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The Very Best Of Code Switch, In 8 Episodes

We've made dozens of Code Switch episodes since the podcast launched in 2016. You've joined us when we explored the race and culture stories in breaking news, or when we revisited chapters in America's complicated racial history. Maybe we answered one of your questions in an 'Ask Code Switch' episode. We've also had amazing musicians, poets and authors on the show sharing their voices and their wisdom.

You might notice that we've got a brand new look. If you're worried that anything else is changing, never fear—you'll still be hearing race and culture stories from the same journalists of color. Now, four years after our first launch, we're going to be telling even bigger and bolder stories that explore how race intersects with just about everything.

If you're new here or want to relisten to some old episodes, we have a playlist with some of our favorites. We think these show the breadth of the topics and stories you'll hear on our show. Here's a quick guide about some of the episodes.

(Sam Octigan for NPR)

The Black Table In The Big Tent

Black Republicans are pretty much unicorns—only 2 percent of the GOP is black, compared with 19 percent of the Democratic Party. The election of President Donald Trump threw a wrench in this already-small voting bloc, and the crossroads many black Republicans find themselves at now can teach us a lot about how both major parties treat black voters. In this 2019 episode, we talked to both unicorns and experts about "the black table in the corner of the super-white big tent."

(Simoul Alva for NPR)

Ask Code Switch: What About Your Friends?

Interracial friendships are hard to come by; people tend to form friendships with others from their same racial group. The reasons for those patterns include the usual suspect: systemic racism, like school segregation and the overrepresentation of students of color in lower academic tracks. But even for interracial friendships that beat the odds, talking about race is complicated. With a little help from our friends at WNYC's Death, Sex & Money podcast, we dove deep into these hard conversations this past January.


Our Homeland Is Each Other

Most adoptive parents in the U.S. are white—and their adopted children often aren't. For transracial adoptees, the messiness of racial identity is further muddled by feelings of loss and a pressure to be grateful. In 2018, we put a call out to transracial adoptees, and they told us how they navigate these complexities in their own words. As one listener put it, "You know, not everything is gumdrops and rainbows."

Miriam Gonzalez, a plaintiff in a case that sued the Trump Administration for ending DACA. (Shereen Marisol Meraji/NPR)

Status Update

Nearly 9 million people in the U.S. are part of a "mixed status family," in which each person has a different immigration and citizenship status than their siblings and parents. Thousands of those people are a part of DACA, a program that protects some people in the U.S. from deportation, and one that the Trump administration has used as a political football. In 2019, we talked with three siblings of different statuses on what a Supreme Court case on DACA meant for their futures. As the court decides DACA's fate, with a ruling expected this summer, this episode explains the huge issues at stake.

(K. L. Ricks for NPR)

A Strange And Bitter Crop

Marianna, Fla. is the "City of Southern Charm," but it's also a city haunted by what has been cited as one of the most violent and well-attended lynchings in U.S history. Eighty-five years ago, thousands of white people witnessed and participated in the brutal murder of Claude Neal. One poet from Marianna, L. Lamar Wilson, learned about Neal when he was in high school. He's been determined to keep his story alive since then.

A cockfight at one of the oldest cockfighting arenas in Puerto Rico, the Gallera Borinquén in the municipality of Arecibo. (Erika P. Rodríguez for NPR)

Death Of A Blood Sport

In 2019, Congress passed a ban that made cockfighting illegal in U.S territories. In Puerto Rico, many do not see the sport as cruel but instead, as an essential cultural industry. Many saw the ban as another forceful imposition of U.S power attempting to erase Puerto Rican identity. This episode from last year features some of the cockfighters prepared to fight back. "Because how could cockfighters ask their roosters to fight to the death and not be willing to do the same?," asks one.

(Art Streiber/AUGUST)

Carmen Maria Machado Takes Us 'In The Dream House'

Carmen Maria Machado wants to be clear: Domestic abuse in queer relationships is "common as dirt", even if stories about it are nearly non-existent. With her new and innovative memoir, In The Dream House, she brings to light her own experience with a toxic relationship. We talked to her about her book and writing difficult stories about the LGBTQ community this past January.

Kealiʻi Clarke graduated from Ke Kula 'O Nawahiokalani'opu'u, a Hawaiian language-medium school, in 2002. Now he works there. (Shereen Marisol Meraji/NPR)

E Ola Ka 'Olelo Hawai'i

Every two weeks, a language dies with its last speaker. Larry Kimura and a group of second-language learners weren't going to let Hawaiian become one of those languages. Originally a language banned in government and schools until 1986, the group opened a pre-school to keep the language alive. Only 50 native speakers under the age of 18 remained when it opened. Now, they estimate there's over 5,000. Learn how the Hawaiian language was revived in this 2019 episode.

We put together a playlist of these episodes, plus some more of our other favorites, for your easy listening. And, as always, you can find us on wherever you get your podcasts, including NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and RSS.

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