We're thinking about race and friendship on the show this week. Yesterday, . And today, we're excited to share a partner episode from NPR's Code Switch podcast —it includes expert perspectives on why our friend groups tend to be made up of people who look like us, and advice for their listeners about the uncomfortable racial dynamics they’ve encountered in their own friendships.
If you missed our episode featuring your stories about the moments race became a flashpoint in a friendship—and what happened next—head over to . While you're there, take our survey to think more closely about how race plays into your own friendships, and learn how your responses compare to national averages.
Between Friends: Your Stories About Race and Friendship
A text message gone wrong. A bachelorette party exclusion. A racist comment during the 2016 debates.
When we asked you all about moments when race became a flashpoint in your friendships, we heard about awkward, funny, and deeply painful moments. "The fact that she could drop me so easily really stung," one listener, Ashley, told us about a childhood friendship that suddenly ended because her friend's parents didn't want her "hanging out with black kids." Another listener, who we're calling Kathleen, wrote in about the regret she felt about not confronting an ex-friend who posted a racist comment on Facebook. "I don't know if I could have changed her mind," she told us. "But at least [I could have] let her know that what I thought was so wrong about what she was saying, instead of just quietly clicking 'unfriend.'"
Today, we're sharing your stories about how race, identity, and racism have impacted your friendships. And , featuring expert advice on navigating those flashpoint moments around race — and explaining why it's so hard to make, and maintain, cross-racial friendships.
Afterward, see how other people answered the survey questions, and get our list of recommended reading on race and friendship.
Click to read a transcript of the episode.
Inside Planned Parenthood
The first thing that greets you when you step off the elevator at the Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn is a metal detector. "I didn’t necessarily expect it," a first-time patient told me. "But as soon as I saw it I was like, 'Oh yeah, that’s right, that makes sense.'"
Many Planned Parenthood clinics across the country rely on security measures like these. The services provided by these clinics — specifically, abortions — have long been at the center of a raging political debate in the U.S. But it's not very often that we hear from the people who rely on these clinics for health care.
Over a number of days in late 2015 and early 2016, we collected interviews at the Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Brooklyn. Patients volunteered to talk with us while they were waiting for their appointments. They were there for STI tests, pap smears, birth control prescriptions — no one seeking an abortion talked with me on the days we were there. But for many of the people I met, abortion was an important part of their history with Planned Parenthood.
"Here it was just very reassuring," a patient named Sarah, who was at the clinic for her annual exam, told me about her abortion three years ago at Planned Parenthood. "No one wants to do it, but life, you know, happens."
We also talked with some of the abortion protesters who stand outside the clinic every Saturday, rain or shine. And I interviewed several staff members and volunteers at Planned Parenthood — like Rhea, who greets patients as they walk in the door downstairs. "If you’re wondering if this is the right choice and you’re there and you’ve made the appointment and you’ve been thinking and you’re like, crossing the line...somebody being a jerk to you could totally just melt you down," she told me. "Or, somebody with a smile and somebody who holds your hand, could just make you feel calm and make you feel good. At a time where maybe you don’t feel good."
We originally released this episode in 2016. Since then, there’s been a big change in how Planned Parenthood pays for that care. The Trump administration banned clinics from receiving Title X federal funding--money that covers things like STI treatment, cancer screenings and contraception for low-income patients, if those clinics also provide abortion counseling (with a few narrow exceptions). In response, Planned Parenthood stopped taking those funds altogether.
Saeed Jones's New Year's Determinations
When I talked to writer Saeed Jones, he told me about his late mother, Carol Sweet-Jones, and how she always made New Year's "determinations" —not "resolutions." He recently wrote about the differences between the two in an essay called We Are A Determined Household , and about what he learned from years of watching his mom "summon her determination like clockwork." This week, Saeed reads that essay for us.
And we want to hear your New Years determinations, too! Record a voice memo telling us what you want from 2020, and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll share them back with the entire Death, Sex & Money community soon, so we can all get a little inspiration from each other.
Want more Saeed? Subscribe to his newsletter, , where this essay was originally published. And be sure to check out his memoir, "How We Fight For Our Lives," which was one of our favorite books of 2019.
Death, Sex & Money's 2019 Year End Spectacular
We put 46 episodes of Death, Sex & Money in your podcast feeds in 2019. We talked together about everything from STIs and drinking to stillbirth and big workplace transitions. Today, the team gathers together to share our favorite on- and off-the-air moments from the year that was, from the tape that stuck with us...to getting stuck in tapings.
We're able to do the work we do because of your support! If you want to help our show grow in 2020, please consider . The first 250 people to give at any amount during the month of December will receive a limited-edition Maternity Leave Lineup poster, signed by Anna. Thank you!