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July 22, 2020 31 mins

In the final episode, Baratunde recaps what he learned over the duration of the series, and details what comes next as the nation stares down a historic election and a growing movement.


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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
What's Up. I'm Baritune Day Thurston 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. If you have thoughts to
share about these episodes or just want to say what's up,
hit me on my community text number two to eight
nine four eight eight four four. Just send a text

(00:24):
with the word wham w h a M in the body.
I'd also encourage you to sign up for my weekly emails.
They're dope. They're like the best emails you could ever get.
You can find them at Baritune day dot com or
on any of my social outlets. My reluctant social outlets
at Bartune Day is the name. This is episode six

(00:47):
What Happens Next? So I'm gonna tell you the story
of this podcast, from how it came to be to
what we've been trying to accomplish, to how I think
we did and what comes next. Because this is the
last episode of this podcast, and I know you're thinking, no,

(01:09):
what am I gonna do? Who am I gonna listen to?
And there are other voices. You could also just play
this one over again or fill in the blanks on
the episodes that you missed. But way back in June
of which feels like three point six America's ago, I
got a text from an I Heeart podcast executive asking

(01:31):
if I wanted to do a short run podcast series,
a series of essays. He called it with my perspective
on all this stuff that's going on in the country,
with the pandemic and the policing and something else that
begins with the word pete um. And so I interpreted
this as you've just asked me to write the federalist papers,

(01:54):
haven't you. And he was like, Nana, maybe narrow the
scope a little bit, maybe rebuilding like a whole nation,
but at least explaining what's going on in this nation
right now. And that's how this began. We started it
with that intention, and it was always supposed to be limited.
And for me, it was this idea that there is

(02:15):
something magical and hopefully different and certainly intense happening right now.
How do we capture it, how do we make sense
of it? How do we explain the parts that maybe
people want to understand but they don't quite get. Could
I do that? And so instead of a series of essays.
We got way more interactive and hopefully interesting with it

(02:37):
because I'd already been making this show called Live on Lockdown,
and we used that as a foundation. And then I
was like, wait, I know these activists, and there's these
people who are referenced to the news. Why don't we
talk to them? And so we had this five beat
story that we proposed and rolled out me and the
producers of this show to try to explain to you

(02:59):
and to myself, honestly in some some moments, what's going
on and why does it matter? So I want to
look back at those episodes in quick review. They are
meant to be consumed and totality. You gotta binge this.
This is not just me trying to get more ratings
and reviews, but if you feel so moved, please do

(03:20):
but more. It's too make sure that these key pillars
that we felt were so important are fully addressed. Episode one,
we called it it took a pandemic because it took
a pandemic like we've had police misconduct, which is a
very kind way to reference some of the behavior we've

(03:41):
all been seeing on our screens these past few weeks
and months. We've had these incidents before. What we haven't
had before is COVID nineteen. And and as I think
about the Civil rights movement, as I remember John Lewis,
who we so recently lost, I think it wasn't in
a vacuum that movement. They also had a Vietnam War.

(04:04):
There's some other pressure point on a society to get
many of us to wake up, to open our eyes,
to get activated. And COVID nineteen was there. Remember the coronavirus,
As I said before, it remembers you, it remembers all
of us. And so there was something important to me
about setting the stage for this before we get into
the Derek Shavin of it all. The precondition here was

(04:28):
the pandemic, and underneath that we had a longer standing
racial pandemic. So pandemics matter. It turns out, It turns
out it matters how your government responds um and that
can give us all an opportunity to pause and pay
more attention than we might have. So that felt really
important to give an episode to the pandemic. Episode two,

(04:51):
No Right Way to Protest was for me born out
of the pandemic because I just felt something was wrong
about who's allowed to fight for their rights. Uh. And
if it's the right to party, then you've got way
more rights. You know. If it's showing up within our

(05:13):
fifteen at a state house and intimidating law enforcement, you
get to go about your merry way. But if it
is in response to, in opposition to, in moral indignation
at that government using its authority to kill you, well
you gotta behave yourself. And so the hypocrisy of who

(05:34):
gets to do what was weighing on me heavily, and
I chose in this when this was the first show
with a guest that was chosen for this. We had
Kendrick Sampson out of Los Angeles, we had Gunnar Carlson
out of Minneapolis. And I was tired of listening to
reading or watching the news and just seeing the madness

(05:56):
reflected not of law enforcement but of largely law biding
and certainly peaceful citizens gathered in these streets. So who
better to speak than those who have been in the streets,
not those of us who haven't so much, And so
handing the mic overfelt like an important move in that episode,
and that set up to defund the police, which, if

(06:18):
I had to pick a favorite it's that one because
so many people said, what does this mean? How can
we do it? Do you just want crime to go rampant?
So if you're looking for that one episode that I
think does the most work in this series, it is
the defund the Police episode. It is the one that

(06:38):
explains the work that's been done to get to a
point where we could talk about moving money around, because
when you're moving money, then you're moving power. And it
still remains the case for me that knowledge of how
much we spend on policing is what shook me the most.

(07:00):
L a our city budget going to policing most other cities,
it's the number one budget outlay, and it covers mental
health and all kinds of other services in a multiple
And so that defunding request demand comes in the context
of an overfunding of police and an underfunding of social

(07:20):
services UM and so being able to take you into
the halls of power, to the room where it happens.
I'm sorry for all these Hamilton's references. Is gonna keep
happening because that show was ear drugs and it's gotten
to me. And I blame the Mouse Corporation for reintroducing
this into my life. I had banished those songs from
my head, and here I am courting them back at

(07:42):
you in my own show. That's how good lin Manuel was.
So to defund the police episode though, to take you
inside the l A City Council here the presentation of
the people's budget. That was a very powerful moment for me.
And then episode for Derek Schauvin killed George Floyd. This
was a different one. This was one that I don't
think you may be expected. I didn't expect to do

(08:05):
a whole episode on language and grammar. You know, when
I set out to, like do this show about policing
and race in America, grammar wasn't initially on the list.
But if you've heard that episode you know more deeply.
Why if you haven't, make sure you catch up. I
sat with your non Israel, who is a professor of

(08:25):
creative writing, does a whole language Barriers lecture series talking
about the power of language. And this idea of the
passive voice still haunts me. Notice how I put that
in the active voice. I am not haunted by it.
The passive voice haunts me because we use it to
alleviate responsibility and the removal of objects in the sort

(08:51):
of subject verb object construct of a sentence, allowing for
us to make statements like George Floyd was killed by whom?
When their why George Floyd is now the name that's
in my head? What did he do to deserve to
be killed? So I am forever indebted to ungrateful to
Yadon for that. And I know from a lot of
the feedback that I've received that many of you had

(09:13):
your minds equally blown. One of you did not entirely
have your minds blown. And I got a really thoughtful
piece of feedback from an English teacher who was like, Yo,
what about intransitive verbs? Though there's transitive verbs, and there's
intransitive verbs, and I feel like you're giving a short
shrift to the intransitive. There are some verbs which don't

(09:34):
require a direct object to exist, right. I exists. I
don't exist at something, I don't exist on something. I
just exist. So I appreciate this teacher bringing this to
the four. I even spoke with ya Don about it,
and that could be maybe we'll do a bonus episode
later on, just to get back into it. But I thought, instead,

(09:57):
let me save you sometime and say, at the value
of that episode for me was in making visible what
was so invisible, the power that we wield with our words,
in shifting real power in the real world. We have
grammatically allowed law enforcement institutions and individuals to evade responsibility,

(10:22):
to be erased from the narrative and from the way
we talk about this, sometimes in an attempt and with
a desire to elevate the lives of those who have fallen,
who have been killed, of those taken from us, to
be more active about it. But other times I don't
think that that noble, that moral cause is quite enough

(10:45):
to justify some of the harm I think we're doing
when we say things like Brianna Taylor was killed. Black
people are vulnerable. So I not that sentences without objects
don't also have value. I exist as a statement, as
a sentence is very powerful. But the noticing that I'm

(11:08):
finding it myself when an object is missing and when
the voice used is passive, just raises questions that I
didn't ask before, and it's helped me elevate my game.
So I still speak sometimes in the passive voice. Passive
sentences fall out of my face sometimes, and I do

(11:29):
speak without direct objects, and I think those are worthy
forms of expression. But I think in the era of
life and death and racism and systemic racism and policing,
our language has been a weapon as potent as the
tear gas, as the rubber bullets, as the bayonets, and

(11:51):
we don't often give credit to them and realize that
we can disarm that part of this assault we've been
living through as well. Um and then episode five, the
penultimate episode, Hello White People, Hello World, A real joy
to make and to celebrate the ally ship, the camaraderie,

(12:14):
the co conspirator activities of folks who have long been
on the sidelines of these events, of these opportunity to
bend the moral arch of the universe towards justice. I
try to take a generous attitude towards those who have
shown up later to the struggle. I don't always do it,

(12:36):
because it's been one of my goals with this show
and in the work. I do beyond to leave the
door open to anyone to show up when they can,
how they can, and let's grow from there selfishly, because
I am not fully arrived either, you know, as a
a feminist, as someone who believes in gender equity, who's

(12:59):
also a dude, m as someone who's got a relative
amount of wealth in a world ravaged by poverty, as
someone born in the twenty first century with the benefits
of the Internet, in a species that long was isolated
from itself. I carry a lot of privileges into the
life that I lead, and I never want to present

(13:21):
as someone who's got it all sorted out. So if
I want room for myself to grow, I want to
try to offer that to someone else. And that was heavy.
That sentiment was was heavy in the spirit of episode five,
Hello White People, uh and in Hello World, I needed
to get overseas. Um I still need to get overseas.

(13:44):
I'm auditioning countries New Zealand, Mauritius, even Germany after that
last episode, even Europe, because you know, I speak some
of these languages. Might as well use my colonial nature
to my own benefit. But I wanted to take you
with me to examine more deeply beyond a five second

(14:05):
clip on social media of a rally in Amsterdam, or
a rally in London, or a rally in Berlin, why
is this happening. It's not just about us in the
United States. There's something going on around the world that
is about the world. And where we're at with accountability
and use of force and the denial of the role

(14:26):
of racism in the history of the modern political and
economic system. And so I have a lot of appreciation
for that episode, a lot of appreciation for Black Lives Matter,
Berlin and Diana arc for giving me her time at
one two am in her world to break down some
of what's been going on there. And that moral superiority

(14:47):
that some of the Europeans like to wield over our heads,
which they have earned in part because of the whole
universal health care thing. I'm not going to not acknowledge
that universal healthcare helps the racism go down. I stand
by that. But we all also have work to do,
and we're all on this journey. So whether we're white
in America, wealthy in America, male on planet Earth, or

(15:13):
evolved European in the twenty one century, there's something left
for us to do. We're having a moment and we
have done a few things with it, and I want

(15:33):
to offer up a little slow clap, a little appreciation
for the velocity and the momentum, the mass of effort.
I think I just dropped the physics formula on you.
Mass times velocity. Is that not momentum? And we've had
masses of people moving quickly to change this world. We

(15:57):
have seen it in tangible efforts, various forms of police reform,
bands on tear gas and choke holds all over the
United States. I looked this up because I had to
double check and fact check myself. San Francisco Mayor London
Breed directed the city's police department to ban the use

(16:18):
of tear gas, tanks and bayonets on unarmed civilians. I
didn't know we were still rocking. I thought the revolution
was done. So thank you, Mayor Breed, and also why
was that still a thing? Again? This moment has has
given us visibility into some of the atrocious practices that
have been normal and been normalized, which we need to

(16:41):
make not normal. So a lot of reforms, more body cameras,
more transparency, more data collection. And that's been good. That's
been good. More to the heart, we have seen the
evolution of this effort to defund the police in Minneapolis,
in Austin and Law Los Angeles, in New York City.

(17:02):
It's spreading and not the simple act of taking money
away from cops, but the more complicated act of talking
about what are we asking of law enforcement and who
are we not resourcing in our communities when we over
burden this one job with such a limited set of tools.
That's been a real mark of progress. And I don't

(17:24):
expect that I'll wake up in a country next week
where everybody is just like, yeah, defund the police. But
I am happy to see people understanding the city budgets
a bit more. And so I really I like the
episode that we did on that. But more than that,
I like what I'm seeing in the world with participatory budgeting,
like the People's budget l a big credit to them,

(17:47):
and a lot of symbolic gestures which I think still
have value, especially when we talk about loser Confederate statutes,
when we talk about the elevation of the lost cause
right there in the title, the cause that lost, but
we're gonna persist and promoting it. And so it's is

(18:07):
with shock and welcome that NASCAR banned the use of
the Confederate flag. I didn't know you could have a
NASCAR event without the Confederate flag, and and here we are.
When you see statues being taken down, when you see
people taking statues down, when you see governors and other
folks and positions of elected power say, you know what,

(18:30):
we don't need to elevate this false narrative. I like
seeing it, and I don't think it's just symbolic. And
even if it is, symbols matter because we take our
cues from those symbols. Somebody asked me in one of
the speaking events I was doing recently, like, what do
you think about the counter argument? And we haven't spent
a lot of time with counter arguments in this series,

(18:53):
what do you think of the counter argument that you're
erasing history when you take down these Confederate statues? And
I say that that thought, the thought that removing Confederate
statues is erasing history, it's proof of how twisted we are.
The erecting of those statues was the historic eracier. We

(19:17):
ended slavery, We had reconstruction, We had black wealth all
over the South and this country, black legislators, universal education.
We had all these things and someone took them away.
Terrorist activities from the Ku Klux Klan in cahoots with
law enforcement took that away. People who were afraid of

(19:38):
losing ill gotten power took that away. And to ensure
that intimidation lasted. They erected these statues well after the
Civil War to stoke fear, to stoke terror, to create
a false story around that war. And those people putting
the statues up was the eracier and the lie. Taking

(20:00):
them down is getting us closer to the truth. I
so love seeing us movies and they can go somewhere else.
They can go in maybe the bottom of the river.
That's a nice place for future, you know, scuba diving expeditions,
or in a museum. They can go in a museum
where we preserve historic artifacts that we deem noteworthy and

(20:23):
knowledge worthy, but not necessarily to be celebrated. That's that
there's a big difference there. So I like seeing the
Confederate statues come down. I like seeing these company commitments,
a lot of companies getting on the bandwagon, getting on
the Black Lives Matter bandwagon. I don't know, I don't
know if you caught the b ET Awards this year,

(20:44):
every commercial was Hella black Like it was the black
and the blackest commercial except for DSW shoes. They just
ran their typical commercial. They're like, yo, black people need shoes,
White people need shoes, everybody need shoes. Maybe to march,
maybe to run from the cops. Who are we to judge,
Let's just sell these shoes. But other than that, everybody
has been trying to make a statement about how they

(21:05):
stand with black lives matter. And even that is some
kind of progress, because it is now safe to say
black lives matter. It is so safe that the National
Basketball Administration has approved thirteen statements of protests to exist
on the jerseys of its players. Now that's awkward to

(21:27):
say out loud that the team owners have approved their
players to protest with specific phrases, maybe not quite getting
the whole spirit of protests, but one of those statements
is black lives matter. We have gotten to a stage
where that's okay, and that is progress, and that is
in a summer, because we're in a moment. The favorability

(21:51):
ratings for the phrase black lives matter have grown significantly
over the past seven years. You got meant Romney out
in the street saying it. You know, it's a bit
safer to do now a days. And the polling even
around policing, the number of people who think that excessive
force is a problem, that racism and policing is a

(22:12):
problem is growing. The number of people who are demanding
some form of real reform, from transparency to data collection
to banning chokeholds and bayonets. Look, I'll take my progress
where I can is growing hold onto that is that
stuff matters, and we've got to build on that. Work

(22:44):
remains to be done at the federal level. I know
our White House and our Senate Congress interaction are not
what we would want them to be, to put it mildly,
but there's another space where this work is happening and
it doesn't get all the headlines. But I think it's
happening in you right now because I've heard from you

(23:06):
or someone like you, because it's happening in me. Even
as I make this show, we're talking about these issues
in these topics in a different way. We're acknowledging the
persistence and the gravity and the scale of systemic racism
in a more persistent way. And we're doing it at home,

(23:27):
and we're doing it at work, and we're doing it
in zoom, which passes for school or work. And that's
that's different people taking it personally, people trying to own it,
sometimes sloppily, but that's okay. Progress is messy too, and
so the more we can continue that, ask ourselves the

(23:49):
hard questions, how we can be more anti racist, How
we can contribute actively beyond statements. Those statements can help.
That's how we'll maintain this moment. For me, there's um
a takeaway from all this which is less about specific
reforms and legislative bills. There's this inspiring reminder that it's

(24:15):
us that all of this, all of this, it's just us.
It's just us deciding. This is how we're gonna talk,
this is how we're gonna spend, This is how we're
gonna show love and respect. This is how we're gonna
hold to account. That's up to us, that's up to people.

(24:36):
And in this moment, the one that I made a
whole podcast series about that, we're having that whole list
of progress, all the changes of perception, the defund movements,
the political and police reform efforts, all that has happened
in a moment where we don't even have a president,

(24:57):
we don't have a functioning execut You dove atop our
federal government apparatus. I don't say that to be cheeky.
The person who occupies this office right now is so
uninterested in actually governing. It's terrifying, and it's costly in lives,
because coronavirus is real, whether you wish it away or not.

(25:22):
And yet, in this most grotesque dereliction of duty under
which we live, we're still getting things done. We're still
moving forward, We're still growing and challenging and pushing Yo.
Imagine what we could do with a president. Imagine what
we could do with a government in a democracy. We
have that opportunity. So I want you to realize and

(25:48):
remember and love this dichotomy that the leadership that we
lack in the White House right now, we have it.
We have it in the streets, we have it in
the city councils, we have it in the zooms and
in our homes. And that's just dope, because that puts

(26:08):
it back on us. The ball is in our court.
That's where I'm planning on going next, not exactly with
this show, but with you for sure. I mentioned earlier
John Lewis, who is no longer with us, and yet

(26:29):
I feel so grateful that we got so much of him,
eighty years of him, the evolution of him, the commitment
and persistence of him. He embodied so much of what
we should strive to it, should make statues out of him.
You know, that's a pretty universally agreeable request. I think
let's get a John Lewis statue. For every Confederate statue,

(26:53):
there is a John Lewis or someone like him who's
deserving of praise. But where I want to go next.
Where I am going next with you is this wham
my friendly affectionate name for we're having a moment. It
was just about acknowledging that we're in a moment. The
question now is what are we gonna do with the moment?

(27:16):
What are we going to do with this gift that
we've been given, with all its pain and all its awkwardness,
but all its potential. What are we gonna do to
build on this? So I'm doing that next. And when
I say I'm doing that, I don't mean like vaguely
like there's another show coming. There was another show coming,

(27:38):
and you're I'm on the first people to hear about
it that are not producers on the show. It is
about this whole self government thing. It's about us, not
just what's broken in our systems, but how we commend it.
How to citizen with baritone day That's the show where

(27:59):
we reimage aagine and reclaim this term citizen not to
be a weapon used by those who would distract us
and distance us based on a documentation status, but rather
reinterpret reclaim the word citizen as a verb open to
the participation of all of us, where we remember how
to wield our collective power to do all of this

(28:23):
for all of us, not just for the few. And
that show. It's not a series of essays, right, it's
not my little federalist papers experiment. We will have guests
who are doing this work showing us away. I will
be there with you, and you will be there too,
because we're inviting you into the process. So I want

(28:44):
you to do this. I want you to stay with
me for this journey. I literally can't do it alone.
To do a citizen democracy show alone is very authoritarian
and that's not a good look. So we're gonna make
this together. Hit me up on text two oh two
eight non for eight A four four again, throw wham
in there, w h A M so I know how
you found me. Or go to my website bartune day

(29:07):
dot com and join the mailing list because they'll be
more coming. I'm gonna ask you your thoughts. I'm gonna
put you in the show the same way I put
Gunner Carlson in episode two of this show, the Protest episode.
That might be you in a future episode on how
we're rebuilding our economy, rebuilding our health system, rebuilding our
food system, rebuilding the way we vote and vote. We

(29:29):
must plus a whole lot more join me for that.
Let us do it. Let's put we above me. Let's
put us above I. Let's do this collectively. It has
been a privilege and a pleasure to help be your
guide through this moment, such as it has been, and
it will continue to be. I'll see you on the

(29:51):
other side. Will drop an episode here when it's live
so you won't miss it. Stay subscribed and let me know.
Let us know what you thought of this. Things you
wish we had done, that we didn't get to. We
might find a way to do in the next show
with you. We got this, y'all. I'm Barrattune Day Thurston.

(30:13):
We are having a moment. Now, let's make the most
of it. Like a in the heat of the rambo.
I ain't got nothing to lose. I've been fighting these
hard times in the ghetto of my life. That was

(30:34):
victory that I choose. It's my soul ist gest Mond.
We were having a moment as a production of I
Heart Radio Podcasts. Executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stump,
and Barrattune Day Thurston, produced by Joel Smith and Elizabeth Stewart,

(30:56):
Edited by Justin Smith. Music by Hallo Black. You can
find my email, newsletter and a lot more at baratun
day dot com. If you do the social things, find
me on Instagram at baratun day. And if you like
text messaging, well send me one. That's right. You can
text me right now two oh to eight nine four

(31:16):
eight eight four four. Just put the text w h
A M wham in the message
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