In This Episode
DeRay [00:00:01] Hey, this is DeRay, and welcome to Pod Save the People. This week, we have the crew, De’Ara, Sam, Kaya and me, covering the news that you don’t know from the past week. Netta is here to give us an update on what’s happening across the country with regard to the protests. And then I sit down to talk to Ijeoma Olou to talk about her latest book. Now, my advice for this week is a little different. It is check out our latest campaign, which is a campaign to ban no knock raids all across the country. Now, here’s the thing. Banning no knock warrants isn’t enough, but there are other ways to get around a straight out ban on no knock warrants. And this is why we are focused on how to ban no knock raids. Go to EndAllNoKnocks.org. EndAllNoKnocks.org. See if your city or state is one of the cities and states is actually working on this issue. There are thirty seven cities and states working on it right now. We’re working with them.
DeRay [00:00:53] Virginia just passed a bill that we helped get across the finish line again, EndAllNoKnocks.org. Let’s go.
De’Ara [00:01:01] Hello. Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Pod Save the People.
De’Ara [00:01:08] We’re back. I’m De’Ara Balenger. You can find me on the Instagram and the Twitter @DeAraBalenger.
Sam [00:01:14] And I’m Sam Sinyangwe @Samswey on Twitter.
Kaya [00:01:17] I’m Kaya Henderson, @HendersonKaya on Twitter.
DeRay [00:01:21] This is DeRay @deray on Twitter.
De’Ara [00:01:23] So, you know, a new administration is coming in. I think one of the things that’s obviously top of mind to many of us, particularly those of us that are going back into shut downs and quarantine, is covid-19 and this vaccine and where we are with the vaccine, how quickly the vaccine can be developed safely, how quickly it can be distributed, what that means for folks of color in particular. I have been having some conversations with family members because, you know, that’s where I like to start, you know, with my my aunties and uncles Just to get a sense of what’s happening. My Auntie J. told me that she won’t even take a covid test because of the Tuskegee trials, which I was like, OK, come on.
De’Ara [00:02:12] Hey, hey, hey. OK, OK.
Kaya [00:02:14] Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
Kaya [00:02:16] That thing is real.
Kaya [00:02:17] In fact, in fact, Mayor Bowser, as she was talking about how the vaccine is going to roll out in DC, she acknowledged that black people have a genuine distrust of the medical establishment because of things like the Tuskegee experiment.
Kaya [00:02:32] That’s real, don’t sleep on the aunties and uncles.
DeRay [00:02:35] But a test, the test Kaya?.
De’Ara [00:02:38] But the test Kaya. So then I had to say, Auntie, I’ve had several tests and it’s fine.
Kaya [00:02:42] You’re asking for you’re asking for a particular level of nuance. Listen, from gynecology being built on the exploitation of African-American women to the Tuskegee experiment, our people have a right to be skeptical of the many.
De’Ara [00:02:58] They do they do they do.
Kaya [00:03:00] I’m just saying yes.
De’Ara [00:03:01] But I think part of it is going to be in that that nuance. Right. And like where we are in terms of the safety of this vaccine, what we know about how it’s been tested and what those results are, and even whether or not black and brown folks are even involved in the clinical trials, I hear that they are in quotes. So part of this is, yes Kaya, all that history is true, but I got to get out this house, so we got to get it together.
Kaya [00:03:33] That’s real. That’s real. That’s real.
De’Ara [00:03:36] I got to get back to Europe. I need to go to West Africa. I got to get out of here. Now, some of these places I can’t go to.
Kaya [00:03:43] Because they don’t want you. They don’t.
De’Ara [00:03:46] So I don’t know if the United administration is even thinking about the type of public information and awareness campaigns that are going to have to happen like that. Is marketing like no other? I mean, it’s bigger than everything. It’s critical.
De’Ara [00:03:59] And I also was having a conversation with somebody that’s like in the land of Fauci, and they were saying that if the timing works out, the vaccine comes out, everybody takes it, then we’ll all be fine in November,.
Kaya [00:04:12] November of next year, who knows?
De’Ara [00:04:15] Yes.
De’Ara [00:04:16] If not next week, when are we going to be done with this?
Sam [00:04:19] I mean, we already in December and people still not wearing masks like like, come on.
Sam [00:04:25] And that’s easy, but you know, like a vaccine.
Sam [00:04:28] Like vaccines, like it’s a little bit more difficult. Right. Like you have to actually go to a health care provider.
Kaya [00:04:34] Twice.
Sam [00:04:35] Maybe it costs money, maybe it doesn’t like there’s a process, but like a mask, like you can find that at any gas station now like any like CVS and like people still are going around like no mask, like coughing and sneezing in public, like it is wild. So I am not I’m not optimistic.
Kaya [00:04:52] Can I tell you all this little mask story? So one of my girlfriends was buying her niece a subscription to Scholastic. You know, the like children’s magazine, and she was looking at the reviews and one reviewer said, I just had to cancel my subscription for my three children. Our magazines came in the mail today, open one, and many of the pages had children and adults with masks covering their faces. I don’t mask my kids and I didn’t want them seeing that.
Kaya [00:05:21] So she canceled her subscription to Scholastic. Yeah, we are in a place.
De’Ara [00:05:26] We’re in a lot of trouble.
DeRay [00:05:28] It is also like you want you know, I’ve seen a couple of stories now where, like the anti mask pastors have died from covid. You’re like, we tried to tell you I wasn’t making it up. The most effective messaging around the vaccine that I’ve seen is reminding people that they also they already get vaccinated. Right. You already got the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine,.
Kaya [00:05:48] But we have controversy about that.
Sam [00:05:50] Yeah, but I’m saying some people won’t even take that stuff.
DeRay [00:05:52] The chicken pox vaccine. Come on. I work with me. I’m just trying to tell you what.
DeRay [00:05:56] I work for me because I’m also trying to get out the house too. Is that we’re going to tell these people something the like.
DeRay [00:06:05] And I say this is somebody who had covid is I am worried that, like, you’re right, people aren’t even wearing masks right now. You’re like, we need the vaccine so that like the world, you know, I’m nervous, too. I’ve heard people I’ve heard inklings that like business that companies will say if you don’t take the vaccine, you can’t go back to work. You will need to take it to work for us. And I think that will be fascinating. I also saw that there’s a study that suggests that covid might lead to long term erectile dysfunction in men and that that might actually be a motivator for men to to get the vaccine So that’s not a complication. Also, there’s conversations about companies, if this last for long, readjusting people’s salaries to take into account the fact that they are not coming to work, that like they can pay them less because the associated costs might be different. And also what that is, that’s sort of interesting. So this idea that, like, you might pay people regionally based on where they live, not based on where like the office is because people can move or whatever, that it might lead to some real change. And, you know, I think people want to go back to or at least want to go back outside back to normal is, you know, I don’t even know what that means these days, but we definitely want to go back outside.
Kaya [00:07:16] I also think for folks who are traveling, the fact that different countries have different standards around what it takes to approve a vaccine. So the vaccine is moving forward in the UK with a far different level of vetting than what we have in the United States. And so at what point do we say it’s OK for British folks to come here when they are standard of approving The vaccine is very different from ours. I think they are just so many big questions that are opened as we get closer and closer to having a potential solution and even having a potential solution just creates a whole lot more problems.
De’Ara [00:07:54] Yeah, I was thinking about that one, too, in the UK as well, but something about how capitalistic and moneygrubbing American culture is like for some reason I would trust a pharmaceutical company in Europe more than I or anywhere more than I would not anywhere more than I would here. I think it’s something about, you know, like even the race to the finish line right now. I think it’s like three different pharmaceutical companies that are like racing to get it done and one, you know, has to be at a certain temperature and blah, blah, blah. I just I still feel like I would rather take the UK’s vaccine than ours, just like I’d rather have. I’d rather drink milk in the UK than milk in the United States.
Sam [00:08:34] I’m waiting for South Korea. I’m waiting for South Korea and Vietnam. You know, like there’s a set of countries that have actually, like, solved this problem, like already. Like they are living like lives like normal in Vietnam and like South Korea. They’ve gotten this under control. Australia, they’ve gotten us under control.
De’Ara [00:08:50] Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Because you Sam’s been mysterious in different places for a while.
De’Ara [00:08:56] Sam, are you in Vietnam? Is that.
Sam [00:08:58] I wish they won’t let me in.
De’Ara [00:08:59] We don’t know where you are.
Sam [00:09:01] You know, I wish you know, they.
Sam [00:09:03] Well, the thing is the countries that have gotten it under control definitely don’t allow us in. Like you can’t get in there. And that’s why they control.
Kaya [00:09:10] Smart because.
Kaya [00:09:11] Because we don’t we I mean, we don’t follow rules. You know, that’s the royal ‘we’ because I wear my mask just saying.
De’Ara [00:09:20] I just don’t understand the the no mask thing.
De’Ara [00:09:23] It just is wild.
DeRay [00:09:25] I got like a I think it was a glitch, but Lyft gave me one of those like wasn’t wearing your mask notifications.
DeRay [00:09:31] It popped up on my Lyft. I was like I did have a mask on. What are you doing, sir, trying to get me kicked off Lyft.
DeRay [00:09:39] So Lyft fixed it, I Googled it. Other people were like, because I got it like an hour and a half after I was even in, like I went to go get another ride and then I’m like, well, why I, unless that’s an error. And you can’t go back and see it.
DeRay [00:09:52] So it was like, here is I’m like, let me call Lyft, you know, Lyft, I’m checking for ya.
De’Ara [00:09:57] All right. Yeah. My news is from. Reuters kind of a simple one, but I just spoke to me for some reason, so I wanted to share with ya’ll. Greg Meeks, who’s a congressman out of New York, is going to be the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He’s the first black man, black person to ever be kind of, I’ll say elected because he’s elected by the other Democrats elected to be in this position. So I just found it very, very interesting that between him and also Linda Thomas Greenfield, who will be our ambassador to the United Nations, that this is looking to be like a pretty like a good team, like a good squad to really help us on the foreign policy side. So Chairman Meeks says that he’s excited about this role, that he’s looking for a new way of doing business. And this is sad. This is where we are in terms of foreign policy. But he says he looks forward to the United States rejoining the Iran nuclear pact in the World Health Organization. So and also he, you know, seeking to regain Congress’s traditional control over the right to declare war. So he is stepping into this role. It was previously held by Eliot Engel, who lost to Jamal Bowman, who is going to be in Congress in that space, which is another fantastic win for Congress. Engel was a lot different from what Meeks will be, respectively. He was a strong advocate for Israel. He was seen as too hawkish by some members of the Democratic Party’s left wing. He voted for the Iraq war in 2003 and he opposed President Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. So the other interesting thing about this article is that it tells us that Joaquin Castro had actually campaign against Meeks for this chairman role.
De’Ara [00:11:46] So he ended up losing by one hundred forty eight to seventy eight votes, Joaquin Castro’s respectively, also more progressive. But again, I think he’s still going to be on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which is strong. And he’s going to work with Meeks on promoting diversity at the State Department and also rejoining the Iran nuclear deal.
De’Ara [00:12:06] So I don’t know. I just was excited by this. I’m always excited about the foreign policy appointments. I had the pleasure of working at the State Department under President Obama and just saw how important how we show up in the world is to what actually happens here as well. So I don’t know. I’m excited about this one. And to see what’s to come of foreign policy writ large and how it impacts people of color all over the world.
DeRay [00:12:31] So I’ll say, you know, De’Ara, I would, can you help us understand why this matters? Like what? You know, I didn’t even know this was like one of the positions that we should care about. So this is a learning for me. What I will say is that it is cool to see black people being in leadership roles in the administration. So not just to support roles, not just to like, you know, the deputy assistant to the assistance commissioner’s cousin or something like that. But being like the chair of of a body around foreign policy, because we often don’t see black faces as leading on foreign policy, Susan Rice is like the only person Condoleezza, are the only two people that I know. Colin Powell, I guess those three, Colin Powell, Susan Rice, Condoleezza Rice are the only three people black faces that I’ve ever seen talk about foreign affairs, like on TV or like as put out as experts in the government. So that was powerful. But why does this position matter?
De’Ara [00:13:24] So this one matters because this is this.
De’Ara [00:13:26] He will be involved of like foreign policy decisions and like a real decision making roles. So it’s him. It’ll be the national security adviser who’s Jake Sullivan. It’ll be, you know, Linda Thomas Greenfield. It’ll be the secretary of state now. So it really will have a lot of influence on what Congress ultimately supports the United States government doing. And so even the piece in here about getting Congress is right back to go to war for a long time. And we’ve seen in the last couple of presidencies, last few presidencies, rather, that the president really has determined and really pushed the agenda of going to war and has done so not without regard to Congress, but definitely, you know, it should be you know, Congress should have a larger role in terms of who we’re going to war with and what boots on the ground actually means and how it’s defined. So I just thought this one was really exciting.
De’Ara [00:14:20] And I think the other thing is, you know, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of going to places and like representing the United States government, as, you know, a black Latinx queer woman and the looks on people’s faces when you are of color and you say you represent the United States government is really, really powerful.
De’Ara [00:14:40] So I think to see him in this role is really incredible. And something the other thing people don’t know about Congress is Congress always takes these trips to different countries right, they’re actively, always taking these congressional delegation trips. Well, they’ll have conversations on different aspects of economic policy, foreign policy. So Congress is a lot more involved in the foreign policy decision making of this country than you’d think, but yeah, but that’s essentially why it’s important.
Sam [00:15:06] So my news is about New Orleans, where just this past Saturday, an election has been held and a new district attorney has been elected. Jason Williams, who is the current city council president in New Orleans, was just elected to the DA’s office. And this is Major because he ran on a platform of reform, a platform that involved a number of changes, some of which we’ve talked about in the past on the pod, because after the ballot initiative passed in Louisiana, which abolished the practice of allowing people to be convicted based on a non unanimous jury, now there are a whole host of cases of people who were sentenced, convicted, based on these non unanimous juries who are now petitioning and want to have their cases reheard. And Jason Williams has promised that he will offer them a second chance, rehear those cases under the new rules, which require unanimous conviction. And as well as that, he has promised to divert or declined more cases from prosecution to cease using the state’s habitual offender law, which raises sentences on people. And he has said he’s never going to prosecute youth as adults. So this is a set of policies that I’m hopeful will be implemented in New Orleans and is not the first place that has elected prosecutors who’ve run on a platform of reform. So just over the past several years, we’ve seen sort of reformer prosecutors elected in, you know, Cook County in Chicago, Kim Foxx and Durham in Orlando, Florida, in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, San Antonio, Detroit, St. Louis, and a host of other cities across the country. So this really is part of a broader wave or movement of just a change of thinking about who are prosecutors, what are they supposed to be doing in that role and what obligations do they have to actually reduce and ultimately end the system of mass incarceration?
Kaya [00:17:09] I thought this was interesting and important for many reasons, but two, that really stood out to me. One is he’s the first D.A. without prior experience as a prosecutor and at least 50 years. And I think we oftentimes think, well, if you’ve done the job, then you know how to do it. But if the job is broken and is not meeting our expectations and I think having somebody who’s not burdened by the constraints of the job, who hasn’t done it the way everybody else has done it, actually produces our best chance for reform. So I’m excited about that. And then, you know, I followed a little bit of his campaign in New Orleans. And the thing that stood out to me most was, you know, he is talking about treating people with dignity and respect and humanity, no matter, you know, whether they are innocent or guilty. And I think that recognition of the fact that we’re all humans and we don’t get to just treat each other like animals is an important sentiment that if we brought to our criminal justice system, we’d be in a different place. And then, you know, when I look at the fact that his opponent was completely and totally supported by the establishment and, you know, he was the underdog and they took it to the streets, they hired a bunch of community organizers. Right. Like if we don’t take anything away from this election cycle, we need to understand the role of community organizers in literally turning this whole thing upside down. He beat his opponent by 16 points, and it was because the community organizers talked to the streets and the streets talked back. And this man is now the new, you know, the new D.A. And so I think it says a lot about the fact that our citizens are actually they have real opinions and ideas about what needs to happen. And they will vote their values if we engage with them and if we present them with candidates who reflect those values. My my news this week, I chose because it is positive, it’s from The New York Times and some ideas for fixing America and they asked a bunch of experts for some specific, actionable ideas to address America’s most pressing problems. Experts as broad and diverse as senators and congresspeople, university professors, university chancellors to people like Killer Mike who are working on the ground. And they asked them if you could change one thing right now to help fix the country, no matter how large or how small. What would it be?
Kaya [00:19:44] And there were a number of really interesting solutions, many in the income inequality space, some in the climate space, some in the education space, some in the gun control or immigration space. And it was really kind of a plethora of really interesting ideas, a couple of which stood out to me. One was this idea of giving Americans cash at birth so that they could retire as millionaires. It’s a potential solution to the wealth inequality problem, and it creates a way for people without any investment assets to participate in this capitalistic system that we have through a program called Birthrights, where the government would invest almost just under seven thousand dollars at birth for every American citizen. And it would result in retirement assets of more than a million dollars for every person once they get to the age of 65. Two million dollars at the age of 74. And I think that is an interesting idea, given the fact that pensions are no longer an option for most people. And it’s a fascinating way to think about how we take care of our older generations. It says nothing about what happens to people before they get to 65 or 74. But I thought that was one of the interesting ones. There’s one, of course, that I love that asks to put an Internet enabled device in the hands of every U.S. child. And I think we’re at the point where doing education in the United States, you need a computer and an Internet enabled computer the way everybody understands that you need a notebook and pens is just part of doing business. There are proposals to think about paid internships for every college graduates and abolishing ICE. Stop pushing college is an interesting one To me, honoring tribal treaties is a fascinating one. Another one that really stood out for me was suggested by Robert Smith, who is the head of Vista Capital, and it’s persuading companies to embrace a two percent solution where if the largest companies invested two percent of their profits, we could actually apply those to some of the the challenges that are in the areas that those companies serve. So, for example, if the 10 largest banks invested two percent of the last 10 years of profit, you’d have 20 billion dollars for African-American communities from those banks alone. And those banks could support African-American businesses and borrowers or telecom companies who save two percent, could eliminate broadband disparities or food companies could work on equitable access to food. Sports teams could invest in communities where their players come from. And the interesting thing about this is that this idea comes from how regular Americans spend their money. Most Average American family donates two percent of their income every year to charitable causes. And so it’s asking the companies to do what regular Americans can do. And so I thought this was an interesting article at a time where we are usually lamenting about what’s wrong with America. These are some specific, actionable ideas that folks can consider as we move into the next administration.
DeRay [00:23:23] Yes. So the only two things I’d say is one is we should be doing more of this. We should be pushing people to put ideas down around solutions like that should be like where the whole spaceship’s is that Lord knows we are like problem, problem, problem. We know the problems that people should have to do a lot of work around, like putting the solutions out. We fight about them. We’re like, OK, I think this I think we can do this. I don’t know if we can do this right now. We talk about phases, but like, that’s such a different conversation than like sort of just going back and forth about how much everything is a problem. My only challenge with this is this question of like who is an expert is that this is still a very you know, it’s like congresspeople,.
Kaya [00:24:02] Absolutely.
DeRay [00:24:02] Famous people and CEOs.
DeRay [00:24:04] And you’re like, well, if y’all could have fixed it, if you like your alone were it, we’d have done it.
DeRay [00:24:10] Like, if you all had the ideas, but it was not the researchers that got people in the streets, it wasn’t the professors who like, helped us get free breakfast in school. Right. It was activists. It was community it was people whose expertize was rooted in a lived reality and not only in sort of position. So I’d be interested in seeing more people like the people they have here great, too. I mean, they are experts. I’m not saying these people aren’t experts, but just sort of like pushing and saying, let’s just let’s just open it up a little bit. So mine is, I was fascinated by this also. I really had never read Filter Mag, Filter Mag, but a fascinating publication that was new to me. Shout out to Filter Mag. So they have a leaked report from the FBI, the Denver division, that essentially shows that the FBI recorded that drug sellers were actually practicing harm reduction and they were making sure that the drugs they were selling did not have fentanyl in them. So I’m Pueblo, Colorado. Drug sellers were actually checking the drugs with fentanyl test strips that they got through a local syringe service program. And they were making sure that before people got the drugs that they weren’t going to, like, overdose on fentanyl, that they like weren’t there wasn’t any fentanyl and they were even selling the strips to their clients. Now, you know, the strips are free from the government. So it’s all they were hustlin by selling free strips. But what they were doing was actually being really focused on making sure that people were as safe as they could be in the practice. And this really, you know, flies against the way people think about people who participate in the street economy in that way. This idea that people don’t care, people don’t care about people’s lives, people aren’t sophisticated, the harm reduction doesn’t work. And it’s like this actually shows that people who are engaged in drug selling are actually making sure that people are healthy and then making sure that people don’t overdose something or that there’s an acknowledgment that fentanyl kills people and harms people. And, you know, this is also like a business use case for the drug sellers. It’s like if your people die, then no business exists. When you think about harm reduction, it is it is a this is a powerful reminder for me that harm reduction works, that syringe exchange programs keep you alive, that testing strips people use them, and that what we see here is often that drug sellers will also be the people encouraging harm reduction strategies.
Sam [00:26:38] So it was really wild about this for me was the juxtaposition of sort of street drug sellers who were engaging in these practices that were about harm reduction, that were about making sure that their customers were not going to be taking fentanyl and potentially overdosing. And the juxtaposition of that with sort of the corporate side of drug selling, which are groups like Purdue Pharma and the cyclers who literally and, you know, this is now all public knowledge because they’ve been charged with crimes over this. But they literally were flooding the market with OxyContin and paying off doctors and health care providers to essentially oversubscribed opioids, to patients with no care at all for their well-being and doing it at a scale that literally created an opioid crisis in this country. And just the narrative around like who is causing harm and who is who is sort of harming others with drugs is so far from the reality where, you know, those decisions are often made in corporate boardrooms and offices by people who don’t look like the sort of drug dealers in the popular narrative or on TV, but are causing a whole lot more harm and need to be held accountable and are often not arrested, not charged, completely allowed to just run wild with this at the expense of everybody else.
De’Ara [00:28:04] This one was really interesting to me. And DeRay, like you, I was like, what is Filter Mag? So of course I like had to look them up and you know who they are and how this thing came to be. And I found it really interesting that they are like a publication and a nonprofit that actually just helps to, like, reshape the narrative around not just drug dealers, but like drug policy in general.
De’Ara [00:28:24] And so I looked at another article because I think for me, like I do have like a narrative in my head when it comes to like opioid heroin, selling drug dealers. And to me, obviously in the mind, I make up they’re white people, and that’s mostly shaped by like Dave Chappelle. So and then on the other side, it’s like like the people I grew up with that sold drugs, you know, so those are like the two distinct like typogrophys of people that I have in my mind.
De’Ara [00:28:54] So when I click this other article, it basically talked about how there was this guy who sold cocaine and he found out that his cocaine through these test strips had fentanyl in them. And he started to cry like while he was at like so like picture Coachella. This guy is like selling cocaine, and then he finds out that the cocaine has fentanyl in it, and then he started to cry because he really was scared about what he had given to his friends and family and customers.
De’Ara [00:29:18] So all that to say maybe it helps no one. But it kind of started just because I just needed like I needed a human experience in my head or I needed something that I could, like, paint a picture with in my brain to make this article make sense. And like, that was helpful to me.
Kaya [00:29:34] I’ll pick up on that De’Ara, I thought it was fairly interesting that they went to users and asked why this was important. There was a study that showed that 85 percent of 300 plus drug users from three East Coast cities said they were interested in being able to check for the amount of fentanyl and the presence of other substances in there, the drugs that they were using, because they know that they get drugs that are compromised, that have additives and things that are not good for them. And, you know, I clicked on another story and saw about a woman who is using the test strips to assess the trustworthiness of her drug sellers. Right. And, you know, that’s her being careful about, you know, she’s using recreationally. She’s trying not to overdose and she’s taking the whatever precautions she can.
De’Ara [00:30:28] As Tabitha would say, that’s her business.
Kaya [00:30:31] Right that. And, while you know, while I wish that she was not, you know, engaging in this way, I think for me it helped to show a level of humanity and responsibility and autonomy, if you will, in, you know, the this economy that we generally don’t subscribe these really human principles to.
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DeRay [00:34:20] Netta, Netta, Netta, tell us what’s going on around the country with regard to racial justice and the protests.
Netta [00:34:27] Hey, everyone, it’s Netta. So happy to be back again this week with more news updates and, of course, more stories about Sage.
Netta [00:34:36] So getting to the start of my show first, Sage is now a teenager. Ya’ll. What? I do not recall this happening to my dog back home. She is now 13. So this seems like I truly do not even remember. I just remember the potty training phase. And then ever since then, she’s kind of just been a grown lady. So she’s now 13. And here I am with Sage. She is seven and a half months old. So talk about starting over. And she is for starting into her teenage years at the seven and a half months we have been in a few raging wars lately. I did not know that this little dog has so much sass and she’s very defiant. I truly don’t know where she gets this. But I will say, if you have any tips or tricks or best advice on how to deal with the teenage puppy years, so one of us does not have to leave this house, please email me. I’m for real. I’m laughing. But like, I’m laughing through my pain truly. But if you have any of your best ideas, please send them to me.
Netta [00:35:50] So. So for real. I thought this was going to be a heavy winter. No clue where that came from. St. Louis winters are actually pretty tough, so I’m used to lots of inches of snow, maybe a few blizzards. You just never know. We even had thunder snow at one point. St. Louis weather likes to add a little razzle dazzle on it. So here we’ve been having like fifty degree days. So to keep my spirits up, I’ve just been trying to take more walks in nature and running around with Sage at these dog parks here in D.C. It’s been pretty great lately.
Netta [00:36:25] I have been reflecting on my time in quarantine, though as an introvert, I absolutely love being at home all the time.
Netta [00:36:32] I am fascinated that I did see the same five people all year. The time does feel like it’s I kind of feel like it flew by. I’m really just trying to grasp that, like I’ve been on personal lockdown for forever and that is just so opposite of me. I love to travel, fly and see my friends or just work conferences, just anything. I actually love, love, love traveling. So this is the longest I’ve ever had to stay put. Lots of time for introspection. I spent a lot of time just trying to digest the heaviness of this year, which includes a lot of loss. I’ve lost a lot of people and I’ve watched a lot of people around me lose people that they love due to covid or related things like that. So that’s a lot. So if you’ve just been reflecting on the heaviness of everything on top of it being the holiday season on top of covid, and it’s just been a lot, I truly understand. So how am I doing? Like everyone else and throwing myself into my work, word to Rihanna. So that’s it for those updates. I really do hope, like, oh, you know, just the heaviness of this year. I hope you don’t take this into twenty, twenty one.
Netta [00:37:53] So onto the news. Is this a pandemic or what? With all the talk of the economy and saving the markets, what about people? It feels like ever since the stock market went back up, the powers that be have started to act like things are going to go back to normal. But the economy, the middle class, poor folks are not dependent on the stock market. People need help in real time, and the government has just been out to lunch. We’ve asked time and time again and now it seems like we may be getting something. The AP reports that a bipartisan group of senators are working towards a second stimulus package set a total of nine hundred eight billion dollars. The package would provide some direct payments to folks who are struggling. Senator Bill Cassidy said “the pain of the American people is driving this. And I’m optimistic that McConnell and Trump will come on board.” It is worth mentioning this round will not include the twelve hundred dollar direct payment, but it will include the extra three hundred dollars in unemployment.
Netta [00:38:57] This leaves direct payments up to the incoming Biden administration. I know this is better late than never, but the pandemic is something we’ve never seen before and this requires aid that we’ve never had before. A one time twelve hundred dollar check that not everyone even received at this point is less than one hundred thirty dollars per month each month of this pandemic. Surely we can do better than this. But sadly, with the Senate split like it is, I don’t think we are going to get the aid we need to meet this moment. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed. What a difference five months makes. Months after George Floyd was grossly killed in Minnesota, setting off a summer of protest and uprisings, politicians from across the country either signaled their support of the current law enforcement apparatus or support for radically changing things. One person who wanted reforms or said that they did was Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In June, he signaled an openness to divest one hundred fifty million dollars from the LAPD budget. A move like that, while not going far enough for some, could have been a major step. Fast forward to yesterday, Sunday, December six. The LAPD was literally outside of the mayor’s home with batons and pepper spray being aggressively violent with a crowd of protesters. Their alleged infraction, exercising their First Amendment right to protest protest. Protesters were present at Garcetti home to call on President elect Joe Biden, not to appoint Garcetti to his administration. In a really disturbing but all too common scene, police could be seen in riot gear swinging batons against unarmed protesters. I don’t know what to say ya’ll, you know, when the folks who publicly say that they are on our side, who believe that we should make these changes to our communities, to the police, that police our communities, and then when he had the option to do better, when he had the option to display humanity to his constituents who were outside and wanted a conversation, who probably would have had the conversation had he come outside, I don’t know what to say to this. That’s why I’m bringing it here so maybe we can have a conversation about it. With 2020 coming to a quick close, I don’t see myself making any New Year’s resolutions for twenty twenty one other than continuing to keep myself, my family and my friends as safe as possible as we continue on during this pandemic. Till next week, I’ll talk to you later.
DeRay [00:41:43] Hey, you’re listening to Pod Save the People. Don’t go anywhere. There’s more to come.
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DeRay [00:45:01] And now we have Ijeoma here to talk about her latest book. You might know her because she wrote, “So You Want to Talk About Race?” Now,
DeRay [00:45:09] She’s here to talk about her book, “Mediocre.” I learned a lot in reading it. You’ll learn a lot and reading it. We love her. Here we go. Ijeoma, thanks so much for joining us today on Pod Save the People.
Ijeoma Oluo [00:45:20] Thanks for having me.
DeRay [00:45:21] I am excited to talk to you again because you have done the impossible. You’ve written another book that is also great and you did it in a short period of time. My first book almost killed me. I do not know how you how you did this, but you did it. So thanks for coming on to talk about it.
Ijeoma Oluo [00:45:38] Thank you.
DeRay [00:45:40] Now this book is called “Mediocre” and you cover a lot of ground in it. Can you first start with, like, why a second book? Your first book was amazing and helped so many people sort of think about race differently, it gave people language. Can you talk about why this book?
Ijeoma Oluo [00:45:57] You know, this was a book. I think everything I write is kind of built out of this feeling of necessity and necessity is different. And so, you know, we want to talk about race was written after hearing from so many people just kind of stumbling over these issues and trying to have actionable conversations on race and wanting to move this conversation forward. But “Mediocre” was born out of a personal frustration. As someone who writes about issues of race and as someone, you know, as a black woman in America who was really frustrated with the way in which we treat discussions around white male supremacy in this country and the way in which we tend to act as if, you know, we have individual actors who are behaving badly. And that is a system that was designed to act the way that it is. And so I really wanted to show that system and show how it has acted over the centuries and to show how we have participated and upheld it and how it is no surprise at all that we found ourselves where we are in, you know, in 2020.
DeRay [00:46:56] There’s a lot to cover here. And I and I have a lot of questions I read. I’m like, oh, my God, I can’t wait to talk to us so we can talk about this. Can you talk about it? The book has been out for just a couple of days now. It came on the first, right?
Ijeoma Oluo [00:47:07] Yes.
DeRay [00:47:09] How has the reception been so far?
Ijeoma Oluo [00:47:11] So far it’s been so positive, which is lovely. You know, everything about I’m used to writing articles, right? That’s where I got my start. And it’s still like where a lot of my heart lies. And you have an instant response, right?
Ijeoma Oluo [00:47:24] The moment you publish a piece, you know how people take it. But when you have a book, you work on this book for a while and then you have like eight months to a year to just imagine how much people will hate it. You know, you could just sit there and go, oh, it’s going to be able to hear such a positive response, especially, you know, for me, my barometer is always what other black women think about the work.
Ijeoma Oluo [00:47:47] So to hear so many black women saying this is not only educating, but it was affirming to hear so many people say, you know, that they thought they knew everything about our history and they were learning new things about it has just been wonderful, like it’s been such a great response so far.
DeRay [00:48:02] And now one of the. So let’s jump in. I’m going to jump around. Those of you listening, you need to buy the book. So I’m not going to try and give away. I’m going to try not to give away everything. But there’s so much here to talk about. One of the things that you talk about is this notion of like, you know, when all else fails, hire the woman. Right? Like there’s a page 155 “if you are seeing a pattern here, that’s because there is on.e after everything else has been tried, everything being multiple mediocre white dudes and time is running out, I imagine people start saying crazy things like, what if we tried a woman or what if a brown person gave it a shot or even crazier, what if we put a brown woman in charge?” Can you talk about how you’ve seen that play out? And like, what do we because I think people read this far and be like, yup, yup. That’s my experience. I saw that happen. Company was tanking. And they’re like, we’re going to hire the first black person after, like, all the sales end. What do you how do we counter that and what’s the importance of including truths like this in a book like this?
Ijeoma Oluo [00:48:57] I think it’s vital to recognize. And so, you know, we call this phenomenon the glass cliff which is basically you promote someone when when the ship’s already sinking and then when they can’t turn it around or you set them up to fail and you go see? They were never supposed to be here anyway. And time and time again, you know what studies have shown and what we see from our own experience is that usually the only chance that a woman or a person of color and especially a woman of color is given to show real leadership is when everything else has tried and failed. And then what they’re inheriting, of course, is a very broken and hostile system to try to correct. You know, part of how we balance that is we have to start appreciating the leadership of people who are white men in all stages of business and leadership and government in education and in business, and get people used to seeing in the studies that have been done on this do show that people can adjust. But if we just throw someone in whenever a business is failing as a Hail Mary, not only are they unlikely to be able to turn this vast system around, you know, the drop of a hat, but also the sabotaged often by their peers who aren’t used to seeing a woman or a person of color in leadership. So we really do have to challenge what we expect and how we participate to those norms and really start, you know, getting used to seeing leadership that doesn’t look one particular way, start experimenting with different types of leadership, start supporting people at every level of industry and government who aren’t white men and who don’t mimic white men in their behavior. That’s really one of the lasting ways we can do that. But it also means we have to reward the performance and the skills that they bring. If there’s no reward for it, we’re just never going to really see the benefit. So if we aren’t clear about what different leadership styles can bring to us and also what the status quo costs us, we’re never going to really be able to fully embrace the change that we desperately need.
DeRay [00:50:54] Now, one of the things that was in the book that I was like legit, I had no clue.
DeRay [00:51:00] Like, no, I was like, OK, OK, Ijeoma teach me, teach me was about Buffalo Bill.
Ijeoma Oluo [00:51:06] Yeah.
DeRay [00:51:07] Tell me about Buffalo Bill. Like, I read this and I was like, clearly I missed this whole part of whatever was supposed to be teaching me about Buffalo Bill.
Ijeoma Oluo [00:51:14] Yeah. You know, it was interesting for me that was one of the chapters that I knew from the very beginning was going to be in the book, because when I, you know, stumbled upon the Buffalo Bill, I mean you see [00:51:25]him in [1.4s] group in Seattle, I knew very little about it, you know, what is this whiteness right here on display. And it just blew my mind. And then as I dug into it, though, to write, I mean, I was learning enough to write about it. I knew there was something there, because when you walk into a space that’s clearly not designed for you that’s glorifying this idea of white manhood. But, you know, so foreign from like your lived experience as a black woman and it’s a whole city block. So what is happening here? You want to dig into it. And so I knew from the beginning, but as I started researching the history of Buffalo Bill and just how mediocre this man really was and how integral to white male identity throughout the West especially and I’m talking the broader west, right? We’re like Montana, Wyoming, and my mom’s from Kansas. So she when she read the chapter, she was like I grew up on, you know, everyone wanted to be Buffalo Bill when I was a kid. And I had no idea half of these things. And so I think it’s important that we recognize why these heroes were embraced, who they actually were, and really what it costs us when we build these images off of violence. And that’s really what that image was. And then we allow people to be rehabilitated in how we remember them. And so even going through and how people talk about Buffalo Bill, they talk about him as a friend of the Indian and, you know, conservationists and as a feminist when really he was contributing to a lot of, you know, violent white male supremacy, not only in his direct actions and contributing to, you know, the murder and displacement of indigenous peoples, but in the genocide of the Buffalo population, but also in what he stood for as a stage character and as you know, a hero to white men who were trying to decide, you know, what manhood looks like.
DeRay [00:53:13] You also talk about, you know, I love the chapter about sort of white men in social justice. And you and you have this thing about Biden I didn’t even know. And Bernie, I like I was like, how did you again, I’m I’m in shock that you got this that you wrote this so quickly. I’m like, phew you are out here. I need to take your writing course because you got the juice. Can you talk about that? Why you thought it was important to include the Bernie Bro’s? Like, what does that what do they symbolize for you when you think about this larger conversation about race and justice?
Ijeoma Oluo [00:53:47] You know, one of the reasons why I knew it was important to write about them was because I was scared to. Because I didn’t want to bring that mess to my door again, you know what I mean? Where I hesitated because people said, ask me, are you going to include Bernie Sanders? Like, Nah. And I realized. He didn’t want to bring that harassment to my door. I didn’t want to bring these, you know, any black woman who worked in the public space who had anything critical to say about Bernie Sanders, even if you were criticizing Hillary, criticizing everyone else face to this kind of onslaught of, you know, racist misogyny. And I was nervous and I realized, OK, this is actually impacting how I interact with the political world. I need to write about, you know, and and and I was seeing this, you know, and my peers and my friends and, you know, hearing Emami say that she was going to keep her mouth shut as well. And they realized like this, this wasn’t a effective silencing tactic, but it also cost us so much politically. It cost us so much as far as progress. And so I decided I had to write about it and I really wanted to show it all. And I said it was really important to show both Bernie and Biden I and I wrote both of these before it was settled that these were going to be our, you know, the final candidates in the race for this election because I felt like I needed people to show how pervasive this toxic need to center white men, regardless of, you know, their actual output and contributions to society and how, you know, equally violently white men sheild other white men from true accountability, especially when you know, any of that critique comes from women of color. And so, really, those sections of the book were really vital to me. And so, yeah, we just dug into the research. You know, I really wanted it to be accurate, but I wanted it to to show how it plays into a broader pattern. I didn’t want people coming out of there saying see the problem is bad or see the problem is money or it’s Bernie Bros. I wanted people to see that regardless of your political ideology, we aren’t exempt from the toxicity of white male supremacy in this country.
DeRay [00:55:52] Got it. How do you how do you deal with that online? Right. Like, I think about these and you know this. And Bernie Bros, I think symbolizes facing you said it. We’re like we all are thinking something, you know, you’re like nervous because the moment you say it online, it’s going to be like a swarm of just everything. And there’s a there’s probably a part, if we’re honest, there’s a part of all of us at the beginning of our using Twitter or platforms like that. When we were like, you know, whatever, we’ll do whatever. Right. And then after a while, you’re like, yeah. Is is my little comment right now worth seven hours of what the Internet’s going to be like for me or two days or whatever? And you’re like, no, how do we work against that sort of hive mentality That was definitely not unique to Bernie in some ways I actually see it present in the movement still around some topics are people like just won’t say it because they’re nervous about the gang. Do you have any ideas about what we do about that?
Ijeoma Oluo [00:56:47] You know, there’s a couple of things. One is I think we actually have to hold these platforms accountable because we talk a lot about speech and protecting speech, but we forget that this is deliberate silencing tactic to make the cost of speech too high for people of color, for women, for disabled people and for transgender people. Right. We forget that that is an actual techniques designed to silence our voices and where platform support that they’re responsible for. And so I think that that’s one thing that’s really vital. But for me personally, in the meantime, my tactics, you know, my block game is strong. And what I realize, there are billions of people in this world I can afford to block whoever I want and ignore what I want. So when I say things, I weigh, why do I want to say it? Why is it important to add to the discourse? And then I know that it’s not viable for me to engage with the hatred that comes back at me. So if I feel like, you know what, I want to respond because I got time and I’m in the mood, I’ll respond. But usually for Twitter, if I see something that I know I need to see this because I feel like it’s important for the discourse. And I know that I’m probably going to get a bunch of weird rando, you know, in my mentions, I kind of put Twitter and time out after that and I don’t check it. And I know that I’m contributing to the discourse in there, but me arguing back and forth with these people isn’t. And so I try to save my energy and preserve myself in that way. But it’s a cost that we shouldn’t have to pay. You know, it really is. And I don’t want people to understand that. I think we need to start brushing it up and saying, oh, you know, it’s just a part of it because it’s not true. Social media is also a white male supremacist system, and that’s run by white men in their own image. And their idea of what is appropriate and what is not is really designed to enable them to operate freely, even when it costs us a lot of our own freedom and, you know, peace of mind as well.
DeRay [00:58:36] Now, I did want to I wanted to ask you this since I saw it happen in sort of real time, as you write about this in the book, which is why it’s relevant to this conversation, is that you were swatted. Can you I remember seeing it online was like, oh, my goodness, I think you you are in a hotel for a little bit like, you know, I read in the book, but obviously read that I remember. And on Twitter I was like, what is going on? You know, first, can you tell us what that means? A lot of people don’t know what it means. But also, you know, how have you dealt with the aftermath of of what it means to feel safe in your home?
Ijeoma Oluo [00:59:10] Mm hmm. Yeah, I mean, that was I think that’s something that we’re still kind of recovering from as a family, you know? So to be swatted is basically this is a technique that really had gained popularity during GamerGate and was used against us in women in the gaming industry and people who spoke out in support of women. And basically the goal is, is you usually spoof a phone number close to someone’s home once you have their address and you call the police from that address and you either make a threat or you say you’ve done something criminal, pretending to be someone in that address. And the goal is to send a SWAT team to someone’s home. And the goal, you know, is to have SWAT teams, you bust the door in and maybe hurt someone. And people have been killed by swatting. So our address was placed on a website designed specifically to encourage swatting. And we replaced I was placed on there with a lot of other black journalists and writers. A few dozen were specifically targeted. And I was in Florida on business and my 17 year old son was asleep. And at six o’clock in the morning, as I was getting ready to board my plane home, I get a call from the sheriff’s office and they had a report of shots fired and someone pretending to be my son had called and said that they had he had murdered his parents. And so the cop called me because I knew that my address was on this website. I had found it a few weeks earlier, had notified the police luckily so they knew to call me if they got any sort of threats or anything like that. But they still ended up sending six armed police officers to my house where my son was home alone at six o’clock in the morning, asleep. It was terrifying. I was getting on a plane and trying to determine, do I miss this flight so that I can stay on the phone and figure out what’s happening, but then not be able to get home, you know, or do I get on this flight and try to figure out what’s happening with these cops that are driving to my house right now to wake my sleeping child? So it was incredibly traumatizing. And after that, once it hit the news, it was confirmed that they had our address. So the harassment was really nonstop at our house, you know, moving just because we couldn’t get any peace. You know, I couldn’t work. The kids couldn’t answer the door. It was really, really traumatic. And for me, I think as a writer, I have long known that there were risks in my personal safety. But where it was impacting my children, you know, made it incredibly difficult. We moved and that definitely brought us some measure of safety. But, you know, then, of course, that this had come to your house and it becomes these contingencies you have to make. We’re Recovery, you know, and it’s hard. And what I have to remind myself is, is that I did this I’m doing this work because I am inherently unsafe with the black women in this country. And while doing this work has, of course, made me a special kind of target. The truth is, is why I was motivated to do this work was because everyday black Americans are targeted by the system in ways that they can never expect. And I will not be more safe by, you know, by discontinuing this work. But it absolutely gets hard at times. You know, we have a strong support network. You know, we’re doing what we can to try to stay as safe as we can. But as I said, remember, you know, as a black woman in this country, safety has never been guaranteed. And if it was, this wouldn’t be the work I’m doing.
DeRay [01:02:39] One of the last things I’ll ask about that I was super interested in and I was like, wow, you know, the best books are the ones that you learn from and not the ones that just, like, reinforce the things you already knew. And you have a party here where you talk about Reagan’s disdain for higher education and like the liberal hippie kids who, like, you know, were against the Vietnam War and all of the stuff he did to sort of attack D.C, and then how that was just like amplified times ten thousand when he became president, which I didn’t know, like, I didn’t know that was you help me understand some of the history of that in that piece. Can you talk about why the Reagan era is important as a foundational moment for you to include, as you think about that legacy?
Ijeoma Oluo [01:03:20] I think it’s so important because it was such a normalization of this tough guy as a leader in our politics in the highest offices but we don’t talk about. Right. We give this dignity to Reagan that I really feel like doesn’t actually match the way in which he led, which was as a bully, you know, as someone who really, you know, chose to bulldoze through populations of color, through, you know, anti-war activists, through any sort of, you know, progressive agendas. We gave it a dignity and a grace that I don’t think it deserved, you know, as as Reagan undermined our poor communities or communities of color. And we need to recognize that because many people on the right and even in the center and some on the left view Reagan as this benevolent leader, as this, you know, pinnacle of strong leadership, as is trickle down economics was a great success. As great as this is, the way he responded to the AIDS pandemic or drug addiction in communities of color was a huge success. And these were all incredible violent failures. But because he kept this strong male persona that fits into these ideals we have about white men, people look back on him as if he was greatness incarnate. And I think it’s really important to look at, you know, on whose backs that legacy was built, who was kind of crushed underneath that and who’s been erased and what history has been erased in order to maintain that imagery and what it means for us as a country, we need to find that as good and strong leadership.
DeRay [01:04:54] Yeah, there’s a part of Reagan that I didn’t know about. So thank you for the history lesson I should have gotten in class and that I got from Ijeoma. What do you want people to take away from the book?
Ijeoma Oluo [01:05:06] You know, I think it really depends on who you are. So when I write, I always have, you know, different people in mind reading. And I, I try to be responsible to the various populations reading the book.
Ijeoma Oluo [01:05:15] And so, you know, for me, like, there’s always a fictional black woman in my head reading this book and wondering what she gets out of this. That’s my guiding light. But I also am aware that there will be a lot of white people reading, you know, a lot of other people of color reading this book. So primarily, I want white people who read this book to look at it and say, where do I see reflections in my ideals and in what I’ve been upholding in society here? Where have I participated? Where have I been for to stick to to uphold these harmful ideals in society so that you could start investigating and distancing yourself from that? And for people of color, I want us to do that as well. But also, I really want, you know, people of color who read this, especially black and native people who read this. I want it to be a an active counter to the collective gaslighting of our history. Like you were saying, these aren’t things we’re learning in school. We’re learning that, you know, you could be anything if you just put your mind to it and the system doesn’t work that way. Not only does it not work that way, it’s been actively designed to do the opposite, to make sure that no matter how hard we try, that we will never rise above mediocre white men because the system needs mediocre White men see themselves as people in power. And so I want that to counter that. I want us to recognize that we have every right to demand more and that we do need to look systemically and know that we’re not just unlucky, we’re not just unworthy, that this is a system that we have every right to demand changes.
DeRay [01:06:40] And the two questions that we ask everybody.
DeRay [01:06:42] The first is what’s a piece of ice that you’ve gotten over the years? It stuck with you.
Ijeoma Oluo [01:06:47] Oh, man. So, you know, OK, one thing as a writer that I’ve learned that I learned from messing this up and then being told, you know, by other editors, which is if it doesn’t feel right and you don’t bring it up in the beginning, it’s almost impossible to bring it up later. And I think when we’re, so many times we just we’re used to in the Internet age, just throwing an opinion out there and cosigning on opinions that don’t feel right for us because it sits in the moment and not investigating that. And then we want to go back and say, oh, I didn’t read it. I didn’t mean it that way. And what I learned right away is I have to act like it’s our final draft and look at this and say it is almost impossible to claim you didn’t mean it that way. And so as a writer, as a person exists on social media spaces, it’s just a human being. It’s a reminder for me to pause and say, do I really want to own this opinion a year from now? How do I, you know, do I want to own it a week from now and really be more deliberate of what I put out into the world and really treat what we put out on social media and all these spaces as real valid words, you know, respect the words enough to edit and to think and to be intentional.
DeRay [01:08:02] And the last question is, what do you say to people whose hope is challenged in in this moment, people who have done everything they were supposed to do, they did it all. They read your books, books, shout out to books, plural. They went to the protests. They testify. They you know, they they did the things and they look up and they’re like, Ijeoma, the world is just like it was yesterday. Right? Like we we we now we want to talk about, like, you know, like, what do you say to those people?
Ijeoma Oluo [01:08:31] So I’m going to say I’m going to interview with one. If you’re white and thinking this, I’m going to say you’re going to have to toughen up, honestly, because your practices are you’re just getting started. Right. So I’m just not even going to using like, you know what, look at the history of what populations of color, especially black or native people, have endured through history and that we’re still fighting and working, buck up, you know, and keep working. Like that’s the advice I have there. But also what I would say for people of color, because it’s very easy, like as a black woman to feel, yeah, discouraged at times, and one, I absolutely look at our history, you know, but it’s also important for me to recognize that I fully recognize that white supremacy will outlive me, white supremacy and the patriarchy will outlive me. So if that’s the case, I have to figure out what my definition of success is, if we know the system will live. So then I live in that in the phrase Black Lives Matter, that phrase means that even if the system still exists, we matter. And that means the experience that we have in life as we are battling the system, that we are not martyrs. We are not being sacrificed to progress how we live, our life matters. And so my definition of success has to lie first and foremost and what I am doing for my life and for the lives of other black people. And so how you define your battle, look at that and say, what is my definition of success as these systems are going to exist? Well, that is going to be. And figuring out what change you can make right now, you know, it will be a long term investment in systems, but also recognizing that even if you’re not there, if you made it possible with how you engage with your school board for black kids to get a better education this year, even if you couldn’t change the whole system, even if you knew you couldn’t get where you needed to be, if you believe black lives matter, then every better experience for every black person in that system matter, right? We can’t say black lives matter and discount the victories we have along the way because they’re not perfect. And so that reminds me that every victory counts and it’s also never enough. My battle is never done, but it’s also an insult to the lives that I say I’m fighting for to discount the victories we have along the way. And that’s really what keeps me going and knowing that I have not only the right, but the obligation to find joy, to find success and to live in that joy as a black person. That’s part of my revolution.
DeRay [01:11:01] Can you tell pEople, where they can find the book?
Ijeoma Oluo [01:11:03] You can find it really anywhere books are sold. So I would say, you know, go to BookShop.org or support your local black or indigenous bookstore to get the book to make sure that we are keeping these important businesses alive in this, you know, in these trying times.
DeRay [01:11:19] Oh, cool. Ijeoma, thanks so much for joining us today on Pod Save the People we consider you a friend of the pod and can’t wait to have you back.
Ijeoma Oluo [01:11:25] Thank you so much. It was a real pleasure. It’s good to talk to you again.
DeRay [01:11:30] Well, that’s it. Thanks so much for tuning in to Pod Save the People this week. Tell your friends to check it out. Make sure that you rate it wherever you get your podcasts whether it’s Apple podcast or somewhere else. And I’ll see you next week. Pod Save the People is a production of Crooked Media. It’s produced by Brock Wilbur and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our executive produceris Jessica Cordova Kramer and myself. Special thanks to our weekly contributers Kaya Henderson, De’Ara Balenger and Sam Singangwe and our special contributor, Johnetta Elzie.