LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

The People's Guide To Navigating Racial Awkwardness

We asked how you deal with casual racism. You started from the top.

This week, the Code Switch team tackled this question: What do you do when a friend, loved one or stranger makes a comment that falls somewhere on the racism spectrum? On the blog and on the podcast, we and friends of Code Switch shared stories about those uncomfortable moments and how we reacted.

The stories were as varied as they were troubling. They happened in the workplace, at home, in an Uber, online. They involved young white women rapping, "I ain't messing with no broke niggas"; a party guest declaring that someone looked like every Asian actor on Fresh Off the Boat; and a father telling his Mexican-American daughter that "Mexicans are lazy."

Together, we tried to figure out the protocol for responding. Our guidelines could have been pulled straight from an EMT handbook. (Proceed with caution. Assess the threat of immediate harm to yourself and others before engaging. Bring reinforcements and have an escape route in mind.)

So on Twitter and Facebook, we asked you to weigh in.

Turns out, the "Ask good questions, do no harm" strategy was pretty common across the board:

The shade was strong:

Some folks went full IDGAF:

Others went for healing:

While the options are vast, there's no foolproof strategy. After all, racially insensitive comments are like snowflakes in a storm: unique, ice cold and unrelenting.

One woman on Facebook wrote about the frustration that comes with being the only "woke brown woman" in the room:

"When I speak up I am filled with regret that I didn't express myself better, or annoyed that even though I was completely right I didn't change anyone. When I don't speak up I feel guilty for days and sometimes years. Dammed if I do, dammed if I don't."

So, even though we don't have the solution, we'll rest easy knowing that there will be plenty of opportunities ahead to try out different techniques. One user wrote the benediction for us:

If you missed this week's episode of the podcast, check it out here!

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)