Crystal Fleming on White Supremacy
<music> i'm sarah. You're a journalist scholar and the author of the essay collection the view from flyover country and the upcoming book hiding in plain sight co-host is andrea chalupa a writer and the screenwriter of the journalistic thriller mr jones and together. We are guests let nation a podcast covering covering corruption in the trump administration and the rise of autocracy around the world this week marks two years since the white supremacist rally in charlottesville silver jinya in which anti racist activists heather higher was murdered so it's fitting that we are airing an interview with an expert on white supremacy in global racism facism dr crystal fleming who's a sociologist and the author of how to be less stupid about race on racism white supremacy and the racial divide. She is also an associate professor of sociology. At stony brook university with affiliations in the department of africana studies and women's this gender and sexuality studies. Andrea spoke with dr fleming in may and their conversation will comprise the bulk of this episode. We're very excited. I have dr fleming as part of our gas that nation reading series and we encourage you to go buy your books but before we get to her interview i want to say a few words about charlottesville l. racism and authoritarianism the day that trump was named president elect a tweet it out some advice on what subjects to study if you wanted to understand dan how is administration would operate a tweeted to things to research to understand trump. One is the rise of authoritarian states in violent populism. Listen broadly both recent and in history. The other is sanctioned state brutality in the u._s. Toward native americans blacks others others white mob violence. It has happened here then apply knowledge of foreign authoritarianism to the long history of sanctioned persecution in the u._s. Us and you will see where we are headed. The point i was making that we continue to make on gasoline nation is that you cannot separate autocracy from the long history of state sanctioned racist brutality in the united states. Authoritarianism is not a foreign import. Authoritarianism has always been in in america selectively applied from slavery to jim crow to mass incarceration of black men to the constant battle for voting rights. You you see selective authoritarianism in practice. It was obvious in twenty sixteen that any attempt to make the u._s. Fully autocratic state withdraw from america's america's long history of racist tally and that is in fact what happened with the trump administration attacking the rights of non white americans i and now now it is continued for two years with policies becoming more brutal laws and protections increasingly stripped away and white supremacist extremism continuing to be mainstreamed by the inaction of politicians and the tolerance of the media trump himself was the ultimate example of this in charlottesville with his infamous thomas proclamation that quote both sides had good people the part of this that should shake you to your core. It's not that he made the statement. It was predictably vile l. but that two years later trump remains in power with congress refusing to hold them accountable for his crimes and much of the media still behaving is sick offense. It's his comments should be unforgivable that such proclamations have become row at times greeted with indifference is an indictment of our country. I'm going to read you a brief op ed that i wrote immediately after the charlottesville violence so that i can bring you back to that time and make you consider what kind of culture has emerged in its wake cer- from august sixteen twenty seventeen. Why trump blames both sides for charlottesville written for the website a fast company. There is a time in the distant era of twenty fifteen when condemning nazis was a very low bar for an american politician listen to clear it was so low that candidates almost never asked their view on the subject as the default assumption was not only that the candidate rejected them because has there fucking nazis but that nazis were not enough of pertinent player in the twenty first century political field to merit inquiry racists. Yes i white supremacists. Maybe but nazis swastika-wearing sick hailing ethnic cleansing nazis of course not of course not ah today that low bar is like limbo pole under which are president cannot pass having gorged himself on the worship of white supremacists waving tiki torches and a summer party from hell to the surprise of no one who has followed donald trump's career over the past forty years the nineteen seventy-three lawsuit over anti-black discrimination and his persecution of the innocent central park five his birther crusade the entire two thousand sixteen presidential campaign the president backtracked on his bold nazis nazis or bad stance for monday to say about the quote jews won't replace us chanting far writers that there were to quote a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very lightly protest. You had people that were very fine people as for the counter protesters he said they were from quote a group on the other side that came charging without a permit and they were very very violent. According to our dear leader one of those anti-racist protestors heather hire was murdered by a white supremacist during an act of domestic terrorism that closely resembled the tactics of isis supporters in europe after falsely falsely insinuating that hires mother had praised him trump castigated the activist to follow along cider saying there is a group on this side. You can call them. The left left. You've just call them. The left that came violently attacking the other group. Yes i think there is blame on both sides trump switched from blaming in many sides as he did on saturday to blaming both sides. He's right that there are two sides the tail of the confederacy in the united states of america the white supremacists targets the president and the patriots is also obvious favors the side of the nazis this this has been evident since trump launched his campaign. It became clear when he hesitated to denounce david duke in february twenty sixteen. It was blindingly obvious obvious on saturday in his initial reaction to charlottesville that journalists and politicians spent two years grossly underestimating trump's racism has allowed allowed to flourish a dog whistle became the tune of a pied piper is firing caucasian partisans to parade their prejudices and it became a bullhorn once trump trump was safely ensconced as president despite pundit predictions trump never planned to pivot his goal was always instead to pivot americans to his sick views to pull the fringes to the center and make extremism mainstream. He has to some degree succeeded in two thousand sixteen racist. Assist ideology reentered not only american political discourse but the white house itself in the form of steve bannon sub gorka and stephen miller since saturday the calls for the resignation of these three advisors have intensified more tepid is the call for the resignation of confederacy buff jeff. If sessions the attorney general's seeks to strip non white citizens of their rights under sessions the justice department has backed anti immigrant anti black black anti muslim anti voter rights initiatives proving that this administration's threat is not merely rhetorical the white supremacist house else runs the gamut from nissan nazis miller to respectability racists like sessions but they should all be taken down like the confederate statues their side defense. It's there are many reasons for trump to go down with them a mullets violations obstruction of justice high crimes and misdemeanors with his speech on tuesday yet another indicator. He's unfit to be president but who will take trump on saturday the g._o._p. Place blame squarely on the side of the neo nazis in white supremacists and deemed the murder of hire an act of terrorism on tuesday paul ryan marco rubio and others tweeted once more against trump's racist rhetoric rhetoric but will they act trump's speech showed utter disregard for their critiques wiping out whatever goodwill he accumulated during his disingenuous annual denunciation on monday as the legislative majority. It's up to the g._o._p. To decide whether trump represents repugnant neo confederacy or the weather he represents them in the rest of the u._s. For a normal president charlottesville in its aftermath would be a disaster for trump. It's is a gift he gave himself. He is stoked and cultivated is racist base for years and now they may provide what he craves most an act of violence so severe you can use it as a pretext to strip away. Citizen's rights trump is never hidden hunger for riots repeatedly deeming them cleansing force. He's threatened threaten to have the feds invade cities like chicago purely because of crime his response to terror attacks when not smug self congratulation has been demands for darker policies in other words trump may do autocrats have always done create or explain a crisis in order to consolidate solid eight power by framing charlottesville is caused by two equally violent sides trump is developing a framework through which to crush opponents of racism who also happen to be opponents trump by showing he will protect neo nazi followers. He encourages them to act again as they will not be blamed and by him. The blame would fall squarely on the anti-racist protestors who trump would claim provoked the violence. This propaganda would likely be aimed his eroding base of moderate republicans supporters. This group has grown frustrated with trump but in this is important. If you want us understand the the power our trump has over them highly value law and order this gross manipulation cannot stand trump's neo nazi adherence will likely continue continue their activity whether or not trump is in office though how emboldened they may be me depend on who is in power white supremacist groups have been on the rise as for nearly a decade but in the twenty first century. It's only under trump that their activity is sanctioned by the executive branch that their opponents are demonized from the presidential eventual podium and their clashes may very well be used as a pretext for an overhaul of civil liberties as he's done for two straight years. Trump trump is flaunting future plans perverse prerogatives daring you to be bleak enough to believe him you shed the history of fascism speaks seeks volumes with sodas trump in his own words set standard that i can name a lot of examples of how this bore out two years later you're the demonization of and death threats towards ilhan omar comes to mind as well as the endless excuses made for people like stephen miller and others who plot the torture of migrant children but i don't wanna keep you from dr flemings interview any longer so i'll end my part here i hope that this week you remember heather higher and other victims of white supremacist violence and i hope in this interview with dr flemming you grasp the broader sociological context taxed white supremacy media representation political power and other issues affecting all of us in america today so here is andrea chalupa surface interview with dr crystal fleming so thank you so much for coming gasoline nation. I we love your book. Thank you so much for writing it. It is an essential multi vitamin for anybody who wants to survive especially this upcoming election and just be able to talk about one of the most host critical urgent dangerous matters right now in the world today which is white supremacy of course and and white supremacist terrorism so we're we're gonna get into all of this today and demystify and gaslight people with your help with your leadership and expertise more very grateful to have you on the show. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited for our conversation. Okay so i wanna say your book is incredibly funny. I was was not expecting that and when i love about it so much is that you share your own personal journey your own humility in being aware era of white supremacy yourself racism yourself because you write about how your mother for so long and a growing up in tennessee even though she she did it was an activist for civil rights writes was was of course politically socially conscious. She protected you. She sheltered you from all these issues and so you right so beautifully and with such vulnerability and humor moore and warmth about your own journey waking up to racism white supremacy and how it all works and sort of the wishful thinking and save your syndrome that you you yourself fell into to could you talk a little bit about that yes so my mom and mom raised me and as you mentioned we're from tennessee from chattanooga tennessee tennessee and you know wouldn't describe my mom is an activist at least not when i was growing up although she's definitely an advocate for social justice but that's important morton because i grew up in a really apolitical household so it's not just that we didn't talk about racism and race. We were really talking about politics and so i grew up <hes> <hes> in an environment where i had this kind of an it was because my mother wanted to still send me but i had this belief that what i could do you know anything was possible and if i work hard i'll succeed just the typical american individualism and american dream dream that was kind of my household and so even though you know i was a black girl from tennessee. I had no idea what the odds were stacked against me personally and my mother and our family because we didn't talk about it. It wasn't taught to me <hes> in school <hes> and <hes> so it took quite a while. I mean what felt like a long time but it took really until college for me to you know <hes> have an opportunity you to learn more about not just reese zone but about <hes> oppression and power <hes> and class and so on <hes> and that was a really big awakening for me and as i began to study and the research these shoes then my mom began to share more of her own experiences share <hes> just <unk> how she has had to encounter multiple forms of of oppression and discrimination and you know attempt to overcome them so that's become something that we talked quite a lot about. It's fairly recent today. We're talking about for her. Dot com a new women's wellness brand putting your body back in new york control getting birth control the hassle the time it takes to go to your doctor's office the stress of receiving your new pack on time or the phone calls you make to find out where your insurance currence no longer paying for it is absurd. 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Let restrictions apply see website for full details and safety information and i love love love about your book while we're always trying to go on and on about on the show is historical consciousness and taking the long view and just accepting the fact that history matters and could you talk a little bit about that specifically yes so i think some people are surprised read the book because its bio solids of by all of the historical local references so there's a lot of effort on my part to convey historical consciousness and partly shorts because i'm trying to provide folks with the context for understanding we're racism comes from why it exists and because i think that without that context you can't really make sense of things like racial disparities but having said that also is one of my <hes> intellectual areas of interest. My first book is called resurrecting slavery racial legacy of white supremacy in france and that's all about issues of collective memory and how racism and slavery colonialism are debated and discussed in france today so <hes> in that book one of the concepts that i developed and introduces racial temporarily and basically i'm trying trying to argue that <hes> we need to pay more attention to how people think about race racism across time so sure the the impact of the past and the present but also you know what an anti-racist future might look like and so with how to be less stupid about race. I wanted to convey convey temporal historical understanding of racism and antiracism because i think that's connected. I think if you have a historical oracle consciousness about racism and other systems of oppression that gives you a sense of not only what we're dealing with now but what we would have to do to build a different and better world so obviously there's centuries of slavery that existed on the land that's now america and that was just total to humanization. Russian women being bred cattle child rape families being separated all of it the long holocaust that lasted for centuries. He's that our country was founded on but what's really interesting is that the sort of institution of slavery even after the civil war howitt changed into different various forms over generations and and how you know obviously has completed completely gone away today with the military industrial complex and so forth and so in taking this historical stoical view is really stunning one example right after the twenty sixteen election with donald trump being president states in about the elect and about to be sworn in office. I was in paris and i went to an exhibit at a new spent more time in paris than me so you could crack my accent here. Musee du quai branly jacques chirac the museum like right on the sandwich had a stunning exhibit called the color line african american artists and segregation and what the exhibit does is it walks you through art from the colonial days and slavery all the way through we construction and so fourth and the harlem renaissance and as you're going through the african american experience through african american artists and and other leading thinkers. Here's what you're seeing again and again. Is that every bit. Every bit of progress was met by white rage and so when you walk out of there you think you know about slavery thinking about m._l._k. But when you see it when you're confronted with the little moments in history throughout the add up to the total experience what you're left with is of course the first black president is going to be followed by donald trump that is the american story and that's how stories when carried out generation after generation yeah. I think you're absolutely right. I mean i think you know when you look at our history. Particularly the reconstruction era right so what occurred after the civil war after the putative end of slavery or that we know that it remained legal will in the context of imprisonment <hes> but you know so reconstruction was this era in the latter part of the nineteenth century where white supremacy z. was firmly institutionalize the united states in the wake of the abolition of slavery and so we're dealing with in this country entry not just yes the legacies of slavery but more specifically the maintenance of white supremacy throughout our history jury in these different eras so that yes we can see <hes> policies enacted and <hes> and political backlash to to every advance in civil rights and human rights <hes> and so yes. You're right in that context. It's not especially surprising facing that you do get a donald trump after a barack obama. Could you go into is white supremacy. And how does it work sure uh-huh yes in ten seconds or less white supremacy as i define it is the social political and economic comic dominance of people socially defined as white and so what it simply means is that <hes> we're dealing with the system of power in which being socially recognized as white or labeled white <hes> gives you access to a certain set of resources and those resources services can be economic political social and otherwise but it also means that you know we have a racialist hierarchy in which whiteness lightness has been institutionalized as not just a signal of superiority but really ask a pathway to to again access to the resources so when i write about and talk about white supremacy in this way what i'm trying to do try and the intervention i'm trying to make is is to correct the misperception that white supremacy is just you know like the k._k._k. Or that it's only <hes> extremism or that. It's just white nationalism. Because of course those things are also part of white supremacy but white supremacy is the air that we breathe within the united states and what's important to be able to acknowledges that even as we you know certainly look at metrics of progress. We can look look at policies <hes> that were overtly white supremacists that have been dismantled. Certainly the dismantling of jim crow in the united states <hes> commanders <hes> i think it would be foolish to suggest that you know these changes don't matter but yet instill what has occurred and <hes> there have been a a number of folks who studied this very well but we've seen that as there have been progress in civil rights and human rights. There's also been then the morphine of white supremacy to accommodate those changes <hes> and so whether you think about it in terms of a backlash or whether you think about it in terms of you know sort with reconfigure the status quo <hes> i think the bottom line is whether you're looking in two thousand nineteen nineteen nineteen eighteen nineteen or seventeen nineteen in this country whiteness is associated with economic and political power and particularly being a white male if we're to get a bit more intersectional in our discussion but that has continued over time even as we've had increased civil rights and so on and in terms of you talk a lot about exposure like personal exposure to people of color for instance and sort of how the interpersonal level we have to sort of carry on this awareness and conversation and we have a responsibility there. Could you speak a bit on that. The reality is research is pretty conclusive here for the vast majority of white americans have zero friends of color zero and so what that means is that you know tens of millions of white americans quite literally live in white echo chamber most of them don't realize that they are missing out on something important on many things that are important and <hes> and you know people have colored are not a monolith <hes> obviously there are folks who are not wight who are racially ignorant and yet <hes> we also know that because a racialist non white tend to experience discrimination nation racism they tend to know more about it than their white counterparts and so if we're looking to try to better understand racism we need utah look towards people of color we of course need to look at or it's anti-racists whites who have also been yes a minority but there have been anti-racist whites thorughout our country's history that have been working for anti-racist change <hes> but i think you know realizing that when you live in a echo chamber of whiteness you are missing out on the knowledge of people of color of course also missing relationships with people of color and there's a cost to that is important so i take you know if you consider yourself anti-racists thinking about how to desegregate your life and to learn from people of doc diverse backgrounds is part of anti-racist practices one thing i want to put in the time capsule for everyone is the years before the two thousand sixteen election then there was this fiery debate which i'm now nostalgic for because i would trade it from for what twitter looks like today over p._c. Culture culture and whether it was it was going to far and when trump won there even these so-called thought pieces bringing up saying it's all p._c. Culture's chris fault people were voting against political correctness. Do you remember that. I mean obviously your that's your job to record all those but that was just i. I just want to remind everyone of that. That was the debate for years. I think that's one of those echo chambers of whiteness moments. I mean i to think that you know a backlash to obama is explained by political correctness in a way i feel that <hes> okay let me put it this way because i touch on it a bit in the chapter of the book. That's called a trump country so the chapter that's about. How do we get this president. <hes> so there's part of that chapter where i reflect on this interview and been listening to this podcast of new york's n._p._r. Station w._n._y._c. the and y. C and part of the podcast was chronically experiences of white trump voters or trump supporters in the lead up to <hes> to the twenty sixteen election and there was this this one woman her name was patty and i was listening to this on my way home from teaching at stony work university so i was driving you know from long island new york city it. It just kind of stopped going. I just took my breath away. Because this woman <hes> this this way i trump supporter began crying as she listened to trump decry political correctness and she was just saying that this man was speaking for her and she's been so tired or political correctness and so on and so forth it so i mentioned this because yes there is a certain reaction then from not only folks some folks in the right because <hes> even amongst kratz there <hes> some white democrats who feel this way that there's just been too much emphasis on political correctness and i think part of how trump mobilized a lot of his supporters was through his perceived <unk> quite an astonishing irony but it through his perceived authenticity right. We have a politician who lies pathologically automatically and yet he is viewed as authentic particularly in his presentation his style by his supporters and i think that there's a way in which in it's a bit complicated the argument that <hes> that i make in my book but there's a way in which trump trump does breach a kind of you could call it political correctness but whenever we'll just call it that for now but he breaches basically the kind of culture of duplicity of racial duplicity that became kind of taken for granted institutionalized allies in the wake of the civil rights movement so what happened one of the things that happened after <hes> the civil rights era is that of whites were taught for the first time in our country's history white people were taught that being racist was a bad thing you know and this became so so the the moral moral stigmatization of the word racist that's a relatively recent phenomenon because for most of our country's history being what we now call racist <hes> was the law of the land and proudly so <hes> it was the american way is so part of my critique in in making genus critique. I'm drawing on the work of other sociologists like leslie picton joe fagan whose book two faced racism really <hes> explore sa- great duck but we see that white folks have been socialized to talk certain way about race or not talk about it in public and <hes> <hes> to allow to engage in and to normalize racial and racist discourse in private particularly in stasis this where they're only other white folks or people are believed to be white so in white spaces so if if you look at the research the way that trump trump talks about race in public but also not just trump if you if you were to think about sort of explicit racist discourse that never ever disappeared from white folks lives in private. It's not that disappeared. After the civil rights movement no that continued it's been uninterrupted uninterrupted and sort of its <hes> back stage existence but what became normal was to sort of say in public. Oh i don't see color. I don't see race or to engage in what some think of as p._c. Language <hes> and and trump ruptures that in a way that i think is very satisfying for for for folks who have felt constrained by the duplicity of <hes> the way many whites socialized to sort of you know if not themselves folks making a racist or racial comments in private at least allowing those around them to do so and the study by leslie pick joe fagan that was based on <hes> <hes> us a self accounts of white students about how people in their lives their family members friends and themselves how they talk about race in in private versus public and that's why it's called to face racism <hes> because there is this kind of institutionalized duplicity and so yes in my critique of our country's racism in how we get trump and do drawn that research. I do discuss political correctness us in that way but i think it you know it would be too simplistic to just sort of <hes>. I'm not saying the same thing as the folks who were in writing after the election he won because of all that bad political correctness no he won because this is a racist country and that they were tens of millions of the people who were very willing to vote for a man who's not just openly racist but openly sexist and you just go down the line <hes> so so the thing though is that it still would have been a racist country even if he lost and that's where i differ from maybe some other analysts listen observers in being very insistent that you know trump winning didn't like turn this country racist and nord and it's not also the case that there was the creation of new racism after obama no never stopped being a racist country it just sort of manifest differently over time. You're so you're saying. It's not economic anxiety. They're always white people are voting for him well. I'm not not saying that either there. I think that trump follows in a long line of white economic elites who have instrumentalise the economic inside of other white folks who are not as prosperous however trump also is very popular amongst whites who are not ah poor or working class and so that doesn't doesn't explain everything but i think part of go back to sociology and go back to history. We look at the work of w._b._z. Boys as has irate about it and how to be listed about race you know he called it a very long time ago. In his book black reconstruction and other pieces he's written but one of his arguments basis that white working class people were sort of socialized into pyro -tising their whiteness over their economic interests along time ago like that that is also kind of just a page from the american playbook and what that means and he the term that he used i do boys to describe this the wages of whiteness and his argument was that you know even though it makes more sense for a white working class folks to be in solidarity with african american working class folks and other folks of color who are also working class that in this country <music> system of white supremacy white identity is presented as an option for white working class folks to feel better than african americans and and the other groups that are deemed as non white and that psychological wage is enough for many not all but for many whites to kind of vote against their own economic interests so that is an old argument that you could find in the work of folks like the boys but that doesn't explain flaine why white millionaires love trump as well so. I think you know there's a lot going on so in terms of the larger larger danger right now. The world is up against which is white supremacists terrorism which the f._b._i. Has said is one of the great threats to our country it right now and that threat is growing worldwide and we're seeing of course hor horrific story after horrific story of shooters of mosques and synagogues dogs and and and not only in our country but in canada new zealand of course and that's being driven by the president of the united states himself donald trump trump and he of course was brought into power by large part by steve bannon the nationalist steve bannon who is literally early building a fascist academy in italy a country right now the fascist government that is proudly aligned with the kremlin which which has a a very xenophobic propaganda machine funds all these far right movements and his aligned with all these far right movements and emerging russia turned into big neo nazi march one that putin launched launched and so forth we've all these horrific examples of this global threat and it's a global movement and its intentionally built to be a global movement and it's a multi title headed monster with all these goals because they have secessionist movements not only united states but fanning that in ukraine as well with the kremlin's invasion and so forth so i know that's a lot is packed in there but i'm just trying to paint like a horror scene for people because it's such an urgent topic and so could you speak a little bit too that on steve bannon himself south as a leader of this an also comment on. Why do you think mainstream media from the washington post to n._b._c. News continues just to give steve bannon a platform. Why do they continue to invite him like the economist invited him to speak event. Why given his track record given given the dangerous statistics given the innocent lives are being slaughtered because of this ideology a hate wise guate- see ben is still have such a big welcome mat in mainstream media the <hes> and mainstream society in america and europe. The simple answer is because this is a white supremacist country. I mean it's it's it's simple and when you were saying the point about the f._b._i. Admitting that white supremacist terrorism is this great threat. I couldn't help but you know just kind of roll. All my is because there is this untenable irony right for the federal government bureau of federal government that was literally founded on white supremacist violence to now in two thousand nineteen admit that it's a problem <hes> uh-huh so we have at the core of our political institutions this predicament right because if white supremacy supremacy is wrong and it is and if you know a shooting in which dozens of people or hundreds of people are are targeted is a har- in it is then what do you call a political system built on genocide. What do you call a system. <hes> built on the oppression of millions the white supremacists oppression of millions of enslaved human beings. What do you call a system that is not just built on these things but then establishes and celebrates white supremacy for centuries and then you you get to two thousand nineteen and it's like oh well. Actually you know this is this is not great. I mean i don't know how folks who aren't familiar. Oh you're with our history think about these issues but when i see mainstream media roll out the red carpet for bannon despite all that he represents with regard our two white nationalism white supremacy in overtly embracing those things i simply read it as consistent with the fact that this is a white supremacists country it has always been so in so white supremacy the here's the thing it's not actually viewed as a problem for most i white americans. It's not viewed as a danger for most white americans because it has been the core of the system that has created did the opportunities for most americans so i think you know yes. It's pretty telling when a bannon continues to receive invitations opportunities to speak in these mainstream venues <hes> but i think it's consistent with the fact that what he represents is not actually viewed as a horrific thing for many of the folks in the decision making positions who green light those invitations and allow for him to have space to widen his sphere of influence. I wanna go back to the f._b._i. Because i i we've discussed that on the show before the irony of the the painful irony that the f._b._i. Today is under attack the f._b._i. Has essentially uh in slow motion purge by the president had states you have bruce or peter struck lisa page <hes> all who are organized organized crime investigators who become mainstream names because the president attacks them relentlessly just for doing their jobs and the irony that the f._b._i. Is under such vicious strain right now by this white supremacist in the white house and his as far reaching far-right propaganda movement of bots and fox news and so forth which he wields against them to target them and harassed them the irony of it. Is that the f. b. i. For so long as you of course pointed out was an instrument of violence against black communities certainly with their illegal operations nations and oakland were there infiltrating target and purposely <hes> try to weaken in black communities in oakland activist. Fred hampton was killed in his bed by the f._b._i. Rate and so forth see this long history by the f._b._i. Of racial violence white supremacy terrorism and now they're victims of it themselves elves. It will be interesting to see what historians write about this period a generation from now. I will just say go on the record. I do not feel oh comfortable making assumptions about what's really going on between the white house the f._b._i. And all i really don't know <hes> and i i just know that for most of our country's history the f._b._i. Has had been on the side of civil rights so as far as whatever's happening right now i really really i assume that there's more than appears in the headlines but the headlines don't look great but again i think it will be important and to see when freedom of information acts are invoked again when historians turn back to this period to kind of peel back the layers of what is really going on on because i find it all pretty mystifying and you know i think it's also important to point out that the era of the f._b._i. Being implicated in white supremacy is not just like something that happened in the seventies sixties. It's ongoing. It's you know not just a single out the f._b._i. It's part of the infrastructure of our country entry <hes> so everything from you know. I don't know if you remember but there was not of the black identity extremist and i saw that the a._c._l._u. oh you as of this year has had to sue the f._b._i. To handover records on <hes> whatever that means so yeah yeah it's it's all quite complicated but i'm just gonna assume that there's more going on than i can make sense of from <hes> from being publicly reported in certainly trump's kremlin ties and russian organized crime ties that was all going back decades and the f._b._i. Knew you should have known who they are dealing with certain with paul manafort just to let them get just to not catch them sooner or bring them to justice sooner. There's certainly given been a long history racial component like wide trump and manafort and their whole sort of squad. They're committing crimes so they can twenty-third yeah we we can go down the list. I mean that's part of the interview series this summer kroger's book vanity fair contributor craig unger house trump haussa putin lists all those those ties back decades which the f._b._i. Should have been all over like the. They're all over a black activists in america but you know there's definitely that that racial component for sure without question <hes> i mean there's an economic component where who is pursued for crimes in this country and who's held accountable <hes> tends to be predicated upon a number knbr backers one of them being class and also raised so i think you know intersection speaking to see white men and i should should clarify rich extremely rich wealthy white men somehow not held accountable again is consistent with this country's history of of white male supremacy and you also have the issue of you know the lost themselves right and what counts as a crime in how crimes are defined signed and all of that is a socially constructed and shaped by power and win the laws don't suit those in power they either break them with impunity or rewrite them so i think again when you look at the history and assist geology of where country came from it's disheartening heartening to see these senators continued to but not surprising speaking of power. Let's talk about the media so obviously journalism jobs have been on the decline decline. It's been a huge loss of newsroom jobs. Investigative units are often the first to go journalism jobs of desks. Abroad are are often. The first is to go so what that means is <hes> with newsroom shrinking. You're getting less investigative journalism. You're getting more <hes> click bait and you're getting less coverage of what's going on in other parts. The world i saw abysmal coverage for instance of ukraine's revolution by journalists that were stuck to their desks and c._n._n.'s bureau in atlanta and these guys just didn't know what they're in writing about because they stuck to their desks and so it's had a big toll on many issues for us and and certainly has been the shrinking watchdog one thing that is also damaging is that those who do hold those coveted newsroom jobs in america. The recent studies have shown which we've gone over on on this show which you have an entire chapter dedicated to your book is that those who remain in these newsroom jobs are predominantly white. The people predominantly white males in so. Could you speak a little bit about that and why that matters yeah absolutely so in this also kind of connects back to your question about bannon like why is that and still you know getting reception <hes> in mainstream media well you know part of it has to do with how all white supremacy manifests in the media <hes> and you know it shouldn't surprise us to see that white supremacy and systematic racism mm-hmm is a constituent feature of the media but we don't often maybe hear it described in those terms particularly not from the media because they have vested interest in not sort of acknowledging these things but <hes> so white folks dominate sort of every step in the production of the news use <hes> if you an i think people sort of assumed that we've made a lot of progress in this area but we really haven't one of things i point out in the chapter of the book called called fake racial news is that over six hundred print and online news organizations only sixteen point six percent of journalists and other employees people of color sixteen percent and if you look at editors which you know that's such a as you know a powerful close and influential position eighty six point five percent of news editors are white and three fourths of news organizations have no oh minority representation at all amongst their top editors at all so we're dealing with immediate infrastructure that is overwhelmingly really white and one in which the perspectives of people of color to go back to your other question about why is it important to have relationships with people of color well <hes> <hes> you'll you know you you see so much racial stupidity and our media because people of color systematically excluded from the news room and systematically excluded from positions of power but also want to be clear it is not the case that if you just happen to include <hes> some journals of color or some editor <unk> who's non white that necessarily that means that you're going to have anti-racist journalism one of the points i make in chapter of the book is that there was this horrific nick a piece in the new york times a couple of years back that was published about mike brown and it sort of started with mike brown was no angel and it's is this very <hes> just shameful and racist and anti-black portrayal of mike brown and it turns out it was was written by a black man being able to recognize and acknowledge the complicity people of color some people color in maintaining gene the white supremacy status quo and i'm not saying that every piece by that <hes> that journalist does that but certainly <hes> the mike brown with no angel article <hes> was i hope a low point for that journalist but i think of course we need you to think beyond superficial diversity but the fact that there are so few persons of color in newsrooms <hes> we see the consequences of that that in this kind of white echo chamber of of media coverage that we get and we miss out on you know critical perspectives on one alternative perspectives that more diverse news firms <hes> could percents and you write in your book about the infamous dapper nazi pieces uh-huh and how they're all born from from that essentially could you shock our listeners by explaining how bannon had a deal roll with the new york times in the twenty sixteen election yes so <hes> so the new york times <hes> and <hes> the washington post host had these strange relationships with dannon and i think part of what was at play with this thirst to i don't know just click date or just to get eyeballs the page in the lead up to the two thousand sixteen election and i think there also was perhaps in efforts of by some to undermine clinton than i think that is evident in part of what happened with bannon so yes there was this deal bannon had with the new york times one of his companies to feature some of work and part of what i show the book. Is that some of these mainstream outlets you know like the new york times that also like the washington post. They were four band before the war against them in fact. I don't think we could say that. They're actually against baton. A all the way but you know certainly there was eventually a critique that began it to be reported on but yes bannon had this kind of deal to publish oppositional research literally targeting hillary clinton and this is the deal that he had with a number of publications so new york times in washington post amongst them and then as i pointed out in the book a a year after the steel both the editorial boards of the times and the post then suddenly condemned banham and specifically he condemned trump's decision to name bannon as his chief advisor and so i think there's just this ongoing duplicity that we find and in our media around its implication of white supremacy and it's complicated because many of these you know of media institutions also publish the occasional anti-racist article and they have writers and journalists of color as well as some white anti-racist. Were doing good work that happens prince two and yet unfortunately what happens is that the occasional anti-racist column or editors who are trying to do consciousness-raising around social justice issues that those very pieces get used to obscure the complicity of these mainstream news outlets with white supremacy and so we have to be clear that just because the times happens to publish the work of a of an anti-racist writer journalist that we respect it doesn't change the fact that nevertheless the times and other mainstream media continue to publish quite a lot of overtly racist things. It wasn't just a month ago. Now that the new york times published i think it was the international edition but they published an antisemitic cartoon. Oh yeah yeah so. This is what we're dealing with breath. We're dealing with a media ecosystem that you know is in. It's not just american racism. It's global racism but affirm- reasons that won't surprise us there is very little public reflexively and acknowledgement of these dynamics on the part of media organizations in so. I hope that my book helps bolster those who are making the critique and some of them are in the industry themselves. Your book book should be required reading for the newsrooms of the washington post the new york times all of these powerful legacy media institutions like it should be required reading like how do we do that while thanks for saying that i think part of what would be great is if journalists went winning they go to journalism school if they not only have to read my book but if they had to take at least one class system racism <hes> most journalists slight by the way most professionals can make it through their entire education without ever having to actually study the history and sociology geology of racism and so of course we see gross incompetence in the coverage of these issues from folks who never actually had to learn about it and from newsrooms that <hes> overwhelmingly exclude the perspectives of people of color of course you're going to have abysmal coverage and the fact that we have any any anti-racists news coverage at all is astonishing but it does exist so i think if there could be a you know a kind of <hes> <hes> shift in the education of of journalists where we could see folks having to take at least class to give some kind of competency competency for understanding and reporting on race and racism. I think that would be huge so i wanted to leave off because we have the election coming up and i am so what is your advice in terms of media literacy for voters because they're going to get bombarded with the same stuff. There's been no self reflection of the media. I mean just the other day. The new york times had this hope hicks piece that said everyone up into an uproar where they're basically glamorizing hope hicks and creating <hes> whether she should show up for a subpoena now which by law she must existential crisis and people turn it into an album cover perfume ad because i was the trench hope hicks was given because she's white and beautiful on all of that and so the media is simply going to betray the public again in two thousand twenty. I mean that all signs are pointing to that. So what advice do you have for. Voters odors going into that whole mess a lot of people. Ask me like will okay if you have a critique of these mainstream media outlets. Who who should we read or who do you read it. You know who do you turn to. I know it sounds. Maybe a little corny but i say turn a chomsky really like if you could just if you you have not read manufacturing consent. I think you should before going back to thinking about how to make sense of the news of the day because you know the reality is even if we look at independent press too i think having a critical view of what's being publicly reported in kind of understanding that what you're gonna get is going to be skewed by power and kind of trying to at least triangulate what you're reading the not relying on mainstream sources all the time sometimes the us trying to you know read independent journalism but nevertheless still kind of have a critical perspective on that. That's what i recommend. There's there's no source that i read a while. This is the ironclad true you know. I think that we have to kind of be savvy and kind of understand yes. There's a lot of money being poured into media to mislead folks. I think another thing too and i'm kinda practicing this as well well. Maybe taking a step back also from social media to an extent. I mean we saw how <hes> certainly there was a lot of public attention around a russian efforts to influence people to social media but we have to be clear that is something that every major government in the world including the united states has an active agenda around you know this is one of the things i tweeted about some years ago actually but the united states government has publicly likely written about how the internet and social media is viewed as an arena of warfare okay so that means that there are a lot <unk> of vested interest in shape how you think what you think what what news you're supposed to think is important and i think folks need to be careful of being distracted from what's not being treated us trending news item of the day into kinda. Just you know stay aware of international shnell news. That's not being reporter on in the united states and again independent sources to the extent that should not rely on on the mainstream news and for candidates candidates in this election when they talk about you know. It's the economy stupid. What advice do you have for candidates and to address that it's the economy stupid stupid but also keep in mind that you can't divorce a racial justice from economic justice. Yeah you know i really wish that for example. We'd see movement from folks like bernie sanders on issues like reparations or for racial injustice. I'm not sure really he stands in this now. But last i heard from birdie <hes> reading again the headlines as a couple of months ago he was still against reparations or he wasn't in any case he wasn't for and i think that that's really unfortunate that you know i would love to see folks who are progressive really bridge right the economic concerns turns of so many millions of people with a reckoning with racial injustice because those two things have always been connected in our country always it's been connected and it shouldn't be the case that you know it's sort of viewed as possible to say we're gonna take on the banks but then say oh but when it comes to reparations percents <hes> that's going one step too far. Why why is that going one step too far. Why can't we support racial justice and economic justice and take on on the patriarchy and support trans rights and civil. Why can't we support all these things. I think we should think in very broad terms about social justice and wellbeing game and unfortunately i think sometimes what happens is that there's a concern about alienating white voters who aren't ready to take that step but i think there's never ben a moment in our country. That's been more propitious than now for folks to really boldly advance racial justice as part of a broad wrought umbrella of social justice advocacy <hes> and i really think that this is a moment and a time to be bold in that advocacy and not to shirk in think oh we don't when a alienate people there are lots of folks are waking up there lots of folks who are coming to understand that their economic anxieties are also tied to a system of white supremacy and that you know we need to those of us who you know kind of see this we need to work within our sphere of influence to build intergroup solidarity and to <hes> promote a really broad intersectional platform for social justice so i'd love to see more of that <hes> in this election cycle i i am waiting to see it and but hopeful that that may be we'll see things moving that direction and after say the one politician i'm excited about who's <unk> actually running for president is a._f._c. so we'll have to see what becomes of her and folks who are sort of inner circle but we'll see what happens yeah yeah and who is were huge fans of hers as well and we have to make her the norm of the democratic party because that's just the direction has to go and when you have this opportunity of an election election it's like you can't bury issues. You have to use it as leadership to have conversations. Further conversations plant seeds bring people into the political process and these conversations. It's leadership is about educating people. Leadership has the responsibility to educate people and not abdicate that about responsibility and so if you look at for instance an issue reparations all reparations means is investing in people investing in communities and if you look at some of the most solid democracies aussies in the world the scandinavian countries yes they have you know they're known for whatever high taxes share but we can examine that examine our own tax history closer to really see see what we're talking about. What one incredibly wealthy businessman who lives in the heart of copenhagen told me is that he's happy to pay his taxes. He's proud of it because what he's doing is he's investing in the minds of everybody in this country and if those minds are at their peak potential than he's gonna make a stronger country so that's all you have to think of reparations sort of your investing in communities that have been oftentimes violently deprived of their rights for generations ends and we know from a scientific standpoint that that that trauma gets passed down through the d._n._a. D._n._a. level trauma and so yeah so i think the whole thing thing of reparations is actually self-serving for white people because what you're doing is you're strengthening your country. You know we need more white people to who acknowledged not just the fact that reparations investing in people but also that it means acknowledging the moral wrong that that was was done in that was done for generations to african americans and you know i think it would be interesting to think about reparations for indigenous unicef people as well and i think it's important to think about reparations not just for sleep but i the stomach racism and after i've had my critiques of some of <hes> tallahassee coats is writing but i think he did it very well in his piece for the atlantic on reparations to make that <hes> the case the moral case for it. I think it's incontrovertible that reparations are owed but part of leadership. I think in two thousand eighteen it should be a low bar but i think if you consider yourself progressive give reparations should be party platform. It's a no brainer for me and even better if he can help folks understand that the cause for racial justice is connected connected to the cause for economic justice as well and that these things are connected. I think that that's essential so the other bit of advice for are twenty nineteen twenty twenty is what is i know. This might be an oversimplification but if you were advising candidates like they all came to you and you you you had their attention for what would you tell them does answer when they're asked. Do black lives matter. Why should we say black lives matter because what we saw recently was nancy pelosi giving joy reid in all lives matter answer to black lives matter you know and she mentioned and she's proud to be there when black members of congress are getting sworn in. She's a third most powerful person in the country and so that's what we're talking about is. You can't hide these issues under the rug. You have to seize your leadership and leadership is educating people. So what i'm saying is people. The candidates need help answering this so what would be your advice to them. What should they say when they asked about black lives matter so we're dealing with politicians rights ho you know they're trying onto not all but many of them are trying to hold onto power and win boats <hes> and they're not necessarily all motivated by for example the caused ause for racial justice so when it comes to you know a politician saying all lives matter resulting in response to black lives matter. I don't know if that's coming being from a place of actual ignorance for example. Does nancy pelosi really not know that this country has been set up in a way in which black lives have been made to to to matter less than black lives have devalued for centuries in that <hes> that is part of the system of white supremacy pharmacy that we're still living with today. She really not know that or does she know it but she finds it. Expedient to say all lives matter because that will will help keep from power. I don't know the answer that question but i think that for those who want to exercise anti-racist leadership as part of their progressive the flat form and i don't know that nancy pelosi falls into that category but for those who do i think that you need to sort of as part of your leadership <hes> educate the public so that they understand that the country has devalued black lives for generations and the reality is that people don't generally learn this in school so writing a book like how stupid raises part of my effort to help people have have that historical perspective to go back to discussing at the beginning of our conversation that historical consciousness part of anti-racist leadership is a knowledge that history and so when people respond all lives matter that is gas lighting because you are not acknowledging the historical and ongoing reality that made it necessary rate for black women activists to use the phrase black lives matter and give people to sort of understand. Oh wait like lives of the mate knocked matter. That's why we have to say it so i think that kind of acknowledgement of history is sorely needed and when politicians and others failed to do that they are unfortunately reproducing the racial status fallen. That's white supremacist so thank you so much. This was such a exciting interview. We're really thrilled to future your work alan like i said it should be required reading. We would live in a much different country if it were required reading especially newsrooms across america thank you thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate having this conversation with euro <hes> and <hes> yeah. I hope this isn't our last conversation. Let's stay in touch <hes> mhm our discussion continues and you can get access to that by standing up on our patriae on the truth teller level or higher gasoline asia's produced by sarah kinser andrea rachel lupu. If you like what we do leave us her view on itunes it helps us reach more listeners and check it our patriotic it keeps going. Our editors are carlin dago nicholas taurus. This episode was edited by nicholas. Charles original. Musing gasoline nation was produced by david whitehead martinsburg nick farr damian are yoga and karlyn dago. Our logo design was donated to us by hamish smith of the new york-based firm order. 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Thank you all for your support. We can not make this show without you <music> to deal with these abnormal times we find ourselves in. We hear gasoline nation. Take a strong stance of saying no to save your syndrome. The only only thing that's going to get us out of this is self reliance and holding our leaders accountable and the only power we have left that we can rely on grassroots power to illustrate our point. Here's share providing a useful metaphor for these times. Rely on no one by your own hard work and dedication. That's the only way out of this awaken. Awaken your inner share. You said a man is not an assessing a man's luxury like deserve men is absolutely do we not necessity or did you mean that to sound mean and better on not at all i- door dessert. I love man. I think manner the coolest list but you don't really need them to live. My mom said to me you know sweetheart one day. You should settle down and marry a rich man. I said mom i am a rich man. <music> welcome to the gaslight nation nation action guide available on our website gasoline nation pod dot com democracy is a lifestyle trump is symptom of the corruption institutional failure and indifference that that we can no longer tolerate okay so number one get a guide stride toward freedom. The montgomery stray martin luther king. Jr. is an essential guide to self management schmidt managing others and building teams this inspirational case study of resistance written by young m._l._k. After successfully leading the montgomery bus boycott shows how a smart organization took on the authoritarianism of the jim crow south never forget the m._l._k. Was considered a radical in his day. Even though there's nothing radical about demanding manding human rights and dignity today the same remains true it's not radical or socialist demand that corporation stop polluting for profits and to call for an end to tax tax breaks for sending jobs overseas that worsened the income inequality crisis to help communicate urgent issues. Another essential guide is the all new you don't think of an elephant know your values and frame the debate by george lake off number two of the gasoline nation guide focus on state races states decide key quality of life issues and local candidates helped drive votes up ballot for federal races every district and future now are two excellent groups working in a bill to progressive infrastructure and turn state's blue from the bottom up get involved by donating what you can or join or start your own group with their help and your state we provide interaction guide interviews with every district and future now for more background number three join grassroots power is one of the strongest forms of power. We have left in america especially with mitch mcconnell and trump packing the courts. Don't succumb to save your syndrome by expecting alexandria cossio cortez or whomever else you admire to do all the work representatives are human and need our help fulfill the far right's worst nightmare by creating generations of eos by helping build a more progressive union union join a local group from any of these great national organizations for important action alerts like demonstrations or getting out the vote indivisible swing lift sister district strict move on flippable number four fight global warming sunrise movement is a grassroots organization demanding a green new deal. There are a lot of other groups working to adopt urgently needed green initiatives initiatives c forty cities connect cities around the world committed to taking climate action three fifty dot org helps activists rice the challenge of the climate crisis and they're more trusted organizations that need our support linked to honor action guide number five unionize in the age of trump. There should be no more fear of starting or joining a union. Just tell your boss that you saw how unions protected workers during the universally unpopular trump's shutdown fight for fifteen and it's local variants are working to ensure a fair wage and strengthen unions and the service sector donor how to get started read organizing to win new research union strategies and no shortcuts organizing icing for power in the new gilded age both of which are linked to the guest nation website number six run for something there are a lot of great groups out there that demystify the process of becoming a candidate and running a campaign run for something as one of our favorites. There's even a book to help you get started run for something a real guy fixing the system yourself by amanda limon. If you i believe in facts and science and are a compassionate human being you need to run for something and recruit others to as well even if it's a long shot you can still create urging conversations and treat your campaign platform for discussions. You care about helping bring together like minded people to work for change even long past the election. Just look at what a refreshing discovery longshot mayor a._a._r._p. Has been and all the great work. Andrew gillum continues to do to register one million voters in florida number seven protect the vote every district action fund just launched inched quote report card identifying states with enough progressive support and local governments to push through voting reforms like automatic registration and the abolishment of racist voter i._d. Laws is your stay on the list. You can click a link and find out if so every district action fund empowers you to help your state reach the gold standard of voting voting concerned about vote hacking ivanka trump branded voting machines. Yes that is the thing secure our vote provides background information and other the resources to take action other groups to check out our spread the vote let america vote and project which help people get the information they need to register your vote and get an idea and again these are linked to on our site number eight launch ballot initiatives and laws. Why not launch ballot initiative kate figgy turned her facebook post. The movement voters not politicians to end gerrymandering in michigan. It passed overwhelmingly. We have a link on our action guide for you to read more of her story or you could build a grassroots coalition that a law passed in your state in our episode how to pass a law. I interview my mother about how she while pregnant with me and a young mother they're already without any political experience mobilized a grassroots army to pass the child carseat law in california. Yes it can be done number. Nine end terrorism in america monce demand works to elect candidates and lobby for sensible legislation to stop the gun violence epidemic driven by the blood money. God lobby the n._r._a. Southern poverty law center exposes white supremacy a leading terrorist movement in america to help immigrant communities deliberately terrorized by trump's was cruel border policies. We have a list linked here of groups that you can support number ten make art to say that art cannot make a difference stems from tone-deaf indepth attitude of privilege ukraine's euro my don revolution of twenty thirteen twenty fourteen relied on art and artists of all kinds to sustain protesters protesters living in arctic cold temperatures and under the threat of government sanctioned violence north korean dissident yang park said that orwell's animal all farm helped her heal after escaping the colt like dictatorship and inner episode. The blue wave continues kansas rising. We share davis hammett's. It's a count of how painting a rainbow house created a ripple effect in kansas leading to major electoral victories. We need the artists and storytellers of all kinds lanes more than ever so this is not a comprehensive list of suggestions and how you can create more progressive america and stop entrenched corruption. There are many paths you can take aac and we encourage you to think for yourself and to work together. There is no one solution whether you're in a blue state or a red state these ideas apply to you do not take any of the freedoms you have left for granted. Never underestimate the power of hard work additionally. We have a reading list linked to from there because it's essential to read widely understand how we got here and the best ways to navigate the challenges of the twenty first century so again. All of this is available on our site gaslight nation pod dot com.