Don’t Call me Resilient podcast centres marginalized voices

By Felicia Chiappetta

One of the ways in which we can talk about journalism innovation is through technological advances, and the other is finding new ways to tell stories.

Vinita Srivastava is doing both by changing the way news has been traditionally told through the podcast Don’t Call Me Resilient (DCMR) by The Conversation Canada.

“There’s all kinds of voices that have been marginalized in North American media,” says Srivastava, who is the host and producer of Don’t Call Me Resilient and senior editor, culture and society at The Conversation Canada.

“What we’re talking about at Don’t Call Me Resilient is thinking about how we can tell those stories in a way that centres those voices.”

She brings up the example of how certain words in articles of mainstream news sites have to be italicized to let readers know that they’re “foreign”.

“That’s partly what the podcast is. We’re saying, we don’t have to do that.”

Fourth season out now

Launched in February 2021, the podcast is now in its fourth season. It has tackled systemic racism issues through the education system, surveillance policies, clothing bans and even the death of the Queen, all through the lens of critical race theory (CRT).

One of the misconceptions about the podcast is that it’s only for marginalized audiences. But Srivastava knows otherwise. It’s really about telling stories where marginalized voices aren’t othered.

“When I say ‘other’, it’s that idea of being treated as this kind of exotic outsider. Or if you’re not an exotic outsider, you’re a tragic outsider, or you’re an island outsider. But either way, you’re an outsider, you’re an other.”

She explains that that is why DCMR puts care and attention into storytelling by simultaneously re-centres the voices shared in media and drawing in audiences who may feel discomfort because they don’t know how to take part in the present conversation.

“It’s this discomfort that I think everybody’s been afraid of, for so long, that we can’t have anything that’s unfamiliar. Everything must be explained,” says Srivastava.

Value of humour

As season 4 rolls out, Srivastava hopes to bring in more intimate stories of scholars who not only study the most pressing issues of today, but who also experience them first-hand.

This includes its most recent episode “Why isn’t anyone talking about who gets long COVID?” which included an interview with Margot Gage Witvliet, an epidemiologist and patient of long COVID.

But Srivastava is also looking forward to creating more light-hearted podcasts such as one being done on humour.

“​​As journalists who create critical race content, which many of us are also racialized and journalists of colour, we’re grappling a lot with each other, in our society, and in the chasing and telling of these very tragic stories,” she explains.

“And so to do an episode, you know, like humour that’s going to involve comedians and that’s a little bit more irreverent, that’s a nice break for everybody.”

Don’t Call Me Resilient to available on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts

The podcast is partly funded by the SSHRC Partnership Grant project, the Global Journalism Innovation Lab.

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