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NBC News Podcast Zooms In on Southlake Diversity Plan Fight

Residents of the affluent suburb have been having it out over a school district diversity plan that opponents have characterized as “Marxist.”
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Next week, NBC News is kicking off a six-episode podcast series zooming in on Southlake. It will be called, fittingly, Southlake.

Residents of the affluent suburb have been having it out over a school district diversity plan that was developed after a video went viral in 2018 showing a group of white students shouting the N-word.

There’s been plenty of local coverage of the brouhaha, and national investigative reporter Mike Hixenbaugh has been covering it for NBC News. He described what happened after Southlake-Carroll ISD revealed its diversity plan last year:

Within days, outraged parents — most of them White — formed a political action committee and began packing school board meetings to voice their strong opposition. Some denounced the diversity plan as “Marxist” and “leftist indoctrination” designed to “fix a problem that doesn’t exist.” The opponents said they, too, wanted all students to feel safe at Carroll, but they argued that the district’s plan would instead create “diversity police” and amounted to “reverse racism” against white children.

The dispute grew so heated that parents on both sides pulled children out of the school system, while others made plans to move out of town. One mother sued the district, successfully putting the diversity plan on hold.

Solid enough material for a podcast. If you’re so inclined, the first two episodes drop Monday, with an episode a week after that.

Here’s the press release from NBC News:

NBC News’ award-winning podcast unit is launching a new original series, Southlake. The 6-episode podcast offers a rare look inside a racial and cultural fight, intensified by national politics, that tore a wealthy Texas suburb apart. Listen to the audio trailer and subscribe now.

From the team that created the award-winning podcast Do No Harm, Southlake tells the story of a town that seemed almost too good to be true, until a video emerged of white high school students chanting the N-word.  The video unleashed a flood of complaints from Black students and their parents about racist harassment and bullying. But it was the school district’s plan to confront these issues that really put residents on a collision course. Southlake takes listeners from a homecoming dance in 2018 to a mud-slinging election this past spring, chronicling the backlash to a diversity plan that consumed the town.

Hosted by NBC News national investigative reporter Mike Hixenbaugh and NBC News correspondent Antonia Hylton, the podcast features exclusive interviews with students, parents and school officials as their seemingly idyllic city becomes the center of a national reckoning over race and education. Composer and producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, of A Tribe Called Quest, Jazz Is Dead, and the podcast Microphone Check, wrote and performed the series’ original music.

The first two episodes will be available beginning Monday, August 30, with a new episode released every Monday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can read and learn more by visiting

Southlake is launching in conjunction with NBCU News Group’s weeklong series, Kids Under Pressure, examining the many challenges students and families are facing on the eve of return to school.

NBC News and MSNBC have released several chart-topping and award-winning original podcasts into their portfolio of hits including Do No Harm, Rachel Maddow’s Bag Man, The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg, Dateline’s The Thing About Pam and Motive for Murder, Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes, The Chuck Toddcast, Into America and more. All original podcasts and showcasts are available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn and more. NBCU News Group is a top 10 podcast publisher in the Podtrac monthly rankings.

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