Safety-Pin Solidarity: With Allies, Who Benefits? : Code Switch Does wearing safety pins and giving speeches at awards shows make you an ally? On this episode we explore the conundrums of ally-ship with activist and blogger ShiShi Rose, who helped organize the Women's March, Taz Ahmed, co-host of the GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast, the Reverend Timothy Murphy, and our editor, Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. We also talk with the co-founder of a black-owned company that teaches white people how to be better allies, for a fee.

Safety-Pin Solidarity: With Allies, Who Benefits?

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SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, HOST:

You're listening to CODE SWITCH. I'm Shereen Marisol Meraji. And here's a question. Who stands with you, as opposed to standing for you? And to figure out the answer, I have our esteemed CODE SWITCH correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates in studio with me. Hey, Bates.

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, HOST:

Hey, Shereen. Let's start with an example a lot of us might remember.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ADELE: The "Lemonade" album was just so monumental beyond sales, so monumental.

MERAJI: That's Adele from the Grammys last month accepting her award for best album. But Bates, it actually sounded like she wanted one for best ally.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ADELE: And the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel is empowering. And you make them stand up for themselves.

BATES: I actually really believe that came from a place of sincerity.

MERAJI: Do you now?

BATES: I do. I do. But people on my feed are still sucking their teeth about it.

MERAJI: Which leads us to what we're doing today, exploring the intricacies of being an ally and asking some hard questions about what that means to those who see themselves as allies and what that means to those getting the allyship (ph) done to them.

BATES: As we thought about who would have a good perspective on this notion of allyship - and I'm using the air quotes that you and Gene love so much, Shereen, 'cause I don't think that's a real word but OK - we met with three women of color and one woke white guy.

MERAJI: Karen, that sounds like a new rap crew. I'm just saying, three women of color and one woke white guy.

BATES: I want a T-shirt to that.

MERAJI: I'm looking forward to that discussion because I wasn't in on it. So I'll be listening. And after that, Karen, I talk with one of two black women who founded a company that teaches white people how to be better allies for a fee. Leslie Mac told me being asked for advice all the time takes a real toll.

LESLIE MAC: We want to break that cycle and really let people know, you know, if you're inviting a black person to come talk, you need to pay them. If you're inviting somebody to help you with something, you should compensate them for their time and for their efforts.

MERAJI: And they're making money.

BATES: Yeah. I wish I thought of that first.

MERAJI: I know. Stick with us, three women of color and one woke white guy will be waiting for you right here. And I'll be listening right along with you. So don't go away, or you're being a bad ally.

BATES: No pressure.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BATES: And we're back. I'm Karen Grigsby Bates. And today, we're discussing the role of allies in this era of women's marches and airport protests and Black Lives Matter demonstrations and, of course, award shows. But first, let me use my home training and ask everyone to introduce themselves. Taz, why don't you go first? You're right here.

TAZ AHMED: Yeah. My name is Taz Ahmed. I'm here in Los Angeles. I have a podcast called the "#GoodMuslimBadMuslim" podcast. And I'm also at 18 Million Rising, which is an Asian-American digital media organization.

BATES: Timothy?

TIMOTHY MURPHY: Yes. I'm Timothy Murphy. I'm a minister, theologian and activist who's worked with Progressive Christians Uniting in the Los Angeles area.

BATES: ShiShi?

SHISHI ROSE: My name is ShiShi Rose. I'm an activist and a writer. I'm based in New York. And I'm also one of the national organizers for the Women's March on Washington.

BATES: And boss lady.

JULEYKA LANTIGUA-WILLIAMS, BYLINE: Hi, everybody. I'm Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. And I'm the editor of CODE SWITCH. And my staff totally wrangled me into this.

BATES: We made her do it because we know she's a good addition to this.

(LAUGHTER)

BATES: Welcome, you all. I'm so glad you all are here. And first question, which I think on the surface of it is simple enough, what does it mean to be an ally?

ROSE: I can go first. This is ShiShi speaking. I know that a lot of people look at the term of allyship and they think that there's like an end goal. But I think that, like, the bigger picture is that we're always learning. And so for me, I feel like that's the biggest definition is to step into it being willing to support other people and always with, like, your thinking cap on.

BATES: Anybody else?

MURPHY: Sure. This is Timothy. For me, the way I see it is ally is more of an action that's more important than a posture of being seen as an ally. So in some ways, a verb versus the noun. So in that way, allying is using access or resources or privilege to back up or support communities that are experiencing oppression or exploitation in some way.

BATES: Taz?

AHMED: Yeah. I've been struggling a lot with this word. I think for me, allyship and solidarity are two words that are in controversy right now. And I do think there's kind of a problem behind that. We need people to be empathetic, not sympathetic. And I think allyship is all about the sympathy versus empathy, which is what we need.

LANTIGUA-WILLIAMS: This is Juleyka. And I think it's an oxymoron.

BATES: Why?

LANTIGUA-WILLIAMS: Because allyship implies a bunch of compromises on the part of the person who is receiving the allyship, which I don't think we should have to make. And there is an implied power dynamic that has to be preserved in order for the ally to perform the role of allyship.

BATES: Our producer, Walter, brought up a point that I have to admit I don't agree with, but I still wanted to pose to you panelists, which is this. Does the dynamic of being an ally always involve white privilege or some kind of privilege? And what if both allies are people of color?

ROSE: Hi. This is ShiShi speaking. I would say that even if you're a person of color or any other marginalized person, there's always some form of privilege that somebody can hold in some form. I mean, you can exist in both ways even if your oppression totally overpowers whatever privileges you may hold, you know, you could be a trans woman of color, for instance, but be able-bodied and, you know, be existent in a First World country and be English speaking in this First World country. So boxing people in and saying, oh, you can only be oppressed or you can only have privilege is where people mess up because it's not just about one thing.

BATES: Anybody else?

MURPHY: Yes. This is Timothy. I have to really affirm what ShiShi said, that so often we try to make binaries areas of absolute oppression or absolute privilege. And it's way more complicated than that. Muslims may be allies with the black community in terms of racialized mass incarceration, but the black community might be allies with Muslims when it comes to a Muslim registry or a ban on refugees, for example.

So the dynamics in the relationships is really what matters versus it as an identity or an essential element of one's being as an ally. I don't think that's a helpful way of thinking of it.

LANTIGUA-WILLIAMS: This is Juleyka. And I have to disagree strongly on that point because part of the assumption in allyship is that what is good for me is not good for you, when in fact anything that benefits me as a citizen, as a woman, as a woman of color ultimately benefits everyone. And so when we disaggregate that mutual universal benefit, we get into the type of categorization that we see now with things like the proposed - the supposed Muslim ban, right?

It can't be that we wait until a particular group is singled out for a particular type of oppression, that then we gather around that group. It has to be that we are constantly in a state of a front against injustices and inequalities and things that any of us at any point could become victimized by.

BATES: I would think though that it's probably a difficult thing for people to recognize their own self-interest in some of this. I mean, I don't know that people actually see it that way until they're made to see it that way.

ROSE: Yeah. This is ShiShi speaking. I was just going to say that before I got involved with the Women's March and everything, I've been an activist for a while. And, you know, one of my common problems was trying to get people to feel that level of empathy for marginalized groups that they were not a part of. And I think that sometimes in order for people to see empathy for others, they have to, like, feel scared themselves.

AHMED: ShiShi, I would also say that what you all were able to do with the Women's March really gave permission to other people to step up in a way that they didn't think was possible before. And how you were able to create a platform of diversity and intersectional values in the policies you've set forth really is what paved the path for people to, you know, show up just a week later at the airports.

ROSE: Yeah, like, one of my favorite parts of the march was that I knew how important it was going to be for all of us who were helping to organize it. But I kept thinking about all of the new activists who were there. And it was their first march. And it was their first time being involved in any sort of action whatsoever. You know, at the end of the day, everybody there wanted change for the world.

BATES: Well, while we're talking about the Women's March, you became kind of an immediate sensation, in some ways, ShiShi, because of the blog post that you wrote, the letter that you put on your blog post advising certain women that maybe, if they want to be allies of women of color, they need to think about how they negotiate their privilege through all of this. You wrote a letter. I'm wondering if you can just read a little bit of it because it got quite a response.

ROSE: Yeah. Actually, the response initially was the post that I wrote about white privilege on the Women's March social media pages. This blog post was after the march. And it was just kind of a follow-up of some of the things that I had seen taking place between the white women and the women of color. I had seen a lot of shaming of women of color not showing up in the amounts that I guess white women wanted us to show up in. And so I wrote this because I wanted them to understand why we wouldn't show up in as large of an amount as they wanted us to. And why we still feel standoffish when we're in these movements with white women. So yeah, I'll read it right now.

(Reading) Although this march and the organizers behind it are diverse in every way, including race, sexual orientation, gender, class, ability and language, this march still created a mass culling in of white women that should have already came in a long time ago. However, they came in now, which is great on one hand. But on the other, now many white women are judging black women for not showing up to this march in full force. Women of color have already been showing up in full force for every movement. We show up and carry the movement only to get left out of the movement. Black women have already been giving white Americans reasons to show up, and many did not listen until they felt like they were under threat as well. That is a massive privilege.

BATES: What was the reaction that you got to that? I know I interviewed a couple of people about events leading up to the march. And some people had dropped out because they just thought, who is she to talk to me that way? And so I'm wondering how much of that you got after this became public.

ROSE: It was a pretty big reaction. I mean, you know, historically, black women are always asked to choose between our womanness and our blackness. And that's not something that we can choose between. And that goes in other spaces as well. Even in black spaces, we're often asked to take off our womanness. So I did that, and I received a lot of hate. And it's just now finally starting to calm down.

BATES: I want to bring Timothy back in here for a minute because as I was listening to you all, I was thinking of this famous passage in Malcolm X's autobiography, where he was lecturing at Columbia. And a young white woman went up to him and said, Mr. X, what can I do to sort of help clean this social mess up? What can I do? And he said, nothing. And he walked away. And he said, afterwards, I regret that because what I should have said to her was, speak to your people. You have to speak to white people to have that sort of start to make a difference. That's where you start. And then we can talk about other things later.

And Timothy, that's what you're doing, really, aren't you? Aren't you speaking to white people about how to do this, how to be effective allies?

MURPHY: Absolutely, that's a key part of my ministry. The black theologian James Cone once said that we're all oppressed but not in the same way. And often, those with power don't see how these systems are hurting them. And they need to hear from others to reveal what's so obvious for other persons. And so even though that the work of solidarity is not primarily about getting one's needs met, it is a life-giving process of seeking to heal oneself and one's community from generations of garbage and structural racism.

BATES: I'm wondering what the reaction is, you know, when you come in and you say to a room full of white people, we're here to sort of recognize the fact that we have certain inherent advantages just because we're white. Do you get pushback?

MURPHY: Yeah. I mean, there's different things to be aware of. There's all these terms that we're familiar with about white tears and white fragility and so forth. People personalize it so quickly. And that's what I'm trying to get at when saying that acting as an ally, acting in solidarity, is the activity. It's the relationship. It's not an identity.

So for example, thinking in terms of LGBT concerns, if you march in a Pride parade as an ally, which churches I've been part of have done as gay-friendly churches, that doesn't give you a ally-for-life badge that then gives you carte blanche to be defensive if someone's like, no, no, no, this is a problem - something you said, something your organization did. And it's the same dynamic with racism and white privilege. The desire to dismantle this is a long-term struggle. It's not a one-conversation-type thing.

BATES: You know, it's interesting. I'm thinking about the - not just people who are interested in being allies but people who are at the other end, the receiving end of that allyship. if you will, and whether there's any understanding that sometimes, no matter how well intentioned you are, the thing that you're trying to do can have consequences for the person you're trying to help. I know, Juleyka, you've talked about having that experience at one point. Can you talk about it a little bit now?

LANTIGUA-WILLIAMS: Sure. It's an odd, funny, awkward experience. A friend of mine lives in a very posh town on the East Coast. And I went to visit her. She's white. I'm Dominican, light-brown girl. And we were just walking, you know, perusing the main street shops. And she walked into a clothing store. And I walked into a high-end furnishing store. And I was immediately followed around the store. And this has happened to me many, many times in my life. So I wasn't, you know, going to make a scene. I wasn't going to say anything about it. I just, you know, browsed with my escort and then left the store. And when I met up with her, I said, you're not going to believe this, but I was followed in that store. And she said, well, don't worry about it. I'll just come back in with you. And I was so upset because she completely missed the point.

She thought that she should be my escort. And because she was white, it would render me safe to the people in the store. And I said to her, absolutely not. We're not going back in there. I'm not spending any of my hard-earned money in there. And you shouldn't either. You know, so then I used the opportunity to sort of pressure her to deny, essentially, her capital to this purveyor because of the way that they had discriminated against me so obviously and so clearly. I feel like you have to have something that you give up, not just show up for a march, not just sign a petition, not just, you know, re-tweet a hashtag. But you have to give something up in order to even come to an approximation of what it's like to live without the privilege with which you have grown up your entire life.

BATES: So if it doesn't hurt, it doesn't count. Is that what you're saying?

LANTIGUA-WILLIAMS: Well, wouldn't a good trainer tell you that?

(LAUGHTER)

BATES: My trainer would just be happy to see me, period, so...

LANTIGUA-WILLIAMS: OK, well, that's different. But a good trainer would be like, come on. It's got to hurt or your muscles aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing. So I think that maybe this is an opportunity to exercise a moral muscle.

BATES: Taz, what do you think?

AHMED: I'm thinking about the two Indian immigrants that were shot in a bar in Kansas. And there was a white man that was also shot who was standing up in allyship and protecting them. I saw an interview with him in the hospital. And he was talking about how he couldn't have imagined not standing up. I mean, I don't think everyone needs to put themselves in front of a bullet. But at the same time, that felt so much better to see than seeing someone wearing a safety pin.

BATES: We're going to talk about safety pins in just a little while and sort of how they figure into the whole allyship thing. But, you know, the safety-pin business, the non-Muslim women wearing hijab to sort of indicate their solidarity, I mean, does it - does it do anything?

AHMED: It makes me mad.

(LAUGHTER)

BATES: Well that's something.

AHMED: Does it do anything? You know, it doesn't do anything for me as a Muslim woman. It doesn't make me feel better. And it doesn't ease anything. But when I hear people stepping up in real ways and protecting people, that really is heartfelt. The other thing I've been thinking about is all these incidences on planes of Muslims getting kicked off the planes. And...

BATES: There was a recent incident on a domestic airline...

AHMED: There was, yes.

BATES: ...Where a guy was really harassing the Muslim in front of him. I think it was a couple. And he's like, you got a bomb in that bag?

AHMED: Exactly.

BATES: You're going to - whatever. And several passengers videotaped it with their phones and demanded that he be taken off. And in fact, the captain, I think, of the plane came back and said, you got to go. Sorry, bub.

AHMED: And it was so amazing to see that because we hadn't seen that up until now. And I think that's - that's what we need. We need people actually to step up and to demand that change happen.

BATES: We're going to close. I'd like to ask all of you whether, in your opinion, allies are necessary.

ROSE: I could go first. This is ShiShi.

BATES: Sure.

ROSE: I think people get so wrapped up in what label they're going to put on and how it looks and how that's appearing to everybody else and not enough about the action that they're doing.

BATES: Timothy?

MURPHY: Sure. I do believe that at a fundamental level, none of us are safe until all of us are safe and that we have to see that and have each other's backs. And that work is essential. And the only thing I would add is that persons who are most directly affected need to always be in the lead since they have the most relevant experience on what's happening, and that those who are accompanying them or showing up can be humble listeners that can learn a lot about themselves in that process and be willing to take risks in that work, whatever we tend to call it.

BATES: Juleyka, you had said that allies were a sort of oxymoron. What do you think?

LANTIGUA-WILLIAMS: I still think they're oxymorons. Although, I have learned a lot during this conversation. So thank you, everybody.

(LAUGHTER)

LANTIGUA-WILLIAMS: I see someone's ability to remain an ally very much linked to my ability to reinforce their privilege. And that is just not work I'm interested in doing. So no - for me, it's going to be a thumbs down for ally.

BATES: And Taz.

AHMED: I've been thinking a lot about - you have to step up before the incident happens. You have to build relationships, build a community, build trust. I didn't go to the airport for the protest, even though it affected my community because I was scared. And it was really meaningful to see other people to step up when I thought that my life was at risk if I went. And I think that's something that - it's deeper than allyship. It's empathy and deep feelings.

MERAJI: Karen, I loved Taz Ahmed's point about how important it is to build trust early on and not to just parachute in and the Reverend Timothy Murphy saying, you know, being an ally is not an identity. It's a relationship, one where you take the backseat and let those most affected by the issue drive.

BATES: And what ShiShi Rose said, that black women have been the foot soldiers in many of these movements but not the face of them when movements get media attention. That needs to change.

MERAJI: And our boss, Juleyka Lantigua-Williams pointed out that allies have to give something up, put some of that privilege on the line in order to be effective. Flex that moral muscle. Feel the burn.

BATES: Meanwhile, you talked to someone who's actually teaching people to be allies and making sure they pay for the privilege.

MERAJI: Her name's Leslie Mac, and her activist bona fides are no joke. She founded the Ferguson Response Network. She's a leader in the Unitarian Universalist Church and in Justice League NYC.

BATES: And along with Marissa Jenae Johnson, she started something called the Safety Pin Box. And you opened with the obvious question.

MERAJI: You call it the Safety Pin Box. But it's not literally a box of safety pins.

MAC: It's not a box of safety pins, but it is a physical box. So you do get something for real.

MERAJI: Right. So if I get this box shipped to me, what am I going to find in it?

MAC: So you're going to find each month we send very specific tasks for our subscribers to complete. So for example, January, we had our not-my-president box. And so we really focused on kind of resisting the current administration. So we had a task about talking to kids about Trump. And we had a task about building your militia, which is kind of building a group of folks in your community that would help you kind of fight back when it's necessary. This month's box was something that was born out of something that we saw in our own community that was needed, which - we have a focus on black trans women for our March box because this is something Marissa - we're not trans. So we have to work on our own allyship and how we could show up in this work to be different and to do better.

One of the things that Marissa and I realized, as we started talking about the concept of Safety Pin Box, was supremacy is meant to be obscured from those that aren't affected by it. And so what we have is a populace of white folks that might be awoken to something being wrong but not really having a good understanding of the context of all of that. And so what we sought out to do was provide something tangible for people to take steps now. Each task takes four weeks to do. You spend a few hours each week doing the task. And at the end, you actually take some tangible action steps to create a different space in your life for these things.

MERAJI: I have to admit that when I first heard about this, I was like, is this a gag gift? Is this tongue-in-cheek? I mean, it's a little bit tongue-in-cheek, right?

MAC: It is. I mean, we started it, you know, kind of in a response to the safety pin fever, as I like to refer to it, that kicked off after the election. And for us, it was really about raising the bar of what allyship is and also moving from a very performative act, which is just putting on a safety pin, to something that's super effective, which is being - actually being a better ally and taking steps to change things in your personal life, as a white person, to be less harmful to other people.

MERAJI: I am really interested in the origin story beyond, you know, the safety pin thing. I mean, what was the first conversation like? What'd you say?

MAC: I think when we started it, people were in our inboxes - a lot of black women, especially - had a lot of white people in our inboxes and our DM's kind of freaking out after the election. What do we do? What can we do? And the question that Marissa had when we were talking about it was kind of like, OK, well, what if we just told them to pay us? And I said, what would they pay us for? And she said, well, they could pay us to tell them what to do.

She happens to have a background in creating content for children. And it's a super amazing skill that she has of breaking down complex subjects into digestible format. It's just - lends itself so well for content for white people about race because in reality, they never talk about it. It's not something that they have to learn ever. And so what we've done is kind of create a content that's meant for somebody who really needs a rudimentary understanding. And that's the story.

MERAJI: And this is a business, right?

MAC: It is a business.

MERAJI: This is not a nonprofit.

MAC: It's not a nonprofit. It is a for-profit business. And for us, you know, we are really a company that is looking to move resources from white folks to black women and black organizers. And so for us, you know, creating this concept for white people to utilize is just a means to that end. So we have what we call our Black Women Being program and black women and femme organizers are able to just apply. We don't do any, like, vetting criteria.

We stand pretty firmly on the basis of the program is that black women don't have to prove anything to us. We know that they're already doing amazing work. And the more resources we give them, the more amazing work they can do. We've given away over $25,000 so far this year, since January.

MERAJI: So you and Marissa aren't lining your pockets with all the money (laughter).

MAC: No, I mean, we're getting - we certainly are being compensated for our time. But it is a full-time job to execute the box, to create the content. It's just her and I that are doing all of the work. I do all the design work. She does the content creation. And, you know, we have 800 subscribers.

MERAJI: Yeah, wow.

MAC: So that's a lot of work to maintain and to keep things moving.

MERAJI: What does success look like for you - success in allyship?

MAC: One of the most important things about Safety Pin Box is that so often in white anti-racist and organizing circles, the conversations become about what those people are doing and how they are performing and what we need to do about them. And for us, it's really about flipping that script. And stop talking about what other people are doing, and start evaluating what you are doing.

You know, the safety pin was supposed to be a safe - a safety kind of harbinger - right? - to tell people that you're safe. And I would fight - when I see somebody with one, I ask them quite frankly. I say, hey, let me ask you a question. If somebody is stopped in your neighborhood, do you pull over and start taping them? Have you had a conversation with your neighbors about what steps you're going to take before you call the police when someone is in distress in your community?

MERAJI: For people who say, yeah, but you're not really reaching the people who need to be reached, you're reaching people who are ready woke-ish (ph), what do you say to them?

MAC: A, I don't need to reach anybody who my humanity is in question with. If we're starting from a point of me having to convince you that black lives matter, that's not a conversation I'm interested in having. I don't know if there's a list of people we need to reach. But I do know that people that are, as you said, woke-ish, are not effective allies now. There's a lot of room for growth there.

MERAJI: So has this been a project that feels the most fulfilling to you because you're seeing real change?

MAC: I think for me, you know, I've had a goal. And actually, all of the organizing I've done prior to this has been supporting black women organizers in one way, shape or form. And so I've had this dream for a long time of finding a way to simply give them resources and specifically, just get money to them - because what I've experienced is, you know, somebody will be on MSNBC one day and call me the next day 'cause their lights got shut off, and they need money. And I recognize the historical context. Also, you know, whether we're talking about Harriet Tubman or Ida B. Wells, who died penniless, you know, there's no pension for civil rights work.

MERAJI: That was Leslie Mac, co-founder of Safety Pin Box. And now to what's turning into my favorite part of the show. I love this part. Karen, do you know what I'm talking about?

BATES: I know what you're talking about, Shereen. You want to know the song that's giving me life.

MERAJI: I do. I really do.

BATES: OK. For mine, I went into the wayback machine - actually, doubly way back - because my song was written in 1969.

MERAJI: Way back before I was born.

BATES: Yeah, rub it in.

MERAJI: A long time.

BATES: Back when they made good music. But seriously, I chose "Here Comes The Sun," which was penned by Beatle George Harrison. You remember The Beatles, Shereen?

MERAJI: Oh, yes.

BATES: Oh, OK. all right.

MERAJI: I actually do really like The Beatles.

BATES: OK, all right, just checking. My version, the one that's giving me life, was sung and released by the incomparable Ms. Nina Simone...

MERAJI: What?

BATES: ...In 1971.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HERE COMES THE SUN")

NINA SIMONE: (Singing) Here comes the sun, little darlin'. Here comes the sun. I say, it's all right. It's all right.

MERAJI: I am excited to hear this because I have never heard this version.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HERE COMES THE SUN")

SIMON: (Singing) Little darlin', it's been a long, cold and lonely winter. Little darlin', it feels like years since you've been here. Here comes the sun, little darlin'...

MERAJI: Chills. I had no idea Nina Simone covered this song. You blew my mind.

BATES: Yep.

MERAJI: So, Karen, tell us. What about Nina's version of "Here Comes The Sun" gives you life?

BATES: Well, it has been a long, cold, lonely winter. It's almost spring. And even if the political news isn't going to get any better, we can look forward to longer, warmer days. And the original song was a sweet little ditty that George Harrison wrote basically about the weather and about breaking out of a really contentious recording session he wasn't interested in being in any more. When Nina sings it, it's reassurance about life. That song is just a little ray of hope. And who can't use more of that?

MERAJI: And that's it for today's show. We want to hear from you. Our email is codeswitch@npr.org. And you can follow us on Twitter, @NPRCodeSwitch. Or call us at 202-836-7703. We're planning on devoting an upcoming show to your questions about race and identity.

BATES: And don't forget to subscribe to the podcast wherever fine podcasts can be found.

MERAJI: This episode was produced by Sami Yenigun, Maria Paz Gutierrez and Walter Ray Watson, with original music by Ramtin Arablouei.

BATES: Our editors are Neda Ulaby and Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. And a shout-out to the rest of the CODE SWITCH team, Adrian Florido, Gene Demby, Kat Chow, Leah Donnella and Jorge Encinas.

MERAJI: And a special shout-out to our NPR West intern, Parker Yesko. She helped me a ton on last week's episode. And I totally forgot to put her in the credits. Sorry, Parker.

BATES: Manners, manners. I'm Karen Grigsby Bates.

MERAJI: And I'm Shereen Marisol Meraji. Peace.

BATES: See you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HERE COMES THE SUN")

SIMON: (Singing) Little darlin', here comes the sun...

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