To some, it represents the highest ideals of our society. To others, it is a symbol of unfulfilled potential at best, outright oppression at worst. Are we referring to the American flag? Or to American sports? This debate is about more than one athlete or one gesture. It is about an institution, a system of competition, dominance, and deeply ingrained beliefs. In this episode, we examine this balance of power—and the protestors who are trying to change it. In front of a live audience at the USC Gould School of Law, Prof. Jody David Armour interviews ESPN writer Jason Reid about Colin Kaepernick, political activism, and being black in America.
Special thanks to the USC Gould School of Law for sponsoring this event and allowing us to record as part of this ongoing series of conversations bringing you the smartest minds from the University of Southern California and beyond, wrestling with the defining challenges of our time.
To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcasts, Soundcloud, or Google Play.
The New York Times (in an Associated Press story) quoted Sherry Bebitch Jeffe of the USC Price School about California Governor Jerry Brown’s political legacy on climate change. “Without question, it’s a victory for him on several levels,” Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a professor of public policy communication at the University of Southern California, said of…
Jody Armour, USC Gould School, was quoted by NPR about the legacy of the Los Angeles Police Department 25 years after the Los Angeles riots and the acquittal of the officers who were videotaped beating Rodney King. That [police brutality] and issues such as racial profiling are as evident now — in places such as Baltimore, Ferguson…
In Colson Whitehead’s award winning novel The Underground Railroad, Cora, daughter and granddaughter of slaves, flees her plantation after a horrific punishment. She heads out with a fellow slave Caesar, who takes her to the underground railroad – in this novel, a real RR. She is passionately pursued by Ridgeway, a slave catcher while she experiences the horrors of American racism and the courage of the RR personnel. The book compares a mythological Southern narrative of slavery with Cora’s truths and Ridgeway’s version of the “American imperative.” Beautifully written, full of horrific incidents, the book reminds us of the power of racism, the government’s complicity in its implementation and persistence, and reminds us freed African Americans carried with them the legacy of violence, oppression, suppression, and more violence whether from the police, physicians, or any other institution.
To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Underground Railroad click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player here – or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play