negin Farsad hosts the podcast "Fake The Nation." Gustavo Arrellano is editor of "OC WEEKLY" in Orange County, California, and writ...Show More
Apocalypse Or Racial Kumbaya? America After Nov. 8

29:58 | Nov 2nd, 2016

In just a few days, the election will be over. But the racism, anger and fear that have surfaced will still be with us. Gene and Shereen talk with Carol Anderson, historian and author of "White Rage," and Whitney Dow, creator of the Whiteness Project...Show More
Everyone Is Talking To Barry Jenkins But Our Interview Is The Best

37:46 | Oct 26th, 2016

Just kidding. But seriously, "Moonlight," Jenkins' new film, is the movie of the moment. Gene talks with him about what it took to get the movie made, what it was like to film in the Miami projects where he grew up, and - yep - the theme of black mas...Show More
Encore: "I'm Not Black I'm O.J."

19:26 | Oct 12th, 2016

From the Code Switch archives: Gene talks with Ezra Edelman, director of the ESPN documentary "OJ: Made in America." For a long time, O.J. Simpson seemed to be running away from his race. "I'm not black, I'm O.J.!" he'd tell his friends. Gene and Ezr...Show More
Who Is A Good Immigrant, Anyway?

19:39 | Oct 5th, 2016

You might call "Dreamers" the most sympathetic characters in the immigration reform drama. But what happens when advocates try to champion an illegal immigrant who's a felon? Adrian and Shereen explore how advocates are challenging the narrative of t...Show More
The Code Switch Guide To Handling Casual Racism

24:14 | Sep 28th, 2016

Awkward comments. Rude questions. Casual racism. What do you do when it happens in your presence? The mental calculus is hard enough. It gets even harder when the comment is coming from your friends or family. Gene, Shereen, and Karen from Code Switc...Show More
Warning! This Episode May Trigger Debate

31:12 | Sep 21st, 2016

It's time for some real talk on trigger warnings. Gene and Shereen dig into it with two college professors. What really happens in the classroom when hard topics come up, especially about race? Are trigger warnings necessary? We also hear the results...Show More
Why Do We Still Care About Tupac?

24:34 | Sep 14th, 2016

Tupac Shakur died 20 years ago this week. Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji debate his legacy with the writer Kevin Powell, who covered the rapper for three years until Tupac's death. How should we view Tupac's talents and imperfections today?
The Dangers Of Life As An American 'Nobody'

22:11 | Sep 8th, 2016

Marc Lamont Hill untangles the decades of dysfunction that have led to recent racial flash-points in his latest book, Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. He talks with Gene Demby about the book, a...Show More
Code Switch Extra: Singer Juan Gabriel's Sexuality Was 'Open Secret'

19:44 | Sep 4th, 2016

Many Mexican and Mexican Americans loved Juan Gabriel's music, but ridiculed his sexuality. Can his death open a new conversation about gay identity in the community? Code Switch's Adrian Florido explores how Juan Gabriel's sexuality complicated his...Show More
What's So Funny About The Indian Accent?

27:54 | Aug 31st, 2016

From Apu to Ashton Kutcher, mimicking the Indian accent is still widely seen as fair game. Even lots of ABCD's — American-born confused desis — do it. But is it out of love, or mockery? Code Switch's Tasneem Raja talks to Indians with and without acc...Show More
Extra: "Southside" and Black Love at the Movies

21:46 | Aug 26th, 2016

Code Switch's Karen Grigsby Bates and NPR movie critic Bob Mondello discuss "Southside With You," a fictionalized version of Barack and Michelle Obama's first date, and other black love stories in film.
Nate Parker's Past, His Present, And The Future Of "The Birth of A Nation"

42:59 | Aug 24th, 2016

Actor Nate Parker is the center of a lot attention these days because of his upcoming movie The Birth of A Nation. Parker wrote, directed and stars as Nat Turner, leader of an historic 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia. Last winter, Parker won a multi...Show More
Struggling School, Or Sanctuary?

41:09 | Aug 17th, 2016

When a school shuts down, students often lose more than a place of learning; they lose friends, mentors and a community. This is an experience that disproportionately affects black students. Shereen Marisol Meraji looks at what it's like when a predo...Show More
Say My Name, Say My Name (Correctly, Please)

26:46 | Aug 10th, 2016

When you have a name like Aparna Nancherla or Maz Jobrani, you get used to people butchering it. These two comedians, who both come from immigrant families, talk to Code Switch editor Tasneem Raja about their "Starbucks names," all of the weird ways ...Show More
What Does "Objectivity" Mean To Journalists Of Color?

37:42 | Aug 3rd, 2016

News stories of conflict involving people of color raise questions about the role of diversity in newsrooms. With the current election cycle drenched with racially charged rhetoric, how do journalists of color deal with the idea of "objectivity," whe...Show More
A Letter From Young Asian Americans, To Their Parents, About Black Lives Matter

23:15 | Jul 27th, 2016

The day after the police shooting of Philando Castile, hundreds of young Asian Americans connected online to write an open letter to their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, asking them to support movements like Black Lives Matter. It also broa...Show More
46 Stops: The Driving Life and Death of Philando Castile

29:41 | Jul 20th, 2016

When Philando Castile was killed by a police officer during a recent traffic stop, it was the last of at least 46 times he had been pulled over by police. How does that happen? And what does it say about policing in communities of color? Gene Demby t...Show More
Black and Blue

32:48 | Jul 14th, 2016

In the aftermath of deadly police shootings of black men and the deaths of five policemen by at the hands of a black gunman, Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby explore perspectives on policing while black. They talk with Gregory Thomas the Nationa...Show More
Code Switch Extra: No Words

26:06 | Jul 9th, 2016

It's hard to figure out what to say after the horrific violence of the last week, which began with two new viral videos of police shooting black men and ended with a deadly attack by a black gunman on police officers. But Shereen Marisol Meraji, Gene...Show More
"You're A Grand Old Flag"

29:02 | Jul 6th, 2016

Why do some people of color embrace the American flag while others refuse to wave it? Gene Demby and Adrian Florido unpack the complicated patriotism and evolving use of the flag with immigrant rights protesters and Native American veterans.
"I'm Not Black, I'm O.J.!"

19:45 | Jun 29th, 2016

For a long time, O.J. Simpson seemed to be running away from his race. "I'm not black, I'm O.J.!" he'd tell his friends. The he was charged with murder, and his defense team needed that jury to see O.J. as black. So, they had to get creative. Gene ta...Show More
I Don't Know If I Like This, But I Want It To Win

29:45 | Jun 22nd, 2016

Gene and Kat talk about "rep sweats," worrying over how people of color are portrayed on TV and in the movies. Kat remembers growing up watching TV with her sisters and yelling "Asian!" every time they saw someone who looked like them. Gene admits he...Show More
How LGBTQ People of Color Are Dealing With Orlando

33:58 | Jun 16th, 2016

The tragedy in Orlando this week shook many people in communities that already feel vulnerable...LGBTQ Americans, Latinos, Muslims and people living at the intersection of those identities.
Re-Remembering Muhammad Ali

28:02 | Jun 10th, 2016

Sure, Ali was the greatest, a humanitarian, an inspiration. He was also a complicated, messy figure. Gene and the team dig in, and wonder what people mean when they say Ali "transcended race."
Made For You And Me

20:46 | Jun 8th, 2016

Black people don't hike? Latinos don't like camping? Asians are afraid of the sun? Adrian and Shereen dig into the stereotypes — and truths — about people of color and their relationship to the great outdoors.
Can We Talk About Whiteness?

37:28 | May 31st, 2016

Gene and Shereen dig into why it's so hard to talk about white identity in America — and why it's really important that we figure out how.
The Code Switch Podcast Is Coming!

03:05 | May 9th, 2016

Here's a preview of our new podcast, exploring how race and culture collide with everything else in our lives.