Parents' Guide to

What I Hear When You Say

By Ashley Moulton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Docuseries tackles issues of race, class, gender, identity.

TV PBS Educational 2017
What I Hear When You Say Poster Image

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This series is attempting to tackle very complex topics in the span of 7-minute documentaries. What I Hear When You Say does an admirable job of explaining things in plain language and presenting each topic in a frank and honest way. However, most episodes are trying to fit in so many diverse perspectives that the overall takeaway can become muddled and each issue is not covered in depth. Teens who are engaged in current events (or who experience these issues personally) may not learn anything new. But white/straight/cisgender/upper class (etc.) teenagers who have not investigated their own privilege or don't have much experience with people different from themselves will come to understand new perspectives.

While the series does interview some comedians and lively personalities, the talking-head interviews make it seem more like a teaching tool than something teenagers would watch for entertainment. This series could be used very effectively by high school teachers or college professors as a jumping off point for a class discussion.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: March 16, 2017
  • Network: PBS
  • Genre: Educational
  • Topics: Activism
  • TV rating: NR
  • Last updated: August 3, 2020

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