The History Behind Atlanta's Anti-Asian Shootings, Plus 'Married At First Sight' : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders In the wake of Tuesday's mass shooting in Atlanta, guest host Ayesha Rascoe talks to critical race theorist and professor Jennifer Ho about the history behind anti-Asian racism and what it means to be an Asian woman in America. Then, Ayesha chats about her latest obsession, the reality dating show Married at First Sight, with fellow devotees Delece Smith-Barrow, education editor at Politico, and Brittany Luse, former co-host and executive producer of The Nod.

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A History Of Anti-Asian Racism, Plus 'Married At First Sight'

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A History Of Anti-Asian Racism, Plus 'Married At First Sight'

A History Of Anti-Asian Racism, Plus 'Married At First Sight'

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


OK, so you say I'm Ayesha's daughter, and my mom is hosting IT'S BEEN A MINUTE this week.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: I thought we could just say what we wanted.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #3: Go, go, go...

RASCOE: (Laughter) No, you can't.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #3: ...Go, go, go.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: Can we start it?

RASCOE: Stop eating paper.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #3: Sorry - sorry, mom.

RASCOE: OK, don't eat paper.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: My mom is hosting IT'S BEEN A MINUTE this week.

RASCOE: Let's start the show.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: Let's start the show.


RASCOE: Hey, y'all. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Ayesha Rascoe, filling in for Sam Sanders. I'm usually on the White House beat, but now, at least temporarily, I get to sit in the host chair.


RASCOE: So this week of news was rough.


RASCOE: It's never easy reporting on a mass shooting, but the one that happened at three Atlanta massage spas earlier this week didn't happen in a vacuum. Eight people were killed, and six were women of Asian descent. As of this taping on Friday, officials have yet to say whether this was a hate crime. The suspect, a white male, claimed he has a sex addiction and that this was an attempt to get rid of temptation. So race and gender and sexual violence can't be removed from this conversation. And even the discussion about his alleged motive has been problematic.


RASCOE: We should say that all of this happened at a moment of rising anti-Asian sentiment.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: ...Against Asian Americans in this country.


LESTER HOLT: Now to a disturbing rise in attacks on Asian Americans.

RASCOE: When we're still in a global pandemic, when politicians themselves have used racist language about Asians, fueling even more violence.


DONALD TRUMP: ....Further and further away from China, as opposed to calling it the Chinese virus.


RASCOE: And this shooting, for a lot of Asian Americans - it didn't really come as a shock.

JENNIFER HO: I'm enraged, exhausted, heartbroken. And none of this surprises me. In fact, to be honest, I've been expecting this.

RASCOE: This is Jennifer Ho.

HO: I and many other Asian American scholars who know Asian American history have sadly predicted that this would happen eventually.

RASCOE: Jennifer is a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. So she really knows this history. And it's one that's often ignored both in the media and in our education system. She also wrote an op-ed for CNN this week called "To Be An Asian Woman." And basically, Jennifer wrote that to be an Asian woman means not being recognized as a full human being at all.


RASCOE: So I wanted to talk to Jennifer more about her writing, the stereotypical images of Asians, especially women, and where that came from - and what made her think this mass shooting was so inevitable.

HO: Because the history of Asians in the United States is one of violence. So I can state innumerable historical examples - more recent memory - World War II, bombing of Pearl Harbor, the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans - more recently, 9/11, fatal violent attacks on South Asian, Sikh, Muslim and Arab Americans. So yellow peril rhetoric dictates that you scapegoat Asians, and you scapegoat them violently.

RASCOE: And, you know, you - putting that in a larger historical context, you wrote that U.S. culture has long presented Asian women as sexualized objects for white male enjoyment. Can you talk a little bit more about that history? Because some people may not understand that or may not be aware of that.

HO: Sure. So in that piece, I talk about how the first wave of Asian women to the United States - and in this case, it was women from China - were treated. And they were essentially bought and brought into sexual servitude. So there immediately is an association of Asian women with sex. In fact, the very first law that we can say was discriminatory based on race was the 1875 Page Act, which predated the 1882 Exclusion Act. So the idea that Asian women are connected with sex started from the first arrival of Chinese immigrant women to the United States and then because of subsequent wars in Asian nations and the way that women during war are used.

So, again, this is not unique to the United States. We can certainly see the incidences of Korean comfort women during World War II and their abuse by the Japanese imperial military as another example. But the images, especially in media, in film - so if we take the rash of Vietnam War films from the mid- to late '80s, where you have "Platoon" and "Full Metal Jacket" and "Hamburger Hill," and you're seeing images of Asian women who are either elderly, peasant, Vietnamese-speaking women - or the approximation of Vietnamese in those films - and then younger women who are featured as prostitutes. This is all contributing to this idea that whenever you're seeing Asian people two dimensionally, Asian women, they're prostitutes.

RASCOE: And can you talk a bit about the Page Act? Because, you know, in reading about these attacks on Asian Americans, I have read about and knew about the Chinese Exclusion Act, which specifically banned Chinese workers from coming to the U.S. But I hadn't really heard about the Page Act, which, as you said, came earlier than the Chinese Exclusion Act.

HO: So I should say I'm really speaking about Chinese women, but I'm going to use Asian. So Chinese women, as I as I mentioned - vast majority of them who came to to California entered into sexual servitude. And the vast majority of them died in that sexual servitude. So, of course, what you have when you have women who are forced into sexual servitude is a rise in disease, venereal disease. So in the public imagination of this time, Chinese women, Asian women are diseased. And there are all sorts of public health outcries about the impurity of Chinese women because the understanding of disease in this period especially was that somehow the disease is inherent to being Chinese. And I want to really repeat that. Somehow the disease is inherent to being Chinese - because that kind of rhetoric is exactly what we are seeing now with COVID-19.

RASCOE: And so you have that embodied in the law of this country and in - you know, that is in the fabric of this country. And now you come to this point, where you're seeing this sort of violent acts, often against Asian women. How does that feel at this point? And why do you think it hasn't been getting the attention perhaps other discrimination has?

HO: So it's complicated and is bound up into the model minority myth. So my primary identification is Asian American, but that's pretty rare. Most people of Asian descent don't actually use the term Asian American as a primary mode of identification other than checking a box on the census. I identify as Asian American because for me, the choice of being Asian-American is a political act, one that is rooted in social justice.

What people don't seem to understand is that the the term model minority coined in the 1960s by a white man, William Petersen, was actually used not to praise Japanese Americans, as his article seemed to suggest, but actually was a way to condemn Black Americans who are agitating for social justice and civil rights at this time. So it was a way of saying, like, look at these Japanese Americans. We put them in camps, and they didn't complain. They went willingly to prove their loyalty. And then we took them out of camps. And they don't even speak English. And they're so passive and docile, and they're the good model minority, unlike these Black people who are causing problems for our nation.

So I think there's a lot of Asian Americans that aren't quite as politicized and understanding of this larger history of racism that Asian Americans have have experienced from the time that they first set foot on U.S. soil. I also think - and I've been doing numerous workshops on anti-racism and anti-Asian racism in particular. It's hard to talk about how people are feeling vulnerable who are Asian American at potentially being attacked when you're seeing footage of countless numbers of Black people who are really fatally being targeted. And so when I speak to Asian American student groups in particular, they're - they don't want to feel like they're taking away from the vital conversation about anti-Black racism. At the same time, they are also suffering.

RASCOE: Yeah. And you talked about - with one of our producers, you said that to be Asian in America is to be invisible. What did you mean by that?

HO: People don't know the stories of Asian Americans. Like, when I was growing up in the 1970s, 1980s in California - and look. California is a state that's associated now with having a very large Asian population. But what I learned about the contribution of Asians to U.S. history was that the Chinese built the railroad - period, end of sentence. Chinese built the railroad. So the average American knows nothing about a very long history of Asians in America. And they don't know about the many different discriminatory laws and acts that have been passed and that the - our ideas of citizenship hinge on who Asian Americans are and what they were denied.


RASCOE: Thanks again to Jennifer Ho. She's a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Coming up, we talk identity politics and "Married At First Sight."


BRITTANY LUSE: Some people are, like, in the "Bachelor" nation. "Married At First Sight" - we're coming. We're getting to that level.

RASCOE: That's Brittany Luse, a culture critic who most recently hosted "The Nod With Brittany & Eric." She and my friend Delece Smith-Barrow, a journalist at Politico, are both huge fans of this show, "Married At First Sight," "MAFS" for those in the know. And Delece specifically has been trying to get me to watch this show for a few seasons now. And I was dragging my feet because I got a lot going on. But I finally tuned in this season. And, listeners, they got me.


DELECE SMITH-BARROW: It's so funny because I was going to start this discussion saying, I told you so, I told you so, I told you so...


SMITH-BARROW: ...Because Ayesha resisted. And I knew that...

RASCOE: I did.

SMITH-BARROW: ...Great things were in store if she were to watch it.

RASCOE: Now every Wednesday night, I reserve two hours - yes, I said two hours - on my calendar for viewing.

SMITH-BARROW: "Married At First Sight" - at this point, for me, it's not just a show. It's a lifestyle. I am scheduling around it.

RASCOE: (Laughter).

SMITH-BARROW: I am, like, rearranging things.

LUSE: Delece, tell it.

RASCOE: So we're going to lay out the case for why this show in particular is the juiciest thing going on TV right now. But first, let's explain the premise. Tell me a little bit, Brittany, about how the show works. People get hooked up and married literally at first sight.

LUSE: At first sight - so basically, these, you know, single people in a given city - this season, it's Atlanta - they submit themselves to this process. They're always talking about trusting the process. That's a big part...

RASCOE: The process.

LUSE: Process.

RASCOE: Yes (laughter) - the process.

LUSE: Exactly. And they are - I mean, it's kind of like, I think, participate in a casting call. But also, there are, like, these relationship experts that evaluate their relationship readiness, you know, interview their friends and family, see how and where they live and decide whether or not these people are, in fact, ready to get married at first sight.

So if you get selected, one of the first scenes is you tell your friends and family. Then you go try on your tuxedo or your wedding dress. And then, like, the next big moment that you have is, like, at the altar on your wedding day when you meet your spouse.

RASCOE: For the first time, yeah.

LUSE: Yeah, for the first time. It really comes down to, can that relationship survive? - which is such a juicy and open-ended question. And just really, to me, it opens the door to so much relationship doom...

RASCOE: Yes (laughter).


LUSE: ...Which is why so many people watch. But the thing is - I'll say this, though - at least one couple every season does genuinely fall in love or appears to genuinely fall in love.


LUSE: So the couples that really fall in love, that really seem to be into each other - you root for them.


RASCOE: Yeah. And let's get into this season and the couples this season. There is a drama couple this season. You know, we could call this section Everybody Hates Chris. Now, I don't hate anybody.

LUSE: (Laughter).

RASCOE: I love the Lord. I don't hate nobody. But who wants to talk about Chris and Paige this season?

LUSE: Delece, I defer to you because you seem ready. You seem ready.

RASCOE: OK (Laughter).

SMITH-BARROW: I am ready. And I feel like you should even ask who doesn't want to talk about them because we know everyone...

RASCOE: Exactly. Yeah.

SMITH-BARROW: ...Wants to and is talking about them. I will say this. It's interesting that, Ayesha, you say you love the Lord because that's one aspect of their relationship that interests me most.


SMITH-BARROW: They talk about God...

RASCOE: Girl, don't start. Don't start.

SMITH-BARROW: ...So much. And I'm - like, I'm just being totally serious. Like, it's something that they talk about. You know, Paige is like, I'm following God's orders, right?

RASCOE: And God is saying, I had nothing to do with this.

SMITH-BARROW: Right. I'm like...

RASCOE: Leave me out of it. Leave me...

SMITH-BARROW: I'm like, I just want to know...

RASCOE: But let's talk about, why is Chris - so this is a Black couple.


RASCOE: Black man, Black woman - Chris and Paige - they get hooked up. They're both in, like, their 20s. But Chris immediately seemed to have an issue with Paige, and that is why he immediately became the villain, right?

SMITH-BARROW: Well, he didn't find her attractive.


CHRIS WILLIAMS: Paige is different from the type of women that I'm used to.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: As you've known her for the last hour.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: So what are the type of women you're used to?

WILLIAMS: The opposite of Paige.


WILLIAMS: Like the real prissy (ph) girls, pretty girls.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Paige is so used to dealing with dudes who she's putting...

WILLIAMS: Like, trophy wives.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: But Paige is a trophy wife. That's out of the box, but...

WILLIAMS: I don't think she's a trophy wife.


LUSE: Oh, my God. It's worse than I remember.


RASCOE: It was bad. Let's get into that and why people felt like he was saying that. I - and me and Delece - and I'm sure you had these same conversations, Brittany - we felt like he was saying that because she is a darker-skinned Black woman and that she does not fit whatever he has envisioned as beauty in his head. He's questioning whether she's feminine.

LUSE: Yeah, I really did not like that comment. And, I mean - how do I put this? Only Chris can know for sure what he meant by that.

RASCOE: Yes, true.

LUSE: But I do think that those traditional, colorist standards of beauty absolutely had something to do with him even thinking that saying that was acceptable.

RASCOE: And I have to say this. I just want to share this one thing that he did really when we talked about him talking about the Lord. And as you know, I love the Lord. He said that he called his grandma up and asked her to pray for him. And I - if you don't (laughter) go - tell your grandma to pray for your mind. You open up the Bible, pray for yourself and figure out what's wrong with you. Stop calling her up, stressing her, and you pray for yourself.

SMITH-BARROW: All season, I've been wanting to know, what version of the Bible are these people reading? Is it King James?

RASCOE: (Laughter).

LUSE: I don't know. I don't know.

SMITH-BARROW: They have referenced it so many times. It is mind-boggling.

LUSE: (Laughter).

RASCOE: But one reason why I like this season is because we do get to see Black couples. And so many times - like, the reason why I never watched "The Bachelor" or shows like that is because you never really saw - I mean, they've had Black people on it. But, really, they've never been showcased like this. And so - how often are you seeing Black couples falling in love and being desired? Like, do you feel like "Married At First Sight" fills that sort of void? Have they always had a racial mix, or is that new?

SMITH-BARROW: They've always had a racial mix. Yup, first season, they had a Black couple, which, unfortunately, was also a mess. But...

RASCOE: (Laughter).

SMITH-BARROW: ...I appreciate that - I appreciate now - I mean, I kind of feel the same way as you do, Ayesha. Like, one thing I've always enjoyed about "Married At First Sight" is that you do get to see Black people dating and just kind of being regular people. They're not being, you know, fetishized. They're not being shown in extreme poverty - just some of the, like, stereotypes you'll often see in entertainment media. I feel like "Married At First Sight" allows you to break away from that. A lot of them, you know, just went to college, got a good job, and now they're looking for love, as opposed to the sad, you know, downtrodden story that we see so often with Black people in entertainment media.

LUSE: I like it because I feel like they have a pretty good variety of Black people on the show. They're from different parts of the country. They have different backgrounds. They present themselves differently. They look different. They have so many different, like - so many different types of Black couples have been on "Married At First Sight" over the years. And I will say I do think that, in some ways, the show doesn't always set the Black women up for success. But I will say there are also, like, quite a few really nice Black love stories that you do see on the show, and I think that's what keeps me coming back - is the variety. You can see the full gamut of Black folks trying to fall in love, which I do enjoy.

RASCOE: I mean, you know, we look at these shows, obviously, as a guilty escape. I do not like to look at anything too seriously. But do you feel like they reflect on the realities of Black women dating in real life? Like, is there anything there?

SMITH-BARROW: I think there's something there, especially when you look at a couple like Chris and Paige. Paige is very accomplished. And we know that Black women go to college and graduate from college at much higher rates than Black men, right? And so I think that a lot of Black women can relate to having a partner or trying to date someone who's not going to be intimidated by their achievements.

LUSE: I think that, like, the - like, these shows are like a microcosm - a very skewed microcosm of society. And so a lot of the things that show up in society are going to naturally show up on the shows, like the colorism stuff. I mean, I think that that's something that...


LUSE: I think that every Black woman has an experience with that. You could be on any, you know, stop on the shade spectrum, and you're still going to have an uncomfortable experience, unfortunately, dating and either seeing - witnessing something, having something said to you, having something done to you that recalls something ugly having to do with colorism, having to deal with, sometimes, men being intimidated. Even regardless of whatever you have or don't have or what they think you have, there is this kind of throughline on a lot of the couples on "Married At First Sight" where the man feels like he's supposed to be the head of whatever household, head of their family, head of their life...


LUSE: ...And is perplexed, at times, when the woman doesn't agree. But yeah. But still, I mean, you know, when you see a couple, especially a Black couple for me, fall in love among such a - like, fall in love in the midst of such a weird environment, it's nice.


RASCOE: Well, thank you so much. That was Brittany Luse and Delece Smith-Barrow. Are you guys up to play a round of a very special game that I like that is called Who Said That?

LUSE: Who said that? Yes, my fiancee and I walk around saying that at home all the time.


SMITH-BARROW: It is the best part of this show. I am always game. I don't know if I'll win, but I'm game.

LUSE: I'm ready.


RASCOE: So, you guys, you ready to play this game?

SMITH-BARROW: I'm ready.

LUSE: Ready.

RASCOE: (Laughter) It's called Who Said That.


KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

KENYA MOORE: Who said that?

RASCOE: And I've had a chance to play before, and I have won. I know I've won.


RASCOE: You know, I've won, but I've never been in charge of who wins and who loses. So now I'm drunk with power. So...


RASCOE: ...The rules are simple. For those who may not know, all I do is I share three quotes from the week of news, and then y'all have to guess who said it or what story I'm talking about. Just yell out the answer when you know it because we don't have any buzzers, and I'll give you lots of hints. The winner gets nothing but bragging rights, so this is really low-stakes. So for this one, the first one, you don't need to tell me who said it, but you can tell me what it is about. Direct deposit - $1,400.


RASCOE: Me at Victoria's - wait.

SMITH-BARROW: Oh, sorry. Sorry.

RASCOE: Direct deposit - $1,400. Me at Victoria's Secret - tell me.


LUSE: Who said that? I don't know who said that.

RASCOE: What is this about? What is it about?

LUSE: Oh, stimmy checks.

RASCOE: She - yes, stimmy checks. The memes about the stimmy checks.

SMITH-BARROW: The memes - I love them.

RASCOE: This was the work of @disxpix. I don't know - disxpix. I don't know what that is. That might be a bad word, but this person - everybody was tweeting these memes about people, basically, being rich with their $1,400. And then there was also the Moneybagg Joe memes out there, which I love. Brittany, have you heard of Moneybagg Joe?

LUSE: Yes, I've heard of Moneybagg Joe.

RASCOE: (Laughter). Because Moneybagg Joe said he had time today. He checked his wrist. He had time today. He signed a law, and so everybody got their $1,400. So what's the first thing y'all would do if y'all get a big, little - or nice little lump sum like that? What's the first thing y'all do when y'all get that?

LUSE: I think probably the first thing that I would do is, honestly - I mean, I don't know what this says about me, but it's like I'd probably get my hair done and...

RASCOE: Yeah, I feel you because I need to get - I'm going to get my weave back in. So I'm very...


RASCOE: So I feel you on that. Delece, what would you do if you got a nice little lump sum?

SMITH-BARROW: And this is a safe space, right? Like, no judgment.

RASCOE: This is a safe space - no judgment, no judgment.

LUSE: Mmm hmm, this is a safe space.

SMITH-BARROW: First, I'm going to buy maybe 30 things at Sephora that I don't need but are really just enticing.


SMITH-BARROW: And then because I've been working from home every day, all day, like many of us, I'm going to get some new stuff for my living room. At this point, I just hate all of my furniture - the walls, the carpet, everything. So whatever - however I can stretch the money to change some stuff, that's what I'm going to do.

RASCOE: Just redo it. I feel you. I feel you. Who did - who got that one first? Was it Delece? Delece got it first. OK, one point to Delece.


RASCOE: I got remember. I got to be - I got to keep up with the points. OK, this next one - this - y'all are going to get this one. The next one is, The word I was given was those conversations were not productive, but they are glad that they have at least started a conversation. This was a really big story, guys - really big story.

LUSE: There's such a - there's - the quote is so...

SMITH-BARROW: It's, like, applicable to so many things.

RASCOE: It involves a family - family drama.

LUSE: Was it - did Meghan Markle say that?


RASCOE: She didn't, but that's close. I'll give you a point.

LUSE: Harry?

RASCOE: It's Gayle. So Gayle...


LUSE: She talked to...

RASCOE: ...King - she talked to the royals. Oh, they're not royal anymore, but she talked to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. And Harry had talked to his dad and his brother - so talked to William and Charles. But no one has reached out to his wife. So they - the conversations were not productive, but they at least started the conversation. You guys - did you - y'all watched the interview, right?

SMITH-BARROW: Oh, you know I watched the interview.

RASCOE: Oh, well, yeah, you - yeah, you watched it. Yes.

LUSE: Yes, I definitely watched the interview.


LUSE: I watched - I think I ate a special meal 'cause it was such an event.

RASCOE: OK. So now we're tied up. So, Brittany, Delece, this is the one for all the marbles. This is the last one, and this one...

SMITH-BARROW: All right, I'm getting a little nervous.

RASCOE: This one is a little spicy. It's a little - I mean, so...


RASCOE: So cover your ears. Delece is always shocked if I say anything a little ratchet.


SMITH-BARROW: Yeah. I'm like, who is this Ayesha? I don't even know this person.

RASCOE: Oh yeah, and just noting for listeners, too, cover the kids' ears. I'm just going to say something. It's not too bad, but just cover their ears a little bit. So here we go. If you think making your husband a sandwich is a sin but popping your vagina into another woman's vagina in front of the world is power, you are a lost soul.


SMITH-BARROW: Is this Cardi B?


RASCOE: It's not. It's - but she didn't say this one.

SMITH-BARROW: Oh, she said - it's Candace Owens.



RASCOE: Candace Owens. Yeah, Candace Owens. Yeah, so this is a tweet from conservative political commentator Candace Owens, who got into a Twitter battle with the Cardi B. And Cardi started calling her Candy and...


RASCOE: ...Was basically going off on her. And what Candace Owens was criticizing was that amazing "WAP" performance at the Grammys, which I was impressed by.


LUSE: It was really good.

RASCOE: It was really good. They - I mean, they were dancing hard. Like, they were dancing. And the move at the end - that was - I was concerned for their safety...


RASCOE: ...For flipping like that.

LUSE: Yeah, yeah.

RASCOE: Because that was a...


RASCOE: Because that knee that hit that ground like that...

LUSE: I was thinking they needed some kneepads.

RASCOE: They need some...

LUSE: That's what I was thinking the whole time.

RASCOE: (Laughter).

SMITH-BARROW: I was thinking they need IcyHot and a bunch of other things.


RASCOE: I was concerned about that knee. But they pulled it off. And they did that. So...

LUSE: They did.

RASCOE: They did. But, of course, you know, people got all worked up about it, as they tend to do. But...

LUSE: People don't want to be entertained.

RASCOE: Right.

LUSE: They don't want to be entertained.

RASCOE: Well, they - see. The thing is, they do because they play the clips over and over again to say, isn't this horrible? It's the worst thing ever. Look at this clip one more time.


RASCOE: But yes. So I think that's the game, y'all. Who won? Who won? Did Delece win?

SMITH-BARROW: I think we're all winners.

LUSE: Delece won.

RASCOE: I think Delece...

SMITH-BARROW: No, I think we're all winners.

RASCOE: Yeah, Delece won. So now you can have the glory to take back with you wherever you go. Brittany, next time, you're going to - you can get it.

LUSE: Next time, I mean, you know - next time, prayerfully.


LUSE: Prayerfully.

SMITH-BARROW: Don't read the Bible there, even on "Married At First Sight" though, Brittany.


SMITH-BARROW: You find some other prayer.


RASCOE: Find (laughter) - don't be praying like Chris. Don't get your grandma to pray for you like Chris. Don't do that. Don't do that.

LUSE: I don't need that. I don't need that.


RASCOE: Thanks again to the wonderful Delece Smith-Barrow and Brittany Luse for playing Who Said That With me.

GABRIELLE: Now it's time to end the show like we always do.

RASCOE: OK. And, Gabrielle, you say, every week, listeners share the best thing that happened to them all week.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #3: (Unintelligible).

GABRIELLE: Listeners share their week.

RASCOE: OK, you say it, Gabrielle. Listeners shared the best thing that happened to them all week.

GABRIELLE: Listeners shared their week all week.

RASCOE: They shared the best thing that happened to them all week.

CHRIS LATHAM: Hey, Sam. This is Chris Latham (ph) in San Diego, Calif. The best thing that happened to me this week was I got a new kidney. I got a transplant - no more dialysis.

JACKIE: Hi, my name is Jackie (ph). And the best thing that happened to me this week is that I completed my chemo and radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. I had eight rounds of chemo and six weeks of radiation. And I'm really happy to be finished with that and looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life.

DIANA: Hi, Sam. This is Diana (ph). And I live in Sequim, Wash. And it's my birthday today. And that's not even the best part of this week. The best part is that I got my second COVID vaccination. And now I've been invited to dinner for a home-cooked meal at my dear friend's house. I'm so looking forward to this.

ALEXANDRA: Hey, Sam. I told myself that I would record this voice memo when something good happened to me. And the good thing has happened to me. My sister was able to FaceTime me from the hospital. And she has been in the hospital about three weeks now. This is not COVID-related - just a really bad situation. She's pretty young, so we were all really scared. And she could mouth things at me. And she knew me. And I just felt really blessed. And I just was so happy that I just wanted to tell you the best part of my week. And thank you for everything.

RASCOE: Thank you so much for sharing your stories and the best thing that happened to you this week. Thanks again to all the listeners you just heard there - Alexandra (ph), Diana, Jackie and Chris.

Listeners, you can send your best thing to us at any time during the week. Just record yourself and send a voice memo to That's All right. This week, the show was produced by Jinae West, Andrea Gutierrez and Sylvie Douglis. Our intern is Liam McBain. Our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman. Our director of programming is Steve Nelson. Our big boss, the senior vice president of programming at NPR, is Anya Grundmann. All right. Until next time, I'm Ayesha Rascoe. Sam will be back next week. Talk soon.


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