(Transcript and credits below)
Shaun King: It’s Tuesday, April 2nd and today I need to tell you the urgent story of story of Jermaine Anderson – a 43rd year old man who is about to be sent to federal prison any day now for a crime he already served his time for.
I’ll also give you a full download on the important news from Facebook that they are going to institute a full ban on white supremacy and white nationalism, and lastly I need step in and continue to defend Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from attacks coming from both inside and outside of the Democratic Party and explain to you why I think we all need to defend and protect her at all costs.
As everybody else talks about Trump’s latest tweets, the Mueller report, and Jussie Smollett, we’re going in a different direction. We’re not just here to change the news – we’re here to change the world.
This daily news podcast is not a repeat of what you’ve already heard somewhere else. I’m here to skip past the BS and tell you what you need to hear with the color, nuance, context, and passion that our news deserves.
This is Shaun King and you are listening to (THE BREAKDOWN)
Hey everybody! Hope you are doing well. Glad to have you back here on our second full episode.
Sometimes I’ll be here to give you a fresh perspective on a news story that you’ve probably already heard – but when I do that – my job is to tell you the facts behind the facts – the story behind the story – and give it the context and passion it deserves, but today is one of those days that I have start with a story that just isn’t getting told and spread the way it needs to be spread andtold.
I need to tell you about a wonderful brother named Jermaine Anderson who lives and works right outside of New Haven, CT. And I hate to venture into respectability politics, but, you know what, let me first explain what respectability politics even is to our listeners.
((SCRATCH – BREAK IT DOWN))
Respectability politics is this idea that if marginalized groups, if marginalized people only behaved and acted and carried themselves in a way that the dominant group in power respected and understood, that the oppression might go away. Sometimes respectability politics seems harmless – when we hear people, including even someone like President Obama, saying “pull up your pants,” “don’t wear gold chains or gold teeth,” or for women “don’t wear bright colored hair” – sometimes we hear people saying – you know if you only dressed like ABC instead of DEF, life would be easier for you. And maybe you are hearing me right now and thinking, “But damn Shaun – isn’t that true?”
And my answer is this – on the most surface level, it may be true, white people may strongly prefer Black people who fit inside of a very narrow definition of respectability, but when we advance these notions over and over again, it translates into something more nefarious and problematic – in which it is implied that some Black people deserve respect and equality and some don’t. But we must reject this idea – that only some Black Lives Matter and instead fight for the intersectional idea that ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Because the truth is that this notion that wearing a suit and tie is what will keep you from discrimination or bigotry or police brutality is just bogus. None of us should have to earn or fight for a base level of common respect and decency. So a young Black man with his pants sagging deserve the same base level of decency and respect as a young Black man in a suit – and if you immediately make one stereotypical set of assumptions about the character of the person in the sagging pants that you don’t make for the person in the suit – you, too, have fallen victim to respectability politics.
>>>> Which brings me to my first story.
Jermaine Anderson is stereo-typically respectable. He’s 43 years old, owns his own home, works for the Parks & Recreation Department, and is a leader in his local church. He’s fit, trim, neat, and mannerly.
16 years ago, Jermaine was convicted for possessing and using counterfeit money, and he went to prison for it. He did three years of hard time. He owned it. He made a huge mistake and paid a heavy price for it. Prison was rough, but he endured it. He was a model prisoner, and when he got out, he walked on the straight and narrow path – not only avoiding any crimes, but becoming a model citizen. For years he was a manager at Wal-Mart, and eventually worked for several other retail outlets, before settling in as a government employee in his hometown.
And over the past 13 years since Jermaine’s release from prison, he’s been a valuable member of his community. No more arrests. No more crimes. No tickets. Nothing. That’s why he was shocked recently when federal agents barged into his home and served him a warrant for his arrest. He literally thought it was a case of mistaken identity.
They said it was for financial crimes. Of course Jermaine told them that he already went to prison for that and served his time. But guess what the federal government is saying. They are saying they forgot to have him serve 18 additional months in federal prison for the same crimes.
They aren’t saying he has done anything wrong since his release. They are saying when they released him from prison 13 years ago, that they did it 18 months too early, and now they want him, as a 43 year old homeowner who works for the Parks and Recreation department, to report back to prison. It’s outrageous.
Of course his attorneys are fighting it, but it may not be enough. The federal government is not saying that Jermaine has been running from the law – the man works for the government. He has passed background checks and even served his probation time after he was released. He hasn’t been living under someone else’s name or something like that – this is the government’s error. And now they basically want him to turn his whole life upside down and go back to prison because they made a huge mistake.
I’m working with some friends of Jermaine to see what we can do to help him, but he is literally supposed to report back to prison any day now – and the government isn’t budging on their case. If he gets sent to prison, let’s raise the money to pay for his mortgage and set him up for when he returns, but I’m going to get some more information and report back here tomorrow and tell you some more action steps, OK?
Next Up – Facebook just made what I truly believe is a historic announcement about their full ban on white supremacy and white nationalism – and I want to give credit where credit is due and breakdown some complicated decisions that have to come next.
As you may have seen, Facebook recently made a HUGE announcement that they are going to ban all white supremacists and white nationalists AND all people who support them from both Facebook and Instagram. I can’t tell you how historic of a development this truly is. And this is why civil rights organizations really, really matter – because behind the scenes the nations leading civil rights groups have been fighting for this for a long time and it’s the single biggest move to stomp out hate that has ever happened on social media.
Now some people are screaming “free speech,” but they don’t understand how free speech actually works. Free speech means that if you wanna be hateful in your house you can. If you wanna be hateful out on the sidewalk you can. If you even wanna be hateful at a rally, you can.
But businesses are allowed to say you can’t be hateful inside of their establishments – and every time you put in your username and password to log into Facebook or Instagram – you have to abide by their rules and regulations – their terms of service – and they are fully allowed to say what words and phrases and images are or are not allowed there. This isn’t about free speech. They are a corporation. And corporations have the power to ban hate from their platforms.
And it’s important that this development has happened because bigotry and hate crimes are growing like wildfire in our nation. Listen to me – do you know when the deadliest hate crime ever against Jews in this country took place? It didn’t happen during the Holocaust. The deadliest hate crime EVER against Jews in this country happened just 4 months ago at the tree of life synagogue when a white supremacist walked right in there and slaughtered 9 senior citizens. And he planned and announced that attack online.
Do you know when the deadliest hate crime against African Americans in the past 90 years took place? Most people guess that it happened in the 1950s or 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement – but no – the deadliest hate crime against African Americans in our lifetime took place in 2015 when Dylann Roof walked right into a Charleston Church and murdered the pastor and 8 others and a small group bible study? And he was radicalized online.
Do you know when the deadliest hate crime against Muslims in our lifetime took place? It happened just two weeks ago when a white supremacist murdered 50 Muslim men, women, and children praying at mosques in New Zealand – and guess where he streamed it? Facebook Live.
These bigots are using Facebook groups and Facebook pages to spread their hate – and even plot violence. I’m glad Facebook took this bold step. It won’t be easy to enforce. But the costs of not enforcing it are literally life and death. And we must never use how difficult something may be to keep us from trying to tackle a problem.
>> Next up I want to close out today by talking about the bravery and courage of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and the constant attacks she is under from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Thank you all for making it all through our second full episode of The Breakdown!
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Produced and Engineered by Willis Polk II
Additional Instrumentation by: Christian Idris “Idrys” Shannon, Lance “Lance Fury” Powlis, Markeith Black & Smok Tageous
Additional Engineering by Amond “AJ” Jackson for Salem Psalms Library
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Scratches by Kenny “DJ FlipFlop” Vanderberg