As this bizarre school year slowly continues, we are all digging deep for content that is educational and engaging for our kids—but which we don’t have to curate ourselves, because there is no time for that right now. Bonus points are given for educational content that is not consumed by staring at a screen and extra bonus points if it addresses an important social issue—such as, race and racism.
The NPR podcast Code Switch features conversations about race from journalists of colour on everything from politics and pop culture to history and sports. It’s typically geared toward an audience of adults, but many Code Switch episodes can be used by families to have deeper conversations about race. So, NPR created a 19-episode playlist on Spotify to get parents started:
We’ve combed through the episodes to make sure they’re free of profanity, graphic references and other adult content. (Although talking about race and racism is always complicated, so parents, use your judgment here.) Our episodes never have all the answers, and we’re hoping these will open up space for some good old-fashioned dinner-table discussions.
On NPR’s website, Code Switch’s assistant editor, Natalie Escobar, also outlines the team’s 10 favourite episodes from the playlist, giving parents a brief summary of each topic and why it’s good for kids. An episode about the xenophobia and racial harassment that Asians and Asian-Americans experienced as the coronavirus spread from China, for example, can help explain racism that kids may have already seen or experienced in their own lives. Or “A Tale of Two School Districts” can help students understand why the quality of their school building and textbooks are different from a friend’s.
Other topics include:
How black athletes have used their platform to protest injustice throughout American history
How the volatility of immigration policy creates stress for undocumented immigrants and their families, particularly in “mixed-status” families
How Dora the Explorer helped usher in a wave of multicultural children’s programming
Voluntary school integration programs, which still exist today