‘What’s In It For Us?’ podcast unpacks Biden’s first round of cabinet picks

Hosts Dr. Christina Greer and Dr. Jason Johnson also discuss the Georgia senate debates and Obama's #DefundThePolice comments

This week on the What’s In It For Us? podcast, Dr. Christina Greer and Dr. Jason Johnson look at the Georgia senate debates, President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet picks, former President Barack Obama’s comments on #DefundThePolice, and how the COVID-19 pandemic and protests are making local mayors’ jobs harder than the President’s.

Earlier this week, President Obama said on the Snapchat show, Good Luck America, that “snappy” slogans such as  #DefundThePolice hinder progress in the movement for police reform. 

Read More: Obama: Candidates lose support with ‘snappy’ slogans like ‘defund the police’

(Photo: Getty Images)

“The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?” Obama said.

For co-hosts Dr. Greer and Dr. Johnson, Obama’s comments veer on Black respectability politics. “No one should be surprised that Obama acts like a 50-something-year-old Black guy with money,” said Johnson. He added that it’s not shocking that the mainstream Democrats dislike the slogan.

Greer noted that “Black skin does not equal progressive politics” and the Black political spectrum is so complex and diverse.

Read More: Sunny Hostin on Obama’s ‘defund the police’ comments: ‘He’s wrong’

“There are no Democrats who lost their seats who ran on #DefundThePolice” said Johnson.

And in Georgia, the debates were a “disaster” Greer notes. From Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Ossoff debating an empty chair meant for Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue, to the racial and gender politics of Rev. Raphael Warnock and incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s debate; it’s clear that in Georgia many dynamics are coming to the fore.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Both Greer and Johnson joked that Ossoff’s solo debate was “the side-dressing,” while the meat of the run-off debates was Loeffler and Warnock’s racialized and gendered conversation. Loeffler, the hosts argued, often tried to tie the reverend to radical Black politics and invoke a dispassionate appeal to white women “clutching their pearls” to Black men. 

“Barack was supposed to bring fried chicken, chitlins, and nonsense to the White House, yet it was Donald Trump who got KFC to the White House,” Johnson joked.

Greer added, “All the things white conservatives thought Barack Obama would do, Trump has done.”

With the start of the Biden presidency looming, the president-elect is convening one of the most diverse cabinets in history. Neither Greer nor Johnson thinks Biden’s selections so far are going to radically make any impact in the everyday lives of Black people.

Read More: Joe Biden criticism over cabinet diversity is not accurate nor fair

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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden attends the announcement of the members of his health team, including his pick for secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, at the Queen Theater December 08, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Where the impact will be most felt are in his selections for the departments of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture, and Labor, Johnson noted. Because those departments are our nation’s big three in policy, the nominee picks to head them are crucial, therefore, the What’s In It For Us? hosts remain on standby.

Johnson compared waiting for the big three as if it’s the Oscars. “I don’t care about animation or sound, I’m waiting for Best Actor,” Greer joked.

For more of this week’s episode of What’s In It For Us?, tune in below.

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