By Natalie Michie
Normally, people use questions to understand one another. However, these questions can often be offensive and triggering.
RTA graduates have put together a podcast that addresses these ‘inappropriate questions’, as a means of both educating the public and serving as an outlet for members of the community who are tired of people asking them offensive questions.
“We don’t want to discourage curiosity. We don’t want to call people out,” said Elena Hudgins Lyle, a co-host and producer of the podcast, titled “Inappropriate Questions.” The show covers topics related to race, mental health and the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s more of we want to target people who are really interested in social issues and people who might ask some of these questions, and educate [them] in a gentle, fun kind of way.”
“We want this to be a podcast our dads would listen to”
Lyle, an RTA grad who is non-binary, co-hosts with Harvinder Wadhwa, a middle-aged man who happens to be the dad of one of Lyle’s friends.
“We looked at our team and realized we’re quite diverse but we’re also all mostly young women,” they said, “and we want this to be a podcast our dads would listen to.”
Lyle said Wadhwa makes the podcast more well-rounded, as he is coming into the discussion fairly unfamiliar with a lot of the communities discussed in the episodes.
“Harv, my co-host, he told our guest, ‘You’re the first transgender person I’ve ever met. Can you tell me what is a transgender?’ And we all in the studio kind of had a laugh, but it was just such a genuine question in this safe space that our guest really welcomed,” said Lyle.
“We’re targeting people who are kind of like [Wadhwa] because he self-identifies as an offensive person, but he says he wants to learn.”
Lyle added that Wadhwa has shared his lived experiences with the podcast as well. As a Sikh man, Wadhwa brings the perspective of someone who has experienced racial and religious prejudice, which Lyle has not.
“We did an episode about Muslim women and whether they do or don’t wear a headscarf. Harv is Sikh and wears a turban, so he was able to connect with that,” said Lyle. “Because of his background, age and gender, he can see some things that we can’t.”
“We don’t want to shut down conversations. We want to start them”
In each episode, one ‘inapropriate question’ is explored with the help of guests who have lived experiences on the receiving end.
Lyle explains that some of the questions aren’t objectively inappropriate, so they discuss and break it down in the episode.
“We have guests who have experience with these questions be the main voices in this podcast,” said Lyle. “[They] decide for them whether this is inappropriate or not. As hosts and producers, we go into it with an open mind.”
Lyle says the podcast aims to be a resource for people who have these questions. For each episode, they also post a webcomic on their Instagram that ties back to the episode and summarizes its main points or the experiences discussed.
“Every artist who we commission, just like the guest, comes from the community that we’re talking about. It excites me that we’re not just an audio platform. We’re audio and visual.” With a five star rating on the Apple Podcasts app, Inappropriate Questions is hoping to continue the conversation with a second season in the future. “We don’t want to shut down conversations. We want to start them,” said Lyle.