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Imani Gandy on the Road to Gilead

On this week’s pod, Rewire Senior Legal Analyst and host of the Boom! Lawyered podcast Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) joined Ana. Their conversation kicked off with a conversation about the difference between reproductive rights and reproductive justice, which Rewire covers extensively. Imani talked about how the reproductive rights movement is moving towards justice, and explained the distinction between the two.

 

“Reproductive rights has sort of been seen as this very white, middle-class focused effort, where the effort is to make sure that abortion is legal and then that’s it,” Imani said.

 

She also noted that reproductive justice is inherently intersectional, because it promotes the idea of raising children in a better world, one without fear of police brutality and the protection afforded by universal health care.

 

After detailing Imani’s experience as a lawyer, and what led her to leave corporate law behind for activist journalism, the conversation turned to social media abuse. Although Ana and Imani have a big difference in their experience — as belied by Imani’s Twitter handle — they’re both women of roughly the same age, who got their journalistic breaks writing online. Despite that, Imani has experienced the worst of Twitter.

 

“The first time someone called me the n-word on Twitter, I cried. It was back in 2011… cut to four or five years later, and I’m like, really? It’s Tuesday morning, can we just wait until I’ve had my coffee before we start with the racial slurs? It just rolls right off of my back,” she said.

 

Ana pointed out that people of privilege need to recognize that even when they feel bad about the “firehose of awfulness” that is the Trump Administration, it’s always worse for other people. She argued that people should be aware of that, and use their privilege to expose what’s wrong because it is both helpful and a form of self-care.

 

From there, the conversation turned to what’s wrong with the media: that they cover palace intrigue more than the problems Puerto Rico still has and ongoing ICE raids. As Imani put it, “where is the empathy for the people that are actually suffering?”

 

She went on to say that it might be easier for people to focus on palace intrigue rather than ICE or ALEC’s push for a constitutional convention because that’s scarier to think about.

 

“I think that notion is so scary to some people, that we might actually be marching towards Gilead in a really systematic and scary way, I think it’s easier for people to focus on Putin and Trump and Russia,” she explained.

 

The conversation took on a more serious tone, as Ana and Imani shared some of their realistic fears. One of them, internment camps, feels more realistic by the day as ICE tries to separate children from their parents at the border, continuing an American tradition that stretches back to Japanese and Native American internment as well as the forced removal of Native American children to Christian boarding schools.

 

The led Ana to segue to a recent Twitter thread from Imani, about how white people shouldn’t constantly apologize for being white. Imani elaborated on it, and explained that rather than constantly apologizing, it’s more productive to work to bring down white supremacy.

 

“If you’re working on a project with a person of color, and you realize that you’re getting all of the credit for it, maybe say hey, you know what, I didn’t do this by myself, so-and-so helped,” she explained.

 

In the same vein, Ana talked about the importance of using one’s privilege to elevate the perspectives of people who are regularly ignored, as she tries to do with this show. Imani agreed, and they then talked about the importance of white people sharing those perspectives as well as what white supremacy does with other white people who have not acknowledged there is a problem.

 

Their conversation ended with a brief discussion of Iowa’s new anti-choice law that bans abortion at six weeks after conception, which Imani projected will be struck down within the next couple of weeks and the current state of anti-choice law around the country.

 

After that, Pod Save America co-host Jon Favreau sat down with Ana to answer a listener question about intraleft fighting. Jon explained that this kind of fighting bothers him more than arguments between liberals and conservatives, because modern political discourse driven by Twitter and cable news means that even when disagreeing over policy, “people don’t believe the other person’s argument is in good faith.”

 

Ana agreed with the sentiment about good faith, and pinpointed the driving force behind that as tribalism. “What I see is people, even if it seems like you’re having a policy debate, even if you say I want single-payer, it turns into, oh, so you’re one of those people,” she said.

 

They went on to explore some of what makes discussing policy and tribalism on social media so difficult, and advised the listener to have real-life conversations about what people care about, and how to get there.

 

Get in touch with us on Twitter at @crooked_friends or via email at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com.

 

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