Allegations of racism in the British royal family made big news. Meagan Markle told Oprah that royals expressed concerned about what color baby Archie would be. Royal racism is only a surprise if we forget the United Kingdom’s imperial past, a past that was shaped by different kinds of violence – including economic violence – in its Caribbean colonies and at home toward black migrants. Claudia Jones, born in Trinidad, spent much of her life in the U.S. before being deported for her socialist political views. She moved to Britain and become a vocal critic of Britain’s treatment of Caribbean nations and immigrants. What lessons can we learn from her, not only about the UK but about the situation of Asians in the U.S. and the migrant crisis on its southern border?
The second impeachment of Donald Trump puts political violence in the spotlight. What is political violence? What are examples? Many black voters are wondering whether the Biden administration will support a reparations bill. The debate will highlight historical and contemporary political violence: think slavery, lynching, and police shootings. What gets ignored but shouldn’t is economic violence. What is economic violence and why should we deal with it?
Biden is President and racial equity is at the top of his agenda. He wants to deliver the goods to the black community. He wants to move America to a just future. But we need to ask what this means. And we need to ask how we get there. Who are the 13%ers? What trap have they fallen in? How can we avoid their mistake?
Episode 8 - Arrest the President? Rappers already said this already, just rewind the tape, but what now?
For Episode 8, A Pod Called Quest takes up Trump’s seditious insurrection. Nearly 160 million Americans voted, Black women leaders and rappers turned Georgia from red to blue and secured the popular vote and Electoral College for Biden and the U.S. Senate for Democrats while the biggest loser, who just got fired, responded by inciting a failed insurrection that resulted in death of several people include a law enforcement officer. What happened in the people’s house? What would have happened if black people had done this? What should be done?
Episode 7 – It takes a nation of millions to hold us back, but does it take 20+ rappers and strippers to save democracy and set us free?
For Episode 7, A Pod Called Quest takes up the role of hip hop culture in democratic politics. The Atlanta hip hop community has been politicking hard: Jeezy and Gucci Mane got ready for a Verzuz battle at Magic City strip club as Stacey Abrams popped into the club on the big screen encouraging the patrons to vote in 2020; Big Boi fed poll workers; and Angela Barnes directed exotic dancers in a public service announcement to get out the vote. These are some examples of hip hop activism in a recent CNN story by Eliott C. McLaughlin. What role does culture play in politics? Why does hip hop have the spotlight? Can hip hop do it alone or must it be part of a larger movement of movements to hold political representatives accountable?
Episode 6 – Will Blacks Finally Get Reparations During Biden’s Presidency and, If so, How Will it Matter?
For Episode 6, A Pod Called Quest takes on black reparations. The murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other black people that spurred a national and international reckoning with systemic racism and racialized violence has many people wondering whether the time for black reparations has finally arrived. In his victory speech, president-elect Biden noted that the African American community always had his back and he said that he would have their back as president. What does having our back mean? Does this mean reparations will be on the agenda during his presidency? Should all people that can prove their blackness and descent from slaves get a lump sum cash payment? Do calls for black reparations help or hinder the pursuit of progressive efforts to address the plight of poor and working-class people. Can black reparations abolish concentrated wealth? Can it put an end to intergenerational wealth transfers that keep the rich?
Episode 5 – Biden’s Transition to Power: Agency Review Teams, Who’s at the Table? Who’s not and What this says about the need for a Movement of Movements.
For Episode 5, A Pod Called Quest takes a hard look at the role of agency review teams in Biden's transition to the White House. Now that the votes are in, and he has won the election, it's time to build his governing infrastructure. He got nearly 79 million votes (and counting). He campaigned on addressing racial inequity, the wealth gap, and the pandemic. Will citizens from communities disproportionately affected by racial injustice, economic inequality, and COVID-19 be drafted for these teams or will they sit on the sidelines cheering, hoping, and praying until the next election?
Episode 4 - Georgia on Our Mind: Du Bois, AOC, Lowering the Race-First Flag, and Politics without Labels
For Episode 4, A Pod Called Quest uncovers Georgia's dark past, shedding light on W. E. B. Du Bois's insights about why it has as much to do with wealth as with race, and asks whether it's time to lower the race-first flag, eschew politics with labels (right v. left, red staters v. blue staters, democrats v. republicans, urban v. rural, progressives v. conservatives, blacks v. whites) and follow Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC)'s lead by zeroing in on economic inequality, housing, healthcare, climate equity, education and other issues that everyday working people care about. The short-term play may be winning 2 U.S. Senate seats in Georgia. The long-term play is building coalitions that unify rather than divide and that empower us to uplift working people and pull American democracy back from the brink.