“Race is a lie that became real” is a line from a new show that doesn’t hold back in critiquing the misinformation that we’ve been given regarding race.
Stay with me here. You really haven’t heard it all when it comes to talking about race.
I imagine that you’ve been signposted to a few podcasts on this subject this year, and the usuals do the rounds – for good reason, we need them. But perhaps you’re tired of ‘learning.’ I get it. I think that we have reached a stalemate when it comes to race-based podcasts, which happens when any subject is thrust into the forefront of our everyday lives in a short space of time.
Following the BLM protests this summer we were overwhelmed with reading lists, more lists on how to be antiracist and podcast recommendations (my own show included). And I did wonder what everyone did with all this information. It was a lot to process. Maybe too much. And now it’s all died down, maybe it’s time to reflect on what content is not only available, but also dynamic and accessible. Podcasting needs to improve the dialogue on race and make the content more diverse, not only in terms of who is hosting, but also in terms of the content they cover. We don’t have too many podcasts on race – but they seem to be at each end of a spectrum with nothing bridging the gap.
We have shows that share personal accounts of racism – the anecdotal stories. We have the heavyweight conversations telling historical accounts of how we’ve got to where we are and what we need to do about it – the serious and instructive shows.
What’s missing is the engaging content that accompanies you through the events that have created the complex structures and misconceptions surrounding race, alongside real stories of people who were affected by these events… without leaving you feeling exhausted by the end of it. If you’ve yet to find a show like this, I’ve found one for you.
A LATTO thought is hosted by filmmaker, digital storyteller and producer, CA Davis. CA works at Northwestern University in a small department that supports humanities research and pedagogy. His role is to take professors’ research and locate the stories within their work to create films that both academic and non-academic audiences can enjoy.
CA takes you on a huge ride through some of the most important events in the history of racial stereotyping, including – importantly – contemporary mixed-race misconceptions. In the episode ‘takin’ it back’ you will hear why we have achieved a “false sense of progress” regarding mixed-race people (especially those in positions of power). Our bodies are used as momentary vapours to veil over the truth about how much we have progressed, in part due to the ‘cultural firsts’ such as electing a Black president and a Black female Vice President, or having a Black Royal Family member. Yet, these individuals are mixed-raced. And it’s mixed-race bodies that are wrongly used as markers of a racially progressive society.
In the latest episode ‘kinfolk, not skinfolk’, CA draws you right into the falsehoods of DNA testing until you are rewinding to hear every word. Just as you’ve grasped a new and complex idea, he pulls you right out of feeling comfortable with a thud of a great bassline, witty quip and lighter chat. The balance of sound, narration and the super-high, cinematic production quality, makes it an engaging listen.
A LATTO Thought is stimulating and educational. You’ll finish the show feeling contemplative but energised. That’s a rare thing in this genre of podcasts.
Lou Mensah founded Shade Podcast to create a safe space for rigorous & inclusive conversations on Representation within the Arts.
Before launching Shade Lou worked on various commissions as a photographer, including stills for Directors Anthony Minghella & Sundance winner Marc Silver plus Mike Figgis; gaining awards for her work from Nick Knight and the late Alexander McQueen.
Launched just over a year ago, Shade Podcast has been received well by both the audience and press. Miranda Sawyer (The Guardian) said of Shade “Every episode gave me something new to think about. Inspiring!” – whilst Esquire has listed Shade as one of the ‘Best 2020 Podcasts you can listen too.”
Read more reviews by the Pod Bible team.