We are living in trying times and many days it seems like the world has gone mad and it’s about to drive us crazy as well. Some days I feel like everything that is happening leads to some apocalyptic event, and other days like we took a page from something that had already happened in history and are just reliving it with different actors. That’s why I love to listen to independent podcasts that restore my faith in humanity, provide perspective and allow me to think about positive ways I can contribute.
When it comes to independent podcasts, and particularly independent media lead by people of color, a narrative has been created to establish a bias rhetoric in which a journalist of color is considered automatically bias and not able to be objective in the exercise of their profession. Interestingly enough, if you watch the so-called ‘mainstream media’ you can quickly identify two things: the stories of people of color are almost never present, unless when it comes to negative characterizations of any group, and in doing that establishing a bias portrait of minority communities.
Because of that, it is very important for Americans of all backgrounds to follow independent podcasts, magazines, newspapers and any other type of independent media in which they can be exposed to different narratives. In curating this small list, my main goal is for people to listen to the independent podcasts that focus on the culture and stories of minority groups and are not focused on politics, but in understanding the news from a different perspective, and also providing us with human stories about the joys and struggles of minority groups in this country.
Personally, these independent podcasts allow me to hear from journalists and storytellers with different backgrounds than mine, and the stories of people that look different than me, but whose experiences within the American fabric often have coincidence with my own. I strongly believe that these shows enrich my life experience and provide much greater understanding of others, generating more empathy and compassion and providing different perspectives on a wide variety of topics.
I invite you to listen to these independent podcasts with an open mind, no matter your background, even if you don’t consider yourself part of a diverse group. Let me rephrase that, especially if you think you don’t belong to a diverse group. Diversity is all of us and the more you learn about the lives of those who look different from you, the more you’ll feel as a part of an American community that can come together.
My Top 5 Favorite Independent Podcasts
Latino USA. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this is the only national Latino news and cultural weekly radio program from NPR. This is my personal favorite because of the different pieces they present, because they do a lot of investigative journalism, something I truly love as a journalist myself. Also, they are always bringing different voices to their shows, which makes for awesome stories that represent the multicultural fabric of this country. Yes, you will learn a lot about Latinos specifically if you aren’t Latino, but there is a lot more to this show than the Latino experience. If you are Latino, you are going to relate to many stories and others will make you cry. No matter your background, though, I’m sure this will touch you and broaden your horizons.
Code Switch. Lead by a team of journalists of color, this podcast address the awkward and often had conversations around race and racism in the United States. For those who don’t know how to face these types of conversations, they offer an honest and empathetic view of race, ethnicity and culture as they present themselves within communities of color. They offer not only their professional expertise but also their inside perspectives as members of such communities that will make you laugh, reflect and get out of the comfort zone.
This American Life. This amazing podcast it’s a window to the American experience; the stories you hear here are fresh, different and interest. Sometimes they take you on a journey with an event from the past, and sometimes it’s analyzing the inner workings of family drama and fall out, while some shows have lots of comedy or personal essays. The pick a theme and approach it from different perspectives through diverse stories. This show it’s extremely popular and if you haven’t listen to it, you are definitely missing out.
Otherhood. This one I had heard a lot about, but just started tuning in recently. Like the name accurately suggest, this podcast addresses the experiences of immigrants or the children of immigrants while navigating American culture and always being viewed as the other. I love this concept because of my commitment to validate the first-generation American experience, and this shows does exactly that. The show addresses the emotions they go through and how now that those generations are getting older, they are having a huge impact on this country. I love their promo line, too: “What would the news sound like if media were diverse? Listen to what you’re missing — with Otherhood”.
In The Thick. I left this one for last because it talks about politics. Although most of the others focus on human stories and that’s at the core of understanding one another, as a person of color it is often difficult to hear the traditional media discuss issues that concern to communities of color or simply dismissing our communities altogether. If you need sanity like I do, listening to this weekly show will give you the perspective that it’s usually missing in other outlets. Listen their conversations about race, identity and politics from the perspective of people of color.
If you are not familiar with one, two or any of these five independent podcasts and want to hear to different perspectives, voices and stories, I recommend you give them a try as soon as you can. Hey, the weekend is here, what a better opportunity to escape a bit of the hurricane hysteria news outlets are causing.
Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites?