Media Appearances and Thoughts on Them

My interview on The G-Man Interviews is available on Youtube. Thanks, G-Man, for talking to me.

Immediately after the interview was recorded, I feared that I may have been unclear on one or two factual statements. But, having listened, those fears were unfounded. Early on, I was trying to say that, of my parents and grandparents, only my mother finished high school. I didn’t make that point clearly, but that’s my fault, and I think the episode turned out great.

More G-Man Interviews, including ones related to the Eric Garner case and the suspicious death of Gary Jerome Weems, are available here. There have been developments in the latter case, due to the story appearing on The G-Man Interviews.

You can also watch shows on the Keystone XL Pipeline and (lack of) diversity in the media. So please take advantage of this resource.

I also was a guest on Ron Herd’s W.E.A.L.L.B.E. Radio show. It went well and I believe will also be posted on Youtube at some point. I’ll update this space with a link then. We had a wide-ranging discussion with several callers and went over the planned 2-hour duration for the show. (Hey, you can do that on independent radio.) We had callers from different racial and class backgrounds talking about these issues. There were some conflicts between callers and some misunderstandings. But it seemed to me that everyone moved closer toward agreement and understanding, as the show went on.

For my part, I was beset by some technical problems. I couldn’t always hear properly and I blame my phone. I misheard a word from a caller at one point. It was weird. I initially thought I may have heard a slur, then quickly realized I hadn’t. But then I began to fear that I had. In an exchange that didn’t make the final program, Ron Herd explained that the caller hadn’t said the offending word. I’m glad we got that straightened out, but in the latter part of the program, I wasn’t able to hear some of the discussion in full.

I listened to parts of the program I couldn’t hear well the first time and I’d like to add a point to the discussion on class and race. Ron Herd’s friend and longtime listener Renee from Kansas City mentioned George W. Bush, whose admission to Yale as a legacy we’d been talking about earlier. She characterized his privileges as due to his white skin.

I didn’t hear that part of the discussion fully at the time of recording, so here’s what I’d like to add. George W. Bush’s admission to Yale was not due to his being white, but due to his being a white legacy whose father and grandfather were political figures. Had George W. Bush been a white cab-driver’s son from Dallas, Yale admissions officers would have tossed his application in the trash after a hearty chuckle.

And in that era, working-class men, whites as well as minorities, who didn’t get college deferments, often wound up in Vietnam. George W. Bush, white cab-driver’s son from Dallas, would have been drafted and probably marked for combat duty. And–let’s be honest–he would have died either in combat or in basic training from a self-inflicted wound while goofing around with weapons, probably while drunk or high.

White privilege may have kept George W. Bush, white cab-driver’s son, from being stopped by the police while carrying drugs in his car. But it wouldn’t have stopped him from dying in a war thought up by rich white guys, many of whom had the finest Ivy League educations, thanks to class privilege. (See David Halberstam’s book The Best and the Brightest.) Anyway, that’s what I’d add now that I’ve managed to hear the show discussion properly. And, as I say, Renee from Kansas City and all us guests–and host–found a lot of common ground as the show went on. I found all that encouraging.

One other thing I’d mention is that, at one point, Ron made a passing reference to Bill Cosby, after which the discussion moved on in another direction. I want to emphasize that I believe the women who have accused Bill Cosby. These charges may never be resolved in court, but I find the many accusations very credible. I think Ron believes that too and wanted to make a larger point about racial stereotyping in the way the media deal with crime. As the English say, fair play to him for that.

After being on these shows, I want to encourage more discussions about class and race. I think that’s going to help us break down some walls that should never have been there in the first place. If you’re African American or Hispanic or Asian and are worried that if we address social class it will take attention away from racial problems, please bring idea that to the table. But let me try to convince you that adding class to the discussion will allow us to address the other problems of our society more completely.

If you’re a working-class white person and you think that affirmative action, welfare, and “reverse racism” are ruining your life, let me try to convince you that the wealthy, and mostly white, elite is really to blame. Affirmative action for the rich–legacy preferences and other class biases–and corporate welfare are the true problems we need to tackle.

In any case, let me hear from you at classblog@zoho.com or on Twitter @ChrisPepus.

Thanks for reading.

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