Code Switch 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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Code Switch

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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 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

Most Recent Episodes

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 2: Double murder defendant O.J. Simpson (R) and defense attorney Carl Douglas (L) listen as Judge Lance Ito announces that the jury in the Simpson trial had reached a verdict 02 October in Los Angeles. The verdict will be read 03 October. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read MYUNG J. CHUN/AFP via Getty Images) MYUNG CHUN/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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MYUNG CHUN/AFP via Getty Images

Reflecting on the legacy of O.J. Simpson

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.

Reflecting on the legacy of O.J. Simpson

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Frederick Douglass visited Ireland in 1845 to drum up support for abolition. That launched generations of solidarity between Black civil rights and Irish republican activists. Jackie Lay/NPR hide caption

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Jackie Lay/NPR

The long, storied history of solidarity between Black and Irish activists

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.

The long, storied history of solidarity between Black and Irish activists

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It may not seem like it at first, but race is also a part of our taxes and who gets audited. LA Johnson/Getty/design by NPR hide caption

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LA Johnson/Getty/design by NPR

WTF does race have to do with taxes?

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.

WTF does race have to do with taxes?

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What's the best way to revitalize a language? In the Lakota Nation, that's very much up for debate. Jackie Lay/NPR hide caption

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Jackie Lay/NPR

In Lakota Nation, people are asking: Who does a language belong to?

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.

In Lakota Nation, people are asking: Who does a language belong to?

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The cover of Vinson Cunninham's Great Expectations. Headshot by Arielle Gray/Penguin Random House hide caption

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Headshot by Arielle Gray/Penguin Random House

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

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.

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

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The false notion of "biological race" is still sometimes used as a diagnostic tool in medicine. Why? Jackie Lay for NPR hide caption

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Jackie Lay for NPR

In the world of medicine, race-based diagnoses are still very real

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.

In the world of medicine, race-based diagnoses are still very real

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The conspiracy theory alleges that a shadowy global elite conspires to control the world's population, in part by forcing them to eat insects. Kyle Ellingson for NPR hide caption

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Kyle Ellingson for NPR

This right wing conspiracy theory about eating bugs is about as racist as you think

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.

This right wing conspiracy theory about eating bugs is about as racist as you think

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Jackie Lay for NPR

Japanese American musicians across generations draw identity from incarceration

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.

Japanese American musicians across generations draw identity from incarceration

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Despite being addictive and deadly, menthol cigarettes were long advertised as a healthy alternative to "regular" cigarettes — and heavily advertised to Black folks in cities. Jackie Lay/NPR hide caption

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Jackie Lay/NPR

The minty past and cloudy future of menthol cigarettes

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.

The minty past and cloudy future of menthol cigarettes

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In 1937, the Washington Afro-American featured the "Lonesome Hearts" column, where Black folks looking for love could send letters. Jackie Lay hide caption

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Jackie Lay

The Lonesome Hearts of 1937

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.

The Lonesome Hearts of 1937

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