Podcasts! Ideal companions for driving, dishwashing, housecleaning, even gardening — or maybe insomnia companions. And, as many of us try to become more educated about the history and experiences of marginalized and oppressed people in the United States, a great way to listen in on the perspectives and conversations happening within these communities.
Because, while it is great to dig in to the wealth of nonfiction materials found in our print and eResources collections and on many of our booklists, such necessary self-study can also feel isolating. But with podcasts you get the benefit of hearing from individuals processing the world in real time, having rants and discussions with people they trust, sharing their personal obsessions and humor, and telling important stories that may have gone mostly unheard in classrooms and history textbooks.
Here I have compiled a list of podcasts that cover a range of identities engaging with the world, focusing on Black, LGBTQ+ and disabled perspectives. They are all free to listen to for at least the last six months of their archives.
Documentary Style Podcasts
Blair Imani, a historian, and Kate Robards, a comedian, intend each episode of their podcast to talk about “something outrageous that America has done, backed by research.” A very new podcast, so far there’s just one episode, about Redlining and the GI Bill.
Alison Behringer started the “Bodies” podcast because something was happening to her body that she couldn’t explain, and that doctors dismissed, and once she spent lots of time and energy figuring it out, she needed to talk about it. Each episode covers a personal story of a body mystery, and how that connects with social, historical and cultural factors. I particularly recommend that first episode “Sex Hurts” about the unexpected side effects of birth control pills, and a recent episode, “The Cost of Silky Soft” about the Johnson & Johnson baby powder lawsuit.
Although it ended in 2018 and is now being reimagined, it’s worth exploring the backlog of this program, described as “an audio art project about intimacy and humanity. […] comprised of a community of writers, radio makers and artists who make personal documentary work about bodies, love, power dynamics, and all of the invisible things in the air between humans.”
A production of the Democracy Now! Network, this podcast “advances the voices of people who live with disabilities. It is produced by a collective of media makers and activists who themselves live with disability.” Episodes range from interviews with activists to coverage of timely topics, to looking at the history and impact of laws like the ADA.
The tagline for this podcast is “exploring how we live in the fullness of our queer Black lives.” It features both oral histories and conversations with a range of artists, businesspeople, scientists, doctors and more.
Comedians Jacquis Neal and Edgar Momplaisir talk sports, music, food and more with guests.
“It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders”
Sam Sanders, an NPR journalist, covers news and pop culture with a focus on interviewing people and gaining understanding through conversation. In June, he interviewed the author James McBride.
A Canadian production by Anne Borden King, the co-founder of Ontario’s autistic self-advocacy organization, Autistics for Autistics and Executive Director of the Campaign Against Phony Autism Cures. The first season of this podcast is topical and the second season features oral histories of autism self-advocates.
Kyle and Emily, two friends who are disabled, like to talk and argue about related topics, so they made a podcast. You can find a list of their favorite episodes here.
The title of this podcast refers to Glora Anzaldúa’s “Borderlands” and code-switching as Latinx and queer people, and that’s a good idea of the energy Angélica Becerra and Jackie Cáraves bring to their show, along with an enthusiasm for astrology.
“Best Friends with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata”
Two very funny Black comedians are best friends and you get to hear them hang out!
Journalists Tre’vell Anderson and Jarrett Hill discuss problematic favs in every aspect of culture.
Oklahoman artist, botanist and chemist Tyler Thrasher sits in his greenhouse and rants about things that bother him, in a very funny way, while also dispensing advice and lots of knowledge about succulents and rare plants.
Ericka Hart and their partner Ebony Donnley bring their expertise and reading lists to joyfully talk about dismantling white supremacy.
James, a self-professed Black nerd, has a guest join him on every episode as they “take an introspective look at the world through an intersectional lens.”
Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings had actually stopped producing their podcast this January in order to make a TV show, but the recent Black Lives Matter protests have prompted them to continue to produce audio versions of that show for their listeners, and there’s a big archive to go through as well.
“The Read” has now expanded to television, but you can still hear Kid Fury and Crissle’s takes on hip-hop, pop culture and everything in between on their extremely popular podcast.
A production from the New York Times, “Still Processing” is hosted by a critic and a writer, Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, respectively. They come together to discuss pieces of culture, dissecting their personal responses and takes as well as going through the cultural conversations around these people, concepts or things, such as Jordan Peele’s “Us” and the removal of Aunt Jemima from syrup bottles.
Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome answer listener submitted questions on the titular topic with a weekly guest.
Local podcast “Drinking Partners” covers Pittsburgh news and interviews and also local brews.
Inspired to make your own podcasts? Use our library access to Lynda.com to learn how to make, produce and promote a podcast or check out a book on the subject using the library catalog.
If you are new to our eResources, check out these tutorial videos on how to get started. If you have any additional questions, you can contact a librarian through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also call us at 412-622-3114 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.