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A Reckoning with History (with Clint Smith)

December 3, 2023
Notes
Transcript
The New York Times best selling author Clint Smith joins Tim to discuss race and its history in the United States, including the false narratives many Americans have about it. They also discuss his book, “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America,” and what he hopes its readers take from it.
This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:09

    Hello, and welcome to the Bullworks next level Sunday interview. I’m your host Tim Miller. I’m really, really pleased that Clint Smith agreed, to do the Sunday interview this week. He’s a new Orlenian, an actual one, not a transplant like me. He is the New York Times best selling author of how the word is passed, a reckoning with the history of slavery across America.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:32

    He’s also a staff writer at the Atlantic, and he wrote a collection of poems this year called Above Ground. We talked about all of that and get deep into of discussions about race and perspective and how we talk about our past and how we talk about our history and what that says about our present I didn’t even get to, like, half the things I want to talk to him about because, he’s just such a thoughtful guy and did a little bit where I kind of reflected on my own evolution on this issue and just how as, you know, kind of a suburban white boy from Colorado, maybe I had not maybe definitely. I had a lot of blind spots when it comes to race and and Clint’s writing and others has influenced me in that regard. And so I was really pleased to have him on the pod. I think you’re gonna enjoy it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:18

    On the opposite side of the integrity spectrum from Clint, we had George Santos, Kitarra Revache, as I like to call her, was forced to sachet away from Congress. Just a few minutes ago before, we are taping this. And we haven’t talked about George Santas that much on this podcast, of late, you know, when the first reveals, reveals, if you will, came about his fraudulent past. Obviously, we discussed that. But, the George Santo show has not really interested me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:45

    Lately, it is very obvious what and who he is. Mitt Romney exposed him, very famously to his face and said that he should be ashamed and he should be sitting in the back of the room and he should be shutting up. I I don’t think Medram used the word shut up, but that was his message essentially. That’s basically, I felt I haven’t wanted to give him any more attention than he deserved, but I think that it is telling today that he was booted from the conference And I think the big political takeaway here is that there still are some Republicans who can see right from wrong, who understand when there’s a con man in their midst, but they have been too cowardly to do anything about it when it comes to Donald Trump because Donald Trump provides them political advantage. Donald Trump provides them votes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:32

    Donald Trump provides them donations, as we learned from the It’s at least Defonic said this week that if you put the Trump badge on your email, then you’ll get a twenty five percent bump in donations. Donald Trump provides political utility. To these Republicans. And I’m speaking with the ones that voted to expel Santos. I’m speaking the ones that know right from wrong.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:51

    I’m not speaking of the the lunatics. In the mega side of the conference. There’s about half of the conference in these days. The the ones who understand that Donald Trump’s a con man who see him for what he is haven’t done anything because their political survival depends on them not doing anything. They revealed this week that political survival is not at stake.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:12

    When they can cast a vote to expel someone that is probably on net doing nothing to them politically, but maybe slightly harming them by just having to be exposed to him. George Santos does not have a throng that donates to you if you defend him. He does not have a crowd that’s gonna show up at the mall and storm the capitol if he tells them to. He does not have super fans. He does not have people that wear hats.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:36

    When he requests them to. And so he is not of any service and he’s not of any utility. So it becomes easy to cast homicide for his cons, for his own doings. The challenge is to stand up to somebody that brings you some political utility time and again Republicans have failed to do that. So it’s hard to give them too much credit for doing it in this case, but on net, I’m happy the justice has been served and that George Santos doesn’t have to darken the door of our Congress anymore.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:06

    Go Perdekone, our man on the hill at the Bulwark has been doing some great reporting on this. Make sure you’re reading his press pass newsletter if you want more on the behind the scenes of George Santos and what’s happening with the Republicans in Congress. Okay. You’re really gonna enjoy this one. I look forward to your feedback.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:22

    You’re listening to this on Apple Podcast or Spotify, rate us, reply, make a comment, Up next is Clint Smith. Hope you’ll enjoy it. But first, our friends at acetone. Peace. Hello, and welcome to the Bulwark next level Sunday interview.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:52

    I’m your host Tim Miller, and I’m honored to be here today with Clint Smith, author of New York Times best selling how the word has passed. He’s an Atlantic scribe and he has a book of poems out this year called above ground. So we’re gonna get into all that. Clint, thanks so much for doing this, man. Happy to be here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:07

    So I wanna discuss with you. Reconning with America’s racial legacy, Uncle Tom’s cabin, identity politics, New Orleans, fatherhood, college athletics writing poetry, we’ve got about fifty two minutes does that sound? You think we can hit it all?
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:20

    I think we can cover every every single contour of that. So let’s do it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:25

    I wanna start with your book how the word has passed, which was so good and important in ways that I wanna kind of talk about for me. But for those who haven’t read it, maybe just give us a quick thumbnail sketch of. Of what the book was, what you’re trying to do with it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:39

    Yeah. So in two thousand seventeen, I watched several Ron DeSantis statues come down in my hometown in New Orleans. Statues of PGT Boulevard, Jefferson Davis, Roberty Lee. And as I was watching those statues come down, I was thinking about what it meant that I grew up in a majority Bulwark city, in which there were more homages to enslavers than there were to enslaved people and thinking about, well, what are the implications of that? What does it mean that to get to school?
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:03

    I had to go down Robert Lee Boulevard. To get to the grocery store, I had to go down Jefferson Davis Parkway, that my middle school was named after a leader of the confederacy or that my parents to live on a street today named after someone who owned hundreds of enslaved people. Because the thing is we know that symbols and names and iconography, they’re not just symbols. They’re reflective of the stories that people tell. And those stories shape the narratives that communities carry, and those narratives shape public policy and public policy shapes the material conditions of people’s lives.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:30

    And that doesn’t mean that if you just you know, go around and tick down statues of Robert E Lee, you suddenly erase the racial wealth gap, or if you change the name of Jefferson Davis Elementary School, you suddenly create more economically egalitarian schools. But I do think it helps us recognize the ecosystem of ideas and stories and narratives and help us identify the way that certain communities over the course of history have been disproportionately and intentionally harmed by certain narratives around American history. And and so I’ve been thinking a lot about, well, how are these stories propagated? How are these stories told? What to what extent are the people and places that have a relationship to this history, telling the story honestly, running from their responsibility to tell the story honestly or kinda doing something in between.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:17

    So I started looking around New Orleans asking those questions and then realized that the story was obviously much bigger than New Orleans. And I basically spent four or five years traveling across the country visiting plantations, prisons, cemeteries, museums, monuments, memorials, cities, neighborhoods, trying to understand how our country reckoned with or failed to reckon with its relationship to the history of American slavery and to sort of examine how the the scars of slavery are etched into the landscape of this country in places that would seem self evident and in places that might not.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:55

    I wanna start with your trip to the Blanford cemetery in, Petersburg, was it, Virginia? And you had these conversations with, people that worked there, Martin Ken’s, a confederate soldier cemetery, and can want to get into that, but just share with folks, like, just the contours of those conversations you had with the people that were working at that cemetery and how that’s kind of led you to the, Memorial Day, Sarah County, if you will.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:20

    You know, it’s interesting because it’s hard to imagine the book without that chapter in it. But one of the wonderful things about writing a project like this and working on this sort of creative non fiction project, working on this sort of project that’s sort of a travel log is that some of the places in the book are places that I knew I was gonna go. And then some of the places in the book or places that when I wrote the book proposal, I didn’t know where that I was gonna go there. And so the confederate cemetery, Blandford was was one of those places that I did not write in my book proposal. I didn’t say in my book proposal.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:51

    I’m gonna go spend the day with Neo Confederate and members of daughters of the Confederacy Ron DeSantis Confederate veterans because I don’t think my wife would have let me out the house, but I thought I was gonna write a chapter on, civil war battlefields. And so I went to Petersburg and I thought I was gonna do a sort of meditation on the siege of Petersburg and the battlefields where, you know, so many thousands of soldiers were killed, at the end of the civil war. And I was there, and I was having a conversation with the park ranger. And I was telling him about my book project, and he was like, oh, that sounds really interesting. You should go to this Confederate cemetery down the road.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:29

    And it’s almost like in the movies where like, the devil and the angel appear on your shoulders, and it was, like, on one shoulder was a writer clint, and then the other shoulder is regular clint, and so regular writer Clint is like, we gotta go to the Confederate cemetery. And regular Clint is like, we are absolutely not going to the Confederate cemetery. You’re out of your mind. One of the reasons I’m grateful to be a writer is because I think it, especially in those sort of moments, pushes me to go to places and navigate spaces that I otherwise might not go to. Like, on my own, I don’t think that I would ever feel compelled on my own accord to just go spend the day with the son’s confederate veterans on Memorial Day, but that is where the story was taking me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:11

    And and so I decided I need to follow it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:13

    Yeah. So talk about get, you know, having those conversations, right? You’re going to the cemetery and and talking with people that work there and you end up going to the this kind of, event for the sons of the confederate veterans and and trying to talk to some of the attendees. Obviously, you stand out. I don’t think there’s a lot of black folks probably going to the Confederate cemetery.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:34

    There’s a journalist way to kind of engage in those conversations. Right? It’s like, oh, I’m just trying to gather information. What does this person think? And then, you know, it felt like you were doing some of that, but then also a little bit of a more human way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:47

    Right? Like trying to have a station with somebody and tease out, like, what it is that is motivating them, why they are there. So just just talk about those conversations and how comfortable you are and and you know, what kind of tools you use to to try to draw people out in those settings.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:04

    Yeah. I I remember, in particular, a conversation with a guy named Jeff And Jeff, had this round belly, this salt and pepper, handlebar mustache, this long ponytail, this confederate, Biker Vests that had confederate paraphernalia all over it. And when we were having a conversation, he was telling me about how his grandfather used to bring him to the cemetery, and they would sit in this beautiful white gazebo that sits at the center of the cemetery, and his grandfather will pull out his banjo and play the old Dixie Anthem his grandfather would tell him stories about the men who were buried in these fields, how brave they were, how courageous they were, how strong they were, how resilient they were, You would tell stories about how the men who were buried in this field didn’t fight a war over slavery. They didn’t fight a war over anything that had to do with race. It was all about state’s rights.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:53

    Was all about protecting themselves against the war of northern aggression, the sort of Yankee invasion, maintaining their culture, the importance of state sovereignty, tariffs, you know, the sort of greatest hits of the lost cause. Yeah. And also, you know, as he’s telling them in these stories and saying secession had nothing to do with slavery and you know, they’re watching the sun set behind the trees, and they’re watching the sky turn from blue to orange, to purple to Bulwark. They’re watching the fireflies come out of the forest and hop from one tombstone to the next. They’re watching the deer come out from the trees and sort of graze around these, gravestones.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:29

    They you know, it’s it’s filled with this deeply sentimental, sort of sensory experience, these deeply sentimental memories. And Jeff talks about how now he brings his granddaughters to that same cemetery. And he sings the same songs and the same banjo that his grandfather sang to him tells the same stories that his grandfather told him to his grandchildren. Watches the same sun set behind the same trees that his grandfather and he watched. And so the thing is, you know, for Jeff, I could go to Jeff and be like, look, man.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:03

    Like, I know your grandfather said session had nothing to do with the civil war, but all you have to do is, look at the declaration. Or secession had nothing to do with slavery. And but all you have to do is look at the declarations confederate secession and see the state like Mississippi in eighteen sixty one said, you know, quote, our position is thoroughly identified with the issue of slavery the greatest material interest in the world. And so they’re not vague about why they’re seceding from the union. They’re very clear about it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:28

    But What you realize in having these conversations is that if Jeff was going to accept that information, he would have to also accept that his grandfather was lying to him. And if he has to accept that his grandfather was lying to him, it threatens to disintegrate the foundation of a relationship he has with this man who he loves, This man who he not only loves on an interpersonal level, but who also represents an entire community, an entire family, an entire way of life that has been fundamental to shaping how Jeff understands who he is in the world. So suddenly it’s not this thing where you’re asking Jeff to just accept this empirical evidence that’s right before him. You’re providing evidence that serves as a catalyst for an existential crisis. And I think that that is that’s the centerpiece of this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:10

    Right? It’s so much of this is about identity. So much is about the story we have been told. The story we tell ourselves about ourselves. And part of what you realize is that For so many people, history is not about primary source documents.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:22

    It’s not about empirical evidence. It’s story that they’re told. It’s a story that they tell. It’s an heirloom that’s passed down over generations where loyalty takes precedence over truth. And so for me, those conversations, you know, with Jeff and others, they were really important because it helped me take seriously the emotional underbelly that sort of like undergirds these often bigoted violent a historical beliefs, which isn’t to excuse it, which isn’t to say, justify it or to say, oh, well, now I understand it’s if we are going to attempt to understand why millions of people across this country to various gradations hold on to beliefs that are so clearly untrue, that are so clearly ahistorical.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:09

    We also have to take seriously the emotional texture of their lives and their lineages that make the stakes so high for a recalibration, in the context of recalibrating history. And I think, you know, that’s in the context of the confederacy and you know, Confederate reenactors and Neil Confederateates. But I think there’s a version of that that’s happening across the country now. Right? It’s the same thing that we’re seeing with the you know, the history wars, so to speak, where so many people are fearful of accepting, fuller, more honest, more complex, more multi faceted story of the American experience, the story of American history, in part because their identities are whether consciously or unconsciously deeply tied to a previous story about America that people are now telling them is untrue or is partial or is misguided.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:06

    And if your identity is tied to an America that people are telling you isn’t the actual America, then it creates, again, and create this sort of similar existential crisis for a lot of people. And that then allows politicians to come in and wield it that fear as a a really potent political weapon.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:25

    I’m happy you told that full story because I was I was listening to you talk about that conversation with Jeff in a different setting, it was, it was what inspired me to reach out to you. Right? Because I think that at the Bulwark, like, we, you know, all not all of us, I guess, anymore, but when we started it, all of us, or people that had left, you know, the Republican Party or at at some level over the fact that we felt like we had seen that we’d been lied to. Right? Like seeing Donald Trump take over and take that nomination made us kind of, like, shook some of and made us realize that, oh, wait.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:55

    So what we thought the definition of this was, actually, it wasn’t. And and for some people, you know, I found Yeah. And and for many of our listeners, and and not all of them, of course, we have listeners across the ideological spectrum, but from the former Republican listeners, this was like part of their Right? And politics can be part of your identity in the way that race and identity is. And and I feel like we’re at our best when we’re trying to figure out how we can kind of go back into the places where that we used to inhabit and talk to those people and find you know, with empathy, but with honesty, try to kind of pull them along, right, and and help them see the kind of crack that we saw and help them see the untruths that we saw.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:38

    First to say I’m not always that good at that. Sometimes I succumb to mockery, or sarcasm and dead, you know, because you can’t help yourself. But I just this conversation that I’m talking about is kind of between close ish, you know, people. And the I did I’m not identity divide. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:52

    We’re mostly white. Let’s just be honest. Like, we’re mostly we all share like this. That one point, we, whatever like Ronald Whiteian or whatever it is or had an elephant sticker on our button. You went into these spaces where the gap is much larger.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:05

    Right? And so I’m just wondering, like, do you have any lessons from that? Anything from those conversations that made you think, man, this opened eyes, you know, maybe we opened each other’s eyes in a way that was more effective when I took this approach or when I took that approach. I’m sure you’ve thought about this, and kind of the fallout from having all these experiences.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:23

    Yeah. You know, I think that part of the project of the book whether I was at Blanford Cemetery, you know, which is one of the largest Confederate cemeteries in the country. Thirty thousand the remains of thirty thousand Confederate soldiers are are buried there. Whether I was at Monticello, whether I was at Angola prison, whether I was at in New York or Galveston, part of what would felt important for me was that I wanted to genuinely understand why different groups of people believed what they believed. And so in the context of Blanford, if I were to go to that place and move through it with any semblance of an antagonistic disposition.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:12

    Obviously, my, you know, a sociologist will call,
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:18

    my sort of physical response?
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:20

    Yeah. Well, you know, my, who I am in relation to my the space that I’m in, my positionality means that how people interact with me when I enter that space is already gonna be different than how it would be if you were entering that space with the same goals, with the same questions, with the same queries. And so for me, it was like, I tried to approach it with the level of, generosity. I tried to approach it with a level of honesty. I tried to approach it with and and not even try.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:55

    I mean, I think my disposition is one of genuine curiosity. Like, I genuinely wanted to understand how someone like Jeff comes to so deeply believe in the things that he does in the face of evidence that runs to the contrary. And in order to do that, I mean, I think I just I just asked a lot of questions. And I also there were moments in which I shared my own perspective or my own response, but, again, try to do it not in an antagonistic way. So, you know, for example, you know, one of them would be talking about how how much this land means to them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:30

    Right? Like, part of the conceit of the book and and sort of my larger scholarly project in many ways is that there’s something so powerful about putting your body in the place where history happen, like your physical body standing in, you know, on a plantation, standing in a cemetery, standing on the train depot from which you know, I’ve, you know, I wrote a story about Germany and how they remember the Holocaust, like, standing in the gas chambers, standing in the crematorium, standing on the train depot from which Jewish families were sent to to Eastern Europe. There’s something for me so powerful about that, the sort of sensory experience of that. And it’s also powerful for other people in different ways. And so, you know, I was talking to a guy at Blanford, and he was like, it’s so powerful for me, to be here.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:16

    You know, I feel the spirit of my ancestors. I feel the the ghosts, the spirit sort of surrounding me holding me up. And I was and in those moments, I’m like, thank you so much for sharing. That’s really fascinating that that’s your experience here because my experience is so different. And when I stand here, what I experience is this haunting, unsettling feeling that I am standing amid the the ghost and the bodies of those who fought a war with a specific intention to perpetuate and expand the institution of chattel slavery among my direct ancestors.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:53

    And so, you know, it’s just fascinating that we can both stand on this land and have such a different response to what it evokes Yeah. Within us. And I and I think in those moments, like, I don’t know that they’ve ever had anybody share that with them in that context. And it’s not to say, you know, I always wanna be careful in these moments, like, I am not an advocate of, like, all black people need to do is, like, go to Confederate, you know, memorials and Memorial Day celebrations and Kukkuk’s planned rallies. Great bread
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:24

    at diners in Trump Country and everything will be alright.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:28

    That’s it’s it can be such a trope. And so that’s not what I’m saying, but I I know for me those sorts of experiences. Like, I have no idea how they would how they were impacted by my presence or not. You know? But I know that all I can do is control my own way of engaging my own, disposition and try my best to leave a space like that more fully and accurately understanding the socio historical and, sort of, political dynamics that shape the world we live in today.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:02

    I’m gonna tell an embarrassing story really quick about myself in the sense that I think that maybe this, what you’re saying on a a smaller gradient, I guess. You know, these sorts of things do have a difference. Like, do make a difference when you start to think about the perspective of them. So my best friend, went to Old Miss. And, so like I would go visit them back in college.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:23

    This was before Colonel Webb was still around then. The Mississippi flag was still a confederate flag. I’m from Colorado. I went to school at GW in the northeast. I was visiting on this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:35

    And you know, it’s just kind of a young Bradish college republican. Like, this whole culture wasn’t, it was totally new to me. Right? Like, I didn’t know any like, I didn’t know any fucking sons of the Confederate veterans or anything like that. And so in some ways, like the fact that, when I went to Oxford, that they had the Confederate Statue, and these Confederate flags are around, like, it felt kind of subversive and funny.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:58

    Actually, right? Like a little funny. I was opening up a box a couple of years ago of my college stuff, and I had, like, collected a couple of, like, kernel Rev whatever, like, like a little little flow, a little picture of Colonel Rev and like a little Colonel Revurine, right, that I rem I thought back about my younger self that I, I remember thinking, oh, I’m gonna bring this back to my, like, liberal campus and, like, people are gonna be, like, offended, and that’s gonna be kind of funny in order to trigger people. Right? And, I think about that now with, like, total shame and embarrassment, right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:32

    But, like, the reason that I Think about that differently now, is that I’ve been exposed to a lot more black folks. I now have a black daughter. We’ll talk about that in a little bit. I’ve read your book. I’ve read other books.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:44

    And I’m like, I never put myself in the shoes of what a Bulwark person walking through, Oxford feels, like with and there’s history in Oxford there too, right? What a black person feels like, down where James Meredith walked that I walked by. Right? The my feelings walking through that were totally different. And I didn’t, it didn’t even cross my nineteen year old mind.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:04

    How it would feel to a nineteen year old clint. Right? And so all of that has changed, like my perspective on this and and I think that obviously there’s bigotry out there and that there are people that are deeply bigoted. I say all that though because I’m interested in asking you, you went to this Like this going to the sons of the confederate veterans is is all the way on the other end of the spectrum, right? You see now on the internet.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:27

    There are a lot of young nineteen year old Tim’s. Right? Like, I think this stuff is funny, that think the woke stuff is overstated, right, that they’re responding against it. They’re trying to trigger people. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:38

    How do you communicate the lessons of this book and the lessons of your life and your feelings to folks that have that perspective. Right? Do do you think about that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:48

    Yeah. I appreciate you sharing that story, and and the honesty there. I think that You can tell
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:57

    me I’m a dumb shit if you want. It’s cool. You don’t have to do you don’t have to do the appreciate thing. It’s not good.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:03

    It’s a journey. It’s a journey for all. I mean, and and again, it’s not it’s not to excuse. Like, I mean, part of, part of what brought me to this book is because I realized that I was someone who grew up in a city that was the heart of the domestic slave trade that I am the descendant of enslaved people that my grandfather’s grandfather was enslaved. And I didn’t understand the history of slavery in any way that was commensurate with the impact and legacy that it is left on this country.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:40

    I think watching those monuments come down, watching the conversations happening, you know, in the early days of Bulwark Lives Matter in the you know, after Dylan Ruth and Charlie Sykes. And I was like, oh, I don’t you know, this history is both within me. And has been around me my entire life. And I am not someone who feels like I understand it to the degree that I should have. And so the very construction of this book is one in which I am trying to fill the gaps in my own understanding.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:11

    It is me recognizing that there were things that I was not taught that I probably should have been that would have helped me more fully understand who I am. In relationship to my city, my state, my country. That wouldn’t more effectively help me understand the reason one community looks that way and one community looks that way is not because of the people in those communities, but is instead because of the history is what it of of what has been done to those communities generation after generation after generation. So I think it would be Broadly, I think it would be unfair of me to cast judgment upon people who themselves are not cognizant of this history to the degree that I am or that more of us are now, sort of ten years after Bulwark Lives Matter after everything that happened with George Floyd. With that said, I think there is a there’s like a distinction between someone who doesn’t know a set of information, but is open to learning new things, and someone who is sort of antagonistic, performatively, or otherwise, to the information being presented.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:17

    So on a personal level, I don’t have any interest in attempting to, like, convince people to believe information when they are not in operating in good faith. Like, that just isn’t an effective use of my time. I’m I’m not interested in, like, changing people’s minds You know, I I some of the most meaningful notes that I’ve gotten about the book and about my YouTube series crash course Bulwark American history are from people who are like, I read this and shared it with my racist granddad and and he watched his Fox News all day, but he read your book, and we were able to talk about this in ways that we had never about it before. Like, that that is deeply meaningful Yeah. To me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:56

    I didn’t write the book because of that. I didn’t write books for for the, yeah, I didn’t write it for the Fox News Washington Grandette. I’m appreciative that that, you know, man or grandmother or person, whoever it is can get something out of it. But the book was written for like a fifteen year old version of me. The book was written because I wanted to write the sort of book that I needed in my high school American history class.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:21

    And anything else, you know, the the benefits that it extends to anyone else are are deeply meaningful, but they’re not this sort of origin story of of the project. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:30

    Sometimes you can put out work that has impact that isn’t what you you know, that wasn’t your necessarily your intention. Right? I guess what I’m trying to say is I think that there’s a backlash to the post George. Like, there’s all this progress that’s been made. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:45

    This always happens. I was not working on the gay stuff too. But there’s right now, I think we’re going to this backlash to the whatever you wanna call it, the racial reckoning, the Black Lives Matter Post George Floyd thing. And and you see a lot of like young white folks, let’s just be honest, that are bristling, right? And and are being performatively antagonist.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:08

    To to the point that that you’re you’re saying. My view is that works like yours that there are ways that maybe this wasn’t intentional and maybe that This is not. That’s not the group that you care about, but I I think that there are ways to get at kind of this young privileged class that is different from that makes them think about what it is like for the nineteen year old version of them. To have to consume the meat. Like, for you, it was to have to walk past the Ron DeSantis, right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:39

    And so and and they still do. I still have to this all as you said, the street names and Norlands are still the same. But to have to consume the memes. And I think that there is a certain percentage of them that can be reached. If they’re thinking about it, not solpistically.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:53

    Right? If they’re thinking about it, I was like, how is someone that does not look like me consuming this? And I think that is to me, a value of, like the types of material that you’re putting out even if that’s not intentional.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:06

    And I appreciate that. I wanted the ethos of the book to be one of grace and generosity in part because so many of the folks I spent time with the tour guides, the public historians, the docents, you know, they were in many ways a model. Of the grace and generosity that I hope the book captures, and because it’s in part an ode to them. It’s an ode to these people who work at these historical sites. Who encounter all sorts of people, you know, every single day in their work who are very much on the front line of his history awards for the folks who are docents at Monticello, who, like, every day have to deal with people who are in their face telling telling them you know, that they know more about Thomas Jefferson than than the people who work there and that Thomas Jefferson actually never owned slaves and that this Sally Hemings thing was a myth.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:59

    And, you know, I mean, these are people who show up to these folk these plantations and these sites all the time. And so There is a what I saw when I went to these places or the Whitney plantation where, you know, there are folks who who’s every day, you know, they would they ask, well, they were really good slave owners. Right? Like, or they were really they were really kind
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:21

    Just really quick, the Whitney, honestly, for people who don’t know the Whitney Plantation, is is here, it’s outside of New Orleans, and it is, you know, essentially trying to commemorate commemorates maybe the right word memorialize, but like what happened to slaves. And there’s so many plantations around the south where people like have weddings here and you know, and, and they talk about, I think you’re right about how they talk about the windows and the architecture, you know, and at Whitney, they’re trying to talk about, no, the actual experience of people that had to live on the plantation. And for me, the biggest takeaway of that section was the living history element of it. How that some of the buildings on the plantation people, that the slaves lived in were, like, their descendants were living in to what? The nineteen seventies?
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:03

    You know? And so to me, that was powerful in that, I still am an old Republican at heart. I’m not all the way there on reparations yet, but but it was like, I was reading that chapter and I was like, that anecdote was the best anecdote in favor of reparations I’ve ever read, right? That was like, that’s crazy. And in the community around there, and to have people coming just back to your point of people coming to the plantation, seeing this just very vivid the experience that slaves went through and then wanting to ask the the tour guide.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:32

    Well, but there was a good slave owner. Right? I mean, that just shows you how how warped, you know, people get about their identity and not wanting to feel like they’re bad, you know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:42

    No. Absolutely. I mean, it’s it’s so much of it is people attempting to assuage their own sense of guilt, their own shame, their wanting to sidestep any historical moral culpability. And and, yeah, and they so these docents and folks were was a model of grace, a model of generosity, a model of patience. And so I wanted the book to to hold that in the same way.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:05

    And And it is written in a way, you know, there are there are other books that are tackling similar subject matters that are written by people who are experts. When they began that book, they were experts. When they finished that book, they were experts.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:19

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:20

    I did not begin how the word is passed as an expert on the history of slavery. As I said, it was the opposite Like, I began that book as somebody who felt deeply naive about a history that is my own. And there was some shame in that. And so, you know, this the book is written, not as a, like, here are the ten things you should have always known about slavery. Because one, I think there can be value in polemic.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:42

    I think there can be value in just naming things and saying this is important, and we should all understand it. I don’t know that that’s my project. I think my project is one in which I attempt to model a certain sort of curiosity. An attempt to model what it might look like to fill the gaps in our own understandings of of history of the world. Of people whose lives are not like our own.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:09

    That’s the the book. It’s just like me going around asking a lot of questions and trying to to make sense of it. You know, some of my favorite novelists are people whose stories have nothing to do with my own life. Right? Like, I I love immigrant novels.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:23

    Like, I love stories about, like, folks coming to this country from different countries. I love stories about first gen the first generation experience of people in America, like, my my favorite novelist are like Minjin Lee, Jim Palihari, Mohammed, like folks who were really writing about you know, an experience that is not my own. And and I find value in it because it is it is sort of a window into a set of of experiences that aren’t my own. But that still have a certain level of universality that I can tap into, that I can pull something out of. And so, you know, for folks who read this, who aren’t, the descendants of enslaved people.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:01

    You know, I my hope is that it’s a similar sort of emotional and intellectual experience where maybe you are stepping into literally walking alongside me, in many ways, to all these different places, getting access to information and stories that that you might not otherwise have encountered otherwise.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:20

    What do you say to the part inside you that wants to be a deploymentist? That wants to say fuck you fuck you to these people. Like, how did you navigate that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:30

    Yeah. I mean, I also don’t wanna misrepresent it as me being like, this constant well of, like, endless Grace. Grace and generosity. Like, that’s that’s just that’s not true. I am I am I am deeply imperfect and inconsistent in how I attempt to extend grace and generosity to others and to myself.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:52

    And it’s something that I wake up and try to work at every day. And so I I, by no means, want people to be like, wow, Clint is just like, every day, he’s just walking up to racists and being like, it’s okay. I understand that your father told you a story that was that’s not the case. I think that for me, I think about how I have changed and evolved on certain things in my own life. And positions that I’ve previously had that were largely because people who did not have to.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:25

    Extended grace and generosity to me. Even when it may have been burdensome to them. And again, it’s not to say that it is any group of peoples responsibility to be the constant ambassador on behalf of any different facet of their identity. Bulwark queer immigrant would this goes on. But I, at my best, try to Again, very imperfectly, and and often inconsistently extend grace to people in the way that grace has been extended to me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:05

    And I when I can’t do that, I try to, like I think there’s also value in having a community of folks that you can go to and and, like, complain about shit without, you know, any sort of implications. Right? I might I try not to do that on Twitter. I try not to get on, you know, get on social media and do it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:22

    Your Twitter is boring, then I was going through it looking for questions for you. And it’s just like soccer re and retweets of of inspiring people anyway.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:30

    Oh, man. There’s the hate. I’m off it now. I’m like, I haven’t I haven’t tweeted in an some time. And I don’t I can’t you know, that’s a whole another thing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:40

    But but, yeah, toward the end of my Twitter life, it was basically all all soccer, Twitter content. But, it’s important to have people that you can go to close circles of of community and friends and just and talk shit and complain and get it off your chest and and then keep it moving and try to be the sort of empathic, humble, thoughtful person, in the wider world. But, you know, we’re all human, and we’re just we’re just a bunch of people trying to do our best.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:09

    Yeah. I wanna get into your book of Pone’s fatherhood. I wanna kind of go through your New Orleans childhood a little bit on the way there if you don’t mind. And and if you won’t mind indulging me. So I, as I told you, when we spoke over email.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:27

    I moved here and raising our daughter here that we adopted, and she’s in kindergarten here now in in New Orleans. And, and as you mentioned in the podcast, she talked about how you wrote the book little bit to young Clint, I guess, to high school, Clint. It’s not to kindergarten, Clint. And so, I’m one. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:44

    I’m wondering You know, just talk about that experience of growing up in New Orleans, and I I think I’ve seen you talk about the gratitude and fear living together and just this There’s the darkness of New Orleans, but there’s also the beauty. And, you know, I would just love to hear about that experience growing up here, how it informed the book, and how looking back, like, were the things that you wish you would have gotten more of at the city or what, or things you wish that you would have not to criticize your own parents, but gotten exposed to or or whatever, something that might be relevant for me as I as I navigate that challenge.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:19

    Yeah. Well, I’m jealous. First and foremost,
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:22

    I, door is open, man. Water is it?
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:25

    I know. Look, look, Tell my
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:27

    wife. Literally.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:27

    It’s, I’ve we’re we’re I’m trying to convince her, and maybe one day, maybe I’ll retire there. So it’s interesting. Her hurricane Katrina was my senior year of high school. And I’m thirty five and it kind of you know, pretty cleanly bifurcates my life, into the sort of before the storm and after the storm, which is also the marker of time that so many people in New Orleans use for for so many things, you know, like, was that before the storm or after the storm? And I finished high school in Houston, Texas, and then went to college and grad school and got a job and all that jazz.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:06

    So I’ve spent the sort of latter half of my life trying to make sense of and process both the impact that Katrina had on the trajectory of my life And also more broadly, like what growing up in New Orleans did to me, for me, how it shaped my sensibilities, how it shaped my, my personality, how it shaped my interests, you don’t fully appreciate. Like, when you’re born in a place, and maybe this is so many of us, but, like, when I was born and raised in New Orleans, I didn’t fully appreciate what it meant to be a newer lineage and relative to being from anywhere else, because it was it was, you know, it’s like I was like a fit in the water. Yeah. Okay. It was just it was the water around me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:50

    It was all I knew. And then you leave and you realize how unique that place is relative to anywhere else in the world. I mean, it is just such a special place, an imperfect place a place that, you know, has its angels and demons, so to speak. But it is a place that gave me something that I don’t think any other city in the world could have given me. And we were just there for Thanksgiving, last week.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:15

    And I tried to, you know, I have this thing of, like, wanting my kids to I have a six year old and a four year old, wanting them to go to so many of the places that were so instrumental and so formative for me as a child to want to recreate experiences that were really memorable for me, and it’s me trying to fit it into, like, four day chunks during during the holidays. Yeah. It’s it’s just there’s there’s kind of no place like it. And and it’s it’s interesting because I’ve never lived there as an adult. And so my memories of it are also through the lens of childhood Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:51

    Which is different than, like, I sometimes wonder, like, what my relationship to the city would be as an adult, because the growing, you know, being fourteen in a place is very different than being thirty four in
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:01

    a place. You’ve grown concerns. Yeah. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:03

    You didn’t
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:03

    have to care about the potholes. Or the insurance rates going up
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:06

    or anything like that. Yeah. And so so, you know, it’s it’s a place that is it means so much to me. And and it’s a place that perhaps more than anything else in my life has shaped who I shaped my writerly instincts. You know, people sometimes have asked me or either asked me or tell me, you know, Like, there’ll be a list online and be like, you know, twenty Southern writers you should then do whatever.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:35

    And sometimes I’m like, oh, yeah. Like, I I I live in Maryland now, which is I mean, that’s a whole different podcast. Like, it is the south, but it’s not it’s it’s it’s also, like, not it’s It’s not You know, like Silver Spring Sarah Longwell, not the south. It’s not south in the same way that the the south south is the south
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:53

    there’s one little anecdote I’m gonna embarrass my friend if he’s listening to me, but, it it connects with your book and, I think it speaks to. Like the opportunities and challenges of growing up here. And, so he, messaged me and, he’s white. Obviously, and he said he’s gonna there and take their kid day, the Angola rodeo. And he was like, we’re gonna take the kids.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:12

    And I was like, I’m not taking my fucking kid to the Angola rodeo. Like, what are you talking about? Right? Like, And and this is a chapter in your book where you talk about going there. It says prison rodeo, and you can talk about that if you want.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:24

    But I just think about that and like, You know, right? There’s this white southern culture here, right? Where it’s like that, you know, where they appreciate all the black culture and the music and the food, etcetera. But then you go to the Angola rodeo and not even think twice about it. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:40

    And then there’s this, like, black, like, culture and history and community you know, I’m very much betwixt in between, like, with my daughter and trying to make sure that that she has all this exposure to the ladder when, like, the exposure of the former is gonna be thrust upon her. You know, in a way that might not have been, had we stayed in California? You know? And so anyway, I just, I kind of wonder about your experience navigating that, you were growing up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:06

    Yeah. Can I ask, was your when your friend was, like, were going to the Angola rodeo, was it in a, like, an ironic way or, like, like, oh, we’re gonna go and have this be a, teach our kids about the, like, cruel insidious manifestation of that situation? No. It was
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:22

    not about that. I wish it was about that, but it was not.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:26

    I see.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:26

    Again, it’s not defending because I I think it’s good, but like contextualizing. Right? Like, You go up in Baton Rouge and, like, that’s just kinda something that you do. Yeah. You know?
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:37

    Yeah. You know, It’s interesting because, I mean, maybe to provide a little more context for Angola for folks before we move to the next part. Like, Angola is the largest maximum security con largest maximum security prison in the country. It’s eighteen thousand acres wide. It’s bigger than Manhattan.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:55

    It’s a place where seventy five percent of the people held there are black men. Over seventy percent of them are serving life sentences, and it is built on top of a former plantation. And I I went to, as I mentioned before, like, I I wrote a story for the Atlantic last year about how Germany memorializes the Holocaust. And I went to Berlin. I went to Munich, and visited Dachau.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:19

    I remember walking into Dachau. And and looking around, and, you know, walking through the gate, and it’s this vast haunting expanse of empty gray land. It’s you know, you look to your left. You see the remnants of the crematorium. You look to your right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:36

    You see the remnants of the the barracks. And I just kinda closed my eyes when I was there and did the slot exercise. And I was like, what what if on this land, they built a prison? And in that prison, the vast majority of the people incarcerated there were Jewish. And it was so viscerally upsetting that I couldn’t even fully finish
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:58

    Then the thought comes watch.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:00

    I mean, you know, it’s it was a sort of visceral and deeply unsettling prospect to imagine. And then I was like, well, here in Louisiana, we have the largest maximum security prison in the country. You know, where the vast majority of people are black men serving life sentences, many of whom pick crops while someone watches over them on a horseback with a gun over their shoulder. And so thinking about the what does it mean that that place is allowed to exist in that way on that land? In a way that rightfully we we probably wouldn’t allow, in a different geopolitical context.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:41

    Louisiana, New Orleans, are not so different than many places in that they are places full of contradictions. That so many of the people, as as you kind of alluded to, so many of the people who love your music, who love your food, who love to root for you, you know, clap for you down the parade route who love to watch you play sports will be the same folks who vote for, representatives who have run on and whose politics are predicated on stripping you of opportunities for upward mobility, stripping you of access to social infrastructure that, would allow you to support your family, strip health care. I mean, you know, the list goes on and on. And so there is that that dichotomy in many ways in New Orleans feels particularly pronounced because it people talk about New Orleans as a sort of melting pot. Like, oh, man, you walk around, like, You know, you go to jazz fest, you go to Marty Girl, you go to the French quarter, you, you know, you’re in these spaces.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:46

    We’re such a celebratory people. There’s like a different, you know, there’s a different of all, like, every weekend. There’s a lot of intermingling or extensible intermingling in these places, which can give you the impression that, like, Oh, well, this place is is unique relative to the rest of the south because, like, everybody, like, gets along and is occupying similar spaces. The thing is that simply being in the same spaces doesn’t mean people see you fully in the way that they see themselves. Like, the it’s interesting because I talk all the time about the power and possibility of proximity.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:21

    But proximity in and of itself is not a panacea. Alright. Prox in many ways, you can be proximate to someone and it can further reify your prejudices. And your conception of who you are in relation to to them. So I think that in many ways in New Orleans, that’s particularly pronounced, but it’s such a it’s also such a human thing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:41

    You know, like, we’re full of moral inconsistencies. But, yeah, New Orleans still is is amid the contradictions, amid the inconsistencies. Amid the imperfections is is still such a special place. And if you’re gonna wrestle with the contradictions of the human condition, anywhere. Do you might as well do it while you can meet a po boy?
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:07

    Yeah. I got a wrestler in my family. We’re we’re already a get a couple of gay white guys and a former Republican and a black daughter. So it seems like as good a place as anywhere to anywhere to wrestle with that kind of
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:17

    complexity. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:22

    Okay. We’re out of time. Ish. I’ve got I’ve got two minutes. So I wanna I wanna do two things.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:28

    I did not get to talk about your Atlantic article about Uncle Tom’s cabin, which is so good that people should just go read it and subscribe to the Atlantic, if they haven’t. I haven’t gotten to but half the other thing someone does get to about your writing. So people should make sure to get how the word has passed and, new book of poems above ground. I wanna just read one of them because it made me laugh. Is that okay with you?
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:50

    Yeah. Read one of your, books from above ground, which as as a lot of our fatherhood brother issues. It’s called gold stars. I as a gay dad, I just this hit with this hit so hard, because I just got so much love out on the street, but anyway here it is. On the days when I’m out alone with my children, I’m made to feel as if I’m saint or a god or the undisputed best father of all time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:16

    What I mean is that when I we walk into CVS and my daughter is wrapped on my chest and my son cottles at my side, people stop and look and gasp and point and walk up to me asking to shake my hand. Men pat me on the back, women touch my shoulder and touch their hearts. The manager at the front of the store comes on to the loud speaker to say, excuse me. May I have everyone’s attention? On IL seven, you can get three boxes of detergent for the price of two.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:42

    And on IL five, there’s an incredible father running errands alone with his children. Everyone in the store bursts into applause. It’s just so good. I I just if you just could just give us one minute, like, where do you get exclude the rudeness of this question, like, where do you get the balls to, like, I’m a poet and I’m gonna write a poet about owner a poem about being a dad in CVS and getting more credit than I deserve because it real it’s really wonderful.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:10

    I yeah. It’s it’s always a delight to hear other people read your work. It’s just like, so I really I really appreciated that. I mean, you know, so that poem, part of what it goes on to say in the second half of it is like I get all of these plaudits. I get all of these applause, and I think it’s for all men because I think this is the way that sexism and patriarchy operate.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:32

    I think there’s a an additional sort of valence, an additional sort of layer around being a black man because it runs counter to so many people’s conceptions of, like, the role that Bulwark men play in their children’s lives. And just, like, talking about, you know, walking into spaces, especially when my kids were little little, but even still now, like, if I’m alone with my kids, people just kind of gawking and being like, wow, like, look at this guy father of the year. It’s amazing. I bet he he changed his kid’s diaper. He bay look at him babysitting his kids.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:01

    Like, what and it’s like, just, for me, it was important as both a man writing a book about fatherhood. And as someone who’s is a, you know, is a father is a person co parenting alongside someone who you know, a a woman who doesn’t get, acknowledged for doing the exact same thing in the same way. It felt very important for me to name directly the ways that men are celebrated for doing things that their counterparts, their female counterparts are are often not. And it’s not to say I say in the poem, it’s not to say I don’t want people to tell me I’m doing a good job. Like, you know, I’d I’d try to be a really good father.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:44

    Like, that’s something that I take a lot of pride in. That’s something I I invest a lot. Of myself in. And it’s nice when people see that and and acknowledge you for it. The problem is when they acknowledge you and don’t acknowledge the mother, in part because of the societal expectations that, like, oh, this is just what mothers are supposed to do, whereas, like, anything that a dad does beyond you know, patents get on the head and having a job is is as seen as like bonus, you know, like the extra gold star.
  • Speaker 2
    0:54:11

    Yeah. So, So, yeah. No. And and I try to to add I think there are opportunities for humor to to exist in a lot of these poems. Like, this This book was really a delight for me to to write because it got it allowed me to tap into humor in my writing in a way that I I’m kinda obviously didn’t in, how the word has passed given the subject matter.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:33

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:54:34

    But I think it also allows people to maybe humor in in writing can be really effective in that it allows people to enter or hear something or enter a set of ideas, that might otherwise be like more off putting. So if you can make a poem about, you know, how dad get that, it gets more gets more credit than mom for doing the exact same thing, but, like, make it kind of funny, but also but not funny at the expense of its truth. Right. I think maybe you can, get the attention to some folks who might otherwise be like, I’m not gonna read this poem about patriarchy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:11

    Yeah. Right. You know? That’s so good. Alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:14

    Well, that’s expected we’re out of time. But if you’d indulge me, my, we, and we’re not gonna be able to make it through all the rapid fire, but, you kind of alluded to the fact changed your mind on things as an adult. And my rapid fire question for every guest at the end, one of them is what is something you’ve changed your mind about? So If you’d share that with us, we can we can leave that as the final word.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:32

    Something I’ve changed my mind about.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:33

    Something you’ve changed your mind about?
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:37

    I changed my mind. All the time. I don’t know if this counts, but I’ve been working on my next book, which is about World War two sites. Around the world. So it’s a similar conceit to how the word is passed, but it’s about World War II memorials and monuments and museums around the world.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:53

    And I was recently in Korea, studying the history of, women who were forced into sex slavery by the Japanese military, Korean women. These hundreds of thousands of women. It’s, you know, systematized sex slavery. It’s a horrific period of history. And What’s interesting is that you can’t study that without also thinking about, I’m doing a terrible job at, like, gunfire.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:18

    No. That’s fine. No. I didn’t expect didn’t expect you to be good around. I know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:21

    Oh, man.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:22

    It’s this is weirdest on your time now. You can give a twenty minute answer if you want.
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:28

    But but what’s interesting is that you have when you study the history of the so called comfort women, you also have to study the history of Japanese imperialism and colonialism of Korea. And it just is interesting because, like, my conception of colonialism for so long has been, like, black pea or brown people subjected to colonial violence from white people, from Europeans. And it just really complicates the Japan Korea relationship complicates any sort of homogeneous notion of colonialism or imperialism. Right? Cause it’s the Japanese colonized Korea and the way that you read about Japanese people talking about Korean people is not dissimilar to how you would read about Portuguese people talking about Angolans, right, or senegalese people or again, And it’s just so fascinating to see the way that oppression and the way that justifications of colonial violence manifest themselves in all sorts of different cultural contexts.
  • Speaker 2
    0:57:37

    You know, another example of this is like the English and the Irish. Right? Like, the way that the Irish conceive of themselves as a colonized people relative to the British whereas, you know, from for a long time. I was like, these are just both white people. Like, what are they talking about?
  • Speaker 2
    0:57:51

    Being in Korea and thinking and reading books about Ireland and I my My conception of the possibilities and the contours of colonialism are much more complex than they previously were.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:05

    That count, not only does that count, that is very timely, and I thought provoking way for people to end. We can just do a six hour one next just let me know. You got nothing else. You got nothing else in your agenda. Right, Clint?
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:17

    I really appreciate it holler at me next time you’re in New Orleans. Thank you so much for your time. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving We’ll be back on Wednesday with JBL and Sarah. Thank you so much, brother. Absolutely.
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