« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#217 — The New Religion of Anti-Racism

2020-09-17 | 🔗

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with John McWhorter about race, racism, and “anti-racism” in America. They discuss how conceptions of racism have changed, the ubiquitous threat of being branded a “racist,” the contradictions within identity politics, recent echoes of the OJ verdict, willingness among progressives to lose the 2020 election, racism as the all-purpose explanation of racial disparities in the U.S., double standards for the black community, the war on drugs, the lure of identity politics, police violence, the enduring riddle of affirmative action, the politics of “black face,” and other topics.

SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all full-length episodes at samharris.org/subscribe.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Luckily, making maidens export cast, SAM herons, just a note to say that if your hearing this, you are not currently honour subscriber feed only during partial episode in the pocket. If you'd like access to full episodes, you'll need to subscribe SAM Herriston work, there you'll find our private rss feed to add your favorite pot catcher, along with other subscriber only content. And, as always, I never wanted money to be the reason why someone can't listen to the podcast. So if you can't afford a subscription, there's an option, Samharris dot, org to request a free account and we grant one hundred percent of those requests. No questions asked welcome to the making sense podcast. This is SAM Harris, okay, brief housekeeping last.
He ran and experiment where they live, zoom call, which many of you to enjoy. I hear the chat was delightfully anarchic. I didn't see any of it myself. I was too busy zooming, but I'm told it ran off the rails and in some ways, but to the amusement of many And my surprise, guest for that conversation was Glenn Lowry, who always makes sense thanks again one for taking the time anyway, was fine and I think will continue doing that periodically and he's commerce nations will not be released on any other platform, How can it be on Youtube? I dont think the live on my website. I part of the poor for me as to have them be totally informal and ephemeral. So this is one of those situations where-
you're either there at the time or not, but that seemed like the best use of the format. Okay. Well too, damn speaking with John Mc Water. China is a professor of Linguistics at Columbia, university he's also tripling writer at the Atlantic any host upon Cast Lexicon Valley. Anyway, as your here, I'm quite exciting, to get John finally on my part cast, and he did not disappoint the man is a fount of good sense on the topic at hand, which is what he calls the new religion of anti racism in America, and we discuss many aspects of this topic. We talk about how conceptions of racism has changed over the years and now the ubiquitous threat of being ended, a racist. We talk about the internal contradictions within I didn't
Politics. We talk about the strange willingness among progressives to lose the twenty twenty election. We discuss racism as the all per, this explanation for racial inequality in America, double standards for the black community, the war on drugs, the problem of police violence and are misconceptions, on it, the enduring riddle have affirmative action, the politics of black face and other topics. Anyway, I really loved this conversation and I think you might as well- and I bring you I'm a quarter. I am here finally with John Mc Warder, John thanks for coming. My pleasure as you know, and I think other people, was well there. There there's been a standing invitation to have you on the
the podcast. I have long celebrated your contributions to our public conversation and but you have you have been a m, a coy podcast guess so we're just talking now in offline a moment ago, what finally change your attitude toward doing this. Well, you know it's really. It's pretty mundane, I think, to an extent that would surprise some people. I am a very meeting potato sort of her What I most enjoy doing is sitting in a chair and either reading a book or writing and, as a part of me that always thinks that were supposed to be a writer. And I ve been doing this for about twenty years now- this this race commentary- and I slowly seen that it's got to the point that you have to deal with the spoken word to really be proud of conversation, you can't just right anymore. You also have to talk, and I'm always a little bit behind when it comes to
Technological things in general, and also the fact that I really do I am so happy to be you're right now, but for me, writing is more fun than talking because you have more control over it for a very long time. I thought of podcast, even though I do one of my own s kind of the other thing, figure. My writing will stand in for me better than anything that I could say off the cuff. But I've come to realise that pod cats now occupy. The place that writing did a long time ago, that if I'm not gonna do pod, other than my own, that I might as well not be trying to communicate anything. So I'm trying to kid change. My ways, and especially in the case of people like you who do this so well, but it taken me a wild as a part of me that really just wants to be sitting in a chair with might know who's in book you're here why
I can certainly act like that. In my case, I think I'm just a little bit ahead of you and having this epiphany, I mean if the goal is to actually reach people and alter the currency of good and bad ideas in the latter I just have to go where the mines are and is just get it, which is reach so many more people this way. So This is great, I'm very happy to. Finally, Have you here and it's you're one of these the background facts to this conversation is: you are as a writer working on a book there. The world is truly waiting for, and I dont know of another example in my lifetime of no in someone is busily scribbling and knowing the truly oppressive need to take delivery of this manuscript out in the world, Is there any undue pressure on your side here? It is a move to give and not to give
more away than than now you want to in this conversation, but Europe none you're, working on a book that is I'm hoping and you feel telegraphed a little bit on this point. It will be the argument we're waiting for again what you ve called the new religion of anti racism and the going in and how's it feeling to be. Writing you know, as the the flames of moral confusion, Crest, the hills and begin descending upon, none are sleepy little hamlet what a calendar year. This is right I don't think I've ever been asked how a book I was writing was going, but the truth of the matter is that I feel no pressure of anything it's coming out as if it was driven by some kind of water pressure like from a sour, had I am on fire with this one, and I can barely keep ahead of the news and
songs of what I'm writing about and why it upsets me and why. I think people need to hear what I have to say this one just came, I told my and I can't help it. I know they're going to be people who hate me for this, but I have got to write this when it's going to come out of me. What are we going to do with it and so yeah? Their five fell out of me last week and that's the fifth of six chapters, and so I'm pretty much finished and really this book is just gonna get across that this critical race theory in future used way of looking at things where people who were like Mitt Romney are on top and- somebody else's laboring on bottom, like slave oarsmen in some ship. A very long time ago and our notion of identity has to be about defining ourselves against the white hedge em on and the idea that were supposed to go back to thinking of ourselves, stand by what our racial membership is in. Exactly the way that old time southerners with the black people would the whole
dialogue- is something that enlightened people are going to have to learn how to stand down if we're not gonna go over a certain precipice and I try to get across in the book- and this is something that I hope people won't miss- that there's no point in viewing the people who I'm calling the elect, you might call them the woke, stirs, etc. For me, it's the elect because they do think of themselves as elect in that way. It's not. It doesn't make any sense to see them as monsters to say that the coming for your kids, which they are but to say that their coming for your kids is now to imply that they're trying to do some kind of harm that they have frowns on their faces. They really do think of themselves as ahead of the curve they think of themselves as bringing a kind of good news and that's with the capital g and capital and to the world, and they can't be reasoned with as important. We have to realise that there is no point in trying to have conversations with people.
Of those politics of that philosophy, along the lines of saying that they need to understand that we should enshrined free speech. There is no point in then why can't you be open to other opinions that makes as much sense as trying to teach a fundamentalist Christian, that they shouldn't have faith in Jesus literally, and I don't mean them darkly there no point and engaging with people of these kinds of politics. What we have to do is work around them, we can go on forging progressive ism of the kind that we thought could our fruit and what that means- and this is the final chapter and it's gonna actually be the toughest one, because I wanted to be constructive rather than destructive- is that we ve got to learn how to stand up to these people and say no, and it can only be the occasional weird per like you or me, who doesn't mind an argument and for some reason doesn't mind when people yell at them, everybody's gonna have to learn that you stand up to this sort of person. You tell them that
You are not going to agree with them. That includes that you do not think of yourself as, for example, a racist, and then this is something that it's gonna be a major adjustment and goodness we ve had to make a lot of adjustments this year. But I think it's important that people learn how to make an adjustment which is they're going get called a white supremacist. For example, you gonna get all dirty name by a person whose usually edge aided and or very articulate and they're. Gonna call it to you, loudly they're gonna, say it again and I ve been a spread it on twitter. We have to realise that that can happen without the sky falling. And I'm gathering examples of people who actually have the nerve to stand up to it, who keep their jobs. Who watch progressive ism continuing to happen? Because if we don't do this, we're gonna see our institutions taken over by this perversion. Of what progressive is by people who genuinely think of themselves as doing good, but we can't be scared of being called a racist to such an extent that we let all
This utterly misguided under thought out, manipulative nonsense shape what we thought of as intellection the arts and moral philosophy Yeah, I was I to remind people of your background as a linguist because its relevant here, because the this trend we are opposing in so many cases seems to have language on its side. Right and you add, I can well imagine that use a linguist must be amazed at some of the the clever. If not you you'll be cynical moves made with land which here and and the kinds of people who get taken in by them. So with a few examples, I have in my head here when one recently on twitter They have noticed that Joyce CARE loads, the M quite famous accomplished well regarded fiction, writer lacking any
irony or self awareness wrote on twitter the other day that Anti fur means anti fascist right so there can be nothing wrong with this group. Simply. How they had branded themselves and dumb. I think there are you in Steven Pinker should probably show up at her house for her foreign intervention. I've been has just amazing to see, but even more widespread is the affair. Dignity of the branding of black lives matter right, as though it has this exact same pretence of being, Morally, unassailable and everyone see to be taken in by having to say any word of criticism about lives matter as an organization or as a movement. Georgia with respect to its tactics, are really worry or extreme positions held by some of its loosely affiliated member. To utter anything other than mere assent to the branding is to be on the back
for trying to argue that you're, not racist and it's very cool. Ever and and really insidious side, which is what has been you're here linguistic ride through this morass in the last few months. Well, you know I wish that I could talk about dynamic and meaning synergy between the use of language and the ideology here in question, but to tell you the truth, I think that a lot of it really is just a matter of what people's ideas are not to an extent. People are seduced into thinking. These are valid notions because large often latin eight words, you know intersection. Reality is a pretty cool word. If you don't want to they tear things down or if you want to feel like you're, doing something constructive by teaching people to walk around feeling guilty about their privileged, then saying dismantling structures,
ms satisfying. I don't think it's even cynical. I think it's satisfying because dismantle and structure our biggest words and they ve got a certain Christmas in them. So you can say dismantling structures and kind of hold a lot of people off because you are in. This is the main thing I do think it so much language is that people are afraid. We have got to this weird point. It's very interesting starting in the nineteen seventies and continuing through the eightys. We have this massive psychosocial revolution in this country, unprecedented in the history of the human species, and that is that the typical person comes to think of it as a horrible thing to be called a racist, practically like being called a pedophile. That's that's progress. It doesn't mean that their minds are completely swept of all possible this feeling, but that was new and at the point where people even under fifty are beginning to forget how new that was forget if you're under thirty, but that was new, but once you ve got everybody in that.
Place now here comes something a few beats later we're what it threatens you with. Is you being tired as a racist in public that wouldn't have been processed as such a threat and even one thousand nine hundred and eighty a lot of people would have just said? Basically, if you think I'm a race. Fuck you and we think that person when we look back and we think of in this callous and they would have been but now ordinary p Both the ordinary good person is so scared that they will do things they dont mean they will say things that they dont believe, and so one of them is that you don't say anything about what can be done. Under that umbrella of black lives matter, and it's not necessarily that people don't in some part of their mind, understand that a lot of this stuff doesn't make any sense. But there red they're, afraid of being called a name. They would rather avoid being called a name, then make socio political sense and part of why it gets up my nose, as MRS Locum used to say in our you being served. The british sitcom part of what gets up my nose is that its condescending
what any white person who is paying court to this sort of thing is doing is saying black people don't have to make sense. It seems like black minds, don't matter so I will say anything that I need to say to keep these people from embarrassing me in public and making me feel bad about myself and if it doesn't make any sense Well, black people kind of don't do they I'll bet some people in their beds. From the saying that when black people can't hear- and yet we're not supposed to talk about that either, so it's all very disturbing, but I dont think and sandy we may differ on this. We may not, I don't think it's cynical. I think very few of these people are thinking to themselves because we are going to take power and we're going to do it by manipulating language and by playing with people's minds. I think these people are quite sincere and that's what makes it harder it's almost harder to have two somebody's feelings when they genuinely think that they're giving you a present, but unfortunately the people in this case you think they're giving us a present
are. Some of them are very naive. I think more of them are if their white, their hell, bent on feeling good about themselves as not racist and they'll. Let that trump sense, if you're, a black person who subscribe to this sort of thing you have been tricked by this sort of, a lot that was gone or going on before into thinking that what makes you significant and what makes you special, is your victim status rather than you as yourself. That's understandable, given black people's history, that you might need to reach a little further than some people to find a sense of well being and significance and security is completely understandable. But That means in this case that a lot of people think that the most interesting thing about themselves as what they suffer in terms of what people who art them are or maybe aren't thinking, that's not a healthy self identity. So all this is just a complete
Mass, but no one is malevolent in these cases were not dealing with cynics. We're dealing with people who are tragically misled at really interesting, I think, but on the cynicism point, maybe I'm putting the line between good and bad faith at a slightly different point. I guess so. It was just oil. I want to plunge into a conversation about, out racism here, and you know what that what it means, as well as a term what it should mean and just how the commission creep of the cost It is causing a lot of suffering to step back for a second The reason why I want to talk about this is I'm really worried about this trend were speaking about method. Betty the capture of our institutions and our language by this I would say culture.
Behavior, I, as I have referred to it as a cult of weakness, you're talking about the very much the new religion of anti racism, there's a there's, a kind of moral extortion going on and you know it is a start. Home Syndrome Adam in all of these united we seem apt and I'm worried about it. For two reasons, one I'm worried you mean that your term, that it will be the thing that gets Trump reelected and I put myself in second position to. I think no one in my desire to see to see Trump's political career ended in November. I think it'd be nice to us. I really do think that you know This will be will why we get for more years of the Orange Goblin in the White House, but beyond that and much longer term concern is that I think it is doing
we'll do damage to race relations in this country and ITALY precisely the damage that I think it's pretending to expose. In many cases. And the analogy came to mind recently how I was on someone else's podcast, and I just want a blurting this out, but I think I stand by what I feel like it is happening over the course of many months is an I'll agus to what happened on a single gas Lee afternoon when the old. A verdict was delivered, right when he saw you talk soon. Only those of us who are in old enough remember this whom you do in law on split screen on none every, television in the country. We saw this these opposing reaction to his single moment and to see and an assault when White America, uniformity,
Obviously there are exceptions and in both camps, no doubt but the general experience was of White America seen Black America, erupt in jubilation over this verdict and this is why it is. Why use that term cynical here, because if not You can't explain that reaction in terms of in all the terrible inequality and grievance. That has proceeded at random and we have the highest free of of white and Black America to explain that moment. But we in the frame of that trial, and that verdict, and that moment there was something cynical about it, because I think it was widely understood, if not universally understood that he was obviously guilty right at an end. Everyone knew it and everyone knew that everyone else knew it, and so there was no sense that all of these black faces at work
tearful enjoy over. The outcome here thought that this man hadn't nearly decapitated his wife in it strange right. They were playing a very different game that had nothing to do with truth or justice in this case or putting an actual murderer behind bars or setting an innocent man free, and so that's where the maybe This isn't isn't the right rubric here, but it's a lack of purchase on on what is true that I think it so awful here and it's you know it again. The analogy has to change a little bit to cover the finance we're talking about now, but it's the dishonesty and bad faith. The notion that need to break a lot of eggs to make This equity omelette, as all the others people who we know really aren't racist, we're going to go down for this because you know it's just. This is what this is the way we have to play our political game. That's the kind of thing that is
so toxic and so anyway. I put that to you as an hour gee. But I've been that that's the. I feel like that. The spirit of that dissociation from honest conversation about facts and the saga of the frame here be the something like a default position now and polite society in the New York Times at nine in universities in corporations. There every disparity. Every significant disparity were seen between white and Black America, whether its violent crime or educational outcomes or employment. You know how many fortune, five hundred ceos are of whatever skin color the only way to explain those disparities is either white. Racism or institutional racism are systemic races.
And nothing else need be thought about and to think about. Anything else is to essentially volunteer to be cast as yet another racist who doesn't get it or you yeah. He had another dear chocolate, I another Archie Bunker character who doesn't get it then that there's a commensurate just attempt to deeper. Grandma whole society along those lines, and then we have the disgust of characters like April Next Kandian Ramada de Angelo spreading, really that the doctrine of a new religion to an area that you know helped people who are added pay for it. That's what I'm placing the cynicism in their movement. You see you mean, and you touch on, you touch on very important points. One of them is something that you see that he really confounding, which is that the central members of this Elect group
are willing to hold onto this ideology, even if it means losing elections, and that's one of many things that shows that this is about politics. This isn't about dismantling structures. This is mainly it's a religious creed, we are like Romans watching the birth of Christianity. I genuinely think who, within my I've time. I have watched, really influential new religion in formation. Isn't it in its way interesting? and that's why so, for example, Mark Lula's book from a few years ago, where he's that we need to tap down identity politics with the purpose of getting this moron out of office that a certain kind of person basically circle the wagons and called him all kinds of names, including white supremacist, because he wasn't with the gospel. And it's the same. Why now, where? What is most important is to talk about institutional racism and call the requisite
people white supremacist and to really really annoy as many people as possible, regardless of whether it could mean that we have another four years of that narcissistic insouciance simpleton as the person running this country, they really have a different sense, ranking than anybody, would accept if it was religion and what you're talking about otherwise comes down to. What really is the keystone problem of the whole way that were being urged to see the race problem, and that is this idea that any problem that black people have any kind of lag is due to racism in its partly east talk about language, partly because of the way the use of the term racism has drifted. I don't think anybody was calling the term along in order to throw up some kind of smoke screen, but racism starts as Archie Bunker in his personal bigotry and then starting in the nineteen sixty that comes to prefer not to active racism, but to results, of racist behaviour, or even just right
is a meaning that black people are behind in some way such that you can say that the society is racist in that asperity by analogy with what racism originally was, and so it ends up being a very money term. Language tends to be muddy, but a new idea is indeed what your mentioning that say. He Candia Robin Indians well say, which is that if black people lag behind in its racist, candy in particular, you can feel him holding back the indignation, because he really feels that if the, if this isn't perfectly army yes and I dont know what is in, and the fact that I have to write a book saying this or to book saying this is an indication of the racism in question: course now we're getting into this extremely protein sense of what racism
But the problem with all of this is that the racism in cases like this, whatever we want the term to mean, gets to be so abstract so difficult to perceive that if it is racism, we're talking about such a rule, Goldberg Game of mousetrap. That there's no way that you could meaningly convince Annie, dominant segment of any public of normal people, that this made sense and so, for example, You know every summer, the number of teenage and twenty something black boys in distress, communities who are killing each other goes way up and we haven't wanted to talk about it. But that's then, including in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. We ve been talking about George
Lloyd and lately, various other men who have suffered really grisly fates at the hands of the cops and, in the meantime, black men have been killing each other with abandoned in city after city across the United States, as happens every summer. Now that is a tragedy. It has nothing to do with any kind of inherent depravity of the boys and men in question, but tell me how it's about racism and if you're gonna call it being about racism. If you're gonna talk about not having fathers, if you're gonna talk about fact that the war on drugs was created PAR Lee with black criminals in mind fifty years ago. All of that is so indirect at this point. That too just hold your hand, out and say that the reason there doing that is racism in the way that, for example, a candy would it's just a vast oversimplification once again, white people are being told that it's ok to pretend that when racist
come up you let your iq go down about fifty points, because apparently black people's Ike user just stuck there, and so it won't work. I can understand a lot of people's good intentions here. To be honest, I don't think that candy or the Angelo quite understand the matter beyond this, I think, to put it most politely, I think neither one of them quite understand that these issues would be worth a kind of sustained sort of engagement. They don't realize how complex these things are, apparently, because, although they wouldn't use the word there under the influence of a religion, how complicated. Is the Bible supposed to be beyond the world of theologians, but nothing about it? All that hurt, but this is the proposition that will never work irish people, jewish people, their certain people. Listening to me, we're just sitting of ETA, their seats waiting to say, but they were white hold on folks. I've heard it before think about it. Had I not her that before? Let me make point, there were iris people, there were jewish people, there were italian people and they used to
practically be thought of as black and well they became white and they D. There being any grand psycho Social Revolution in society and the ideas always been, it's always been well. It wasn't fair to expect black people to do that, and you know what maybe it wasn't in that why we had a civil rights revolution that gave us a real boost and nobody can deny that we did get a real boost in the sixties, an early seventies. There also two things in place that allow that so we get that real boost and as a further psycho social revolution, in terms of how the country thinks about racism. But the idea is somehow that it's only gonna go that far because since were brown, the prejudice against us is stronger and therefore this is what white people who on the fence, and I think white people, even who would call themselves on the fence, but deep down when they're having a drink. Think about is that black people are always waiting for the rules to be different for us. There's this idea that everyone,
I'll just have to claw their way and that with blood people, even though a civil rights revolution still not enough. In our case, the rules have to be different. Now we have people with lots of letters after their names. Who can put that sort of thing in very elegant language? I don't think I'm doing it on purpose, but you'd be intersection. Reality is one way of doing people like you, Brom candies, idea that we recast what we think of his intelligence and make it things. Like quote, unquote, desire to know that's from one of his books. The whole notion that we recast what we think of his talent, the idea that we're gonna reform, the subject of stem and change, how we think of this six etc the mathematics as racist all of this stuff. What all this translates into is for black people. The rules have to be differ
and you know, people are sick of it, and it's at the point where it understandable that they will be this whole new ideology is based on an idea that we're gonna teach a significant number of people in the United States to have so creative, so transformative. A view of how human affairs could go in this great nation that change could Should we happen- and you know it's not going to part of the reason that I find all of this so disturbing- is because they're poor black people who need real help and people who consider themselves to be speaking for them sitting around in rooms putting their hands up in the air and saying they understand their white privilege and teaching black people, the think that their main role in society is to be the people who they should be grateful that white people consider forms of privileged over, and now we have people who are trying to teach this to our children. Sometimes- actual books and in the meantime, Donald Trump gets re elected and some,
all of this is progressive. Isn't I seriously doubt it, but I say again: these people dont know what they're doing there not mean they think they're, giving us the Good NEWS there like Mormons, but we just have to realise that those smiles on their faces are to set and we can't let them when will it really is a complex picture, but there there's there are so many ways to notice that it, its complexity, has to exceed at every point. These simple diagnosis that its white racism or we know, is systemic racism. That is not yet fully rectified, because white people simply don't care enough about it. That explains all these problems, because I'm just too two things that occurred to me. As I was listening to you, what you, when you think about the variable of race, anyone you notice that there are some communities like african immigrants.
The nigerian immigrants who succeed disproportionately here no per capita in our society right there among the most successful people in our society white racism would be cutting against them in the same way, right of every really of it. With that pernicious, if you just had racists and all these companies and Silicon Valley, you just don't want black people in the office. He would show up there too and Missis. The common here is made in various contexts. Thinking of Indonesia, and then there is also the fact that if you, if you take the problem of a violence, that reference dinner, a city like Chicago that you can you really can set your watch by, and you can know the color of people scan in advance, and then this is what so depressing right. You tell me that the authority people were shot over the weekend in Chicago.
You know I could make money all day bedding that they were non white. Sadly, yes, yes, so to obfuscate. That fact is as universally everyone left of centre is inclined to do at this moment is really come. Sanity strain and totally unproductive, but when you ask what a non racist who would want, nothing more than to solve that problem could do to solve it right If we could, just with all of our goodwill of non racism or anti racism, come in there and fix the problem, what would that solution? Look like it's! Not However, the solution is it's not a matter of just making sure that everyone within a thousand miles of Chicago is no longer racist. He cried a minute there. There we have a cultural problem there that is being expressed, that they need some remedy and and people need to be given somehow a totally different aspiration that has something to do with getting edge
evidence and something do at integrating and in polite. Society is hard to see how Even someone like candy can think that that's the full story. You know it sits. An interesting thing, and I'm glad you brought up Nigerians because Yeah there's a little bit more to the store that I was mentioning, which was that it used to be said that well why people are only gonna. Let black people get so far. Then? After about one thousand nine hundred and ninety, we started having a high level of african immigrants to this country, not to mention Caribbean once you've been coming before, and it's become painful. Clear that these are people who are often subject to exactly the same kinds of racism sought. The racism does exist, but they thrive. They make the best of the least now people who speak for black people, black ones and fellow travellers have a standing response to that, which is that those people have what's called immigrant club,
and it's not fair, to expect native born black people to have it. And you know what answer to that question. Is why what group in the history of the human species has ever had a motto of yes, we can't that's what that is the idea that you suppose to be proud of saying. No, we can't be expected to have that kind of pluck what that is itself aiding and its end thing because there's a grand old tradition of calling some. Unlike me, self hating, apparently I lack conflict apparently I wish I were why Well, you know what I'm afraid not, and the truth is that from hi, my eyes, I see people who are willing to settle for this week, vision of what black people are supposed to be as the ones who don't like themselves inside, which is part of why I almost never get really angry at them. I think to myself, if you don't like yourself and of course, you're going to settle for this, and, of course, you're going to get mad if somebody like me who does comes along and says that you need to buck up, I understand that anger, but yet other.
Problem, is that were not allowed to talk about that? All human groups have negative cultural traits and that being a descendant of african slaves at the end of the twentieth century in the beginning of the twenty first, doesn't somehow make that untrue, and so, instead of talking about the cultural problem, there's this assumption that you're saying that there's something biologically depraved about black people, and you must have your wrist smacked about that. But, yes, the question becomes: what racism would you withdraw too solve a problem and so, for example, a lot of why black guys are killing each other in cities is based on things that trace back often may be two or three. Steps but traced back to the war on drugs? So one solution might be to fight tooth and nail against ridiculous war on drugs, because its effect would be when you withdrew that that things in the inner city will be quite different, because there would be no drug turf to fight over. There would be no,
tempting black market. If you went to a lousy school and had a lousy life too used to keep the wolf on the door if there were no way of making here half a living selling the notice. Folks, I said half a living. I know the factoid that none of them get rich except the occasional person, but still it keeps the wool from the door. If that were possible, then this a man would go, find legal work and claw their way up from the bottom and it's not fair that they have to, but that would be better than getting killed or going to prison for a very long time and leaving children to recapitulate their lives because their death warrant there, let's face it. It would be better, but you don't talk about that too much now many of the people say well. Yes, we need to talk about that too, but why is it that their favorite topic is just to get rid of quote unquote racism with the idea that protesters, about what happened to George Floyd, actually putting their bodies on the ground, white protesters and bowing down to black people standing up there above them is somehow more important or is
even unnecessary preliminary? all of this energy that people are putting into, for example, putting out statements that their organization is gonna, fight, white supremacy and the organization. If I cut school of nursing, the organisation is a school of you sick theory, it's a math department, all of these profoundly racist places. Why is any of that necessary, When really all that aren't, you could go into getting rid of a war on drugs that would solve probably about sixty five percent of the problems that most Alice. You don't talk about it because we're talking about a religion, it's not because the people are dumb. It's not as their crazy is not as their mean and not to push this to heart. I don't think is that their cynics, it's that they are pious. They have not taken on a way of thinking. That means that you sequester a part of your brain for thoughts and responses that are not based on logic, and we can't say that That's crazy, because most of the world's human beings are religious here.
Yeah. I totally follow you there. That is a matter tend to think of it as a call to it, but you know the difference between a call in a religious orders numbers of subscribers, so it say has it grows, certainly could have the shape of a new religion. Let's talk about had a move forward images. What would a sane path through the wilderness look like and and how we should think bout identity and just what the goal Maybe in my mind, the goal is something like a color blind society and with it to truly overcome. Racism would not be to arrive and in future, where more and more of us are passionate, anti racist. Would be to arrive at a future. Where were we dream really that skin color could have moral or political significance? Ramming just doesn't, as is the case
hair color today and no one is trying to figure out how, in a blonde or brunettes redheads are in various positions in society and for the reason nobody cares and if we perversely started caring about that right and started. Advertising our grievances with respect to hair color would have taken a significant step away from basic human sanity, and so we have to recover sanity somehow with it variable of race, I'm just to give all contacts here. Anyone has been listening to my podcast for awhile knows that and who knows, about my views about the nature of the mind and the nature of the self knows that that I dont think a person should, even, at the end of the day, identify
the face that he or she sees in the mirror each day like that is not the proper locus of one's self concept. But you know how much less should one identify with a group of people in the most of whom we'll be strangers forever? Who just happened to superficially resemble the face? You see in the mirror each day I mentioned it just seems. Plainly not to think of oneself in those terms in any kind of ongoing way, and the idea I would spend any part of today think about my whiteness or feelings solidarity with other white people, because we share some skin tone in the midst of my life, though it be synonymous with me suffering some kind of brain damage, you would be kind the owners of the mind. And yet what has been advertised to us from all quarters is that group identity, and again this you know within the Woke Nessus extends beyond raise. This is covers
sexuality and gender and other variables, but there's a primacy of group identity. There, is the apparently there's no vision, any longer of getting beyond right as innocent, but Much as I want to get beyond its that's, not to say that I believe I am colorblind now rikers at that. Actually, I might add, strikes me as impossible as long as one is aware of statistics, I miss France's what I just said about being able to predict who is committing all of these crimes in Chicago by the fact that I know these background facts about the interested, the identities of of people, in her committing robberies and other violent crimes gives me a certain expectation- and here I very surprised to hear it when it turns out to be a hasidic Jew and I'm not at all surprised. When I hear
is yet another black man who is guilty of whatever the crime is, and so it's just that. That's that's a background expectation which violates any principle of color blindness now and address of the website of it. For me, I'm a recently I remember I was watching one of these Spacex launches and when they went to their the kind, the press conference side of it one of the people on the panel was a black woman. Who was one of the rocket scientist, emotions and engineer of some kind, so either the reality of that situation? For me, as you know, I'm watching that added. It made me inordinately happy discipline, woman rocket scientist. And so in, and the only way to understand that a psychological change in me is two things are going on one is. I have some I never thought about it up until that moment, I had some background statistical believe that it will fairly uncommon. For I black person, much
a black woman to be a rocket scientist. But in addition to that, there is a deeply positive. Be it not at all, colorblind emotion, which is, I'm am overjoyed to see a black woman rocket scientist, like that. I want there to be more black women in those roles and, conversely, one or two people, fewer black men, in the role of yet another booked suspect. For robbery or a homicide in major american city. So the mere awareness of the statistics overrides rise. Any aspiration for being truly colorblind at moments like these, but that failure of color blindness cannot be the same thing as racism right, because what I want is all about good outcomes and of more good outcomes and fewer bad outcomes for black people in either case and beyond. All that, I, what what I want more than anything, is to get to us
Heidi, where I wouldn't even be tempted to notice the color of a person skin whether there are rocket science or a criminal right, because it just eat it would make no sense to notice it because I didn't notice their hair color either rising doesn't its into the which is how do we get there so, but it does strike me that there's this this transitional period, where color blindness isn't quite the prescription and I guess I guess the question of you know affirmative action in a land right in here I wouldn't Is the right policy to be implemented, given that I think the gall really is to get beyond any kind of politics of identity and yeah. That's what we were supposed to war and that's but come on ass animal and there are reasons for it. Centrist. Think if you could on go into our
graduate seminar in humanity's department on just about any subject, and you could, you know, hook up wires to every student after they had been assigned a certain pro call making sure that everything's, ok, knowing that nothing unpleasant, was going to happen to them up, but some wires on everybody e or something like that, and then just get up in front of a class and say identity, and you could watch people's blood pressure go up a little bit and you could probably measure if you did equipped blood tests endorphins going through their veins. There's. This notion that. What it really has to be about is identity, and what I mean by that is that these days were taught that the enlightened black person centres there said of self on their relationship to what white people are doing or not doing, and so what exactly is your identity and your identity has to be caught up in this idea of not being white and also,
being in eternal complaint about what white people are doing or not doing? That is considered the advance thing that is higher reasoning, that is the equivalent in this religion to having faith in in Jesus and so If that's what you're doing than the idea that we're gonna get past raises inconvenient because for that kind of person, and unfortunately, that kind of person is common for that kind person. If you're, not thinking of yourself as colored, so to speak, you dont have anywhere to grab on two to even think of the idea of a color blind America is to imagine in America in which you cannot imagine just where you would fit in what we're dealing with his. Ultimately, what happens to homo sapiens when groups get larger than about a hundred fifty people where nobody has to wonder what they are with White Elect in this case. A lot of it is that you want to have a sense of purpose, and
if it can't be that you're just somebody's brother and somebody Sun and you marry somebody and all of you go out, you hunt Wales or something like that. You dont you don't have any excess crisis once a year in a large modern society. You wanna have a sense of what you are good for. What's your purpose, it can be hard to find that it is not natural to wish to be an individual, and yet that is what modernity forces upon us so I think that you can be as this crusader where you're battling racism, but that means especially with the way it's being put these days, that you must think of yourself as this evil white person, whose always gonna be racist, no matter how many good things you do for black people, and you feel good about being able to say that about yourself. If you couldn't say it, then who exactly? Are you and it's wrong to suppose that any of these people on either side
its side of the blacks, I did, of course, at the vast oversimplification but southern anybody's, trying to make money. It's not that anybody's trying to have power if anything, it's part of the self definition of the elect to think of themselves as not having power. It's just it's. What makes you feel like a person, and so what we have is a situation where here is the black female rocket scientist, and I am sure that the the typical Elect person apply. Odds that in a kind of perfunctory way, but what they want is for it to be made easier for black people to become rocket scientist by get rid of all of the really tough math and I'm not exactly and you can actually hear people saying these sorts of things as I have walking next to them. You can read people saying things like this: there are ten years and hot shot black professors who stand up in front of August bodies of people saying that its racists to expect black scholars to be
mathematically competent and I'm not exaggerated, and so the idea is that if we can have a colorblind society, it's gonna have to be one where how we do rocket science is changed or that you can become a rocket science just without learning a lot of things that until now has been thought of as absolutely necessary and eating defining for rocket scientist to know and that's really dangerous stuff again, partly because his horrifically condescending. If the idea was that you could be a rocket scientist by not doing the things that rocket scientist supposed to do, everybody would know the ones that had not done the things that you're supposed to do and everybody would be reinforced and thinking. There was something wrong with black people, which the elect wouldn't mind is not for their going for it, but they wouldn't mind because that would give them further fuel for talking about how indelibly racist society is. But yes, ultimately, we want to get past these distinctions, and yet my friend
Thomas Chatterton Williams, whenever he tries to talk about how we need to start moving back towards the color blindness that we see people in black and white newsreels singing of well. He gets roasted as some kind of Uncle Tom or he's a white supremacist and, of course, and we have to talk about the fact that, for a lot of people, the instant answer here, is the cops so for many people, the idea is that, for example, my identity must be focused, how I am not white because of what happened to George Floyd, now the problem there is that with OJ. I had a whole kind of buildings, roman about that. I was disgusted watching those black students on tv cheering when it was painfully obvious what
They Simpson had done. It took me a while to fully get that. Yes, everybody knew what he did was painfully obvious, and I couldn't stand listening to people pretend not to know at the time, because I like to have all the ducks in a row, but it was seen as a vigilante justice against a genuine terrorism that Ella cops had exerted against particular black people in LOS Angeles, and there was a similar feeling across the United States for reasons which statistically made since then, and even if they didn't make sense exactly a nineteen. Ninety seven people sense of how the world works for them is not going to change instantly because of gradual, see, see changes over time. So nowadays I see that the o J Simpson performance are had a certain understand ability. It disappointed me a lot in my first.
About re, losing the race, I'm still white hot- about people's wilful refusal to understand the real facts on that case now, a kind of get it, but goodness it's been awhile, oh I was there was that ninety ninety four, so here we are twenty. Six years later there people were born, then, who have two or three kids and real jobs. It was a very long time ago and at this point we are in one of the most challenging such patients that I have ever known in terms of how we move forward, which is that, if you look at the statistics, it is quite clear that the idea that cops even subconsciously, kill black people out of racist, animus or even subtle, racist bias is simply insupportable it. Just it doesn't work, and I was somebody who thought that that was true.
Who, until about four years ago- and I was in a conversation with my sparring Partner Brown University economist and black Man- Lowry, where he and I were arguing about this method. Glenn you'd have to prove to me that this sort of thing happens to white people and not only does it happened a white people, but their further arguments that make it clear that, even if Men are killed disproportionately to their numbers, then unfortunate facts about who commits the most crimes, including homicides, not to mention just factoring poverty and how that affects interactions with cops, whether your white, latino or black makes it clear that the simple idea, it's so intuitive that George Floyd died because of the color of his skin simply doesn't go through and yet SAM. What does worry me is that we are at a point where, because of their religion and its imperatives, you can't get that across to a critical mass of people. I have one,
people much smarter than me presented with the very simple fats who simply can't hear them, and these are people who are usually rather Eve, even Temple, people who get upset. This really press is about and so, unfortunately, alot of of who people who identify as X, Y or Z and seem to be going directly against what Martin Luther king was calling for would say that they're doing it because the cops killed. George Floyd, because he was black in that kind of thing- keeps happen. And as long as that's what they know and as long as they won't listen to what the truth is about black men in the car, which is that the cops are a serious problem in this country, but that when it comes to who they kill the data simply doesnt support that black men are being killed because cops are racist against them. We can really get anywhere. That's the hardest thing about this. The cops
interesting. He has only as most people a single will recall. I I did a pie cast in the immediate aftermath of aid. The George Floyd killing believers tiled. Can we pull back from the brink? What a solo podcast. As I said at the time, I got consciously resisted the the impulse to bring on someone like yourself to sort of two midwife that conversation, because I just felt like the idea that I couldn't say what I thought needed to be said on my own as a white guy was, was pernicious and worth not capitulating to site did it sallow and got a lot of support and also a lot of criticism and people are can't shake the feeling that a white person shouldn't be saying these things very much along the lines of what you just said. I know you read the transcript of that
Podcast, I'm wondering. Is there anything you think I got wrong or asserted places as there is a daily between us on this issue. You know, SAM. The honest truth is what you said on that podcast was all spun gold as far as I'm concerned, in terms of bravery, I was struck by your mentioning something that even I have hesitated to ever say anything about because of the nature of the situation, which is there Really, you know if the cops
Abu and they want you to do something you need to. Let them do it. The idea that you're being some kind of hero to resist that you're supposed to think about the cosmic socio politics and kind of flip, the bird at the cops or do worse and that that ends up creating a lot of these problems. Frankly, as people say, there is some of that and I do think fit. Ideally, we would say one way that some of these things wouldn't happen is resist the police are basically just do what they say and, as you said, putting your objections later after the heat of the moment has passed. If you feel that you ve been stopped unfairly, if you feel that something it's gone wrong. You can lodge a complaint these is there more channels, forgetting your complaint out than there used to be social media means that you can basically have
your say and possibly have picked up much more easily than you could have and say: nineteen, seventy four, but not the none of the walking away. None of the yelling screaming none of this, that the spitting etc, and I feel like I'm black, and I can't say that I feel, like a lot of people, feel that these people are having their say in a society that is dedicated least set against the well being of black people, oh and black men in particular- and I just feel like many people, simply couldn't hear that there's a part of them that feels like this resistance of arrest in cases like this is a kind of new form of civil rights, and I sense that I could cut through that even less likely. Then I could make people understand that a George Fly, who was white such as tony temper for years before him,
Very similar situation could have been killed under the same indefensible conditions. So it's a tough one, but no what you said I stand behind you, you were correct and I thought to myself it's kind of sad, you're not allowed to make this kind of logical sense when talking about these issues, because so much of it has been incrusted and, what's thought of as higher reasoning, but is really a kind of performance art it serves more to make people feel secure in themselves within the structure of Elect religion, then, to prevent bad things from happening to people and so, for example, George Floyd. Take away the war on drugs and the cops would have much less reason to patrol disadvantage
black communities and many negative interactions. That's not what happened to be happening with George Floyd, but many negative neck interactions wouldn't happen simply by virtue of that different educational crisis with kids that disproportionately affects disadvantaged black is, which has to do with how reading is taught and be very quick about at reading, should be taught by teaching kids how to sound out words. You think that was the most natural thing in the world, but there are other reading. Fella if he's where you teach kids, to recognise words as whole pieces, because english spelling is weird and you let them do that, instead of frankly learning how to read you and I probably learned by reading chunks, and that's because we are middle I have read a hall at kinds of people, but for kids who come from not book lined homes from kids who come from places where most communication is oral rather than on the page. You need to be taught the good old fashioned way it surprising. How that does
happen for a great many black kids who really need it and once you're, just an ok reader, you never the be all that great in school, and you can't make the most, say a moderate, although not great school, because you weren't taught how to read write. I have seen this happen and finally, there needs to be free. Easy access. To long term acting contraceptives that reversible for five years, make it so that you can do Emily planning, without having to work to hurt way too many birth of children are accident, and if a lower income mom does not want to have kids until she's gotten on her feet away, to avoid the kind of accidents that happened. Almost anybody in the course of life is to have these contraceptives be available to as many women as possible, and this would, of course, cover black as well as let you know
and white women. Women of that demographic in all colors have been shown in studies to like these. No talk about eugenics, as appropriate here is just about being able to plan your family without thinking too hard and without so many births being accidents, especially if you're somebody who would prefer not to interrupt the growth of a child once it started. Yes, I'm talking about abortion if you dont want to have an abortion but the larks as their called make it so that you don't end up having to deal with those choices. If you did those three things, just those three it would solve. So many problems for black people who need help and all three of those things would go again eighty percent of the way towards solving the problems were talking about, regardless of how Eric show Van. However, you pronounce his name feels about black people in his heart of her however, privilege white people,
our or art. It would really put black America back on its feet, but we're not supposed to think about anything so proactive, because those are religious thought What's were supposed to make about things that are more emotional things that are more interpersonal, things that make you feel like you, ve got the Lord in you and that's where you get books like books like white fragility. That's where you get books like how to be an anti racist and, oh, my goodness, gracious! That's where you get how to he's an anti racist baby, which means by children. Five and eight are gonna have teachers. This is what scares me to my socks. My kids are going to run into this and I'm trying to think of what I'm gonna do about it. They're gonna be these teachers with shining eyes not cynics shining eyes teaching, my by racial daughters that they need to primarily think of themselves as black girls who are going to suffer racism at the hands of their white classmates, and I
say no, no, no, no, no, but I'm afraid that we're getting to the point there's no school that I could put the men where I could keep them from that, and I dont have I'm home school- that's what's forepeak me. But we need a real race, socio politics, that's about out on the ground and doing real things and instead We are engaging in a kind of charismatic navel gazing, and I think that we really need to get past in precisely that same play. With respect to the education of my daughter's in its it's amazing, to witness. I think you just have to at the appropriate moment, have the conversation with them to a knock you let them against the brainwashing. That's coming our that has already started it's a fascinating thing to try to navigate. I want to linger on this this issue of the police videos because they have such an outsized effect on on everything. That's happening here, I'm in this comparatively very
few of them added that had been in a widely seen. We really are talking about something like a dozen or two dozen videos that have defined. And this moment culturally. Now, no doubt there are thousands upon thousands of them available. I've watched them. You know me more than dozens. The thing that I just wondered, Yet a rate about these videos is that there are very hard to understand much less understand, dispassionately. Random in these are functioning, as you say, too, heavy a religious significance him in these early. He held up as I cons in the dogs. Christianity, a minute like this is the the moral core of their religion, injustice. That is patently obvious. With it an aim of of this phone and yet their functioning am I I'm much more like a kind of pornography of grievance and distrust of institutions.
Can there just reliably misunderstood by even very well tensions people who are poor implicated at all in the video you know it's just you know my my mother can't understand these videos. You, too, she had reflexively sees everything that Hebron candy would want her to see in inner naive come into one of these videos. Servant of the thing to point is that for every video you ve seen whether it's the George video arena, air garner or or any These other ones, one. There are differences among them that are incredibly important, and that is anyone who understands the violence and what cops can do and should do to protect themselves and the public and things start running off the rails. All of these those are highly non analogous with one another, and yet that is socially now We acknowledge- and you know the case where we don't have video, but where we know something about what happened like the Michael Brown case
only unlikely other case reaches the dissimilarity need to be noticed. But then there are for every video you wanna fastened on as emblematic of the problem of racism and police violence. You just have to know there are other videos where all the rest what variables are reversed, where the skin color of all participants, you know cops and victims are reversed right as a swamp at all out. You know, and you can find, that video and one thing that largely goes unacknowledged just their videos where the being, that the cops arm most worried about suddenly getting shot in the face by the person who, until a moment before showed no sign of being armed Those videos are there to be seen to write over the thing that explains how spun up the car often are in these circumstances, whether shouting commands and going increasingly berserk in the present.
Of a non compliant person, one. It so often speaks to their lack of training. Women. Have they simply don't have all the tools they need right and non violently control. Somebody were speaking now today, the day after a video, that's especially disturbing- has circulated, which makes many These points for man is it there's a video out of a tall, sir. I believe a white person being pulled over where the cops two cops are attempting to make an arrest. And it's not clear from at least in the version I saw, which now has several million views sought on Twitter is not clear how this all started. You know, I'm sure, person was driving like a maniac area. You dont know why the cops are so spun out, but in a once, their engaging in the car they are, getting ready to take him and they do doesn't work any unique, again tailors, often don't work, then they begin.
Prs him. The guy just refuses to get arrested. He would does not want to come out of the car The trying to pull him out of the car they dont have the skills to physically do this well, where they can keep himself safe and actually immobilized so there's are yanking on him. Every which way and shooting him with you know with pepper spray and the guy's complaint, about the injustice of this all and you know, he's he's innocent, and that is a violation of his rise, and why are you doing this and had he been black, you know up until the final frames of this this would be yet another case of you know monstrous. Miss behaviour on the part cops. I would have heard an airliner right exact. Yet- and you know in the sovereign citizen- lunatic cult in white society- I'm sure it also is emblematic of the overreach of state
violence, but what happens at the end of his video, is it in the skies wearing a t, shirt and shorts, o invective seat, clear where he pulls the gun Fromm? I think it probably was on it in his waistband near he might have retreated from car, as he has been pulled out, but up until the last moment we think ok, I'm not sure why they're taking him and sprain him a pepper spray, but in other cops, are really freaked out, and this guy there just not successfully in this guy he's got a cell phone in one hand, and the next thing you know both cops are shot. I think one has died, a matter that bet the state of the other and every cop knows on an hourly basis that this is a possibility every single time they have an encounter with a member of the public is absolutely obvious from the cop I view the world that it is very hard it hell who the bad guys are, and we live in a city
by the awash with guns and they ate. You owe it to yourself. If you're someone who has been successfully propagandizing by these black lives matter. Take on all that the famous videos you need to see few videos like this one from Tulsa to know what cops are dealing with. This is a traffic stop, and you know you you get to watch two cops at least one copy executed because of it, and you know that at the complete conversation about this and so yeah. I, the punchline is whatever you're being arrested for it doesn't matter you're that you know you're innocent. You have to follow directions so as to minimize the possibility that the he's gonna feel that something you're doing with your hands is presenting such it and intolerable risk to his safety or her safety.
They have to be no draw their gun and pointed at your head and and now you're risking dino being killed for no good reason. Yeah. So often it's it's about somebody who reaches and its earlier that the cops are really really afraid of somebody reaching for a gun and killing them, and I would have to assume that they are not afraid of that. For no reason there seems to be a notion out there that that's something the cops are really afraid of when it's a black person and it leave me to something that I have come to realize over the years about these cop cases, and I should say- and I think it's very important for me to say this- I was not thinking this way about Four years ago I had the Bee Elam thought about this many people who don't like me. Don't know that in my books I have written about this. I have a whole essay about the police and profiling. I knew this was the one thing that the debt justified the way people like this think as opposed to frankly, everything else about being black, but the thing
about this is that whenever you see a video such as you know, the ones that we seen now from Minneapolis can offer one that everyone is worse. If you'd like to continue with windows, podcast you'll need to subscribe. Sam Aristotle, work, you'll, get access to all full length. The of making sense, podcast and two other subscriber only content, including bonus episodes. Amaze conversations. I've been having on the waking up about making sense, podcast ad free and relies entirely unless your support and you can I have now at San Paris network.
Transcript generated on 2020-09-18.