Welcome, welcome, welcome to armchair expert experts on expert. I'm Dan Shepherd. I'm joined by Monica Monsoon. Hello. You know, we had a lineup this week. We're going to have L.A. more set on Monday. And we didn't do that. You wrote a beautiful thing explaining that. And then we had another expert, of course, scheduled for today. But we changed that out with a more relevant expert to what's happening right now all around the country in response to George Floyd and the police brutality.
Today, we have Heather McGhee. Heather is someone who's worked with economic policy on the government level. She was the president of Demos. She's a UC Berkeley law school graduate and has a B.A. from Yale. And she has a wonderful perspective. And I really, really, really urge everyone to watch her TED talk, which is entitled Racism Has a Cost for Everyone and Armouries. Please watch. Racism has a cost for everyone. She's three thousand views shy of a million.
And I think that US armchairs can get her to two million. That's my goal for her and for us. So please check out. Racism has a cost for everyone on YouTube. This will be the first of many podcasts that we're going to dedicate to this issue as we try to learn more and figure out what we can do to help.
Yeah, we don't want it to be a big fervor that lasts for a couple of weeks and then fades away as they usually do. We want this to be a continued conversation. So we are going to be part of that solution. Yes, we're going to be exploring, inviting and trying to prolong this conversation for the foreseeable future, whether it's extra episodes or more experts. I'm leaning towards extra. I always like more content. And we'll continue to talk about this issue.
So please enjoy Heather McGhee. She has a lot of profound things to say, and we really appreciate her making the time when a lot of people want to talk to her. So thank you so much. And please enjoy Heather McGhee.
He's in our chat. Hello, hi, guys, how you doing? My five year old sets the microwave on fire just as I was leaving the house, so, yeah, I'm really sorry. So I was scrambling with rags, with my wife trying to leave the house.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Everything's on fire. The whole damn country.
Yeah, I guess. Yeah. Maybe she was protesting. I don't know. How are you so busy right now. It's a little crazy.
I am also on top of everything in my book that I'm writing that is actually already available for preorder. Dirty little secret. It's not quite done. It's called the some of us what racism cost Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. The manuscript is due on Friday. So I'm actually like, oh, wow, you know, all nighter college type of mode right now. But also this other thing is happening in the country this week.
And so I'm just choosing very wisely where I get my voice. So I'm so glad to be with you guys. And I was really glad you called.
Now, I was just talking to someone else who is writing the book. And of course, their issue was it didn't address covid. So they have this book that would now seem preposterous to have not included covered by the time it gets printed. And likewise, I imagine you find yourself in the same situation where like you couldn't possibly not address what's happening hour to hour and then where does it end now?
It's really true. It's weird. You know, when I first started writing a book, Ezra Klein, do you know him? We interviewed him. Yeah.
Yeah, I came up together, were like wonks at the same age. And he was like, don't write a book, even though, of course, he's written some really articles and podcast. That's how people consume things. And, you know, that's really the way of the future. And he's totally right. And, you know, if it was an article or podcast, it would be fine. I could pivot like you did and be like, let's talk about this this week.
But yeah, right. Like as in this Friday, I have to say, the story ends now. Like, we don't know how the pandemic ends. We don't know how the protests end.
But the story sounds in your background. You're from south side of Chicago. And then you ended up going to boarding school in Massachusetts.
Yes, I was a really precocious kid and my parents were divorced and my mom's work took her traveling out of our house multiple nights a week. And so the year my brother went to college at NYU, my mom was sort of like, what do I do? You know, there's only so many babysitters, so much, you know, and one of a white woman who was on a nonprofit board with her was like, you know, we have this thing.
We call it boarding school.
Right. Not at all in our world.
But yes, I was 11 years old when I went away to boarding school, all white town. And there were only a handful of black kids in the school. And I was yeah, I was in seventh grade and I was eleven.
A good friend of mine, Joy Bryant, she had a similar experience where she was in the Bronx for much of the year and then out in Connecticut or something at a boarding school and then kind of, yeah, two vastly different worlds that for her sometimes felt like she ended up belonging to neither.
Yeah. Did you find yourself at all, like, constantly clicking back and forth or code switching or did it create any confusion?
Yeah. I mean, childhood is confusing here. It's my identity is confusing period. There are all these stories that you're told. I was born on the south side of Chicago. I lived on the south side for most of my childhood. But actually for two or three years before we went to boarding school, we actually moved to an integrated suburb in the north of the city in Evanston. So that was the first time I got from like a 98 percent black neighborhood to majority white, but really integrated school.
First time I went to white kids houses and had snacks afterwards where there was a nanny and they had this like snack tray.
And I was like, oh, the snacks in the kitchen. Yeah, yeah.
And and so it started there. And then I went to this like super white boarding school. I think what it taught me was there was nothing really. Different about the grit or the smarts or the discipline of any of those families, right? Neither my family, which was sort of fragile middle class, the families in my neighborhood, the families my my mother worked with because she worked in social policy and worked with moms who are on welfare and living in public housing and, you know, nor the white kids with the big houses and the fancy snacks.
It was just sort of like these are all kind of the same merit in terms of who they were as individuals. You know, I'm not saying they were the same people. You know, there were definitely cultural differences, but but there was no hierarchy. And I really just didn't believe the okey doke like I just did. I didn't like I didn't buy that someone was better because they had more money. And I think that's a real gift that my childhood gave me.
I too went to friend's houses and I was like, you have weight frozen pizzas. Explain this to me. It's so interesting when you leave your bubble and you're like, oh, I didn't realize until this moment that we have a lot less than a lot of people. That's an interesting realization. They gave me an inferiority complex. It's very easy for me to feel less than I will blame the other people. I'll be like, oh, I hate rich, snobby people, blah, blah, blah.
But in truth, I'm very prone to feel less then it's lessened, obviously. But yeah, it's just unfortunately is it then is a part of my core.
It's really real. You know, I've been thinking a lot as I've been writing this book and in the work that I do, trying to build political power to change our economy and democracy, to make it more fair. I think a lot about the stories we're told and the stories we believe. And, you know, fundamentally, the American story, which is a white dominant story, but it's told to all of us, is that there is a hierarchy of human value.
There are some groups of people that are just better than others. And it means that individuals spend their whole lives trying to figure out where they are on that scale. And we have this very zero sum approach, right, where if someone else is on the up and up, you know, it might be coming at our expense. Yeah, it's just a lie.
You know, it's really a lie. There's enough to go around. In fact, the more we act like there's not, you know, the more we all suffer. And I think that's really the the point of the book that I'm working on, which is that there are costs of racism to everyone, that our whole system is poor, economically, spiritually, environmentally, because of this belief in a hierarchy of human value. But I think it gets deep into our psyche like I'm an economic policy person, I'm not a psychologist.
This is not like what I do. But I've gone to this field of research because I'm like, you know what? Ultimately we make these big economic decisions as a society, but we support them and we vote for people because of what we believe at our core. And so we've got to get in under the skin. Yeah.
Let me just start by saying I've never been nervous to do an interview thus far.
Not that he shouldn't be. Yeah, it was warranted many times. I just arrogantly edition a very good point for obvious reasons.
I certainly don't want to say something incorrectly. I don't want to offend anyone. I don't want to appear to be defending the status quo. And within all that, my nature is to challenge some of the current assumptions of what the problem is versus what the causes causality. I'm interested in the very big, big picture in general and I'm always very, very interested in how far upstream can we get to to solve this problem. Right. And so your focus being on the economy, I appreciate a lot because there's so many variables in this situation and I'd like to explore many of them.
And I'm also fearful to do that. I'm not asking you to feel bad for the white guy. I'm just saying the stakes are high and I'm going to try my darndest.
We address the nervousness real quick. Sure. Because I do think a big feeling right now is like I don't want to make any mistakes. So even that this is just like the the most trivial example of this. But so everyone today is doing Black Out Tuesday and everyone was posting a black picture on their Instagram and a bunch of people started it last night. So I posted my last night and everyone was posting a hashtag Black Lives Matter. And then I wake up this morning and everyone's like, oh, my God, remove the hashtag, delete your post.
It's messing with the algorithm, take it out, repost blackout Tuesday. And I was like, oh, my God. And then it it feels like it feels like there is so much.
You have blood on your hands now. Monica Yes. Oh my God. And first of all, to be honest, I'm also like, is this even something we should be doing? I thought the whole point was for us to be talking and speaking up and standing up and now we're like, quote, silent. I don't even understand really the point of this, but. There's really no leader, so there's no one posting anything saying, OK, this is what you do tomorrow, this is what you don't do tomorrow, and people are just making big decisions.
There's Mrs. Obama starting to get involved, which, of course, for a lot of us is like, oh, yes, thank you.
Please help the whole, like, underlying issues that we don't understand so that there's going to be so many mistakes. And I get scared psychologically for people who are who are like, OK, I made a mistake, I can fix it, I can weather that. But some people, like I'm from Georgia who I'm like, if they did that, they would just delete the post and be like, I can't I'm I'm I won't do it, you know, like, it scares me that it's going to sway people away.
So I think there is so much in that. So first of all, like the highest upstream, maybe Daxter what you're saying, I think in general on issues of how do we get right and solve racial justice and reorder our society in a way that is commensurate with our values. What we are suffering from is in many ways another part of that white American story, which is very individualistic. And everyone sort of like go to the marketplace and pick what you want and do your own thing.
Whereas this country needs like racism wasn't invented in an individual shopping cart, like the way racism was invented as a total economic, political and ideological system by the most powerful. I mean, it was infused in all of our laws and all of our social interactions through laws, write laws. That said, I am literally not allowed to sell a black person my house. It is in the contract, right. I am not allowed to sit in that part of the bus.
I am not allowed to go to school with that person.
So I can't land this person money as a banker. Yeah, exactly.
So this wasn't like individual ideas. And yet we've left the task of solving, I think now to a very sort of like weird free market, individual consumerist way, whereas I believe strongly that what we need is something like what Representative Barbara Lee and others just introduced yesterday in Congress, which is a resolution calling for a truth, racial healing and Transformation Commission. Countries that have had many fewer years of cultural and racial strife have gone through these types of things where it is an official process that says these are the facts, we are going to put aside the lies that we're going to stop.
You know, this whole weird thing that happens in the south where we say it was a glorious lost cause. Right. We're going to sort of rewrite come up with a history that is true to our communities. People can do it on a community level.
And we're going to go through all of our laws and practices and say, this is how we write this train. I think we need that kind of leadership, not from individual person. As much as I love and miss our once and future president, Barack Obama, you know, I think we need that kind of thing. And then on the question, I think, Monica, that you're raising around this sort of like tiptoeing and the fear, I think I'm a really empathetic person and I really hear you and I sometimes fuck up on issues of race or issues of some other thing.
So I'm very empathetic to the to the fear. But at the same time, that fear is something that with practice you move through, you know. I mean, Robin de Angelo's book, White Fragility is the number one book on Amazon today for a reason. Right.
Because white people like actually the white story has told me, particularly in our generation for so long, to not think about race. And that's a good thing to do, is to not talk about race and not think about race and say that you don't see race.
Yeah, colorblind. You're colorblind, technically impossible ideologic. You know that there's so much stress built up because there's just not the exercise of moving through racial conflict and hiccups, which is like my whole life as a black person. So it's like I have more of a muscle to be able to move through it even when I step in it. And that's the beauty is coming out on the other side of it. There is a grace that comes from sort of messing up and then recovering and learning.
If you don't let that moment stop you from doing what's right, you still have to keep doing what's right. You know, I mean, that's these are the stakes. Yeah.
So I watched your TED talk, but you point out, which I think would be helpful, is just it'd easy to think that white folks aren't suffering from racism or that the bill doesn't come due for them. You have a very interesting take on the 08 meltdown. And I personally had a huge fascination in the 08 meltdown just based on the fact that the loans really totaled some tens of billions and then the economic instruments or products had built atop top that one point nine trillion dollars in credit default swaps.
All these things that are just horseshit, but all on the back of this little kernel of. Misleading lending practices and so you just, yeah, kind of walk us through how we paid a humongous price for racism.
So I you know, I got into the field of economic policy because I really. Just care that more people have a better shot at a decent life, and that quickly took me to the rules of our economy, which at the time when I started working at Demos, the think tank that I worked at for a long time and then ran for four years, the issue of the day was debt. And it was like, oh, something really huge and different is happening right now in how we issue mortgage loans and credit card debt.
It's tripled over the past 10 years and we've got all these new student loans like what is happening. And so we researched and got into it. And what became clear was that deregulation has created this wild west of lending companies, banks all connected and funded by big Wall Street trading firms like Lehman and Bear and Goldman. All that and what they had done in the mortgage market was said, OK, we've got this entire basically new segment of the market since we ended.
Redlining and redlining is where the government, the Federal Housing Authority set up in the New Deal. But, you know, exists today, which backstops mortgages, which is how banks sort of give them out freely, is because there's a backstop that the federal government will insure the loan if it goes bad, that insurance was predicated on not lending in black neighborhoods. They literally drew maps of the country in the 30s and 40s and kept updating them and said these red areas do not lend.
And those were the areas where black people live because black people were assumed to be a credit risk. There was no data for that. It was just black people are credit risk. So when we finally stopped doing that and basically the late 70s, there became a new mortgage market for mortgage lenders, which was like we actually weren't allowed to lend to these people before. So let's lend to them now. So that was like 10 years where you started seeing homeownership rising in the black community and then the deregulation happened and they were like, wait, we can lend anything, we can do any kind of loan.
We don't have to do like a 30 year fixed rate home loan that we keep on our books and like we're in it with the borrower. And to the end, we can actually just like, make a Porsche, as you said. Yeah, I was like, well, if we're going to try that out, let's try it out first. In these communities where we know, frankly, that nobody with the power to stop us is really paying attention and watching and caring.
Can we add into that, too, that probably the most desperate group to as far as economic inequality and the need for cash influx and all that? So that's right.
Right. The people who didn't actually have anything to fall back on. And so they did need loans. But this is the key. And this is where in my TED talk and in my book, I really want to make this intervention in the way we think about it. Is our myth about the financial crash was that the loans were to risky borrowers, right. To people who couldn't have otherwise afforded a loan. And so that's why they were sort of weirder and more expensive.
They're sort of like pawnshop versions of mortgages, which they were. But the majority of people who were sold these subprime loans, these sort of pawnshop versions of loans that were more expensive and harder to pay off and had weird fees, had good credit, they actually qualified for the cheaper, normal loan.
But it's salesmanship.
Well, I was just going to say to I think there was some misconception that people went out and sought these. And in fact, so often they're sitting at home, someone knocked on their door and they said you could be paying way less and owe the same amount and didn't really articulate that in 10 years you have a balloon payment and then there'll be no interest, but then it'll go to 17 percent and all these things. Right. I love this tax.
Nobody knows this. I can't believe what happened. That is exactly what happened. And so you had black homeowners, right? The very people who had been denied property for so long and whose ancestors were considered property after like basically half a generation, someone knocks on the door and just steals it. And I was in those fights in the early 2000s and I saw just the the stereotypes that the regulators had and the bank executives had. And they were just sort of like, well, you know, these people are not that good with money and they should have read the fine print.
And so what happened was these were money making, like printing money for lenders, unregulated lenders.
And then Wall Street was like, wait, I'm sorry, we can get what return this is what percent interest loan.
And then they have this whole exactly as you said, they added these crazy instruments on them to sort of inflate the betting capacity on any of these loans. But then it escaped from the black and brown neighborhoods where people were already starting to lose their houses. And then those mortgages were sold all around the country to white people. And there were interest only arms and it was upper middle class people paying for college. And and then you know how the story ends.
And so that for me is. An example of how, you know, racist, discriminatory lending, right, these these firms were fined for discriminatory lending later after the fact went unchecked by a government that just couldn't stop seeing black and brown homeowners as irresponsible and a credit risk. Right. The same ideology, the same worldview that created redlining in the first place hadn't left us. And then everybody ended up losing 19 trillion dollars in lost wealth and millions of jobs.
Millions of white people lost their jobs. Millions of white people lost their homes. In the end, the foreclosures, the majority of them were white people. And so that's why I think that this zero sum, this idea that the story that I think has been aggressively sold to white Americans, our whole history, that the most virulent version of it was our early version, right. Was was actually you can profit off the pain of people of color through slavery.
Like that's actually like, you know. Yeah. Direct labor into your benefit. Yes.
It's very direct. Right. That's where the zero sum story came from. That's the economic system that it held up.
Yeah. Because to let the slave do less work meant the slave owner was going to do more work. That's a pretty simple equation to understand.
If you feed these people more, that's out of your pocket, actually make them grow their own food when they get back to their cabins. I mean, it's really like it was a very direct zero sum. But, you know, as my research programs working on the book, that was good for the plantation owners, but there were still thousands, tens of thousands of white people living who didn't own the plantation and actually didn't have a lot of work to do because literally the only jobs like the labor economy of the antebellum South was for black free labor.
And there was nothing for the white sort of yeoman person who didn't own a lot. And so I think it's always been a lie. It's always been a lie to serve a very narrow band. The other central story in the TED talk and in the book is, I think, more the place we are in right now, which is that. So I talk about going to Montgomery, Alabama, where in the 40s there was a pool that was like the heart of the town.
It was the Oak Park in the middle of the town. It had a zoo. It had a swimming pool. It was sort of, you know, it was the beating heart of this town and it was for whites only. And when a desegregation order came down from the courts effective January 1st, nineteen fifty nine, the town decided to close the entire park system rather than integrate it. They drained the public swimming pool rather than let black families swim to.
They sold off the animals in the zoo. I mean, it's ridiculous. And I feel like that's where we are now, where our country is just poor and our government has less capacity because there's this fear of sort of sharing across the line of color.
Yeah, you made a great point to say, like the bull have been paid for by black citizens as well as paid for with tax money, and they were not allowed to use it. And then ultimately every single person suffered and no one got the benefit of it.
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Now, here's where I'll walk a dangerous line, so because I cannot be explicit enough in saying I am not making any kind of equivalency comparison. Yes, I'm not saying that it's anywhere on par, but I am saying quite often, Monica, when we talk about this, I happen to be from a very white trash area where I. I've interviewed or you can just say poor might be. I don't think we'll know it's relevant because that white trash in my town is a label, had a label, had an expectation, had a frequency of getting pulled over.
When you're driving through my town, you looked at the side of the road. It wasn't the nice car. It was always the piece of shit cars. All this to say.
When I interviewed 50 Cent and I heard his story when I interviewed T'ai, I heard his story, I actually thought, wow, my best friend Aaron Weekley has way more in common with Tip in 50 than he does in a lot of the people I've interviewed, only to say I think there's so much more brotherhood in the economic disparity that exists now. There is a huge color of your skin element and I'm not denying it. And once I can say for myself, yeah, I came from that.
But still I walk into Starbucks and a black guy walks into Starbucks, different outcome. I can transcend it way easier. But I do think there's a lot of shared strughold among just the lower income people. You know, then then maybe we recognize.
I agree. And I think that that reality of shared struggle and the potential for shared fight against the people who are actually setting the rules to make it so hard for white, black, brown and everybody else who are working class to get ahead is why you have the persistent reinvention of racism for every generation, because you just described sort of an economic world in which, you know, you're at the bottom of the social hierarchy or your poverty is visible. You're definitely don't have the opportunities, don't have the financial cushion to fall back on.
College is being priced out of reach now, even though it's the ticket to the middle class. You have to be middle class to be able to afford it. It's like, you know, this is the system we're in right now. And the thing that makes, I think, a white working class person not completely in the same shoes as a black or brown working class person is the police state. Yeah, that is the difference, right. Whether police state of immigration or the police state of criminal justice and police.
And that's why this is where there's so much pain and struggle, that very old original ability of the state to snatch away your life. That is three times as likely to happen if you are black than if you're white, no matter what your income. And that is where also, frankly, and this is where I think we need to understand privilege better. You know, I try to put myself in the shoes.
If I had the privilege of not having that fear of not having my son have that fear of a toddler. Congratulations, not having my son grow up in that fear. You know, if I had that privilege, I would put some value on it. Right, because it's the safety of my son. And here's where I think we misunderstand privilege because we act like privilege is something that is what people shouldn't have. Right. You shouldn't have white privilege, but that's not because you shouldn't have the privilege of feeling like you can walk down the street without being shot by the cops.
You shouldn't have white privilege because everybody should have that privilege. Yes.
Yes. Quite often when this topic comes up, I always say, like I think a lot of people are thinking about it wrong, which is we our goal shouldn't be that people give that up. The goal should be that everyone has that. Like, that's the goal. Yeah. To challenge that zero, some notion that if you somehow include this group into having the same privilege you do, that you won't have it either. It's like, no, no, no, everyone should have it.
I also try to make the distinction when we talk about white privilege, because it does trigger so many people because they think that phrase means if you're white, you are a privileged person. I always say no. Just fundamentally, in this country, being white is a privilege. We have all these boxes of privilege and white is a really big one. And you get to check that box. If you're white, it doesn't mean you're rich or you have just immediate opportunity or whatever.
It just means, you know, in that video of the kids racing across the line like you are a few steps forward, starting out based on nothing that you've done and that based on nothing that you've done is a really important point, because part of the the white story that is sold, you know, that people can sort of choose to buy or not choose to buy.
Some parts of it are not a part of the white story. And part of where the privilege becomes problematic is if you believe that you are in this place of security from that hell because of something you've done, you deserve it. You've earned it. Right. I remember I was shopping my book proposal around, you know, to tip mostly white editors and agents and stuff like that. And this one person was like, you know, read the book.
Proposal was like, yeah, but, you know, I want you to know, basically, I'm a good white person, whichever way we start this meeting, you know, I love Tiger Woods and Obama.
I just want to let you know I love Tiger Woods. And Obama is like a very good looking guy.
And she said, you know, my my father fought for civil rights. Right. She also wanted me to know that there were no skeletons in her closet. Right. She said, I think the white people in the past who discriminated were evil. And I was like, no, this is juicy. Like, let's get into this. Right. I think they absolutely did evil things, but it's very easy for you to think that you would have thought they were evil back then.
Oh, that's part of the white story, right? Is that we are good. There is a white story version of slavery. That is, these people are such savages and such heathens. Getting them into our productive society is good for them.
Yeah, they were going, oh, you think they were better off in the jungle being attacked by a lion? That's. You think that's an improvement? Yeah. By the way, we get into this debate all the time about in L.A. if you just look at who's doing the work and no one wants to talk about it, but the only people doing work are Latinos. And I say all the time, we're going to look back on this. I'll have so many people go, no.
Well, they left Mexico as much worse there. And they came here. And I'm like, yes, but do you understand? That's the identical argument to the slave owners. You just can't deny that people justify that by comparison. Somehow it's an improvement, but it stops short of going, well, why don't you have to do that work? You know, there's something to be answered there.
And you might if it were being paid 50 bucks an hour and, you know, the things that you're you're you're pointing out the dehumanization, it's actually essential. It's essential for someone who thinks they're a good person because they know in their heart, they know in some cellular level while this thing's wrong and I'm not an evil person. So what's my justification for why this is happening? Well, X, Y and Z, it's an improvement over their life.
It's actually it's it's the trying to make peace with probably being a good person and participating in something that's not good. It gives us so much cognitive dissonance and discomfort that we must come up with an explanation and they can be very far reaching or some of them are kind of plausible. You know, they vary in their absurdity.
And that's what the criminal justice system has been allowed to be maintained because it's like, well, what did they do? It is literally saying, well, there's someone who's judging whom I've agreed should judge good versus bad, which is the criminal justice system, the cops, the judges, and they judge this person to be bad or to have done something bad. And so. Question is what they do, right? That's the justification and I think right now what we're seeing as tens of thousands of people are being indiscriminately pepper sprayed and tear gassed for exercising their constitutional rights, they're like, wait, this is how the police treat and see you.
And it's a huge wake up call for white Americans on the streets right now who are actually suffering physical harm by the people they thought were actually pretty good arbiters of who is good and who was bad.
But I will argue the same things happening again right now, which is all of the white Americans who implicitly know it's not a fair game. We know it. Everyone knows it. It's just not fair game. We have a scapegoat at this moment, which is the police. So now we're all pointing at the police. And I am not defending police. I want to be ultra clear. I'm not defending police, but it's kind of convenient that the whole problem is police.
And that's the encompassing thing I want to talk about, which is when you're born black, you have less access to good education, you have less access to meaningful employment. You are targeted by shitty credit cards. You're targeted by payday loans, you're targeted by alcohol and cigarettes. You're targeted by all these corporations. There's this machine creating huge disadvantage and then the results of that. Right. Once you're a twenty three year old male in the result of that, the last interface for that is the police.
So they're the furthest downriver in the equation in what could be a very short young black man or woman's life. And so the last stop is the police, which is fucked up. It is fucked up. The reaction to the police, them killing between two and four times the amount that they're killing white people, all undeniable, but also incomplete, in my opinion. Does that make any sense, like we'd love to just go? The problem in our country right now is racist cops.
Great. Let's solve that. And we haven't solved anything. We've solved the last stop of it in one hundred terrible things that'll happen to a young black man. It is one of a hundred, but have no illusion that if we have the perfect utopian police department that we still don't have a humongous problem.
So I agree with you probably. Well, I don't know what percentage. Let's keep talking.
I agree with what you said at the end for sure, that solving the police will not solve our problems. But I want to be specific about what the problem is. So I think a big part of the white story is actually that black people are our problem. And it was like black people are a problem before for like really explicitly racist reasons. And now in our day it's evolved to black people. Are the problem because of things outside of their control?
Probably like, you know, poverty and segregation and bad schools and all of that. But we're still a problem. And so that's why I want to make sure that we're both recognizing that that is itself not true. Right. That there's actually so much more resilience, strength, innovation, muscle, grit, achievement in the black community than even in the white liberal imagination. First, but second, I wish that the cops came at sort of the end.
The problem is the cops are there like, you know you know, black kids are having their first bad interactions with a cop when they're like playing kickball before they have any consciousness of any disadvantage or poverty. Right. And that itself and this is what we really learned in New York with stop and frisk like that itself. The experience of being suspicious and having those terrible interactions with someone who's holding a gun was like, hey, what are you doing here itself?
Creates anti-social, you know, desires. You want to shrink away from the state, from other people, from white people. They showed, from voting, from government services. You shrink away because you're seen as suspects. I don't think they're just at like the end of the line. I think they are in and of themselves part of the line, but. I also fundamentally agree, DACs, that the police are expressing the actions that our political structure and culture is telling them are OK to take, they are enforcing an order that is handed down by the power structure and accepted on some levels by the majority of white people who continue to vote.
And not to make it partisan, but a measure of know raw political sentiment by the majority of white people who vote have voted for a Republican for president since Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Right. So I think that our society is giving permission to devalue black lives and the cops are acting out on it in a way that is gross and impolite and disgusting and horrifying. You know, this is why this moment is so insane, because our government betrayed black people with the pandemic.
It was like for for a whole host of reasons, most of them because of how black people are disproportionately exposed, because of work and also disproportionately, whether down by pollution, by the stress of poverty and racism, by not having health care, by not having health infrastructure that we trust. Right. We go to the hospital late when we're sick because it's a crappy hospital and we feel like we're going to be discriminated against by the person behind the desk and by the doctor and all of that.
Like weathering down really quick, which is the painting. It's really relevant to say right now is like of the people who became opiate addicts, it disproportionately affected white Americans because white Americans are believed when they say they're in pain and black folks aren't like the data is in doctors. If you just line up the prescriptions. Doctors did not prescribe pain meds to black folks that believe their pain because they tested medical students.
I believe I think it was medical students. They actually believed a weird part of the life story is that black people don't actually like our skin is thicker or something. We actually don't literally feel so right. So that's why this moment is so crazy, because we were being told at the cost of our lives by government that just downplayed the coronavirus and then really sort of stopped working on it once it was clear that there were these disparities and move to let's open up, let's get this economy going.
I've got an election to win. You know, once it was clear that black people were more likely to die and to get sick. And so it's just the police are an expression of a belief system that devalues black lives. And both lessons are being told so vividly right now with these killings, not just George Floyd, but Brianna Taylor and Ahmad Aubry in the span of just a few weeks, on top of a time when, you know, more than half of black people have lost their jobs.
And so many of us know people who have lost their lives because of things that could have been prevented, could have been prevented. Yeah.
And there's all this like kind of known data about the bias, the police bias. Right. Also, like they intuitively assume that black children are older than they are, which is like a it's own weird phenomena. Right? They they. There, yeah, I don't understand what why what is behind that? Yeah, what do you know the explanation of that? I don't. So we were my connection was unstable for a minute, so I don't know if it was crappy.
Monica said a racial slur towards me. That's what you about it? Yeah, she did.
Oh, no. I just said, why does that exist?
Why does DAX death like that? I am the product of this white male patriarchy. It's not my fault.
But let's go back to that white story, right? That white story is we are innocent. And what is the pinnacle of innocence is childhood. And so if innocence is something that sort of belongs to whiteness, then the white mind that has been swimming in that white story for so long is going to look at a black child and not see the innocence, not see the youth and and then support three strikes laws and punishing juveniles as adults. Right. Like that.
That story then supports a law that then changes people's lives.
OK, now this is not my opinion, but I'd be remiss to not give you an opportunity to debunk this thought process. Right. So there are some folks that would say. A lot of the data says that interactions with police result in shootings by police, that interacting with police is dangerous if you're white or black, and that the increased interactions is going to increase the outcome of a shooting or a killing at the hands of a police officer. So are going to be people that say, well, the crime rate is higher in these urban centers and the people in those communities are going to naturally interact more with police officers because police officers are focused on the highest crime areas.
So what part of that reality is part of the problem? And what would you say to the people that are going to point that out? Because they're going to point that out?
Yeah, absolutely. For sure. You know, I grew up in a part of the country on the south side of Chicago that I don't recognize anymore because of how it's devolved into violence.
But criminologists would say that that violence was incubated and created in our prisons and jails. And as mass incarceration grows for those who haven't read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, I would be remiss not recommending it. But she reminds me of a time that I certainly don't have any memory of, and it seems hard to even fathom where before the war on drugs they were saying we're not actually going to build more prisons because the crime rate is not so bad.
And we know that it doesn't work. We know that jail and prison doesn't work. What it's really good at is making more crime. Yeah.
So and then for reasons that we now know were about political and social control, the Nixon administration came up with the idea of a war on drugs that was really a war on the sort of social foment of young people and black people who were never going to be part of his electoral coalition, the hippies and the black people who were doing drugs.
They thought if we could, we could do something about these drugs, we could do something about these people. So I think about it very much. I think about Chicago and what happened to make this culture of violence that is unrecognizable to me as someone whose family, many of them still live on the south side. So there's that. There's also the point that when you are. In an area that is chronically disinvested, where the jobs, the good jobs, the manufacturing jobs, the factory jobs have been stripped away, traded away and sent to places where there are brown people that you can pay even less.
There does often become a new economic system that is not blessed by the state. And what we've seen and what a lot of white conservatives like Charles Murray are sort of wringing their hands about is the exact same thing that started in the cities with the industrial jobs leaving and then the crime rates going up and the marriage rates going down and the people turning to drugs. It's happening in white rural areas. It's just that those factories started closing, you know, 10, 15 years later.
It's not something about black people. It's something about the conditions. They were so wedded to the idea that race fundamentally shapes who you are on an almost biological level. Yeah, like you have a character. Yes, exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
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And that's why when we talk about whiteness, I actually really you know, I know it's like really popular and racial justice circles to talk about whiteness, but I think it is really confusing. And I think we shouldn't assume too high a level of critical race theory literacy when we're talking to people and trying to get them on board. Because, you know, I think about my blackness and it does feel like something that is mine. And so when I say whiteness, I don't mean like your skin.
I mean a story that you've been told about who you are and who I am as a black person and who Monica is as a brown person.
Yeah, yeah. We know American exceptionalism as a concept, but there is a white exceptionalism as a concept to 100 percent.
Well, and then it trickles into these communities because even within the community, there's like colorism. You within your community want to be as light as possible because you want to be given as much benefit of the doubt as possible. That's really what it to me equates to is like. How close you are to white is how much benefit of the doubt you get walking through life. I was watching that documentary Dark Girls, and it was like within the community.
And this is within the Indian community as well. I mean, it's across all the communities of color where you feel undervalued as a human based on the scale of your color. But it's also such a power hierarchy that it's hard to overcome.
Yeah, I mean, that's so well said, Monica, you know, I mean, we are talking about stories here. So it is an internalized story. And for women of color, it's very much an internalized story about beauty standards. But it's where do we get those images? I remember so I grew up. I was a total geek dork nerd. I think there are differences. That's probably what you're offending, a dork or a nerd.
I'm not sure which. But we'll fact check. We'll call a representative of both groups and see who was available.
All the. So but, you know, I was really into sci fi and fantasy. I was really into other worlds, Star Trek, Star Wars. And then I remember sitting in the theater watching Black Panther, and there was the scene where two black women characters, two black girls, black girl, black woman, were saving the day. It was the like turn in the story where the plan starts to come together. And one of the girls was a nerdy black girl.
And one of them was sort of like a social justice, you know, fighter. Right. And they were both black and they were literally about to save the day. And I started crying. I was like Heather McGhee, my crying in this popcorn movie, like what is happening? And it was because I hadn't realized how much time I had spent in darkened theaters just like that, projecting my humanity into the body of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo and like and just not expecting that they would ever look like me or reflect my life.
So when I talk about the white story, like if you have been in that darkened theater and everyone a virtue that you have ever seen has been white like that is really powerful. That gives you a way to walk through the world that the white people are good, they're human, they're multidimensional. They're they're the star.
Yeah. And my wife pointed out, you know, the same goes for male female like you in the classroom. You and I both grew up in had a bazillion pictures of white dudes on the on the wall and really no women there, you know, women hanging up in classrooms in the eighties, you know. And so just that message, like people are capable of greatness. Our men. Yeah, people are assessing their value based on what they see around them.
You can't help but not. And Trevor Noah said something really interesting about policing, because I do think we think of it as like their overpolicing black people. But he was like, it's a mix between overpolicing and under policing within black communities. So so when stuff is going down in the black community and they're not there, there's also recognition of how valuable am I? They're all taking it in. Everyone's just assessing from day one how valuable they are.
And if no cops are there to protect me, I must not be. Yeah.
When they call nine one one, it's like ten times the length and yet they're getting stopped all the time.
They seem pretty available to harass leads to more internal violence because there's this lack of value of one another in themselves.
I do think it's important that we recognize that what is criminalized and what is policed itself has an anti black and brown bias to it. You know, statistics show that white. Teenagers and young adults use drugs at the same levels, if not more, as black and brown kids. Statistics show that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native born Americans. And yet we criminalize the ways that. People end up, you know, interfacing with the police.
We criminalize border crossings in the southern border, are not border crossings in New York to end up, you know, slinging beers at the Irish bar and we criminalize the street sale of drugs then not the dorm sale of drugs. And I think it's really important that we realize that there's as much violence, intimate partner violence and child abuse that is going on in white communities that is not being policed and people are not being protected. And, you know, we just have to really, really imagine what a future would be like.
And this goes back to your point, DACs, where we didn't spend one hundred and fifteen billion dollars a year in state and local money on police in another 80 billion dollars a year on jails and prisons at the state and local level. And where we really looked at what cops you know, my grandfather was a cop. And you know, what a cop spend most of their time doing is dealing with stuff that social workers should be doing.
That was the point I kind of was trying to make a little bit, is even if we take it out of the black and white thing, cops are also dealing with homelessness, which they're really not qualified to do. They're dealing with substance abuse, which they're not qualified to do. They're dealing with mental health, which they're not qualified to do. This isn't a poor cops, but it's just like that's kind of what I meant is there at the results of all the stuff.
And it's ultimately our societal preference not to take care of each other. I mean, that's really what it comes down to. And that's what I think is what's so beautiful that we're seeing across the country right now.
There's a video, there's so many videos, there are so many videos.
The person who put the camera and our phones changed everything. There's a video of a young white woman who's a certified nursing assistant. Right. So talk about like a working class job. And she's in Minneapolis and, you know, she's wearing a mask, is being interviewed by CBS and she is talking to the reporter about how, you know, they were just tear gas and rubber bullets were shot. And she, as a person with medical training, was helping a man who was on the street who had been shot in the leg.
And she was saying there was so much blood and it was clear that it could hit an artery. Like she was like, this isn't like a bruise. There was so much blood, there was so much blood and that the cops were continuing to fire on them, even though they were saying, you know, where you got a man down, you know, a medical and medical, that the guy who was laying on the ground injured was holding up a garbage can around her to try to shield her as she was working on him.
And then they just kept shooting. And so finally she ran and she was recounting the story and she was so ashamed that she ran right in that moment. And then so she's recounting the story and she was just saying how horrible it was. And then in the back of the frame, see and start to hear people shouting, medic, medic about somebody else. And she just finally turns around, says, I got to go. And she goes into yet another situation.
And I just was so moved by it. I mean, I am you know, I'm not one to get deeply swayed by, you know, seeing white people just do basic human things. You know, it's not like I'm holding such a low bar for white people, you know? But at the same time, I felt like I saw in that, like, two minute clip the whole thing. Right. Her being out there on the streets because she knew something was wrong, her going to do the right thing and then leaving because of the cost of it.
And her shame about not standing and staying in solidarity with that man who was bleeding out on the street and then her being called again and just ending the interview and doing the right thing. And it was like that's like that's the sort of work of our generation, right? It's like we have these polls to to distance, to deflect, to to justify. And we know how to do that. And yet there is a moral calling that is as strong as it's been the civil rights movement that is inviting white people to solidarity.
And the choice can be made all the time. And it's been so beautiful to see it happening seven days in right now to protests that are being met with increasing police violence and white, brown, black, Asian, Native American people are still out there. And it's just so beautiful. OK, I have two more questions.
You've given us a lot of your time and I'm very grateful for it. But I do have a couple more. One is I just want to publicly say I've said this before on here, but to your point about the criminality and dorm room versus streets, and this is a total blind spot of mine. It wasn't until, you know, 10 years of my 15 years of sobriety where it hit me that I most certainly would be in prison. There is no question whatsoever.
And for 10 years, I just thought I was lucky. I thought, man, I'm so lucky I never got caught with Coke on me. I didn't get caught with this. I fucking bought crack and as I talked more and more with black dudes my age who are sober, they all went to prison for that. They all went to jail. They they got stopped and searched all the time, I think, and stopped and searched. If if there was a questionable thing.
I was given the benefit of the doubt and just the recognition that I did the exact same thing. And I most certainly would be in prison. It's undeniable. I would be in prison if I had the exact same habit and I was black. There's just no question. And so that's just a blind spot. I felt lucky. I didn't I never thought of it in that paradigm. So I guess I'm wondering in that same way, like, what blindspots do you think we still have that are just glaring that we should take two minutes?
And by we I mean us white folks to recognize, I think one of the most common ones that frankly, everyone who's not black next has is the one you described. You know, I I've spent some time in L.A. and it's so segregated and so economically segregated and it's just bananas. Right. It's like there's just such a clear hierarchy of who's in the industry, who's serving the people in the industry, who's in a whole nother world, in the black neighborhoods.
And, you know, when we go to restaurants and they're white people on the front of the House and brown people busing. Right. Like, you walk up to a bar and there's a Latino man, you assume he's not the bartender. You try to treat him like a bartender. And he's like, no, I'm not the bartender.
That's my job. I'm black.
You know, it's that kind of economic segregation that has nothing to do with anyone's capacity or even language skill or whatever. It's just a racist structure. So that's one of those things that I think is Blankfort for lots of people and actually not just white people. I think another blind spot is, you know, when we look at the the highest hot spots actually right now in the country for the pandemic that is still ongoing, it's actually a Native American communities in an Indian country and.
Just the original sin of the theft in the near genocide of native people and the fact that we don't acknowledge the land that we're on, that we don't know whose land we're on and that we don't listen. When Indians who are still here are telling us what we need to do, stupid shit like not have the nation's capital team be called the Redskins, let's just not do that. Well, they don't want.
What would I do with my jersey eyeballs? Are you going to reimburse me on Reddit for like a hundred times more than it's worth to my wife? White nationalists would collect them.
It might go up in value and then would donate that money, wouldn't you say? You know, the other demands which are please protect our water because hello, it's also for you. We'd stop poisoning yourself is what they're saying to us, you know? So I think there's a there's a way in which we Monaca you said it so well when you talked about the benefit of the doubt that when communities of color say this is unjust and unfair and, you know, we're just trying to go through our lives and we don't want to be dealing with this any more than you do, but we're going to actually raise our voices as one to project.
A set of concerns and demands to the broader political structure. That's a lot. And yet it's not treated as, you know what, in this democracy, if you're saying this, it's probably worth acting on and there's this strange sense that it's like, no, you're a special group. You're saying something that is suspect shouldn't be treated as truth. It should be treated as your subjective demands as opposed to, you know, everybody would like to be going on with their lives.
People don't want to be out in the street. People don't want to be camping out at Standing Rock. We're still just not giving the multiracial parts of our democracy the benefit of the doubt of their concerns.
I think something that's happening, you see, you keep going back and forth on social media or there's people calling the media to show the stories that are positive and stop amplifying the ones that are negative. I think that's really relevant. But even within that, I've found frustration and they're not they're not even making a distinction between there are people protesting. That's a group of people. I mean, there's people looting and the protesters aren't looting. There's people that are looting.
And then there's protesters, as there are also these plants, clearly from these right wing organizations that are destroying property to make the protesters look bad. So so there's a lot of things happening out there and there's a lot of film that can be edited in any numerous ways to tell any story in a very compelling way that most people are going to be defenseless against. So I'm enjoying the call out on the media a bit. What are your thoughts on that?
Oh, yeah. You know, I mean, listen, I'm worried on a fundamental level about the compatibility between cable news and a multiracial democracy. It's just like the incentives to hate and fear and division and resentment and microtargeting and argument are just too strong, like the commercial incentives are too strong. And obviously, we're talking about Fox News, like perfected the model. But, you know, story in the Times yesterday that they're considering making CNBC like a business person's Fox News.
And it's like, great, you know, is in and it's like we're just going to go opposition. And so anyway, yes, call it the cable news, even though I'm absolutely part of the cable news infrastructure, at least for now, in that I, I go on TV, I have a contract with NBC to give my opinions. So what do I think is the story of the protests? I think. In general, like even throughout this conversation, we've been talking in majority terms, we've been like, you know.
The majority of black people to this majority, white people, this ba ba ba ba ba ba, that should be the same way with the protests, right? What we are seeing is that people who are really not that into protesting, which is the American people. This is not France where, like, every time you get off the metro, there's another man.
You spend more of the year on strike than you do at work. Yeah, exactly right. That is not a threat. We would much rather be streaming content or playing games or going about our daily work. Right. And granted, there's been a pandemic, but that should make it even less comfortable for us to go out and scream in each other's faces in big groups. And yet we have seven, eight, nine days of continual protest in every state in the country, from Salt Lake City to Providence to Tempe to Miami.
That is the story. Yes, huge. Is there good tape of broken windows, of looting? Is that crazy to us to see the stores that are the only American kind of architectural landscape, which is like big box stores are crazy for us to see them being violated? Yes, but is it a story? No. Now, the other thing that is the story, if I would say there is a secondary story to the fact that you have people of all races coming out and saying enough is enough and we want a different America and we're going to drag it kicking and screaming into existence is the fact that we are now in a place where that peaceful protest is being met for reasons of crowd control and intimidation with non-lethal most of the time, but really violent repression.
I mean, tear is a very violent thing. Those bullets, depending on where they hit, can blind. You can hit an artery. I mean, it's just it's wild. And I think it's going to shape a generation to have experienced on Monday of this week, the president, United States, 20 minutes before a curfew. I have my own problems with the idea of curfews all over the place. Yeah. Yeah.
Oh, my God. We just got an alert, literally.
As you said, that was at noon today at six.
So 20 minutes before the curfew in D.C., which was like hastily announced, they went out and mass tear gas and flash bangs of peaceful protest to make sure that Donald Trump could get a photo op. Because he was annoyed that the media was covering, that he'd been in a bunker when the protesters were out there before. And then from that strange setup where he was holding a Bible upside down, I mean, I have never felt more mirror neuron embarrassment for a human like, oh, my God, what if I was just standing there?
Oh, great. I have the idea I'm going to hold this book now. I'm holding the book. Oh, fuck. What was the rest of my plan? I just now I hold it this way and I wave it over here. I mean, it was excruciating, delicious on an embarrassment level.
It was. And and then you have to ask, what was that symbol? It wasn't a sword. It wasn't a gun. It was a Bible. And it's because to us, his base is white evangelicals where the white is the most operative part. Yeah, the bishop of the city of the archdiocese of the city of DC. And the you know, the person whose church that was said, what are you doing? Why are you here? You're using our sanctuary as a prop for something that is holy against God's message, which is to make an enemy out of your own people and set the American army who's supposed to fight our enemies on Americans exercising their First Amendment rights.
But but it was a symbol. He was trying to communicate something to certain people. And it didn't click with us because we're not the intended audience. But there is a long history in this country from the church in America justifying slavery to, you know, segregation academies in the growth of the religious right after integration, which said, you know, actually the white church will be a haven for white supremacy. Those are that's who he was talking to.
That's why that symbol was there. But he's not a religious person, so he didn't actually know how to hold the Bible. And it wasn't even his.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Oh, yeah. That was going to say earlier when you were telling the story about the medic. It's true. There's this weird fine line of like we want to show images of unity. We want to show the pictures of people coming together. Setting a good example I think is important because I think a lot of these things have to happen internally within law enforcement and stuff. But then there's some backlash of posting those pictures of like I know, the daily covered a little story of one of the protests.
Someone was getting arrested by two cops and he was down on the ground. They're putting him in handcuffs and one of the cops put his knee on the guy's neck. And everyone, of course, is like freaking out. And the other cop who is putting him in handcuffs looked around and then immediately took the guy's knee and pushed it off. And it was this bizarre mix of like. Are you serious? The reason we're here is that exact symbol, and that is your instinct, but then that there's some tiny bit of hope in the progress that the fellow cop was like, no, not not not anymore or not today or not.
While all of these people are watching. Maybe, but listen, I mean, I fundamentally believe in the power of people to change. And I know because I've studied this, that that the people who have compelled great social change have both called out hypocrisy and been prophets who are also teachers and who also showed that there was a better way. The argument of my TED talk, which is called racism, has a cost for everyone. The argument of my book, which is about the costs of racism to us, are called The Sum of US, is not like the dominant racial justice message.
I am very clear about that. And I know that I am sticking my neck out by saying we need a different story, but is actually, I believe, truer to. I'll just speak for myself, the black story that I was raised with, which was a story of fundamental interdependence because we had to be this was the community that protected us, that employed us, that fed us, that supported us, that saw us and loved us. And so I grew up with a sense of community that was just the way I walked to the world.
And I think that sense of community is a superpower that we're going to need more and more as more crises and more pandemics and more climate disasters come like we're going to need each other. And the people who think they can do it alone are going to be the ones left out. And so I do believe that the zero sum is an easy, big white American story that, you know, we all recognize. We all know, we all buy some parts of it.
But fundamentally, I would like to replace it with a story that's more interconnected and that's hard. And it feels wrong sometimes when it is true that. We are being killed for just being black. It feels very stark, the difference between white life and black life, but the fundamental and deeper truth is that that difference is not real on the soul level and that our society is going to continue to spiral in dysfunction until we get right by it.
You know, we are watching the Eppstein documentary on Netflix. Oh, God, no. I'm finishing my book. I'm not watching any documentaries. But yeah, you made that clear. That was a bad question. Well, we watch it. It's crazy. But we were midway through it and I was like, you know, on the surface, this is a story of a pedophile who's very rich and empowered. Yeah, but my takeaway was every one of the victims, one hundred percent of the victims, the income inequality between Epstein and them, the desperation.
How much? Two hundred dollars changes your life? I look at that and I'm like, you know, the instinct is like, get mad at pedophiles, try to round up pedophiles. But, you know, how you solve this problem is you don't have a desperate pool for someone to prey upon. That's the solution. The solution isn't like let's figure out all the Jeffrey Epstein's of the world and put them somewhere. It's like, no, let's create a system where no one is so desperate that someone would have leverage over them.
And so much of this equation, I believe, mirrors that in that, my God, we cannot give people less opportunity at every turn and think that we're going to solve these problems downriver. It's just like it's got to be a part of the strategy. We got to vote. We got to vote for people who want to make the playing field level or we're just we're going to have this in every iteration, ad nauseum, infinitum, forever.
One hundred percent and people can take action now. I mean, everyone on my phone is like blowing up. What can I do? What could I do? Yeah, people can text the word demands to five five one five six, which is four color of change. And someone someone black, I promise you will be texting them what they can do all the time, which is to repeat that people can text demands to five five one five six or you can text Floyd to five five one five six and you will get signed up for Color of Change, which I'm the co-chair of the Board of Color of Change, which is the nation's largest online racial justice organization.
We have five million members and we help channel your outrage into action. And I will say I joined Color Changes Board because they are addicted to winning. They don't know what it is to not when they take on big corporations and bad prosecutors and they just keep winning. And I think we need that. There are so many things you can do right now to make cop money toxic at your local level in terms of who's running for office. There are things we can do right now to ensure that who's running for state legislature and Congress has a criminal justice reform agenda and that they have it within sort of a divest from the stuff we don't want, which is jails and prisons and invest in the stuff we do want, which is health and security, real security, which is economic security and freedom.
There's a whole nother way to organize your society. And I do believe that we have to pay more attention to the votes the people who represent us are taking. We do have to organize. It is easy to be like the two parties are really corrupt, and I'm not saying that they're not. But I also think that every day somebody in the Hall of Power is making a decision that will shape your life and your neighbor's life. And so if you're not watching and exercising some control over who that person is, where we're all screwed in that we don't need the color of change yesterday, so.
Oh, yeah, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Thank you. Yeah. And those are great suggestions to get involved and appreciate your time so much.
This is so fun. Monica Dayaks, I appreciate you both. Thank you so much.
Yeah. I hope we talk to you again soon when your books down please come on in person. I love that. Yeah we would like that to person. Will there be an in person ever again. I would really love that.
We will one day we'll go rogue. Monica might be in a hazmat suit, but I will do it. I will hug you. I will do the whole. I'll do it all.
I'll get my antibodies between now and then. I bet my TED talk is like thirty thousand shy of a million views. So if it gets a million views this week, I'll know who to watch it.
And I loved it. And again, I think you're part of the comprehensive look at it that may have some actual solution in it. So I thank you for that. Thank you so much for talking to us. Right. OK, bye bye.
Hi there. And now my favorite part of the show, the fact check with my soulmate, Monica Padman. OK, OK. Our first non fact fact check, we don't have a fact check for you today for a few reasons. One being that this episode had a very quick turnaround. So there wasn't time today, quickies today? No, actually, we also had a very quick turnaround for Sanjay Gupta for Coronavirus and also because there's really just not a need for a fact check for this.
There's no facts to be checked. This is what's going on. This is what we need to be learning about. And there just aren't going to be facts in this that need checking.
Can I publicly thank you for procuring Heather so quickly and executing and turning it around. Thank you. Yes, very impressive.
We actually. Kind of a bizarre turn of events, I mean, me and you talk about these issues all the time. So a few weeks ago we were having a conversation about race just between you and I. And so I reached out to the biggest giver in the whole world, Adam Grant. This is a couple weeks ago saying, I really want to have someone on who can speak to race in this country. And he, of course, responded within three seconds, gave a huge list like he's oh, my God, he's the hero.
Oh, jeez. And anyway and so, you know, we were like kind of slowly scheduling and then it felt like the ramp up. There's just no option of waiting and we're going to move quickly.
So, yeah, one thing we were when we were talking to her, I thought to bring up and then I thought, no, this is kind of counterproductive. But when you're talking about kind of how the media is portraying everything, I have to say that in my own selfish experience last night, I turned on the TV because I feel like I need to be tracking where the looters are. They were last night. They were, you know, half a mile away.
And so I'm looking at the news and I don't want the news to be showing all rioters, because that's not the point of all of it. In 99 percent of it is all peaceful protests. But at the same time, I felt like I needed for safety to be checking out like, oh, is there a helicopter filming people that are about to walk into the house?
That's fear, right? Because nobody's walking into anyone's house. That has not happened. Houses aren't getting broken into its businesses. And I'm not saying that's good at all. I think there is a lot of fear and there's a lot of pictures going around, like there was a few pictures going around of like kill the one percent. And we don't know who's doing that.
I've only seen white dude spray painting that shit. I've seen so many Instagram posts of like white dudes writing Kill Whitey on the wall. Yeah, they're clearly just instigators. They want a race riot. There's this thing called the Boogaloo Boys.
I forget the name, something like that, something. And they're aligning themselves with the protesters because all they want is a civil war.
They want to rile everyone up. And yeah, but of course, when you see the picture, no one's thinking about that. There's just an influx of fear. Yeah. And oh, my God. And they're coming to my house and they're this and they're that. And and it's scary and scary to see those pictures.
I don't blame anyone for being scared, but there's just more to that story than well, like Liz Meriwether had a great post creator of Bless This Mess. You said, you know, because they were right next to her house the first night on Melrose.
So she was really, really scared. And she posted, you know, after hours of fear, she had a moment where she recognized, like, oh, yeah, this is what it feels like to be black, to be scared all the time. Yeah. You know, I don't mind this dose of it to help me understand. Like what with the stress of that.
Right is right.
But as I think you said in the intro, but we're going to keep up the convo. Because I think that's maybe more important than any of it is not letting the ball drop. Yeah. On this kind of conversation.
Well, also are hard wired for the last 15 years in this cable news news cycle, which is 24 hours a day, and you need shit to feed the fire. And so we get blasted, then we get fatigued. And there's a new issue five minutes later. And it's just this revolving door of issues. Yeah. That then people feel like they don't have the bandwidth to care about all the stuff or be involved in all the stuff. And yeah, this is one we have to all collectively fight to not be a news cycle and to be a really sustained movement.
So we hope you enjoyed it. Yeah. We're going to be a fucking kick ass expert had this not been going on.
Oh, 100 percent. Well, the truth is this is always going on. Oh, you know, and like I mean, like the mass protests. Yeah. The protests and stuff are new, but the issues are so old and this is kind of kicking us into gear, which is a good thing. That's literally the point of I think the stuff is to make people aware who are kind of just going about their life, just myself for sure.
I'd also recommend Minimally Watch 13 on Netflix. That's such a powerful documentary that gives you a real, real sense of the timeline, from slavery to reconstruction to Jim Crow to mass incarceration. And yeah, seeing the dots so closely connected and recognizing, like, you know, this notion that slavery ended one hundred and fifty years ago. And it's like, well, yeah, that that part did end. Yeah.
And then all these other things came and conveniently immediately to perpetuate the same thing. So that's a great, great documentary. If someone wants to get a historical context with why we are where we're at. Yeah. All right.
Much love to everyone. Be safe.
I love you guys.