Eliana Goldin, a recent Atlanta Jewish Academy graduate, has started her own podcast about issues of race, titled “Talking About Race at AJA.”
She explained, “Back in March (and still today), there was a national conversation happening about race, and I knew I wanted to reach out to Coach Z, one of the only Black people I know, and just talk with him, ask him how he’s feeling, also get his take on everything that’s happening. I got to thinking about how the conversation we’d be having was one that the whole community should hear and the whole community should be having.”
Goldin said that although she’s not yet able to start conversations on a national scale, sparking dialogue in her local community is very important to her. “In high school, I was always looking to get people thinking about things and having opinions (and occasionally getting them riled up)” she said. Her curiosity about other people’s experiences and ideas influences the way she interacts with the world, and her love of podcasts — she listens to two every weekday — inspired her to start a podcast herself.
The podcasting experience has been more satisfying than challenging for Goldin, since discussing issues with people is right up her alley. “I really just enjoy talking to people and picking at their brains,” she said. She does, however, want to refine the podcast by focusing her attention more on pre-interview preparation. During her interview with teacher David Karpel, where she knew she’d disagree with some of the things that were said, “I cleared any preconceived notions and made sure that I went in with an open mind before the interview.” Goldin said that her job as an interviewer is to listen to the person she’s interviewing and to hear them – “fundamentally two different actions; the former physical, the second mental” – and she can’t accomplish that if she enters an interview with the assumption she’ll disagree. “I’m naturally a combative person, so I try to place that part of me to the side and use a different muscle instead,” she said.
While Goldin said she’s very excited by the positive reactions she’s received from the podcasts so far, she wishes she’d heard more pushback, encouraging those who disagree to voice those opinions to inspire more dialogue.
Goldin said that she had an extensive conversation with one AJA parent regarding her concerns with the Holocaust & Civil Rights Movement class. “I actually think that Mr. Karpel, who is a very thoughtful, caring person, would have loved to hear parents’ and community members’ concerns so that he too could engage in conversation about it,” Goldin said. “I want these podcasts to be the beginning of conversations, not the end.”
Goldin plans to continue the podcast in the future and is trying to coordinate interviews with her busy schedule. She said she’s open to suggestions for upcoming topics. For her next episode, she reached out to a local community member who’s a Native American Jew. “I think she has a really awesome perspective that I would love to hear and share,” Goldin said.
Listen to “Talking about Race at AJA” on Spotify, www.open.spotify.com/show/57uo3Kj4zPSp4FpRTWkPBS.