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June 30, 2020 43 mins

Baratunde speaks about the stark difference between the protests again public health precautions and the Black Lives Matter protests. In discussion with actor and activist, Kendrick Sampson, and North Minneapolis resident, Gunnar Carlson, Baratunde explores the way two Americas have diverged under the dual pandemics. 


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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Hey, I'm Baritone Day and welcome to We're Having a Moment,
a limited podcast series where I try to make sense
of this defining moment around race and policing in the
United States. This is episode two, No Right Way to Protest.

(00:24):
You remember Colin Kaepernick, former NFL quarterback about Ytall, now
a global leader for activism and defensive black lives. Back in,
Kaepernick was so upset about police violence and systemic racism
he opted to kneel during the national anthem at the
suggestion of a Green Beret veteran friend who told him

(00:46):
it would be the most respectful way of the military
to make his point. Then came the attacks. He was
dishonoring the flag, the nation, the militarian, just about everything.
President you know, who always ready to play the race
and victim cards at the same time, got involved. He
called NFL players profanities, shipped Vice President Mike Pence to

(01:10):
an NFL game just so he could walk out in
protest of how NFL players were protesting. It was ironic
and stupid. Now let's bring it back to the current moment.
We've got the coronavirus going on. We're supposed to stay home,
wear masks, not kill our grandparents and neighbors, right, But

(01:30):
some people didn't like that and decided to protest. In March,
during my regular live Instagram show, I addressed what seemed
to me a possible double standard when it comes to
protest in this country. Check it out. But I did
note a thought that I think I probably cannot let slide.

(01:53):
And it has to do with protests and who shows
up for what type of protest and and let mean,
let me break it down here. So you've got police
response to protest, and I think it's been interesting. And
by interesting, I mean but now I'm predictable that when

(02:19):
the white people showed up to shut down the government
in the middle of a pandemic, with their guns and
their fake military flags and their MAGA and their Arian
nation gear and all geared up and screaming and spitting
in the faces of police officers, the response was, how
do how do I put it? Oh, not a damn

(02:41):
thing that nothing happened to any of them. Nothing happened
to any of them. Uh. And in fact, I believe
in the state of Michigan, what they did to respond
to this form of civil disobedience was they shut down
the government. Yeah, that's I read that somewhere everywhere. I
read that everywhere, that they shut down the legislature rather

(03:05):
than confront these armed thugs spitting. And I don't mean
that in the metaphorical kind of sense, actually literally, and
I don't mean literally in the new meaning where literally
means the opposite. I mean for real, for real speeding
in the faces of law enforcement. And when faced with
that spittle, those law enforcement officers stood down, and the

(03:30):
people who write their checks in the government closed the government. Okay,
So now we have a different situation. There's a different
type of protest. That protest was I guess to reopen
planet fitness, which I get. I like to get my

(03:50):
reps in like anybody else. But there's other ways to
literally exercise your freedom than that. And under the guise
of liberty and right to life, those dudes shut down
a whole government. Now we have a situation also in
the Midwest. A human being, a fellow American, has been

(04:14):
murdered on videotape, George Floyd, by law enforcement, and a
community is upset by that, and they take to the
streets for freedom and right to life. And the response
is just there's a subtle difference and how law enforcement

(04:35):
and government responds this time around. I think what law
enforcement did in this case is opened up multiple cans
of what pass in the form of flash grenades, tear gas,
rubber bullets to suppress this expression of freedom and this
demand for right to life. Now, I don't want to

(04:56):
make everything about race, because that's petty, and you know
it's an old trick, so it's also true. But you know,
there is a difference in the types of people who
were gathered in these two scenarios I just painted, and
there was a difference in the response from the state
in these cases. And I don't even want like in

(05:18):
a parallel Wakonda Rich universe. I want to imagine the
world where, well, what what the black people and their
allies really need to do in the post George Floyd
situation is show up with more guns. Maybe that's how
it works. Maybe the problem is we're too docile. Maybe

(05:38):
um throwing rocks and breaking the cars on police vehicles
is enough. Maybe we need to get up in their
faces and spit coronavirus into their eyeballs. Is that what
is required? Obviously not? Obviously not, but it it exposes
the severe deception and lie at the core of the

(05:58):
supposed values that guide this sometimes nation, and it it
upsets me. So that's one protest angle. The other protest
angle I got it's not about the police response to protests.
But I will put this in the category of missed
opportunity because I again, I have an active imagination that

(06:18):
never shut down with my childhood, and so I get
to dream beautiful dreams of things that don't happen, like
a dream of the Amy Coopers of the world using
the hyper responsiveness of the armed state to their every
whim and demand two improve the conditions in detention centers

(06:40):
across the country, or just get masks, two doctors and
nurses like I just I like to imagine a world
where Amy Cooper used all of her acting skills and
white female victimhood to insist that we provide certified in
to our frontline health workers. That one. I would definitely

(07:02):
share that as a viral video, and I think that
makes our republic stronger. But that didn't happen in my head.
It could so in my hypothetical universe where things are
a bit better and everybody just chugs vibranium, I see
this world playing out. I see an alliance between pardon me,

(07:23):
the proclaimed libertarians who so love their freedom and their
guns and their cause playing revolutionary garb. And they realize, hey, hey,
you know, we talk a good game about all lives mattering,
and we hate when the state overreaches and steps on

(07:45):
the rights and liberties of Americans. And here we have
this perfect opportunity. In the light of the past couple
of weeks, of the Brianna Taylors and the mad Are Berries,
and the Christian Cooper's and the George Floyd's, we have
an opportunity. Need to stand in solidarity. We all are
mad suspicious of government overreach. Let us link arms on

(08:08):
that shared principle, temporarily to link arms with our brothers
and sisters who don't share all of our principles, but
share our right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
In this moment, and the folks who clearly have it
in them to leave their houses and shut down traffic
and put on all kinds of beautiful costumer e like

(08:29):
their own Prato Rican Day parade with less rhythm, they
could in this moment join the cause of freedom because
they realize it's freedom for all the lives that they
said mattered. And I like that version. I like that
America in my head. I like flexing my imagination to

(08:49):
just see the unexpected bed fellowship of a freedom loving
a R fifteen toton, scraggly bearded wanna be Jack Ryan
cas Plan white boy with his Don't shread on Me
T shirt linked up with a Black Lives Matter T
shirt wearing I can't breathe tattooed sister, who both are

(09:12):
sick and tired of this government literally suppressing our lives
and our freedom. That would be I would retweet that,
you know, like I would celebrate that. That could be
in like an episode of the Man who plays Jack
Ryan John Krasinski. Some good news. That would be some
good news. Do we live in that country? Do we

(09:33):
live in that world? Is that possible? I don't know.
It isn't here. What happened out there? We shall we
shall see. Yeah, it was really fun to imagine this
coalition of the just of of the you know, reopen
the hair salon with an A R fifteen and make

(09:54):
the police stop murdering us um with the Black Lives
Matter kind of coming together. So I I like flexing
that imagination. To continue exploring what this protest moment is about,
I need to first address some language we've heard, you know,
the terms of rioting and looting to refer to some

(10:17):
of the activities, some of the violent activities of people
showing up for his protests. And you know, there are
many historical quotes about what writing really is of the
voice of the unheard. Better term is uprising, um the looting,
you know, in property damage, which there seems to be
such an obsession with versus damage to human lives. And

(10:41):
I've been thinking about the looting thing for a minute,
because it's all about like who gets to where the term,
who gets to use the term as a weapon. I
think back to the over one trillion dollar tax cuts
that happened just a few years ago in the United
States that the Congress passed, that the President signed, uh
the benefits of which largely went to people who did

(11:02):
not really need the economic relief. Is the very wealthiest
among us, the the most capitalized of the corporate entities.
Was that looting when you redistribute wealth from the low
end to the upper end. When I think about the
way the country was established in terms of the grabbing
of people, the grabbing of land, the genocide of entire

(11:25):
indigenous nations, the forced labor. Was that looting? I think,
I think you might call that looting, but maybe when
it achieves a certain scale you just call it founding.
You know, So who who's the louder who's the louder um?
And I think it's just a it's a term worth

(11:46):
pausing on as we reflect about our own feelings of
what we're seeing on the screens and hearing through the
news reports about the damage, and who is allowed to
be heard through the political process which we're all incur
ridged to. We're encouraged to vote, we're encouraged to show
up to the cities meetings and the council meetings, and

(12:07):
yet so many barriers are erected in front of those votes,
Voter suppression efforts, gerrymandering efforts, voter id laws, the electoral
college um. And so when you're told to operate through
these legitimate means, which on the back end are being
delegitimized for you, it should not come as a surprise

(12:30):
when people express themselves in other ways, and then when
those ways results and a lot more media attention, it
sort of reinforces the point maybe you only look when
the building's on fire, maybe you only pay attention when
there's some smoke. So I'm not a vacating for the

(13:00):
violence in the street, but I'm trying to explain some
of it. Also think it's been such a vast minority
of the activity. UM. I say all that to to
set up that I have not been in the streets myself,
and you should know that. UM. I've paid close attention, though,
and I've talked to people who are on the streets,
and I try to expand my understanding of what's been

(13:21):
going on in this moment beyond what say the New
York Times is telling me and other mainstream media outlets.
And in doing that, I've I've learned from the show
that I've been making through Instagram and through Zoom, I've
been bringing a lot of the audience on. And one
of those people, as a man named Gunner Carlson, lives
in North Minneapolis, and it's popped on many times during

(13:43):
the show. I'm gonna share with you some brief moments
from a show in May thirty one where Gunners talking
about what is like to go to the protests in Minneapolis.
What are he's seeing who he's seeing. Let's take a listen.
I was for at thirty eighth in Chicago earlier today,
taking pictures and just taking it all in and a

(14:04):
lot of parents with kids there. That was that was tough. Um.
I also ran into Michael Brown Senior there. Um. He said,
I came up here to be a part of your movement.
But you know, um, everywhere I've gone in the past
few days to document and photograph, I'm running into parents

(14:25):
who've lost their children. Um, Eric Garner's mom and uh,
you know, Michael Brown's dad. It's just it's ridiculous. But
to the point of what Wesley was saying about, you know,
we keep asking, we keep being told, Okay, that's enough.
Well the governor was told today it's not enough. Downtown
right now is the largest rally that has happened. And

(14:49):
I've been at some big ones, so you know, there
were three thousand yesterday or whatever, there's probably five down
there today. I can damn near here the names of
those who have fallen ringing through the downtown streets. And
I'm a few miles away in North Minneapolis. So we
are not we are not stopping The idea of these

(15:11):
protests as memorials is not anything I had seen through
major media outlets, in in the write ups, in the podcasts,
in the TV coverage, and just honoring the fallen um
and and hearing those names ring out through the streets,
having the parents of victims of police violence there from

(15:34):
states far away. You know, New York is not next
to Minnesota. Last time I checked. That's um that put
a new lens on this issue. And speaking of lens,
uh Gunner had alluded to taking photos, and so I
wanted to understand from him why he uses the lens

(15:56):
in that way, What was in it for him? Why
why do he feel compelled to photograph in the aftermath
of some of these protests. Take a lesson. You know,
you can watch the media and watch the news, and
you're gonna see all the destruction. You're gonna see all
this violence. You're gonna see this stuff. Um, I am
a black man behind you know, a black lens, is

(16:17):
what I like to say. And so like the other day,
the barbershop three blocks away from me was burning, and
the fire chief came down before they left and said
to all the residents that were standing around watching them,
you know, tear it down. It's gone. Said, I know
none of you did this. No Northsider would do this
to the shop. They know that wasn't us. But at
the same time, me being there, they said, um, you

(16:40):
know you can come behind the line. Just be careful
as you're coming around here. So I was able to
get in there. I was able to talk to and
walk through that shop with that shop owner and get
some pictures of him taking in the damage and destruction.
You know, I am not the best photographer. I'm not
even a professional photographer, but I am someone who is
trust to tell the story the way it needs to

(17:01):
be told. I walked through those crowds and I took
pictures of mother's consoling each other and parents holding their
children tighter. I'm not trying to take pictures of people
breaking windows and burning, but give a ship. You can
see that somewhere else. Somebody's got a show this side too,

(17:22):
So that's why I go out and take pictures. Gunner
was the first person I spoke with directly who've been
to a protest, and I know enough that you don't
ever trust just the media coverage of a large protest.
I know that because I've been around because I've been
around that I've been black, and I've seen this play

(17:44):
out before. And I myself have not joined the protests
here in Los Angeles where I live. But I found
another way to participate from for me, I say, for distance,
while still feeling connected and authentically grounded to the experience
now through Instagram Live and a particular account whose live
coverage did did more than supplement the mainstream media story story,

(18:08):
it kind of substituted for it. That's Kendrick Sampson. You
may know Kendrick better under his HBO Insecure recurring character
name of Nathan, or in the role he played in
the recently released film Miss Juneteenth. I first met Kendrick
about a year ago, twenty nineteen. I had just moved

(18:28):
to l A and he was at a gathering for
his own organization. Recently found a group called Build Power,
whose goal is to use the arts to fight against
white supremacy and for justice and liberation. It's b L
D p w R Build Power. No vowels, I assume
because vows take up time, and we don't have time

(18:51):
when we're fighting for justice and freedom. So stripped the
vowels let's get a move on to the justice. It's
a long way of saying Kendrick's been down for a while.
He's been on the ground for at least five years,
working with Black Lives Matter in l A, working with
others in this movement. So he's not just some uninformed
actor mouthing off. He's a very informed activist and actor

(19:16):
doing the work as well as mouthing off. It's part
of the work. So let's take a listen to Kendrick Sampson. Um.
Kendrick Sampson, I'm actor, UM, storyteller, creative UH, co founded
and an organization called Build Power UM. Activist, UH, liberator, abolitionist, abolitionists. Alright,

(19:43):
so why are you taking to the streets? I see
you out there a lot. It seems like you're dressed
for protests, right, you got freedom of motion? Um, Why
are you in the streets and what are you protesting for?
Against yourself? Um? Well, A lot of people, even within
the movement laugh at how I how I addressed because

(20:04):
I always have my my sides out, um, and I
always say, you know, that's part of the liberation struggle.
I'm trying to deliberate my body, you know, Um, you know,
protesting is I I usually you know, tell people, especially
when they come out to our protests and big numbers
and such. You know we've seen big numbers before. Um, yes,

(20:27):
it feels different this time. But at the same time,
we know that movements have big moments and small moments, right, Um,
they have a full life. You know, there's times when
people are it's like a roller coaster, you know, there's
times when everybody's like super excited and everything, and then
there's the lull right and and and the lulls are

(20:51):
the most important time for people to be involved. And
the work happens when nobody's looking, not in the streets, right.
And sometimes the media is not looking in the streets
when we do have thousands of people out there, but
it's not as interesting, or they don't want to draw
attention to something, or they're they're more interested in people,

(21:12):
you know, breaking it down and burning it up, and
at a certain point that's necessary. Um. Patriot Colors from
BLM and the Shop of Color Change was talking about
how a lot of people, because of you know, the media,
because of the media and Hollywood stories, they think that
protests are like tweet out of time everybody's mad, tweet

(21:34):
out of place. Everybody shows up and it's crazy, and
you know, things happen and they don't know that. It
takes weeks, not not even weeks, years of infrastructure building
from a lot of these organizations of like who can
move people in the community, who do who are the
community leaders? Who do people trust? Who have the right intentions? Um,

(21:58):
what medics are available to make sure that if anything
happens that people are okay. If people get hurt during
protests or people pass out from heat exhaustion, Like what
are these things? Who's gonna hand out water with these protests?
That the protests is like the almost like the pr moment, right,
It's like we've been meeting with folks behind closed doors.

(22:20):
We've been pressuring elected officials. We've been doing research, conducting surveys,
building up phone lists and email lists, and trying to
assess accurately, assessing what the community actually needs and where
the money is going instead of where the community actually
needs it to go, and who controls those budgets. That

(22:42):
is all work that takes a very long time, and
it's work that has to happen every day. And so
when we finally get fed up enough because other tactics
have not worked and people are not listening to us.
That's when we take out to the streets, right. And
and even that is a own process of making sure
that you have legal observers, making sure that you have medics,

(23:04):
making sure that you have the proper targets, like that
you're strategically protesting instead of just being out on the street.
And where will people see you? Where can do you
actually need to disrupt? Where are people not paying attention? Um?
That need to pay attention? That is all very strategic
and takes a lot of work and organizing and strategy
building and such and and a lot of people don't

(23:26):
want to do that work. Um And And that's what
the work that I'm most interested in, right, it's getting
people involved when it's not sensational, when it's not the moment,
right Because a lot of the time, the reason we
don't actualize change, the real change that we need, is

(23:48):
because when it's not in the news, when it's not sensational,
when it's not sexy, you know, so to speak, nobody
wants to actually do that work. And and they fall
off and they get caught up in capitalism and trying
to you know, achieve this and bad definitions of success

(24:08):
and get caught up in survival and uh and then
fall off the actual work that can change, um, the
struggles that we have every day, UM, so that we
don't have to be caught up in survival, so that
we don't have problematic versions of success or perspectives and
success UM, that we actually can have that world that
we are dreaming of that we imagine, UM, where we

(24:32):
are free of police terror, where our children do have
quality education in every single school, and nurses and UH
counselors and mental health care infrastructure and UM, you know,
substance abuse freebuilitation facilities and unarmed first responders. All that
stuff is actually achievable. It's one achievable if we kept

(24:55):
up the pressure and the work every day. UM. And
and I want to get people more involved in that.
So that's one reason I've been out there with Black
Lives Matter Los Angeles is two thousand fifteen. And so
it's not really that like all of a sudden, like
out in the streets, like, man, this is important. We've
been out in the streets. People just ain't been paying attention. Yeah.

(25:18):
One piece of the that I want to get into.
Is it seems that police are paying attention more and
they're showing up and have a role in these protests
that we've seen on the screens, very intense, very provocative,
sometimes very violent. What is your assessment perspective on how
police have responded to this recent wave of protests. So,

(25:43):
I personally have been a part of several protests, several
marches all over the country, Standing Rock, Baltimore, Houston, Los Angeles,
all over the country, right, And I've seen different police
responses in Los Angeles alone. I can't count how many
demonstrations I've been a part of, and I've seen different

(26:04):
police responses. Police choose how they want to respond, not
because of how the crowd is acting, but because of
the message that they want to sing. Right. So if
we get out there and droves for the Women's March,
right and people get permits and like, there's just different

(26:26):
different strategies, uh and pr strategies that they have um
for this most recent version. Police feel the pressure of
sustained protests all over the country, and it's not singled
out to Ferguson, not singled out to Standing Rock, not Siegal,

(26:48):
out to Baltimore, where all the eyes are on that
one place. Right, they're realizing that people are taking on
the whole institution because the whole institution is problematic, and
it started with a huge dropping crime right for so
for for years, police budgets have gone up, and crime
has gone down nationwide. And right now with COVID, with

(27:15):
everybody stuck in their house is afraid to die because
of a health crisis and an economic crisis, crime has plummeted.
Yet a lot of cities are their budgets are up
to vote right now and they're seeing a big increase

(27:35):
hundreds of millions of dollars in all these different cities,
and people are questioning what the hell is going on.
At the same time, people are we're finally able a
few weeks ago to get outside of their house, right,
it's warming up a little bit, like let's get outside, um,
and they're experiencing and processing their trauma out in public
right and and being brutalized Black people. They saw the

(28:00):
impact not only of COVID, but of police brutality um
where police officers were handing out masks to white folks
right that didn't have theirs on, but like brutalizing black folks,
but also profiling black folks for wearing masks, you know,
and so we're like, damned if we do, damned if

(28:21):
we don't. And then you had the videos come out
of them on our very and George Floyd and Brianna Taylor,
well not a video, but the stories and videos come
out of these consistent constant deaths um and uh and
murders by police, and so people are like, wait a minute,

(28:45):
So again, damn if we do, Damned if we don't,
we gotta take to the streets if we're gonna be
dying anyway, right, And so it happens all over the country,
and they feel an attack on police sing, right, which
is so funny. Y'all know them people that when they
do something wrong, they start attacking you, like you did

(29:08):
something wrong? Why would you do this to me? And
you're like, wait a minute, you just stole my ship.
It's the it's the I'm rubber, your glue, whatever you
say bounces off me and sticks back to you technique. Yeah,
it's the twisted version of that. It's like you're you
feel attacked as a military force. Right. That's been trauma

(29:32):
in our community since its foundation of slave catching and
slave controls. Right, you have not ever represented as a system,
having ever represented accountability, piece healing or anything less than
trauma in our communities and brutality, and all of a
sudden you feel attacked. And so they wanted to They

(30:06):
had a coordinative campaign, one to distance themselves from George
Floyd and then to to scare people back into their
houses to say that's not gonna happen here. You know,
they're more worried about property right than people. They're more
worried about order, you know, law and order, um, no

(30:28):
matter how problematic or oppressive that is. UM actually usually
with the intention to oppress and suppress rebellion, and instead
of addressing the root causes of the issues, um, that
are people that are protesting. So so that is what

(30:50):
you saw in Los Angeles when everybody got out into
the streets and came to our demonstrations, and these beautiful
demonstrations that the news don't really want to cover, right,
you know, pouring libations and honoring our ancestors and making
sure that the families of six hundred and nine now

(31:11):
are actually more because they've killed a few more people
in the past few days in Los Angeles County. The
latest one was Andre's for the eighteen year old boy
um and Guardina by the sheriff's and shot him in
his back as he was running away. And so you
have over six hundred, well over six hundred folks killed

(31:31):
by police in Los Angeles County in the past seven years.
And some of these families come forward and they get
their catharsis and they're fighting and demands and um and words,
and we healed together and we express our rage together
and end with the side of Shakur always and here
from the kids here from different organizations, ask people to

(31:56):
plug in thousands of people out there, right, and then
the police are like, all right, we know what this
is about. When we know where this can go, this
can actually make real change happen. So we're gonna scare
these polos back in the day house. So they show up.
They brutalize us for hours, hours, like shoot us with

(32:18):
rubber bullets, beat us with batons, tear gas, all that
kind of ship, right, and when police are ready to
make mass arrests and they know this. These protests and
demonstrations have been widely publicized, and there are certain websites
that say exactly what's going on. Right. Police pay attention

(32:40):
to those websites where the demonstrations are every day on it,
so they know. They knew obviously because they set up
right where we were going to protect Beverly Hills, um
and so you know, if they know ahead of time,
they have buses ready for mass arrests. They have zip ties,
They have basically processing capability in the field, right, so

(33:06):
you can you know, right on site, you can process somebody,
give him a citation, let them go. Oh so it's
like like at the Apple store, but for a pressure
exactly exactly. They have these this capability. They've had it
for a long time because of lawsuits that came up
against them from brutalizing people before h They have certain strategies, like,

(33:31):
you know, making sure that if they are shooting a
rubber bullet, they have to shoot it at the ground
first and ricochet it up, which is still fucked up
and should not happen. But these are their policies, right,
But instead they were shooting people directly in the head
and the chest and the face and the legs. Shot
me seven times, shot a buddy of mine in the head, Dion,
who had two bones fractured in this call, beat my

(33:54):
buddy with the times to where he I mean my
my assistant to where his ship split open. You can
see is bad. They were beating women for I mean
like it was pure chaos out there for three hours,
no bus, no arrests, cornering us in but telling us
to leave. And so it is a clear tactic to

(34:16):
send a message that you need to go back inside
and we ain't playing that ship here. And on top
of that, they had all this bad press of like
people are protesting the police brutality and being brutalized by police.
So you've actually proven who you are, um, and now
your facade is gone and you have not only you know,

(34:38):
shown who you are, but aided the movement to defund police.
That was very helpful, Kendrick. Thank you. Um, there's there's
another piece of this, if you could talk briefly about
who's showing up in support of these protests. From my
vantage point, it looks like larger numbers than I'm used
to seeing, and it looks like a wider color palette

(35:01):
then I'm used to seeing. Are you seeing the same thing,
of course? Yeah, yeah, it's it's definitely I mean, you know,
my first big protests in l A was with Black
Lives Matter two thousand and fifteen, and it was super
super diverse, right, And so I'm not gonna say we
haven't seen this before, but um, I think way more

(35:24):
people are willing to be involved for sure, um and
and and on a massive scale um and consistently as well.
I mean, also, a lot of people are unemployed right now,
so they're like, I ain't got nothing else to do,
but make sure that this ship changes, um. Because keep

(35:45):
in mind, it's not that's not an excuse that people
are on the streets. They could be unemployed in that home.
There's plenty to do on Netflix and Hulu, So yeah,
right right, And also COVID is real, and people want
to be with their friends and family and and especially
right now, Uh, community is is we've been banned from community,

(36:07):
you know, in person, community building, um. And so they
can do a lot of other things, but people are
choosing to get out of their house for this particular
reason and risk COVID. Um. And so yeah, I'm seeing
a wide array of people and simultaneously all over the country.
That's the big difference. Um, it's all over the country.

(36:28):
It's happening at the same time in UM concert and
also uh for the same reason, UM, and and that
is a special thing, uh, and being sustained day to day.
So yeah, it's it is, it is. It's definitely different.
It's definitely different. How do you, um, think about the

(36:50):
covidness of it all? You you mentioned already we were
locked in our houses, we were denied community maybe paychecks.
We also were told to fit atically, stay away from
each other, to maybe not be very loud and spewing
respiratory droplets. And then you have you know, thousands of
people converging outdoors, but also hundreds of them being put

(37:12):
on busses and processed at jails. UM, what is what's
your take on pandemic protests? The most succinct way that
I can explain is dann if we do dan, if
we don't. Right, It's it's interesting because people are like, hey,
don't get the streets, don't be don't gather in large numbers.

(37:35):
But people are forgetting. Like, right before this happened, states
were opening up. States were like, all right, black people
are affected by COVID disproportionately. Okay, fine, let's open this
ship up. It's gonna be them to die anyway. You know,

(37:56):
they showed very clearly who they were willing to sacrifice.
And I'm talking about all states, not just Republican ones, okay. Um.
And so actually what Black Lives Matter Los Angeles was
doing was virtual protests, um. And we decided people were

(38:18):
dying too much anyway. And you know, even if we
observe it's it's kind of the whole like the same
concept of you know, black folks thinking that if we
get the proper education, we get the proprediction, we sound

(38:40):
as white, sound white, we look quite um, you know,
if we lighten our skin, if we do whatever we
can possibly do to be approved by whiteness, right and
be in close proximity to whiteness, um, get degrees all
that kind of stuff. Um, which is another way of

(39:02):
saying close proximity to power, right, because you know, white supremacy.
But we see that no matter how powerful you are,
no matter how uh white, uh white passing or white
well I should say white passing, white accepting, you seem
to be um or accepted by whiteness. You seem to

(39:23):
be um and conforming. Even if you are Republican and
in the office and you know, you still face racism,
You still um are subjected to oppression, even as the
president of the United States, right. Um. So there's not

(39:44):
ever a point where you grow out of it, um
or you white out of it. Uh, it just doesn't happen.
And so, in the same way we were thinking, we're
following all the rules, we're doing as best as we
can to not catch COVID, we're still dying disproportionately. You know,

(40:04):
we tell people to bring their masks and social distance
and let's get out there. And that's what we did
every time. We're like, I mean, we can't control what
people do, but we're like, let's get out there, social
distance and protests. Because what we don't want to do

(40:24):
is have all of this disproportionate death because of this
health pandemic that is caused by the disproportionate part of
it is caused by injustice. We don't want to obey
all the rules and then come out of this crisis

(40:46):
with a bunch of us dead because of the disproportionate impact,
and then still have even more die because of injustice.
When we have a chance right now to change things
and to make sure that we don't don't go back
to the world that we knew before COVID, because we
have been in crisis for four hundred years. There hasn't

(41:08):
ever been a point where black people were not in
crisis in this country. Um. And we have a chance
in this crisis compounded crisis, to make sure that we
change the status of our crisis, that we come out
of this crisis once and for all, um. And if

(41:31):
we have a chance to do that, We're going to
risk it all to do that. I'm gonna thank Kendrick
for taking us inside these protests, the strategy that created them,
the response by police who invaded them in certain cases,
and the conundrum Black Americans have faced, as he called it,
damned if we do, damned if we don't. These protests

(41:54):
do feel different to me some in the sense of
diversity and size, but more or to Kendricks point, they're
sustained and they're ubiquitous. They're happening in many places. At
the same time. People are taking a risk at these
protests during a pandemic, but it's a risk taken to
preserve life, liberty, and happiness. In the next episode, I'm

(42:20):
gonna talk more about this movement to defund the police
that's gained ground thanks to these protests. We're Having a
Moment is a production of I Heart Radio podcast executive

(42:42):
produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stump, and barrettune Day Thurston,
Produced by Joel Smith and Elizabeth Stewart, Edited by Justin Smith.
You can find my email, newsletter and a lot more
at barrattune Day dot com. If you do social things,
I'm on Instagram at barrattune Day. And if you like texts,
well send me one. That's right. You can text me

(43:05):
to woe to eight nine four eight eight four four.
Just put the text w h A M in the message.
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