Falling in love with a colonizer in a novel about time travel : Code Switch This week Code Switch digs into The Ministry of Time, a new book that author Kailene Bradley describes as a "romance about imperialism." It focuses on real-life Victorian explorer Graham Gore, who died on a doomed Arctic expedition in 1847. But in this novel, time travel is possible and Gore is brought to the 21st century where he's confronted with the fact that everyone he's ever known is dead, that the British Empire has collapsed, and that perhaps he was a colonizer.

Understanding the refugee experience, through a time-traveling British colonizer

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Hey, everyone. You're listening to CODE SWITCH. I'm B.A. Parker.


And I'm Gene Demby.

PARKER: All right. Gene, I have a very important question for you. Ready?

DEMBY: I hope I have a good answer for you, but all right. Hit me. Hit me.

PARKER: OK. If you had to live in any era outside of this one, when would you live?

DEMBY: Oh, man. Come on. I mean, I feel like I couldn't go back in time 'cause I feel like - (laughter) you know, Black man, United States.

PARKER: Me and you are one.

DEMBY: (Laughter).


DEMBY: Things are not looking better in the past, even though things ain't looking too sweet here.


DEMBY: Dying of, like, random diseases - like, you know what I mean? - malaria, consumption - you know what I mean? No. I don't know.

PARKER: You're like, oh, no. It's the scurvy.

DEMBY: It's the scurvy. Exactly. The vegetables - I didn't get enough vegetables. Like, you know what I mean? I'm dying.

PARKER: Oh, no. For sure. I wouldn't go - don't take me before, like, 1995.

DEMBY: (Laughter) Why 1995?

PARKER: I mean, you've got everything. You've got Radiohead. You've got "Point Break." You've got "Living Single." You've got all the things you really need in life.

DEMBY: Yeah. You also had - it was the tail end of the crack era. It was the beginning of mass incarceration. Oh, my God.

PARKER: Details, details - they don't...

DEMBY: It was never a good time.

PARKER: ...The details - no, don't bother with the details.

DEMBY: Exactly. But getting back to that party question that you brought up about when you would want to be, it's not like the present is that dope for anybody, either. Like, I read that, in 2024, there are more people in the world who have had to flee their homes than ever before in human history. So 110 million people - 110 million - have been displaced worldwide just this year.

PARKER: Oh, Gene.

DEMBY: What? You started it. You asked that question. I don't know what...

PARKER: I know.

DEMBY: You wanted it answered.

PARKER: I know. That's on me. I mean, you're right. We're still dealing with the legacies of colonization, slavery and white supremacy. So what if, instead of dwelling on the past and maybe even our present, we imagine a different present and not-so-distant future where time travel can exist?

DEMBY: OK. I would hop into my DeLorean and do that. What are we talking about? What are we doing? Where are we going?

PARKER: All right, Doc Brown. So this book I just read - I'm starting to lean into reading fantasy novels...


PARKER: ...Is called "The Ministry Of Time." The author, Kaliane Bradley, explains it best.

KALIANE BRADLEY: I call it a time travel tragicomic romance about empire, bureaucracy and cigarettes. It's in the - romance about imperialism? OK. Great.

DEMBY: Sounds like all the dating I did in my 20s - am I right?


DEMBY: All right. But, yeah, OK. Let's get into it.

PARKER: Stay with us.


PARKER: So this book about time travel - that's actually about immigration - is also a love story between an unnamed narrator living in the 21st century and an old British explorer with mutton chops. I promise you he's cute. I promise you.

BRADLEY: Basically, it opens on this man, Graham Gore, who is a Victorian polar explorer. He's part of this doomed Arctic expedition, though he doesn't know it's doomed yet. He's trudging along on the Arctic tundra - it's 1847 - when the world splits open in front of him, and he is dragged from the Arctic into a government laboratory in the 21st century where he's told, hi. Welcome to the future. Everyone you've ever known and loved is dead - British Empire's collapsed. Sorry about that.

We are running an experiment to see if time travel is possible for the body - like, what's going to happen to your body now that we've pulled you through time? - so we just need you to live in the 21st century for a year to prove that it's possible to assimilate. And to that end, we're going to make you live in this house with this woman, who is the book's narrator. And she spends the book having been assigned this job to live with Graham Gore, to monitor him, to report on him, to help him assimilate. She's like a teacher, mentor, spy, babysitter friend.

PARKER: (Laughter).

BRADLEY: She's got a very complicated relationship with everything in the book - the British government, with Graham Gore, with herself, with her family. Like, nothing is normal. Nothing is relaxed.

PARKER: I think I tried to describe it to someone as like, oh, it's like "Kate & Leopold" with espionage.

BRADLEY: Yes. Yes.

PARKER: (Laughter).

BRADLEY: Because also, funnily, that's what my U.K. editor said. He was like, it's "Kate & Leopold." Have you seen "Kate & Leopold"? Please see "Kate & Leopold" immediately.

PARKER: OK. Now, that time travel didn't make a lick of sense to me.

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: They got to climb a bridge. They got to jump into water. It was, like, a whole thing. Like, it was...

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: But your book has the interesting twist of bringing someone from the past to now. For the listener, how does time travel work in your story?

BRADLEY: So I did cheat quite a lot in that I've written a time travel novel where you don't see any time travel happening on the page at all.

PARKER: I support it.

BRADLEY: Because the thing that interested me about time travel was not, you know, going to history as a place to move characters around but this parallel of immigration. What I was interested in is the emotional experience of an immigrant and the emotional experience of a refugee - the emotional experience of someone who is being told what their identity is.

So being a forced migrant from the past to the 21st century, they can't go home. They have to stay there. Being a forced migrant from another country, you can't go back to your homeland. Perhaps your homeland has ceased to exist in the way you knew it. You're stuck in 21st-century Britain. Both of these sides are stuck in 21st-century Britain.

And I was also very interested in the idea of history as a narrative. So not - again, not as a place that you can visit, not as a place that you go to and fiddle with, but as a kind of narrative that we're told about our past and what that means for our cultural identity and our national identity - because history, as a narrative, is almost always used as a nationalist tool.

PARKER: Yes. And I read that you got really into the polar expeditions during lockdown, which, I mean, my obsession was Burt Lancaster, but this is, like, much better.

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: One of your main characters - so you have Graham Gore - was a real person, who my context - my only context for him was I watched "The Terror" when it was on.

BRADLEY: Did you? Oh, my God.

PARKER: I did. So I was like, wait, this sounds familiar (laughter).

BRADLEY: It's that guy. He doesn't last long. He's not big in "The Terror." He doesn't last long, but he's got, you know, he has his...

PARKER: He's got a moment.

BRADLEY: ...Moment.

PARKER: He's got a moment. But what got you interested in Graham Gore?

BRADLEY: Completely accidentally. So I was watching "The Terror," but I had lockdown brain. Do you remember how facts did not stay in your head, and the reality was very wavering? And it was...

PARKER: For sure.

BRADLEY: Yep. That was that good lockdown feeling. So I was watching this and enjoying it, but also thinking, oh, God, I'm not sure what's going on. I will just check my phone, my lovely phone, which I carry with me all the time and I'm always looking at.

PARKER: (Laughter).

BRADLEY: So I got the - a fan wiki for the first episode up. And then I got to the bloopers list, where they mentioned that there was a blooper involving a guy called Graham Gore, who I hadn't spotted as a character in the show.


BRADLEY: He's just some guy, and I was like, well, you know, interesting name. I'm sat here on the sofa with my phone anyway. Why not type in Graham Gore and look up this guy? Why not? I've got nothing else to do. It's lockdown. I can't go outside. So I got to his Wikipedia page, where I saw, first of all, the daguerreotype of him where he looks very dashing, and he's got a little faint smile, curly hair.

PARKER: Very hot for 1847.

BRADLEY: Very hot for 1847. So much so that, every time I see the picture, I'm still slightly startled, like, oh, yeah, that's why I wrote...

PARKER: (Laughter).

BRADLEY: ...A whole book about you. That's the guy. That's the guy. And then I read his Wikipedia page, which just made him sound like such a chill, competent, kind, well-liked person. You know, I was having a bad time, as we all were, during lockdown. I was very stressed. I just thought it would be quite nice for a really competent person to just, like, take the wheel for a bit.

PARKER: Wait. So during the pandemic, you were like, I - we need a leader.

BRADLEY: We need a leader, and it's not Boris Johnson, I can...

PARKER: It's not...

BRADLEY: ...Tell you that.

PARKER: ...Boris Johnson. It's an Arctic sailor from 1847.

BRADLEY: That's the leader that Britain needs but does not deserve (laughter).

PARKER: That was the pull - was his decisiveness and his, like...

BRADLEY: Just wandered into...

PARKER: ...Common sense.

BRADLEY: ...Captain. Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I just started a new job, so I was four months into a new job. It was completely remote because it was lockdown. I couldn't get the VPN to work. I was very stressed all the time. And I just knew - like, I just knew this man would know how to work a VPN. Even though he was Victorian, he would still be better at working a VPN than me. I just knew it.

PARKER: Proof that competency is very attractive.

BRADLEY: Across time and space, a competent man and a competent woman - a competent person is always very attractive.

PARKER: Are you decisive and have mutton chops? You can be...

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: ...In my book. OK, so the book is mostly written in first person from the perspective of your main character - again, no name. But you actually start with her in the job interview as she's figuring out whether she's going to get this government job, working with refugees. It's high clearance. So why frame it that way?

BRADLEY: So the job is that she has been tasked to look after this expat from the past, they call them. They say - they use the word expat. And she has to help him assimilate. The success of her job will depend on this man physically and psychologically assimilating to the 21st century. And you notice I'm using that word assimilation, which is the language we use about immigrants - like, we want them to assimilate to 21st-century Britain. We want them to share our values - whatever those British values or American values are.

PARKER: So continuing with this metaphor of time traveler refugee, often, when we talk about refugees, it's, you know, a group of people - hundreds and thousands of asylum-seekers fleeing a bad situation. But in your book, you're looking at individuals, and this quote got to me. It was, quote, "assuming that the expat survived, that meant they would be people, which is a complicating factor when dealing with refugees, especially en masse. It's better not to think of them as people. It messes with the paperwork," end quote. Which - well, that's wry humor. That's very meant to be a little wry humor. I'll agree with that. Who do you think we tend to gloss over - maybe even erase the humanity in the terminology we've created around this?

BRADLEY: Well, actually, one of the things I was thinking about - this didn't happen when I was writing the book - certainly, when I was redrafting it. Do you remember the Titan submersible...


BRADLEY: ...Which was the great tragedy of the submersible that went to go look at the Titanic?

PARKER: It had five people in it - five very, very wealthy people.

BRADLEY: Very, very wealthy people - and they popped. And it was - you know, the media was occupied with it for days and days and days.


BRADLEY: At the same time - and I do think this was pointed out. At the same time, a large boat sank.

PARKER: Yeah, going from Libya to Italy. Yeah.

BRADLEY: Yeah. There was a boat filled with migrants - hundreds of migrants - men, women, children fleeing. And it - you know, people remarked on the fact that one of these stories was getting a great deal of time and attention, and one of these stories was not because one of those stories was about a formless mass of terrified humanity fleeing a bad situation who did not make it, and the other was about super rich, mad people going to look for the Titanic.

PARKER: Oof. Yeah. So your main character is, like, half Cambodian. Her mother was a refugee from Cambodia. Her father is white and British. You, too, are Cambodian British?

BRADLEY: I am, yes.

PARKER: How did that influence your ability to write through that experience?

BRADLEY: So when I first started writing the book, the narrator was nothing - no ethnicity, no name, nothing - a cipher - a kind of a blank space that the reader could project themselves into. But, of course, that doesn't really work because both falling in love, which is one thing she does, and the sense of, like, burning, yearning ambition, and burning yearning - burning yearning?

PARKER: (Laughter).

BRADLEY: Yearning, intense desire to belong. Those are very individual feelings, and they manifest in every individual differently. So she really had to become a person.

So one thing I thought I would be very interested in was the experience of someone who is white-passing and mixed race, which - as I am - so someone who appears to conform to power structures but, in fact, has a slightly different experience of those power structures. And I was writing at the time what I thought was going to be my debut novel - a very serious, very difficult book about Cambodia, about the Khmer Rouge, about the Cambodian diaspora. It wasn't going well. I hope that book never sees the light of day.

PARKER: (Laughter).

BRADLEY: But there was a character in it who was a mixed-race woman who had a very complex relationship to both her heritage and her position in power structures. And so I thought, why don't I just take her and drop her into this one? She only needs a little bit of reworking. So I did that. And I did also think about how it would be more sensible - perhaps narratively sensible - to make this character British Indian or British Burmese - you know, a country with previous colonial links to the U.K.


BRADLEY: But then I thought, well, that's - it's a little disingenuous, isn't it? Because I am half Cambodian. I do have a really specific set of experiences I can draw on. So it was very difficult once I started writing about a British Cambodian person not to start writing about the Khmer Rouge and inherited trauma...


BRADLEY: ...And the effects that might have on a person. It's impossible not to sort of want to explore how that trauma might have manifested in her because, also, this fun, rom-com, workplace comedy about getting a Victorian man to give you a little kiss is also about what trauma does to you.


PARKER: Coming up, we're talking about love in the time of colonization.

BRADLEY: She is interested in love as a kind of colonial exercise in taking over this, like, untrodden space of this man's mind.

DEMBY: Oh, we are definitely getting into that. Stay with us, y'all.


PARKER: Parker.

DEMBY: Gene.

PARKER: CODE SWITCH. We're back talking to Kaliane Bradley about her new book, "The Ministry Of Time." It's set in London, and she's in London herself. So settle in with a cozy cuppa. I mean, all right, sometimes I put my tea in the microwave. So sue me.

BRADLEY: Oh, no.

PARKER: (Laughter) We're not - our country isn't very kettle-oriented, OK? So...

BRADLEY: (Laughter) The tea ambassadors are going to arrest you. They are on their way right now. You said the word microwave. Do you hear the sirens? That's us. The British are coming. The British are coming.

PARKER: I'm (laughter) so scared.

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: I'm, like, just let me - like, it's all water, and it's all hot.


PARKER: Something I was thinking about is, like, what if - like, there's this idea that can you get your own, like, pre-war 19th-century white man that you are able to foist all of your ideas and thoughts onto to - like, to better educate or, you know, quote-unquote, "fix." And there's, like, a weird fantasy behind that that I find interesting. It's an option in this book in any case of - you know, you pull your guy out of the box, fresh out the box, and tell him...

BRADLEY: Put his little hat on.

PARKER: Yeah, put his little hat on, tell him about the pitfalls of, colonization. You know, does it feel like the protagonist is, like, grooming this man to becoming exactly how she wants him - who she wants him to be?

BRADLEY: Absolutely. And I think, actually, this is a really important point in the book, and I'm really glad you pulled it out because she - you know, she wants to show him films. She wants him to read books. She wants to take up space in his mind, she says...


BRADLEY: ...Exactly the shape that she wants to be. She wants him to imagine her in a certain way. She is interested in love as a kind of colonial exercise in taking over this, like, untrodden space of this man's mind.

PARKER: Love is a colonial excerise.

BRADLEY: Love is a colonial - and I believe that love can also - like, can be a mutual exchange and a very beautiful thing. But is that what she is doing, or does she eventually come to it? Does she have to learn through making mistakes and treating love as a colonial exercise that that's not what love is?

PARKER: I mean...

BRADLEY: Question mark. Question mark.

PARKER: Question mark. I mean, by the end of it, she's got this man making her food (ph). Like, she's doing all right (laughter), I would think. Ah, love in the time of colonization.


PARKER: 'Cause I think - OK, a line that struck me when the protagonist talks about - I'm going to pull the quote. It was like...

(Reading) My England wasn't like this, Gore told me. But this was the natural evolution of his England. I was the natural evolution.

And she's a reflection of the history he was a part of. And how does that make us, then, grapple with his legacy?

BRADLEY: Mmm. Absolutely. So the idea that you can be confronted with history that - by which - this means history is literally living in your house.


BRADLEY: Like, what are you going to do? What - how will you - it forces the narrator to realize - or I hope it forces the narrator to realize - I hope readers find this - what parts of her identity have been handed down to her, what parts of her identity are things that she has just swallowed, agreed with, become part of a story for and, like, to be confronted with its genesis in a literal Victorian imperialist...


BRADLEY: ... And his values. I think - I hope it's very confronting for her and I hope creates a great deal of friction.

PARKER: Oh, totally, 'cause, I mean, Gore was part of the colonization goals of the U.K. - of that imperial history. I mean, but that doesn't stop her from hooking up with him...

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: ...I just want to note. But (laughter) I love the back-and-forth when he learns - he, like, learns about the Holocaust on his own. He's like, why didn't you tell me about the Holocaust?


PARKER: And first of all, keep the computer away from him. That's...

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: ...Going to stress him out. But then she pushes back and was like, well, I mean, you were a part of a - like, an imperialist instrument. What did you think that boat was for?

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: Where did you think you were going? He was like, I wasn't doing that. But she's like, you need to grapple with some things, too, about what you were a...


PARKER: ...Part of.

BRADLEY: Yep. You need to think a little critically about what you were up to.

PARKER: He thought - he's like, well, I'm listening to Spotify. You can't - I'm OK now. I'm no longer a part...

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: ...Of the regime.

BRADLEY: I've shaved off my mutton chops. I'm a modern man.

PARKER: I'm a modern man. But I feel like, focusing on him, we were kind of exploring whether or not he could be redeemed.

BRADLEY: Definitely. Definitely. And one thing that I really hope is taken away by readers from the book is the possibility that anyone is capable of changing for the better - also for the worse - but that you can even take a colonist who is steeped in this idea of white supremacy, which is basically the backbone of British imperialism, who can look critically at his role and reconsider it. I - you know, the real Gore - the real historical Gore who existed - maybe not.

PARKER: (Laughter).

BRADLEY: But fictional Gore - fictional Gore who's in the book - that's my little boy.

PARKER: (Laughter) There you go. Gore's baby girl.

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: Wait. So do you think that - via Gore, is the broader project redemption for nations, too? Like, can we be redeemed?

BRADLEY: That's - oh, that's such an interesting question. God, can we be redeemed? Can we be redeemed?

PARKER: I don't know, man.

BRADLEY: I think I would like to imagine a world where nations want redemption - people want to work towards redemption or at least want to work towards confronting history in their own homes.

PARKER: That's lovely - just, like - just the actual desire for redemption is better than what we've got going...

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: ...Just one person in power being like, oh, maybe we need to reflect.

BRADLEY: (Laughter) Just a time out for a moment. Let's...

PARKER: Let's time out. Let's take a beat, and let's think about what's going on. But no, we're just always all just going full-steam ahead.

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: Reflection is for the weak.

BRADLEY: (Laughter) There's no growth in reflection. We need to grow. We got to grow.


PARKER: Do you think that, in Britain, a government official like our protagonist would play an honest role, or would she have the British-government-informed version of that history?

BRADLEY: Ooh. Oh, that's a good question. That's a good question because does - I mean, do I think we are all - by we, I mean - sorry - the British (laughter).


BRADLEY: Are we all, every day, telling ourselves an honest story about British history and the history of the British Empire? I'm not convinced we are - not always because we're trying to hide things, but sometimes some things we're just not taught.

I think quite a lot about the fact that Winston Churchill, for example, is really celebrated as a war hero. He led us through our darkest hour. Thank goodness he was there, otherwise we'd all be speaking German, etc., etc., etc. And we're taught a lot about the heroism of Winston Churchill and the British in World War II. And we don't really talk about things like Winston Churchill starving millions of Indians in the British Raj to death as part of a suppression tactic, right? We don't do that. We don't teach that. We very rarely teach - at least when I was at school, maybe it's changed now - but we don't really teach Partition - the Partition of India and Pakistan, which caused immense bloodshed and was just bureaucratic interfering.

PARKER: Yeah. I do find it interesting 'cause you have - we have this protagonist, who is British Cambodian, and also another person doing the same job, who is a Black woman. So these two women are acting as these representations of Britain, but they're still dealing with these - like, these microaggressions or, you know, the protagonist is being asked, well, do you ever get to go back home? And she's like, well, I got to visit Cambodia. I'm not from there (laughter).

BRADLEY: I was definitely born here.

PARKER: Yeah. And so there is this kind of interesting push and pull of, like, being, like, the representation but also dealing with those, like, little nicks that are happening along the way and then being the arbiter of what Britain is for this person. There are all these really interesting, nuanced, like, beautiful layers to it that I was really attracted to.

BRADLEY: Oh, I'm really glad also that you pulled out this idea of being representative, which also was something that really preoccupied me because I think they have to be the kind of poster girls for multicultural Britain. But it's preposterous to ask one person to represent an entire ideological concept, and it's very uncomfortable for them. It's very difficult because they want to be at ease in their roles. And they want to show that 21st century Britain is an improvement on 17th century Britain, 19th century Britain, which is true. But it doesn't mean that, like, it's a comfortable or fair role to be cast in.

PARKER: Yeah. I mean, 100% - to realize that you have to be the representation for this hidden, predominantly white regime but you're the go-to - I get it.

BRADLEY: Yeah. They wheel you out like, look. Look, we're not racist. We've got one of these. (Singing) Ta-da.

PARKER: There we go. This is the thing. OK. This is also a side note that I've been thinking about within the context of this book 'cause I have a hey, colonizer hoodie that I wear sometimes.

BRADLEY: Oh, my God.

PARKER: And I'm like, what if I met Gore and had on that hey, colonizer hoodie? I mean, it sounds like a nice greeting. And...

BRADLEY: Yeah. He'd be like, that's so fun. Ooh.

PARKER: That's so fun. And not having context of, oh, millennials are just knee-deep in irony (laughter) and not...

BRADLEY: (Laughter).

PARKER: Like, there's a level of irony that we have that I don't think Gore would be prepared for.


PARKER: That was...

BRADLEY: There's so many layers he'd have to pass. You know, it would take him...


BRADLEY: ...Hours and hours.

PARKER: I'm so glad you didn't have to try to teach Gore irony in the book (laughter).

BRADLEY: No. I taught him the word DILF. That's enough.

PARKER: That was enough. And he learned not to say a couple of slurs. And...


PARKER: That's a win for everybody.

BRADLEY: Yep. It makes everyone's life a little easier.

PARKER: Golly. You go back to this idea of history being mutable and the narrative being something fixed or unfixed. One of the heads of the ministry in the book says, quote, "history is not a series of causes and effects which may be changed like trains on a track. It is a narrative agreement about what has happened and what is happening. History is what we need to happen. You talk about changing history, but you're trying to change the future," end quote. What are you trying to say about history in this book? And what do you want to leave readers with?

BRADLEY: So again, this is the - this idea that history is not a fixed place that you can visit. This is a joke that's made in the book - but you can't go back in time and kill baby Hitler to prevent the devastating loss of death that came out of the Holocaust in World War II because, if you remove one character, like, the political socioeconomic forces will fill it in. You can't just pick and choose how history should be.

I do think history is what we agree has happened. And I think it's possible to disagree with a dominant narrative and resist it. And I think it's really important that that resistance is always with us - that we're not just told that the past is - our understanding of the past is immutable and that, therefore, our understanding of the present and the future is immutable. There has to be potential for change. That's what I think time travel is. It's potential for change - not, like, going back in time and getting the hot Victorian polar explorer off the ship. Although, it is - it can be that, too, you know?

PARKER: It can be all of those things.


PARKER: All right. Kaliane Bradley, thank you so much. I have to read so many books for work. Like, all the stuff is stressing me out. But "The Ministry Of Time," like - thank you.

BRADLEY: I'm so glad that you had a good time with the little - the box-fresh Victorian.


PARKER: Now we're talking. Now we're talking.

BRADLEY: Thank you so much for having me. It's been an absolute joy.


PARKER: And that's our show. You can follow us on Instagram @nprcodeswitch. If email is more your thing, ours is codeswitch@npr.org. And subscribe to the podcast on the NPR app or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also subscribe to the CODE SWITCH newsletter by going to npr.org/codeswitchnewsletter.

DEMBY: And another way to support our work at CODE SWITCH is to sign up for CODE SWITCH+. It's small, but it makes a really big difference for us. And you'll get to listen to every single CODE SWITCH episode with no ads. So check it out at plus.npr.org/codeswitch. And thank you to everybody who's already signed up.

PARKER: This episode was produced by Christina Cala. It was edited by Courtney Stein. Our engineer was Josephine Nyounai.

DEMBY: And, of course, we'd be remiss if we did not shout out the rest of the CODE SWITCH massive. That's Xavier Lopez, Jess Kung, Leah Donnella, Dalia Mortada, Veralyn Williams and Lori Lizarraga.

PARKER: I'm B.A. Parker.

DEMBY: And I'm Gene Demby. Be easy, y'all.

PARKER: Hydrate.


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