WTF is Wrong with Clarence Thomas? (with Joel Anderson & Shaniqua McClendon) | Crooked Media
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July 20, 2023
Stuck with Damon Young
WTF is Wrong with Clarence Thomas? (with Joel Anderson & Shaniqua McClendon)

In This Episode

Joel Anderson, host of Slate’s “Slow Burn” podcast, which this season is focused on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, joins Damon to discuss the origins and driving motivations of one of the most influential, yet problematic, African Americans in our country’s history. Then on Dear Damon, Shaniqua McClendon, vice president of politics at Crooked Media, helps advise a listener who is tired of discussing politics.

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Damon Young: You remember the show Designing Women? 

 

Joel Anderson: Absolutely. Meshach Taylor bro. I watch it all the time. Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: They went in on the hearings on Clarence Thomas. Cause I remember watching that show, and just thinking, okay, this is the right way. I should not be swayed by okay, Black men getting lynched in public. This is a travesty. No. Stick with the allegations. [laughs] So yours was Emerge magazine and mine was Designing Women. [laughs] Right—

 

Joel Anderson: It was a much more diverse media environment in the mid-nineties. Right. [music plays]

 

Damon Young: Welcome back, everyone to Stuck with Damon Young. The show where we all know that there’s no one more dangerous than a nigga ashamed to be a nigga. So the latest season of Slow Burn. The amazing podcast series from Slate is a deep dive into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. And not just like who he is, but why he is basically, you know, what the fuck is wrong with this nigga? And joining us today is Joel Anderson, host of Slow Burn. As we talk about a man who unfortunately is one of the ten most influential Black Americans of all time. And then for dear Damon, Shaniqua McClendon, vice president of Politics for Crooked Media, helps me answer a question from a listener who is tired of talking about politics and wants to know how to opt out. All right y’all. Let’s get it. [music plays] Joel Anderson is a staff writer at Slate and a host of Slate’s amazing podcast series, Slow Burn. Joel, what’s good man? 

 

Joel Anderson: Man. Good to be here with you, bro. Thanks for having me on. 

 

Damon Young: Oh, no doubt. No doubt. So, Joel, I’m going to have to say that I’m really disappointed about something. You know, before we started taping, you know, we were talking about ages, and I just presumed that I’m older than you because I assumed that I’m older than everyone who appears on this podcast. [laughter] At least people who who look my age. I feel like I’ll always have that trump card. 

 

Joel Anderson: I know that had to hurt because I know, yeah, we take a little bit of like, I know you might think I’m younger or whatever than I am, but no, actually I’m pretty old and I use that on you. I didn’t actually even know this was close. I just assume you were much younger than me. 

 

Damon Young: Well, I appreciate that. And I like to use it, too. I particularly like to use it when I’m hooping. 

 

Joel Anderson: Oh. 

 

Damon Young: And I’m playing ball. And, you know, I could still go a little bit and, you know, and then young boys are like so how old are you or did you used to hoop and I’m like, yeah, a long time ago, you know. [laughter] But anyway, you are older than me. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: But you know, you look very young and I think I presumed that you were younger because you have a very youthful spirit. [laughs]

 

Joel Anderson: Well, thank you.

 

Damon Young: Right. 

 

Joel Anderson: Which could be good or bad. You ain’t see me like maybe no NBA young boy tweaks or something like that have you?

 

Damon Young: No, I mean, I don’t consider you to be disturbingly young or have, like, a disturbingly young spirit. You’re just, all right. I feel like when I was younger. 

 

Joel Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: There was an idea of, like, what, 40 or 50, particularly like a 40 or 50 year old dad. Like—

 

Joel Anderson: Absolutely. 

 

Damon Young: This is how people looked and acted and moved when you’re that age. And I think that a lot of people, you know, 30, 40 years ago did look and act and move a certain way. But I think maybe now people are having kids later. I don’t know. I just think that what I thought 44 would look like and what 44 actually is are very distinct. 

 

Joel Anderson: Oh well man. Even amongst our cohort, I have friends that are 45 and they have all of those markers, right. Not only do they maybe look like it and I’m not saying that derisively right. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: With middle aged just setting in, but also they have the house, they have a kid. So I play college football. I have multiple teammates at this point who have kids that are in college or have already graduated college. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Joel Anderson: Right. And so it may throw you off because, yes, I have a 15 month old, which is [laughs] wildly out of step with my peer group. I’m way behind all of them, especially people from Texas. So I can I can understand why somebody may look at, you know, the the facts on the ground and be like. 38. Prematurely gray. But 38, you know what I mean? 

 

Damon Young: And you mentioned too like the sort of markers of age. And and I think that, you know, particularly people in the sort of careers that we’re in, you know, when you’re freelancing, you’re hustling, you’re in spaces with people who are much younger than you. And again, I think some of the markers of age or some of the markers of age that we have always associated with age that comes with having like a more traditional, more settled sort of 9 to 5 where you start working at you know a place when you’re 23 and you’ve been there for 20 years already. 

 

Joel Anderson: Right. 

 

Damon Young: By the time you reach mid 40s. So you have the house, the 401k, you know, you have the grown kids at this point. [laughter] And so without any of that sort of stuff, you know, I think that that that contributes to, I guess, the aesthetic of youthfulness perhaps. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah. Well, you know, also, to the extent that I have any prominence in journalism, the way that people heard of me was when I was a BuzzFeed, you know what I mean? And like, that is a young ass company, you know what I’m saying. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Joel Anderson: And in even in the newsroom, I was like, I’m old, you know? [laughter] So like some of y’all are loud.  I don’t understand who the people that are famous, you know, you know, they bring somebody in and I’m like, they say, he’s famous. I just have to accept that, you know [laughs] so. So the BuzzFeed thing may have also thrown people off, too, because, you know, it’s a youthful company. But, you know, on the other hand, I was one of the oldest people in the newsroom, so. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. So speaking of age and speaking of fathers, speaking of fatherhood, okay, here’s a quick story about my dad. So 2007. 

 

Joel Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: There was a big 60 Minutes profile of Clarence Thomas. 

 

Joel Anderson: Mmm. 

 

Damon Young: Right now, at this point, obviously, I had heard of Clarence Thomas and knew who he was. My association with him was not good. Very negative. There probably wasn’t another Black person in America that I had more negative feelings towards. And this was in 2007. Not even now. Right. And so I watched the 60 Minutes profile, because, you know, I wanted to understand him a bit more. You know, wanted to know what made this guy tick. And so I watched it and I came away from it, not necessarily agreeing with anything about him, but giving him more grace, like understanding like, you know what, I don’t agree with what you’re saying. I don’t agree with how he feels about this, but I get it. I get where it’s coming from with that. Okay, so I watched this segment. I think I’m over at my parents house. 

 

Joel Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: My dad walks by. I tell him like, I was just watching this thing on Clarence Thomas. You know, I. I go through my whole spiel, whatever. And my dad looks at me. He’s like son. There is nothing on earth more dangerous than a nigga ashamed to be a nigga. 

 

Joel Anderson: Oh. 

 

Damon Young: Then he walks away. 

 

Joel Anderson: Wow. He just dropped that on you, huh? He knew he knew that was bars. [laughter] 

 

Damon Young: I was like okay. You got it, Dad.  

 

Joel Anderson: Wow. That’s something. 

 

Damon Young: So what was your, I guess, your first interaction and when I mean, interaction. I mean, not in person. But just like, in terms of, like a cultural, zeitgeisty interaction with Clarence Thomas, when did that happen for you? 

 

Joel Anderson: Well, it definitely was the confirmation hearing itself. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Joel Anderson: You know, I would have been 13. That’s sort of the awakening of your political self when you start thinking about this president is Democrat, this president is Republican. I have some political values that may align with these sort of people. Right. And to think about the confirmation hearing is not that I was interested in the political theater of it, that, you know, if they named this person to replace Thurgood Marshall, it would change the balance of the Supreme Court or any of that stuff. It was more there’s this Black guy named Clarence that they’ve that they want to replace Thurgood. And there’s some debate over whether or not he should be there, you know, and it wasn’t, you know, whatever. But like hearing high tech lynching on TV, like, I wish people could kind of go back 30 some odd years and hear him say that in real time, because just like your daddy’s bars, like that felt like, man, like he stepped away from the cipher and it was like, well. [laughs]

 

Damon Young: Yeah, just dropped the mic. 

 

Joel Anderson: He was— 

 

Damon Young: Sexy chocolate— [both speaking] Just drop the mic.

 

Joel Anderson: All that. So yeah, and then the Long Dong Silver of it, like it just seemed really silly and everything else, you know, for people that are not familiar that that was allegedly some of the porn that he talked about discussed with Anita Hill and some of the other people he worked with that were, you know, junior to him at the EEOC. So it was just mostly, you know, wild political theater. I didn’t think about the impact he might have on the world, the impact that he had already had on the world. But he came to me as a guy that people were sort of conflicted about, confused about. I mean, obviously, over the next few years, as I get older and more, my political self becomes more defined I’m more familiar with the world. And then Emerge magazine for Black folks that remember this back in the nineties, they did a couple of covers of him that were caricatures, one of him looking like Aunt Jemima, the other him as a literal lawn jockey. 

 

Damon Young: Oh wow. 

 

Joel Anderson: And by that time, I’m like, okay, like, this is a guy kind of like your pops. You’ve identified him as he’s an enemy of our people. And it’s more complicated than that. But bottom line, that’s how he sort of came to me early on. 

 

Damon Young: So there was there was an ambivalence, though, early on when you first heard of Clarence Thomas. And, you know, he first became like a you know, a zeitgeisty person that we talked about. You did feel some ambivalence. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Okay. 

 

Joel Anderson: Clarence Thomas. I mean, just Clarence Thomas. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Joel Anderson: These white people are mad about Clarence Thomas. Who am I supposed to side with? Clarence Thomas? 

 

Damon Young: You know what? I will say that I’ve been on the wrong side of history with quite a few things [laughs] right? 

 

Joel Anderson: Is Kyrie one of these things?

 

Damon Young: No, I’m. I’m not giving up. I’m not—

 

Joel Anderson: You not giving up? All right. 

 

Damon Young: I’m still on. I’m still on Kyrie— 

 

Joel Anderson: Okay. All right.

 

Damon Young: I’m, I’m not living there. I’m leasing [laughter] leasing the property. 

 

Joel Anderson: You check in from time to time— [both speaking]

 

Damon Young: Yeah On if you know the property needs any updates. But I’m not living there anymore. But I still own a property. [laughter] But I remember not being swayed with Clarence Thomas’ you know, claims of a high tech luncheon and, you know, racism and etc., etc.. And I think the thing that kind of solidified my political consciousness, or at least my consciousness in that regard. Remember the show Designing Women? 

 

Joel Anderson: Absolutely. Meshach Taylor bro.

 

Damon Young: Yes. 

 

Joel Anderson: I watch it all the time. Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And they went in on the hearings on Clarence Thomas. And I remember watching that show and just thinking, okay, this is this is the right way. I should not be swayed by okay, Black man getting, you know, lynched in public. This is, you know, a travesty. This is whatever, no, just stick with the Anita Hill, stick with the allegations. And again, so yours was Emerge magazine. And mine with Designing Women. Right. [laughter]

 

Joel Anderson: It was a it was a much more diverse media environment in the mid-nineties. 

 

Damon Young: Right. 

 

Joel Anderson: Because there’s a lot of different ways that just happened to be how you came across it, right? 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah, man. You know, I wish that my political sense it involved more like gender analysis at the time, but I’m coming off I think 91 may have been the year that Mike Tyson got accused of rape for the first time, too, you know, by Desiree Washington. And even then I was sort of. And what’s she coming up with all this stuff from? They tried to bring a brother down, you know. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: And so I was still sort of in that mode, like I’m around 13 years old. I’m reading Black Boy and reading Autobiography of Malcolm X. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: I’m like, really invested in, like great Black men and like, the ways in which people try to bring them down. And so I thought it was persuasive that man, this Black guy, come here and all of a sudden this woman saying, uh oh, you know, he did something to her. Like, maybe she’s a tool of, like, all these white people. My skepticism was more about white people than anything else at that age as I’m sort of coming into myself. So, yeah, I wasn’t smart enough to listen to what Delta, Burke and Julia [laughter] you know Julia Sugarbaker and all them folks were saying. 

 

Joel Anderson: You know, like I probably I did watch that show and I probably even watched that episode, but it did not turn all the way over for me at the point where I would ask myself, why would Anita Hill do this? It doesn’t even make any sense. 

 

Damon Young: Well, I mean, and to your point, you know, I’m glad you brought up Mike Tyson, because, again, Tyson was someone that I was about that I was wrong on. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: You know what I mean? Like I was there, with you with Tyson. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: But for whatever reason, the Clarence Thomas thing, I think I the only time I like again, it felt any sort of even the inkling of ambivalence was after watching that 60 Minutes special in in 2007, that that was like the only time. But for whatever reason, I just from day one was like, oh yeah, this nigga ain’t shit. [laughter] From day one.

 

Joel Anderson: You are so much smarter. You were smarter than even Joe Biden on that point. 

 

Damon Young: I’m not even going to give myself that because there were other places, right? You know, Tupac, you know, perhaps is another one. You know what I mean? Mike Tyson, you know where I’m siding with my hero. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: With the person who, you know, I rooted for the person whose music I listen to, you know, And perhaps that was it. Perhaps because I had no context for Clarence Thomas other than the allegations, right? 

 

Joel Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: That made it easier for me to be like, oh, yeah, fuck this nigga. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah, he ain’t dropped no album. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Joel Anderson: He had not scored. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Joel Anderson: He ain’t averaged 20 points in a season and nothing like that. 

 

Damon Young: Mm mm. 

 

Joel Anderson: So yeah, that’s the only way you kind of came across. That makes a lot of sense. And yeah, I mean, I’m unlike you, I was probably wrong on every man [laughter] in that regard until I was in my mid to late twenties. Like Kobe. Kobe was one of the first times I sort of stood around and I was like, I kind of don’t understand, like, why this woman would subject herself to this. If it’s not true, why would she like it? Didn’t seem like there was the money piece of it, right. But it just didn’t, which she got in return. She would never be able to be a public figure. As far as I know. We don’t have to get into the Kobe of it. But you know what I’m saying? It was the first time that I was like, maybe sometimes Black men are guilty of sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual abuse. It’s not just, you know, some tool of white supremacy, you know, wielded against Black men who are ascendant in some sort of way. So my reasons for disliking Clarence Thomas were not about that. It was about I thought he was a traitor to our people. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. Yeah. And in the 30 years, you know, since he’s been a justice for 30 something years, like, there’s nothing that he’s done that has, you know, I guess, made anyone’s ambivalence from from back then justified. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Right. Or any progressive person any progressive kid, any any conscientious person’s ambivalence. If they possess any ambivalence, there’s nothing that he’s done that would make you like. You know what? Maybe you know what? [laughter] And so I guess I wanted to ask you why you chose to focus in on Clarence Thomas for this season of Slow Burn. Like what? What was the genesis of that idea? Like, what made him so fas— I mean, he obviously is a fascinating, extremely fascinating character. But why choose him for this sort of deep dive? And, you know, just for context, Joel is the host of the Slate podcast Slow Burn, this the eighth season of Slow Burn. And last season you focused on—

 

Joel Anderson: I did the L.A. riots, I did L.A. riots season and then the season right after that one was on Roe v. Wade. And so this is yeah. So anyway, we’re back in the Supreme Court business again. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. And the thing is, it’s definitely relevant to have a deep dive on Clarence Thomas. But that decision was made before the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned. So again, what was the genesis behind you choosing to do a deep dive on Clarence Thomas? 

 

Joel Anderson: Well, yeah, so I’ve been aware of him for most of my politically aware life. And as I mentioned in the podcast in the final segment where we talk about sort of this community conversation the Black folks are having about Clarence Thomas and whether or not, hey, maybe we should support him. He’s a Black man. He’s bound to come to the right side of things or no, he’s irredeemable. So anyway, my favorite writer at the time, Ralph Wiley, wrote this essay called Mr. Justice Thomas, and it covers a lot of the stuff in. And Ralph Wiley comes to the, you know, at some point in the essays like I’ve just basically got to hope that the experience of going through this will redefine him in his political beliefs and maybe he’ll come around. So that’s lingering in my mind. Like Clarence Thomas is one of the most important, most prominent Black people of my lifetime. And then, like, you know, the Thurgood Marshall of it, the Long Dong Silver of it, the high tech lynching of it, the pubic hair on my can of coke of it. It was just one of the more memorable formative news events of my young life. And it drove a lot of conversation. There’s another thing. You know, people talk a lot about Clarence Thomas as a complicated figure, like, you know, he’s just an enigma or whatever. And I always was sort of dubious of that. I was like, Is it really that complicated? And I think as a Black person, like if you’re Black, you grew up around Black people, you know, whatever. I hate the term steeped in Blackness, but whatever. Like, you grew up around Black folks and steeped in Blackness. We all know a lot of people like Clarence Thomas. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: Like people that don’t like Black people or think that Black people are to blame for their lot in this world. And I just think that, like, that was a part that I was interested in in discussing publicly. Like actually the reason you think this guy is so fascinating or interesting or confusing is because you actually don’t know very many Black people. But if you had said in any barbershop, any community group, fraternity, whatever else, you would know that they’re there. I mean, it’s not even all that uncommon. It’s not like it’s unprecedented for like a former Black Panther to become a conservative Republican. You know why Eldridge Cleaver did it? Muhammad Ali endorsed Ronald Reagan, like Jim Brown was a supporter of Donald Trump. People get confused about Black folks when they show up for for Republicans and conservative causes. It’s like you’re missing a lot of what they were saying all along. And so that’s kind of the part of it that I thought would be interesting to dig into and to discuss publicly through this podcast. 

 

Damon Young: You make a good point, too, about how the misogyny is like. That’s that’s the key, right? That’s the canary in the coal mine. That’s like the indicator. That’s the one thing like there was a tweet or meme a couple of days ago about this serial killer who was recently discovered in New Jersey. I forgot his name, white man. And, you know, someone, you know, joked and, you know, put that in the strongest air quotes possible that, you know, this guy seemed normal except for his hatred of women. [laughs]

 

Joel Anderson: Right. 

 

Damon Young: Which we didn’t care about anyway. [laughs]

 

Joel Anderson: That’s real, that’s real. 

 

Damon Young: Right. And that’s, you know, I guess his been kind of just a consistent through line with people who make, you know, quote unquote, “turns” into a certain type of politics. It’s like, well, like Ice Cube. It’s another one where, you know, people have been surprised by Ice Cube’s descent into, I guess, Hotepian, adjacent— 

 

Joel Anderson: Damon. [laughs] Ice Cube was one of my favorite rappers. Top three was a kid. That music, a lot of it doesn’t hold up, bro. 

 

Damon Young: It doesn’t. It doesn’t. 

 

Joel Anderson: You know? 

 

Damon Young: And again, one thing that has been consistent in his music and I guess in his politics now is just his overall dismissal of women. 

 

Joel Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: Right. You know, hatred, misogyny, whatever you want to call it. And so when you pay attention to that, that it makes certain political stances and certain political shifts less jarring because it’s like they’re just they’re they’re on the same continuum, they’re on the same line or just doing the same thing. Right. 

 

Joel Anderson: Absolutely. 

 

Damon Young: You brought up Clarence Thomas being, you know, one of the most influential Black people of your lifetime. And I’m wondering, like he actually might be one of the ten most influential Black Americans ever. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Really when you consider and not, you know, influence doesn’t always have to be a good influence. 

 

Joel Anderson: Absolutely. 

 

Damon Young: Right. Cause that that list, I mean, whatever short list there is of most influential people who have, you know, enacted the most change or for good or bad reasons. He is on. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah. I mean, he’s moved law in this country, right? He’s moved voting rights law. Gun rights law. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: You know, the way that sexual harassment is adjudicated through the EEOC, things like that. Protected classes, you know, affirmative action most recently. Right. And I mean, I guess, like. Yeah, I mean, you know, you got to have Thurgood Marshall on that list. You got to have Barack Obama on that list. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: But in terms of lasting political and cultural change in this country. Yeah. I mean, it’s tough to get more than Clarence Thomas, who, if he serves five more years, will be the longest serving Supreme Court justice in American history. Like. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: The thing is, the if Clarence Thomas was Thurgood Marshall or if he had the, like, the political ideology of him, it would be obvious. Right. Like he would be on a Mount Rushmore. We would have him. You know, my mom wouldn’t just have a stuffed version of Bo Obama in our house. She would have whatever dog. You know, Clarence and Ginni had, you know what I mean [laughter] you know, he would be on that you know, it’d be him. Martin. You know, Malcolm, I don’t know him for, you know, whatever he would be on that. But. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Joel Anderson: He’s forfeited that. But it it doesn’t mean that it diminishes his power or his influence. It just means that it’s coming from somewhere else. So, yeah, man, I mean, like I said, Barack, Thurgood, Who else we got? Michael Jordan. I don’t know. 

 

Damon Young: I mean—

 

Joel Anderson: Michael Jackson. 

 

Damon Young: Jordan. Michael Jackson again, you said Malcolm. Marcus Garvey. Oprah.

 

Joel Anderson: Right. I mean, he sort of supersedes a lot of these people, man. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: In terms of actual, real impact on people’s lives. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. Harriet Tubman. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yeah, we got Harriet Tubman. She would have to make the Mount Rushmore, but—

 

Damon Young: Frederick Douglass. Yeah. I mean, again, whatever list, whichever names we we name Clarence Thomas has to be one of the names. 

 

Joel Anderson: It’s not absurd to put him on there. It’s not absurd to put him on there. And that’s enough as it is. Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: You brought up a good point, too, about, like, how, you know, there is this presumption that people like Clarence Thomas, you know, niggas who hate niggas are rare, right? When again, if you grew up around Black people, you know, Black people like Clarence Thomas. Right. And I think the presumption is also too that the best sort of Black person is a Black person who grew up in the suburbs, didn’t grow up around Black people, grew up, you know, a certain class or whatever, and just, you know, grew up, you know, I guess entrenched in whiteness. It’s like nah,  like nine times out of ten. That person is a person who grew up around Black people, Black family, Black neighborhoods, Black schools, and just over reason decided, you know what? Fuck y’all niggas. [laughter] Right. Just got to a certain age and was like, man, fuck y’all. [laughter]

 

Joel Anderson: Right, right. 

 

Damon Young: Fuck all this shit. I don’t wanna be one of y’all.

 

Joel Anderson: Man, y’all niggas, niggas and flies. You know what I’m saying?

 

Damon Young: Nigga’s ain’t shit. 

 

Joel Anderson: Yes. Yes. 

 

Damon Young: And so for the people that I know who are like this, like if someone were to ask me, like, what the fuck is wrong with this guy? What the fuck is wrong with, let’s say the guy’s name is Jim? What the fuck is wrong with Jim? What the fuck is wrong with James? Oh I could tell you. I could. I could pinpoint back in, like, eighth grade. In ninth grade, and a thing that happened when we were grown up and etc., etc.. And so I guess my question to you as someone who has, you know, done this deep dive into Clarence Thomas is what the fuck is wrong with Clarence Thomas? Like, what happened to him? 

 

Joel Anderson: Well, I mean, I think he comes by his ideology, honestly. And I know there’s some people I just saw this discussion yesterday that I think Clarence Thomas is full of shit, that all of it is a lie, that this is a ruse that he’s playing. It would be such a long game, you know, for somebody to do this. The elements of it are always there. And you can start with his grandfather, who was, you know, a member of the NAACP in the Jim Crow South. Right. 

 

Joel Anderson: That don’t mean, you love Black people. It just means that you believe that you need to have access, that we all deserve the same access and that white people should get out of our way. Right. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Joel Anderson: And so his grandfather raised him pretty hard, sent him to Catholic schools, wanted him to become a priest, but he never hugged him, never said that he loved him. He treated him really harshly. And I think that that is a piece in Clarence Thomas that he’s kind of carried with him as he’s got older. And that cruelty is a form of love, a deprivation of affection is a form of love. And I think that he thinks that way about Black people. He’s like, if I take all this away from you, y’all be fine. You have no idea. We don’t need the Civil Rights Act. We don’t need the Voting Rights Act to improve ourselves in our communities. We can do it ourselves. I believe that he truly believes that. 

 

Damon Young: So you don’t think that this is a performance for whiteness or you think that that is an intractable from his political ideology? 

 

Joel Anderson: I think there’s a piece of it that is performance that without getting too deep into it and doing the psychology of it, I think that he’s skeptical of white people, too. Like, I think that he doesn’t trust or believe in the goodness of white people and that his skepticism comes with like white liberals. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: And he’s like with the white conservatives, they really they racist with me. I know we we we deal with each other on the same level. I can get with that. I think he doesn’t like the duplicity of like what he believes white liberals but I think he’s sincere in this. I do. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. I think of someone like a Jason Whitlock who who’s also on the Uncle Coon spectrum or whatever. [laughter] And and he is someone who doesn’t really seem to have a ideology. It’s like, you know what? I know that saying this about Serena Williams or saying this about Black on Black crime or saying this about fatherlessness or whatever, is going to generate page view it’s going to generate retweets is going to allow me to continue to get paid for whoever wants to employ me. Now, you know what I mean? 

 

Joel Anderson: Right. 

 

Joel Anderson: You don’t think he believes this sincerely? 

 

Damon Young: I think with him, I do believe that his beliefs have less integrity. If I want to compare the two, you know what I mean? In terms of Whitlock is someone who would lean towards whoever is like the highest bidder. And the thing is, right now, there is more of a lane and there’s more of an opportunity for grift for a Black person who has a platform on the right. Because on, on the left there’s just there’s just so many. And again, I don’t it’s not that I don’t think that he believes this stuff, but I think that that part of it, the performance part of it is also a huge factor. I think the performance also helps. Helps generate helps create, you know, an ideology. 

 

Joel Anderson: To the the Whitlock piece of it. I think that actually that’s up because if Whitlock had just gone along to get along, he’d be fine. He could be in charge of the Undefeated today or the Andscape. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: He could have made a lot of money, but he’s squandered a lot of opportunities. And maybe he’s still making more money than me. He’s obviously more prominent than me. You know, when the story of journalism in this generation is told, his name is going to be mentioned, not mine. But. 

 

Damon Young: I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t that. I mean, he yeah, I mean, I think sometimes we do mistake the size of platform for influence. 

 

Joel Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: You know what I mean? And the work that you’re doing now, the work you do you been doing now is much more meaningful than anything that he’s done in, like, the last, what, 20 years? 

 

Joel Anderson: That’s kind of you to say it really is—

 

Damon Young: I mean, that’s not. I’m not even being. I mean, you’re. You’re on my show right [laughter] you know what I mean, yes, I’m I don’t want to be a dick to a guest, but even if you were not on a show and I was just talking to anyone and we were comparing not in terms of platform, but in terms of lasting power and relevance, I think you’re selling yourself a little short right there. 

 

Joel Anderson: I appreciate you saying that. And I you know, maybe there is something to that. But, you know, at least as it is now, Jason Whitlock has sort of created this lane for himself. And I think that it could have, if he had just played the game a little better than he did, he’d have a much bigger platform. He’d be revered. But like he could be saying a lot of the same things, but say them in a way that isn’t so loaded, like intentionally going after like people like Mina Kimes or Serena Williams. If he had, like, been smarter about it and he could have figured it out. And that’s the thing about Clarence Thomas is that Clarence Thomas was smart enough to not be that incendiary. Right? Like, he’s just doing his work behind the scenes, you know. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Joel Anderson: And that’s what makes me think that this is there is a performance piece of it in that he’s like pretending to go along with all these white Republicans that likely hate him and think he’s an affirmative action case. But he knows that to have power to wield it, to see the kind of America that I want to happen, I have to do this and pretend that to like these some of these people. But I think he’s also sincere in his hatred. He would not say it if it’s hatred of Black people. He would call it tough love. 

 

Damon Young: You know, obviously this is an impossible question to answer. Right. But what does Clarence Thomas’ ideal America look like? 

 

Joel Anderson: Like some version of the Jim Crow South, but without white people trying to undercut Black people at every turn. So like this great male society where Black people have their own institutions, you know, their own universities, they run their own government, they have their own businesses, you know, Black capitalism with very little interference from white people and with Black women in a subservient role working as aids and, you know, everything else, not having a role in the leadership of this community, but for setting the culture in like the house life. But, yeah, I think that would probably be his ideal America. I mean, this is again, his experiences around white people were not great and he talks about it ain’t like he enjoyed it. You know what I mean? And I mean, he’s married to Ginni now, but I can’t find any evidence that he ever dated any other white women prior to that. You know, all his girlfriends were Black and his wife was Black before that. So I think that he wants to be among Black people, but he wants to be taken more seriously. [laughs]

 

Damon Young: Yeah, I’m. 

 

Joel Anderson: You don’t believe that. 

 

Damon Young: Well, no, no, no, I. I guess what I was thinking of, too, while you were while you were saying that was. I was just thinking, going back to just the idea of how the misogyny is a consistent thing right? Now he’s dated Black woman and was married to a Black woman, but he hasn’t had, like, the greatest relationships with Black women. 

 

Joel Anderson: Right. 

 

Damon Young: And that’s a consistent thing. You know, the Anita Hill thing is obviously the most prominent example. But, you know, he just hasn’t had that before. And so he’s someone who I do wonder if his base, you know, inherent like ideology or way of way of seeing the world maybe contributed to his feelings about Black women or if those feelings about Black women actually just were extrapolated and became like a larger worldview where it became like an entire political ideology based off of this very particular type of misogyny. 

 

Joel Anderson: Man. Well, that’s a good ass question. Uh, let’s see. So I definitely think he believes in like sort of the great man theory of society that like, society is moved by these great men who overcome tremendous hardship, and they provide a leadership role in a direction for communities. And he sees his grandfather sort of in that tradition. Right. That, you know, his grandfather did go to school on third grade, was illiterate, but nevertheless carved out a career and a life for himself that was well above middle class so they had to take care of people. And his grandmother worked in a sort of a, you know, a complementary role here. She doesn’t get nearly the same attention or reverence. So I think he believes in that. But I also do think that his experiences with Black women have informed it. He doesn’t have a lot of regard for his mother. And some people theorize it’s because she had to give him up when he was six years old. She couldn’t manage to take care of him and three other children and had to give him to his grandfather. Right. And so he doesn’t look at that. And he looks at his sister, his sister who has been, you know, been off and on welfare, lived, you know, roughly in the same place that they’ve been for the last 40 years. You know, she has a good, calm, peaceful life, but she didn’t become like some prominent figure like he did. And he doesn’t have a lot of respect for her. So I think like these early experiences where he’s like, oh, women are not to be respected. They’re here to like, serve us in a lot of ways or take care of family, take care of the home. And men like my grandfather are out there doing it. And if you look at his career, at like the EEOC. He talks about, you know, the women he worked with. A lot of the Black women were like his personal or special assistants they like did stuff for him. It’s not like he ever elevated anybody above his station. So. Yeah. I mean, I think that it’s both like it was formed at a very young age. This belief that women are not quite equal to men. And then like every experience afterwards, sort of reaffirmed that. And I mean, you know, you kind of look at it like he just left his wife, man, and moved on to Ginni Thomas when shit was about to pop. Like his wife was there with him when he was broke, doubted himself, didn’t look like anything was going to take off. And then as soon as his career takes off, he hooks up with the white lady that— [laughs] That was that could be side by side with him at these Republican cocktail parties. 

 

Damon Young: I mean, when he get on, leave your ass for a white girl. 

 

Joel Anderson: For a white girl. That’s right. I mean, Ginni Thomas man. Believe it or not.

 

Damon Young: Ginni Thomas, who would have thunk. [laughter] All right, Joel Anderson, thank you so much. Thank you so much for coming through again. Please check out his podcast, Slow Burn on Slate. You’re all I mean, you’re all over Slate. You know, you’re also on Hang Up and Listen. 

 

Joel Anderson: Hang Up and Listen podcast. 

 

Damon Young: Any other podcast that I’m forgetting about?

 

Joel Anderson: Well, you know, my wife is Dear Prudence and I do do bonus segments with her every week for her advice column. So, yeah, I show up every now and again in some places, so. Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Okay. All right. Well, Joel, again, thanks for coming back and. All right man. Good seeing you.

 

Joel Anderson: Man likewise, Damon. Appreciate you having me on bro. [music plays] 

 

Damon Young: Up next for dear Damon, I’m joined by Shaniqua McClendon, who was the vice president of politics for Crooked Media, but first, Damon hates. [music plays] I recently spent a week in Miami. I was there teaching at the University of Miami. I was there for VONA, which is a yearly retreat slash workshop for writers of color, and I was one of the instructors for VONA, I had a great time. It was a great group, very generous, very curious, very unpretentious, no notes, ten out of ten experience. And one of the things about being in Miami that I noticed when I got back home to Pittsburgh is that I had an actual physiological change to the climate down there, where the anxiety that fucks with me when I’m home, the back issues, the neck issues, the hip issues, all of that just disappeared when I was in Miami. Now, obviously, whenever people go on vacation or do a vacation like I tell you this wasn’t vacation, but vacation like. You don’t have the same anxieties and neuroses or whatever that you do at home. So of course you’re going to feel less anxiety, less trepidation, less whatever, less stress. So that has to be taken into account. [laughs] I also just think that I’m not built for this Pittsburgh climate, that the climate and the more tropical spaces just agrees with my body, more. I’m not supposed to be here. [laughs] And by here I mean Pittsburgh. And now that doesn’t mean I’m going to move to Miami, because one thing I will say about that city is that I experience more overt racism in that week there than I experienced in like ten years of Pittsburgh, where you were walking in spaces and these were white, Latino, Cuban, maybe spaces. And I would feel it felt like a nigga walking into like some diner [laughs] in 1960s Mississippi, where every eye, like one of the movies, like Mississippi Burning, where you walk into a diner and every eye is on you, like you just felt the energy in the room shift. And I don’t really feel it that way in Pittsburgh. But anyway, this weather, this experience, this climate that is here just ain’t for me. And again, I am a Pittsburgher born and raised, born and bred. My family’s here. My wife is from here also. So I have these ties here. We bought a house five years ago, but it might be time for me to seriously thinking about getting the fuck out of this city because it might be killing me. [music plays] Shaniqua McClendon is the vice president of politics for Crooked Media. Shaniqua what’s good? 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Not much. Sorry. I don’t know why. What’s good was such a foreign, how are you to me, I know what it means. I’m good. How are you? [laughs]

 

Damon Young: I mean, I appreciate honesty. I appreciate it. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: What’s good? Some things are good. Some things are not. 

 

Damon Young: Okay. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: You know.

 

Damon Young: I started saying what’s good after college. I went to college in New York State, Canisius College, what’s good was the greeting. And it just was one of the things that it probably was the main thing I took from college. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Was saying what’s good? 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: See, I was born in New York. 

 

Damon Young: And you don’t say what’s good? 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: No, I left when I was nine, but now that I think about it, my father still lives up there, and whenever I’m with him and his friends, he’ll just be like, what’s good? Or his other one? Whenever we go out to eat and he’s trying to get the waiter’s attention, he’ll be like, hey yo my man, just like, can you just say, hey? [laughter]

 

Damon Young: That’s something that I think I’ll never get used to is how people from New York City, how aggressive they are. And it’s not like rude. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: No. 

 

Damon Young: But just there’s an aggressiveness to servers and it’s like these are the people that are handling the food. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: I know even when he’s trying to give them a tip, my father won’t tip on his card. He only tips in cash. 

 

Damon Young: Okay. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Because he has these theories and he’ll even be like hey yo, my man. I just want to make sure you get this [laughter] and so he can hand him the cash directly. So I don’t know. I guess it works for him. 

 

Damon Young: I think the last time we saw each other, the only time really was that the Congressional Black Caucus week last year in D.C.. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Good to see you again. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: You, too. 

 

Damon Young: So, Morgan the producer, what we got cooking for Shaniqua this week?

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Dear Damon, as a Black person, how do I get out of talking about politics without seeming weird or uptight? It feels like a prerequisite to have to talk about it. But I am tired. After a long, traumatic period of political upheaval. I’m fucking tired of talking about politics. I also should mention that I’m a Black woman living in Florida, so I am extra tired. I’m tired of explaining and educating. I get riled up inside, frustrated and upset internally for my mental health. I don’t want to talk about politics anymore with anyone, but particularly with the handful of Republicans and independents that I know. For clarity. They don’t bring up politics much either. But I do feel like I’m walking on eggshells to some extent, especially as we head into the 2024 election season. As a Black person, how do I get around talking about politics without seeming weird or uptight? 

 

Damon Young: Shaniqua? 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Doozy of a question. What you got for us? 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: There’s a few different things. I feel like I encounter this. I mean, in my career generally once people hear I work in politics, but especially like in Uber and Lyft rides [laughter] you know, the drivers are like, hey, where are you headed? Blah, blah, blah, oh, what do you do? Especially when I go to L.A. and I’m like, oh, I’m here for work. Then it turns into all these questions. And I was in an Uber here in D.C. during Pride. I don’t know where I was going, but the Uber driver was like, oh, Pride’s this weekend it’s going to be a bunch of men walking around in halter tops. And I just got quiet. I think he expected me to say something and then he said something else that was weird, and I just looked at him and he was like, but you know, it’s fine. It’s fine. And I was like, yeah, it is fine. So this doesn’t get you fully out of talking about politics, but I just like to make people feel really uncomfortable about the sideways stuff they say the sideways stuff they believe or, you know, if someone was to come up to me and say, you know, I don’t think it’s so bad that people support Trump, you know, like, I don’t, but I’ll go through a list and then they don’t want to talk about it anymore. Now, have you want to get out of it altogether? Sometimes I just lie about what I do. I’ll say I work in media and keep it vague, and if they press more, I’ll just be vague. I mean, I guess you don’t want to lie, but like, you don’t owe anyone a political conversation because especially as a Black woman, there’s so many layers that come with that. And, you know, politics affects everyone, but it’s just for Black women and Black people or anyone who’s not like a white cis straight man. Politics has a lot greater impact because we’re in fewer powers of position or fewer positions of power. So like, you don’t owe anyone that emotional labor. You just literally don’t. And maybe you should not be so concerned with sounding uptight. I don’t think it’s uptight type to say, I don’t want to talk about this. 

 

Damon Young: I just want to say that I really like I know that it was kind of malapropism, but powers of position is a really good phrase. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: [laughs] Oh yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. I’m going to use that for something. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Okay, you heard it here first. [laughs]

 

Damon Young: And so the part of the question that really stood out to me was this person who expressed a anxiety in talking about politics around like the conservatives and independents that they know now, they didn’t really distinguish whether these were like a social sort of, you know, connection or like a work sort of thing where you just happened to be in those spaces. It’s unavoidable. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: But I got the feeling that it was a social connection. And so I’m curious also how someone who claims to be progressive in 2023 is still in social spaces with so many conservatives and independents, which is conservative. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And I guess my takeaway is like, well, if you put yourselves in that sort of environment socially, voluntarily, then you are making a choice. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: If you’re able to remove yourself from those environments, if this is a social thing, if this is a choice thing, if this is a thing where you don’t have to work with these people you don’t like, live next to these people or whatever. Yeah, it’s a choice. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. No, I completely agree. And even if it is a work situation, so one, if this person works in politics, I imagine they wouldn’t be around that many independents and conservatives in their workspace. So I think it’s perfectly fine to tell your coworkers that you don’t want to talk about politics at work. Like, that’s just like kind of a boundary that you have. But it does sound like this is a social setting. And, you know, Florida is Florida. But it’s not only conservatives. I mean, you look at some of the policies, some of the ballot initiatives that have been passed to restore voting rights for formerly incarcerated people to raise the minimum wage. Like there are like minded people in Florida that I’m sure this person can find. And you don’t have to subject yourself to this. And I say that as someone who works in progressive politics and has to deal with the other piece of this, which is like a lot of white liberals who feel, you know, they have a lot of thoughts that can sometimes be paternalistic, just about the ways that we can help Black and brown people. And I mean, for me, I like get in arguments about politics because I think I’m right most of the time. And even if they don’t agree with me, like I got my facts, but still, that can even be degrading with people who agree with me, but have different kind of underlying ideologies about why they believe the things that they believe. And you just I don’t know, like this sounds crazy [laughs] but like, sometimes you can just pull the race or marginalized identity card and be like, look, I know more than you because I’ve lived this experience. And so you can kind of think what you want to think, but here we are. Or you can say, look, I just don’t feel comfortable talking to you about that. But I agree it’s a choice. 

 

Damon Young: Now, do you feel that people who are progressive, you know, who find themselves either socially or economically or just physically, geographically in spaces that are less progressive, do you think that those people have an obligation to like speak up? You mentioned Uber driver or something that’s a bit more severe. Do progressive people in those sorts of spaces have an obligation to, I guess, to correct or to push back? 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: I honestly think it depends on like if you feel safe, like how marginalized is your identity. So my driver was like an older Black man saying this stuff. And I as a woman, you know, don’t always feel safe, like pushing back on a man because and I’ve been in Ubers where things have gotten uncomfortable because someone’s trying to flirt with me or get my number. And, you know, there’s a power dynamic there. I’m in the backseat of someone’s car. And so I think you have to think about, like, how safe it is to push back on those things. But when I feel safe to do that, I always do do it because I know that like where I am in my life, I have a tremendous amount of privilege and I’m always going to leverage that in any way that I can to protect someone. So, you know, had me and that man, maybe been on a crowded street, I would have pushed back more and said, well, what’s the problem? You know, like if someone wants to wear a halter top, like, why is that affecting you? You just need to drive them to where they want to go. But there have been instances where I haven’t felt safe. I mean, I didn’t feel like I was about to be harmed in that Uber, but I didn’t want to, you know, escalate anything with someone who so readily was able to to share his homophobia with me. And so I guess what I’m actually getting to is like, especially if you are like a straight white man, use the platform and privilege you have to correct people. And I imagine those are the same people who are spending time with marginalized communities, listen to them, hear their stories, hear the way these things impact them and speak up. But generally, I just I don’t know if you are not going to be harmed. I do feel like there is a bit of an obligation there to speak up. I don’t think you have an obligation to try to change people’s minds, though. 

 

Damon Young: I think you make a great point about safety. It’s not always the best idea to speak up depending on the circumstance. But again, if you’re in an environment that is less dangerous where you might have some more privileges, I do think we’re obligated to say something. You know, this is a conversation that comes up like every Thanksgiving or whatever or around the holidays when people are going back to spend time with your family. And it’s like, so how obligated are you to speak up when one of your uncles or your aunts says something homophobic or racist or transphobic or whatever? Do you just let it slide or do you speak up and you make it an awkward Thanksgiving for everybody? I lean towards the latter, but I think that there’s caveats too like. I think it depends. Like, for instance, if it’s your dad, your 60 year old dad, and yeah, you should say something because your dad still is a citizen and exists in the world if it’s like your 96 year old grandma—

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Let Ethel be racist. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: I agree. [laughs]

 

Damon Young: Let her spend her last breaths in the comfort, the sweet comfort of racism. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: [laughs] You know, what I mean, let her. You don’t have to challenge her. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Right. 

 

Damon Young: But someone who is less than 96 years old. Who was saying this shit. You should probably say something. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah, because they’re still out there. Like, you know, I think about, you know, my father and me and my sisters are sometimes like, hey, you can’t say that. You can’t say that. And I think at first he thought we were just being extra sensitive. And now he’s like, okay, this is something they care about. They don’t want me saying these kinds of things. But my grandmother, who I love, she is in her eighties, she has dementia. And like I mean, she’s talking about herself. She’s like, my hair’s so nappy today. And she just like is going in on the hair on top of her head because she was still getting relaxed and it was falling out. And we were like, you can’t get relaxers anymore. And she’s just like, I don’t like it. And why is her hair like that? Just all this stuff. And I’m like, you know what? I’m a let her live her life. Her cognitive ability is declining. I mean, she doesn’t even remember what we say 10 minutes after we say it. So, like, why am I spending all my energy on that? But I love her. 

 

Damon Young: And I guess to get back to the question, this person is asking for advice. What can they do to feel less anxious, less awkward in these environments? I feel like the best answer if you’re able to change environments, change environments because again, like, why are you in these spaces? 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: With conservatives with independents, or whatever where you are constantly being asked about politics, like what is this particular dynamic where this is coming up over and over again and can you remove yourself? Can you do that? 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. Someone said this to me, we’re not friends anymore, but I was telling her some stuff some people had said about her and she’s like, why do they feel so comfortable talking to you about it? And this is kind of my question here, like why do these people feel so comfortable continuing to bring this stuff up around you? Have you created and now it’s like, I’m blaming her, but you know, what? Have you maybe contributed to this? And if it’s nothing at all that you can’t change, just get out of there. Like you do not have to subject yourself to these things. And when that person asked me that, we stopped being friends because I have been a great friend to her and pushed back on these people. But she still was questioning my friendships. I was like, okay, well, we’re not going to be friends anymore. And so we have to make these choices for ourselves to be comfortable because it’s not on other people to make us comfortable. We’re in control of that. And those people are going to keep asking you those questions. So just don’t let them. 

 

Damon Young: I mean, what did Drake say, you know, I’ve been losing friends and finding peace because honestly, that feels like a fair trade to me. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: I mean, I feel bad I don’t know what song that’s from but that is very thoughtful.

 

Damon Young: Fair Trade. It’s like I mean, I don’t know which type of points that I just lost by being able to recall that song so quickly. It was not his most recent album, but the album before that. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Comeback Season was like one of my favorite [laughs] mixtapes. And then slowly I just kind of got off the the Drake train. 

 

Damon Young: This was a song that was featuring Travis Scott, and it was one of the best songs on that album. I treat Drake albums like a treat, like buffets, you know, brunch buffets. It’s like, you know what? I don’t know if I want the roast beef. I don’t know. I want that fruit. That fruit look like it’s been sitting out for a couple of weeks. But, you know, I’ll fuck with this crab cake. These eggs aren’t really hitting but maybe the omelette might be.

 

Shaniqua McClendon: That’s made of eggs? [laughs]

 

Damon Young: And the thing is, the funny thing about Drake, I’m bringing them up in this context is that he is someone who has managed to be apolitical. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: I can’t really think of any other star entertainer. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Or athlete who’s been a thing for like the last 15 or 20 years, who we have had no sort of expectation of what they believe politically. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah, no, that is true. And I’ve never even once thought what Drake thought politically. 

 

Damon Young: And I don’t give a shit either. I don’t care. So this person should remove themselves if they’re able to remove themselves from the environment, should go ahead and do that. If they are not able to remove themselves, if they maybe live in the same space with these people, maybe in a subdivision, or they have to work with people like this. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: You just maybe leaning into that, making them uncomfortable. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. I mean, it goes so far because while I do think it’s great for you to tell people, hey, I don’t want to talk about this, that normally will just incite people more to keep at the conversation, but you make them feel uncomfortable. They’re going to run away from it. I mean, people always do. 

 

Damon Young: I even think they’re saying, hey, I don’t want to talk about this with you is something that makes people uncomfortable too. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: And add the with you at the end, because that’s the part— [laughs]

 

Damon Young: I’m not comfortable with this with you. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Yeah. And what do you say to that? You just stop. 

 

Damon Young: Shaniqua, thank you so much for stopping through. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Thank you for having me. 

 

Damon Young: Thank you for coming. It’s good to see you again. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: You too. 

 

Damon Young: Where can people find you or looking for your work, looking for you. You want to be found because some people, when I ask that question, they’re like, I don’t want no one to come looking for me. I don’t want people to find me. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: I, I really like writing. I have not written anything in some time, so I have an outdated website, but it does have my writing on there. So maybe if people visited my website I would write more. But it’s shaniquamcclendon.com and it has all my socials and stuff but I should write more. So this will be my prompt to. 

 

Damon Young: Okay. Shaniqua McClendon, thank you again for coming through. 

 

Shaniqua McClendon: Thanks for having me. 

 

Damon Young: All right. [music plays] Again, just want to thank Joel Anderson, Shaniqua McClendon for coming through today. Great conversation, great guests, great topics. Also, thank you all for coming through. Again, you could have been anywhere else in the world, but you chose to be here with us again this week. So thank you. And again, Stuck with Damon Young’s available wherever you can get your podcasts. But if you are on the Spotify app, please go to the app. There are all types of like really fun, interactive questions and answers and polls, so please just have some fun. Take advantage of that. Also, if you have any questions whatsoever about anything under the sun hit me up at deardamon@crooked.com. All right y’all. See you next week. [music plays] Stuck with Damon Young is hosted by me, Damon Young. From Crooked Media, our executive producers are Kendra James and Madeleine Haeringer. Our producers are Ryan Wallerson and Morgan Moody. Mixing and mastering by Sara Gibble-Laska and the folks at Chapter Four. Theme music and score by Taka Yasuzawa. And special thanks to Charlotte Landes. And from Spotify our executive producers are Lauren Silverman, Neil Drumming and Matt Shilts. Special thanks to Lesley Gwam and Krystal Hawes-Dressler. [music plays]