Since I’ve started listening to podcasts in 2015, the landscape has grown exponentially. There are more than 700,000 podcasts, according to Podcast Insights, an online resource for podcasters. They cover everything from politics and history to spirituality and religion, the arts, pop culture, and social justice issues—climate, the environment, and race.
As the number of podcast listeners are growing more diverse, so are the shows. Conversations about race, racism and the impact of White supremacy have broken through mainstream dialogue. And the number of podcasts providing a deeper and more thoughtful discussion on the issues is booming.
There are a number to choose from, and if you’re a newbie to podcasts or looking for a new show to add to your list, you might be overwhelmed.
So, I have some suggestions for you.
The following nine shows explore and discuss racial and cultural experiences that reflect that of the creators’ and hosts’ particular racial or cultural group. For example, Long Distance Radio: Stories from the Filipino Diaspora, created by Filipino American Paola Mardo, explores what it means to be Filipino outside of the Philippines.
There are no whitewashed or romanticized narratives here.
All My Relations
All My Relations is an interview-based podcast about the Indigenous experience that is hosted by two Native women, Matika Wilbur and Adrienne Keene, who describe the show as a place to “discuss our relationships as Native peoples—relationships to land, to ancestors, and to each other.” On each episode, Wilbur and Keene talk with their guest(s) about issues that affect Indigenous communities. Launched in February, the show has covered indigenous feminism, food sovereignty, and DNA tests, among other topics. As of this writing, there are eight episodes, so the hosts are just getting started, and I’m excited to see where they go.
The Nod uplifts Black experiences in the U.S. and abroad. I like this one because the hosts Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings truly do tell the type of stories that are not told elsewhere. For example, in episodes over the last couple years, the hosts have told stories about everything from Josephine Baker’s “rainbow tribe” to an oral history of the song “Knuck If You Buck.” Where else have you heard or read those stories? Probably nowhere.
Similar to The Nod, The Stoop highlights Blackness by digging deeper into stories that we don’t hear enough about. Hosts Leila Day and Hana Baba discuss what it means to be Black and how we talk about our Black experiences through conversations between the two, as well as experts and Black people across the diaspora. A recent episode examined the word “hotep,”—its meaning and how its use has changed over the years.
In this show, co-hosts Ikhlas Saleem and Makkah Ali talk about race, gender, and Muslim life in the United States. They cover topics ranging from politics to pop culture, inviting guests to discuss issues that affect their lives as Muslims, along with the multiple other identities that intersect with their religion. On pop culture, the hosts recently had filmmaker Nijla Mu’min on as a guest. They discussed Mu’min’s debut feature film Jinn, which is a coming-of-age story about a Black Muslim girl. And more recently, they interviewed Malika Hook Muhammad, a D.C.-based doula who talked about how the medical system fails women of color and what she and others are doing to make better outcomes.
Maeve in America: Immigration IRL
Maeve in America explores stories of U.S. immigration from those directly affected. Host Maeve Higgins, who is an Irish immigrant and comedian, talks to people about their immigration experiences. One episode discusses the experiences of children of immigrants, hearing from fellow comedian Aparna Nancherla, whose parents immigrated from India. Nancherla shares what it’s like to navigate American culture while simultaneously honoring the culture her parents grew up in. In the same episode, another guest and comedian Charla Lauriston talks to her mother, who immigrated from Haiti, about why she loves being the child of immigrants.
Latinos Who Lunch
Latinos Who Lunch hosts FavyFav and Babelito discuss issues related to the intersectionality between queer, Latinx, and Spanglish voices. They approach topics that include identity, food, family, and history in a responsible and humorous way. In a recent episode, the hosts talk with Edgar Villanueva (who we’ve also interviewed) about decolonizing wealth, the topic of his book of the same name. In another episode, they discuss fat representation in the media with hosts of the podcast Cabronas y Chingonas.
Long Distance Radio: Stories from the Filipino Diaspora
Long Distance Radio explores what it means to be Filipino outside of the Philippines— if you lived there and left, or if you’ve never been there. Its creator Paola Mardo and co-producer Patrick Epino aim for each episode to “[move] beyond typical immigrant narratives to share thoughtful tales of love, loss, history, and humor.” In its first season, episodes have covered what it means to be unapologetically Filipino American and the history and future of Little Manila in Stockton, California.
Self Evident: Asian America’s Stories
Look out for Self Evident, a show that is in the works. Its creators already started reporting and recently wrapped a crowdfunding campaign to support its production. Self-Evident will to tell stories about “what it means to be American, by telling stories by and about Asian Americans.” On the podcast’s Instagram page, the team has been posting episode sneak peeks. They plan to explore the complexity of “Asian American” identity, internalized racism, and the American dream.
See Something, Say Something
Before Buzzfeed got rid of its entire audio team, See Something, Say Something was one of my favorite shows. Its host, Ahmed Ali Akbar, recently launched a page on the crowdfunding site Patreon to raise money to continue the show. In the meantime, you should listen to past episodes like this one about mental health in the Muslim American community and this recent one-off episode, where he speaks with his dad after the terrorist attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. They discuss how Muslims in Michigan were processing grief, security, and White supremacy in the aftermath.
Deonna Anderson is a freelance digital and radio reporter and a former Surdna reporting fellow for YES!