Codeswitching: Race and Identity in the Suburban Schoolhouse

At daybreak, thousands of African American students shuttle from the inner-city to white suburban schools in the greatest voluntary experiment in desegregation and academic opportunity. Participants speak of feeling like imposters, stuck in a state of not fully belonging in either place, exacerbated by the social media circles that enshroud them. Teen girls, estranged from suburban classmates and ostracized in their own neighborhoods, grapple with insidious racism and isolation. They default to "code switching" to fit- in. The boys also feel pressured to "act white" or "act more black", and struggle to span home life and school culture, but benefit from the trope of the scholastic athlete-hero. For the earlier generation of busing participants, the program was largely considered a fluid path forward, any downsides just a tax paid for a better education. Animation and an original score add to the appeal of this character-based narrative.

Episode Duration: 55 minutes and 45 seconds

Episode Number:


NHPBS Over-the-Air Broadcast

WENH-TV Ch. 11 Durham

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