By Ellen McGirt
August 16, 2017

If you haven’t checked out Sam Sanders’ new NPR podcast It’s Been A Minute, now would be an excellent time.

Sanders and the It’s Been A Minute team just uploaded a special episode inspired by an extraordinary and heart-felt tweet thread Sanders posted Saturday night, while the events of Charlottesville were still unfolding. “How will you fight racism and white supremacy in your everyday life?” he began. The responses that pored in were both illuminating and encouraging.

It took some 20 hours to put the episode together, which includes an interesting twist. “We talked about Charlottesville, ONLY w/white people,” Sanders explained by way of another Twitter thread. “So often after events like Charlottesville, there’s this pressure on Black, or Latinos, or Jews, or LGBTQ ppl to lead nat’l conversations,” he continued. “But here’s the thing: what if the work needed after Charlottesville is a better convo abt race BTWN whites?”

You can listen to the episode here. (It’s about an hour, so put on your headphones and go for a long, well-deserved walk.) Guests include UVA history professor Grace Hale, NPR’s Sarah McCammon (who covered the Trump campaign for NPR and was on hand in Charlottesville over the weekend), and developmental psychologist Amy Roberson Hayes.

If you only have time to dip your toes in, I suggest starting at the 25-minute mark, when a radio listener named Keith calls in to share his story about a nasty exchange that happened with a dear friend who expressed strongly anti-Islamic views on Facebook. Kevin attempted to call out his friend on what he perceived were his bigoted sentiments. “I was doing my best to listen to what they were having to say,” said Keith, but the exchange devolved into insults, dueling talking points, and ultimately, a friendship interrupted. Did the artificial distance of online conversation inflame the already sensitive topic? “I don’t think talking things out over a beer would have made a difference,” said Kevin.

But the events of Charlottesville have given him a new resolve.

“I’m a stereotypical, 39-year-old heterosexual white male,” said the former military man. “What I saw in Charlottesville was a lot of young white men that I can serve as the role model for,” he said. “And I haven’t been doing that.”


You May Like