Racism in America with Jason Brooks

By September 20, 2017Culture, Episodes

Jason Brooks wants us to lament with him.

In this episode, we stepped away from our normal format of an individual sharing their story and instead analyzed change alongside an expert, asking Jason Brooks the question, “How Might We Get People to Think Differently About Racism?”

Jason has a unique story and perspective: he is black, he grew up in a rough part of LA, his dad was a police officer, he is a Harvard graduate, he has lived internationally, he speaks multiple languages, and he is the Head Of Upper School at Episcopal School of Los Angeles (which you should absolutely check out).

We discussed quite a bit, and here’s a snapshot:

  1. What racism actually is: prejudice, power, and history
  2. What systemic racism is
  3. Is it really helpful to say, “We’re all racists?”
  4. The “cognitive tax” that is levied upon brown-skinned people because they have to consider every little social interaction
  5. Whataboutism – As a black man with a father who is a police officer, Jason’s perspective on “Blue Lives Matter” and “Black Lives Matter” was powerful
  6. The difference between “accusing” and “identifying”

…and much more. There were so many moments to choose from, so we’ll close this post with this quote from Jason:

“Thomas Jefferson said, ‘But, as it is, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.’” So when people say, ‘They [The Founding Fathers] were just doing their best for their time; they didn’t really know’ that’s not true… What I’m saying is this: I’m hurt and there is history and context to this hurt. There are hundreds of years in this country where a black body has not been safe. I don’t feel safe. Me personally, and people who look like me, have never had the luxury of safety and I can point you to instances but I think that’s actually unhelpful because I need you to hear that I’m in pain, and I don’t need a logical explanation of how pain works… I need you to lament with me.”

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