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Code Switch

Author: NPR

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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 head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we're all part of the story. "We're talking to people who have been marginalized and underrepresented for so long, who are so hungry to see themselves represented fully and with nuance and complexity," says Shereen Marisol Meraji, co-host of Code Switch, Apple Podcasts' first-ever Show of the Year for 2020. "People recognize that, because we had been having these conversations for so many years in advance, we're a trusted place where they could go to better understand all the stories about race filling up their newsfeeds and social channels." Their weekly podcast launched in 2016 but truly came into its own during this historic, transformative year, as Meraji and co-host Gene Demby examine issues of racial, ethnic, and cultural identity through frank one-on-one discussions and incisive non-fiction. In a year dominated by discourse about race, this indispensable show furthered them by providing powerful and timely insight, offering diverse and empathetic personal perspectives to a broad audience. "There are certain lenses that we are bringing into, both as journalists and the people that we're bringing to these stories," Demby says. "But also, we are specific people with specific fascinations and broad curiosity. If we're telling these stories, you should assume that they're going to look and sound like us."
274 Episodes
Summer, 2004. The Olympics in Athens. The event? Men's basketball: U.S. versus Puerto Rico. And the whole world knows that Puerto Rico doesn't stand a chance. After all, the bigger, richer, imperial power always wins — right?
'Payback's A B****'

'Payback's A B****'


We're ending Black history month where we started it...talking about reparations. On this episode, we're joined by Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow, who have spent the past two years exploring how reparations could transform the United States — and all the struggles and possibilities that go along with that.
A Shot In The Dark

A Shot In The Dark


As the rollout of coronavirus vaccines unfolds, one big challenge for public health officials has been the skepticism many Black people have toward the vaccine. One notorious medical study — the Tuskegee experiment — has been cited as a reason. But should it be?
Becoming 'Black Moses'

Becoming 'Black Moses'


Marcus Garvey was an immigrant, a firebrand, a businessman. He was viewed with deep suspicion by the civil rights establishment. He would also become one of the most famous and powerful Black visionaries of the 20th century. Our play-cousins at NPR's Throughline podcast went deep on how he became the towering (and often misunderstood) figure that he is.
Black Kiss-tory

Black Kiss-tory


Too often, Black history is portrayed as a story of struggle and suffering, completely devoid of joy. So we called up some romance novelists whose work focuses on Black history. They told us that no matter how hard the times, there has always been room for love.
Black History Month is here, which means we're diving into big, sticky questions about what exactly it means to be Black. So this week on the show: Who is 'Black enough' for reparations? Because you know...we got some bills to pay.
For decades, residents of Compton and Watts in South Los Angeles had to rely on one particularly troubled hospital for their medical care. A new state-of-the-art hospital replaced it, but faced many of the same challenges: too few beds, too many patients who need serious help, not enough money. Then came the coronavirus.
The Last Four Years

The Last Four Years


The Trump administration is coming to a close, but which elements of the Trump era are here to stay? We spoke to NPR's White House reporter, Ayesha Rascoe, about where we were when Donald Trump took office — and what he's left behind.
Like all of you, we are still trying to make sense of Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Because even after the past four years, there are still new iterations of WTF. So on this episode, we're talking police, "terrorism", and the symbols of white nationalism that made it to the floor of the Capitol.
Two close friends both suffered from the same aggressive form of cancer. After years of treatment, one lived and the other died. And while many variables factored into what happened, the woman who survived — reporter Ibby Caputo — couldn't help wondering what role race had played in the outcome.
The Fire Still Burning

The Fire Still Burning


If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that history informs every aspect of our present. So today we're bringing you an episode of NPR's history podcast, Throughline. It gets into some of the most urgent lessons we can learn from James Baldwin, whose life and writing illuminate so much about what it would really mean for the United States to reckon with its race problem.
This month on Code Switch, we're thinking a lot about family and history. So we wanted to bring you this special episode from our friends at NPR's It's Been A Minute podcast, where producer Andrea Gutierrez tells the story of how her father was involved in the Chicano Moratorium of 1970 — and what that taught her and her sister about their identities.
December is a month when a lot of people are thinking about family and tradition. Reliving memories. Retelling old stories. Each year, those stories get passed down — sometimes with new details, or a different twist. And eventually, many of those stories have nothing to do with what actually happened. This week, we're looking into one such story: the truth, and the lies of it.
Black And Up In Arms

Black And Up In Arms


Guns. They're as American as apple pie. They represent independence and self-reliance. But ... not so much if you're Black. On this episode, we're getting into the complicated history of Black gun ownership and what it has to tell us about our present moment.
The Books That Got Away

The Books That Got Away


Listen, a lot has happened this year, and it's no shock that some things may have slipped under the radar. So our resident book expert, Karen Grigsby Bates, took a virtual trip around the country to talk to independent book store owners about their favorite underappreciated reads of 2020.
It's no secret that Code Switch is a team full of book nerds. So this week, we're revisiting one of our favorite book conversations, with author Carmen Maria Machado. Her genre-defying memoir, In the Dream House, tells the story of how she survived intimate partner violence, despite having few models of how to deal with, or even recognize abusive dynamics in queer relationships.
Words Of Advice

Words Of Advice


Let's face it — we could all use some help right now. So today on the pod, we're looking at a few of our favorite questions about race and identity from our "Ask Code Switch" series. We're getting into food, relationships, money, language, friendship and more, so you know it's about to get a little messy (in the best way.)
Thank You, Next

Thank You, Next


It's Thanksgiving week, and like basically everything else about 2020, this holiday is on track to be...let's call it "different." But while the world has changed in innumerable ways this year, one thing that hasn't changed is that the country is still deeply politically divided.
One of the biggest storylines from the 2020 presidential race has ... well, race at the center of it. If you paid attention to the stories about exit polling, you heard a lot of talk about how Latinx and Black voters showed up in bigger numbers this year than back in 2016. But on this week's episode, we also focus on a conversation that's not happening: The one about a group whose support for Donald Trump hasn't wavered. We're talking about the white vote, and in particular, white evangelical voters.
Claim Us If You're Famous

Claim Us If You're Famous


Kamala Harris is the vice president-elect, which marks an impressive list of firsts: woman in the White House; Black woman in the White House, Asian American in the White House; etc. Her Indian heritage has gotten much less attention than her Black identity, and in many ways, it has been complicated by her Black identity. On this episode, we look at what Harris's identities can tell us about dual-minority POCs, South Asian political representation in the U.S., and what it all means at the voting booth.
Comments (131)

Robert James Somerville

if we get reparations will you shut the fuck up forever with your race bullshit? if so I'll support it 100 percent.

Mar 1st


i think the people are ready for a profound and radical change of our society. not only are we ready, but it's necessary. the levels of poverty and climate extremes are reaching unbearable levels.

Feb 26th
Reply (2)

It's JustB

Unfortunately this is my first time hearing about Terry. But I've got to say I love her "I don't give an f" attitude about life. Granted I'm a third of her age at the moment, but I feel the same way and hope to maintain the same energy until my last breath.

Feb 25th

Matt MacKellar

A nuanced episode showing why, despite the strides the election of Kamala represents in terms of representation, many of the progressives who have kept the fires of the Democratic party burning are not entirely comfortable with her. We must dig a bit deeper than tokenism, and Code Switch takes that deeper dive, as per usual.

Feb 10th


I have listened to Ayesha on NPR for the last 4 years and so often I felt this shame and outrage that trump is the kind of racist pig that he is and how awful it must be to have to go to work every day in that climate. I mean I voted against him but I am ashamed of the people who voted him into office. Good job Ayesha, here's hoping the next 4 years will be better.... For you and our country

Jan 20th

Martha Crook

I love this podcast!! One of my favorites!!

Jan 9th

Anna Guimarães

L Lo

Dec 30th

Bernard Gregg

This was outstanding!

Nov 21st

Mary Temiloluwa Rotimi

wow, very informative episode!

Nov 20th

Cheng Stood

Unnecessary episode indeed. She's no flawless superhuman, but who is? Is it better to have no representation at all then?

Oct 26th

Christopher Greggs

It is important to understand that decorum and polite culture is a tool that is leveraged by politicians to enact some of the most dangerous legislation upon Black and brown america. Bill Clinton was called the "First Black President" AND enacted the 1994 crime bill. This country was started white men who actively leveraged chattel slavery, African and Indigenous genocide, military occupation of Native nations, and a litany of crimes against humanity. Let us be clear, I am not a Trump supporter. As a Black citizen of this country, I hold all of history in context when engaging contemporary politics. The idea that there are only two political sides to this country (GOP vs DEM) is not a Black project. EVERY major political party, including their current manifestations, are presently engaged in Black and brown oppression and erasure. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by our Twitter feeds and the news cycle. I encourage everyone to subscribe to this podcast. Thank you Code Switch for your essential journalism. Bless.

Oct 22nd

Hector Rivera

Very sickening listening first 5 minutes podcast... unsubscribed.

Oct 22nd

Kondala Rao Palaka

wow! that's a lot of shade thrown at kamala harris for no reason. i lost some respect for this podcast.

Oct 16th

Anna Clay

This episode was an interesting listen during October 2020.

Oct 12th

Rebecca Vardiman

Please add info about all the authors and books mentioned. Thanks for a great show!

Sep 29th

Andrew Williamson

TDD his lady is a nut ..Who is she too decide who is racist and who isint ? Disgusting ,just because people want to know what their DNA make is... you are a horrible sick lady.. spreading fear.

Sep 14th



Sep 9th

Brian Griffin

Craziest thing going on in America right now? Riots? Covid? Election? Nope. It still is, and will always be, that NPR receives federal funding.

Aug 21st
Reply (4)

John-Sebastian Barrera

This business owner is lying through his teeth. He's a mediocre actor at best. 30 years residing in the US and alleges ignorance to anti-black movement? Gtfo

Aug 3rd

Yasmine C

Before Karen, there was Ms. Ann. She knows her place and takes advantage of her privilege-- and uses it to keep others in their place.

Aug 1st
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