Interview With Megan Kang


I guess today is making king and she is a doctoral student at princeton in sociology. And she first came to my attention because as i was scrolling through my morning news feed this headline jumped up at me about how this person had embittered themselves among stop the steel trump supporters and wanted to really understand. Just not only what they thought. Because i think a lot of us know what they think. But it's more like what's behind that. Why do they keep thinking what they think. So i immediately reached out to megan. And i said man i would love to have this conversation. I think. Our country after the inauguration of president biden and vice president harris and we're right in the midst of this impeachment trial as recording this. We're still hugely terribly divided as a country. And i just wanna thank you for your willingness. Come on talk about this. We don't expect you to have any more definitive answers than anybody else out there. But i think your experience of spending a month of weekends at an intersection in florida is priceless. And so welcome to the podcast. Thanks so much for having me can so you kind of come from this approach from what i could glean from your article that you're not just looking at data you want to imbed yourself because you said either walking in the shoes or at least near the shoes of the people that you're studying is very different than just looking at raw data is that is that accurate. Yeah that is accurate. So i guess one thing. I should point out about the word in bed. I that that was a huffpost like editorial decision more nefarious than what. I think i was doing. You know like a click bait thing. Sounds very intriguing but really got me. Click we get the impression that you went deep undercover. You know it it was. I think i would say more naive in that. You know i. I saw this group of people that had been standing on a corner where i had been doing grocery shopping over winter break. I happen to be in florida staying in my partners family's house kind of on accident actually. I need to go home to southern california. Where i know you're from kobe. Rates had gotten so bad. And so i decided to just stay put in florida where things a little bit better. So we saw them there for a few weekends. I learned from the the grocer that this group had actually been out there for the past six months and it had transformed from from pro trump rallies to part election to stop the steel rallies. Right after who does the same group of people consistently there. Every saturday morning. I think like many americans like you said had been had been having a hard time grasping this divide that we've been seeing our country and feeling like i was missing perspective. And so like you say. I think the the method that i i am drawn to is just going up and talking to people and asking them and that's something that i'm i'm getting trained to do as a sociology. Phd student and particularly a method called goofy and we prioritize personal experience and getting close to the issues and trying to understand people who are living those issues experience making sense of them. I'm just trying to imagine that as you almost use the word infiltrate as you associated as you kind of dropped in on these weekends at this intersection. I'm imagining that. There weren't a lot of people that looked like you already. They're like the regulars weren't anywhere close to people of color sets to say that's right. yes. I'm a twenty eight year old korean-american woman who was raised in california and has lived in berkeley oakland chicago detroit and princeton. So that just gives you a glimpse of my political. Leanings have influenced my thinking. This is in south florida. Florida's a quintessential purple state. it voted marginally for trump. in the past two elections. I was in one of the blue counties but only marginally blue and so very different political environment than the ones that i've used to and the group of people that were there. I had seen them before. They were primarily middle aged white and hispanic floridians decked out fully and trump gear. And we're definitely looked very different and clearly have different perspectives than anyone. That i'm around

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