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Code Switch

NPR

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 with empathy and humor. We explore how race affects every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, food and everything in between. This podcast makes all of us part of the conversation — because we're all part of the story. Code Switch was named Apple Podcasts' first-ever Show of the Year in 2020. Want to level up your Code Switch game? Try Code Switch Plus. Your subscription supports the show and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at plus.npr.org/codeswitch

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United States

Networks:

NPR

Description:

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 with empathy and humor. We explore how race affects every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, food and everything in between. This podcast makes all of us part of the conversation — because we're all part of the story. Code Switch was named Apple Podcasts' first-ever Show of the Year in 2020. Want to level up your Code Switch game? Try Code Switch Plus. Your subscription supports the show and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at plus.npr.org/codeswitch

Twitter:

@npr

Language:

English


Episodes
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Why the trope of the 'outside agitator' persists

5/15/2024
As protests continue to rock the campuses of colleges and universities, a familiar set of questions is being raised: Are these protests really being led by students? Or are the real drivers of the civil disobedience outsiders, seizing on an opportunity to wreak chaos and stir up trouble? Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:31:01

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In 'Chicano Frankenstein,' the undead are the new underpaid labor force

5/8/2024
Daniel Olivas's novel puts a new spin on the age-old Frankenstein story. In this retelling, 12 million "reanimated" people provide a cheap workforce for the United States...and face a very familiar type of bigotry. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:33:59

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Exclusion, resilience and the Chinese American experience on 'Mott Street'

5/1/2024
This week on the podcast, we're revisiting a conversation we had with Ava Chin about her book, Mott Street. Through decades of painstaking research, the fifth-generation New Yorker discovered the stories of how her ancestors bore and resisted the weight of the Chinese Exclusion laws in the U.S. – and how the legacy of that history still affects her family today. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:31:02

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How Jewish Communities Are Divided Over Support of Israel

4/24/2024
In the wake of October 7, and the bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli government, many American Jews have found themselves questioning something that had long felt like a given: that if you were Jewish, you would support Israel, and that was that. But as more Jews speak out against Israel's actions in Gaza, it's exposing deep rifts within Jewish communities – including ones that are threatening to break apart friendships, families, and institutions. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:41:02

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The Rise and Fall of the Panama Canal

4/17/2024
The Panama Canal has been dubbed the greatest engineering feat in human history. It's also (perhaps less favorably) been called the greatest liberty mankind has ever taken with Mother Nature. But due to climate change, the Canal is drying up and fewer than half of the ships that used to pass through are now able to do so. So how did we get here? Today on the show, we're talking to Cristina Henriquez, the author of a new novel that explores the making of the Canal. It took 50,000 people from 90 different countries to carve the land in two — and the consequences of that extraordinary, nature-defying act are still echoing through our present. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:32:06

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Reflecting on the legacy of O.J. Simpson

4/12/2024
With the news of O.J. Simpson's death on Thursday, we're revisiting our reporting from 2016, where we took a look into how Simpson went from being "too famous to be Black," to becoming a stand-in for the way Black people writ-large were mistreated by the U.S. carceral system. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:17:03

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How Frederick Douglass launched generations of Black and Irish solidarity

4/10/2024
What's a portrait of Frederick Douglass doing hanging in an Irish-themed pub in Washington, D.C.? To get to the answer, Parker and Gene dive deep into the long history of solidarity and exchange between Black civil rights leaders and Irish republican activists, starting with Frederick Douglass' visit to Ireland in 1845. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:31:57

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WTF does race have to do with taxes?

4/3/2024
It's that time of year again: time to file your taxes. And this week on the pod, we're revisiting our conversation with Dorothy A. Brown, a tax expert and author of The Whiteness Of Wealth: How The Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans And How To Fix It. She talks through the racial landmines in our tax code and how your race plays a big role in whether you get audited, how much you might owe the IRS, which tax breaks you can get, and even which benefits you can claim. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:30:16

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Who does language belong to? A fight over the Lakota Language

3/27/2024
Many Lakota people agree: It's imperative to revitalize the Lakota language. But how exactly to do that is a matter of broader debate. Should Lakota be codified and standardized to make learning it easier? Or should the language stay as it always has been, defined by many different ways of writing and speaking? We explore this complex, multi-generational fight that's been unfolding in the Lakota Nation, from Standing Rock to Pine Ridge. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:39:15

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Getting let down by the 'Great Expectations' of electoral politics

3/20/2024
This episode is brought to you by our play cousins over at NPR's It's Been A Minute. Brittany Luse chops it up with New Yorker writer and podcast host Vinson Cunningham to discuss his debut novel Great Expectations. It's a period piece that follows the story of a young man working on an election campaign that echoes Obama's 2008 run. Brittany and Vinson discuss American politics as a sort of religion - and why belief in politics has changed so much in the last decade. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:17:43

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In the world of medicine, race-based diagnoses are more than skin deep

3/13/2024
We've probably said it a hundred times on Code Switch — biological race is not a real thing. So why is race still used to help diagnose certain conditions, like keloids or cystic fibrosis? On this episode, Dr. Andrea Deyrup breaks it down for us, and unpacks the problems she sees with practicing race-based medicine. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:33:34

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This conspiracy theory about eating bugs is also about race

3/6/2024
Gene Demby and NPR's Huo Jingnan dive into a conspiracy theory about how "global elites" are forcing people to eat bugs. And no huge surprise — the theory's popularity is largely about its loudest proponents' racist fear-mongering. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:32:50

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The musical legacy of Japanese American incarceration

2/28/2024
In February of 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government issued an executive order to incarcerate people of Japanese descent. That legacy has become a defining story of Japanese American identity. In this episode, B.A. Parker and producer Jess Kung explore how Japanese American musicians across generations turn to that story as a way to explore and express identity. Featuring Kishi Bashi, Erin Aoyama and Mary Nomura. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:30:21

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Why menthol cigarettes have a chokehold on Black smokers

2/21/2024
In the U.S., flavored cigarettes have been banned since 2009, with one glaring exception: menthols. That exception was supposed to go away in 2023, but the Biden administration quietly delayed the ban on menthols. Why? Well, an estimated 85 percent of Black smokers smoke menthols — and some (potentially suspect) polls have indicated that a ban on menthols would chill Biden's support among Black people. Of course, it's more complicated than that. The story of menthol cigarettes is tied up in policing, advertising, influencer-culture, and the weaponization of race and gender studies. Oh, and a real-life Black superhero named Mandrake the Magician. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:35:29

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Before the apps, people used newspapers to find love

2/14/2024
To celebrate the history of Black romance, Gene and Parker are joined by reporter Nichole Hill to explore the 1937 equivalent of dating apps — the personals section of one of D.C.'s Black newspapers. Parker attempts to match with a Depression-era bachelor, and along the way we learn about what love meant two generations removed from slavery. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:37:48

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How college footballers led the fight against racism in 1969

2/9/2024
It's 1969 at the University of Wyoming, where college football is treated like a second religion. But after racist treatment at an away game, 14 Black players decide to take a stand, and are hit with life-changing consequences. From our play cousins across the pond, our own B.A. Parker hosts the BBC World Service's Amazing Sport Stories: The Black 14. Listen to the rest of the series wherever you get your podcasts. *This episode contains lived experiences which involve the use of strong racist language. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:32:30

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What it's like to be a Black woman with bipolar disorder

2/7/2024
"Three springs ago, I lost the better part of my mind," Naomi Jackson wrote in an essay for Harper's Magazine. On this episode, Jackson shares her experience with biopolar disorder. She talks about how she's had to decipher what fears stem from her illness and which are backed by the history of racism. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:29:18

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Taylor Swift and the unbearable whiteness of girlhood

1/31/2024
Taylor Swift has become an American icon, (and she's got the awards, sales, and accolades to prove it.) With that status, she's often been celebrated as someone whose music is authentically representing the interior lives of young women and adolescent girls. On this episode, we're asking: Why? What is it about Swift's persona — and her fandom — that feels so deeply connected to girlhood? And, because this is Code Switch, what does all of that have to do with race? Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:35:22

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A former church girl's search for a new spiritual home

1/29/2024
After leaving the Pentecostal Church, reporter Jess Alvarenga has been searching for a new spiritual home. They take us on their journey to find spirituality that includes the dining room dungeon of a dominatrix, Buddhist monks taking magic mushrooms and the pulpit of a Pentecostal church. This episode is a collaboration with our friends at LAist Studios. Special thanks to the Ferriss, UC Berkeley's Psychedelic Journalism program for their support. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:49:01

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What happens when public housing goes private?

1/24/2024
The New York City Housing Authority is the biggest public housing program in the country. But with limited funding to address billions of dollars of outstanding repairs, NYCHA is turning to a controversial plan to change how public housing operates. Fanta Kaba of WNYC's Radio Rookies brings the story of how this will affect residents and the future of housing, as a resident of a NYCHA complex in the Bronx herself. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:40:21