TheGrio Daily

Let’s Take Our Stuff Back

Episode 151
Play

“We gotta go take back stuff that white people have taken from us because that’s what they do.” Michael Harriot looks at the hypocrisy surrounding the Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action that claims to rid race-based admissions policies but keeps legacy and athletic favoritism that benefit white students. Anytime Black people advanced in America, it’s because they demanded it; maybe that time is here yet again.

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 29: Anti-affirmative action activists with the Asian American Coalition for Education protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building on June 29, 2023 in Washington, DC. In a 6-3 vote, Supreme Court Justices ruled that race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional, setting precedent for affirmative action in other universities and colleges. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Read full transcript below.

Announcer [00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. Black Culture Amplified. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:05] Hello. I’m sure you heard about the affirmative action case that basically allowed the Supreme Court to legislate from the bench and rule against affirmative action. Or maybe you’ve heard about the abortion ruling. You know, we don’t like to wade into the topic while it’s hot in the news because, you know, a bunch of bad takes and we want to digest it. But I have been thinking about something that I want you all to think about. That’s why I want to welcome you theGriorio Daily, the only podcast that’ll tell you why we need to take stuff from white people. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:46] Yeah. So when you think about the abortion ruling, the Dobbs ruling, when you think about the Student for Fair Action, that case that basically dismantled race based considerations in higher education, except for, you know, the parts of higher education, where we risk our lives like the military institutes. When you think about many of the cases that are coming before the Supreme Court, I want us to think about what they are for real, right. So they are part of a long trend of white people not just asserting their rights, but reversing rights that Black people have already gained. It’s an attack, really, because white people want anything that Black people have. Right. And when I say white people, I’m talking about statistical majority. 57% of white Americans are against race based considerations in higher education. So if you’re white and you’re listening to this, I won’t prevent you from saying, well, not me, because, I mean, we know not all white people, because nothing is ever all. But we’re talking about white people as a statistical majority. 

Michael Harriot [00:01:56] Now, whenever Black people have taken a step forward, we’ve done it by defending our rights. Right. You think about the advances we made with civil rights legislation that was a defense of our right as equal citizens. When you think about, you know, affirmative action, that was defense of our rights to be included in the education system. You know, there’s a million examples. Emancipation was a defense of our rights to be free. We defended our rights. You know, the abolition movement was saying that slavery and owning human beings was immoral at best and inhumane at worst. But there is an opposite, right? What white people did is not just try to oppose our defense of our rights. They wanted what we had. So after emancipation, for instance, the 14th Amendment granted us full citizenship and equal protection under the law. And white people, after we made that advancement, white people specifically went after it. The national terrorist campaign that we call reconstruction was not in defense of white people’s supremacy, I guess I don’t know. But it was explicit action nationwide, a war to take back Black people’s freedom, whether by disenfranchizing them in statewide constitutions, whether it was through terrorism, like KKK and White Citizens Council, whether it was with voting rights and grandfather clauses in poll taxes and literacy tests at the poll. They didn’t defend their right to vote. What they did is explicitly try to push back Black people’s rights. 

Michael Harriot [00:03:40] Or think about the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement was active in civil rights. And then after, for instance, Brown versus Board of Education was ruled on by the Supreme Court, was supposed to desegregate education. White people created segregation academies. They first tried to get states to fund these academies, these whites only schools. They specifically wanted to steal our tax money. When we fought against lynching, the effort to create a national lynching legislation was not just a defense of Black people’s right to live. It was a defense of our humanity. And white people said, Nah, we want their lives, too. They opposed lynching legislation not because Black people were doing something that they deserved to die for, white people just wanted to kill us. When you think about affirmative action, specifically, even the schools that were included in that, that affirmative action decision, right. Harvard. Harvard ain’t majority Black. The people who were kept out of Harvard are kept out by legacy admissions, which are 75% white. You know, I’ve interviewed a person who did the study that showed that 42% of the white people at Harvard got in through a form of white affirmative action. It’s called ALDC, where athletic scholarships, legacies, deans, exceptions, and the child or children of employees are accepted into the school. They don’t have to qualify. The Black people do. And even though white people think that affirmative action like sets a lower standard, no, it just takes into account that America has constructed an education system that gives Black people, you know, 60% of Black people to attend majority Black schools. Those schools are, on average, underfunded by about $1,266 per student versus white students. 

Michael Harriot [00:05:33] Even the richest, wealthiest 10% of Black children attend schools that are worse than the poorest white students. So if you factor in navigating a system that is specifically built against you. When you consider someone for admission that ain’t giving away white people spots who earn them. White people didn’t earn those spots. 42% of them got into a loophole and the rest of them usually navigated the system that was constructed to give them a better education than most Black children in America. Literally most. Two out of every three Black children specifically. So knowing that, then what are we supposed to do about it? Well, we have been defending these rights, but when you defend those rights, you leave it up to white people. White people are a majority of state legislators, the other majority of the federal legislator, they are the 46 out of 47 presidents. They are the majority of the CEO of Fortune 500 companies, boards, school presidents, banking institutions. So when we defend our rights, what we are defending them against is white people coming to take them again. But that defense is adjudicated by white people. 

Michael Harriot [00:06:51] And I think that our more successful strategy would be to take white people stuff. Like all the stuff they took from us. We got to stop defending what we have or what we were supposed to have and go take their stuff. Those schools, like the University of North Carolina, Black people are 22% of the population. Black people are not 22% of the population at the University of North Carolina. So they’re taking Black people’s money and giving it to white people. We need to go take our money back. When you think about banking institutions, right, like those banking institutions exist because Black people pay taxes, which, you know, helps the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which, you know, insures deposits of all of those institutions. Right. It’s not necessarily through tax money, but we create it. And we voted for and we put our money into those institutions that fund the FDIC, which allows banks to give money to white people on a much higher level. Right. When you think about police, when we defend ourselves and our rights, to be free, to not be illegally searched, to not be shot in the face by police, to not be victims of police brutality, the opposite side does not argue against locking up criminals. They argue in support of the police’s right to kill us without consequence. That is the opposition to police reform. Not that police shouldn’t be held accountable, but that police shouldn’t even have to worry about us objecting to them shooting us in the face. Because if they didn’t want to shoot us in the face, they could make laws, they would convict them. They would say, Hey, let’s hold them accountable in this reform. 

Michael Harriot [00:08:39] And so I think it’s time for us to start taking back this stuff. We need to take back those seats at the colleges that we fund on the boards that are disproportionately white, the deans, the professors, the people who make decisions. We have to take back those positions and say, Hey, we want that. You built up a system where your leadership is majority and disproportionately white. We want your stuff because it’s ours. We got to go take back those admissions policies, not the affirmative action stuff. We want the legacy admissions, too. We want the deans exceptions, too. Like if you get a college and you only or disproportionately hire white people and then you say, hey, your children get an exception to admission, then that is a whites policy. That is a racial policy that favors white people. Legacy admissions is a racial policy that favors white people. And I know we like to think of, like athletics as football and basketball teams. But no, most of the people who get athletic scholarships are white, like 85% of the people who are being recruited right now by Harvard are white. 75% of the 2023 class that will receive a scholarship to Harvard, an athletic scholarship, are white, they have a whites only athletic policy, and even nationwide. 70% of the people who get NCAA scholarships are white. 

Michael Harriot [00:10:09] Like we basically get football track and basketball at that’s it. But, there’s a bunch of white people who get track scholarships, too. There’s a bunch of white people who get football scholarships, too. We have to confront the NCAA because the revenue generating sports that fund the NCAA are produced by Black people. The football, the NCAA tournament, because there are some white teams, but they making it to the point of the NCAA tournament that generates revenue. Right? Even the track and field, right. We can have the hammer throw but the NCAA parts of the track and field that generates revenue is the stuff that Black people make popular. Sprinting, hurdles, short distances, middle distances, and we generate the revenue for the NCAA. And we should go back and take our scholarships that we produced. Right. The same thing is true with, you know, education, right? If a school doesn’t have a representative student body that funds it, then it shouldn’t receive Pell Grants. We should get that money. They shouldn’t receive federal student loan guarantees if they can’t guarantee the education of the citizens who fund them, we should go back and take that. All of that stuff is ours. 

Michael Harriot [00:11:24] And instead of defending what we do have and defending our rights to have, so we got to go take back stuff that white people have taken from us because that’s what they do. That’s what the affirmative action ruling was. We had affirmative action for 50 years and they say, Nah, we’re going to take it back. That’s what the abortion ruling was. They took back the right for a woman to choose what she could do with a body. That’s what gerrymandering is, right? Like they say, hey, this state has a certain percentage of Black people. So we’re going to draw maps that take back the representation of that percentage of the population and give it to white people. That’s why we need to take it back. That’s why we need to subscribe to this podcast. That’s why you got to tell your friends about it. That’s why you also got to download Grio app because, you know, we need to take back streaming. And that’s also why we leave you with a Black saying. And today’s Black saying is, “Revenge is a dish best served cold. And ain’t nothing colder than a white man.” We’ll see you later on theGrio Daily. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app, subscribe to the show and to share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcast at theGrio dot com. 

Announcer [00:12:43] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. Black Culture Amplified. 

Star Stories Podcast [00:12:49] I’m Touré. Join us for crazy true stories about stars who I really hung out with like Snoop, Jay-Z, Prince, Kanye and the time I got kidnaped by Suge Knight. Don’t miss my animated series Star Stories with Touré from theGrio Black Podcast Network.