I really can’t say this gently, so I won’t even try: You have a problem with if you only consume media made by white people.
There is no way that your views on race, gender, class, ability, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, or ability will ever change if you live in an echo chamber. Instead, you must challenge yourself to listen to others’ experiences. The best way to do this is to make friends with people who are different than you in some way. Another great way to supplement your intersectional education is to listen to podcasts that are produced by people of color.
Though I certainly support reading works by diverse authors, and watching shows that tackle issues of identity, I think the podcast is a unique media form due to its aural nature. You hear folks telling their own stories in their own voices, and you often feel a stronger emotional pull than you would get from words on a page. The more you learn a show’s inside jokes, recurring segments, and host dynamics, the more you come to identify with the showrunners and love them as if they were your friends. Podcasts are a free way to become absorbed in someone else’s world, which is essential to breaking down prejudices.
Do not worry: I’m not saying you have to delete Radiolab, This American Life, Welcome to Night Vale, or How Stuff Works. Just consider adding a couple of my humble suggestions to your list.
Nothing brightens my day faster than Buzzfeed’s “Another Round With Heben and Tracy.” Friends and co-hosts Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton keep up a boozy banter while talking about gender, pop culture, race and ethnicity, and squirrels. Though squirrels do not feature as prominently as the other topics, they certainly pop up quite frequently.
Heben and Tracy have fantastic interviews with guests like Uzo Aduba, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Hillary Clinton, Janet Mock, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Margaret Cho, to name a few. They truly allow their guests to speak without being afraid to challenge their bullshit (cough cough Clinton). Heben and Tracy cultivate a space that celebrates the accomplishments of all women of color, where equality, womanism, and truth reign supreme. I feel so comforted to know that such a space is easily accessible through my headphones.
Plus, in listening to Another Round, you will gain two new people in your life who remind you to leave some time for self-care.
Hosts Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji tackle issues of race, identity, and culture in America with an unflinching eye and a keen sense of humor. I really enjoy Code Switch because it is truly a multicultural podcast. I learned a lot from the episode about Hollywood’s fascination with the Indian accent, teared up as a young Vietnamese woman explained Black Lives Matter to her father, and had to educate myself on chitlins for the episode about food and culture. This is what excellent media does – it challenges you to consider different perspectives in an entertaining way.
Plus, it just feels good to hear the truth. Trust me, Gene and Shereen leave no stone unturned, and no tea unsipped.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not yet listened to this podcast. But, as far as I know, it’s one of the only podcasts run by Muslim women, and most of us need to become better informed about the Muslim community. I’ll start with this one, but I’ve also heard good things about BuzzFeed’s “See Something, Say Something.”
Latino USA is MY FAVORITE THING. EVER. If I ever got the chance to meet the host, Maria Hinojosa, I would probably ask her to adopt me or mentor me or both (but then I’d have to face the rage of my Chilean mom who listens to Latino USA).
Latino USA has everything: Sandra Cisneros. Rita Moreno. Quinces. Murder Mysteries. Immigration Activists. Student Activists. You name it, they’ve covered it, but with panache and un poquito de espanglish.
Plus, there’s a Spotify playlist included for every episode. What more do you need?
Radio Ambulante is my newest podcast, even though Spanish-speaking friends had told me listen to it for years. I’m so thrilled to find a podcast that covers a variety of Latin American issues, and it’s such an easy way to keep up my fluency in Spanish! I was astounded by their episode on unaccompanied trans and genderqueer minors traveling to Mexico, but I also cackled with glee at the episode on a parody of Peru’s national cuisine. If you speak another language, I highly encourage you to listen to a podcast in that language. You get increased comprehension and cultural competency all in one 🙂
Reveal is an investigative journalism podcast that covers a wide range of topics. I was absolutely fascinated by their stranger-than-fiction episode on the Pentagon Papers, and kept reading. If you’re looking for something that will make you furrow your brow in deep contemplation, then guffaw at the irony of it all, let Al Letson’s silky voice take you away.
Though this show does not address issues of race and gender as explicitly as the other shows, I do think it’s important to support investigative journalism under #45. Also, not only does the show employ many journalists of color, they sponsor a class of investigative fellows to support young underrepresented reporters.
So, what did I miss? Shout out your favorite podcast run by a POC in the comments!