"Quarantine Fatigue" and Navigating the Risks of Expanding Our Bubbles 2020-05-28

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Are you feeling it? The quarantine fatigue were now going to have to keep doing some amount of social distancing for months if not years and think now is the time to start thinking about how to do this in a sustainable way. I'm Shumita Basu. In for tenzing Vega and today on the takeaway for Thursday may twenty eighth. How you can begin to socialize at a safe distance. Also on the show for some the color of your skin dictates where you can and can't spend your time freely so when we're talking about predominantly white spaces. There's some idea that white people get to police who is present regardless of would not they own that space or have any inherent right to control enters that space then we'll speak with comedian tawny newsome about preparing to be a pilot on. Netflix's new Sitcom Space Force. I started scoping out looking for black women. Especially who officers in different branches of the military. I started looking for black women pilots. I mean that's the definition of why representation matters right. If you can see it then you can imagine yourself doing it but I. How long can we stay at home? Most of us have been following. Stay at home orders for weeks now and well. It is starting to take told as the weather warms up and people increasingly feel the mental and emotional strain of isolation quarantine. Fatigue is a part of our new reality and the need for social connection with friends and family is becoming increasingly important. We asked you our listeners. How quarantine fatigue is affecting? This is Michelle from Dallas Texas. I am absolutely feeling quarantine. The T. I don't know what information to trust. What safe where I can go and what I can do. I have met with some small groups of friends that I know where they've been and what they've been up to pretty much worn masks whenever I go out and hope that we're taking all the right precautions. Keep washing my hands. The best we can do is try to do the best for each other and hope that it works out rebel. I'm calling from Little Rock Arkansas. The way I'm feeling with quarantine fatigue is that I sit in my garage lifting out at all the traffic going up and down the street my try to get out here every day for at least an hour just to take in the fresh year look at the birds and contemplate. What the new normal we'll be. This is Nancy from Berkeley and I am definitely feeling quarantine fatigue. Fortunately I live in a nice area with Nice weather and Nice places to hike. So I've been doing two one is. I've never gotten so much use out of my backyard. Which is big enough to meet with one or two friends that a time and sit at a distance and the other is going distance birding with a couple of friends we stay six feet apart. We picked wide trails and we get up into the hills and out into nature rich from San Jose California. We are spend a little time with some friends. Most of our friends feel the same way about the coronavirus taking it seriously Not Getting too crazy about it but definitely taking it seriously. We've had some friends over to the house. Purple Party But you know. Only a handful of people Just trying to be conscientious of of potential downfall of that just trying to live life as normally as possible. Hi this is the Dandruff. From the only Hoon for the first six weeks we did not need up with other people like about two weeks ago. We had friends over in our backyard. Were about ten feet away from us. And they were sitting on a blanket and we were sitting on the table and it was just so wonderful view able to spend time with people that we care about. This quarantine is getting old. But I'm not giving up the scientists guidelines now that I got nine masks and plenty of toilet paper. I'm okay plus I just found out my real hair color is this is Barbara and San Jose. Kristen from Ridgewood New York having a really hard time with quarantine fatigue and wanting to open up to grandparents the kids killing so guilty on both sides and I feel guilty grandparents. Don't get to see the kids enough and I'm also doing horrible. If they would ever get anyone in a family sick it's something just about everyone is grappling with right now. For more navigating the risks of seeing friends and family spoke with Julia. Marcus Infectious Disease Epidemiologist. And an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She recently wrote a piece published in the Atlantic on quarantine fatigue and Christina. Kata Rucci a writer for slate magazine. She's written about her decision to form a quarantine bubble with people outside of her household and Julia says it's no surprise that this fatigue is setting in now in early March when we started this whole staying at home thing. Read all kinds of hopes that it would be a few weeks and then we'd be back to our lives as they were before cove. Ed came along but now we're we're several months into this and it's become very clear that while we really needed to be staying home for those few months and it had an enormous impact that was really necessary renowned going to have to keep doing some amount of social distancing for months if not years and so. I think now is the time to start thinking about how to do this in a sustainable way. Yeah and do you argue that this sort of all or nothing approach to quarantine might not really be ideal. That's right if we think about this with the analogy of only messaging what we're being asked to abstain from right now is social contact. And I think that's doable. For many people for a short period of time but I think we can also all agree that it's not feasible for people to sustain no social contact for a really extended period of time and sometimes there are inadvertent consequences of abstinence only messaging. And we see that in the context of let's say telling teens not to have any sex some ultimately will and if we don't give them strategies to reduce risk if they do choose to have sex than we've missed an opportunity and that's why we sometimes see worse. Health outcomes with abstinence only messaging and the same may happen here so Christina. You wrote about how you decided to form a quarantine bubble with some of your friends. Who aren't in the same household. Tell us how the bubble works. And what are the rules? So the general concept of forming a quarantine bubble is very similar to the idea of just expanding your household to include more people so it's a close circle of people in my bubble it's three different households of two people each and we've all agreed that we're going to have contact with each other go to each other's houses interact as closely as we would with a family member but not have interactions with people the House. So essentially we've expanded our quarantine unit to be slightly larger. And for me the impetus was just. I was feeling incredibly isolated. You know my wife and I don't live in a big house. We don't have a backyard and like a lot of people you know. We were feeling really lonely. Cut off from our community which is really important to us and we decided that the risk of increasing our family unit by four other people would be marginal if we limited our contact outside of that bubble. Over the course of a couple of weeks we had discussions with these two other households of Friends of ours and decided. We're all going to take extremely conservative precautions. Outside of our bubble wearing masks not seeing anybody else at a distance closer than six to ten feet but with each other you know will interact as we would inside our own household so having dinner together hanging out together and it has given us a little bit of a sense of normalcy in this incredibly abnormal. Time Julia Christina. There's talking about sort of assessing the risks involved. It seems are could be a trade off between the mental health costs of staying isolated and the public health costs of going outside or meeting up with friends and family. How can people navigate that balance in a responsible way? I think what we WANNA do is help people see these options like what Christina's describing where you expand your bubble to include another household and you do it very carefully and with a lot of good communication around risk. That's a lower risk option for social contact than what we may have done previously witches. Let's say have multiple dinner parties a week with our families that becomes much higher risk and if there is a real need for social contact like what Christina just described then that strategy of the bubble which is what some Canadian provinces in New Zealand or calling it becomes a harm reduction strategy where it accepts that somebody might need to have social contact. And here's a lower risk way to do it. Then a situation like crowded house party that could potentially become a super spreader event. That's really what we want to avoid. So it's not zero risk because you know every new social contact is going to increase risk. But it's definitely lower risk than some other alternatives. That people may be considering right now and. I'm glad that you mentioned the concept of harm-reduction Julia because I've also been thinking about what happens if our quarantine has to last for twelve to eighteen more months or or there's another spiking coronavirus cases and we have to lock lockdown again for me having my own plan for limited social contacts. That is really sustainable. I mean I feel like my social needs are being met right now in a limited way. I find myself way less likely to want to go out and have a spontaneous dinner party with other friends or I feel the need to go out to a restaurant or a movie theater or any of these places that I might have been longing for if I was just trapped in my own apartment with one other person for months at a time. I knew a lot of people are talking about even just with their partner at home the need for socialization and really the need for their friends and Christina. You wrote about how your quarantine bubble is made up of all queer friends really your chosen family and that people maybe understand best. This need to look beyond your immediate family for support to tell us more about that. I think the concept of chosen family is a really natural and organic one for a lot of us You know whether it be because we are estranged from our families of birth or just because we create community wherever we are so we develop very close family like relationships with people in our in our communities. we're also all very familiar with conversations that people have around non monogamous relationships around harm reduction and sex We're all familiar with the history of HIV and AIDS So the conversations that we have had around you know our tolerance for risk within our quarantine bubble and generally trust have felt very queer and very familiar to a lot of us from different areas of our lives and in some ways you know. I think those family like relationships that we already have have forms the basis of trust that made me feel comfortable joining a quarantine bubble as I've talked to other friends and coworkers about this. Some people have said things like well you know. How do you trust that? No one's going to pop the bubble and have a secret hang out with a friend or by women in their house and I mean I I completely trust these people. I wouldn't have entered a bubble if I didn't feel that we were all sort of mutually committed to one another in this moment and in a very important way you know when we're trying to prevent the spread of this virus that we know very little about Julia. I feel like I've been seeing on social media videos of people breaking social distancing rules. Maybe they were partying together or just large throngs of people in public spaces together and I've been seeing a lot of kind of shaming happening on social media but you say that shaming doesn't actually work in situations like this. Why not? Well I am coming at this as an HIV prevention researcher and we know that when we shame people for engaging and behavior that might increase their risk of HIV. Let's say having condom X. then that behavior becomes stigmatized people are afraid to disclose it. It doesn't actually stop the behavior. What it does is it pushes people away from disclosing that behavior. Let's say to a healthcare provider and the results is that people don't end up getting the health care that they need and you can imagine how that would play out right now. For example we may be shamed people for gathered. Bring in a park having a picnic. Not Wearing masks. And if we call them out on social media they next time may not have that picnic and instead they take that socializing indoors where it actually becomes higher risk and then you can also imagine that. If there's an outbreak in not situation and contact razors are trying to locate. All the people who attended the event those people may be hesitant to disclose that they were there and essentially shaming in. The End. Doesn't have the effect that we wanted to. It doesn't make big go away. It drives it. Underground drives people away from accessing public health services that they need. I feel like we're we're talking a lot about balancing and assessing risks but for some people there are structural factors like systemic racism or poverty. That take that decision making around the risks. Completely out of your hands Juliet. How do you think public health officials could take that into account in their guidelines? Considering context is a really important part of harm reduction and one of the ways that it can help is that when we think about the context in which people make decisions about. Let's say social distancing. Then we start to remember that. They may not have total control over their situation. There may be context like depression because of isolation but as you pointed out there may also be structural factors like systemic racism that make it very difficult to social distance. And that's why people have been talking about social distancing being privilege. We can also think about scenarios like the story of the hairdresser that was shared a couple days ago who continued to work. Despite public health guidelines and ended up being linked to many new cases and in that scenario that hairdresser was shamed but as an individual he was making a decision in the context of meeting a paycheck and not having enough social support or resources from the government to allow him to stay home and stop working and when we blame that individual we distract from where the accountability really lies which is on the institutions that failed to support him so when we come at this from a heart addiction approach we keep that context. Trenton Center to avoid blaming the individual and also to remember where resources are actually needed. You know I'll be honest. I've been personally having a hard time thinking about when I might be able to see my grandmother's again They both live in different countries. Different from each other as well and I'm sure that many others are in a similar situation with older family members who live more than a car right away. Juliette can you navigate the risks when thinking about trying to see your family members who live far away? I mean certainly for somebody who is more local. We can think about low risk ways to have a visit that might include being outdoors and remaining physically distant. Not Sharing food wearing masks. But then when you're talking about flying to see somebody at becomes more complicated I think in that scenario ways to reduce risk would be to quarantine yourself for two weeks on either side of the trip and have the family that you're visiting do the same and to be as careful as possible on the actual trip In terms of potential exposure at the airport or on the airplane Christina has this come up in your quarantine bubble anyone wanting to visit others especially elderly family members. I think that's when it really comes into into play wanting to break a rule or were were do it responsibly. Yeah we actually do have One couple in our bubble who are planning visit to an older family member out in California and in some ways the fact that we have a bubble is making it a lot easier to plan a trip like that you know my wife and I are going to care for their dog We're able to drive them to the airport so they don't have to take a lift or public transportation and then we're starting conversations about what happens when they returned from that trip. You know we'll big warranty in from our bubble will the rest of US see them. But but you know thoroughly limit our contact with the outside world even more than we're doing right now But it helps to have other people to discuss those things with you. Know it's it's more people who can be doing research it's more Opinions and support that we can share with one another Y- those questions aren't easy for anyone. What about for people with children? I feel like I've been hearing from a lot of my parents friends that they are just wishing and dying to set up play dates for their kids. But they want to think about how to do that responsibly. Is there a way to consider it responsibly? As a mom of two little kids there are three and six. This is definitely the front of my mind as well I think quiz older kids. It's a bit easier because they may have an ability to understand the that's six feet of distance and I found that our kids really adapted very quickly to not known and now they police us. We stand to close to someone. Say Mama that's that's you know less than six feet so I I think it is possible to think about ways that you could maybe meet up in a park and have your kids kick a soccer ball around or go on a bike ride with another kid and a couple of parents and then another approach would be the one that Christina's taking where you find another family that has kids the same age and decided to be a according team together and those kids can play together without the need for physical distancing and again it's not zero risk but it is lower risk than your kids having a play date with different kids every few days and what about in general. I mean what types of activities would you advise listeners to consider that could be low risk and could definitely satisfy that sense of socialization that people are missing? I think the key here at least for these next few months is going to be being outdoors and keeping social interactions outdoors as much as possible. And of course that's easier in some places that have more outdoor space than others like really dense cities but as much as you know cities can be thinking about opening up more outdoor space for people. I think that will help and You know activities like walking with somebody biking with someone going on a run with someone. Those are very low risk activities that can give people enough social contact that they feel sustained. And if if people do WANNA get together in a group Try to keep that outdoors and try to maintain a distance and try not to share food. Those are kind of And of course masks all these same messages that we've been hearing for the last couple of months still hold but I think we have a better understanding now. That transmission risk is much lower outdoors than it is in doors and so that can help us think about ways that we can get some of that social contacts at least while. The weather's pretty good over these next few months. Christina any last advice for people who might be listening and thinking. That sounds like a good idea. Maybe I should form my own quarantine bubble. I would just say it's important to take into consideration. What your lives are like before committing to a pod. I mean we're all very lucky in that we have jobs that allow us to work from home. We don't have to take public transit to go to each other's houses and none of us have any indoor interaction with people who aren't in our pod. I know not. Everybody has that ability which can make it hard if you have a group of friends with different jobs. That require them to be working with a person in a very vulnerable community. Who might be at risk for extra complications from Corona virus? I also think it's important to have honest conversations about your own understanding of the risks of being in a pod and in your activities outside the pod if we weren't all sort of on the same page in our desire to take very conservative precautions outside the pot. I don't think any of US would have wanted to commit to an exclusive household relationship with the others but one of the best parts about it if you are able to make it. Work is the occasional ability to forget that the pandemic exists. The only time that I've really been able to do that has been when I've been you know in somebody else's house interacting with other people in a way that I otherwise haven't been able to for months now and I can't overstate the psychic relief that I've gotten from that Julian. Marcus is an infectious disease. Epidemiologist and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Christina. Qatar RUCCI is a writer for sleep magazine. Thank you both for being here. Thank you thank you on Tuesday. The Justice Department informed three senators that it will no longer be investigating them for violating insider trading rules back in March four senators were found to have sold stocks after private congressional briefings on the severity of the COVID nineteen crisis. The four senators independently made millions of dollars from the sales although the investigation on Senators Feinstein in half and Leffler are ending the DOJ will continue investigating Republican. Senator Richard Burr joining us. Now is Max Kutner journalists covering the Justice Department Max. It's great to have you back here. So why is the federal government no longer investigating those three senators senators? Feinstein inhofe in Leffler. Well we don't exactly know the and this is typical typically when people are not charged by the Justice Department. We don't even know there's a case against them let alone of the reasons why that case would've been dropped. Even though some high profile cases we have learned that information for so. It's likely we won't learn the reasons The reasons I think are because of what they've said publicly which is their defense it was. We did not do these ourselves. These were our financial advisers. We had no part in the trading of these stocks so it appears that the Justice Department probably bought that argument. And because Senator Richard. Burs argument was different. Maybe that's why that case appears to be ongoing. And what was Senator Burs argument? He argued that it wasn't that he didn't make the trades. It was that he did so with public information. Information coming out of China not information about the corona virus that he gained from his role as a senator or from private briefings. Have we seen anything like this? In the past where senators engage in this type of action and potentially are not held responsible. Because they're able to say a financial adviser told me to do it what we have seen the issue of lawmakers and accusations of inside trading before and until recently it was thought that lawmakers were actually immune thanks to the constitution for any insider trading really that had to do with their legislative roles now in two thousand twelve the Obama Administration signed into law. Some legislation called the Stock Act. That would try to close that loophole and stock that stands for stop trading on Congressional Knowledge. Act And what the legislation said. Was that a member of Congress or employees of Congress can't use non public information derived from their position as a means of making a private profit and it specifically said this meant to close the insider trading loophole. Now that was in two thousand hundred. And it's been pretty untested since then only once was it enforced and that was against a member of Congress who had information based on a specific company. So it's a bit different from what we're seeing now where Senator Burr had this information more generally about the state of things generally about the corona virus and not necessarily about a specific company. So that is likely going to be the role that prosecutors are looking into. It's unclear of that will be enough to bring charges or even move forward and bring conviction. So what does this mean now for the other three senators? Are they just off the hook entirely well? They've certainly been dusted up by this. It's interesting. I'm seeing a lot of chatter on twitter today and yesterday since this news Basically taking the the political sides but you have people on one side saying this is another example of FBI bound practice in that they're dropping their case against Senator Feinstein is a Democrat and then on the other side you have Senator Leffler who's Republican saying this is? She's calling this a left wing witch hunt and so each side is kind of using this to push their cause when really given that there was a Democrat and there were three Republicans. This is kind of a bipartisan issue. But Kelly Leffler does have a lot more to gain with the closure of this as she is up for election in November. She's currently held holding seat to what she was appointed by the governor so the November election will be a special election. She's running against Republican representative. Doug Collins who is an ally of president trump's he got a lot of airtime during the impeachment hearings as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and poll show that he is right now in the lead so leffler has a lot more to gain by going on. Tv as she's been doing the past twenty four hours and saying these charges were dropped against me. let's move forward from this. And what about for Senator Burr? Could you sort of walk us through? Maybe the range of repercussions he may be facing sugar. So the case against Moore is said to be ongoing. He had to step down temporarily from the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is a major committee. This is one of the committees. That's been investigating Russia and as recently as the day that he stepped down Even released it's it's Even add some news on its Russia. Investigation set it had finished the Russia. Investigation was now awaiting clearance on the final volume of its report. So that hasn't even come out yet. he's also self reported to the Senate Ethics Committee so they are presumably looking into this and he was said to be retiring. Twenty twenty two not too long from now so if this is kind of how he ends his career. That's not a great thing from him he. He's had a very long career so he would also have a lot to gain from this going away but the investigation is ongoing and time will tell if prosecutors by his defense so far and of the Senate ethics committee by his defense so far that again he Made these decisions based on public information. Not Information he derived from his role as a senator I is there any possibility that the investigation into burke could reopen an investigation into the other three senators. Anything IS POSSIBLE. Shumita the but that seems unlikely. It does seem that Given that they were cleared pretty quickly. Those other three senators and it didn't even escalate to charges let alone moving forward with a case against them It seems unlikely that they have much to worry about moving forward Max. Kutner is a journalist covering the justice. Department Max. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you By now you've probably seen or heard about the viral video showing Christian Cooper black man being threatened by a white woman Amy Cooper not while he was bird-watching in Central Park. I'm going to learn African American man. Threatening my life in the video Christian asks her to leash her dog in a Popular Bird. Watching destination called the ramble. We're are required to be leashed at all times instead of leaving her dog. Amy Calls the police on him falsely accusing him of threatening her life. The incident raises a lot of questions including about who can safely engage with nature in certain spaces. Drew Lanham is a professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University. He's been bird-watching since he was five or six years old. Well it was nature and nurture for me. It's was growing up in rural South Carolina Edgefield South Carolina on a family farm and in having birds really as this constant companions and marveling over their flight as a black man. Drew has spent years navigating the overwhelmingly White Space. That is birdwatching. A warning that this conversation contains strong language that some listeners may find offensive the best way to put it. It's one of the whitest hobbies that you can have navigated it most recently. A suppose with with lots of friends who may not share my skin color but who share a passion for birds. And so. There's this transcendent sort of nature of loving birds. That's helped me to navigate pretty serious social issues. I think about those epic migratory journeys I think about their ranges and and what it takes to be a bird to weigh no more than a handful of paperclips to lie downs of miles to sing. Your songs. Uninhibited there's something to admire that. But then I'm pulled back into realities of unarmed people. Black people being being killed and it makes me wonder if I'm safe in my backyard. Doing what I'm doing and the most recent episode with Christian Cooper in Central Park took me back to almost exactly a year ago when I was in new city. I believe in Talking at the American Museum of Natural History About Inclusion Earth Sea and conservation in having a walk in the park. We were in a place where it wasn't a big deal. Apparently it seem to see black men. Three black men birding now come full circle with all that's happening in the world it makes the navigation tricky. The new stream tells me that there's another reality out there that I have to cope with it. So sort of constantly back and forth and back and forth. Have you yourself had to confront racism while out birdwatching? Yeah have And it's funny. It's not something I really recognized. I think until I was much older probably in my my late twenties early thirties at began to wonder where the others were. That looked like me. You must love birds as much as I did. So I became aware of the potential for for danger out there that there were places for example in western North Carolina where there were encampments of racists who were literally targeting black people. It wasn't the direct contact. It was the possibility of it and so I've always been keenly aware of maps range is of racists where they are of confederate flags of places where people suddenly call their homeland As separatists. They should be there and no one else should be there. So that was really one of my first realities. I think in that quagmire that racism is and sort of pulls you down mentally but directly more recently having an encounter with with someone who do consider the good old days the days of of niggers picking incontinent and In in having this very odd I won't even call a conversation but this listening in sitting in hearing someone referring to me to black people as that was Was a again sort of grounding. It was This fall from flight and but As a black American I think you sort of steel yourself. You learned to expect. Unfortunately these incidents some of them are microaggressions. Most people would not recognize others are are macro aggressions. Like I said when I see confederate flags it gives me pause when I see certain other flags. It gives me pause to go into place. And so it's a daily thing. You drill you speak with such joy and reference about bird-watching and yet you also talk about the distracting thoughts particularly because you are a black man who does bird-watching I mean. Does it distract at all from what you're setting out to do when you go out. Yeah in some ways. They're are places that that I won't go. I mean again I talk about ranges and range maps and I I have a range map just like birds have arranged man. I have my own sort of rather than a field. I have a field guide and I feel my way alward and and feeling your way forward is A tough way to go. Sometimes when you you WanNa follow wild and free things if you're inhibited. In some way if you know there is a place where you shouldn't go or if there are markers like those flags that tell you know what you might not be welcome here or if there's a history really been passed down of a sundown town or if there's something in the news that has alerted you to the potential or were danger or if there's a lingering look in a neighborhood when you're chasing some rarity and you know that made me. That neighborhood is so diverse and people would recognize you as being out of place you know the Ahmad Aubrey. That story hit hard for all of us in in many different ways. But I I couldn't help but think about times that I've been in neighborhoods. That weren't my neighborhood walking around mostly with friends but on occasion on occasion or two alone looking for some bird and I'm sure I was being watched because I wasn't supposed to be there or being stopped by the police who Saami place and said well. You look like a suspect and being detained on my own campus. Those are are sort of these constant things. Yes that distract we develop? I think and when I say we I mean black folks I think we develop this sixth and seventh cents. That's that's adaptive that helps you understand. You know this is a place that you should be a place that you shouldn't be or maybe this is a place you can drive by and look but don't get out You know maybe this is a place that you go with a white friend and sometimes that's the advice that I've given other friends. I've said if you're going to go in that neighborhood why don't you take call white bird or friend to go with you? And and they can serve as a buffer or a guy because black people walking around with binoculars or spotting scopes might not be accepted so readily and in some places drew you've written about the parallels you see between the experience of birds and marginalized communities you've written about this in Audubon magazine. Can you explain what you mean by that? It's part of my bird brandon nece to to see my life through a bird's life into to see that struggle that birds experience and all that they have to overcome a single hooded warbler for example to have traveled from Central America to made some Lee across the Gulf of Mexico in a non stop flight and then to to reach the Gulf shores And then to work its way through swamps and forests would lots overdeveloped lands where it cannot land to be in my presence and it's made that epic journey if everything goes right it has not Head to endure some of the things that humans have done but more than likely it's head to to to died not only natural predators but things like outdoor cats may have Head to dodge buildings it may have had to fly through skies that are lit up and so the human equivalent of that I think is what we face often face on a daily basis that there are barriers that each of us no matter what color faces on a daily basis. Things that we go through no life is without trial but there these tribulations of success that we can experience but then when their other barriers that are put up when you're already dealing with issues and then out of nowhere comes this Predatory Reich of prejudice. Then there you are. You're you're trying to make your way to some place just as that bird is but there's there's something that's come in. That's interrupted you. It's interrupted your day. It's thrown you off your flight path and suddenly you're misplaced your displaced. You're a bird that S- out of out of habitat you're out of your norm and you've got a reset and that reset takes energy and on a daily basis to have to spend your energy not just being you but wondering why somebody hates you for being. When I was watching this hooded were the other day and was amazed at the song. The song bird was singing. And I'm looking at its plumage. This this wonderful olive backed lemon yellow breasted blazer with a yellow face that's encircled the males faces yellow faces encircled by this black hood. This bird was singing on territory. And I'm watching it and Absorbing it but had in my mind is I was watching it that this bird could wear. It's good without trepidation without profiling without having to worry about someone killing it. Just because it's a Hutu warbler. I really thought that I my mind went there at the same time as I was loving this bird and relaxing my time alone with it. There was nothing else in the world at at time there was this part of me that was thinking What would it be like to be a bird and have that actual freedom of no judgment of no suspicion? That's my Feather fascinated life. I guess you. What is your favorite bird? My favorite bird is the one with feathers. They sure it's unfair to ask. What your favorite world's no it's fun to think about. I have list of birds that I I love right now. Probably if I if I were pressed it'd probably be the loggerhead shrike which is a songbird. That's rapid decline But it's a song bird that has had its that some people don't like it each that eats small mammals in songbirds but it impales on thorns because it skeet are two but it is a songbird and and so it's involved in in Sort of this ecological code switching which people of Color spent a Lotta time doing sort of switching between one persona and the other? That's right that's my favorite bird for right. Now if I have to name one but writ large it's the one with others Q. I want to ask you to explain that. A little bit further code switching from birds perspective and code switching from your human perspective. What do you mean by that? Well you know there's this personality that that we all have our base of who we are. It's your psychic closure psychological vestments as it that when you go out to a business meeting you know. You're wearing collared shirt. You're you're wearing a certain things and you have certain comportment. Your behavior is at a certain level. Well the what's the first thing that most of us do when we get back home we can't wait to get into our sweat pants and A T shirt and kick off the shoes and we kick off our feet and we are not worried so much about proper comportment. That's a kind of code switching code switching year cultural code switching and and Which goes a little deeper in in how we might speak or whether or not we use certain colloquialisms when we're out when we get back home or whether you know decide to relax and and maybe my voice gets a little more southern than it used user. You know it's it's those things that non union. We're all sort of chameleons. In that way for birds that code switching goes not so much into who the? Burt is always tell my bird friends. Don't be worried about misidentifying bird. Because they know who they are. Loggerhead shrike does what it does. It is who it is as a bird but code switching comes in when we perceive the bird when we make judgment calls on the bird because of behavior just as it does with human so the old name for the loggerhead shrike is which bird and they were seeing as being injurious to other birds. You look at some of the old text and they will talk about Protecting most birds but killing hawks. Owls and Shreiks were considered Rap To`real in that they would sometimes kill other song birds. And so here's a bird that has a life is a songbird that lives but humans. Place it in another category. And so that's a to me. That's sort of this cultural code switching externally of expectation. I see so many birds sort of in these In these double sided mirrors. I see them for the wonderful ecological beings that they are and I try to understand that as an observer and a scientist to not judge their behavior but then to study how are we have defined these birds because of that behavior that we've put them that we've bracketed them into categories of acceptable and not acceptable Of A good bird and a bad bird. That's that something that Interests me greatly and I think impacts how how birds are conserved. What can the bird-watching community due to be more inclusive? There's some great folks out there that are that are really trying to solve that that problem or at least address it. I don't WanNa lay all of the responsibility on on the birdwatching community but I I WANNA lady hones- On birdwatchers as people who many care about birds not just to count or list them but to conserve them And and to conserve means to care with some intensity so that You save some for others. It's supposed to be a selfless act and so there's love involved and if there's love involved for awhile thing Who Hires needs the same air? The saint water the same soil This same healthy earth that hopefully we're striving for then then then birdwatchers can be onboard for that and part of that is social justice in part of that is paying attention taking the binoculars down in seeing around you in recognizing that things might be different recognizing that you're in a monolith and that if you're GONNA go forward if we're going to go forward in a way to help protect the earth to help protect birds wherever in central park or Saskatchewan or or South Carolina that lately it comes down to US joining together in a way and recognizing are the fates are tied together with at birds have always been. Our gods are sort of signatories were for the environment. We have to pay attention. Not just to the birds that we see through binoculars but we have to pay attention to what's beyond those binoculars to what's in the periphery. I'm always struck when we'll go into an impoverished area to see some rare bird ticket off the list and we're carrying optics that represent a large fraction of the per capita income. But we leave with only those birds on our list but we've left nothing better or those communities behind and so I would like to see burden community. Individuals and organizations really be used this opportunity. All this conversation that we're having Schmidt a be not just inclusive. I'm not just count diversity but to be intensely intentional about inclusion to to call out the wrong when you see it to not just film it to not just be a stander by to not just be an observer to not just say I'm sorry to not just be mad about it but to do something about it to talk to your friends for. I think the big moves now really are quite frankly or white people to talk to white people and to say we can't tolerate this. I think back in my parents in the civil rights movement and I think about it in the civil rights movement wasn't just about black rights. It was about everyone's rights and I think now is the time for a new kind of movement and for for feeling thinking knowing people to step forward in ways that they may not have before. And and sometimes maybe to engage peacefully but forcefully. But then to disengage. I I don't I don't have any room in my life or my My social media pages for people who would excuse the kinds of behavior that we've just seen. I don't have that space in my head or my heart to carry a long hate. That's what I would like in my world I would like to for people to see birds and be transcended through them to understand that this world can be better for for all of us but we have to make moves and we have to make those moves now. Drew Lanham is an avid bird watcher and a professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University. We're going to continue our conversation about the racist incident in Central Park by stepping back from bird watching and talking more about quote white spaces in general and how black people are expected to navigate them. Joining me is Mickey Kendall Feminist writer and the author of the Book Hood Feminism Notes from the women that a movement for God. When Mickey I saw the Central Park video she said it was hard to process. What exactly she was seeing on the screen. Because what you're seeing if somebody lie and build the Lai coldly in front of you right so she's not endanger. He asked her to back up. You can see that this is not really scary situation so it's very disconcerting Behave verbally not physically. But somehow scared or upset but physically be the aggressor and then as she's using her words for lack of a way to put it building a narrative that is a threat all while feigning fear right. We're supposed to think she scared. But the video shows a. She's not afraid she approaches him and gets belligerent. With him and when she tells him that she's going to call and say it's an African American man and you watch voice go from angry to teary and it's completely fake It's such a disturbing sequence to watch like my first thought was what is this is the stage. And then there was. It wasn't stage and then trying to follow the pattern in her head. That made her think the video camera in front of her wooden reveal what she was doing. Mickey I actually want to play for our listeners. If they haven't heard exactly what you're talking about the tone and the inflection of Amy Cooper's voice and how that changed during the video let's listen. So that's that's Amy Cooper and there was a lot of public outcry on social media about this incident caught on camera but I was also struck by some of the ways that people were defending her actions. Were you seeing those types of defenses? What what were your reactions to that. So it was an interesting lesson. How implicit bias makes people see what they're most comfortable with so people said well? We don't know how her day started. We don't know you know. Maybe she was having a bad day. You Watch someone across the sequence of minutes make decisions choices. Go from calm to upset or really calm to rage and then to fake fear. We watched her do all of these things but people were saying well maybe maybe she didn't mean for him to get hurt but she told you she did. She told you when she said I'm going to tell them. It's an African American male. Yeah and there is a long history of course of white women accusing falsely accusing Lachmann of crimes. And I'm thinking of everything from Emmett till two more recent examples like this one. How does this incident compared to other situations where white women weaponized there tiers against black people so the good news is that Christian Cooper was not injured? He was not arrested or harassed. The bad news is that this was a fluke. He's an outlier more often than not and we can talk about Susan Smith. We can talk about John Crawford the third in Ohio who was shot in Walmart. Because someone's false call. We can talk about you know. Amber Geiger who breaks into? Someone's house and shoot them all of these things more often than not this ends in some kind of harm whether it be an arrest and the person who didn't commit a crime being harassed by police or abused by police losing part of their livelihood or their good name or worse someone ending debt right as even as we watched this playing out in Minnesota. We saw the police Neil on a man neck until he was dead right. There's no guns involved because someone said well. No one came with guns. We don't need a gun to kill to kill a man. You're going to kill a woman and this history. Even though I know Christian Cooper has since said that. He didn't want her life to be torn apart. It's it's about Christian Cooper but it's not really about Christian Cooper about all of the people who can be hurt by this right we see no reports and hopefully the police just didn't respond aggressively. Imagine if that entire scene had played out differently and let's say Christian Cooper continued his birding but four or five seven ten other people who fit her description which is a black man in a bicycle helmet within stopped. Acosta by police were abused by police. Because let's be clear if you google. Nypd and brutality. The record is there. She knows exactly where she lives. She knows exactly what she's doing. You know it makes me think also about who can and who can't weaponize law enforcement to their advantage and I I understand. The answer here might be obvious. But what does it tell you that? She decided in that moment to call the police. The polite way to put this is that she relied on the state. You exactly what the state has always done serve the interest of white supremacy? That was what she felt was necessary in the moment because someone had dared to challenge her internal narrative about her right to do whatever she wanted however she wanted. Let's be clear here. She knew she could call the police and that they would do this thing and includes the start of mentioned. He's an African American male in all of this because she's comfortable she never has to fear the police. She's never been afraid of the cops. And that says a lot about what policing really is in America and its purpose. If you're going to argue that we need the police who's the week who's who were. They protecting who were they serving? Whose interests are they handling. Because let's be clear this was about putting a leash on a dog obeying the posted times right and she was willing to risk his life so she didn't have to put a leash on a dog now on Monday. Amy Cooper this this white woman told NBC New York quote. I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone especially to that man his family. What did you make of amy? Cooper's apology that wasn't an apology. Why not that was Amy Cooper? Absolving are attempting to absolve herself before the consequences showed up because by that point we knew his name. So that man we. We CAN'T APOLOGIZE TO I. Apologize to Mr Cooper secondly to anyone. I might have offended. You didn't just offend someone. You filed a false police report. You knowingly willfully chose to file a false police report and aside from the fact that's apparently a crime in New York. You did so in such a way. As to guarantee your head. He would be punished for daring to tell you to obey the law so sure she sorry she got caught. She sorry that the video went viral. I'll believed that. Is she sorry for her behaviour. I have a much more difficult time because part of that apology was. I'm not racist but she just weaponized race on video so yes you are racist. Let's talk about that. Because as people have continued to look into this woman. Amy Cooper. Some have pointed out that she's donated to recent Democratic candidates She donated to President Obama's campaign and some it seems are seeing that as a sort of cognitive dissonance. Like this idea that Amy Cooper might actually identify as a liberal. What does this tell you about the white liberal identity? I wouldn't necessarily say that she would identify as a liberal. I would say that. There was a wide gap between tea party conservatives and literally the entire rest of the political spectrum and so for a lot of people who I donated to Obama. It's because they didn't like his opponent. Let's start there then. Let's also talk about the fact that being quote unquote liberal throughout American history for especially in terms of white liberal. Politics has never meant that. You were not racist. You know like we have a narrative that Lincoln freed the slaves way he didn't and be. Are we really going to say? He's liberal because he didn't want to keep an institution going that he already knew was going to fail and especially when we know that his plan was then to deport everyone of color everyone who had been a former slave so it's not that we have this binary of either you are liberal and not racist or you're conservative and racist it's like everything else. A spectrum sure she may not be. I will burn a cross on your lawn. She apparently is. I will file a false police report with NYPD racist. This incident took place In an area in central park which is very popular with birdwatchers. Which as we've just been discussing is an overwhelmingly white space. How are people of Color especially black? People expected to navigate these types of white spaces so one of the interesting things is that you can tell that. She doesn't think he has a right to be there or that. He doesn't have as much of a right as she does. But in those spaces you're somehow both supposed to be glad to be present and then defer I guess to whiteness but the reality is that if we're in this world where everyone is equal and racism doesn't exist and post racial and all the things then everyone has a right to be everywhere but the expectation is that somehow we accept that white people have more of a right and that they get to direct their attention to who is there in a way as though I own this space and you have to prove your right to be here. You have to justify your presence right so when we're talking about predominantly white spaces. There's some idea that white people get police who was present regardless of whether or not they own that space or have any inherent right to control. Who enters that space and that black people are supposed to accept it? That other people of color are supposed to accept especially black people especially black men on thinking about in the aftermath of incidents like this The emotional burden often falls on black people. What are your suggestions for how white people can better shoulder that burden and take on some of the very necessary conversations need to take place. I think in some very important ways we have to be teaching white people. In Particular General Society America has to START TEACHING ANTI-RACISM. Not just as a general. Don't be like the clan. But that's an a very specific direct and using examples like this. Don't be a Karen. Don't think you own the space or the right to access to a space that you don't we kind of have to teach not to be racist not to think you have more validity as a person than someone else because of the color of their skin and we have to start that not at the high school or college or whatever. We're currently arguing is old enough to learn about race. Black children have to learn about racism before they're even born. They experienced it before they're born. They have to deal with at in the hospital. You have to deal with that. When I go home. Their families have to deal with it so so should white children. They should be dealing with race and racism at the same rate as everyone who experiences Mikki Kendall is a feminist writer and author of the Books Hood Feminism and Amazon's abolitionists and activists. Mickey thank you so much for coming back on the show. Thank you for having Megan. We're going to end the hour by hearing from Comedian Tawny newsome. Tony is prolific within the comedy podcasting world and recently she's been picking up increasingly high profile acting jobs. The last project that Tony Films before lockdowns went into effect in the US was an episode of Jordan peels the twilight zone it was so surreal to be filming an episode of the twilight zone amidst a blossoming global pandemic. I played a surgeon so literally my last seen that I filmed was miss scrubbing in for surgery. So she's different angles of washing my hands while I'm thinking about how I just have to get off this set full of a hundred people immediately washing. It may be some time before. Tiny is back on a film set. But this week you can find her starring alongside Steve Carell and John Malkovich in Netflix's space force loosely inspired by the real life military branch formed under president trump. Space Force was created by Great Daniels. Who is best known for making the American version of the office? Tani's character Angela. Ali is a pilot who takes her role within the space. For very seriously you to get back here. Now Yeah you. You said some disrespectful to my guest. So you're GONNA take a little run East launch pad for Pharma and back. That's almost twice as far away running. No and Tony told me that while. She was preparing for the show. She took her research seriously as well. Angela makes it to officer. She ends up transferring in even though she was previously enlisted. She's an officer now. So she is a sending the ranks and I really like I started scoping out and looking for black women especially who are officers in different branches of the military? I started looking for pilots. Black women pilots from over just because I wanted to surround myself with images of that I mean that's kind of the definition of why representation matters right if you can see it then you can imagine yourself doing it from a little girl thinking about a career standpoint and also as an actor me looking at all of these marines and Army soldiers and other women gave me ideas about hairstyles. One thing. That was really important to me and to our military advisor and everyone on set. Was THAT WHO. I wore my hair appropriate for a person in uniform. Sure I have really big curly hair. That is everywhere and it's hard to manage and I was really weighing. The you know the challenges that a lot of enlisted women and women servicewomen face when they're trying to figure out okay. How do we stick within the military ranks to be smooth it down we straighten it and you know just over a year ago the services approved braids and locks as approved styles? Those like oh. This would be a genius. Way To honor a lot of those women who probably were waiting to get to wear braids for years and years. So it's just a small way that yeah we were trying to honor the the reality of these these exact people now you also co host a podcast called Yo. Is this racist with Andrew T it sort of sounds? It's a it's a racism helpline people call in and leave you voicemail and ask is this racist or how should I feel about this What's been like to into doing this? Podcast from home. Yeah well I love doing things from home. I'm a lifelong musician too. So I always have studio setup so that part hasn't been hard. I do want to make sure people know that. We're not a real help. Line like we. We aren't primarily concerns. Should we love to have like a third perspective of another comedian writer? A person in entertainment usually a person of color but not always and we just have long discussions about the things people call in for so sometimes people call in with really serious stuff that we're like. I don't know if I'm the one qualified for you to talk to you when you end up asking each other. Did we help? This person has the right answer. We awesome did not sometimes. I'm just like you need a newspaper. What to do for you. I want to talk a little bit more about your comedy career in. I know that you were at second city when you lived in Chicago. You've also performed with your band. John Lang for its four. Lost Souls at music venues have. Are you feeling about the future of live comedy and live music right now? I mean I'm legitimately worried I'm hopeful but I'm I'm nervous you know. I spent a lot of years making my primary living as a live performing. Comedian AND MUSICIAN. I would trade. You know I'd go for a month on tour with a band then I'd come back and do six weeks of scripted. Sit DOWN COMEDY. Show in Rochester New York or something with the second city so it it was what got me out of waiting tables which is something that a lot of people can't say then live performing became their bread and butter. That is it's hard to do. And it was hard to maintain even then. I don't know how independent venues or going to stay open. I've been trying to support venues that I've had good memories at just. You know looking to see if they have a go fund me pager buying merchandise from them if they're selling t shirts or something. But I'm legitimately scared and I'm kind of scared of the you know the corporatization that's going to take over some of these small venues because if you're an INDIE ROCK CLUB IN ARLINGTON. And you suddenly can't open backup. Who's GonNa who's GonNa buy that space? What type of bands are they going to book? What type of content are they? GonNa put. Put up the preservation of the indie music and comedy spaces is one of the most important things that we have for allowing new art to flourish and in terms of acting. How do you feel about the idea of returning to a film set after all this and picking up where some of your productions have had to pause? I feel very lucky to be in the job that I'm in because even if people wanted to go back to work prematurely even if certain productions wanted to I am encouraged by the fact that this is this industry billions and billions of dollars and there are so many people that takes to make a film set and I keep joking. That being an actor on a film set is just twelve hours of someone touching your face so there is I have that sounds very an ideal right now right right right now. It's just like different strangers. Coming up putting a microphone on your collarbone. Someone adjusting your eyebrow. It's it's a Cova nightmare so I am emboldened by the fact that these very serious expensive productions are not going to rush back in because you know if someone gets sick. It's a very visible very visible industry. It's very litigious world. We're in. It seemed it would seem wild to me that that any production would go back prematurely and I don't think they'll do it purely if not for the people say definitely because there's too much money on the line. I try not to read people's quotes back to them from past interviews but I'm GonNa make an exception this time because one point of election. No No. So here's here's what it is in two thousand seventeen. You gave an interview to culture and you expressed some frustration at the time with the rules that you've been getting and you'd said it can be hard to find a place right now so. I think I just need to create that place myself. Do you feel like you're at a point in your career now where you've been able to carve out your own space. Yeah you know. What's interesting is that like? This role in space force was one of those perfect marriages of collaboration. There was a great pilot script. The script was so lovely that I- Cornelie told the casting director Allison Jones. After my first audition I was just like I'd just love the script. Even if I don't get gassed she was like cool story. I don't that's great but I I do feel like this is the start of that for me because Greg Daniels is such a great collaborator and so his door is so open to ideas about the character that between me and him and the Writers Steve. Like we have created this character together. And I feel like an active participant in shaping. Her this whole last season I felt like I was asked for my input and trusted when I disagreed about things and it was a really good way to to create it. So if that's if that's halfway to making my own stuff I feel like the next piece of it is right around the corner. Tawny newsome is a comedian. And one of the stars of Netflix's space force which is coming out later this week. Thank you so much. This was great. We've been checking in with a bunch of different COMEDIANS. On the take way including Samantha. B and Roy Wood Jr. Since the coronavirus outbreak started you can find all of those conversations online at the takeaway dot org slash joking from a distance. That's all for me on the takeaway. It has been such a pleasure filling in for Tanzania Vega all this month great muse. She'll be back in the hosting chair on Monday. I know I'll be listening. I hope you will too. And Amy Walter is tomorrow as usual. Our board operator. Debbie doctor was in the studio at WNYC for US alongside Vince Fairchild. Who was art director this week? Working from home was line producer. Jackie Martin and editor J cow it in the mornings. Alexandra not is our senior producer. Our producers are Ethan Obermann. Jose Lavar is meg dot in Jason to rescue. And Lydia mcmullen Laird Amber Hall and Patricia Jacob Our Politics Producers Paulie Aroon Goo is our digital editor. Katharina Barton is our intern. And David Gable is our executive assistant. Lee Hill is our executive producer. And I'm Shumita Basu. You can find me on twitter at shoebox zoo. That's S. H. B. A. Asu You also find my contact information there and that's all for now. I'll be listener like you next week and always be well. This is the takeaway

Coming up next