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.
“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.
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,
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!