Girl Tribe Recommends: 7 Podcasts About Social Justice
Jay Ellis, the host of The Untold Story: Policing discusses the complexities of the policing system in America, one that seems unequal and never consistent with accountability and justice. Ellis discusses various topics such as union contracts, qualified immunity, no-knock warrants, amongst countless others. His dialogue is compelling and understandable, making every episode memorable. The topics that Ellis discusses are heavy and melancholy, and he is able to bring optimism and resilience to what he talks about. The history of police brutality against minorities is a critical component of The Untold Story: Policing, bringing context and detail to a nuanced and heartbreaking issue.
Black History for White People is described as a “multiethnic collective dedicated to loving Black and brown people by educating, resourcing, and challenging white people to participate in racial justice.” This podcast goes in-depth about perspectives and stories following different events impacting the Black community. The Black Lives Matter movement, redlining, the Tulsa Massacre, amongst others. Black History for White People also discusses famous Black figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The most important part of this podcast are the calls to action, making sure that white people will be able to have genuine allyship and know how to support the diverse groups within the Black community. Though heavy topics are discussed, this podcast makes sure that everyone is educated.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, a journalist at The New York Times, is the creator of the 1619 Project, which the Times published in 2019. The 1619 Project detailed the legacy of slavery in modern-day America, 400 years after the first slave ship arrived in America. Though there are only five episodes in this short-lived podcast, the complexity and clarity offered by Hannah-Jones won her a Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Hannah-Jones talks about how American culture treats Black history and culture. 1619 is a must listen.
The Humanity Archive, hosted by Jermain Fowler, has many purposes, one being Fowler’s desire to “connect history to the present.” He divulges into topics regarding influential historical figures, events, and ideas. Some examples include the Great Migration, the history of policing in the United States, and countless more. Not only does Fowler talk about Black history in the US, but he plans to discuss Black history in other parts of the world in other time frames. Throughout all of this, he connects history to modern events, finding parallels between tragic instances. Fowler is a passionate and intelligent host, bringing a new energy to the podcast.
Code Switch is one of the most popular race related podcasts. Hosted by Shereen Meraji and Gene Demby, the NPR podcast discusses various topics. After they started in 2016, Meraji and Demby have talked about Indigenous tributes, the Hawaiian language, gun ownership, mass incarceration, and countless other topics regarding people of color across the United States. The name of the podcast comes from the word meaning “people of color subtly, reflexively change the way we express ourselves all the time.” Code Switch is not only about Black Americans, but other issues impacting people of color in America, making it a valuable way to gain education about the experiences of people of color.
School Colors, hosted by Mark Graffith and Max Freedman, is a documentary detailing the fight for equal education opportunities (educational equity) in Central Brooklyn. The most compelling part of school colors is the generations of people that are followed within the documentary. Parents, educators, and others trying to improve education for youth are followed. From gentrification to charter schools, there are many factors hindering the ability for Black students to get high quality education. Education in the US is divided amongst racial, class, and other lines, creating inequity. With its thorough reporting and storytelling, School Colors discusses the root of many problems.
Ear Hustle is “the first podcast to be entirely created and produced inside a prison” as a collaboration between Earlonne Woods, Nigel Poor, and Antwan Williams. They discuss life behind bars, talking about the difficulty of life after being released from prison. One episode, for instance, discussed the lack of protection against COVID-19 for inmates, and issue that has not been discussed prominently in the media. Though the topics are heavy, it is still light from humor and optimism, making it an easy and enjoyable listen. When some think about prisons, many assume different things about those who are incarcerated. Ear Hustle questions and challenges our stereotypes but also humanizes others.