Do you listen to podcasts? Or, do you create your own? For the uninitiated – and I know there are at least a couple of you – a “podcast” is simply an audio recording that’s available through the Internet. And, there are some excellent ones out there that deal with issues of race and racism. You might find them useful for a long commute, or for company when you’re exercising (typically when I listen to them), or for those of you who are teaching, these may come in handy as outside-the-classroom activities. Here are a few recent favorites of mine that I think you might enjoy.
- For those who are radio fans, I don’t need to say more than the name “Ira Glass” and you know immediately that I’m talking about the long-running, award-winning show “This American Life.” This show is produced in Chicago and the episode they produced about the former mayor, Harold Washington, titled simply “Harold” (from 11/09/2007) is excellent. It’s described as a “parable about politics and race” and it is as incisive an analysis as I’ve heard on the subject. Typically, the show contains three acts around a single theme, and the last act “Babies Buying Babies,” of the recent (01/18/2008) episode “Matchmakers,” is a telling account of the way racism guides even the decisions in toy purchases.
- NPR is hit-and-miss for me on stories about race, but when they hit they are often quite good. Back in December (12/04/2007) the show “Fresh Air” featured historian David Blight discussing his recent discovery of two new slave narratives. What makes this even more compelling is that he connects with people who are descendants of the people who wrote the narratives, and talks with them about their ancestors’ writing. And, from just yesterday (2/6/2007), there’s a short piece from “All Things Considered” about the complex racial past all Americans share.