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One of the main questions many people may have, and you see this unfortunately all too often, is people saying, why do you have to keep trudging this up? Can't we just move on? It's been four hundred years now. Can't we just move on? What do you hope would be sparked by the conversations that come from a magazine that delves into slavery like this? What do you what do you want? Someone who sits at home and says they're going to call.


I'm I'm white and I have nothing to do with this. And I don't know what you want me to do. What would you hope people take away?


That's a great question. Let me just say for the record, nobody wants to get over slavery more than black folks.


It's not to our benefit, right? The fact that our nation can't get over slavery is not benefiting black people for a single day, but that's the problem. We've never dealt with the harm that was done. I'm forty three years old and my father was born into a Mississippi where black people couldn't vote, black people couldn't use public facilities. That was all perfectly legal. We're not far removed from this past at all and there's never been any effort to redress that harm.


So what I hope that people will take from the magazine, every single story in the magazine starts with America today and shows how these things about American life that you think are unrelated to slavery actually are. And I hope by confronting that truth, maybe we can finally start to repair the harm that was done and then finally start to live up to be the country of our ideals. There's been so much talk about history and heritage, people talking about monuments in America, people talking about the history of America, but in many ways, Brian, you would argue that the history people wish to America is not we should remember all of America is not really the full story.


What is your project about?


Well, it's about confronting the fact that we're not really free in America. I think we're burdened by a history of racial inequality that we have not addressed. And it's become like smog in the air. And we all breathe it in. And it doesn't take much to expose these conflicts and tensions. And so we're trying to change that. We want to talk about some things that haven't been talked about. I think we need to talk about the fact that we're a post genocide society.


Before white settlers came to this continent, there were millions of native people who were slaughtered through famine and war and disease. But we didn't call it a genocide. We said those people are savages. And we created this narrative of racial difference, this ideology of white supremacy. And that's what ushered in centuries of enslavement. And for me, the great evil of American slavery wasn't involuntary servitude. It wasn't forced labor. It was this ideology of white supremacy, this idea that black people aren't like white people.


And we never really addressed that. If you read the 13th Amendment, it talks about dealing with involuntary servitude and forced labor, but it doesn't talk about ending this ideology of white supremacy. And because of that, I don't think slavery ended in eighteen sixty five. I think it evolved and it turned into decades of terrorism and violence. And we don't understand that history. And that's why we started this project between the end of the Civil War and World War Two, thousands of African-Americans were pulled out of their homes.


They were burned alive. They were hanged. They were brutalized. We're not interested in talking about this history because we want to punish America. I think we want to liberate America. We're going to get us to the place where we can actually look at one another without this narrative of racial difference, this ideology of white supremacy, limiting who we are and what we can be.


In many ways, you argue that Obama's presidency and black leadership in any way, shape or form is in some way contributing to white supremacy, which is a very complicated argument. What do you mean when you say that? I wouldn't quite fit. I would say it's not, you know, like I don't think Obama did anything but be a human being and, you know, go into the office and just happen to be somebody check black on the census form.


It's the reaction to that, right? It's always the reaction to the ordinariness to the bourgeois. And so the middle class ness of normal everyday black people and how well that accords with what this country claims of value. That's always a threat because it automatically undermines the suppositions of white supremacy, which says that black people don't take care at kids, black people, you know, you know, always killing each other and then up and down like there's a kind of moral judgment that can always be made on black people.


This goes back to, you know, justifications to slavery and black folks who present themselves in a particular way as undermining that. You know, it's always a threat to the thinking about white supremacy. I think that's why folks were so offended by Obama. And I think that contributed to the birth of racism. You know, all the sort of weird conspiracy theories that sprung up around the.


The KKK grand wizard emeritus David Duke, he told his followers to vote for Donald Trump and Donald Trump was coy about disavowing Duke's support. Right. So, by the way, this this is David Duke over here.


Let's go here. Yeah, this is him sporting his casual look. See, that was just like no hood. Please, please. Mr. Wizard was my father. My friends call me grand.


Now, obviously, a grand wizard of the KKK praising the Republican front runner is going to stir up a lot of emotion. And we saw that on CNN as a Trump supporter and a Democrat faced off as the Super Tuesday results were coming in.


Racial tensions front and center in this year's race. Two of our commentators get into a fiery debate on the issue of commentators. Jeffrey Lord and Van Jones got into this heated debate over Donald Trump and the KKK. When he is playing funny with the Klan, that is not cool. This is what liberals do. You were dividing people by race, by clan, dividing half of you, half the divide by race, kill people by race. And you have the opportunity.


And they did it. They did it to further the progressive agenda.


Why were you so afraid of what he was saying and why? Why are you so afraid of the rhetoric that's being that's being perpetuated?


Well, I think that America needs to wake the hell up, wake the hell up.


This is real. This is a real thing.


I think you have people everybody says, you know, the Republicans or the establishment, like, why didn't they take Trump more seriously? Yeah, the whole society is making the same exact mistake.


I think we have the rise of a right wing authoritarian movement. And I think this guy is likely to become president United States if we don't quit screwing around.


White nationalists descending on Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, where protests are turning violent.


At least one person is dead after a car plowed into a group of counter protesters. President Trump turns an infrastructure event into a rambling rant blaming both sides for the violence.


You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. I think there's blame on both sides. You look at you look at both sides. I think there's blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it. And you don't have any doubt about it.


First of all, a racist neo-Nazi killed a peacefully protesting woman with his car. Right. Then the president of the United States defended the neo-Nazis who that dude was marching with. And this is the thing. It's not once but twice. Like Donald Trump said. It's then three days later, he came back and said, hey, hey, you know how I said that Nazi defending thing? Well, I just realized that I messed up. I didn't defend them enough.


Yeah. Yeah. My support was here and I was I was trying to get it here. Yeah. And I'm not like I don't know about you, but it seemed for a moment that, OK, this was it.


This was clearly not what presidents do. You know, after tragic national events, a leader, even a mediocre leader, says the things to unite the country, to calm the tensions, not inflame them, and especially not express sympathy for Nazi sympathizers. But today in America.


We're not even at that point seven months into his term. Forty one months to go, by the way, and the president of the United States has officially legitimized white supremacist, basically saying we need to see things from the Nazis point of view, you know, march a mile in their boots.


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That's Rocket mortgage dot com slash. The Daily Show called Forecast Information and Conditions Equal Housing Lender License in all 50 states in MLS. Consumer Access Dog Number 33. Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence and a number of these cities, as we saw in Kenosha and as we've seen in Portland? I'm willing to do anything. I want to do it, sir.


Do it. Say you want to call them. What do you want to call them? Give me a name.


Give me what you like me to give out bonuses and right out of my face, stand back and stand by.


But I'll tell you what. I'll tell you what. Somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left, because this is not a right wing problem is.


Wow, there you have it, folks. Trump had an opportunity to be like white supremacists. I don't with you instead.


He's like, stand by, guys. I never know when I'm going to need you telling white supremacists to stand down and telling them to stand by. I'm not the same thing. That one little word makes a huge difference, like the difference between a blow out and a blowjob. Do not ask for the wrong one at Supercuts. Again to the staff at Supercuts. I apologize. I hadn't slept and I didn't read the menu properly. And even for that non condemnation, Trump had to be dragged into it like no president should ever have to be pressured this hard into condemning white supremacists.


It's the easiest thing. Trump did it so grudgingly. He was like one of those guys who refuses to make real apologies. What I'm supposed to apologize for tailgating at your dad's funeral. Fine. I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you're unable to have a good time. Some of us are still living. And by the way, you know that you've truly botched your condemnation of a hate group when that hate group says thank you for the endorsement.


The proud boy is a far right extremist group, immediately celebrating the president's comments on social media.


They went nuts on social media celebrating. They put out those words as a rallying cry. Stand back. Stand by. Within minutes, the group's members were posting on private social media, calling Trump's comments, quote, historic. The New York Times reports that some group members labeled it as a tacit endorsement of their violent tactics, while another posted the group is already seeing a spike in new recruits.


Yes, thanks to Donald Trump's failed condemnation, this hate group is now seeing an increase in recruits, which means in the history of television, that might be one of the worst answers ever given. The problem is like Donald Trump's answer so much that they even adopting it as the new slogan. And that actually might piss off Trump because the one thing he definitely believes in is getting royalties.


Well, well, well, nobody should be advocating the supremacy of the white man without getting dunnies. I don't know at this point. People are still acting surprised when he refuses to denounce white supremacists, because as you may remember, this is not exactly a new thing for him.


I think there's blame on both sides.


And you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides today with white nationalist rising threat around the world.


I don't really there are white supremacist groups and individuals like that who support you, some of whom you've even retweeted.


Well, that I know nothing about. I mean, I don't know about retweeting. I mean, you read tweet, somebody turns out to be a white supremacist. I know nothing about these groups that have supported me.


Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don't want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?


I don't know anything about David Duke, OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I have to. Look, if you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And certainly I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong. But, you know, it's in there that are totally fine and it would be very unfair.


So give me a list of the groups and I'll let you know, OK?


I mean, I'm just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but I don't know honestly, I don't know David Duke. I don't believe I've ever met him. I'm pretty sure I didn't meet him and I just don't know anything about him.


Yeah, it's actually hard to keep track of all the times that Trump had the chance to be anti-racist and didn't. The only thing he avoids more than condemning white supremacists is paying taxes. So, look, I get why his supporters want to act like Trump's proud boys moment last night was some kind of accidental or unintentional gaffe. But if you see someone making the same mistake over and over again, at some point, you have to accept that it's not a mistake.


It's their belief.


Let me ask you this, you you talked to some people who and without your show, I don't think you'd ever talk to, you know, like whether it's like people who are in the Klan used to be in the Klan, very racist, very homophobic, very anything. And I'm not going to lie. You seem to get along well with them as human beings like you seem to like. And you are very black as well. I mean, like, you know what I'm saying?


It's not like you and you sneaking in. You're a black and white.


When I see exactly you come in as a black man, they see you as a black man, and then you guys seem to be tall, 400 pounds.


So I wanted to know, have you maintained any type of friendship with these people post the show, or has it just like you, just like like do you get to know them as human beings or are they just cordial to you, as comfortable as an individual? And then I'm like, cool with black people. Yeah.


I mean, certainly it's not I would say it's not American history x where I do laundry with them for an hour and then they come out and go, man, I shouldn't be a racist.


It's not quite that easy if only it was. But I do think people go, oh, this is not what I expected. I see this guy differently. It's not going to happen in one day or one one conversation. The thing I understood about this whole racism discussion is that in the whole image of racism, it's a long struggle and it takes time.


But do you think from your experience that some of it could be helped by the conversations, or is that just like a that's just like a hopeful, mythical world that we sometimes dream of?


I mean, some of it can be helped by the conversation. But if those people don't go into the voting booth and vote based on what they learn in the conversation, then it's just a conversation. So I think sometimes we over prioritize the conversation like me. And that race has had a conversation that felt good. But it's actually like about how people evolve over time. And I think that's the conversation part of the.


Your writing has, I mean, made a lot of people feel uncomfortable, a lot of white people, a lot of white men in particular, uncomfortable, and that was before your current book, Mediocre, which is about the dangers of white male mediocrity. Talk me through what that means. Absolutely.


So this was a book kind of written out of frustration. If you write on issues of race and gender in America, especially since twenty sixteen, you see all these think pieces, you know, why is Chad so angry? Why is this white man so upset? And what I wanted people to look at was the political structure behind the time that we're in. I want to people that this rise in like, you know, hate filled, racist, violent, white male political ideology is by design.


And so I want people to look at that because we have to change how we act and what we value as a society if we want to solve this problem. So that's really what we're looking at, is a history in America of how we have actually made it beneficial or at least seem beneficial to white men to act like the only definition of success is power over women and people of color and really what it's cost us over multiple generations.


When you when you look at this conversation, though, I mean, obviously, there's so much resistance. There are a lot of white men who are like, I have nothing. So how dare you say that I have any of this mediocrity or this power that comes with it? How can you say, I don't see any of this power? I live in West Virginia. I have no no money. I have barely any food. Where is this white power that you are speaking of?


How do you try and and and if you even do try, explain that to white people in those situations? Because oftentimes I find that will be some of the base that has riled up where they're told you have this privilege and these positions and they go, but I don't see it.


Absolutely. And I think it's important to recognize first and foremost, privilege is relative. Right. So if you're standing if you're an average everyday white man standing in a room with Oprah Winfrey, chances are in many areas she has more privilege than you. But if she is standing next to a white millionaire or billionaire, chances are she has less privilege. It's situational depending on where you're at. But I think it's really important to recognize that white supremacy in this country is a pyramid scheme.


So it's really the idea. You play along and you will have more. You will have more than more than women. Quite often it doesn't work out that way. And that's part of why we see the anger is that people bought into the system, they're playing along, they've been promised and they voted accordingly. They've spent their money accordingly that their greatness is coming. And when it doesn't, who do they blame? Often people like me, people like you, because they've been told you're supposed to be better off.


And so a lot of that anger that says I don't have that I don't have it ignores the fact that you were probably ever going to get it, but you were promised that. And that becomes a political problem and it becomes a part of the violence that often some white men end up supporting.


There's no denying as America becomes more and more diverse, the group of white men that we are talking about are going to become more and more resistant because they're going, oh, I'm losing my grip on, as you said, that promise of my place in America. So how do we get to a place where we invite people into the conversation without pandering, but still invites people in and going like, oh, no, hey, this is for everybody's benefit.


It's not about you losing and me winning. It's about everybody winning as opposed to buying into the pyramid scheme.


You know, it's definitely something I talk about a bit in the book, right? The real harm that this actually does to white men, the system being told that your payout coming in, it never does. And the sense of failure that often accompanies white men when they've bought into this. But I think it's also really important to recognize that I personally am not writing to create a kinder, gentler white man. I'm writing because I am a black woman being harmed by this system and the way it works.


But I do hear from white men who say, you know, you've named a thing I couldn't name. You've named the disappointment a constant yearning for more that I couldn't name. But I don't expect that, you know, a white man who's angry and, you know, is completely in a political opposite for me is going to pick up my book. But what I do expect is that people who know something's wrong are going to start looking at our values, our systems and changing it.


And then the white men who come up in these systems come up differently, right the way in which the power that this violence has is lessened. And that's really what my goal is. The Daily Show with Criminal Lawyers Edition wants The Daily Show weeknights at 11:00, 10:00 Central on Comedy Central and the Comedy Central Watch full episodes and videos at The Daily Show Dotcom. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to The Daily Show on YouTube for exclusive content and more.


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