Podcasts That Have Helped Me Learn About Race, Police, and Community Discussion in America

A curated podcast list by
Creation Date June 3rd, 2020
Updated Date Updated June 10th, 2020
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About This List

Do this country a favor and educate yourself about inequalities in our society for whites and non-whites. The best way I know how to speak out is to recommend podcasts that have expanded my world view as a white person. They’re not all about whites and blacks in America, but all have absolutely impacted how I feel about racial inequality, the justice system, and communicating about our belief differences. They have helped me have more conversations about race and police, which can help move the needle. I’ll stop short of begging you to listen to these but I truly think these can be life changing.
  1. About Whiteness

  2. Scene on Radio is a Peabody-nominated podcast that dives deeply into issues central to American society, exploring who we were and who we are. Recent many-part series include Seeing White, looking at the roots and meaning of white supremacy, and MEN, exploring the past and present of sexism and patriarchy. Produced and hosted by John Biewen, Scene on Radio comes from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (CDS) and is distributed by PRX.
  1. Investigative Journalism about Police, Crime, and Policy

  2. Serial investigative journalism from APM Reports, with host Madeleine Baran and a team of reporters. In Season 1, we looked at the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota and the accountability of sheriffs in solving crime. In Season 2, we examined the case of Curtis Flowers, who has been tried six times for the same crime. With a special report on how Covid-19 is affecting the Mississippi Delta.
  3. 74 Seconds tells the story of a July 2016 traffic stop that ended with the world watching a man die, live on their phones. This is the story of that man, Philando Castile, and the officer who is about to go on trial for his death, Jeronimo Yanez. Through comprehensive reporting, MPR News examines this intersection of race, policing, justice and safety in America. A lot can happen in 74 seconds.
  4. From prisons to protests, immigration to the environment, Peabody Award-winning Reveal goes deep into the pressing issues of our times. The Atlantic says “the experience of each episode is akin to a spoonful of sugar, even when it’s telling a story about Richard Spencer’s cotton farms or a man’s final days as a heroin addict.” Reveal is a project of The Center for Investigative Reporting and is co-produced with PRX. The show is hosted by Al Letson and partners with reporters and newsrooms around the world, including The Washington Post, ProPublica, APM, The Marshall Project and The Investigative Fund. Reveal is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and has won many broadcast journalism awards, including a duPont and three national Emmys.
  5. In 1965, Rev. James Reeb was murdered in Selma, Alabama. Three men were tried and acquitted, but no one was ever held to account. Fifty years later, two journalists from Alabama return to the city where it happened, expose the lies that kept the murder from being solved and uncover a story about guilt and memory that says as much about America today as it does about the past.
  6. All kids make dumb mistakes. But depending on your zip code, race or just bad luck, those mistakes can have a lasting impact. Mass incarceration starts young. In Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice, hear from kids about the moment they collided with law and order, and how it changed them forever. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, Death, Sex & Money, Snap Judgment, Nancy and many others. © WNYC Studios
  7. This award-winning and Peabody-nominated podcast documents how locals are addressing the role of jails in their backyards. Reporters travel around the country and hear from people directly impacted by their encounter with jails and to chronicle the progress ground-up efforts have made in diversion, bail reform, recidivism, adoption of technology and other crucial aspects of the move toward decarceration at local levels.
  8. Ear Hustle brings you the daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration. The podcast is a partnership between Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist, and Earlonne Woods, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and was co-founded with former San Quentin resident Antwan Williams. The Ear Hustle team works in the San Francisco Bay Area, both in San Quentin State Prison’s media lab and from offices on the outside, to produce stories that are sometimes difficult, often funny and always honest. Episodes offer a nuanced view of people involved with the American prison system and those reintegrating into society after serving time.
  9. At Liberty is a weekly podcast from the ACLU that explores the biggest civil rights and civil liberties issues of the day. Join ACLU attorney Emerson Sykes as he and guests try to make some sense of what’s going on in our country. A production of ACLU, Inc.
  1. Perspectives from People of Color

  2. You Had Me at Black is where Black Millennials tell the true-life stories you won't see on TV.
  3. How do you go forward when the past is breathing down your neck? Carvell Wallace talks to Americans grappling with the state of the union while trying to reconcile his own family's fractured history. If America is an estranged family, this show is our awkward holiday dinner.
  4. Nicole Byer is single and has been for decades. She’s smart, funny, has a fat ass and loves giving blow jobs. So the question is why is she perpetually single? This podcast is a quest to find that answer. Every week, Nicole invites a comedian, friend, or ex-fling to interview their dating life and figure out her own.
  5. What happens when an athlete’s body is in peak condition but the mind is throwing flags? On Tremendous Upside, Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Chamique Holdsclaw interviews some of the most fascinating stars in sports who, like Holdsclaw herself, have faced real mental health issues. Featuring conversations with athletes like Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest), Theo Fleury, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Briana Scurry and more, Tremendous Upside reveals a side of top athletes never shown in their highlight clips. Produced by American Public Media.
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    Join BUG host Michel as she takes on her life's new direction by producing engaging interviews with strangers and friends on Course Correction, and Course Notes. Coming Soon: 54 & The Cork See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  7. Short stories and commentary by writer/storyteller, Shannon Cason.
  8. A new audio essay podcast by Stacia Brown
  9. Each week, Ahmed Ali Akbar covers everything that American Muslims are talking about right now — misrepresentation in the media, equality in the mosque, Asahd memes, and much more.
  1. Actual History, Not History-Book History

  2. In August of 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is time to tell the story.“1619” is a New York Times audio series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones. You can find more information about it at nytimes.com/1619podcast.
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    Objects hold history. They're evocative of stories stamped in time. As part of The Washington Post's coverage of the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture, people submitted dozens of objects that make up their own lived experiences of black history, creating a "people's museum" of personal objects, family photos and more. The Historically Black podcast brings those objects and their stories to life through interviews, archival sound and music. The Washington Post and APM Reports are proud to collaborate in presenting these rich personal histories, along with hosts Keegan-Michael Key, Roxane Gay, Issa Rae and Another Round hosts Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton.
  4. In “The Uncertain Hour” podcast, host Krissy Clark dives into one controversial topic each season to bust longstanding myths about our economy and shed light on opaque realities of the world we live in. Given that nothing is more uncertain than our present economic outlook due to COVID-19, the team is launching a new series of pop-up episodes to help listeners understand this moment. “A History of Now” explores the key economic themes that are impacting our lives in new ways due to COVID-19. From the history of quarantine to how we handle unemployment and the holes in our social safety net, the team unpacks complex topics to explain what’s happening in this economy and how income and class will likely determine your fate. Clark and producer Caitlin Esch of the Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Desk make a dynamic, experienced reporting team. Clark is an award-winning senior correspondent who brings curiosity, playfulness and empathy to the task of making sense of fundamental shifts in the U.S. economy, including the widening gap between rich and poor, and what this means for economic mobility and the American dream. Esch has deep roots in public media; her stories have aired on NPR news, NPR’s “Weekend All Things Considered,” KQED, KCRW and KPCC. She has a master’s degree in journalism from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in English literature from George Washington University. Find “The Uncertain Hour” wherever you get your podcasts.
  1. Current Events

  2. What's CODE SWITCH? It's the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we're all part of the story.
  3. Step inside the confession booth of Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, two culture writers for The New York Times. They devour TV, movies, art, music and the internet to find the things that move them — to tears, awe and anger. Still Processing is where they try to understand the pleasures and pathologies of America in 2020.
  4. Organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson explores news, culture, social justice, and politics with analysis from Sam Sinyangwe, Kaya Henderson, and De’Ara Balenger. Then he sits down for deep conversations with experts, influencers, and diverse local and national leaders. New episodes every Tuesday.
  5. We discuss race, identity, social justice and culture in a region grappling with demographic changes.
  6. It’s an election year, and whether people want to admit it or not, race is at the center of every issue -- healthcare, jobs, climate change, the media. Join host Rebecca Carroll for 15 essential conversations about race in a pivotal moment for America. Come Through is produced by WNYC Studios, home of other great podcasts, including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin.
  1. Interviews

  2. Phoebe Robinson is tired of being the token black woman in an ocean of white dude comedians. So in this podcast, Phoebe’s calling the shots. She’ll host intimate, funny and super honest conversations with musicians, actors, writers and comedians who are killing it in their fields — AND who aren’t white dudes! Stay tuned for the one token white guy (it’s only fair), cameos by Phoebe’s ball-busting executive producer Ilana Glazer, and a whole lot of hijinks. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy, On the Media, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin and many more. © WNYC Studios
  3. In this interview series, host Alicia Menendez talks to remarkable Latinas about making it, faking it, and everything in between. In often-hilarious and always-revealing episodes, Alicia and her guests take on the challenges of existing, and then thriving, as women of color.
  1. Living Together in Community

  2. Our Americana is a podcast that explores unique small towns across America and examines the stories that impact, cultivate, and challenge community.
  3. Gentrification is changing cities across America, forcing people from neighborhoods they have long called home. Call them the displaced. Now those priced out of the Bay Area are looking for a better life in an unlikely place. American Suburb follows this migration to one California town along the Delta, 45 miles from San Francisco. But is this once sleepy suburb ready for them? KQED’s Devin Katayama and Sandhya Dirks explore that question, taking us into the ordinary spaces of suburban life to find extraordinary stories about race, poverty and belonging.
  4. A podcast about how and why gentrification happens. Season 3, produced in partnership with WLRN, Miami’s public radio station, introduces us to “climate gentrification,” reporting about the ways climate change, and our adaption to it, may seriously intensify the affordable housing crisis in many cities. In many parts of the US, black communities were pushed to low-lying flood prone areas. As Nadege Green reports, in Miami, the opposite is true. Black communities were built on high elevation away from the coast. Now because of sea level rise that high land is in demand. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, 2 Dope Queens and many others. © WNYC Studios
  5. The Stakes is a show about social change, hosted by Kai Wright. We live in extreme times—a climate on the verge of crisis, an economy built on inequality and a political system that feels like it’s falling apart. So, how’d we get to this point? And what happens next? From democracy to healthcare, from pop culture to the environment, our reporters are working to understand why we live the way we do—and why it matters. Because if we can better understand the society we‘ve got, maybe we can figure out how to create one that works for more people. The Stakes is produced by WNYC Studios, home of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin.

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