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Podcasts for Your Anti-Racism Learning

Written by: Lynne-Marie Shea

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, each of us who benefits from White privilege through the maintenance of White Supremacy was called in to do the learning that we need to do in order to participate in our own anti-racism work. I have benefitted immensely from accessing (and supporting) the work of BIPOC activists and allies who have been doing the work that informs the learning I need to do. Below is a list of my own insights about Podcasts that have been helpful to me both in learning and sustaining my commitment to anti-racism work.


To Stay Up to Date on Current Events:

What A Day - Akilah Hughes & Gideon Resnick

Daily recap of current events and headlines.

Some critical consumption paired with a lot of “I’m laughing because it’s true” humor.

Check out: This show daily for an easily digestible recap in about 15 minutes

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Commentary on current events that combines both humor and insight.

The events and their significance are not lost in the comedy and vice versa

Check out: “ICYMI” episodes for quick looks into relevant cultural events.

*Also check out the Daily Show’s Instagram accounts for some short videos

that highlight some of the most important (and comical) points of longer episodes.

Pod Save the People - DeRay Mckesson, Samuel Sinyangwe, Brittany Packnett, & Clint Smith

An exploration of news, culture, social justice, and politics with social activists.

Episodes are long but have a lot of really important insight and critical content.

Check out: Weekly updates for coverage of news stories that are often overlooked

(particularly as the impact people of color) and one-on-one interviews with

host DeRay Mckesson and a myriad of guests.

Higher Learning - Van Lathen & Rachel Lindsay

An exploration of current relevant topics in Black culture, politics, and sports.

Episodes are long but the hosts bounce off each other nicely and

provide a good balance of laughter and thought-provoking discussion.

Content is also a nice balance of political and cultural topics.

Check out: Twice weekly updates (episode titles are well chosen to

indicate which topics are being discussed, so it’s easy to browse)


For learning about history and systems:

1619 - Nikole Hannah-Jones

Considers the history of America from the point of the arrival of enslaved Africans.

Provides insight into how slavery is the foundation upon which our country

has been built and how its impact is woven throughout our society today.

Check out: This whole serious from start to finish

(it’s only 5 episodes and well worth listening to each)!

The Untold Story: Policing - Jay Ellis

Explores policing in America—considering the data behind police brutality,

talking with activists, detailing the facts, and identifying action steps.

The series breaks down the system of policing in a way that is easy to understand,

as the host is working to answer a lot of his own questions about a system that

is made to feel really complex and inaccessible for lay people.

Check out: All four episodes. Episode 1 answers some key questions about

our current policing strategies through an exploration of data and

Episode 4 suggests some tangible action steps.

Code Switch NPR - Shereen Marisol Meraji, Gene Demby

Conversations about race and how race is at play

in our systems, policies, culture, and interactions

Check out: “What’s in A ‘Karen’” for perspective on how this term came to be

and how it is at play today, “An Immune System” for insight into how qualified immunity

came to be and what it means for both citizens and police officers,

“Author Karla Cornejo Villavicenio talks ‘The Undocumented Americans’” for

perspective from the author of this book detailing the lives of every day

undocumented persons who are often forgotten in the focus on Dreamers

Nice White Parents - Chana Joffe-Wait

A look into how White parents impact the public school system

through the lens of one particular school in New York

Check out: All five episodes in this eye-opening series.

Episode 1 does a particularly good job of setting the stage and

detailing the history of the public school system in NY.

Episode 5 is an extra episode that details ongoing and real-time changes

to the school being examined in the series.


For New Perspectives:

With Friends like These - Ana Marie Cox

This series began as a platform for the host to interview those

with different view points in order to have conversations across difference.

It has since moved to a consideration of how and why people change their minds.

This has felt particularly meaningful to me in today’s sociopolitical landscape

as many of us are having hard conversations with people that we love

in hopes of making them see things differently.

Check out: “ Why your brain doesn’t want you to change”

for some insight into why it can be so hard to change minds and hearts,

“The moment you realize you’re white”

for a discussion on a former mayors shift into anti-racism work,

“The cop who realized the bad apple was him”

for insight from a police officer who now opposes his use of force against protestors,

“When Protests changed minds”

for a conversation about the impact of protests historically and presently.

Revisionist History - Malcom Gladwell

Episodes re-examine and question historical events and consider

how we understand these events and whether or not we got it right.

Check out:

“Good Old Boys”

for a look into the value of debate and the potential to change minds,

“Free Brian Williams”

for some important consideration about how our memories work (and how much we should trust them),

“A Good Walk Spoiled”

for an eye-opening consideration of the impact of golf playing, and

“Miss Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment”

for an exploration of the consequences of the desegregation of schools.

Ear Hustle - Nigel Poor, Rashaan Thomas, Earlonee Woods

A series on the realities of living as an incarcerated person, told by those who are living it.

Check out:

“The SHU”

for personal perspective around the impact of solitary confinement,

“Getting a Date”

for a conversation about what it means to go through the parole hearing process

and the kinds of things that come up when thinking about returning to life outside of prison,

“The Row”

for personal insight about life on death row, and

“Nobody Comes Back”

for perspective on hurdles that come up when

returning to the community after incarceration.


For (intentional) entertainment and self-care:

Reply All - PJ Vogt, Alex Goldman

A witty look into the internet and how it impacts our lives today.

The hosts explain different internet phenomenon in ways that are full of dry-humor while also being interesting and easy to understand.

They do a nice job using the platform to cover both things that are just

interesting and topics that are particularly timely and impactful in our current sociopolitical landscape.

Check Out: “The Mold and the Beautiful” and “the QAnon Code”

for funny looks into the nature and impact of the QAnon conspiracy theory,

“The least you could do” for a thoughtful look at the impact of White guilt

on people of coloring who are navigating White spaces, and

“No More Safe Harbor” for a critical look on the criminalization of sex work

and the dismantling of platforms.

Unlocking Us - Brene Brown

Conversations that utilize the hosts long history of researching emotion

and the importance of connection and vulnerability in the human experience.

Check out: “Brene on FFTs” for an exploration of why it is so hard to start new things

and the role of self-compassion in staying tough during ongoing challenge,

“Brene of Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 myth, and Settling the Ball” for insight

into the way that having empathy toward the self increases our

ability to be empathetic to others and around the ways in which

we sometimes need to slow down in order to move forward.

Modern Love - Meghna Chakrabarti

Reading of short stories about love in all of its different forms.

The series does a really nice job of sharing stories from diverse perspectives

and follows up with the authors of the original stories to see where they are now.

Check out: “Race Wasn’t an Issue to Him, Which Was an Issue to Me”

for perspective on the impact of “color blindness,”

“When your Greatest Romance is a Friendship”

for a heartwarming story about the role of love between friends,

“Take Me as I am, Whoever I am”

for perspective on dating while struggling with mental illness,

“Who’s Allowed to Hold Hands”

for insight on the role of intersectionality in public displays of affection, and

“Maddy Might Just Work”

for the perspective of a family adjusting to the gender-affirming process of a parent.


Hope you enjoyed these podcast recommendations! Share with us the ones you've been listening to!

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