In 1989, a Black 12-year-old girl in New Orleans found the David Duke phenomenon, and Duke himself, hard to comprehend. So she called Duke on the phone to ask him some questions.
In this Slow Burn interlude: how a budding journalist outdid the professionals. Plus, why we won’t be interviewing David Duke for our series.
Season 4 of Slow Burn is produced by Josh Levin and Christopher Johnson. Mixing by Paul Mounsey. Slow Burn’s production assistant is Madeline Ducharme and Sophie Summergrad is the podcast’s assistant producer.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey slow burn listeners. I want to tell you about another show from sleep: how to with Charles do charge
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We Conner does two thousand Menteith Interview podcast of the year, wherever you
your party ass, pay, slow burn listeners. We ve got something different for you this time out this week, you'll get to hear a preview of our bonus episodes. Firstly plus members special shows where we go deeper into our story. Stay tuned for excerpts. From my conversations with an levy, the Holocaust survivor who confronted David Duke and nineteen, eighty nine, you lie SAS low, who wrote a great book about the modern white, nationalist movement and toper grace.
Who played Duke and Spike leave film black clansmen, but first I want to introduce you to someone you ve, probably never heard of her name is John.
Anna Burnett and I've been
king about her a lot as I've been working on this season of slow burn Joanna's,
years older than I am and like me, she grew up in New Orleans in nineteen, eighty nine, when she was twelve, she did something really gutsy it all started when she knows
that one particular story was dominating the local news. Every member is
every single day. There is coverage on this former coup. Klux clansmen, who is running a fur office in an american city Joanna, was looking for a topic for her school social studies. Bear with me
The Duke won his race for the State House of Representatives. She knew what she wanted to do.
Found, his name in number. If, in white pages
and I think
surprise it was this right there. On March, twelve nineteen, eighty nine. She grabbed a tape recorder
parents, speaker and headed out to the garage, and then she started dialing
minimal joy, the Brenner have doubted,
There were several times today and I've gotten wise.
A telephone ring after about ten tries somebody picked up amidst ever took over there. He asked does David there, however her this is David did
This is data to really. Finally, ok.
I just immediately start asking questions.
How do you think you got elected? How do you think you gotta let it was ok,
hey, you say you're not like you know, like a
we get any marts ever work better.
You call yourself a racial s right from the word for word. I believe what I call
Joanna is black and she knew the Duke had been in the coup Klux clan, but she says she was afraid of him.
I think the still really
puzzled and trying to understand this person's type of thinking
in turn wanted to get inside. Joanna's had to do
You need to know who he was talking to deal.
Tat you should be removed and Louisiana legislative work,
As for this plenary session, that is present.
Been Montessori. Twelve,
Duke spoken. I call even town he told Joanna that he opposed forced integration of education. He said that the best qualified people should get job
and promotions and scholarships, and that racial discrimination
those on today in America, against white people in those areas
when Joanna has deployed really changed since leaving the clan. He turned the question back around my back and we all change and I think that we all grow and backed up by the pavement have been recorded and photographed by sure. There was something in your life, your change, but you gotta returned the ritual
Joanna was sceptical, she'd heard a lot of stories about dukes past and she wanted answers. She asked him about his use of racial slurs, whether he'd been affiliated with a Nazi crib and if his wife had left him, because he was in the clan Duke denied everything he was defensive and cagey and manipulative. He also criticised the twelve year old. Interviewing technique I are carried out
give me a duke, went on a three minute diatribe, complaining
that the media didn't focus on positive things like as academic record, he said that any important person has things in their past. There would be controversial I've never heard of, but about what you have written about cry. I have you ever heard of a bit like I had, in fact cried lied about that they clarify the bad. I made people haven for money,
Duke Tall Joanna that she needed to have an open mind. He suggested that she place in order at his bookstore the same place where Bath Ricky would purchase Nazi bucks a short while
the title he recommended was race and reasoned Duke had ready when he
about Joanna's age. The author Carlton Putnam believed that black Americans were genetically inferior to whites.
Did you ever pick up the back race and reason,
now. I have now now Duke Talk to Joanna Burnett for twenty minutes that night she's not sure why he stayed on the phone that long. She thinks the Duke may have thought she was white and that you pass on his talking points to her parents,
Joanna's parents, weren't, Duke supporters. They did believe and good manners thou and they asked her
ordered a right Duca. Thank you know Duke printed Joanna's letter and her home
ass. In the news letter for the National Association for the advancement of white people, I received at least three letters that I remember from prisoner
from inmates telling me that they were you, know five foot whatever
six foot, whatever frown, hair blue eyes and in their area in there's a moment at the very end of Joanna's tape. That really got to me the consumer conversation with Ducas over, but before she stopped her recorder for everyone who were have all proper, powerful la mobile call for all who will come about who hold a bottle. He was just getting his points through
You should look at two sides of every story. Joanna Burnett was puzzling through her conversation with David, Duke in real time bigamy ceasing. I should get the fuck grace and reason you should learn lessons for the sides of the argument. Yes, fight,
should really be letting David Duke tell me this
should we be wearing David, Duke give us his side of the argument. I've thought about that question along.
As I've been doing, my own research. It standard practice in journalism to reach out to any subject your reporting on. For one thing, people have a right to respond to accusations, are making against them, plus a story typically benefits from the perspective of its main subject. But David Duke is not a typical subject. Consider Tom Staters Interview with Duke on NBC tomorrow show and nineteen seventy four, the one you heard an episode too
where the hosting the White Nationalist sounded almost chummy carbonic acid football team.
Side of others.
Within the building. They may have
You don't have Adobe Snyder introduce due to the huge new audience and I don't think he understood the gravity of that choice. The thirty seven year old, lay made host wasn't, has prepared the twelve year old Joanna Burnett. He allowed due to define himself into spread his white nationalist message nationwide. Other tv anchors have done a much better job confronting Duke you'll, hear about one of them later and our series
but sometimes the best choices, to keep some, unlike Duke off the stage entirely, and that's why I won't be interviewing David Duke for this season of slow burn,
the episodes we ve already released. You ve heard plenty of dukes voice
I think there is any doubt about what he believed in the seventies and eighties nineties Ward today Duke told
Havana Burnett that we all change and grow
still using whatever platform he has to foment racism and anti Semitism Ducas
so congenitally dishonest. He made himself a mainstream political candidate,
by lying about his views and his background, his golden
Views isn't to explain himself it's to manipulate the record. I'm doing this series because I think the Duke phenomenon warrants close scrutiny
and because the ideas he espouses are still with us and still dangerous. But do the politician is not currently a threat? Yes,
attached himself to the Unite the right rallying Charlottesville and yes, he supported Donald Trump Run for the presidency, but the last time he ran for office in two thousand. Sixteen he got three percent of the vote,
and a run for the? U S Senate talking to him now would serve no one's interest, but David Dukes will be sure to include dukes responses to allegations levelled against him, but his core believes that black people are inferior to waits that the Holocaust never happened, don't deserve to be debated, and so on this podcast we're not going to hand him the microphone we'll be back in a minute
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When I started working on this season,
I knew I needed to talk to an levy live as a family friend
who I knew growing up in New Orleans and I'd always
heard about her famous confrontation with David, Duke what I didn't realize until our interview was how that runnin changed her life and how it transformed the anti Duke movement in this clip. You'll hear levy talk about continuing to stand up to do as you
reddened to win higher office after that he started going around the city. You know he'd be
I remember I was in the car driver from the ground
Restore and opposed up and from
I walked a united stand. Guess was on a radio David ducks
it turned arises, ok, go get here and so on
went where he was speaking.
And to have the funny part
I was sitting in the audience and they see
came down. He nodded to me to say. Hello evidently looks familiar, and I said I'd like to talk to you afterwards.
But he ignored me again. He left it in one of antipater me. She was afraid of you
I didn't want the confrontation akin to me when I think about it.
Had he been smart. Maybe he would have sat down and asked a few questions why
was I following him? Didn't want any part of it, because at that time, in his life and try to be a politician
He was very actively trying to conceal what his beliefs were and what has passed was, and you are a kind of
he really was one of them
so how will idea you know he was
for training himself. Us one thing:
and when you his history, is something totally different. How could you get him to get away with that? A lot of people spoke God. I never thought I'd made such a big impression, but I guess I did Washington Post reporter realized. Ass low was another person. I really wanted to speak one
He wrote the book rising out of hatred, which tells the story of Dukes God, son and heir apparent Derek Black SAS Low reveals what happened when Derek began to question his worldview and chose to leave white supremacy behind ass. He followed Derek
Journey SAS, though, also learned a huge amount about the modern shape of white nationalism. In our conversation, which was exclusive for sleigh plus, we discussed how Duke still influences that world today here SAS low talks about the strategies and language, the Derek Black and David, Duke used
how to build a white supremacist movement. I think the scary thing, that's it. The foundation for both of them is the realisation that that audience is massive in the United States. Here I mean
rules, and the country consistently show still that about. Forty percent of white people in the United States believed that they suffer
more discrimination, more prejudice than people of color were Jews, and that is,
in its inaccurate by every measure that we have. But the fact that that degree of false white grievance continues to exist in this country
means that there is a huge audience for these racist ideas if their packaged in a way-
it doesn't announced themselves is explicitly racist. The truth is,
and it remains true for Derek now, even now that he's a prominent antiracist on the other side. He's
I feel sure frightening.
Sure did the ugliness
in our country exists to make these ideas powerful enough to drive movements and to get people elected to the biggest in the country. So one of the things that I kept
kind of rolling around in my head was: is this just a small group of people talking to each other? Is this?
massive movement. How scary and dangerous is it? I would say that the white Nationalists, that sort of politically active group- I think it's a fairly small group. I also think that it
the group that is growing in its own ways, and that also is becoming more and more dangerous and we had many
massive terrorist attacks in this country by young white people who have radicalized in the darkest corners of the internet for the most part and have done all four things and then are talking to each other through their manifestos. So even just a sort of like an activist
our group. I think it shouldn't be underestimated because the consequences are real and scary, but I think the bigger thing frankly is dead. It's a group that is
a few degrees, remove from a lot of weight. America, Dick
ten years to share a lot of the same
Yes, there are talking on stormed fronts and whether those ideas about immigration and
building a wall were the United States becoming
diverse or changing fundamentally from what it spin and there is a wide
in a country that this is a white country and that white culture is the price,
ready and that's because our history bears out. That's what we ve been
and reconciling with these white supremacist ideas means reconciling with with what this country is foundation I. Finally,
I'm going to share something from next week, sleigh plus episode, which will feature my
view with actor tougher grace. Grace played David, Duke and spike leaves two thousand eighteen film. Black clansmen
here. He is talking about the research he did to prepare for the raw, including reading, do
autobiography yeah me. I did a lot. I I read my waking, which was just terrible experiences. There's someone wrote a full book. The gravity doesn't exist. Just every page is like you don't want that pretty sure does just sitting. There is evidence of it. So it's weird did read something that you feel are given to us by reading it you're complicit or something, but I thought the film was great. I wanted to do the best I couldn't have played a lotta characters. They were
not fictional, even and even one that played that were based on your people, workpeople that many people were wherever were infamous. So I listen to his
these older, we do that. You cannot talk a lot about how he spoke the unilateral cuts it is in the seventies
is read articles about him, but then it was really. I saw here a couple appearances on Donoghue, I'm sure you watch some of those red tat taught me the most about him, because it was him interacting with the crowd giving you is there for people to hate. You got us why dont you brought him on, but what I noticed by the end of these episodes is it wouldn't be retiring forum, but he changed the temperature of the room. They were listening to him and I thought all man his guys a different kind of evil like a new form of racism in sound like whatever the time
like the conception of a racist. It's like a different thing, where people really starting to listen to him with the same thing like lions, was trying to show how that change the course of racism in America
listen to all of these interviews and fall and to learn more about the history were uncovering the season and how the show gets made. You ve got a sign out precisely plus its thirty five dollars, for the first year
Fifty nine dollars after that in your membership, helps keep slow burn, running you'll, get bonus. Episodes for this and every other season of slow burn and you'll get to skip all the ads on all sleep. Pod can sign up now. It's late dot com, slash slow burn at sleet that calm, slash, slow burn. This week's episode
slow burn was produced by me, Christopher Johnson and chow too, without a tutorial direction by low in lieu and Gabriel Wrong model,
Do Sharm. Is our production system Sophie summer Gratis Low Burns assistant producer
makes engineer is Paul. Mamsie David grows composed our theme song. The our work for slow burn is by LISA Larsson Walker, special thanks to Jordan Hirsch. Just aside, men inflates Katy Rayford, Laura Bennet, Alison Benedict and Jarrett hold thanks for listening
Transcript generated on 2020-07-21.