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This is our chance to see beyond the speeches that politicians are making. This is our chance to to think a little bit beyond what our mainstream media is telling us and what does it mean for us. And strangely, this opportunity has been a recent on so many levels, but it's been a recent on my mindfulness practice and going back to the beginnings of that and then just thinking about the ways in which a mindfulness practice helps this. Just think of things more clearly, taking pause and thinking how other people might feel is not only one of the calls to action for this moment that hopefully will go forward, but I think that that's like the work we need to do now.


So, you know, really think, how do I make space for other people? How do I make other people feel comfortable? Like how do we create a more just space in our communities? That's Knox Robinson and this is the Role podcast. The Rich Roll podcast. What is a people rich role here? Welcome to the podcast. OK, so. As we find ourselves amidst a global pandemic and the most powerful civil rights movement of my lifetime.


Despite our differences, which concerningly seem to be expanding, I think we can nonetheless all agree that this moment, how we respond to it, how we navigate through it, how we grow from it, how we educate ourselves because of it, will indelibly shape the economic, the political and the social fabric of our country for many years to come, hopefully for the better. And so to help us untangle the rhetoric behind the supercharged division we are experiencing.


I reached out to my friend Dr. Robinson, who traveled all the way from Mexico. God bless him to share his perspective with me and all of you guys today, which is pretty awesome. We're turning for a second appearance on the show. His first was two years ago, episode three. Ninety four, one of my all time favorites, I should mention. I urge all of you to check it out if you missed it the first time around.


Knox is a writer. He's an athlete. He's an accomplished national caliber runner, an eponymous curator said running culture and an astute student of black history, art, literature, music and poetry.


And it's an education that formally began for Knox with his tutelage under Maya Angelou at Wake Forest University and has continued throughout the many chapters of his life as a spoken word artist, as a music manager, as editor in chief of Fader magazine, and more recently, as co-founder and captain of Black Roses NYC, a diverse collective of running enthusiasts who routinely gather to hammer out intervals across Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan, a moving emblem of New York City's running street culture.


Knox is among the most interesting and multifaceted humans I've ever met, someone for whom urban culture is lifeblood and I think an important voice in and perspective on this moment that America is currently experiencing. As usual, I've got a few more important things to mention about Knox and the conversation to come. But first, I am so delighted that today's episode has brought to you by a company that both Knox and I are proud to represent. Jabor, the people behind the best audio experience and wireless headphones for the active minded on the planet, period.


And I'm not sure what else there is to say, but I guess I'll say this. If you're looking for earbuds that sound amazing, that are durable, that can endure all your outdoor adventures with military grade rigor, then look no further than Jaybird. And in particular, their latest release, the Vistar Earth Proof Chamber, its first true wireless headphone that meets IPEX seven and Millstead eighty one tank standards, I, I can't say I know what those letters and numbers stand for.


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So if you find yourself in a desert sandstorm or sinking into quicksand or running headfirst into a hurricane, you, my friends, can safely and confidently continue to listen to this very podcast in high quality stereo without interruption. Knox and I have both been working with Jabbered for a while at this point. In fact, the last time I saw Knox prior to this podcast was in Montana because Jaybird put together this amazing retreat in Glacier National Park for a really cool, interesting group of athletes as part of their Evista earbud launch.


And it was just a fun weekend of trail running, rafting, yoga, meditation, great food that really helped put together. She created the menu conversation community and it was all hosted, emceed by Knox himself and included a variety of friends and friends of the podcast like Sanjay were Wall to me, Ohlson, Gwen Jorgensen. That's where I met her and recorded that podcast. Billy Yang, who made a great video about the weekend called Montana The Window Seat, which you can find on Billy's YouTube channel.


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That's our OK dotcom slash rich roll to get twenty percent off your order of killer shades, prescription eyewear or something in between. OK, we did it. Thanks for sticking with me. I'm super grateful to our sponsors. Their support makes this show possible, so I appreciate it. Today's exchange is not only a check in with Knox, who, as I mentioned, is currently residing in Mexico City. It's also an investigation into the culture shifts caused by the pandemic and protests alike.


It's about virtue signalling and performative ally ship and why reading white fragility simply isn't enough. It's a deep dive into black America representation in athletics. But more than anything, this is about the poetics of running, running as a metaphor, running as an act of rebellion, and the disturbing symbolism behind Ahmed Aubrey's murder. I left this exchange better for having had it. I really appreciate Knox's perspective. This one is special. I think you guys are going to really dig it.


So without further ado, Knox, Robinson, everyone. Knox, delighted to have you here. Thank you for traveling many miles to be with be with me today. Sure, of course. So you've been holed up in Mexico City for, what, like nine weeks or something like that at this point? Yeah, it's it's felt like, obviously, considering everything, it's felt like a lifetime. So, yeah, I've been out there for three months, maybe a little over three months.


It's been wild. I thought originally that you were down there for some kind of event or professional reason. But that's not the case, right? Like you went there when things started to get hairy in New York and kind of escaped. Yeah, purposefully. Yeah, exactly. No, I mean, I had been kind of watching the news since the end of last year. You're just kind of a vague conspiracy. Theories are always just kind of seeing, you know, or an engaged citizen.


You're kind of just seeing the chatter and focus on things. And as it just started to spiral out of control, I was just thinking about on a couple levels like. The practicalities of my own personal life, you know, I have like a small daughter, and if the school shut down my son, he's 16, what was that going to be like? And then, you know, what would the social situation be like in New York on that infrastructure level?


So I was thinking about that. And then also, once you just started matching up the lack of cohesion from the national, state and local level in New York, the triumvirate of of Cuomo and de Blasio, it was kind of like I was like, why Mexico City, though? Why not? I mean, Mexico City is such an incredible place. I've been spending so much time there, more and more. And in addition to being like empirically great conditions, 8000 feet altitude or seventy seven hundred feet altitude, rich culture and history, it just seemed livable, you know.


And so I went down there with with my partner and our daughter and have have state rights. So she's like three, right? Your daughter? Yeah. Yeah. I've only been in Mexico City once. It was for a Runner's World event and it was it took place at a college campus that's in that newer part of town. I don't know what it's called, where there's like lots of fancy skyscrapers and things like that. Sure. And my only experience were like the older part of the city was just touring, you know, very quickly over the course of an afternoon.


But that's kind of where you're living, right? Like you're living right in the center. Yeah, well, I'm living in in Quinkan, which is, you know, an incredibly culturally rich neighborhood, because that's where, like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had lived and had their studio. It's interesting. There's a big though. The Whitney Museum had a huge show about Mexican muralists right before the pandemic closed things. And one of Rivera's contemporaries, José Clemente Orozco, was was also included in the show.


I'm staying at his place. Oh, wow. So, you know, my daughter sleeping on this bed underneath, like, his sketches. And it's in art and history. Yeah, except she's three, so. Yeah, but the osmosis of that. Well, yeah, but the result is she's been like devastating the historic building with crayons. Like I looked under the table the other day and there's a hole under his mural sketch is like a huge mural of with her crayon ruining this like historic building like I haven't told the owner yet.


But when I move out like the bill is going to be, it's got to respect like the young mind, though, like with no with no reverence for, you know, the the legacy that precedes it. Yeah. I guess her imprint, that sounds cool, but I mean, I wish she could have been an accountant and just like with an adult, because they're doing something less impact when it comes time to get the security deposit back. A wrap on that.


Right. What is Mexico City's response to the pandemic then? Like what? How does that compare to what's going on in America?


Yeah, I mean, it's been it's been obviously it's been called out in major media as as problematic. But again, our news sources, our mainstream media's news sources, you know, aren't necessarily trustworthy. And so the presidential the head of state response from them from Amla on down has been a little sketchy. But I was reading kind of some some information when I went down there for the first time. And he was just kind of saying and the response was saying, like, we know that humans aren't going to be able to social distance like ad infinitum.


There's going to be like a capacity. And once bandwidth is exceeded, people are just going to rebel against whatever structure. So they were playing that heavy calculus of waiting for. Things to peak and crest and then apply like heavy social distancing weather, where as like another kind of method would be imposed, social distancing early on, more prophylactically. Yeah, exactly. But again, that comes with, you know, in cultures where there may not even have the same concepts of social liberty on what our civil liberties, rather, in terms of Mexican, of joy, of living, the social differences are pretty chill.


So I think he was just saying, like, listen, this is Mexico. We have a huge sort of like day labor force and, you know, public transport and, you know, mass populace moving around. But also people are chill. So they really go on for like social distancing strictures. And now, as you see, whether it's like New York or Arizona, once people kind of like or over it, they're over it, you know?


And I think that even today, you know, we may be on the wrong side of history with this conversation, but even in this moment, the kind of like, you know, understanding of those things has been has been shifting. I mean, for me personally, I've been in lockdown. My partner is definitely like by the book Social Distancing. So we haven't been kind of like flaunting any conventions and stuff like. Definitely been tortured with a three year old.


I think I think we're not going to be able to really be able to evaluate properly which protocol and strategy was was best, you know, for another eighteen to twenty four months like were this is just a huge experiment in progress. And we're seeing different cities apply different measures. Now we're seeing the spikes as a result of the, you know, the all the protesting and all of that. You know, we're comparing that to the way things are being done in Sweden and the goalposts just continue to move.


And the information that we're getting from supposedly, you know, vetted sources continues to change. And I think it creates a lot of confusion. Yeah. And you brought that up against people just getting fatigued of staying at home and they're like, fuck it, you know, and with the protests, it's sort of like the floodgates opened and now it's very hard to go back. You know, we're like, well, we kind of did that. Yeah.


Like we're out in the world now. Yeah. You know, I've noticed in my own behavior just, you know, I picked you up at the hotel, we hugged, you know, we went and did an antibody test just before the podcast were both negative. But, you know, I wouldn't I probably wouldn't have done that like two weeks ago. Sure. We were sitting here, like, go right. And who knows what's right or wrong.


Like, we're all just figuring out as we go. This is just like a huge petri dish, you know, emotion at the moment. And it's interesting that he chose Mexico like I'm going to leave New York and I'm going to go to the most population density in the world for the pandemic. Interesting choice. Yeah. I mean, that's I mean, I guess if anything, that just shows you how dire, like my own kind of prescription for drug was going to be.


I mean, like, you know, I definitely but I can't see you being able to exist anywhere for any long period of time without some significant urban culture, because that's your lifeblood. Well, yeah. You got to you got to carry it around with you. So I'm definitely like, you know, trappin out a little bit. I mean, I when I think about the things that I wish I would have brought with me when I like, ran out with like a duffel bag, I did bring like the USB speaker.


So it's just been, if anything, an incredible time to go back and like dig into so much culture, dig into so much music and yeah. Go back to, like, all the things that, you know, you weren't really able to to unlock in the fast paced life that we were living up until very recently. Yeah. You know, this is this moment of forced repose where we're all being given an opportunity to take inventory of our lives, what's working, what's not.


And I myself have been trying to take advantage of that. Like the idea that we're just going to return to normal, I think would be tragic. Like here is this moment where we can really think more deeply and more profoundly about what we want our lives and culture and society to look like. Layered on top of that, with everything that we're going to get into, you know, makes this all the more exigence in terms of, you know, evaluating our systems and our individual behavior for sure.


So let's get into it.


I mean, I think, you know, as I was thinking about having you on, I thought, man, you know, everything that's happening across America right now is so, you know, relevant to Knox's, you know, vortex of interest. It must be weird for you to be in Mexico City and be more of an observer of what's happening rather than a participant, because you've been talking about this stuff your whole life. Right. And now here we are in this unprecedented, historic moment.


And you're in a completely different country. Yeah, I mean, definitely that that double consciousness of of being a black America, that happens all the time as a. You know, Michelle Obama said Barack Obama can get killed going to the gas station, so although I definitely have been thinking about all these ideas and living through these ideas my whole life and experiencing sort of these these, you know, kind of cultural waves my whole life at the same time, I was thinking about like what the actual social situation was going to be like in lockdown in New York as like a black man in America.


And that's when I was like, I I'm not here for that because I know me going down the street. That's just like you, that's just too dicey if you got caught out and there's a curfew. You being a black man just puts you at a greater risk. And I'm just not. Yeah, I'm just not like I'm not a I'm not a stay at home black man and I don't know what I'm doing. Why are you guys going to break that rule?


I'm just saying I know that is just not going to going to be going to be that. So I was like, let me take myself out of that situation before I find myself in that situation. And again, none of us knew that the world was going to, like, spiral in this way. But I just it's been amazing to see it from a distance. And then also, when you think about the interaction with Mexican culture and black American culture over 500 years is super fascinating.


So for me, I mean, I'm thinking about like John Carlos and Tommie Smith every day I'm thinking about Mexico City, 1968 Olympics every day. You know, so if we're thinking about Colin Kaepernick and if we're thinking about Minneapolis, then I'm also thinking about, you know, the events of 1968 Mexico. Yeah. It is interesting how this is brought that into the forefront of consciousness again. And we're seeing those images of those guys and we're having discussions about, you know, what happened to them in the wake of raising their fist on the podium in 68 and how their lives really were never the same after that.


Sure. What's also interesting, though, is how they got to that point. You know, and I've really been profoundly affected by this book called The Revolt of the Black Athlete by Dr. Harry Edwards. It's incredible. But he was the architect that worked with students organizing in the early in the mid 60s around San Jose State, I guess. And these are the athletes that ended up on the Olympic team. You know, this is the guy who has been in Capron next year and really kind of like given him a lot of the a lot of the political support for his kneeling protests.


And and also, I guess it was the University of Minnesota football team that, you know, had a boycott and a protest just several years ago. So this one individual has been kind of like. Situating. Black American athletics and athletes in the context of political realities for since the mid 60s, since the early cygwin, did he write that book in the early 60s? No, I think it might have been a reflection on the events of 68 and then he needed to update it to so that a new edition came out in the past year or so.


That's super fascinating. It's kind of getting a second buzz now because if you saw that Soderbergh film High Flying Bird. I did. Yeah. So that's the that's the the thing that's going through in the manila envelope. It's that book that's the book he's reading at the end, the revolt of the Black Athletes. So I saw that film that was incredible. Soderbergh film that all on a phone. Right. I found the whole thing. He had been out of the game.


He was not he didn't get enough credit for that movie. That was an incredible movie. But that movie came out right now. Yeah, it would. I mean. Yeah, and it just just came out. I mean, so yeah. Everybody go see that film because it's super incredible. And then you have the book that is revealed at the end is The Revolt of the Black Athlete by Dr. Edwards. Yeah. Meanwhile, how to be an anti-racist, I think is number one on the New York Times bestseller list.


Yeah, the whole bestseller list is like white fragility books. Yeah, I know. SeaChange change for those writers sounds in part by, you know, a genuine desire to learn and expand our awareness, I think. And also fueled in part by, you know, white guilt, I suppose. But, you know, I'm glad you said it, because there are certain things that you can say that I can't, because I was I read that and I was like, man, why people should love to buy books that they don't ever read.


Because I was like that whole list was like white fragility. And I was like, it's funny. Like, you know, black folks, like we have we see white folks, right? We I may be invisible. I may be the invisible man, but like black folks have always had a you're not invisible, especially with that hairdo. Come on. See, there's no but it's funny to, like, go on to that message board. Those are scary.


But like even in the comments section on social media and Instagram and see white people talking to each other is like real comedy. It's just like, let's get some porn. And just to read, like white comments with each other are real crazy. So the amount of performative city that's going with white people when like a white person post the fragility book, the comments are like, I got that book, I can't wait to start at this Saturday. And I'm like, well, every white person is about to examine their fragility every future Saturday.


It's a weird thing that I think is new for a lot of white people that you guys have been living in forever. There's a lot of performance virtue signalling out there for sure, but also a tremendous amount of of white fragility. And I you know, this is new to me. I posted I did I did a podcast I put up a couple of days ago with my friend Adam Skolnick, who's white Jewish guy. And it was more of just a discussion about what's going on right now.


And I posted a clip from that on Instagram. And it has like three hundred and ninety comments and scrolling through that was was an awakening, my friend, you know, an awakening all over the map. Yeah. My friend Dom Thompson, black dude, friend of mine, was like he chimed in and he's like, man, there's so much white fragility in this comment section. And then he got like forty one comments underneath. Right. Just off that and.


Yeah. And he's just on the side like man and everyone's like a lot of like repressed rage, a lot of cheerleading like all over the place. And it was very disorienting for me as somebody who doesn't court controversy and as somebody who feels like I'm talking common sense to realize that we really are divided as a country. There's a there's a plethora of perspectives on this issue and it's also supercharged at the moment. Yeah. That makes me afraid of our ability to move forward.


We can talk about optimism, you know, as we get into this. But, you know, that's been an education for me. And I think as a as a white dude, like trying to figure out how to communicate around this is tricky, too. We were talking about this on the on the ride over here, like, you know, knowing like feeling strongly that I don't want to be silent and I want to be part of positive change.


Also being sensitive that it's really not my place to to, you know, lead the charge at all, you know, like I want to participate, but also being very conscious that this is not my movement, but also conscious that that this is a problem that whites need to solve. Like black people are fine. You know, it's like it's the white people that have to figure this shit out here. And that was what the clip was about.


It's like, this is a white problem. Yeah, I was. Inflammatory for a lot of people. So, like, how do you think about this, like, help me out here, man, because, yeah, I was still, like, laughing about the you know, I'm still laughing about the white fragility reading this, you know, and maybe maybe it's just that, like you said, like black people have always known it. And I'm looking at all these authors who are writing the book.


I was like, why are you telling people about white fragility? That's the one thing we had on him that was like, oh, no, you know, but it's and it's disorienting all the way around. And in this moment, that's that's for sure. I mean, on one hand, it's a white problem, but it's all it's our common culture. Sure. So if we all in our country so, you know, whether we're thinking about these divided states of America or we're thinking about what our culture, our common culture means on a new mental way, you know, in the course of like human history over the past, you know, four hundred and one years.


And then then, yeah, we all do have a stake in it. Yeah. And that's what's weird about the tension about we're so divided. It's like. It's weird how evenly divided, even though there's all these subcultures and there may be minorities or whatever, it's really. Electorally split like 53, 47, 51, 49, on even given day, like on so many issues, right. You know, and that kind of push me pull you is is really what it feels like a battle for hearts and minds.


And really, I think what we're seeing, like play out in real time in the comment section. I mean, it's funny right now on social media, it's not even the content you post. No offense to you, content's great, but like, it's really the works from the comments. Sure. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. That's where you break out the popcorn. That's how you monetize like brands are like what's going on in my sponsor and I sponsored comments just to be clear.


So so there's this false dichotomy. You know, you see this, there's this rift. Like people, you know, people say Black Lives matter, and then you have a contingent of people say all lives matter. And I think we're getting better at understanding that, you know, that what that's all about. Yeah, but to say is it is it is it analogous or not to say this is a white problem versus this is a human problem, you know, are those two things like Black Lives Matter, all lives matter, white problem, problem of humanity.


Like, how do those things line up? Well, these are all like tags, right? These are all like linguistic cues that kind of redirect the listener's attention. So if they're dog whistles, right. Yeah. In their respective ways. Yeah. Right. And not necessarily, you know, laden with the image, the energy of dog whistles that say the president uses. But in terms of the frequency that certain people pick up, it's definitely a valid idea.


So when you're thinking about what might constitute a white problem, I mean, you know, if white people got a problem but redirecting the attention to white people to own it or to have ownership of it and to, again, work at solving it, work on dismantling the problem, that's like an interesting redirect. That's a crucial redirect. You know, like in an empathetic you obviously like black people's problems, everybody's problem. Yeah, but. The way the way it's set up, you know, if you if you kind of like, personalize it just to black folks, then you're going to like lose out on a lot of people feeling invested in or having even any agency.


I mean, that's that's what's weird. I mean, whether like whether there is like social justice warriors or people who are like recalcitrant and don't really want to, like, engage with these issues at all. There has been like a real, like, neck snapping of swift. Realization, it feels like on the part of a lot of white people to, like, jump into this head on, you know what I mean? And it might be wrong headed or even if it's well-intentioned or no.


I mean, no. I mean well-intentioned, intentioned, like at this point we're taking it, you know. I mean but like, how are we challenging. Sure. And channeling it in in a way that's kind of like, you know, moving moving forward, you know, like everybody loves moonshots, you know, but moonshots don't really exist. Right. It's really the progress of incremental gains, marginal gains that really. Brings us progress, but this situation right here might be one of those once in a lifetime moonshots.


Yeah, you know, where people are really being accelerated through so much. You know, there is that sense that we have an opening now that we haven't seen in our lifetimes. Yeah, and I think it would be tragic if we weren't able to figure out how to put that energy into, you know, the right avenue to make those changes. Yeah. And I think part of it is, is, you know, my learning curve here has been really trying to understand the systemic aspect of this.


I went and watched 13th the other night with my family, and it's just so powerful like it it really. Contextualizes and explains and analyzes the systemic nature of this in a way that makes it impossible to avert your glance when you look at Alec and the CCRA in the way that the prison infrastructure is set up and the lobbying efforts and our whole political system being geared towards these tectonic plates moving such that black people are disproportionately incarcerated and penalized, it's impossible to not understand that we need, you know, ground up change like really fundamental systemic changes in how we're operating.


Yeah, and that has to that has to be a conversation. I mean, like, there's you know, it's great to have an electoral focus, but that process is fraught, obviously, as the last presidential several presidential elections have shown. But also, you know, there needs to be a community conversation, you know, rather than these things are hot button issues that are going to get resolved at a city council. Zoome meeting. You know, there needs to be sort of like a real sympatico energy where everybody is sort of conversant in these ideas, for starters, you know, but I feel like that's happening.


Yeah. Yeah. So then what's the next step like? How do we. So we're having the conversation. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so we're having the conversation and you know, it's wild. I mean it's already things are so accelerated that right now, like downtown Seattle is like an autonomous zone. And, you know, people are on flat bottom boats on Lake Havasu just doing donuts. Right. Living their life. So the next step is is remains to be seen.


But I've really kind of surprisingly just going back to two older models and I'm finding those are really resonating. So, you know. It's interesting to think about by older, what do you mean by that? I just think it's interesting to see what like what people are saying in the 60s and 70s, you know, and we've kind of glamorized these figures and made them into posters and t shirts and biopics. But going back. And what were the Panthers talking about, you know, going back and really looking like what was the social flux of the 60s and 70s trying to push forward and those things, how do they get lost in the late 70s and 80s?


And what are all those forces? So, you know, there are some new models of of being right now. But I think that there's also a lot to kind of uncover and rediscover and what was kind of set down a couple of generations ago. Yeah, that was the other thing about 13th that made me made me realize that there's quite a bit of revisionist history when it comes to the Panthers and Angela Davis and Malcolm X and even Martin Luther King, like what we're taught in school or led led to believe and understand isn't quite the reality of how that all went down.


Yeah. I mean, and why not? Right. I mean, if if we were choosing between Barack Obama and a guy who in 1982 or 1983 voted against the establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. as a holiday when he was senator of Arizona, that was just, you know, a couple of decades ago, you know, and rest in peace, John, John McCain. But it really is interesting that, like, we don't even have, like, a clear picture of King and he's like got a statue and stamps.


And I mean, so definitely understanding King's legacy and Malcolm X's legacy and the legacy of that. I mean, it's amazing to see Angela Davis so active. Right. And I'm looking on Instagram and she's like every other person's shoes everywhere. I was like this. Hydrate. Yeah. Yeah. She's probably your third 13th when she comes into the courtroom with her big afro. Like, it's just it's so powerful. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, really.


And, you know, maybe I'll redirect in the Congo to talk about people's reading lists, but you could just have like a reading list of the women, you know, like. Women in their early 70s, black women in the early 70s who are coming out of the Panther movement, you know what I mean? So, you know, we know Angela Davis, but I mean, Assata Shakur is autobiography. Biography is essential reading. Elaine Brown, you know, Erica Huggins, like all these Kathleen Cleaver, all these incredibly storied women and had wildly rich lives, whether, you know, they were, you know, political actors or militants or, you know, freedom fighters, you know, who who are still around today.


Super fascinating. So we could just reset the whole New York Times list right now and put like aside a lot of you at the top, you know? Well, give me a reading list. I'll put it in the show. It's OK. OK. When you were first on the podcast, I was like a couple of years ago.


Two years ago, we went through your your whole story and people who are newer to the show. I encourage you to go back and listen to that. I thought that was a really great conversation. But, you know, one of the one of the seminal kind of moments in your life was being a student under Maya Angelou. And you told these beautiful stories about what that experience was like. I'm curious. I would suspect that, you know, her words and her kind of I don't know if mentorship is too strong a word, but her presence in your life must, you know, be percolating to the surface right now.


Yeah. Yeah. I think about it all the time, and she was such a heavy presence that I wish it was different, you know, I would just like, you know, she was there. You can't choose your mentors. You know, you wish you'd shown up for that dinner at her house. Oh, gosh. I mean, I just, you know, like, it's interesting to think that she gave the inaugural poem at the first Clinton inauguration.


So, like, whatever our feelings about the Clinton presidency, to think that Dr. Angelou was this presence on the National Mall that cold morning in January of, I guess, 93. Yeah, I mean, I remember reading that poem on The Pulse of Morning as a high school student. And I guess at that time I thought I was going to, you know, study at Wake Forest University, but I wasn't really putting the pieces together. And so now even that poem on the pulse of morning kind of gone back and like started to unpack it.


And it is very like 90s identity politics and diversity and bringing people together. And if you have any sort of like hand-wringing ambivalence about that now, maybe it's just the result of how hardened we've become recently and how bitter and sour we've been. We've become you know, we're kind of reading these things and we like, what is she talking about? Maybe it's actually, you know, worthy of a second look, you know, because really, Dr. Angela was just a vessel of so many experiences and so many voices.


You know, I was reflecting recently talking to somebody about it. And they say John Milton was the last person to have ever read anything on the planet. I mean, I have read everything. Yeah, everything that had been written. And, you know, I'm like, right there you are in the libraries of Timbuktu, you know? But, you know, as far as a white guy, he had read what white people had put down.


Dig it. That's what Dr. Angela was like, though. She was just like carried within her. I guess as the phrasing goes, multitudes, you know, I guess, as Wordsworth would say, like, you know, she really had that. And it was just like spilling out of her ideally at a at every occasion. So, yeah, I'm definitely thinking about her and her legacy at this at this time. Yeah. Who are the poets right now that you think are speaking to culture in a profound way?


You know, honestly, quarantine's been an amazing time to reflect on that. And, you know, there's this poet. I'm a writer, you know, so you're envious of other writers, but but those are just my own appetites, you know. But there is this person, Dean Smith, who has written this incredible book called Homy. I've been as I was leaving the house from Brooklyn to go to Mexico City, I took. Four or five books with me, and, you know, this writer is not only putting down some really lacerating poetry early on in their career, but.


There in Minneapolis, like there from Minneapolis, and so Dean Smith is like walking around Minneapolis, kind of like document on day one, I was like, wait, my favorite poet, like the most essential poet, you know, working right now is on the ground with a mask on documenting and like getting resources out to people. And so that's the kind of responsibility that I think if artists and writers do have any responsibility at all, I think that's sort of what my vein is.


When you're kind of looking at writers kind of coming out of a Latin American tradition or like a black American tradition, it's not just I'm graduating from an MFA program and I'm like writing my carefully sculpted verses over here and my great department at an artist's colony. But, you know, I'm an omnivore and I'm working on poetry and essays and book reviews. And, you know, I mean, we know Langston Hughes as a poet. But if you think about the buddy flick of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston driving around the American South, writing stories of regular people's lives and filing them as dispatches to Gazette's back up in the north, that's kind of like, yeah, you know, that's that's a that's the work of a writer, you know.


And so to think that an incredible. Poet is there, active on the ground, kind of documenting the the the wildness in Minneapolis's is incredible. Yeah. As a writer yourself, have you been putting your thoughts down? Like, how are you approaching this as a creative person? Yeah, it's it's it's tough because you really want to open your aperture, like, as wide as you can and just record everything and remember everything, you know, I guess almost in the way that you think, like the earliest cameras operated before, before is like a microchip thing.


If you kind of just think about the actual crude mechanics of a lightbox capturing an image and preserving it on film or paper, you know, is is sort of like what the work of a writer is, but especially in the wake of the Amitabha killing. It's. It's rather poignantly reset for me, my own relationship with writing, my own responsibility with writing, and so, yeah, I've really been. Doing personal work, thinking about the murder of a marberry, specifically as a runner that was so impactful to so many of us, obviously in running culture, but obviously around the world.


But, yeah, it's something I can't shake. And so I've been doing a lot of writing like poetry, actually, or just writing around that to think long term. Like what? What would I have to share and contribute that would sort of. Connect with that guy's life, you know? Well, let's talk about him, I mean, not one is of particular, you know, pertinence because you're a runner, right? And I read this article that was in Runner's World recently where you were quoted and you said, in some ways I can't escape the sense that a marberry was killed because he was running, because he was that literal embodiment of our freedom.


That's obviously still so threatening to many people in this country. Yeah, I mean, I'd love to be wrong. I would love to kind of like. Meditate that idea way or like age, that idea way or right, that idea. But. I I can't shake it and, you know. Sit back and watch this trial, these trials, and see what happens over the course of due process, but. I just can't stop thinking about.


The dramaturge of the theatrical the staging of of those last minutes, you know, and I think what it was when the video first came out. Obviously, it's devastating to watch. But. You know, the work is to expand your aperture, so, like, how much can you take in? How much can you hold? You know, it's not just about Milton and Dr. Angelou reading a bunch of books, but like, how much can you actually hold and.


I've been I've been black my whole life, right, so and I'm well familiar with extrajudicial killings of black American men in the United States. I was seeing a runner and. I can't I can't get over. I like the way his body moved as a runner on that film in the last moments, it's something that like I think every runner relates to write. If you have a body, you're a runner. And so if you're a runner, then you're relating to a Montabaur because.


It just looked like it just looked like he was trying to like. Continue running, you know. You know, we going down the sidewalk and like someone's not paying attention, you know what, they're Dotson or, you know, or someone's veering and you're just kind of like you're focused on speeding or you're just like that. I just can't stop replaying that image of him just. At those last moments when he just goes to the right, I just doorway his hips cut in the knees and I was like, wow, that's my body, you know?


And I'm kind of been exploring that and riding around that and kind of thinking about. Starting there and then moving out to to think about the messages that is his life and his legacy kind of hold for us. Yeah, I've said this before, but, you know, as a runner myself, I've run and, you know, tons of cities all over the world. Never once has it ever occurred to me that I might be in jeopardy or that my life might be threatened by strapping on a pair of running shoes and leaving whatever hotel I'm in to go explore a city I've never been in before.


But, you know, as a black American and as a runner and also as somebody who's incredibly well traveled, you've been all over the world. You get to you have this incredible life where you get to spread the culture of running wherever you go. Like, I don't know how that works, but like you, of course, I can live.


You know, obviously you have a different relationship to that. Like, that is something that you have to think about. So, you know, help me understand, you know, the psychology of that. Like when you're going out to run, like what goes through your mind and you know, what you have to do to make sure that you're safe. Like, what is that experience that's relatable to, you know, every black American who wants to go run?


Yeah, I mean, it's actually it's actually super complicated because, you know, we're in a running boom. And so a lot of people are getting into running now. And so in addition to all the other challenges of getting into running your body, rebelling against you, where do you like how do you do it? Like the most simple thing that we have in the human toolkit. But like, how do you get started? But I've been talking to, like, a lot of brothers, a lot of brothers and sisters who have been doing it our whole lives were like who were school age athletes.


And I think a lot of us actually have like a different relationship with it than has been reported in the media. And I think that a lot of us are so proud to be runners or so proud to do it, that it's such like an inviolable piece of our identity that when we go out to run, it's it's like. It's like such a symbol of pride, you know, it feels, you know, like. An example like a physical example of black excellence, I mean, the way you feel, you know, the way you feel when you have a good run, you know, I think up for a lot of us is actually tied to feeling good to be black, you know, or like kind of residing in in these bodies that we're blessed with.


So I don't I don't have, like, a fraught relationship with. Going out for a run, I mean, are there sort of I mean, obviously I can give you like a litany of racist experiences that I've had running. I'm sure not a ton of those I read. Like, well, if you're going to do that, then you should wear a T-shirt with a university name on it or something, some some kind of signal. I mean, if it comes down to the safe person, look, running is hard enough.


Like you can line up excuses, but if, like, I got to put on an Ivy League shirt to go for a run, I might take up ceramics or like some other kind of. You don't think about that? No, no, no, no, no. I mean, I am. You put the Black Roses stuff on. Yeah, yeah. I mean, if I've really got a flash on it, but I honestly think that.


That in recent years, as I've. Thought more about why it is Iran or like what it means or what is the experience, I've come to understand that like. You know, honestly, the black body moving through space is such a wild image to people, and when you're a kid trying not to get cut from the track team, if you're trying to, like, not finish last in the two mile, you ain't thinking about you're thinking about like you don't want to let down John Carlos and Tommie Smith, like you're in the middle, like I can't finish last because then what would Edwin Moses think?


But, you know, now I'm thinking about it and I just see that, like, the reactions that people have when I run by whether I'm in Brooklyn and best I if I'm in a black neighborhood or if I'm in a white neighborhood or or in a different country, just I feel that the image of like a black man. Running. Is one of the most sudden and visually arresting images that people might be confronted with. That's not my idea.


That's just what I'm seeing and experiencing, you know, and I was like, why is that triggering? Why are like people almost hitting their car? I mean, this is like if you run in, if you're training, if you run 100 miles a week, that's a lot of people you're pass a lot of people, obviously a lot of people. And so there is a constant sort of like stop and stare. And sometimes in your vanity, you know.


Someone's checking you out then you feeling good? Wish I could look like that and run like that. You know, it's like, OK, take that or I'm going to cross the street. Yeah, well, yeah.


I mean, you know, when you're fit, you're faster than them. So what's weird? Sorry to interrupt, but like, what's weird is that, you know, look, running is dominated by by blacks and African-Americans across the board from the 100 meters all the way up. Right. Like at the highest level at the elite level. And historically, it's rooted in black culture and African culture. But in America, it's sort of this white thing.


Right. Which is a strength. It's like, you know, we think of it. We don't think of it in terms of its ancestral roots. Yeah, I mean, it's elite level. Yeah. And I think that, you know, lately I just found embarrassing like an old like. Curmudgeonly Marxists or something like that, but I think in terms of like a late capitalist critique of what happened in in the running boom coming out of the 70s and 80s, you know, it really was running popular running was reduced down to this idea of like this is something that rich white guys do.


And so I have to keep resetting because a lot of us don't even think that, like, you talk to brothers around the way and we're like, this is like what I do. This is cool. So when we joked, you know, on our on our first kind of conversation together, I just grew up that way. Not only do I think that that's quaint, but also I keep going back to bring something of that into the present day and record and suggest that, you know, far from these articles about like running has always been white or like jogging has always been a white sport.


Oh, I don't really write. I mean, you grew up your dad would go to the ten KS and, like, joke around with his buddies. And it's kind of the culture that you grew up in. But one of the things I love that you do on Instagram is you'll find old ads from like the 70s from running magazines and stuff like that, and you'll you'll show them and you you see the sort of historical chronicle of, like, how running was portrayed to the public.


Sure. Like the latest pair of shoes or running shorts and stuff like. Super fascinating. Yeah. See how it's being depicted. Right. Well, of course, like, you know, America loves using black people and black culture is like marketing forces. So even in this the Michael Spino book, the inner inner running. Right. Or beyond jogging like this super esoteric 70s kind of cult book about jogging had a brother on the cover. And so when I met my Speedo, I was like, Yeah, man.


I mean, you were coming at Esalen Institute. You put a black dude on the cover of this mystical book about running. He's like, that's John Carlos. He wasn't happy about that.


And so as John Carlos. But but yeah. So I my understanding of it is that there's always been that kind of representation all the way along until, you know, maybe 80s and 90s. Yeah. When I look back at my training logs or when you look back at, you know, the magazines of the day there, there wasn't really kind of any representation or diversity, but it was happening. You know, the conversations were there. Again, it's weird to keep referring to Instagram, but I follow some of these high school heroes or these guys that I would follow America's best in the 90s, Bob Kennedy, Todd Williams and on Instagram.


And now it's kind of cool to see how your legends ended up. This dude, Bob Kennedy, he's from Indiana. He's Indiana, like born and bred. That was just like his thing. He posted this thing the other day. Talking about Steve Hollman, Steve Holeman was this black dude who was America's best miler, you know, more or less the best miler in the mid 90s when I was kind of coming up and whatever happened with the Olympic schedule of every four years, he never, never won a gold or anything like that.


But it definitely was that guy cover of Runner's World, whatever. Handsome and man. Just last week, Bob Kennedy posted this anecdote about riding around with Steve Holman at a track meet in Los Angeles in the 90s and like the discrimination that like Steve Holleman was getting. Coming out of the hotel and people checking IDs and. It was so crazy to hear about a story of my heroes in 1994 experiencing something that I was struggling with as a young runner at the same time, and to know that, like Bob Holman and, you know, these these athletes were experiencing this, but that it was also that conversation.


Steve Holman and Bob Kenney were having this conversation and Holman saying to Kennedy, like, you know, yeah, this is like my reality. And if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And that's and your sense was that somebody like that must, must, must have transcended that. Like, he can't be having to deal with the stuff that I'm having to deal with.


Well, you know, I never even got that far.


He's on the cover of the magazine and he's got like a, you know, winning smile. And you're looking at his times. You know, you're not kind of looking it to him for, like, lessons of like perseverance, you know, on a on a cultural level, on a political level. So honestly, you kind of broke me a little bit to read the story of these guys who were young and pursuing their dreams, you know, and and that's.


What I am personally sort of obsessed with, you know, like when we're thinking about black Americans representing the United States on an international level or just walking down the street and representing America, you know, what does that mean? I mean, so we know it's easy to think about John Carlos and Tommie Smith on the podium in 1968, winning gold medals in the 200. But what did it mean for Ted Corbett to represent the United States in the marathon as a black mayor, as a black man in America?


At the nineteen fifty six games in Helsinki, you know, so what was his life like if if Brown vs. Board of Ed was early 50s? Right. And then Emmett Till, Emmett Till's ghastly murder and appearance on the cover of magazine was fifty five. Fifty four. Fifty five. And then Ted Corbett is like wearing the USA singlet in the marathon, you know, in nineteen fifty six in Helsinki. What was his life like. I mean PSA about Ted covid just really it's tough to think about running being always a white man's sport.


If this guy was the founding president of New York Road Runners, if this man was the architect behind the the fiber in New York City Marathon course, that's celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year. I mean, a superlative American, Ted Corbitt. Yeah, but I really don't know. A story like that story is being told. We need that on The New York Times bestseller list. But I mean, this guy had the longest streak of sub three hour performances at Boston.


I mean, the guy's like 19, like just whatever, and was active up until his 80s. Just an incredible ambassador for the sport, clean eating. And, you know, like like he's he's one of those guys you read about, like in the, you know, sadly short Black History Month. This guy, in addition to all these other exploits, also invented the course measurement system that's used on bicycles to measure, you know, that you used to like measure.


Of course, it's empirically. So this is like a wild American. Interesting note about Ted Corbitt. He was also a member of the New York Pioneer Club and the New York Pioneer Club was America's first integrated sports club that, yeah, integrated in the the decade before Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball. So this kind of legacy of. Of multicultural participation, of black American representation in athletics is something that is definitely up for revision for sure. Mm hmm.


One of your big mantras is, and we talked about this last time, is running is an act of rebellion. Right. So now, in light of current events, like how do you contextualize that statement? Like how does that apply towards, you know, your perspective and the role of advocacy around what we've seen unfold? You know, honestly, in a difficult way, in a quiet way, thinking about a Marbury's last day, you know, is 25.


And. What would you say Quarterlife crisis is 25, you know. Think about what we were doing when we were 25 or what people are doing, figuring out your life like you're letting go of, you know, the ideals you had of who you were as a teenager in high school and thinking about what it means to be an adult and man instead of sitting around on the couch like smoking weed, you know what I mean? Being depressed, like the dude put on his you know, not to say he was sitting around being depressed or whatever, but I just think all of us, you hit that those stages in your life where you need to figure it out.


And we know that you can figure it out through running. And I can't get over the sense that like like all of us, like all runners, it's a vehicle for us to see goals in the future. It's a vehicle for us to it's to to see, you know, to imagine. And so I keep thinking that, well, that's rebellion, right. Because it's easier for us if we're just going to be like a digit it's easy for us if our politicians are just going to want us to not show up to the polls.


If, you know, companies just take us for granted that we're going to consume whatever food they put in a package on the shelf. You know, that we're not going to patronise our own establishment that have like been on this corner for 20 or 30 years in a box store can come and replace it. So any time we're not doing that, any time we're reinvesting in like the human community and our own communities and we're circulating our dollars in our communities, that's rebellion in this kind of like late stage capitalist death row that we're we're locked in right now, you know.


Yeah. And Marbury was doing that. And the idea that, yeah, black man triggering freedom triggering. But also that's just a symbol of freedom and that agency. Yeah. Like, I actually I cannot, you know, can't get my car out of the shop. I can't change this school loan bill today. You know, I can kind of like, you know, change climate today, but like, what can I do today, you know, and run might not even figure any of that stuff out, but Arun might be literally and figuratively the first steps to figuring some of those things out.


Yeah, well, there's running to something and then there's running from something. Yeah, right. So running from the cops, that's its own form of rebellion. I guess it's own fitness to to something implies, you know, sort of self investment, positive change. Like I'm looking for answers. I'm grappling with, you know, identity. Yeah. I mean so when people say that yeah. Running is like a white thing, I mean the idea of running is so.


Deeply bound up in the story of black Americans, that it's it's such a it's such a metaphor for us, which is why, like preachers talk about it in the pulpit, which is why, you know, rappers kind of like reach for it as a metaphor in their verses. So it's interesting to to kind of restore it and situated to look at the ways in which it's a profoundly American thing, you know. And I think, interestingly, we're also seeing a moment in which we're realizing that things that.


Again, like you brought up revision, you know, our own revisionist history, you know, there are certain things that fell outside of the canon of of your American cultural values. You know, like one of the things about white supremacy is that it's so predicated on this narrow idea. I mean, it's a totally concocted, fabricated idea. Right? Like, what's a white person like that? It also necessarily excluded. All other forms of supremacy, all other forms of culture in existence, and so from the very beginning of this culture of this country's, you know, birth, so many of these practices that black Americans were engaged in were kind of excluded from the narrative.


So fabric arts might be considered making clothes, you know, and African hair art, you know, hair braiding that we brought with us from from Africa might just, you know, not only be considered hair braiding, but was so threatening on like, you know, the slave plantation system that even that was sort of forbidden, you know, so the things that we were practicing. During African enslavement and then, you know, in the decades since.


Were were were sort of excluded from the narrative of what could be art and what could be creativity and what can be expression. And so this is a bit of a leap. But I think where I'm at right now is like looking at running. As as expression, you know, like along the lines of dance, you know, like the the movement as expression and movement as an art, you know, it's it's OK to call it a sport.


It's OK to celebrate at the Olympics and put a label on it. But when you're calling it sport, it's able to kind of push it over to the side and be like, that's something that those folks do. But what if we're, like looking at the movement? Arts next to the visual arts, next to the sonic arts, you know, and so I kind of am thinking about running now in the context of sculpture, in the context of, like, you know, Miles Davis work in the context of meditation practice rather than just kind of like, you know, doing Cordish on the track.


So, yeah, I mean, there's a there is a beauty in a poetry to that. And there are certainly. Performances that stand out as examples of that, like whether it's Edwin Moses hurdling or Usain Bolt running 100 meter dash or Shoghi break in the two hour mark like those, those are pieces of performance art, undoubtedly. And when you're, you know, kind of recounting these various art forms, you know, I can't help but think about how.


Music is distinct from that, like when when certain art forms percolated up that did resonate with white culture, they were immediately appropriated and repackaged in a different way. So any time like something kind of, oh, I like that, actually, that might be something like, let me grab that and I'll take that and I'll present it to the public in a kind of mainstream way that's digestible for them. Yeah, I mean, you kind of grow up knowing that as a black person.


A white man. Yeah. So the trope of Elvis and all. Yeah, but but I'm seeing it like all over the place now, you know, not only in the work that, you know, maybe even I've been doing and running culture for the past 10 years to see how you know, that along with the efforts of a small group of people working in urban running has shifted marketing campaigns of multinational corporations. Yeah.


Yeah, it's your fault. It's my fault. So, yeah, I definitely apologize to the ancestors. It's cool to have like a bridge runners. Yeah. Team now and city and stuff like that. I mean, it's like black roses. Like last time you did this, I thought, like, I'm going to ask him for a Black Roses jersey. And I was like, nah, I can't. Not unless I'm part of the team because I know you don't give those out.


Right. You know, it's like you got to be in the deal. Yeah, I'm trying to hold on to that, you know, and then, you know, like Jessica Simpson, just like sell it and like produce it in a sweatshop and they get rich or whatever. But yeah, for now is that kind of idea. But yeah, for it's wild to have watch brands. I mean, people just don't know, like, you know, nod to, to the articles about like running has been a white thing.


There was just like no black people on the pages and now you go through a page of or running ads and it's just like you think it's only black people. If you if you were to judge running, you know, by its ads, you would think only black people do it because they're heavily marketed. They're using using black folks now, you know, but I'm not even kind of like, yeah, it's you got to look outside of running for inspiration to kind of like figure out your way forward with running.


And in this quarantine time, it's been wild to just kind of again, I'm on so many different like Iggy lives like it's like going back to school, you know. And so I've been seeing really fascinating conversations with, you know, black ceramicist and looking at the connections between, you know, pottery and and running or, you know, I thought about coming and rapping to you about this. But even the the tradition of barbecue and black culture, you know, is super fascinating.


And to look at the ways in which that's been gentrified, you know, I was watching this. There's a super fascinating barbecue expert named Howard Connors, I think is his name. And he's from South Carolina, lives in New Orleans now. And I'm so impacted by listen to this guy speak. First of all, he's literally a rocket scientist. He's gone and works in a jet propulsion engine lab or whatever. But he's also a master at barbecue and the historical research that he's doing to show that like Africans were introducing pit barbecue techniques in 16th century Mexico.


Well, like Mexicans are could be mad when I'm back in Mexico, like you think black people invented barbacoa. And, you know, that's like, you know, you're pro black. I people, like, not is really pro black, but like, you know, you're pro black when you're walking around Mexico. Like, we invented that. And so shout out to all my peoples in Mexico like aspect of the cuisine. But I'm really looking at the ways in which even our own practices that we've been doing here in the Americas has just been kind of like subsumed by the dominant culture.


Hair braiding, for instance, obviously just a symbol of of of black elegance and communication that we brought with us from Africa. Bo Derek is like a classic example of cornrows kind of going crazy, iconic image. It's tough to be mad at Bo Derek, you know, I mean, like, you know, if you want to, like, rail against white people and Bo Derek up, there were raids on it's like got to be of a certain age.


That movie ten. Well, I mean, again, no, but it's just wild to see the ways in which, like in running the white women have appropriated African hairstyles or African-American hairstyles and and sometimes not even understanding. I've seen folks call it race baiting. And I was like, wow, you know, not only are you kind of like, really coopting these kind of super rich cultural. Expressions from black women in America who are paying the cost for that, who are suffering from unfair and discriminatory hiring practices and pay practices, you know, not just because of their hair, but because of who they are, but to kind of just like take wholesale black hairstyles and then just like use that as like your lucky hairdo for your marathon is is is offensive, you know, and is is cultural appropriation.


So even in running, which is simple, just loosen up and going down the road is is is rife with cultural appropriation, that bike that is worthy of investigation for sure. Well every art form, every trend is built upon the legacy of some pre-existing form. Right. So, you know, if you extrapolate that argument, everything is appropriation. So at what point does the appropriation or the nod to the forbearers, you know, become inappropriate and like, what is the responsible ethical way to, you know, basically embrace multiculturalism?


Like, I think that's a that's like an area where a lot of people don't know where their ground is firm.


Yeah, yeah. I think it's not sexy, but it really is a question of attribution and respect. And so now in these days when people are talking about the phrase, you know, do the work, knowing sort of, you know, you don't want to be a nerd like me and kind of just be like making all these connections. But, you know, you really do have to understand you brought up the example of Elvis. I mean, kind of taking in rhythm and blues music and stripping away all of its labeling and then repackaging it for something that you want to market in a different kind of way.


That's, I think, probably where the disconnect is. You know, so if we're understanding that Picasso and George Rock were getting was we're getting so much influence from African sculpture, you know, when they were working at that time, then we're understanding Picasso a little bit more. And we're also probably noticing our sense of what geniuses, rather than thinking this is like the greatest artist of all time, looking at Picasso as a link in the chain and someone who you might put his work up as museums are doing now, his work up next to the work of Faith Ringgold.


You know, like how artists can not only be just contemporaries in the studio or at a moment in time, but also a thematic and cultural contemporaries and in cultural conversation, juxtaposing those against the influences. Yeah, for sure. So I think it's again, they always say it's a it's a question of influences, you know. And so I think that when we're respecting where we're when we're respecting our inspirations, when when we're acknowledging our inspirations from from whence they came, then I think that that's a huge step towards kind of like, again, dismantling some of these white supremacist practices like cultural appropriation.


So in a very practical sense, if there's a woman who wants to, you know, cornrow her hair for her marathon. Yeah. How is she supposed to provide that attribution in a respectful way?


Well, you know, I mean, it might be economics, right? You might want to pay a black woman to do it, you know, rather than say, like, you know, if this is how black women in our communities make their living with hair braiding salons, let's patronize those businesses and give credit to that. Like the idea that like, this is how I braided my hair in high school, you know? And so this is what I'm going to do, that that's not exactly the same thing.


Now, it should be said that, like women around the world have always braided their hair in intricate fashion. And so some braiding techniques coming out of Scandinavia culturally demonstrable. So I'm not trying to take it and legislate yet of this. But, you know, and also I think that. Taking pause and thinking how other people might feel, you know, is is not only one of the calls to action for this moment. That that hopefully will go forward, but I think that that's like the work we need to do now so, you know, really think, how do I make space for other people?


How do I make other people feel comfortable, you know, again, to say in running or something like that, like how do we create a more just space and in our in our communities? Yeah, I'm interested in in kind of what Unity and Ally Ship looks like to you, like, you know, just sitting here thinking I'm a white dude, you know, I'm privileged. I come from a certain background. We're in this moment and I really want to be as open as possible and as teachable as possible.


I want to fully understand the breadth and the depth of what we're contending with right here. And I want to be an ally and I'm very you know, I find myself feeling cautious or somewhat paralytic around what to say and what to do for fear of me stepping in a culture in which, you know, a slight misstep on Instagram or in public is met with, you know, we were talking about before. And not that I really, you know, care that much about any of that.


I really what I want what I do care about is like getting this right. I'm interested in. And you know what that looks like from somebody of your perspective, that's that's an interesting thing and I think that's something that a lot of us are thinking about and. One of the things about double consciousness is that I wasn't really thinking about. In that situation you just described, you know, like I don't think a lot of black Americans that I've been in conversation with over over my life have been really talking about paralytic white guilt, right?


Yeah. Yeah. So this is the wave of communications in the past several weeks has been really fascinating. Let me make it about me. Yeah, right. I was like, here's the thing. Like is so funny, because all the white dudes are freaking out right now trying to figure out what to say and what not to say. And my black friends are like, relax, man. Yeah, like we've been waiting for you. It's cool.


Yeah. It's just like, how do I get it right? I was like counting on you to get it right and they just chill out, you know, join in. Yeah. The whole paralytic idea of getting it right. So I didn't even know, you know, like when after the George Floyd killing, when you know black when before we were really aware and it was happening daily. Right. You know, like our experiences and our understanding of the moment was setting in.


So when there was like so much like white silence. I was like, oh, OK, cool, wait, wait, wait, people don't have anything to say. OK, cool. And it was actually a real. Vacuum, a real deafening silence, it was actually really incredible because it was able to I was able to just think about. The life of a moderate brand, Taylor, George Floyd, without so much noise. You know, and I was able to reach out and connect to like other black people in that space and just have these emotional connections.


And what were those conversations like? You know, they were uncomfortable because, you know, you really have to I mean, like everybody has divestment that they need to consider. So you really have to kind of like let go of machismo or you like these kind of like chauvinistic ideas of of our own vulnerability and fragility. And so I just reached out and just like. Honestly, I think it was like the Tuesday after George Floyd, I just.


Called and texted like a lot of black men in my life, I wasn't like on Instagram, I wasn't, you know, doing much except that and it wasn't that. I was just like saying that to my friends and my family, you know, it was that I was doing it to people that I respected from a distance. I was reaching out to people that I know. Didn't really like me too much, and I just wanted to like say and it wasn't even cut and paste, I was actually going through and I was like reaching out to someone and just saying, like, hey, just want to let you know.


For these qualities. I just wanna let you know on today that I love you, because I think that it was just like my instinct spiritually, emotionally, that black men needed to hear black women need to hear it every day of their lives. But black men, you know, the day after watching or the day of watching video of this this man getting killed, you know, over the course of eight minutes and forty six seconds, needed to know that they were loved.


And so that was like a really emotionally exhausting process that I went through on that day. So that was and it took a few days to recover from that. So then by the time the weekend rolled around, then I saw, you know, like white women, yogis were like hosting zoo chats for people to examine fragility. Then it was cool. I was like, oh, white people got this. White people just going to talk to each other.


They're not going to bother me at all. So I'm good. I was like it went from, like white silence to like white people talking to each other. It was great that Monday had that bell rang on Wall Street. Every every black person's phone starts ringing, knocks. I need to get on a plane and talk to me on the podcast. I was like, oh, white people. White people are silent on this. That's terrible. I'm angry, but it's also like a nice little respite from white people.


Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. The phone was hot from like Monday. a.T.M, like white people needed their materials reviewed, you know, and I mean, so. So or they need Knox to tell me that I'm OK. Yeah. And I'm like, yeah, that's not my it's not that kind of guy. Like, I'm not I'm not that's not me. So so that was like a process that, you know, I was kind of awkwardly and begrudgingly negotiating.


And then the third week white people had it figured out already. So I was like, oh, now white people are like Black Square Tuesday and companies like black people, we've got to figure it out. Here's 10K. Here's forty million like cool. You know what I mean. So it was really swift the way the foundlings of of people's responses are brands are responses to kind of this this tragedy. Yeah. That kind of world. It is an awkward fumble, though, because, you know, I found I'm finding myself doing the same thing, like I said, like I'm grappling with how to communicate around this and and also, you know, getting honest about.


Diversity on my own platform, like I talked about this the other day, like I like to think that I've had a wide variety of diverse voices on my podcast, but when I'm objective about it and I measure it up against the five hundred and twenty plus podcast that I've had, it's predominantly white, like I have a lot of growth there. Right. So what do I do? Well, I get out, you know, my contact list and I and I scour Twitter and I look for interesting voices and then, you know, you're the one who gets the phone call among other people.


And that's weird, too, like, oh, now I'm going to call knocks. You know, I just like call. I know. And it's cool. And I'm glad that you're here and it's awesome. But like, does that feel like when you got that call from me, were you feeling like, oh, this is this is somewhat opportunistic also, you know what I mean? Like, you know what I'm getting at. Oh yeah.


I mean, you can't you can't overlook it, you know. I mean, like as Richard Pryor I've talked to Rich since we did that retreat.


You know, like now he's calling me, you know, but I mean, you know, we're cool.


Like, I feel like the bond that we have as as dudes and as as runners and athletes and writers and kind of like engaged humans on the planet. Yeah. You're taking that call, you know, but but I was thinking, like, that's one idea to like, reach out and like us to connect. But there's this movie, Putney Swope. I don't know if you've ever seen it, but a long time. Yeah, right. So everybody go back and rewind this movie because I keep thinking about it all the time.


You remember, the opening scene is the kind of like Madison Avenue, all white board room of the advertising agency and the chairman. The board has a cardiac arrest and dies like on the table. Yeah. And so they have to go around with the body on the table. They go around and do a vote for who's going to be the next chair. There's one black guy. It's the late 60s and they all do anonymous vote. And when it comes time to read the votes, he wins unanimously to be the next chair.


And all the white dudes are enraged, like, how did he do it?


First of all, each white dude voted for him because none of them wanted another white dude to become the chair, and then he voted for himself. So not only are they mad that they all, like, hoodwinked each other, then they say, like, you voted for yourself. And he's like, of course, as the best man for the job. He gets up, he says a speech. And he's like, I just want to let you know.


This just going to be a few small changes. And then the next scene is the boardroom. It's all brothers and afros. You know, people are doing hair braiding here at the table and you watch the film. And just because you swap out the boardroom and put all black people in doesn't make it great. They still, you know, do shitty marketing campaigns for black people. It's just black people doing marketing. So there's a good a good lesson there.


But I was going to say. Really? In the spirit of this moment, another model is turning over your podcast to me. Yeah, and I take over. So what is NOx Robinson's podcast that Rich Roll look like? So I started kind of like thinking about what that was going to be like. I would have to have a D.J., you know, kind of playing. I would have like music break. And I was like, how would I what would NOx Robinson do in the spirit of the revolution?


And like, what would I do to totally flip your podcast? So that's the other. I like that. That's the other proposition. I would let you do that. Yeah. You have seen people do that with Instagram. They're turning their Instagram accounts over to a diversity of voices. And I think that's really cool. Yeah. So, you know, there would be any time you want to come and do that and you might have to move out of Mexico City at some point.


How long are you going to be there? You think I'm working on something special? I mean, yeah, I'm working on something special. I'm bringing together you know, I'm building a training camp with Herman Silva, the city marathon winner. And I'm working with one of the greatest architects, Michelle Rojak, who, you know, also in Mexico City. And so Michelle's going to kind of create this amazing brooders architecture structure next to Herman Silva's training camp.


And so we're working on that like a permanent home ice retreat center. Yes, very. So that should be, you know, already, you know, at the end of this year. Wow. So I'm really excited to to share that. Obviously, like, this is going to be like a second home for you, a second home. But I wanted to be like a second home for, like a lot of people because I was thinking about, you know, as we were heading up to the Tokyo Olympics and how some of our American athletes, you know, I'm thinking about it when I was a kid, looking up an elites, you know, Steve Holeman and Bob Kennedy, and they're like titans to me now.


I'm older and I'm a dad and I'm thinking how these kids are living. And I was like, oh, these kids are starving. Like, these kids are like the best runners in America and they're broke right now. We deal with brands so we know how bad these deals are. You know, they're making like crazy little money. And so I was like, oh, I kind of want to have a training center where I can just, like, throw the keys to some of these great training groups that are out there.


You know, you see them on Instagram and they're doing amazing workouts on a dirt road in Boulder. But you're like, are these guys living like eight in a condo in Boulder? Yeah, I can I. Yeah. Flagstaff. Yeah, Flagstaff. Like you want to glamorize it when we're stuck in our worlds, you know, in our in our things. But I just want to throw the keys to like some folks who just have people come out and train for like six weeks and like, you know, see, see what it's like.


So yeah, I just wanted to be like a resource for for for people kind of getting after their goals. And that kind of was. Yeah, I met Silva when I did that event. Mexico City's OK. Beautiful, humble. Yeah. I really an incredible person. And it's he's so, still so engaged and so it's it's funny to have kind of like ended up in this bizarre friendship with him over the past like eight or so years.


So to kind of build this project with him along with Michelle is really kind of coming together of serendipitous energy. Yeah. Have you seen this? Have you seen Emmanuel Archos uncomfortable conversations with a black man? No. I mean, this is like blowing up the Internet. Yeah. So he he played football at University of Texas and was in the NFL. And now he's doing this series like uncomfortable conversation with a black man. And he did his first one with Matthew McConaughey.


Oh, OK. Just like exploded the Internet. Yeah, it's it's cool cause, you know, Matthew is the foil to him and it's like, is it should I say black or African-American? Like, it's very it's very basic. And he is so eloquent and like walking people through, like, let's just, you know, get a few things straight here. You know that. No, because of people a couple of listeners I know our viewers who are seeing this are he's talking about me.


But, yeah, folks have been asking me like capital B or lowercase B, so. Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, it's you know, I was writing a blog post the other day and I thought about that. I was like, is it black or is it African-American? Like, which one is it? You know, there's like a lot of stuff that like, you know, the learning curve is high for everybody because that in itself is a great Google search.


Right. Because it's like. Which newspapers in which media organizations in the 20th century decided to say, or colored Negro, but then black capital B, what is the capital B, IndieCade versus lowercase? So it's a question of syntax and grammar that that editors can weigh in on. But there's also a question of identity for a lot of folks, too. So, yeah. You know, yeah. Language politics is personal politics. Back on this thing about Alysha, I'm not sure we ever got to the answer on that, but I'm interested.


You know, I want to explore that a little bit more and also kind of what the what the blind spots are that you're seeing out there. Yeah, I'm thinking about it a lot. And like, again, I'm not trying to be I'm not trying to, like, do white people's work and think about what a white ally should be. I mean, respect to other brothers and sisters who are like Ally Coaches' right now, that that's valid.


You know, it's just not not my thing. But having had incredible relationships with with with white folks over the course of my life, I keep thinking about. I keep thinking about this guy that I trained with when I left New York City, I moved up to the woods on the banks of the Hudson River. His name's Mike Solinsky. Yeah, we talked about that a little bit last time. Yeah, he's never going to see this, so I can speak freely.


Before he was on Instagram, I would write about him all the time. I called him the bus driver. He was driving a bus for the local school district. And I was just telling him all the writing about his incredible wildlife and his stories and his insight. I mean, this guy, like, changed my life, but he was on an Instagram, so it was like a gift for a writer. I could just be writing about this dude and he would never know.


Right now he's on Instagram and I'm like, what's that man? So now he's on Strava. No, it's bad. Now he's on Strava. Can't get away. It's bad. I was like, and I'll travel, you know, when Strava gives you the alerts, when that you're of course, little segment is, you know, you lost of course, record. I don't know what that's like because I know I haven't held any of those.


You've got to run so scared. I was living in the house. I do not. That's it. That's part of the the the athletic experience that I'm not familiar. Yeah, well. Oh yeah. You're you're like direct hits of that. No, I was living in the Hudson Valley. They rarely get an Internet, so I'll be traveling somewhere. And I woke up and I was like, I just lost, of course, record to this dude.


And I was like, you don't know. He's like, why? What's that? It's like, well, you get an email notification. He's like, What? I was like, Yeah, you just never mind. It's all right. But this guy, over the course of the time that I was living in this tiny town on the banks of the Hudson River was incredible. He was just the best training partner, consistent, focused. And you would really have to work hard.


I mean, if I've known this dude almost ten years, the number of times we've kind of like veered out of, like non-trading talk have been few, you know, and I'm talking about like when we were running, sometimes we're running through these towns in upstate New York and we run through this town next to ours wasn't your fault. And I was like, well, Upendra Falls isn't where this was the whole Tawana Brawley incident, Tawana Brawley incident.


Al Sharpton was up here and there was like protests and stuff. He's like, yeah, bad times in town. And so you couldn't really pull this guy into kind of any identity politics conversations, but he would come around and run. He's always going to be there with the workout. He's always ready for that. That Sunday long run, this guy would get up before our long run and he would go and, like, put water out on the course.


Yeah, over a 20 mile run and then come back and then meet us and then run for like three people. You know, that that's kind of like my understanding of like serving others and serving a friend and being an ally. So even in running, you know, you're. An ally and running doesn't necessarily have to be up on the New York Times bestseller list, but a person who's respecting you as an athlete and respecting you as another person and definitely making sure that you're afforded safe passage if you're like moving moving through through space.


But. Someone who has your back in that way, but I think on a social level, the other thing that I can't get over is like as white folks are trying to tell each other what an ally looks like and as like, you know, trying to out Ally. Yeah, I like each other. And then I get super binary, black and white. And so, like, you know, Asians are trying to figure out how they participate in it and they're trying to, like, settle scores with white people.


And they haven't necessarily been historically the best allies with black people. So the whole thing is fraught. And I just think that, like. This isn't an idea that's been vetted by the experts, but I think it white allies got to look at or like aspirational allies just got to take a seat and like look at how black people interact with each other, the mutuality, the exchange, the information exchange, the love exchange that occurs. Black people are hard on each other, you know, for sure.


But the bedrock of love and respect that has been key to the survival and the perseverance, but also like the flourishing of our culture is is key. So, you know, no book is is really going to tell you how to do that. It's going to provide some insight. But one thing I don't understand about these lists is like there's very little fiction, you know? I mean, for me, a white ally has read Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, you know, like if black culture is part of the of our American culture.


And Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993, like everybody here on Instagram talking about. Ally shipping all that, if you don't have Tony Morris on your bookshelf, you're just not reading our Nobel laureate. Fiction then, like, what are you doing with, like, all these self-help books on the shelf? You know what I mean? So I really think, you know. Yeah, I was like, I need a short answer for what a white ally looks like and I know I like that it just like Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon on your bookshelf.


Cool. That's like a early, early step, you know. Yeah. It is interesting that that may be a blind spot. And yet black culture predominates pop culture, you know, from music to film. Right. Like, I mean. Well, yeah, I mean, hip hop is so dominant now in terms of its cultural influence right now. And yet that doesn't necessarily track to its antecedents. Well, no, it does, sadly.


Right. Because I mean, it does. But the the popular interest doesn't owe the public interest. I was thinking and like a more amicable sense of the entire wealth of, you know, the Americas was predicated on blackpoll. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's so for us, like seeing hip hop and and and the legacy of, like, blacks in America, in the Americas is an essential link. But, yeah, for real.


By the time it becomes pop popular, you sort of lose. That original essence, right, or you think you do right by the more bricolage you put on top of of of it. Yeah. So your son's in New York, right? Yeah. What are the conversations that you're having with him right now about what's going on?


Yeah, he's tough, you 666. And everyone's like, oh, it's got to be terrible for him. But I can't. I don't know if. It's like really hard to be 16 in a quarantine lockdown. I a 16 year old daughter. Yeah, it's either bad, but it's like it's rough being 16 no matter what, you know. So if you're Barron, Trump is rough being Barron Trump, no matter who your parents are, if if that's his parents.


And so so I can't tell I can't tell if my son how hard it is. You can't, you can't you can't separate the angst of 16 with the experience of a young black man growing up around a lot of chaos. Yeah, yeah.


And also with me as his dad, he's definitely more even tempered than I am, too. So he's he's taught me to chill, you know what I mean? So he is on the precipice of like a huge time in his life thinking about. College, but then what does that even going to look like, zombies kind of like? It's weird all the way around. He lives in Fort Greene and to think that folks were burning a New York City Police Department.


Police cruiser, like a couple of blocks from his house like that was that block I lived on that block when he was born. I mean, the day I got home from the hospital where that police van is, I walked to right on that block with my son in my arms. And they watched the sunrise, had coffee and like. Told him, and, you know, my ancestors, that I was going to be a better man than I had been to that point.


We'll see how that turns out. But and I started running the next day. So to see that police van charred, you know, is is actually like a weird, kind of like touchstone. And the my son still lives in the neighborhood with his mom, so she's been holding it down. And, yeah, it's it's interesting to see what he's going to do with it. What do you like what do you want him to take away? Like how does that, from your perspective, inform, you know, how he matures into a man?


Like what do you want him to take away from this experience as a young black man growing up in America and in New York?


Yeah, but I haven't really updated it since I thought about what I wanted for him as he was coming into this world. And I wanted I expect I demand that he be a good citizen. I mean, all these kind of like. Corny things that we came up with about like helping the elderly across the street, whether you believe in voting or not, but like civics, you know, I think that the best examples of of our culture, no matter what your background is, I think that that's what I hope my son and my daughter embody.


You know, I think I expect and demand that he's has an engagement in the whole world and thinking about our global community, I expect and demand that he, you know, cares about others and is compassionate and conscientious. But at the same time, as a young man, he's got to make his own way. And so if I've sort of. Obfuscated or or made fraud. My meandering progression that in a way is is, you know, kind of implying to him that it's incumbent on him as a young man to find his own way.


You know, it's interesting to kind of think of how you raise your kids. You know, when we were living in Brooklyn, taking them home from school one time is four or five. And somebody comes around the corner and like wanted to sell like a PlayStation under his jacket, like, yo. And I was like. And in that moment, like, how do you explain that to your kid?


Because my son's like, oh, my God. Oh, yeah, we could have had a PlayStation dad. And I was like, well, do you explain do you assume that it was stolen? Do you know what? What do you do? And then at that moment, he's four. And I was like, am I going to be the kind of person who tells their four year old that there's good people in the world and bad people in the world and that bad people steal and good people don't.


And just in that moment, I was just like. I got to, like, be. I got to be truthful, you know, and and kind of talk about. How complicated it is to to live in Brooklyn, you know, where, you know, whatever you're doing to make a living is on a spectrum of of. Of morality, in a way, and certainly. For instance, someone selling weed in Brooklyn 15 years ago in California in 2020 could be, you know, an entrepreneur as an entrepreneur, you know what I mean?


So even our morality spectrum is so ill informed by sort of arbitrary or self advantageous or convenient or the morality spectrum has to be contextualized by the social, you know, forces that compel a restriction of opportunity. Yeah. So we have to change those social forces. Right. Like, we can't affect the spectrum. You can't can't even participate in the spectrum if the sources are suspect. Right. We got to really dismantle those forces that you're describing. And that's the work we're doing when we're talking about, you know.


Dismantling white supremacy, I mean, white supremacy is such a wild idea, it's such a wild phrase, and I keep referring back to this police van that was, you know, torched in in Brooklyn. And I saw the photo. I'm in Mexico City thousands of miles away, and I see these young two young black women, fresh clothes style, and they're posing in front of the police van. And one of the sisters is holding up a sign that says, fuck white supremacy.


And I swear it was like one of the most. Inspiring images I've ever seen in my life, you know what I mean? Had a couple of friends, black friends, who were like, that's chasing clout. Oh, kids. These days they'll say anything. And I was like, no, it's crazy that these girls, these young women could have done anything. They could have, like, done any pose. I mean, this has got poses for days.


And when it came time for them to, like, take a photo in front of this burning police car, they held up a sign that said a white folk white supremacy, that's crazy. Like you couldn't say fuck white supremacy six months ago. People don't even know what that means. Like white supremacy wasn't even like a discussed concept. And so if if understanding white supremacy as a concept is has entered our national dialogue and we're able to work on that, that that just wasn't even happening just a short time ago.


I mean, the fact that Marium, you know, Webster changed the definition of racism this week. Oh, they did. I don't even know that that's crazy. How did it change? It's too crazy. It was like a sister just woke up one day. I guess she had been emailing them, you know, and I think the definition that they had was the belief racism is the belief that characteristics and all this kind of stuff determine who you are as a people race or these concepts.


And she's like, this definition is off, you know? And she kept emailing them and emailing them. And then after all the events that we've seen around the world recently, they emailed they're back and they're like, you know, we took a second look at this definition. And, you know, it's not just this errant belief in like race based characteristics, like even the the situating of that definition. Is problematic, you got to think about what the sister was doing because she must have just been sitting around with white coworkers, like is happening in every coffee break room around the country with white people right there.


And then, yeah, let me pull up the definition and read it to you. Remember that? Remember when people used that?


We'll look it up in the dictionary, the belief that, you know, that that's not me. So they changed it to how did what was the change? The change is like it's it's more complex, like it's like brings in again, sort of what we were just talking about in terms of like the nuanced the nuance forces that affect a person's view of of seeing race in that way rather than just like some erroneous view that if it didn't apply to you, you know, it's almost like it's almost like Buddhism, right?


Like Buddhism doesn't care if you believe in it or not. It's just the way the world is put together, you know, four noble truths and and all that kind of stuff. So I think updating the definition of racism and taking it away from this idea that, like, it's an idea that exists out there that a person can subscribe to or not. And if it doesn't, if they think it doesn't apply to them, then they're absolved of being a racist.


It's like recognizing that racism is a social force that is affecting people rather than a belief that irrespective of your individual perspective on it, you just couldn't think about the practicalities of how this was huge. Yeah, and it was just this one sister who just was like to whom may consider taking this info at Merriam Webster, like and yeah, it was crazy. So that's why I looked it up in the dictionary, you know, like forever, you know.


Then I realized I was like, oh, that's what was going on.


She was like sick of like working at radio and not Radio Shack. Like sick of probably working on these dudes was just like, I'm not racist. Look it up.


Wow. The the imagery and the filmmaking that's going on right now is is so extraordinary, you know, and it's almost like a day doesn't go by where there's a new clip of this person doing that, whether it's behaving badly or behaving courageously. And, you know, it's so it's so impactful and powerful and indelible, the power of of, you know, these phones that we have in our pocket chronicle this moment so comprehensively and the impact of that on our kind of national and individual psyche.


And I'm interested in I think I already know the answer to this, but you know how that leaves you, like on some level, this is this is not new. Like this has been going on for a long time. But for whatever reason, it's entered our consciousness because of the rapid fire nature of these recent tragic events that we're we're depicted in a way that made them, you know, irrefutable. Like we they demanded that we pay attention to what's happening.


And when you hear about, you know, the weather, it's the definition of racism in the dictionary getting changed or people taking to the streets like change is happening. And there is this sense that we are living in a very historic moment of promise and opportunity. And personally, that gives me hope. And I know there's people out there like Tonganoxie Coates who are expressing hopefulness around this. I listen to a podcast with him recently with Ezra Klein in which he expressed that.


I mean, do you share that or how do you kind of project into the near and far future about how this is going to unfold?


Well, Cotes is an interesting example because he actually sees his own work as a pivot from the Obama era optimism where Obama says the Obama said that the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice. Yeah, you know, the more I think the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Right. Or eventually or something like that. Yeah. Coats's like it bends towards confusion, you know what I mean. And and that's that's a scary concept.


But I think that what we see in his work and what I think we see in this moment now is a falling of the scales from our eyes. And I think that this is an opportunity for us to really see things as they are, you know, and really grasp hold of that and not what, you know, mainstream media is telling us by the time he gets it, but what we're actually like. What we know to be true, and that's.


That's that is a leap of faith, right? You know, but I think that this is our chance to see beyond. Speeches that politicians are making. This is our chance to to think a little bit beyond what our mainstream media is telling us and what does it mean for us. And strangely, this opportunity has been a reset on so many levels. But it's been a recent I like my mindfulness practice and going back to the beginnings of that and then just thinking about the ways in which a mindfulness practice helps us.


Just think of things more clearly, you know, it's interesting, you know, you kind of think that meditation is like about I become a guru on a mountaintop or something like that. But I've been reading and hearing some things lately that it's like it's not even about this nirvana state of an empty mind. It's actually about. More practical than that, in some ways, it is about like being able to navigate thoughts and like see things clearly, and I think that that's a tremendous gift that that is at our disposal right now to try to work through.


And I think that kind of work on a personal level is what's going to equip all of us to to kind of work our way through. And that's what we're seeing in the comments section, right. To take it from like a spiritual idea down to like a super, you know, absurd example. But before you might see all comments sort of unify. But now if you're seeing all these kind of disparate voices you're seeing, like the fragmentation of people thinking their way through it in the past few weeks, you know, in 1992, rioting was bad, or why would these people burn their own neighborhood?


Well, in Los Angeles, it was an update of 92. They weren't burning their own neighborhood. Right. It was like a strategic move to burn non black neighborhoods. The conversation that's happening with white people about like the difference between protesting, peaceful protesting, looting and rioting, that's an interesting conversation to have. Instead of just kind of like watching your TV screen glow at night and like kind of like making assumptions. Right. What you think it is that without understanding that the choices are being made about which images you're being presented and they're being contextualized in a certain way.


And that that happened to me, though, you know, like the day the day after Minneapolis first started to burn, I got on Instagram and I saw this really wild footage of someone just driving down the road holding their phone out. And it was just like block after block of devastation, like on a cultural level, pop culture, love. I couldn't. Couldn't I couldn't it was just like blocks and blocks and then it was posted with, like, no commentary, but it was posted by this amazing shop called Repair Layer.


I followed them on Instagram because I think I must have read an article about him in Outside magazine. And it was cool. I think a cool young couple of cool young people who are have a business that repairs outdoors gear, you know. I mean, so there's a sustainability mission, there's an access mission and all that kind of stuff. At the time, I wasn't really thinking about the provenance of the handle, so I was just like, hey, I'm a follow fan of this account.


I think it's problematic that you're posting this. You know, I'm disappointed that you were posted without any context, you know, because their followers were. Outdoor supporters and so there was so much condemnation of why would these people burn their own stores and are you safe? And I was like, oh, man, you're on the wrong side of history. This little judgment on my part. But reacting in the moment and. Man, the owner really, like, got at me in the comments, you know, like it was really antagonistic and some of the other people and I don't engage in social media in terms of like going back and forth with people.


I just one cup of coffee, you know, and kind of reacted. And so since then, I've, like open up a dialogue with the owner, with this woman and just try to, like, figure that out and, you know. Thinking about how I could connect or we could connect and the outdoors world could connect with the rebuilding of urban devastation in Minneapolis, you know, like or the destruction of her shop is is just a few blocks from where Broken Graham lives, you know?


And so. How can we kind of think about supporting small businesses as we build back our cities and still continue our our mission of like sustainability and access to the outdoors and all that kind of stuff? So I really think that, you know, important conversations, bridging that gap and reaching across that impasse, you know, not only me acknowledging that maybe I was kind of like applying too much heavy pressure to someone who was, like, fearful of losing their business, but also being able to double back outside the chatter and make a connection.


And then I'm just kind of like among a lot of other things I'm thinking about is how I can connect with this woman and her business that, like, has a has a great mission, you know. Yeah, that's interesting. I mean, it's that second piece, I think that's impactful that ties into the mindfulness. So you saw this. You got activated. And despite your mindfulness practice, you found yourself reactive, but at least you were able to understand that you were being reactive and realized that there was actually an opportunity here and to reach across and to try to, you know, develop a little bit of brotherhood or unity.


You know, where can we see eye to eye here, even though we may may be perceiving this situation completely differently? Sure, yeah. I mean, because, like, you got dance with the girl that brung you, you know? And so I was thinking, how did I even get up there in the first place? How was I follow? I ended up on following. I was like, I'm not even here for this convo. Like and I only got pulled back in when she kind of kept talking at me.


And I had to to come back and be like, you still talking. I thought about it again. Empathetically and now I was just Colin Brogan, I was like, yo, this business is right around the corner from you. You're the founder of November Project. Like Let's has he has he. That's cool. I've been I've been talking to him a little bit, too. Yeah. You know, just getting his boots on the ground. Perspective on what's happening.


It's amazing because. Yeah, again, I'm not doing any any white dudes work for him.


Black all allies aren't like all allies are equal, but some are more equal than others. I am not. I'm not is be the title of this podcast is going to be I am not here to be your white savior. Oh, black black alive for a white guy is different from how a white guy got to be alive to a black dude so broken. It's been a little light. I've been just kind of like, hey, you said those videos.


Yeah, that's how he communicates. So you see one pop up and you're like got like, you're like, I'm going to take a video back. Yeah. You can't be around your lady like, no, it's a weird love affair with this guy who like wearing some wild clothes. But yeah, he was getting a little pressure. There was like a real strong brother, a real strong voice in New Orleans who's just like going, hey, I'm a November project for coopting and Ahmad Aaberg, right?


Yeah. And I know they found themselves in a little bit of a crosshairs with. Yeah. And I was like, hey, Brogan. Like I didn't even wait in over there. I didn't just kind of like. Yeah, like I'm a brother like cool double back to Brogan like hey good that's coming in. And he's like kind of gradually there are like even if I'm not helping him, I'm like listening or even just tapping him on the shoulder that like, hey, you're the founder, you've moved on in your life and you're raising the kid.


I'm raising a kid. But like, this is like just dig on this conversation. He's like, yeah, cool. And then three weeks later, his entire neighborhood is burning like a wild kind of thing. I was like, hey, let's catch up some time. And I talk about represent black representation in November project. Yeah. Yeah.


Like three weeks later he's like, oh yeah. So yeah. Shout out to that are likely never. Yeah. You know. And nothing but love for Brogan. Yeah. You me. A t shirt that you made. Well I, I, I cajoled him into making me want and sending it to me but because he was doing it on Instagram but it says it's those hand spray painted t shirts that he makes. Yeah. But it says Zoome calls summercamp.


Yes. Yes I, I just as painful as the November project session. I'm sure that's, that's crazy. I don't understand why people want to be in November project anyway. Like black people complain. And I was like your arms are sore. Like why if it's not representative. Like that's cool. I just so that's fine. November project is hard. It is hard. It's like I've only done one, not the same. That's what I'm saying.


I was like, Brogan, let's just be friends because I never come into your thing. So when black people are mad about I want them to the side like let you know you don't want to do that anyway.


Right. You got bigger fish to fry. All right, man. Well, let's let's land this plane. How do we end this? I mean, you know, I think it would be good to just recap, maybe just share some final parting thoughts about, you know, how we move forward in the best way. And you're not not to harp on this supply ship thing, but I really do want to, you know, use this platform, you know, for good and to be part of the solution to this problem.


And I just I want to explore every possible way that I can do that. And having you here to speak to that has been super helpful to me. So thank you for that. And, you know, maybe just share a couple of quick, quick thoughts to round it out.


Yeah, I mean, I know I'm wildly discursive all over the place, but I just I keep. I keep coming back to this idea of love. I know that's super obvious and basic and people have talked about it from time, but. About Barber is best friends say that it was weird every time he would like leave from hanging out. He would say, like, I love you, man, and he wouldn't leave until they said it. And these are like young brothers sitting around in rural Georgia at the carwash leaving work, you know, and like.


That's like a really. Insane and rigorous practice to do so when I called up all these brothers and told them I loved them, it was like rigourous from my it was it was tough, you know, to reach out and. For all the mistakes that I've made and then I'm going to continue to make as soon as I walk out this door. I just want to keep thinking about love and I and I and I wish that. I would hope this would be a moment for people to.


Reset and reflect on what that is, you know, and for all the little micro aggressions that we engage in or all the times that we. Take around chit chat, and any time we just, you know, serve as a detractor to someone else for no reason. All these things are adding up to this. Giant. Feeling of. Of psychic pain that you can just feel, whether you're feeling it in America's cities or you're feeling it. In a Marbury's killers, like, how abject were these guys that they went into like.


Seek and destroy mode. You know what I mean? Like, it's not too early to kind of think about. The spiritual poverty. The imaginative poverty that. Racists feel, you know what I mean, so. If we can kind of. At least consider what an ethic of love looks and feels like if we can just kind of like. Reset and refer back to those basic civics that maybe we thought we were going to pursue as we got older.


That's really what I'm thinking about now and I'm thinking about that honestly and like a really corny kind of social media way, like it's OK to be. Like a white ally with, you know, one thousand forty seven followers and like, here's the list and you're like banging on a white people, but if then you're like going and getting in the dorms and, like, detracting from someone else, if you're the purveyor of suspicion or innuendo or, you know, kind of things like, you got to think if our own white supremacy is uninvestigated until very recently and those black people and black people have a social sickness that we've inherited from 400 years of experience in this country.


So everybody is is on the docket right now to investigate our own internalized white supremacy. Every time you drag in somebody and everyone, you're engaged in a little bit of chit chat, every time you're sort of kind of like appropriating. And every time you're doing all the little things, you know, it's not just racist jokes that you're kind of telling. You know, they're in the break room. It's like all the little small things that are up for investigation.


The world doesn't become any less boring because you're not like the funny person telling racist jokes and your world doesn't become any less interesting when you kind of like fall back from, indeed, engaging in gossip and innuendo, you know? So I just think that for me. That's what I've been trying to consider, and that's individual work, you're not going to get a pat on the back for that if you stop.


That no one's going to know, you know, like if you stop being a racist. The only people who are going to know are your racist friends. So I'm sorry to tell all the allies, the aspirational allies are there. It ain't no medals, you know what I mean? It ain't no podium kind of thing. You see even the white dudes on there with the podium and. With John Carlos and he just didn't even give him a glove are he's like, it's two gloves brought you, you don't have any more, you know, I mean, you know, if you think about white people, every time you post a photo of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, there's always a white guy from New Zealand who got to jump in like.


And lest we forget. Yeah, I think so. So, yeah, I guess I, I guess I just to kind of think about that with like a normal state type of vibe of things, you know. Well, that's beautiful. Speaking of appropriation, yes, a shout out to the browser's you all those Hindus out there very upset with me, right?


I love you, man. Thank you so much. Yeah. I appreciate your openness and honesty and vulnerability today. It meant a lot to me that you came all the way out here to share with me. So I appreciate you. And I look forward to spending more time with you, man. Hopefully this is where I go to. So thank you. Thank you very much for this opportunity just to kind of like, share in that energy. Yeah, it was good, man.


There's good. You feel all right? Yeah, I feel excellent. Good. Yeah. If people are digging on knocks easiest, best way to find them at first run on Instagram. Is that where you want to direct people. Anything else going on you want to let people know about. No man. It's just a big things are kind of coming up, as you know, kind of building this place in Mexico, just kind of move into some some new projects to share with folks to kind of participate in these ideas that we've shared to.


So we've definitely been using this time to kind of go back to my own drawing board. So I'm really looking forward to things from here on out to to share. Yeah. Cool, man. Thank you. All right. Thank you. These plants cost.


That man is a gem I Lovenox probably one of the coolest people I know, hands down. Be sure to hit him up on Instagram.


You can find him at first run. Please check out the show notes for copious resources on all matters discussed today. And if you would like to support our work, subscribe, write and comment on it. On Apple podcast, on Spotify and on YouTube. If you'd like to support our work here on the show, subscribe rate and comment on it on Apple podcast, Spotify and YouTube. It's also very helpful when you share the show or your favorite episodes with friends or on social media and you can support us on Patrón at ritual dot com forward slash donate.


I appreciate my team who works very hard every week to put on the show Jason Karmiel for audio engineering production show notes and interstitial music. Blake Curtis for videoing today's show. Jessica Mirana for Graphics. Georgia Waili for copywriting. Ali Rogers for Portraits DKA for Advertiser Relationships and theme music by Tyler, Pietje, Trapper Pietje and Harry Mathis. Thanks. I love you guys. See you back here in a couple of days with another. What's next? I think we're going to do an AMA.


Ask me anything. I'm back with Adam midweek this week, continuing in the series that we started just like two weeks ago. I think I'm excited about that. So until then, be. Well, peace plants start.