DCP 82 What’s In It For The Culture: Dr. Christina Greer
Transcribed by: Taji Senior
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:00:03] Welcome to Dear Culture, the podcast that gives you news you can trust for the culture of your co-host Gerren Keith Gaynor, managing editor at theGrio
Dr. Christina Greer [00:00:11] And I’m your special guest co-host theGrio politics editor and associate professor of political science at Fordham University, Dr. Christina Greer. And this week, we are asking, Dear Culture , what in the world is going on?
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:00:31] What in the world is going on in indeed, but first, Dr. Greer, we at theGrio call you C.G. and so your family. So I’m going to call you C.G. for the rest of the show, if that’s OK with you.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:00:41] That is more than OK with me.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:00:44] We’re so happy to have you, C.G. Obviously, my girl, Shana, my vivacious, beautiful co-host, isn’t here with us this week. She’s on vacation. And, you know, taking time out for yourself is important and we support that here at theGrio. But first, before we get into a very important episode talking about what’s happening here in the US and around the world, I want to first talk about the Emmy Awards. Now, the Emmy Awards had a record 37 nominations and many people were left upset because not one actor won an Emmy this this past Emmy Award and twenty, twenty one and only two wins. And it was in writing and for producing. That was Michaela Coel, who won for her beautiful writing and her show, I May Destroy You on HBO. And Rupaul won a record 11th Emmy for Rupal Drag Race, which we all love so much, so entertaining, and so lots of them. But I was left disappointed to not see more black and brown winners. Given that it was a historic number of nominees, I expected to at least see Lovecraft country on HBO when some awards and also M.J. Rodriguez, who did a phenomenal job playing Blanca Evangelista on those shows, is now off the air. And I was expecting to see at least one major win, especially her being the first black transgender woman nominated for lead actress in a drama. And so many people felt like this was yet another Oscars. So white and our IRI’s watching. Our dear friend Marc Lamont Hill flipped from him, saying that we should stop expecting to be disappointed or be mad means that we have an expectation and we shouldn’t have an expectation for institutions that we have said consistently, do not censor us and are racist in many, many times. I know you probably have opinions about this. What did you think about the Emmy Awards? Were you expecting to see some more wins?
Dr. Christina Greer [00:02:50] No, I mean, sadly, I wasn’t. You know, the needle moved. Yes, we have nominations, but yeah, you know, you and I both know that the the talent in the black community is is far and wide, and it never seems to be recognized adequately and sufficiently at these awards shows. So, you know, Byron Allen is listening, the owner of the grill. Maybe we need to just have our own awards shows to really highlight the incredible acting. You know, and I’m not trying to take away anything from McKayla, Cole and Rupal. Let’s also be clear. McNicol clearly could have won for best acting. And I made sure you I mean, she you know, even from chewing gum, she was shut out. And so it feels like the Color Purple moment all over again. Remember the Oscars many, many, many years ago? You know, to be color purple is to be nominated and then you walk home with nothing. And we saw that again with Lovecraft country. We have so much talent in the black TV and movie world that just still isn’t recognized. And so, you know, Ted LASO and mayor of this town, those are great hacks, great shows. They’re fun and entertaining. But something about the jurors when they’re deciding who actually gets to take on these awards. Surprise, surprise. It’s not black actors. And we know, Gerren, that these awards, they do matter. Right? Not just for someone’s ego, but this affects your price point. Right. This affects your next gig and how much you’re able to make and negotiate when you’re going up, you know, for your next television show on whatever network it may be to say that I was an Emmy Award winner, not just an Emmy nominee. And so now you’re messing with our money. And that’s where I have a problem, because it’s it’s not just about something on the shelf. It’s really about the longevity of people’s crafts. And so, sadly, I think so many viewers are accustomed to seeing black actors perform brilliantly and be shut out. The fact that Michael K. Williams, the late, great Michael K. Williams, did not have a posthumous Emmy, you know, or hadn’t been didn’t have Emmys from previous roles that he had had Boardwalk Empire, The Wire shoot. His little quick stint on community was brilliant. So. I mean, my interest in the Emmys wanes every year, I like to see black people dressed up and supporting one another, but it’s gotten to the point where we know that if we look to these award shows for our validation, we will be sorely mistaken and we will be searching for quite some time.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:05:25] I also want to shout out Debbie Allen because she got the governor’s award and it was a long time coming. She actually, I believe either was the first, but I think she was the first black woman to get the governor’s award. I don’t want to make sure we shot her out as well, because she’s just a staple not just in Hollywood, but especially in black America. But see what else is on your mind this week? Well, I mean, you
Dr. Christina Greer [00:05:47] Definitely shout out to Debbie Allen. Obviously, I loved her ever since Fame to say nothing about her cameos on The Cosby Show and A Different World. And, you know, Amistad that she helped bring to the screen. I mean, she has just always been, I think, a household name and even thinking about what she did during covid, making sure we were all moving on Tuesdays. And you know what she does with The Black Nutcracker, this is my critique of the Emmys, is not to take away from all of the black talent that was recognized, even the nominees. It’s just a critique of the larger sort of system that refuses to go the full length. But other than that, I mean, I think honestly, Jane, what I’m thinking about this week, I do want to recognize and circle back to something you said about Shawna, you know, leading the way and taking some rest. I think, you know, September is a really hard month for a lot of people, especially a lot of your listeners. You got kids going back to school. A lot of us are now mandatory back in person, either in the office or in the classroom. And I think the fact that we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic and watching the news and dealing with, you know, January six 2.0 last Saturday for those people who were in D.C. and thinking about all the ways that this country still has a long, long way to go, I always say we have to normalize rest. And I think that Shauna is leading the charge this week by taking some rest. I hope you do the same, but I think that’s that’s where I am. I definitely feel September always feels like treading water for me because I’m back in school teaching. There are all the meetings and board meetings and everything seems to be collapsing in September. And so I just want to kind of remind our listeners that you are not alone if you need to. You know, I love a nap for those people who were, you know, listening from New York when our mayor de Blasio said that he took naps and everyone around him, you know, was a grown man who takes naps, I was like, kudos to you, de Blasio. Like, I critique you on a lot of things, but I’m right there with you and taking a nap. So a little power nap, 10 minutes little followed that 30 minutes. Little nap roulet, you know, don’t set your alarm clock goes like I think that, you know, we have to just make sure we as black people especially and explicitly make sure we we get rest with all that’s going on in the world and our communities and our families.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:08:10] Amen. Rest is also a form of liberation. So I definitely agree. But let’s switch gears a bit, because I’m so happy we have you we have your beautiful expertize and knowledge on so many things happening in the US and across the globe. We have Texas all but completely banning abortions, a chaotic withdrawal from a 20 year war in Afghanistan, raging wildfires, devastating floods. And even the White House is trying to get Nicki Minaj on the phone to educate her about vaccines. To simply put, it is been a lot. And I know we could all use your brilliant mind on these matters to make sense of things. And more importantly, why is important to black America. So let’s get into it, shall we? So first, the biggest news story, I would say this week has been what’s happening at the southern border. A Haitian migrants, as many as reportedly sixteen thousand have come to the border trying to seek refuge from what’s happening in Haiti. Obviously, a lot has happened in Haiti. There’s been the assassination of their former president. There was the earthquake that has killed over two hundred thousand people. And then also just really just decades of continuous tragedy is happening in Haiti. First, I want to ask you, what were your initial thoughts when you saw those images and the video of a Border Patrol mistreating, putting that lightly, mistreating Haitian migrants at the border?
Dr. Christina Greer [00:09:50] I mean, my heart just just it felt like someone just used it really tightly. You know, I couldn’t tell if I was looking at something from twenty twenty one or some sort of movie recreation from the eighteen hundreds. You know, when you see a man on a white man on a horse with a whip. As a black person, that that brings in a lot of images when you know, the level of and we actually I don’t know the level of desperation that people at the border feel. Right. And so this myopic view that so many people have when they talk about immigration and we don’t ask ourselves why would people risk life and limb to try and cross into the United States knowing that we don’t we don’t welcomed with open arms, why would people subject themselves to such danger and death? Right. What have we as a nation done to their home countries to make people risk their lives to come into this nation? And so seeing that picture, knowing that so many of those men on those horses didn’t even see those young men and women as human beings, they just saw them as these entities to be stopped, to be killed, to be whipped, to be subdued into submission. And there’s a lack of humanity that. Is so poignant in those pictures, but I think that there’s a lack of humanity when we think about Haiti. Full stop. You know, like France, where’s the money? The U.S., you all have been playing games and using Haiti as your personal football for far too long. Where’s your accountability and culpability? You know, and not just shouting, I’m Bill Clinton and his, you know, bungling of Haitian politics, but, you know, so many leaders before him and after. And then we think about just the level of desperation because we’ve had earthquakes, we’ve had hurricanes. We know that so many people are still trying to live, not just survive, but to thrive, you know, and just the legacy of such a beautiful culture and the folks that we have in the Haitian diaspora, not just in the United States, but obviously in countries throughout the Caribbean. Who are watching as their loved ones are trying to not only bring attention to what’s going on on the island, but a level of humanity that doesn’t seem to have existed in this country ever, even when we think about Cubans as economic refugees or political refugees and Haitians as economic refugees and even setting up that dichotomous relationship to say that one group is more deserving to be here than the other. And we know that, you know, I wrote a book called Black Ethnics. We know why that is right. We know about population control. We know about phenotype and coloration and who is a desirable immigrant and who isn’t. We’re not talking about the six hundred fifty thousand Canadians who just roll across the border every year, white Canadians and just incorporate themselves into American society seamlessly. And so we focus on the southern border, not the northern border, but to see that Whipp Jahren and then to see people debating. Well, I mean, it wasn’t a whip. It was you know, I forgot the term they’re using now instead of whip. It doesn’t matter. This is a man who had the picture I’m thinking of in my head who had nothing and is just trying to make a life for himself and his family or just survive. And there’s just no humanity at the border right now. And I think a lot of people are waiting to hear from not just Joe Biden, but Kamala Harris, because this is actually where descriptive representation does matter. You came to the black community and you asked us for your vote and you said with a wink and a smile that you would be eyes and ears in that administration to make sure that black people, you know, had a voice and a seat at the table. This is the time that we don’t need her to go to the border and say, don’t come. This is the time that we need her to remember that she is a child of not one, but two immigrants, one from an island in the Caribbean. And she needs to see. Haitian immigrants and refugees as deserving, and I know that that’s a lot to put on just her shoulders, it needs to be a whole administration. It needs to be a whole change in the ethos of our nation. But I’m starting with the number two, and I need her to get into the president’s ear and figure out a way that we can. Solve this crisis, I mean, and I know that’s a lot to put on her plate because we haven’t been able to solve it before, but where we are in this nation and how we’re treating people at the border, not just from Haiti, but from all of the Latin American, you know, Central American countries, we now have to recognize that there is no such thing as illegal immigration. Right. We’re all legal here technically, but we know that this has been the history of the United States. We’re a nation of immigrants. We’re a nation of refugees. And so now we can’t all of a sudden start being picking and choosing because they’re not from Europe. And so I just the whole framing of the conversation really does break my heart because I think it just goes to a deeper, deep seated, rooted antiblack racism that is inherent in this country. That makes it really difficult for us to to see a solution in sight.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:15:06] Absolutely. You mentioned, you know, immigrants who are deemed desirable and and how race has played a role in and possibly in how the U.S. treats Haitian immigrants versus other immigrants. And this is something that our White House correspondent April Ryan posed to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki this week.
April Ryan [00:15:28] Haitian that left in 2010 and traveled to South America and now trying to travel here or the ones who left after this earthquake. Either way, what is there for them to go back to these planes and taking them back? The nation is in unrest. The president was assassinated there. Gangs, the people are scared to death, scared of democratic rule is not necessarily in place. The people are calling, particularly those here and this nation calling for the elections not to be held for time because of unrest there. And then you also have the issue of earthquakes. So what is there to go back to? What are you deporting them back to?
Jen Psaki [00:16:08] Well, April, I will say that our objective and our focus is not only in implementing current immigration policies. We have also been working to provide a range of assistance, working closely with officials from the government as individuals are going back to Haiti to provide a range of financial assistance, to provide a range of technical assistance that is ongoing. And we certainly support and want to be good actors and supporting Haiti during a very difficult time, as you noted, with a government that is still working to get back to a point of stability with recovery from an earthquake. And that’s why we have a range of programs, options, as well as financial support in place.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:16:48] And essentially, Psaki’s response on behalf of the administration is that they there they don’t that there is not one policy that is for Haitian migrants versus others and that things are pretty chaotic. There was a kind of a pivot to former President Donald Trump and kind of blaming his administration for some of the issues like backlog’s. But we are seeing Haitians being deported in droves back to Haiti. Many people feel that that is inhumane. Members of Congress, Senator Schumer and even the freshman Congressman Emanuel Jones, have called out the administration for these deportations. Do you buy the White House’s response as to why things are happening the way that they are right now?
Dr. Christina Greer [00:17:34] No, and a lot of immigrants obviously are fleeing countries that have political instability. A lot of immigrants that we’re seeing refugees are are dealing with the fallout of climate change and the effects of climate change. And we know that that’s that’s one of the key elements of some of the refugee Haitian refugees that we see coming trying to to enter into the United States. I mean, we know that every year during hurricane season in the Caribbean gets more and more intense. And for those of us who believe in an African diaspora, I really do worry about what that means for black people in a global space. We know that. People in Haiti have been dealing with political instability on and off for decades. You couple that with not just earthquakes, but also hurricanes. And we do have this recipe where I think that there needs to be I’m not going to use the word priority, but there needs to be a distinction between what has gone on and what continues to go on in Haiti. And the same way that we figured out how to give certain groups burying designated statuses. We need to do the same right now because their levels of desperation, I think that we’re seeing and if nothing else, the bare minimum freeze. The deportations do not send people back to a nation that won. Many of them have not been back to you in years. So they’re going to a country that they know and love. But it’s some don’t speak the language. Some no longer have family there. It’s literally like me just picking you up and dropping you off in South Korea. But good luck, right? And you know, no one you don’t speak the language and you have no bearings and in some ways not a real connection to the land. And then you’re doing so and dropping people off in a place where the infrastructure just isn’t there. So at the bare minimum, I would ask the the administration to halt the deportations to end and not put people in in jails and prisons while we’re waiting for their cases. But to let them still work and pay taxes and be productive members of society like they have been so that they can actually support loved ones on on various islands, because as we know, people have had to disperse. And so people, family members, not just Haitians and family members, not just still in Haiti, but in other neighboring islands who are just trying to to make a living and survive and possibly thrive if possible.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:20:09] Now, let’s switch gears and talk about covid, because we’re still in the pandemic. It’s just never ending. Recently, President Biden issued a new mandate, a vaccine mandate for government workers and businesses that have contracts with the government. Pfizer has approved their vaccine for kids ages five through 11, which is a really breakthrough moment for us as we talk about covid and how we deal with that in schools. And we’ve also, unfortunately, have reached a new milestone. Six hundred and seventy five thousand Americans have now died from covid, and that is now more passed the amount of Americans who died from the Spanish flu in the 1920s. So what are your thoughts about where we are right now in this moment, in this pandemic?
Dr. Christina Greer [00:20:58] Well,Gerren, I don’t know what the end looks like. I mean, there’s so many people who still don’t even believe that Cuba is real. There are people who will believe the most ridiculous, inane information on the interweb and spread. That is fact. I feel so badly for parents who have to send their children to school unvaccinated because, you know, in so many places the vaccine isn’t available for the five to 11 year olds. So they’re literally just taking a gamble with their children every day as we get more and more people digging in their heels, not wearing masks, refusing to get vaccinated when they could and should, and just not being part of really wanting to work together collectively to solve this issue. And it’s become this partizan dividing point where this is common sense, you know, to say nothing of, you know, we have far too many black people who just don’t believe in science and far too many black people with platforms who are spreading misinformation. And we know that covid is disproportionately affecting us and our communities in very specific ways, but we just can’t afford it. And you mentioned six seventy five, six hundred seventy five thousand Jarrin. I mean, that’s and counting, right? I mean, we haven’t hit up winter yet and flu season. The reason why we didn’t have a bad flu season last year was, by and large, a lot of people were on lockdown and or masked up when they had to go out. But we know now people, you know, waxed and waxed and ready to roll. And so in the wintertime, we’re going to have a lot more people who are just physically on the streets interacting with folks. A lot of people are exhausted. They’re not washing their hands for 20 seconds like they used to. They’re not wiping down surfaces like they were before. They’re not taking the same precautions. And so we know that flu season this year could be a lot worse than last year coupled with these changing variants. I think what we’re Ammu like we were on we have Delta, but now we also have the new variant, like there’s so many different types of variants because also people moving around. Folks are traveling internationally and domestically, so it’s this this little covid stew that we’re brewing up, but we know these numbers are real. When you look at who’s actually still contracting the type of covid that lands you in the hospital and ultimately on your death bed. Those are the unvaccinated people who seem to be putting everyone else in jeopardy.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:23:19] Now, we have to talk about we touched on this a bit last week’s episode, but I got to hear your take on the whole Nicki Minaj saga. She went on Twitter. She essentially said that she is still doing her research and she does not plan on taking the vaccine until she does that. And she implied that taking the vaccine could somehow make you impotent. And this is something that the CDC had to debunk on her time line. Doctors of black doctors across the country, even the minister of health of Trinidad, which is her native country, had to speak out on this issue and talk about how much of a waste of their time it was to have to fact check her because she tweeted this out to her over twenty two plus million followers. And even the White House invited Nicki Minaj to come on the phone, even though she had erroneously said that the White House invited her to the White House. And they were like, no, actually, we just wanted to get her on the phone with with the health secretary to talk about the facts about the vaccine. What did you think about that? I know you thought it was irresponsible, but I just wanted to hear your thoughts.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:34] Well, you know, my sister’s an M.D. doctor, and so I’ve seen what her life has looked like for the past year and a half. I’ve seen the toll that it’s taken on her physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I’ve seen the stress it’s put on my nieces and her husband who have had to support my sister as she has literally just been surrounded by death for a year and a half. And, you know, she’s doing vaccine outreach and education to the black population in Philadelphia. So the amount of work that my sister and so many other doctors, especially black doctors, have done, you know, on top of just being at work, all the external stuff for education that they’ve been doing for black communities has been above and beyond. So to disrespect that level of work and dedication for these black doctors, I’m already calling you Nicki Minaj, too, when you find that we are talking about Nicki Minaj constantly and it’s not about her music, you need better people around you. We keep talking about your brother and his improprieties. We’re talking about your husband and his sexual misconduct. And now we’re talking about you in the vaccine and misinformation in 22 million people. I feel like you need to focus on the music. And I’m not trying to do is shut up and dribble type comment, but it’s like you got way too much drama swirling around you for nonsense and not the craft. So focus on that. And number three, shout out to our friend. And you know, your family member, Joy Reid, who used her platform. Joy was very clear. Joy was like, I only have two plus million followers. I don’t have twenty two million followers. But week after week, Joy’s been bringing on black doctors, black female doctors in particular. That particular day that she called out Nicki Minaj, she happened to have two white doctors on the show. And of course, Nicki made it about, you know, she’s shucking and jiving for the man. It’s like, no, she actually cares about black people and has done the research. And I have talked to people who have dedicated their lives to making sure that the health, safety and welfare of American citizens is their utmost priority, not someone who’s doing independent research on the interweb. What does that even mean? Gerin when we keep seeing, you know, folks, I keep hearing that, you know, and I have some some friends who who aren’t vaccinated, like I’m doing my own research. I’m not anti facts. I’m just doing my own research. And it’s like. On what? On what? What what? Like are you dissecting mitochondria? Like, are you going back and opening up your ninth grade textbooks from honors biology? What exactly is the research that you’re doing? Because here’s the research I’m doing. All the beds in the hospital right now are filled with people who are vaccinated, the people who were dying are the people who are vaccinated. Hey, that’s research. That’s data. That’s quick data. I don’t need to go deep into the interweb to find out. Well, you know, there’s five cases of people who took Moderna who had an adverse reaction. I was like of the millions of people who took it. Yeah, it’s called statistics. That’s exactly what happens. You know, there are lots of people who get hit by cars when they cross the street, like you’re just not going to walk outside and crossing a crosswalk or you’re not going to drive a car anymore. I mean, so this this level of I don’t want to just be a sheep, you know, and I’m going to do my own thing is so dangerous when we’ve seen what this virus has done to our community especially. And so I think Joy calling her out was the right thing to do. I felt badly for the minister of health in Trinidad because as we see the numbers spiking on Caribbean islands, because they rely so much on tourism as their economic viability, many islands don’t have a choice but to let in people who could possibly bring coronavirus to their shores. And the exhaustion and exasperation you heard in his voice, spending an entire two days researching this story to just make sure that he came to the citizens of Trinidad and the world to say that this is nonsense. This is actually there is no basis in this. And we can’t have black men, especially not taking the vaccine, because you heard from your cousin’s friend that something happens with impotence. If you take this vaccine, stop it. And Nickey, at a certain point in time, you know, you’re not 18. You’ve got to grow up. Like if you’re going to actually say these things to the American public, I need you to have some gravitas and some real fact behind what you’re saying, because twenty two plus million followers is a real thing and not all of them are in the United States. In Trinidad, they are around the world. And we cannot have people around the world listening to someone who’s done her own research on the interweb. That doesn’t make any sense to me.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:29:11] Exactly. And some of y’all who are out here doing research are really just looking for an excuse, anything to make you not want to take the vaccine. And so I just encourage everybody to please learn and more importantly, trust science, trust doctors, trust the experts. I know as a journalist, that is crucial for us to trust the people who are put in the medical industry, elected officials. Obviously, we know that there’s a complicated history when it comes to medicine and black people. But come on, we’re not the only ones taking this vaccine. This is not some scheme to take us off the planet. Please give X, right?
Dr. Christina Greer [00:29:48] And if so, why are all the rich people taking it? If it’s some scheme to eradicate, you know, people of color, it’s like, well, then all of the wealthy people have already taken it.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:29:57] So and some of them have gone to black neighborhoods to get the vaccine. So talk about it.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:30:02] And I think honestly, during the the most and this is we talked about this before. This is part of the dangerous residual effect of Donald Trump. He is the one who really made not trusting science a mainstream phenomena because he doesn’t trust facts, didn’t trust journalists, didn’t trust science. And so now you have far too many people who may not necessarily support the former president, but he made that whole ethos of ignorance palpable and acceptable in mainstream conversation. And I think that is a long standing effect of his tenure, that we will have to try and tangle for decades to come.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:30:37] Indeed, speaking of that very topic of Donald Trump and the impact of his administration, let’s talk about what’s happened in Texas. They passed, I believe, as SB eight was essentially is an anti-abortion bill that now prohibits abortions after six weeks. But more importantly, there is this part of the law that now allows an everyday citizen to sue a physician or anyone who aids in said abortion and allows them to file suit against them for, I think, a minimum a minimum of ten thousand dollars. Sanjay, what’s going on
Dr. Christina Greer [00:31:23] Besides a war on women? You know, what really frustrates me is that so many of these men who have been working on this legislation during this isn’t just something that somebody came up with last week, like, oh, this is interesting. This is part of, you know, Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, not passed, but litigated in 1973, Supreme Court case from the state of Texas. That’s that’s not a coincidence. And there have been people who have been working on overturning Roe v. Wade since 1973. They’ve been trying to have test cases in states and counties all across the country, primarily in the south, because you’re a little more conservative down there, especially with your state houses and certain judges. And now we’re just seeing the fruits of their labor kind of come to fruition. I mean, what really frustrates me is, you know, talking to my sister about this, who’s an OBGYN, it’s people not following science, you know, not to get too much into, like, you know, eighth grade sex ed, but like, hey, guess what? A woman’s period comes every four weeks. So for a lot of women, they don’t know that they’re pregnant until they miss a period. Right. And so six weeks, very few women know that they’re pregnant before six weeks. By the time you figure out, OK, this is what needs to happen, I can’t have a child because there is no social safety net. You’ve defunded public education. You don’t care about prenatal care. You clearly don’t care about the environment. You don’t care about my housing or my safety. I’m supposed to put them in schools that have shootouts every day. I mean, all the ways the Republicans have defunded the social safety net. You just want to make me have a kid, but then drop me off on the curb and good luck, then raise it yourself. So it’s like they’re not the pro-choice, the pro-life party. They’re the pro birth party. They’re going to make you have a baby. And then they did you. And there is no such thing as pro-life because you damn sure believe in the death penalty. You believe in, you know, one of the lawmakers who was like, we should put women to death if they have an abortion make. That makes sense. Please, sir. Right. And so it’s not about that. It’s really are you pro-choice? Are you anti choice or are you do you believe in a woman’s right to choose that she has autonomy over her own body and can make her own decisions? Or do you not believe that? Do you believe that the government should control a woman’s body, whether she is eighteen years old, sixteen years old, thirty five years old or forty five years old? That is what you’re saying, that a woman does not have the choice to make decisions for herself, her body and her family? My and her future. And make this decision without the government intervening, because none of these men who are pushing this legislation, they’re not trying to help out with the baby, they’re not trying to survive on it. They’re not trying to make sure that you’re having a healthy environment for this child. They just want to make sure that they are in control of who comes in this world. And then they then that’s it. And so my biggest concern, Gerre, is that this is this is Texas. This isn’t some bootleg tiny little state. This is the state of Texas. It worries me that places like Mississippi and Louisiana and Alabama and Kentucky and Tennessee, all these states that are going crazy over mask mandates and vaccinations, I fear that their state houses and their courts will try and follow suit. That is my big concern. And then we start moving a little northward and we start hitting up Sunbelt states and we start moving up to the Midwest. And then before you know it, we’ve got a whole nation that doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:34:57] And let’s quickly talk about the Supreme Court, because I mentioned the implications of the Trump administration. Obviously, he was able to nominate three Supreme Court justices to the Supreme Court and obviously that conservative majority allowed this bill to stay. What do you think this conservative majority means for the future of abortion rights and women’s rights?
Dr. Christina Greer [00:35:21] You know, I think it’s pretty clear when we look at someone like Amy Barrett that, you know, just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you support women’s rights. Right. I think it’s also a situation where we have to be clear that we have to remember that George Bush. Nominated Roberts and also Alito, so of the Supreme Court, justices were looking at five actually were put in place by Trump or Bush and neither of them won the popular vote. So we we also, as political scientists, we you know, we asked about public opinion, the vast majority of people in this country, women especially, but also men, believe that abortion should be up to a woman to choose. And so we have these nine appointed, not elected individuals who are making decisions for three hundred thirty million people. And we have very little recourse once they’ve once they’ve made their call, and so I think the fear is that that Roe v. Wade 2.0 will make its way to the Supreme Court. And I think women’s rights will be rolled back by a woman on that court in ways that we just we did not anticipate we’d see after the passage or after the litigation of Roe v. Wade in nineteen seventy three.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:36:40] So as if, you know, a migrant crisis at the border, a global public health pandemic, abortion now under siege. On top of all of that, we’re seeing the impacts of hurricanes and climate change in America. Most recently, we saw the devastating impact of Hurricane Ida and other extreme weather events. I think about Louisiana, because Louisiana was hit so incredibly hard from Hurricane Ida. I think about Hurricane Katrina and just how long it took to rebuild and in many, many cases not have even rebuilt since then. And to have another devastating hurricane, predominately black and brown communities are are even more destroyed and disheartened by what’s going on. And The New York Times reports that thirty eight thousand customers are still without power. Racial minorities bear a disproportionate burden of negative health and environmental impacts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which found that black people are 40 percent more likely than other groups to currently live in places where extreme temperatures are driven by climate change, resulting in higher mortality rates. So what are your thoughts about climate change? Do you think that we are even taking climate change seriously enough, particularly because it impacts us? Yeah, well,
Dr. Christina Greer [00:38:07] I mean, but if we’re real about it, so many of the climate change activists who don’t get the shine and the reputation, it’s black people, you know, from their local communities who have been thinking about recycling. Or when we think about the activists in Flint and parts of New Jersey who care about water quality, you know, small changes that could have been made on the government level that weren’t. And now we have full crises in towns large and small. The way climate change affects black people, I mean, the fact that black neighborhoods in certain cities are hotter than others, areas like that can’t be, and it’s like what? We have fewer trees and we can take the temperature. And I mean, I first learned about that from the former mayor of Stockton, Mike Tubbs, who talked about climate change and black people in a very accessible, concrete way to help black people understand. It’s like where the front line, right, where the ones who live in the low lying parts of the city, we’re the ones who have families on the islands. We’re the ones who live in cities where our air quality is worse. We’re the ones who have childhood asthma. We’re the ones who live closest to the highways. We’re the ones who live closest to the distribution centers where all the trucks come in and out. Right. We’re the ones who live next to the Superfund sites where all of a sudden, you know, parts of Louisiana, it’s like, why does everyone outside of Baton Rouge have, you know, high rates of a particular type of cancer because of either dumping of, you know, particular chemicals or living next to a particular type of plant. So we’re on the front lines of it. And I think a lot of local activists have been doing the best they can with very limited resources. But I think, you know, places like the Grio that highlight the work of people across the country, black people specifically who are doing this work is just one small step to getting us to fully understand how this whole picture fits together, how it fits together with Haiti and a refugee crisis at the border, how it fits together with, you know, what we’re seeing with young people in cities and lead lead paint poisoning. You know, like why do we still have issues that we thought were litigated 50 years ago, still occurring in major cities? You know, why is it that black folks are being forced out of cities? And for some it’s literally for their health and safety. But then what does that then mean for the economic viability for their families moving on as these property values continue to rise and we’re no longer there to take advantage of it. So it’s a larger economic structure, but it is also a way that we have to to look at how we’re interconnected to not just our relatives in the South and our relatives in the Caribbean and our friends and family in major cities. But this is across all 50 states that we have to be aware of it. And I think, you know, podcast’s like you and Shawna’s do your culture, some of the work that I try and write about is really a way to just get us to, to really prioritize of. In addition to all the other things that are on our plate, we haven’t even talked about police brutality, we haven’t talked about inequities, we haven’t talked about sort of the financial fallout from covid for black people, all these other things. But we also have to keep climate change and those effects at the forefront of our minds.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:41:25] Yeah, because the impact of climate change is happening now, is happening every day. It’s so serious. I really want us to really tap into this and. Shout out to the community leaders who are ringing the alarm on this issue, but, yeah, to your point, there’s so much for us to worry about. There’s so much on our plates, which is why, again, we need to rest and take care of ourselves, take care of our bodies, take care of our minds. But thank you so much for bringing your expertize. I couldn’t think of anybody better to help me had this conversation because it’s a lot to unpack and you do it so effortlessly. But staying informed and aware means having the knowledge to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and having the power to hold the people we elect to office who are here to serve and protect us accountable. And you can also stay up to date on our website www.youtube.com.
Dr. Christina Greer [00:42:30] Well, thank you so much for having me, and we also want to remind our listeners to support your local black businesses and donate to your local organizations and religious institutions. The business that will be highlighting this week is Ellis Island Tea, founded in 2008 by Naila Ellis Brown. Ellis Island tea was inspired by her great grandfather’s home country of Jamaica and her family’s delicious secret recipe. Ellis Brown has since made history as the owner of the largest black woman owned beverage company in the United States. You can pick up some Ellis Island tea the next time you’re in Target, Sam’s Club, Costco or any other major retailer. To learn more, visit Ellis Island Tea Dotcom. The bureau has published a list of 50 plus black businesses to support during the coronavirus pandemic if you’d like your business to be featured. Email us at info at the Grio Dotcom. That’s Guerreiro Dotcom.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:43:25] Thank you for listening to Dear Culture. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review and subscribe to the show where every listen to a podcast and share it with everyone you know.
Gerren Keith Gaynor [00:43:34] And please email all questions, suggestions and compliments. We love those two podcasts at theGrio Dotcom. The Dear Culture Podcast is brought to you by theGrio and Executive produced by Blue Telusma and co-produced by Taji Senior and Abdul Quddus.