Time! To! Rise! Up!
How do we rise up?
Two ways: Make friends with people who are different from us, and spend time with groups who share our goals.
Yes! You got it.
What if I live in a homogeneous area? Let's say everyone is white. Should I make friends with the one black family in town?
Yes, make friends, but don't burden them with making it a racial friendship. Just be friends. It's not their job to educate you or assuage your guilt.
OK, what else can I do in a homogeneous or isolated area?
Read, read, read! This and this are among the most widely-circulated syllabi.
Buuuuuut, I don't like to read. It's hard, it hurts my eyes, and it reminds me too much of school.
Friend, do not worry! There's a lot you can do without reading. Most of it is fun.
Non-Readers for Justice #1: PodcastsWith the right hardware like a smartphone, you can educate and entertain yourself while you are doing dishes, driving, or going for a walk. If you don't have a smartphone, these are available on computers too, which is less portable but still very useful. Here are some I like that would expose a straight white Christian person to other points of view.
(When Aaron Sorkin included the F-word in a letter he wrote this month, he said, "There's a time for this kind of language and it's now." I tend to agree, so I struggled with whether to note the use of language in these podcasts. People can use whatever words they want, and as a person with some privilege I don't want to tell other people to settle down. So, I include the Grandmother Factor, not to shake my finger at language, but because some people who read my blog will want to know, and I'd rather them not be surprised.)
Still Processing, from the New York Times
- Hosts: Wesley Morris, a black man, and Jenna Wortham, a black woman
- Tone: Fun, conversational, feels like sitting at a coffee shop or in a living room with two friends.
- Topics: Various. See description below.
- Grandmother Factor: I'd have no problem listening to this with her.
- From their description: "They're talking every week...about culture in the broadest sense. That means television, film, books, music--but also the culture of work, dating, the internet and how those all fit together."
- Hosts: W. Kamau Bell, a black man, and Hari Kondabolu, an American man of Indian descent
- Tone: Hilarious, banter-y, angry. Both hosts are stand-up comics (and public intellectuals!), which infuses the show. You can tell they care about each other and the guests and listeners.
- Topics: Mostly politics. Many episodes deal directly with the 2016 election, but not all, and they're still good listening.
- Grandmother Factor: I would not choose to listen to this with her nearby.
- From their description: "With the political circus of the 2016 presidential election heating up, you can laugh or you can cry. Choose to laugh. Comedians and longtime friends W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu have a shared curiosity about politics and our constantly changing electoral landscape. Whether it's an interest in exposing the unjust or the absurd, you can count on Hari and Kamau to ask the important 'why?'"
- Hosts: Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed, an American Muslim woman of South Asian descent, and Zahra Noorbakhsh, an Iranian-American Muslim woman
- Tone: Funny, cool, fed up, conversational
- Topics: Various. Anything that affects the hosts' and Muslims' lives that week.
- Grandmother Factor: Most episodes would be fine.
- From their description: "about the good and the bad of the American Muslim female experience. But you know, satirically & disturbingly hilarious."
2 Dope Queens
This is a live stand-up comedy show with three performers per episode and two hosts who do stuff in between. It is not political or addressing sexism or racism per se, but I include it here because many of the comedians are queer and/or not white.
- Hosts: Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson, black women
- Tone: Hilarious, inviting, fun
- Topics: Mostly comedy, though a variety of things come up
- Grandmother Factor: NOPE! Language and also sex.
- From their description: "stories about sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York, and Billy Joel. Plus a whole bunch of other s**t."
Grew out of a blog that's part of NPR. Addresses all things racial.
- Hosts: Gene Demby, a black man, and Shereen Marisol Meraji, "a native Californian with family roots in Puerto Rico and Iran" (from her bio)
- Tone: Journalistic, conversational, professional, warm
- Topics: Politics, some pop culture--they had a whole episode on Tupac
- Grandmother Factor: Not a problem at all.
- From their description: "We're all journalists of color, and this isn't just the work we do. It's the lives we lead. Sometimes, we'll make you laugh. Other times, you'll get uncomfortable. But we'll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic. Come mix it up with us."
Stuff Mom Never Told You
Each episode is like having two fun librarians do all the research for you and tell you the good parts in an interesting way.
- Hosts: Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin, white women
- Tone: Conversational, fun, informative, researched
- Topics: The whole gamut
- Grandmother Factor: almost always fine.
- From their description: "gets down to the business of being women from every imaginable angle."
This is actually two podcasts, both from Bitch Media. "Popaganda is a 45-minute in-depth exploration of themes ranging from stand-up comedy to sex work," usually interviews and people reading their essays and articles from Bitch magazine. "Backtalk is our quick, fun conversation about the week in pop culture." You get both by searching for Popaganda on iTunes.
- Hosts: Sarah Mirk, a white woman, and Amy Lam, an Asian-American woman
- Tone for Popaganda: Thoughtful, produced, informative. Tone for Backtalk: Relaxed, excited, informative
- Topics: Most everything related to women, especially women and media. I have learned of a lot of good shows and books through this podcast.
- Grandmother Factor: OK maybe half the time.
The Broad Experience
- Host: Ashley Milne-Tyte, a white woman
- Tone: Professional, produced
- Topics: Anything related to work and women.
- Grandmother Factor: 100% fine.
- From their description: "tackles some of the big issues facing women in the workplace today--things we think about, but don't always talk about. We explore everything from race to communication styles, being a professional woman without kids to sexual harrassment. That's just a sampling of the topics we've covered through storytelling and intelligent discussions with smart, influential guests."
The Bible guides many people to an understanding of empathy, justice, and love that helps undergird all of these difficult conversations and important learning. There are several versions of the Bible available on podcasts, often one chapter per episode. Simply search for "Bible" and scroll through the choices. You may need to try a few to get a translation and reader voice you like.
- Host: God
- Tone: Loving, challenging
- Topics: Race, gender, politics, nationality, sexuality, religion, peace
- Grandmother Factor: There are uncomfortable moments. But it's the Bible, so.
Stay tuned for more options for non-readers who want to educate themselves and grow. These will include TV shows, music, food, and self-care.