Ben & Jerry’s announces new podcast on systemic racism, White supremacy

"Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America" links periods in American history to modern-day racism in six 30-minute episodes.

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Since the early years of its founding, Ben & Jerry’s has built an ice cream empire based on the spirit of inspiring activism in people. 

Based in Burlington, Vermont, home to Sen. Bernie Sanders, the ice cream maker has made its mark standing for activism, even when it threatened their sales. The company has made many explicit statements supporting Black Lives Matter. 

The company has recently announced it is taking its support of Black Lives Matter to the airwaves. 

Ben & Jerry’s is partnering with Vox Media and The Who We Are Project for “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” a six-part podcast series that links specific periods in American history to modern-day systemic racism in 30-minute episodes.

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“Each week, we’ll explore how racism has shaped every facet of our lives and who we might become if we finally address this country’s racist history,” said author Carvell Wallace, host of “Who We Are,” which premieres on Sept. 15.

The company has also made a firm stance on reparations, Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy reminded CNN viewers back in June: “White America needs to get over its trepidations about the damage that has been done to Black America and people of color through systems and structures in our country that are, frankly, racist.”

“That may be hard for some people to hear,” McCarthy told Julia Chatterly, CNN business anchor, on “First Move.” “But, the same way that gender equity is not a problem for women to solve, a white supremacy culture is something that white people have to own, and that includes business people, where so much of the economic engine of our country lies.” 

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“We, as business people,” he said, “have to be part of the solution and not delegate that to the government or others.” 

“White structural racism exists everywhere,” McCarthy maintained, “and I think that may be difficult for some people to get their heads around.”

He explained that the “bigger part” of the “iceberg of racism” in America is under the surface. “It’s the systems, it’s the structures that oftentimes, we as white people, myself included, don’t understand.”

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Despite its popularity among all races, Ben & Jerry’s has an employee base that is still 94% white, a circumstance they address.

“We realize we are a company with a primarily white employee base in Vermont,” said a spokesman, “and we understand we must commit to specific internal action to create racial equity and address the lack of diversity within our company.” 

Ben & Jerry’s said its plan includes working with suppliers, cultural change and expanding its presence in communities of color through its franchise network.

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