Doctoral Student in Sociology

Racing Thoughts Ep 1: Immigrants All?

Racing Thoughts

Hi, It's Laura! I'm testing out an idea for a new podcast series, called Racing Thoughts.

My sociological research deals with the links between race and cultural production, so I’m thinking about this stuff all the time.. And yeah, ideally I’ll articulate some of these thoughts in academic papers, in my teaching and stuff, eventually. But research takes a really long time, as I’m learning! And I’m guessing no matter how riveting academics make their work, it’s more or less confined to the academy if you’re gonna plop it in an academic journal, both because of this inaccessible language and journal paywalls. So consider this podcast my first shot at "doing public sociology!"


The pilot episode talks race, nationalism, and that persistent “all americans are immigrants” narrative.

  • Ben Carson’s “slaves are immigrants” gaffe earlier this year, and Obama’s during his presidency
  • A throwback to 1930s wartime radio, when the government crafted the story of transatlantic slavery as a more palatable immigrant tale

  • Professor of English and Sound Studies Jennifer Lynn Stoever stops by to talk about the sonic color line.

Click Here for Episode 1's Transcript.


  • The Racing Thoughts theme song is What you Want by The Roots. 

  • Musical interlude and outro provided by Podington Bear, via



Other publicly available episodes of Americans All, Immigrants All from WNYC.  Obama’s full speech on fixing America’s broken immigration system. German Lopez and Ben Carson’s “slaves were immigrants” comments.


For more on Du Bois and the sonic color line, read Jennifer’s work, especially her article in Modernist Cultures and her book, The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening. It’s what got me started on this whole podcast episode.

If you wanna go all-in with nerding out on wartime radio propaganda, Atlas Obscura talks about another government-sponsored series that promoted patriotism across immigrant groups, I’m an American.

Pick up a copy of Professor Barbara Savage’s book Broadcasting Freedom: Radio, War, and the Politics of Race, 1938-1948. There’s a whole chapter on this radio series in here!

Laura Garbes