When President Obama was elected, white people kept going up to Black people and high-fiving them. Yeah, I did it, too. Now the reverse is happening. In a locker room on Queen Anne on Saturday morning, the poor woman just trying to have her swim while Black received the reassurances of no fewer than three white people. Maybe she didn't mind. It's just that we can't always be heckling the half-dressed, unsuspecting person of color at the crack of dawn in a white neighborhood about race just because white people overwhelmingly voted for a racist candidate and now the rest of us are mortified.
It's true: social segregation is real. And White Americans are far more likely to be racially segregated than others.
Yet maybe we can agree that right now, white folks need to hear the voices of people of color more than ever, and to keep hearing them in order to understand better what we're missing in our own racially segregated conversations.
If you're with me on this and you want to hear more folks of color without necessarily conscripting your few friends of color into your ongoing racial education, then I super-strongly recommend subscribing to three brilliant podcasts.
This week's episode of Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race is incredible. Among the topics: How useful is it to see this as a moment when white people have to draw a line and step to one side of it on the subject of race? How does creating a dichotomy between "good" and "bad" white people actually leave out the entire swath of the population that voted for Trump and are actually in total denial that his speech and policy plans are deeply racist? What do you do about the gap? Seriously: Listen.
Then there's Politically Re-Active with comedians W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu, who are funny and passionate and generally fantastic. This week, the whole subject of the podcast, recorded the morning after the election, is anger. Hari has a rant that made me punch my steering wheel in support, and the guest, writer Roxane Gay, talks about why she despises those dumbass "Love Trumps Hate" signs. Disagree? Agree? Hell, your feelings aren't the point. Just listen for a second (okay, an hour).
Remember the Black penis essay in the New York Times Magazine? It was a critical masterpiece as well as a pleasure to read, and its author, Wesley Morris, has started a relatively new podcast called Still Processing with the equally gifted writer/thinker Jenna Wortham. The episode recorded the morning after the election, "The Reckoning," with Margo Jefferson, is a portrait of emotional devastation and intergenerational wisdom.
Basically, any of us is lucky we get to tune into these people. FOR FREE.
Listen to one or all of these this week and I bet a habit starts.