It’s Going to Be a Rough Summer for Racial Tension

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S1: Really probably don’t need this to say this, all of you, but Minneapolis, our nation, really the world has witnessed this incredibly disturbing loss of life. My heart goes out to George Floyd. My heart goes out to his family. My heart goes out to his friends. And my heart goes out to the community. We are grieving and we want to continue to grieve her apology sincere.

S2: I’m not sure if you’re not apologizing. She recognizes that while she may not be open to those operations, that particular act was definitely racist.

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S3: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?

S4: Hello and welcome to Tramcars Time, Virginia Heffernan.

S5: Actually, I’m queasy, Eddie, for your weekly Drivetime Drop Gast and everyone, not just my sidekick, looks like something big cat dragged in. We really have had a freaky week so far, and it seems like this country’s on fire, like all the dumpsters from the heyday of the phrase dumpster fire have been piled into a galactic sized dumpster, doused in gasoline and mushroom clouded up and are now shedding radioactive corona virus particles over all the living and all the dead from sea to pollution dimmed, formerly shining sea. And there’s actual fire parts of Minneapolis are now destroyed after two straight nights of police rampaging through what started as a protest and then turned into a rebellion over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. The police have acknowledged that the vast majority of the protests have been peaceful, but their violent interventions and it was a cop who pinned Floyd under his knee and choked him to death, naturally set off vandalism. Videos now show half a dozen people I’ve seen young white women, mostly white people, actually, some in masks against the corona virus, looting a target. On Wednesday, one man was shot dead, possibly by a pawn shop owner. And then, of course, are the hour by hour tensions in every city and state about these masc wars, economic despair, the joblessness, the sitting autocracy, the upcoming election that Trump is working hard to deal legitimate in the event he loses the unmasked gunmen who occupied the Michigan state capital without a word, let alone teargassed from the police and the eruptions of racist threats to, of all things, a birdwatcher in Central Park. Am I leaving something out? I hope not. But if I am, I have the perfect guest to fill me in. He never misses a trick. He’s Jason Johnson, a professor in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State, a contributor at MSNBC, the Grio and Sirius XM. Jason’s got a B.A. from my alma mater, Yoovidhya and APHC from USC. We’re going to talk about racism, violence, deadly pathogens, the far right KU, George Floyd and even the concept of the Keran. Also, how to survive the scorched summer health scape ahead.

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S4: Jason, welcome back to Trump Cast.

S2: Thank you so very much. I’m happy to be here.

S4: Virginia in the middle of pandemic life, cut in the middle of pandemic life and also the powder keg that is our country. Yes, I actually feel like I can smell TNT when I walk on the sidewalk.

S2: Yeah, yeah. It’s it’s really volatile out there. And in some ways it always has been. But I think it’s gotten worse since the end of the Obama administration, since our current president. I mean, we are facing legitimate economic anxiety right now with 30 million people out of work. And it’s bringing out the worst, the worst that a lot of different kinds of people in this country. And look, we have to do something about it collectively because there is no operating as an individual in this space right now. We can’t do it.

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S5: No. That’s exactly right. In fact, I just heard Bill McKibben, you know, the environmentalist say that, you know, we got awfully excited about the possibility that the you know, us refraining from commuting, taking airplanes, heating and cooling office buildings was going to have a great upside for the environment. And what he said is it’s effected carbonisation by about seven percent. Right. These individual actions, we’ve got to just move to putting the oil and gas companies out of business. That’s the only way to go. And it is a perfect case for we need big structural change. As the Warren Democrats say, and it’s the only way I mean, if all of us stopping taking airplanes has not made a significant dent in carbon. This is not an individual thing.

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S2: No, no. It’s not an individual thing. And here’s the other thing within it. That’s key, because I’ve read some of those. I’ve seen that seven percent figure. A lot of environmentalists and scientists. I’ve been saying, yeah, that’s cute. But Moodley, to avert disaster. We’d have to drop by this amount every year. Every year, we’d have to drop by several percent in order to keep the coast from being completely flooded. What I found sort of interesting in my own sort of my own little personal eco system. Right. I’m not driving as much. I’m not leaving the house as often. Ironically, my air conditioning, what else in my house is incredibly hot right now. I’ve got a fan, like, right next to me said noble of you, by the way. I know. I know. I have no carbon footprint right now. None. It’s tough for think somebody’s laptop, but it’s been so interesting to watch the wildlife. I mean, you know, you see you see deer. You see animals. I walked outside of my condo two days ago. There was a collection of geese. I was like, where are you? Like. But all these humans being gone, they are free to sort of operate the way they want to. So we’re we’re that’s the positive and the negative energies they’ve been talking about sort of the the rat problems in places like New York and Chicago, where since there are commuters providing garbage. They’ve actually become more aggressive by going into people’s homes.

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S4: And I think I’ve heard about coyotes in Los Angeles. I mean, it is incredibly interesting. And maybe you’ll think this is an awkward transition. I hope not. But I saw my partner yesterday with binoculars and his bird book out, and I was like, you’re only doing this to copy Christian Cooper. I mean, come on. Well, we’re all birders now. Yes. You know. Yeah. And the fact that this week. Right. It’s this week, she’s we’ve already seen this really like a potent showdown between a clumsy dog owner. Let’s just before we even.

S2: That’s a nice way of putting it. That spaniel was suffering. Yeah.

S4: An irresponsible spaniel owner. How about that? And a birder mover. This natural patch of ground that’s known to be wild. The ramble in Central Park. I mean, you know, it begins with these sort of animals involved, kind of class doppelgangers. A friend of mine said they have the same last name. It’s Amy Cooper and Christian Cooper. He’s a Harvard birder, bird nerd, and she’s a summer does something in finance financer, did something in finance until she was fired. Yeah. Tell us about that event.

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S2: So. There’s a lot of layers to this. Not just about sort of identity and class, but also sort of technology right off the bat. This is a quintessential example of of how racism has very real manifest impacts on black people’s daily lives. I do not think it is hyperbole. Amy Cooper essentially tried to turn the police into like her murder concierge service. I mean, like you’re threatening to call the cops on a guy and you’re actively lying about it. Right. Like, there was no, she wasn’t. You know, the fact that she changed her voice, it was people commonly. It’s like the scene out to get out, like, oh, my God, help, help, help, help, help. While she’s still clearly not in danger. And the fact that she was so comfortable doing that, what first struck me about it was not that I was surprised because I’ve had that happen to me. I’ve had that happen to me with white men. I’ve had white women do that to me. But it also made me think, how many other people has she done this to? How many interns at her company did she just lie on because she didn’t want a black person? How many times did she say, I just don’t like this black employee? It just came up with the story. Keisha’s the one who stole your sandwich in the back in the dining lounge of our company, the kind of lying and the dangerous economically and physically that that kind of part upon black people is a day to day reality and not enough consequences. OK, fine. So she gets fired. Justine Sacco, who made those comments about going to Africa and getting AIDS. She got rehired a couple of months later. She should actually face legal consequences for lying to the police and trying to file a false report.

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S5: Yeah, I mean, and as you say, calling out, they’re calling in the guns that she sees as being on her side over and against Christian Cooper side. One of the things that was kind of astounding to me about that event is we have a lot of cases across the country of people sort of scolding each other. You know, guns came out this week. That’s a little complicated. But the other thing contributing to the powderkeg feeling is the kind of sharks and jets thing of masks and unmasked people. And, you know, we had the murder in Flint, Michigan, when a security guard urged customers at a dollar store to wear masks and then they came back and killed him.

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S4: And then I think another incident the other way around a restaurant in Georgia says its employees can’t come in a restaurant servers if they have masks on. Yeah, people getting yelled at, for wearing masks, for not wearing masks. It kind of reminds me of the Taliban saying you must wear a hijab and France saying you cannot wear a hijab. So it’s a very, very tense atmosphere. What I did admire about Christine Cooper, aside from the fact that he’s a perfect person, like clearly it like it’s annoying how. Yes. Yes. There’s not a he’s no angel argument with him. Right. But that it was bold for him to be the scholder because it is usually on the street people of color and women who are constantly getting scolded. And he was like, I’m the one that knows the rules of this place. Well, you know, where you get probably told to move along or step off or stop doing whatever. I get told to smile, you know, to, you know, not do X, Y, Z, that I’m doing something wrong, that I’m you know, a lot of the time we get scolded for how we could take care of our kids. We get school for all kinds of cultural matters. And those are potentially incendiary moments. But I just got told I had to walk six foot back from someone in the in the grocery line and not four feet back. And let me tell you how it went. Hey, could you step back a couple of a couple of feet? And I know that’s the rule. She worked there just like Cooper was talking about the rule. And I said, God, you know, I’m still getting used to this.

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S2: Of course, some of this is about a new beginning because you make an excellent point about like who gets a scolding, who has the rules? Yeah, some of it’s about identity, but it also has become this really sort of poisonous sort of way of public harassment. You’re two examples. So first, you start with Christian Cooper, right? You know, the fact that she is a virtue signalling fantasy, right? Yeah. This is this ridiculously good looking 57 year old gay black man with a Harvard education who goes birdwatching. I have friends who are like. But is he single? Like like it’s you know, he’s like he’s American here. Like like they’re the moderate liberal, white, black. There’s no parts of America. Right. That can unless you’re just a vehement bigot that could stand against him symbolically. And he was right and not just right, but for him to say what he was saying. He’s like, look, because loose dogs are a danger to birds. Like there’s an actual practical Audubon Society bird watching element to this. But I also say this. It’s also about collective power. And he was able to use collective power by sharing this with his sister in a video goes viral. Yesterday, I was going to Home Depot because I, I don’t I, I don’t have a greens on my. I am thumbs down and gladiator. I can’t girl. But I have like one plant, I planted a carrot outside my house, right? So I’m going to Home Depot to get some new soil. And there’s a there’s a black woman there, older black woman. She’s got a match. She’s sort of the door greeter. I see this young white guy, 20 something, whatever, Noma’s, he’s barging it. And the woman politely says, excuse me, sir, you’re not allowed to come into the store without a mask. And he turns to her with this sort of disingenuous, hostile expression of like, oh, I didn’t know that. It’s not like a store. War is not like a war with the state or whatever. It is almost like. Well, actually, it’s both. He’s like, well, I didn’t hear about it, maybe. And I step in and I said, it’s a state law. And I think when he saw me and saw that he wasn’t just gonna be able to bully or walk past this woman, he turns to me is like, why hadn’t heard about was like, it’s right there on the side. We’re in Maryland. Everyone’s known that. Yeah. And then he sort of scurries off. He didn’t care about going into Home Depot because he could be just gone to his car and got the sweater or whatever. It was a way for him to bully this woman and also assert his power and influence. So I think a lot of this we have to understand is this pandemic is giving people who are already hostile an opportunity to flex even more, whether that’s a social environment or a cultural environment or park or a Home Depot in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., because they feel they feel entrapped by science and they want to take it out on anyone else. They can’t.

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S5: I really do like, though, what you said about collective action and kind of kind of coming up sort of behind this behind this woman and just saying it’s a state law because she’s she’s scrambling. These are such heated confrontations as we you know, as we both now. And they can go wrong so easily. And, you know, it is uncomfortable to be scolded.

S4: And one of the things that you did by saying it’s a state law, you’re saying you had a mask on. I’m sure you’re saying it binds me to write it. Like maybe we’d all like to take our dogs off a leash. That’s, you know, but how annoying. But we all have to wear these masks and they’re soggy and disgusting and nobody likes it. But the laws binding on all of us, that it seems to be sort of the way to address these things like this is also confusing. But right now, we have to stand six feet distance like. Right. I’m with you at these things just came down from on high. I’m not the scientist. I’m not Dr. Foushee who makes the rules. I’m just another citizen trying to get along in this world. And I like I think that if we’re gonna choose to scold each other in any setting, if we don’t have the law and a sign behind us saying swim at your own risk or don’t swim or whatever in this place, then I think we really need to show that we’re all in this together. Because how that in Central Park between Cooper and Cooper turned into a culture war with the cops involved. I mean, who is on some kind of crazy edge? It’s like her viral load must be over the top so much that, like, the slightest piece of dust is enough to get her hysterical, you know, and race and the racist hysteria to have that so close to the surface like to be able to draw that gun. You know, it must mean she’s like trigger finger and that she’s done this multiple times.

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S2: And Virginia, here’s the other thing. Not that she’s done this multiple times, not just that it was unnecessary, not just it was hostile, not just that she was lying, but she did this fully aware of the fact that she was being filmed. So she felt that if the police were to buy, that word would be stronger than the actual video evidence of the confrontation, or quite frankly, she didn’t care because she assumed it would be dead or beaten by them. And I think it’s very important that we understand what we talk about Starbucks. We talk about a model, Aubrey. We talk about George Floyd. We talk about Jefferson. We talk about Briona Taylor, that we cannot pretend in public discourse that the people who engage in these activities. Right. Do not know what the consequences could be. They are aware of what the consequences could be. Right. If if when you’re a kid. Right. If your mom says, you know, wait till your dad gets home, she is aware of the range of consequences that that could entail. And if she says, wait till your dad comes home and she knows your dad is a raging alcoholic, then she’s trying to get you abused. Yeah, and that’s what we’ve got going on here.

S5: She’s trying to conjure something at her back so that she doesn’t have to have the presence of mind, the affect regulation to see through what really ought to be a very civilized encounter in Central Park among, you know, between two extra highly educated, well off people.

S2: Yeah.

S4: And on the education question and the idea of Christian Cooper, as you know, everybody’s perfect son in law. It’s that he’s like he’s like the gay Sidney Poitier. And guess who’s coming to dinner or something? Just like how does this even become a race test when, you know, when the person is like at Obama levels of. You know, grace and morality and education and accomplishment. It’s hard to stabilize the conflict for race. Or maybe that’s what stabilizes at the most. He had absolutely no reason to be afraid of it. If he was no angel. She would have some kind of idea that, like, you know, he’d involved in petty crime, but clearly hadn’t. This is my question for you.

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S5: Years ago, the documentary about Mike Tyson came out. My mother saw it. She is white. Might surprise you. And she said, Virginia, is it racist? That I find Mike Tyson scary. And I said, no.

S4: Mike Tyson is accused. Right. And accused rapist and seems like a convicted rapist. Right. Who is a Brownsville boxer. Like if his opponents didn’t find him scary. He would not be doing his job. Right. But when I look at the black men in Congress, the you know, the black men basically that have emerged since Obama, that’s, you know, all the graduates of Harvard and Harvard Law School and whatever, how. Is there like the fear should be of people just if we’re conditioning ourselves that look like Brett Kavanaugh, they look like Harvey Weinstein, that looked like Jeffrey Epstein like that? I do. So like it or not, and you don’t even have to sort of overcome your idea that like that like any black guy, it could be Mike Tyson, because we’re so now conditioned to see, you know, this I don’t know these men of extreme accomplishment. I’m just surprised that this is the time. This is the time that instead of saying, you know, I cross the street to avoid black cabinet, which I would do, by the way, it looks like a cousin of mine. You know, that like it’s just. Anyway, I’m just surprised. I’m just so surprised that she moved to that kind of explosive fear. That must be just so deep in her brain.

S2: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, we live in a country that is racist, is built upon racist principles, and you have to actually actively work to make yourself, you know, it’s like Ibram Kindies, you know, Bulc, you have to work to be anti-racist. But it also has to do, as you mentioned, so much of this is about identity. The reason that white people don’t go around fearing the Harvey Weinstein’s are fearing the Brekke Kavanaugh’s or fearing of these other individuals or feeling fearing the Steve Bannon’s or the Donald Trump’s of the war. Exactly. Because they see themselves in those people, even with those flaws. I’ll give you a quick example. I used to always say this. I have a former student of mine who was very, very conservative. We were having this conversation. She was a military police officer and we were talking about guns and violence and the shooting of unarmed black people and these sorts of things. And she was like, well, you know, people are afraid. They’ve got concerns, et cetera, et cetera. I said, OK, let’s hold on. That idea of fear, as you sort of mentioned, fears. I said, why is it that we don’t hear about more incidents of deaths when military police have to intervene on base? Right. Because everybody that you’re encountering on base is a trained soldier that knows how to kill. Why is it that we don’t hear about people dying in car accidents or pullovers or domestic violence cases on base? Why don’t we hear about that? I say it’s because when those military police go in, they see another soldier, they hear that identity, and they’re gonna do everything in their power, even though the man or woman across from them knows how to kill has been trained by this government to kill. They’re going to do everything they can to de-escalate the situation and save that life because they see a kinship. I said that that is what we see with police violence. That is what we see with Amy Cooper. They do not see the humanity. You did not see a kinship. And the other person they interact with and therefore any consequence is acceptable.

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S5: Yeah, I mean, that’s. That sounds absolutely right. And that really does explain something. I also feel like so I think I’ve told the story on the show before, but a sort of fairly prominent now Trump by it, I guess he’s sort of like in the Ann Coulter in the Ann Coulter space where she’s either radically against him or radically for him. I was on a panel with him. And because he I had been for it’s surprising it will surprise you to know I was for Hillary in the election and not Trump. He had he got in. This is in Las Vegas. He got in some armed guards, armed security detail in case any. He called them supporters of mine or anyone who also was a Hillary supporter like me went to attack him.

S4: Wow. And I. And, you know, the whole killer thing. Right. So I was like, sorry, what is it about these, like aging white women in pantsuits who are against guns, who don’t have friends with guns, who don’t use guns? That is so tariff. It’s there’s a reversal where all I can say is see if you think this is right. I think Christian Cooper represents a moral burden to the character, to the. And Amy Cooper, you said. Yes. He said. I didn’t say that. Wow. Old stuff. I think that. Yeah. I don’t know. I think he’s a birder and she’s. She feels like she’s the dog and she’s going to wreck his fragile animal. And also, you know, the whole white man’s burden thing, that you have a moral responsibility to not be racist in that situation. And all of that pulls at her in this way. That makes her hate you hate a person who exerts that kind of pull on you.

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S2: So the catch of Virginia is she does know any of that. Right. Like like we she knew nothing about Christian Cooper except that he was a black guy who ostensibly was looking of her. She knew nothing about education. She knew nothing about his personal life. She knew nothing. And so that’s the other important thing to remember. Look, I could walk around with a shirt that says I have APHC every day. It wouldn’t make a difference. It wouldn’t change. It wouldn’t change. When police officers followed me behind my house when I worked on a campus and pulled guns on me. Right. I’m faculty. So, again, the level of education that black people attain and this is also, I think, what’s so key that we have to understand. We’re talking about science with the idea of sort of allostatic load, that’s the way that the brain has to process risks and the level of risk and danger to black people. Which is why we die of higher rates of koban because we’re counting under stress. You could be acting on a difference. You could be in your own house playing video games. You could be going for a job. You could be bird watching. You could be anything. And white violence does not care. It does not care about your level of education. It does not care what you’re doing. And so that’s the issue that I think always has to be brought out from this, that I look, quite frankly, I am sick and tired of, of having discussions about the consequences for police officers or individuals after the fact. I think we need to put laws in place and are going to be arguments and rebellions and fights and protests about what we do to make this kind of behavior so dangerous and problematic that people don’t engage in it to begin with. That’s where it needs to start.

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S4: Yes, I think that’s absolutely right. I love this allostatic lood idea. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. So in the culture, if I mean, if you’re also talking about apprehension of threats in the world, we are in the midst of electro microscopic invisible particles, viral particles that are pathogenic to our systems. And every time we choose to wear a mask or not wear a mask, we’re thinking about this threatening swarm. Yeah, that could be shared by any average Joe. So there’s no way to tell, looking at someone, you know, evaluating them on class or education or anything, who’s gonna be shedding those particles. So we have to keep this this extreme distance from each other, even our friends. So that is I mean, quite literally might represent attacks, some kind of tax on the bot, right? Oh, yeah. But but then we have I thought the max mask unmask thing would be the nexus for all of this. I thought all summer the unmasked Trump ites who want to get him re-elected by starting the economy would be showing up in swimming pools and yelling at the masked people. And we would have like a full, you know, a full West Side story. Right. We’d even break at a dance. But for it, it seems to have dragged into it, you know, a kind of like, what do you call it, this sort of race, like this incredible aggression on the part of a dominant class or black people. And that’s where we get to George Floyd.

S2: Well, it’s where we get to George Floyd, because I also think we have to remember that I’ve had friends joke about this. You see it on Twitter. Much of this behavior that’s being called for far own safety was already necessary for the safety of black people walking six feet away from a white woman who might think like people were doing that anyway. Like like I you know, I, I knock on doors that I remember, like having a knock on doors, either crazy sales job when I was kid and like, I automatically stood six, six feet away. Like, these are not new things. The increased danger comes from what appears to be a racialized element of of how Koven kills people, that there seem to be slightly higher rates when we talk about black people because pre-existing conditions, but also it plays into the general lack of concern about black lives. What happened to George Floyd is just a murder. It was a murder in broad daylight. It was a murder. Those participated in by four or five other police officers and they will not be held accountable in the way that George Floyd would be held accountable if they were just a video of him putting his knee down on any random white person’s neck for nine minutes until they die. Right. That’s the problem, that this man was murdered in broad daylight and nothing’s going to happen that a man, Aubrey, could be jogging. He’s murdered in broad daylight and it took two months and somebody naively releasing a video that they thought would exonerate people for him to be, you know, for him to actually receive some sort of post-mortem justice. But here’s the other scary part. Last night, we saw a rebellion in the city of Minneapolis. Big on this is peace. I have a political contributor, the Grio Suki’s I have coming out next. We have to be clear in how we discuss how people of color and how black folk respond to this. Right. These aren’t riots. No riots require that there’s an existing peace that you were then breaking. There is no peace for black people. There is no peace when state sponsored violence is consistently approved and explained and justified. Yeah, people rebelling. And with good reason is so.

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S4: Christina Greer was on the show last week and she corrected me when I referred to the Rodney King. I won’t even use the word the old thing that used to be called. Yeah, it’s like the exonerated five. You know, they’re not the Central Park five anywhere. All right. So she and she corrected me and said rebellion. And that was the first time I’d heard it. And I was interested. Tell me more about what that means, that there’s no peace to break. Yes. You know, and maybe where that falls in no justice. No peace, because that’s sort of where we’re headed, right, this summer.

S2: I mean, you know, we’re about to have a long, hot summer. Yeah. This is yeah, this is not gonna be good.

S4: It’s like the day in do the right thing, you know, in the very end we’re at the beginning where it’s all just a little friction, you know, and and maybe worse, maybe at the midpoint or something where you’d think maybe it could go either way, we could smuggle Biden in and then it would be like Obama times again. No, no. I think we’re going. I’ll probably have you back in August when things are going to be even worse.

S2: Yeah. Yeah, there’s I mean, you got 30 million people out of work. You have people are not able to komu and support each other the way that they’re used to. And then you have sort of this this larger death. And here’s what’s key about this term. Allow me to go back like we’re in high school. Forensic’s high school debate. Webster’s definition of a riot is a public a group disruption of the peace, usually with sort of attendant property damage. Right. So, OK. Is there property damage in Minnesota? In Minneapolis? Yes, there is. But I can tell you, as someone who’s been to many protests, who’s been to the Ferguson riots, and this is something that I think oftentimes the media misses and just sometimes just lies about misinterprets. A lot of the damage that you see that is called rioting is actually caused by the police. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this or any of the people listening experiences. Have you ever touched. Have you ever touched a tear gas canister? Hours after it’s been launched. They are hot. You see police shooting munitions all over the place. They’re hot. They get in garbage. They set fires to things. Tear gas, bullets, munitions. That’s how these things tend to happen. You think they think they don’t hit a window and you think they don’t break windows. And the second part of it is, look, opportunistic crime occurs when the police are distracted. So if I know that the cops are over there beating the crap out of a bunch of men, women and children who are protesting with peace signs, then I am going to go knock over the T-Mobile store because I know you’re not going to stop me. People who are coming out to protest are not turning into they’re not looting. So that’s the first part. The second part is this. You have to have existing peace for you to then engage in a riot. And we don’t live in peace. Whether I talked about the allostatic state, whether it’s the danger and fear that black people live in every single second of their lives. So we can’t call these things riots. They are rebellions. They are protest. When you see somebody standing outside the Michigan state capitol with guns, threatening people saying we’re rebelling against tyranny. No, that’s not tyranny. That’s public health. Yeah, it is. I can get shot. I can get killed in broad daylight by a police officer whose greatest consequence is he gets fired and he’ll probably have another job in the metro area within two months.

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S4: And when we protest that there’s tear gas and there’s. Yeah. Rats. And also they start out by bringing in riot control gas that then frames it as a riot. I totally get it. Now, you probably know because you know everything about American history. But you know, the Astor Place riots. It’s one of my favorite spots from a moment. Yes. Yeah. 19TH century, a group of Irish. I mean, this is when things were tense. Supporters of one tenor at the opera against Italian, supporters of another tenor at the opera. And now what? He was shot first. Nobody was anything first. They just started and kind of like a wild, heated, drunken brawl that then led into them breaking into stores and stuff, all in the name of their tenor. So, you know, the stakes were high here. Right. Right. We’re talking opera, so, you know. But that sounds like a riot. Yeah. And I don’t know that there was any police involved there that the police involvement had much to do with it. So that is very that is a really interesting distinction. Bring out the riot gear. And then, of course, everyone is making the point that the Michigan Michigan capital had been occupied by armed white people. Yes. Yes. Michigan just decided it will shut down. You guys have a point.

S2: And here’s a danger. Here’s the danger of this. Virginia fought for all of us. All of us going forward. That is a victory for the. All right. And the terrorists in this country whose behavior is encouraged and supported by the president in states, they shut down a state government by just showing up with guns and threatening people. And you notice you knows that police always tend to react with much more violence to black people, brown people or liberal white people protesting. You notice that because I don’t remember the last time I saw teargas as being used at a pro-life rally. I don’t think I’ve seen that right. You have a bunch of guys. You have a bunch of guys showing up with guns, threatening elected officials for doing their jobs. The police arrest anybody, take anybody out? No. But here’s the problem. They’re going to do this. Come election time. They will show up at polling places. They will show up at its state election offices where they’re counting ballots. They have been shown already that you can use violence and threats and intimidation to disrupt the functioning of government. What do you think? Terrorism is a. The threat or use of violence that supersedes what happens at the ballot box. So that’s the real fear about what I saw. It’s not just that a bunch of, you know. All right, people are pretending that they care about Korona. It’s because that was a slow moving. That was a slow moving terrorist action.

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S5: And could I mean. Yes. I don’t know if you were, but I was somewhat impressed by Jack Dorsey this week for doing this weird double move. So first he told the widower of I think it’s close Soudas of lauree class student Cloud Souness that he would not take down tweets that this grieving widower found, you know, conspiracy tweets from Trump that he found harmful and upsetting. So it’s sort of a, you know, an idea of, like, feelings. You know, there’s certain discourse around feelings that he doesn’t want to regulate, I guess, at Dorsi. And we can discuss that opinion.

S4: But what was interesting is that in the context of that, he also made he and Twitter also made a specific law around election interference and and voter suppression, especially at Rapp’s. And that’s what he alluded to when he did the fact check of the two tweets by Trump that were clearly meant to suppress the vote. And he’s that is there he is.

S5: He’s doing some kind of activist and quite aggressive move on behalf of election security, of preventing voter suppression, of preventing voters from getting misdirection about when they need to register, not needing to register. And the Meilin campaign that is being started in sync with what you what you call this coup. And I thought that was there was a kind of strange aggression and wisdom and imagination to making that move.

S2: It’s a nice start. I mean, I think that there’s a really scary place that I don’t think we realize that we’re headed to yet. And we’re 30 years from this being fixed because the people who make our laws at both the state and the national level do not yet understand the importance of social media. Jack’s basically decided to actually have a conscience about public discourse. And that’s a good thing. Right? But the problem is that Facebook. Right. Mark Zuckerberg has basically stood by and said we’re we’re not going to do anything. We’re going to continue to sell your information. We’re we’re not going to do anything. And the problem is we’re not talking about issues of just free speech. We’re talking about people with platforms that use them to lie and spread inference, disinformation that can actually be damaging to the body politic. Alex Jones can say whatever he wants. Right. But when Alex Jones moves from a crazy conspiracy. Right. To then saying, well, you know what? If you take these magic beans that I got out of my back yard, they’ll clear rotavirus. That’s where you have to stop people, right? It isn’t. That says I hate this show host on on M.S. or CNN or FOX or everything else like that. He can say whatever lies he wants with the president starts saying, suggesting that someone committed a murder. You don’t have to allow that on your platform. And it has nothing to do with free speech. And it’s really because a lot of these tech people who run these large platforms, both a lot of them are conservatives or they’re libertarians or they are deathly afraid of being regulated by a suddenly tech awakened Congress. And that’s what a lot of this is about. They want this nonsense to continue because they don’t want anyone ever come in and say, look, you guys are going to have to clean up your act.

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S5: I think that’s right. As a general rule, I’m only seeing and I don’t want to put too much stock in it because I don’t trust any billionaires. Right. But the fact that Dorcy pledged one billion dollars to help covered with the relief effort. And then also on the same day that he did, the fact check pledged ten million dollars toward the universal basic income that he’s interested in letting giving cash payouts to cash gifts to especially needy families. And someone said that they filled out the form to say, you know, that current virus that affected their family in these ways and their income was low and that they had that. I mean, this is tech for you. They had the the thousand dollars within the minute, you know, like someone and mowing it to you. And I sort of thought that’s the kind of direct action that we have to see from tech companies, that they’re giving dividends back to people. And UBI is, I think, a very good plan anyway. But I do want to praise him too much. I do want to say that it is interesting to me that he has his eye on civic integrity, of all things. Right. I have been interested in bullying. He could have been interested in falsehood. Just false. Yes.

S2: Right. False. Yes.

S4: Just try to tell it just to his truth telling. And he could be interested in protecting this widow or protecting Joe Scarborough. Like, there’s all kinds of axes of moral responsibility. But the fact that he’s chosen, particularly this voter suppression, you cannot say, you know, Democrats vote on Monday anymore, you know, and he will put a red mark on that and market as false. And even if it’s not coming from the president. And I do think that one marking the president as a liar for the first time in a by a big tech company and to unrest, getting interested in election interference and voter suppression is at least in the balance, not as bad as Zuckerberg. How about that?

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S2: Right. Right. I mean, like, look, it’s a move in the right direction. And look, I’m I’m not far enough to say that, like, you know, every billionaire is a policy failure. But I will say this. I think it’s nice what Jack did. But whether it’s Jack or it’s Zuckerberg or it’s Jeff Bezos or any of these guys, they’re making bazillions of dollars. When 30 million Americans are out of work. Their ability to make that money is because they rely upon an infrastructure, both policy wise and material wise, that has been established in this country and held together by governments and laws that are trusted. The bubble bubble broke. All that money is because we have a functioning society. So they just give back one little bit of I guess I kind of care about the truth. Now, I’m not giving them much credit for that. Yeah, because they’ve been given so much more. Forgive it. It’s Mike, my nerdy comic book Spider-Man thing. Like with great power comes great responsibility. That is that’s that’s showing a negligible amount of responsibility for the amount of power that these people have first earn and then been given. Because I promise you, if they were operating in other countries, they would not be allowed to be this powerful. You can do what you do with Facebook. Let’s forget China. You couldn’t do it in Brazil. You couldn’t do it in France. You couldn’t do it in South Africa. So I give them both so much credit.

S4: All right. I think I. I’m going to see that one to you. I. Because I’m a masochist. I don’t know if you know what I’m doing, but I don’t get to invite you. Tell me about how much white women suck it. Well, you tell me what the following names mean to you. Yes. OK. Karen Schutter, Jennifer and Becky.

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S2: Oh, I got a dabao for this one. OK. Oh, OK. So there’s a couple of things to this. And I think this is important. We talked about this before. American names, right. American names for boys and girls were actually the top five names for black boys and black girls in America were pretty much identical. Just the order was changed up until the late 1960s right now. So John, Mary, blah, blah, blah. Those names were actually really, really common.

S4: It was nice to you. I always discovered that the name of the name of rapper. I feel like the name of rappers. Once you get around Big Pun or whatever, it seems like it’s always Chris Williams. Yeah, I actually think simple.

S2: Yes. Yes. It’s always, you know, it’s like, you know, Sean Carter. Sean Parker. It’s not it’s not really all that sexy or exciting. Yeah. What you had happen in the early 70s with the rise of sort of black identity and black power movement, was you had a move for people to start giving their children names that were sort of allusions to Africa, even the name like Chanel. Now there’s a French Chanel. Right, which is a French word, but also shot the S.H. in comes from Shawny, which is Swahili for like Thursday. And a lot of West Africans would name their children. Part of your name, you’d have three or four names, but it was based on the day of the week that you were born. So a lot of these names, Keesha, Tonya, Sharna, blah, blah, blah. It was black people recapturing their roots and identifying names and giving them they were children. So you end up with black people having very, very, very original names, which is also a sign of a people sort of asserting themselves culturally and economically in the wall. So there’s there’s a lot to this. And I wrote about this in an article of sorts years ago because it cambodge in a Wallace, you know, who played and he was a beast of the wild. Yes. And all these people were pretending that they couldn’t pronounce her name and she was like. But you can say Baryshnikov’s like yes this calls her competence. So here’s the thing about Kerins and Becky’s and Jim. Right. Becky is a name that’s been around since the 80s. Right. Becky was a valley girl named that. Becky is a name that was being used when Clueless came out. The late 90s. Oh, my God. Like like it represents a sort of clueless, wealthy, privileged white woman in all things, in culture, pop culture, everything else like that. Then you start having Becca and I have a great colleague, Michael, here, who actually wrote a naming list of the difference being Becky, Becca, Rebecca and Change. I see it is as white women of certain class levels and awareness of their privilege begin to exercise that and the world around them. Right. Like, Becky, is the 15 year old girl who may say, oh, my gosh, I can’t believe this. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. She knows if she cries, she can get out of a parking ticket. Right. Yeah. Rebecca is a forty three year old woman who knows fully well that if she calls the cops on Christine Cooper, that they’ll take her word for it. That is a weaponized version of privilege as opposed to a pass of understanding. Got it. Catherine actually has a class element to it. Karen is depending on the circumstances. Slightly more working class than a Becky or Rebecca. Got it. Karen has the frosted tips and the curled hair cut. OK. All right. Karen is screaming about the fact that she can’t go into certain places and get a haircut that she really doesn’t need any way because what’s a haircut when you’re running the risk of a life threatening pandemic? So that’s where these distinctions come in now. And engines are the same sort of thing. Janice, sort of a part of that privilege base and.

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S4: OK. So are these names chosen because they are not at all black names? Because I think I remember your piece. Well, I started in like full confession and full disclosure to the listeners. I started to explain your piece to you. Yes. It’s hard not knowing you had written it in the. I think the original act of mansplaining where you explain the other person’s work to them to pretend you just thought of it. So anyway, apologies to you, but I think it was in your piece I learned there are basically no black girls and no black holes ever named Katie. There are certain names that are just so white. You know, they’re like Shaniqua of white wine. And so are these names, because they’re they’re, of course, familiar names to me. They’re the names I grew up with. Some of my best friends are Gentz. And yet they sound. Do they just sound like not melodious to you or they sound like or they’re just not the people you grew up with?

S2: Well, so that sort of depends because I like a song. I wrote a piece and read a bunch of different pieces when I was talking about naming. So here’s the thing. I know plenty of black gents. Right. Like one of my best friends, his wife is named Jen. Like Jennifer is not an uncommon black name. But what plays into this is it’s not the commonality of the name. It’s the association that comes with the name. Right. So, for example, there’s a difference between a woman whose name is Ebony with a Y and Ebony with an eye. I’ve met white Ebony’s women. I have never met a white woman with the name Ebony was a Y. There is a difference between being named sheesha and being named lucky shot. Lucky show tends to imply class elements. That’s not the case with Keesha. But here’s the funny thing about it. And this goes to sort of black and white naming, right? If I walked onto the campus of Morgan State University where I teach, which is an HBC you in the northeastern suburbs of Baltimore, or if I walked onto Spellman’s campus in Atlanta, Georgia, and I said, hey, Keesha like 20. Yes. What? Young women would turn their heads, right? Yeah. Of all different class levels, if you say, Katie, if I go to Chapel Hill and I say, hey, Katie, there’s only a certain kind of woman who’s gonna say, your name is Katie.

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S4: I love it. You get a lot out of you. I mean, kids, kids, first names are chosen and they’re they’re what your parents sort of imagine they want from you. Right. I had a pretentious first name.

S2: So you you know, it’s very classy with Virginia. Very classy.

S4: You’ve got that Greek Argonauts for you. If your parents wanted a different thing for you, but they are more telling. It’s not one of those things where you can dismiss and say the content of your character or color of your skin thing like your name is something you chose and did. It’s like what people say when people say about Trump, like, are you allowed to comment on his appearance? But his appearance is largely his invention. Exactly. You know, so I do get that. But what do you what do you think about if we call Amy?

S5: Amy Cooper, the the woman it’s in Central Park who who freaked out and made the racist called cops a Keran. I mean, I feel like I’m saying this for other people. But what when you’re saying a middle age or low middle age and whenever she is a white woman is a Keryn. Are we in trouble? You know, so is this a sexist thing? Is it something.

S2: So I don’t use it in public discourse. OK. And the same way that like. Well, we talk. This is. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But but in the same way. In the same way that like I like I don’t make fun like nothing I’ve ever written or said. Like I don’t call the president the orange menace. I don’t call people who support him trump guns. I just think for me, as an academic, as a scholar, as a writer, and if somebody publishes just different terms, I just don’t tend to use. Yeah. I don’t think being called a Keran is inherently offensive. And here’s why. Because all naming is associated with power. And so unless you can associate that name with an oppression or power that comes with it being a grown man, having someone else call me boy. OK. That is power because that means, OK, this person is attempting to demean me and infantilize me being called the N-word. That is power. Because, as I say, funny, I said this in the interview. I don’t want your people asking this. Weeks ago, I said it’s not the N-word itself that’s the problem. It’s the fact that if you’ll call me the N-word in public, then I don’t know what you’re capable of doing. If you’re willing to say that, you might be willing to do anything. That’s what I hear right before a car drives past me and throws something at me or men jump out and try to shoot me. So, Karen, as a a. Slang, colloquial term for a certain class and attitude of white women, which, quite frankly, is only seven months old. There’s no power associated with that. There’s no there’s no massive pogrom against Kerans in America, just like there wasn’t a massive pogrom against Becky’s or or or Jahns or anything else like that. So I think that’s much ado about nothing. I wouldn’t address somebody that way. But I understand the joking colloquialism. And I don’t I don’t trust people who say they’re offended by. I think it’s disingenuous.

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S4: Well, I’m not offended by it. I wish that one of my best true best friends who’s even been on the show, Karen Schwartz, is named Karen. I wish I wish for now. I wish they had chosen Katie just for her. One thing I was amazed at during the OK boomer heyday a year ago or whatever was I thought, and now we’re going to slice and dice each other by this ridiculous generational thing. And you know why I thought it was funny. OK. Boomers just find it. It just sounds funny when you say it. It sounds like that. Wasn’t there some. Okay. I know it wasn’t there like some Radiohead outworks that I don’t want. OK. Computer. OK, computer edit sounded like that. But then I saw people getting offended at it. But I also at the same time was like man do we really need a way to tribals ourselves more like em. I could be like a Keran.

S5: OK Boomer like we’ve got plenty of tribalism on our hands like it’s true, you know, and what I am worried about this summer and I want to hear what you’re worried about in this one, is it just seems to be bound to be an incendiary summer, one of those summer of seventy sevens, you know, that you sort of you weren’t there for. But, you know, people being stalked by serial killers and blackout’s and like it just. But what do you ask? We’re all carrying around first the dread, fear of the virus. Second, the fact that one in four of us is unemployed, dwindling income fears about the environment. And then the usual slate of fears about our fascist authoritarian president for whom the show is named. How do you think we’re going to manage this on the street? Like, just that the hostility is just so enormous. I mean, people side I ask people about their choices of face covering is not a good way to go into this election.

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S2: I don’t I don’t think we’re gonna manage it well at all. I mean, like, you can you can talk about and snarks. I think it’s like the snitches in the Dr Seuss thing. Do you have a mask upon bars? I mean, like like people are not going to people who are not going to handle this kind of behavior well. And it’s going to be different kinds of people. What tends to happen in this country is that a it is a core political times sort of theory that a hostile, aggressive minority can almost always beat out a passive or neutral majority. It doesn’t take that many people acting like jerks to intimidate the vast majority of the public. It only takes four or five guys dealing drugs and then entire block of a thousand people to terrorize everyone because most people are not selling drugs, they’re not involved. And so what I see happening this summer as the corona virus continues to kill thousands and thousands of people. And I want to point out for those who may be questioning this sort of thing or saying, OK, well, maybe things will change, I don’t think everybody understands and I know this because of some colleagues of mine that I know and work with is that corona virus, even if it doesn’t kill you, people who survive or sometimes suffering long term health consequences like diminished lung capacity and recovering from strokes and breathing issues. So as we see more people who die over the summer and then the care that they have to put into people who have survived this virus and then an entire summer of young people, 15, 16, 17, twenty two, twenty three young men and women who have no summer jobs, who can’t go back to college, who have no youth programs, who have no summer camp, who are homeless, stressed out parents, the level and likelihood of absolute destruction and riots, real riots in our cities is highly likely. And when you have a president who refuses to acknowledge or take responsibility for anything and in fact encourages this kind of dangerous behavior, we’re not going to have a good summer. We’re not going to have a good fall. And it’s going to be up to either individuals or hoping and praying that you have a halfway decent mayor and governor to keep the streets from burning.

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S4: You have such an orderly, non-statutory way of talking, not inflamed, that I almost want to do this crazy thing to go out on, which is a role play where we have the Cooper to Cooper conversation, OK? And we do it better. And I get to be Christian Cooper.

S2: Oh, wow. OK. You got to be the murderer. I’m Andy Cooper.

S5: I think we are going to be having confrontations on the street around our personal behavior, our masks, our ways of handling our dogs a lot. This summer is just my guess. And so I’d like to do something that says what you say, which is we’re all in it together, right? Yes. OK, so Christian Cooper says, hey, I’m a burger. And the rule here is you have to keep your dog on the leash or it really affects the underbrush for the birds and.

S2: Response to you is OK. Well, I can see where my dog is, and I don’t think he’s harming anyone yet.

S4: I know, I know it’s a drag and I love dogs, too. But you gotta keep your dog on a leash here.

S2: OK, fine. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. As soon as he’s done going to bath, I have my leash on right here. As soon as he’s done going, I’ll put the leash on. Will that make you happy? Hey, thanks a lot. Fine. Good. And then I go home and I teach my friends that I met Roger and he says no one calls the cops. I have a dinner party story on Zoome and everything’s fine.

S4: We did it. Yes. We are now role models for all the listeners. Yes. Summer, as annoying as it is, you cannot get up in someone’s face about there. You know, I. Oh my God. With liberal tears t shirt. Nor can you bother someone about whether they’re six feet away. Leave that to the authorities. You’re all in this together.

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S2: Collective action works and showing a little love and sympathy and empathy in a pandemic, time is never gonna cost you.

S6: That’s great. My guest has been Jason Johnson. He’s a professor at Morgan State University and a contributor at MSNBC. Thank you so much, Jason. Thanks, Virginia. That’s it for today’s show. What do you think? Let’s connect on Twitter. I’m at page 88. The show is Aquille Trump Cast Our show today was produced by Melissa Kaplin and engineered by Richard Stanislaw. I’m Virginia Heffernan. Thanks for listening to Trump cast.