Ep. 221 White Negroes by Lauren Michele Jackson — The Stacks Book Club (David Dennis Jr.) – Transcript

Journalist and author David Dennis Jr. returns to discuss our June Book Club pick White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue… And Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation by Lauren Michele Jackson. Together we unpack writing for the white gaze, our feelings about (anti) racism since 2020, and the long tradition of categorizing Black artists as “urban” and white artists as “mainstream” no matter how similar their work. Plus, a peanut butter and jelly taste test to start things off.

Be sure to listen to the end of today’s episode to find out what our July book club pick will be!


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Traci Thomas 0:08
Welcome to The Stacks a podcast about books and the people who read them. I’m your host Traci Thomas and today is The Stacks book club day and I am joined again by David Dennis Jr. The author of The Movement Made Us to discuss our book club pick White Negroes when cornrows were in vogue and other thoughts on cultural appropriation by Lauren Michelle Jackson. This incredible collection of essays combines cultural criticism and rigorous scholarship to examine the co-opting and commodification of black creativity for the purposes of white profit and power. David and I also have a very special treat to kick off this week’s episode. Quick reminder, everything we talked about on each episode of The Stacks can be found in the link in the shownotes. The Stacks is a completely independent podcast made possible by the support of our listeners. I cannot stress to you all enough how I would not be able to make this show each week without the support of the Stax pack our incredible bookish community over on Patreon. If not, for them, there would be no show. So if you liked the podcast and want more of it, head to patreon.com/the stacks to earn perks like bonus episodes, shout outs on the show, our book club chats and so much more. And be sure to stay tuned to the end of today’s episode to find out what our July book club pick will be. Okay. And now it’s time for my conversation with David Dennis Jr. on our book club pick White Negroes.

All right, everybody. This is the episode you’ve all been waiting for. Not because it’s a book club book episode. But because David Dennis is back and we are going to start the show by taste testing each other’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we will get to White Negroes by Lauren Michelle Jackson, I promise you, but it’s too important for us to skip over this part of the show. We’re going to try not to chew into our microphones. But also, hopefully Christian, my genius editor can help us here. All right, David. Welcome back to The Stacks.

David Dennis Jr 2:10
Thanks for having me. I’m holding cold bread in my hand and I’m-

Traci Thomas 2:13
I’m holding lightly.

David Dennis Jr 2:15
Very upset about the cold bread.

Traci Thomas 2:17
So we’re taking our bites everybody.

David Dennis Jr 2:19
Before white negroes we have white, white bread, white bread. Ah. The cold bread is not working out for me at all.

Traci Thomas 2:31
The melty peanut butter is not for me.

David Dennis Jr 2:33
I hate the cold bread. Why do you not do anything to cold bread?

Traci Thomas 2:39
Okay, so just firm some information I’ve gleaned from people who have been talking to me about their peanut butter and jelly situations since your first episode. One is that let me ask you. Are you a peanut butter? Are you a jelly person?

David Dennis Jr 2:52
I’m a mix. It’s a mix of both.

Traci Thomas 2:54
Awesome, so what I’ve discovered is people who really like peanut butter, like the toasted method more; people who like jelly like the cold bread method more and I think it’s because jelly is refrigerated so it’s cold. So it really heightens the jelly. Whereas if you like the peanut butter, if that’s what you’re there for, the toasted it’s peanut butter. It’s toast. It’s a thing. I also heard people who actually do like a grilled cheese but with peanut butter and jelly. Really the bread. That’s extra horrible to me. I also had someone tell me that the superior sandwich was peanut butter and fluff, that like fake marshmallow shit. And that’s a hard-

David Dennis Jr 3:37
I saw this. I saw that and I feel like there was a call for help.

Traci Thomas 3:43
And then a few people were like, am I the only person who does peanut butter and banana? And I was like no, but that’s not a peanut butter and jelly.

David Dennis Jr 3:50
Banana is a totally different situation. Yeah.

Traci Thomas 3:52
I’m still going to eat more of this because I didn’t eat lunch today in anticipation of this taste test.

David Dennis Jr 3:57
Okay, yeah, peanut butter and jelly is just, I mean you can’t really go wrong except the-

Traci Thomas 4:01
The thing is that toasted bread is- I also did bring a mug of whole milk with me.

David Dennis Jr 4:09
I was close- we don’t have any whole milk in the house because our children are not like your children age but

Traci Thomas 4:15
I’m a whole milk fan. I have been my whole life. I just now get to have a gallon because children. Yeah, but I love whole milk when I was pregnant. I was drinking a half gallon of whole milk by myself every single week.

David Dennis Jr 4:27
Have you gotten back into cereal? Like the peanut butter and jelly thing happened when my son was young. It was like I was making bread and then I was like, and then I got back into cereal again. Have you gotten back into cereal?

Traci Thomas 4:39
I always loved cereal. I love milk. So any food that I can have with milk is an A plus food for me. So peanut butter and jelly cereal. Like a pancake or waffle moment. Okay, we’ll order milk out at a restaurant, which my best friend is very embarrassed about. Yeah, it’s sort of embarrassing, but also it’s sort of like this is who I am. And if you don’t want to be my best friend anymore, it’s like fine, but I read with milk. Yeah, I love- oh and Oreos. Oreos is the most important cookie in my life. It was my dad’s favorite cookie- always had it every night before bed- Oreos and milk. So it’s a strong milk community. The Thomas family food!

David Dennis Jr 5:16
I feel like there’s a question with cereal take on the horizon. Do we have- what cereal?

Traci Thomas 5:17
I like a sugar cereal? I’m not eating cereal as I don’t eat breakfast really? So I’m not everything that I eat. That’s breakfast food is really lunch or later. So a sugary moment. I like I love a cinnamon toast crunch.

David Dennis Jr 5:37
Okay, all right. We’re like-

Traci Thomas 5:38
The fruit loop is okay. I actually really like a frosted flake. I really like a frost- and I’ll put a banana in that. I like a Golden Graham sometimes. You know, I don’t- what I don’t like is a Grape Nut but I like a Honey Bunches of Oats. It’s a no for me.

David Dennis Jr 5:56
That’s not Cereal. Cereal is supposed to be- sure. Yeah.

Traci Thomas 5:59
But okay, here’s a secret sneaky delicious cereal that’s actually pretending to be healthy but has tons of sugar. Raisin Bran Crunch.

David Dennis Jr 6:08
Yeah, I’ve never had that because I don’t do that. I don’t raisin as adults. Well, it’s raisins but it’s not. I feel like that’s not a-

Traci Thomas 6:16
Okay, I will not eat a raisin bran to save my life but a raisin bran crunch. Delicious and fake healthy. It has sugar people. I’m not selling out my sugar friends.

David Dennis Jr 6:26
I’m gonna throw your curveball curveball here. Rice Krispie treats cereal.

Traci Thomas 6:31
I like Rice Krispies cereal with just added sugar just spoonful of sugar on top in the milk-

David Dennis Jr 6:36
Rice Krispie Treats cereal does all of that. They’re hard to find. You got to order them. Online at walmart.com That’s the place you get them.

Traci Thomas 6:43
This show is not sponsored by Walmart yet. No, but yes, I will be sending this out to some friends.

David Dennis Jr 6:49
Yes. Go get your Juneteenth ice cream. Immediately.

Traci Thomas 6:54
This is a black-approved cereal. So it is also Juneteenth approved. Yes, speaking of appropriating things- it’s a beautiful transition. That was our food segment. Now we’re here to talk about White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation by Lauren Michelle Jackson. I am so excited to talk about this book. We always start here. Can you just sort of tell me what you thought of the book?

David Dennis Jr 7:21
I thought the book was such a masterful curation of like all of these moments, like I don’t want to say like the word aggregate has such a negative connotation now, but it’s sort of like, Yeah, well, you know, like, you just aggregate- you take like little pieces, something of like an actual report, and then make your own separate article about it and get cheap clicks. Like it has that sort of connotation now, but it’s like, yeah, like I was sort of in the mix of all of this stuff, like in terms of writing about it as it was happening. But like, it’s just, you forget the massive, I don’t know, just all of the crap that white folks have been doing. Especially like in the last decade, you know, like, it’s just, it was just so masterfully like, put together and, you know, explained and collected, it was almost like a, which is one of the most fascinating parts because almost like an art exhibit, you know, like an exhibit in book form, where they just like curated everything, to make these points and you go through these different levels. And so I was really into it. I’d forgotten a lot of the stuff that happened. But yeah, that was that’s how I feel about it.

Traci Thomas 8:34
Yeah. Okay. I really love this book. I read it in- I actually weirdly, I was looking at my Goodreads. I read it the exact same week that I read it this year 2020. So I read it the first week of June 2020. And the first week of June 2022. I liked it even better the second time, I had still forgotten a lot of the things. When I reread it this time, I really loved how at the start of each section, she had like this pop culture moment that she was sort of explaining without naming it like when she did the whole Rachel Dolezal moment, but she called her by her like new name or whatever I was like, like this sounds so much like, Oh, what is this? And then I was like, oh my god, I forgot she like got a new name. So I really liked that framing. And I liked what you’re saying like the scope of it, like how, how broad and how tight she was able to go. I also really liked that the way that she was talking about appropriation wasn’t just like, oh, white people stole this thing. But it was like, you know, especially like in the language section she was talking about, like the words that white people like, took over and started using, but she wasn’t talking about, like white people using the word; she was talking about the way white people then like weaponized, like she was talking about the violence and like the power within appropriation, which I thought was really smart because I think anybody could put together a list of like, this word was used like this song is a black song, you know, like, she was like, Okay, let’s actually look at what that does. And so I really loved all of that. And I feel like, you know, in the first paragraph, she defines appropriation and she basically is like, the word is centuries-old and denotes an act of transport- some item or a motif, or a bit of property changing hands, and artists might appropriate an ancient symbol and a painting or a government might appropriate monies through taxes to fund public education. taking only the root of the word, the meaning seems clear, to make something appropriate for another context. In some circles, the word is still used this way, but colloquially, not so much. And then she goes on to talk about, like, you know, everybody appropriates, and all this stuff, but the difference between that kind of appropriation and like appropriation that’s harmful is this power- is the powerful appropriating from the oppressed. And that’s like, the whole of the book, which I also really love. Because so many people are like, everyone appropriates what’s the big deal. And it’s like, okay, you’re literally wearing a native person’s head dress right now telling me that my costume is appropriation, because I’m dressed up like a golden girl, like, one is a costume. One is an identity. But anyways, anyways, so great. We’re on the same page, we love to the book, I want to ask you, one of the reasons I really wanted to do this book with you is because you write about pop culture, and you talk about pop culture, and you’re very much in pop culture. And I want to know, like, when you’re writing about it, and you’re thinking about these things, and you’re seeing them happen, and you’re like, Okay, I’m gonna have to now talk about this on a platform. How do you approach it? How do you think about it? Knowing like, right now you write for an Andscape, which is like an ESPN imprint on an imprint. But it’s for black, it’s like about Black culture, but it’s not just black readers. So how do you think about, like, that space that you occupy and the way that you talk about these things?

David Dennis Jr 11:56
Because I’m wanting to talk to you and ask you about the audience for this book, which is that a lot of thoughts about that, how she did work with that, too. But um, yes. Just like, I’m just really think about, like, my friends. Like, we’re gonna read, like, I think about black folks who read it, you know, like, like, early on in my career. I thought, like, when I got my first sort of big crossover, yeah, get that get the, you get that delicious peanut butter jelly. Yeah, it was good is growing on you. I’m just so hungry. Yeah, it’s growing on. But I was thinking about, like, when I first started at The Guardian, that was like, my first big thing like, 2012. And I was like, I’m going to write and, like, explain to white people why they’re wrong. And it’s going to change their mind. And they’re gonna, like, come on, come in. Like, it took me exactly one article to realize that that’s not gonna happen, never gonna happen. So it was like, I’d rather just write for, like, the black folks who feel like they’re the only black person in the room, you know, and just be like, you have somebody who’s like writing for you, you know? And that’s sort of how I think about I try to think about it of like, how are we processing this? And how do you feel like, how can you possibly feel seen in the way that this, this is being talked about? Like, how can we talk about in a way that the like, the, quote, unquote, mainstream media is not talking about it? But what are we saying? And how can we sort of frame it in a way that’s, that does the most service to us that it’s written, you know, like, what is the function of it being written? What and who are you writing it for? And who’s reading it? And what can we do about it? You know?

Traci Thomas 13:38
And what’s the answer?

David Dennis Jr 13:39
Well, it varies? I mean, it varies depending on what we’re talking about, you know. Like, sometimes, I feel like I have to write, you know, for, you know, in a way that’s like, look, fellow Black man, like, with this is jacked up, you know, like, we’re not, we’re not doing this the right way. Or to say, this is not, you know, like thinking about, alright, LGBT folks, like, this is how I’m processing this in a way that like, can hopefully be something that straight men will read, but like, will also let you know, that you are seeing also, you know, so it varies depending on it like I really don’t, you know, like some, some writers. Like, I really do not think about white people at all when I write, you know, really, I don’t think about I don’t think about well-

Traci Thomas 14:35
I’m not like getting in trouble or like getting pushed, like, I’ll be honest, I do. Like I sometimes will have like, we have to talk about something and I’m like, motherfuck, like, I don’t want to deal with the response. So I’m gonna think about like the most diplomatic way to say this so that I don’t have to deal with white people because like people hosting the show. No, I fucking hate my DMs more than life, right? You know, like, it’s like, it’s my fucking social media. I don’t want to deal with it like, and so I do. And I know a lot of people like, I don’t think about the white gaze or like the white audience, but like, how can you not?

David Dennis Jr 15:08
Well, I mean, because I know like, because I mean, unlearn that garden article, that first article was like about being, like, pulled over. And like, it was all the comments were like, telling me it was my imagination, right? Got it. And I was just like, you know, nothing I can, there’s nothing I could do for that. And like, I have customized my social media experience to where they’re not in dimensions pretty much, you know, like, if it’s, if they don’t follow you, I have the thing on Twitter, they don’t follow, they’re not new mentioned. And there was a lot of times, you know, like, I mute, I block, I do all that stuff. And it’s like, like, I don’t ever think about how can I explain this thing to white folks? You know? Or, like, how can I definitely don’t think about like, all right, white folks, like, I might get in trouble with white people, you know, at all, because like, white folks can’t put me in trouble. You know, like, there’s, like, they can’t do anything to me, like, and it’s it’s more like, it’s more worthwhile for like, a black woman to be like, Look, you know, thank you for talking about our Kelly or Bill Cosby, or whatever, you know, or like calling out such and such because, you know, a lot of folks are not doing it in that way. Or for you know, so that’s, like, more important, but I don’t think like I don’t ever think about like, I mean, obviously, there’s some sort of white gaze and like when I was writing the book, like my editor was editing the book. So like, that’s a white person. Like a literal white person, but like, I try not to, I don’t think about like, what, what will white people say? Or how, or I’m going to make white people angry or black man, like, I make a lot of black men with the stuff I don’t think about Sure. I’m gonna think about that too much.

Traci Thomas 16:56
I want to revise what I said, just really quickly. It’s not that I I would ever lie, because I’m worried about what other people think. But for me, it’s like, is it worth weighing in on this thing, period? Like, do I want to talk about this thing into a microphone and put it on the internet forever? Like, maybe, maybe we just maybe just don’t ask about, you know, like, that’s sort of how it manifests for me. So it’s not like if someone asked me, I would be like, Oh, no, I want people comfortable. But it’s more just like,

David Dennis Jr 17:21
No, I mean, there’s, there’s some times where it’s like, is like, do I have enough of value to say about this thing? That’s worth, right, whatever, you know, I’m saying this, whatever the pushback, right, whatever the whatever the situation is gonna be like, I’ll get like, a perfect example is like, I just sort of punted on the Johnny Depp, Amber thing. Oh, mostly, because I mean, I mean, obviously, is white folks, but like, I usually I just sort of keep an eye on that stuff. Yeah, that was like so far gone. By the time I got to it, it was like, I don’t even know what to do. And there’ll be some times where it’s like, this is more like, I don’t have enough, like insight to offer that makes it worth trouble. Like, how did you know that? Like that stuff is sort of what is where I’ll be with like, clearly, there’s a lot of like, weirdness, and misogyny, and all that stuff with like Michael B. Jordan, Laurie Harvey, or like, Will Smith and like perfect Will Smith and Jada, at the show at the Oscars. Like there’s tons of like, that sort of stuff. I didn’t really feel like I had much to offer besides like, Stop being weird about willing. That was worth like, that sort of thing. I wrote something about it, about, you know, comedians and Chris Rock. And like, the fact that comedians get hit all the time. It’s just like, was weird for Chris Rock, cuz he’s usually the richest person in the room. And he right wasn’t anymore. Right. But you know, like, the terms that like, so sometimes, yeah, I’d be like, it’s not worth it to have the conversation.

Traci Thomas 18:52
Right. Okay. You wanted to ask about audience and I want to talk about audience too.

David Dennis Jr 18:56
Yeah. So this book, I remember buying this book, this book came out like 2019 2019. And I bought the book, I want to say, I may have bought in 2019. But I think I started like really looking at it to read, like, right when there was this influx of like, the anti racism books, that, you know, some like these 12 Step race books that like, didn’t feel like they were written for me, you know? And like, she writes this book about cultural appropriation that doesn’t feel like she’s explaining it to white people why they’re wrong, you know? And that’s so that would have been so easy to do, you know? And I guess like, who like, Who do you think is like, picking this book up? Like, how, first of all what how do you think she does that? Who do you think is picking this book up? Everything’s getting the most from reading this book.

Traci Thomas 19:50
So one of the things that I follow Lauren on social media on Twitter, and she’s one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter, because she doesn’t often like with this anti racism as like pedagogy idea, like, she’s been a very outspoken critic of Nicole Hannah Jones and the 6019 project. She’s been a very open critic of Ebro Max Kennedy, who those two are probably like the two faces of this, like post George Floyd murder celebrity moment, though I know they were both doing their work before. I was more familiar with them before I’ve kind of fallen off with them. But Lauren, this author, she has like her tweets, she’s always got the like side eye tweets going like, someone tell you a little friend, you know, she’s like really getting petty. And so I love and respect that for her. I think that that is obviously who she is. Because again, this book came out in 2019, which means it was Britain before 2018 was spent, you know, so she was not writing any of this in this lens of like, anti racism training. And I think for her, she probably thought, like, look, I’m like you, I’m not going to convince white people while why they’re wrong. And at the end of introduction, she specifically says sort of who her audiences she says, To anyone confused about at all, I hope that I may be of service and enlightenment. Then she says to those who count themselves allies, maybe these essays make you a little less sure of yourself. And then she says, to those who’ve been known, or known to those who’ve been new, may you rebel in the wonder of what people like us have made out of this doll doll world. So she essentially says like, if you picked up this book, because like, you want to know about a cultural appropriation, I got you if you picked up this book, because you thought you were a good white person, hold tight. And if you’re black, and you fucking No, I’m just laying out arguments for you. And I really think that like that is very much who she’s writing to. And I think with that audience in mind, and like, not the broader white person, but like the specific white person who is going to pick up pick up a book like this, like, I think, I think she nails it. Like I think it is the perfect tone for all three of those audiences. I love this book. And usually when I read like anti racist books or whatever, that’s big air quotes, I roll my eyes a lot. Because I just think it’s like, it’s like so self congratulatory, right, especially ones that have come out since 2020.

David Dennis Jr 22:14
Yeah, and I think that’s kind of what I was thinking was gonna was happening was gonna, I was gonna read, you know, right or not.

Traci Thomas 22:20
When I pick this book, you thought I would, I picked it when I bought when I bought it. I was like, You thought I was gonna make you read some bullshit.

David Dennis Jr 22:29
I trust you. I trust you. I trust you and everything with peanut butter and jelly. So I was like, yeah, so I was like, you know, who knows what this actually but it Yeah, it felt more like, when you’re sitting around talking with black folks about how like, white folks been? Whatever it was, I mean, white folks a trip I didn’t like, you remember that? Remember that thing? And then sort of like, what it was, and she just sort of lays it out like that. That’s yeah, it was just an incredibly done. It was incredibly dumb.

Traci Thomas 22:58
Yeah, it’s so on. And she’s an academic too, you know, so it’s like, got the gravity of that. It’s not just like you and me being like fucking Rachel Dolezal or Damn Daniel, like, it’s like, also, let me explain to you like, what a meme is or whatever. Do you think so? In reading this book, post 2020, racial reckoning, whatever, whatever you want to call that moment where people discovered racism, or white people discovered racism. Do you think that 20 Since 2020, this whole like conversation idea around appropriation, do you think it’s better or worse for you as a black person?

David Dennis Jr 23:33
Um, I’m so over it for the most part, you know, like, I’m just so like, you know, not to hurt your Walmart thing, but like the Juneteenth ice cream. I was just like it, I felt nothing. I saw it. And I felt nothing. Because I was just like, you know, really in like, the thing this book does this like, there’s like she said, We’d been new, it was sort of like it was like, man, we’ve been like really doing you know, like it because like, I think one of the things that happens is there’s so much high intent serious stuff going on that you forget the micro and these aren’t even micro aggressions like do you forget the like this stuff that feels insignificant in the grand scheme of it. But it is large like the art museum stuff blew my mind. Like all like pretty much all the other stuff in the book. I remember. Like it brought back memories I remembered where I was I remember writing about it and decided not to write about it, but I vaguely remembered some of the art stuff like the I think what the Michael Brown exhibit like that. I remember that vaguely happening but I don’t ever cover art exhibit in that but like all that was a thing that made me be like, Man, these white folks are tripping like, what is wrong? What are y’all doing like that was the one that like, and for people who are not as sort of embedded in the Of course, I’m sure this book had a million more those moments. And I was just, I was just like, my goodness, like, are y’all serious right now? Like, can y’all like, What are y’all doing? And the ability for like, in that art space, again, the ability to do that, sort of unchecked, because folks are not keyed in on it as much as the, you know, the other pop culture stuff was just like, that’s, like, makes you feel like why you need to be even more. You know, I’m happy. We have so many folks in the pop culture space who are diligently doing this, but like, they’re creeping around and in all these other spaces, and it was right blew my mind.

Traci Thomas 25:37
Yeah, I’ve been, you know, thinking about, like, if 2020 has made this better or worse for me or to me, and I think it’s made it worse to me. Like, I just because what I see a lot of now is like, self righteous, white people calling things out as they are absolved. Because they noticed, right, which like, to me, it’s like, the, it’s like, the most annoying kid on the playground. You know, it’s like, oh, let me let me point this thing out to you and, like, explain why this is bad. And show you that I know. And so like, none of the appropriation stuff is new, it hasn’t really changed at all. Since before 2020, since 1920, you know, like the book, but like, the thing now that just like grates, my gears is the like, performance of, I don’t want to say whoa, like this performance of like, observation, this performance of like getting it. That is the thing that is like made makes appropriation even worse for me now, because I’m just like, I wish you just would act like you didn’t know, leave me alone, or like texture group chat with your white friends and be like, Oh, my God, I saw this horrible thing that Michelle did, like, don’t, I don’t need to, I don’t need like 10 stories on your Instagram about it. Like, I don’t, you’re not convincing me that you’re not gonna do the same thing tomorrow and be like, Oh, I didn’t know. That’s why education like I’m learning like all this. Just like, no, it’s a no for me. But like, for here’s this this example happened today in the book space is like, some white girl made a real and she used the music from family matters. And it was like, what kind of reader Are you? And it was like a sitcom, and she had like these different things. And then someone was like, oh my god, I love this song. What is it? And she was like, I have no idea. And it was like, So you made this whole reel using this, like classic black sitcom song. And then you didn’t fucking know. It’s like, the guy in the book, who was like, they were like, oh did Rasta like, inspire the dreadlocks. And he was like, No. And I really truly believe that that man just didn’t even know. I mean, maybe I’m giving him too much credit. But like, that’s the thing that just like, it’s just like, Ah, it’s just so much more annoying now. Because I’m like, aren’t you supposed to be faking? Like, you know, and you care. So when you look up, and then like, someone else has to tell me about it. I’m just like, No. And like the profiting off of it. You tweeted yesterday or two days ago about, like, all the publications that reached out to you in 2020. Like, love your work? And like, Have you heard from any of them recently?

David Dennis Jr 28:13
Yeah, no, absolutely. Not like there was a Yeah, 2020 was like just the nastiest, like the worst. I mean, it was the worst for a lot of things. But it was absolutely terrible for the journalism industry. And I mean, I was getting white editors, places that I had dreamed about writing for place writers that I had pitched, nonstop. And they were like, I’m such a big fan of your work. Can you write about this dead black person, you know, right. And I’m like, I can’t. But if you are such a big fan of my work, then you would know that I’ve written about, like, a million different other things that have nothing to do with this. Like, why didn’t you ask me to write about that stuff, you know, and some of the things that people asked me to write or just like, embarrassing, and anti black, and just ridiculous. I had long conversations with people who just and I just be like, Look, trust the black person talk to you, you know. And it’s yeah, it was just like, I think the thing that to go back to your last question from 2020, to now, is that white folks, I think a lot of white folks feel as though they paid their dues. By like, they got they were asked in to be in uncomfortable situations. They had to go to workshops. They had to read the anti racist book at work for like

Traci Thomas 29:42
to listen to the words,

David Dennis Jr 29:45
Right. They had to go to the meetings. They had to like sit there and take it for a whole summer. They had to sit there and take it like there was one like, I think one thing I did say in 22 I was like why folks, like dealt with The races like with this stuff for one month and are exhausted like exhausted. Are they like June 20?

Traci Thomas 30:06
Take your break universe; work is so exhausting. You need to be, you need to be okay. Like you’re doing this work,

David Dennis Jr 30:14
like I had, you know, I went to all my schools I had classmates offered to send me money for like my kids college education.

Traci Thomas 30:20
I got so many emails,

David Dennis Jr 30:22
you know, like there’s, they did their outreach, they did their emails, they did all that stuff. They felt like they took it right. And now they can like go back. And like the audacity is almost like, you know, the people who were like, I’ve been in the house for the pandemic. And now I’m going to wile out.

Traci Thomas 30:41
So like, now I’m gonna go to a licking competent, right? And look people’s faces. Yes,

David Dennis Jr 30:46
So like these white folks, but summer 2020 taken their, you know, taking their lashes, and they came out like, alright, Audacity is back and returning it up to 100. And it’s like, reading the book was like, all of this stuff was just audacity, it was just like the audacity of, like so many white folks. And it’s to see a sort of, like, come back full circle, after, like, a couple of weird years where things are trying to figure it out. And it’s like, on 10 right now. And yeah, it’s just-

Traci Thomas 31:21
Well, I feel like in response to like, the way people like having to sit through and like be lectured to or like, whatever, however they want to frame it. Is that like, all of these book bands, and like, all of this stuff is related to summer 2020. Yeah, like all of this CRT, all of that is the backlash, like, it’s all connected. It’s all part of the indignation, they feel at having had to pretend like they cared for a lot of I mean, I know, there are so many people who do care and did care, but I would venture to say, anyway, person who truly cared, also cared in like March 2020, and they care, March 2019. And like, you know, like, I just don’t believe that you didn’t care about black people at all. And then someone was like, watch this video of a black man being killed and 2020 and come to a protest, and now you’re gonna care. Like, I just, I, it doesn’t work that way. Even I know, there are things that I probably should care about, that I don’t care about. And like, I know what it feels like to fake it. You know, we all do. But I think like, the power part of it is like being able to then have your people go out and pass legislation that says, You can’t my people can’t learn about my peoples history. Like, that’s the part where I’m just like, sure that I mean, I think then again, that’s like in the book, it’s the power part of it. And it’s the money part of it. It’s the economic profiting. That is like what what makes what takes like, the audacity part to make it just like, horrific like, Bro. Like, and I don’t know, like, in the work that you do, I’m sure it’s true, because like racism, but I know for me, like, and this is really small on nobody cares, and I don’t really care to move past it. But like, in the I haven’t really, that’s why I’m gonna talk about it. But I kind of have, but like in the book influencer space, like, there’s not like, you can’t get a blue check. Can’t get a bunch of followers if you’re black. Right? But the white people who post the black book stacks, oh, my god, stars, you know, and it’s like, that’s the part for me that I’m just like, look, you can you haven’t read these books. I know you have it. Right. Like, just let me post them because I have. Let me get the you know, like, let me do my thing. But it’s just like, constantly, we see it over and over in the book. It’s like, the weed trip printers are intrapreneurs or whatever, right? Like, that’s the one that I’m just like, yeah, these people these white women are like selling we CBD oil on their podcasts or whatever. He says a person who has a podcast or whatever. And then they’re asked about like reparations. And they’re like, We shouldn’t talk about that, because it’s gonna make it harder to do we did like, that’s the part that I’m just like, you fucking know. You fucking know. And like, Lauren lays it out in this book. Like, Christina Aguilera fucking knew what she was doing. And maybe if she didn’t know her team knew like it. None of this is an accident. And I feel like that’s the part of the book that’s like so infuriating. And that’s also the part like post 2020 Because, like, if you gave white people the benefit of the doubt that they really didn’t know about racism, and now you know, and also you’re, like, super excited to vote for Mitch McConnell. like, Fuck you, you know?

David Dennis Jr 34:47
Yeah. No, I think um- Okay. All right. I think either we think was so interesting, because it’s been written about so many times. But she, like the part, the one thing that in this that I’ve repeated more than anything else from this book, is the fact that we’re in Nashville, you need a certain license to do braids, black hair, black hair. And it’s really hard for black women to obtain this license for, I guess how much it costs are the people-

Traci Thomas 35:30
It’s not available in a lot of classes or whatever.

David Dennis Jr 35:33
Yeah. And just the, like the talk about that. And, you know, how she moved from that to the weed stuff. Like the weeds. So I talked to my, like, when I was teaching, I would talk to my students all the time, about like, reframing these narratives, right. And there’s this idea, like, especially black folks, and within black communities, it’s like, you know, what the black owned business is, like, janky, or whatever, right? Like, you don’t get what you, you know, you’re not get what you ordered, or they’re rude or whatever, whatever. And I tell people all the time, the best run most professional business, that you know, nine out of 10 times your weed dealer, like they run a tight ship, you get what you want. Did you know Every you get your order, you get in precise, you get everything good customer service, and that is a black business. Right, right. black or brown business or whatever, in your neighborhood, that the only reason is we don’t consider businesses because archaic racist laws that make it right, not that case. You know, like Pete, like, black folks know how to run businesses, you know, and just the, the way that, you know, she just talked about the weed business and all that stuff was, I mean, I was just, I was all in I was all

Traci Thomas 36:51
Right. So, and that ties into the food section too, about, like, how much people are willing to pay for like, quote, unquote, ethnic food, right? Which I would, you know, maybe reframe as food of the global majority or whatever. But it’s like, there’s this assumption that Asian food should be cheap that like, Asian noodles should be cheap, like, Italian noodles should not right? Fucking noodles, you guys know, like, if we’re, if the reason that it should be cheap is because it’s noodles and rice, then you’re gonna have to explain to me why your risotto can be $30. You know, like, and I think it’s David Chang, on the show. He’s like interviewing the like, the white hot chicken guys are like, yeah, we’re literally like, we know, we owe a debt of gratitude to these black institutions. And he says, like, what happens if you kill the thing that inspired you? And I feel like, that’s such an important question. Period. I can’t answer it, necessarily, though I can, I’m sure there’s things that I appropriate that I have, like the power like, probably like gay, queer culture, like that stuff. But like, I do think that that question is, like, if you get your way ever snow, more black hot chicken places, whose recipe are you going to steal? Right? Who’s knew this or that is going to inspire you. And if it is a white business, they might, you know, be taken seriously enough to come back at you with legal action, right? Like, cuz that’s the other part of it. Like, nobody cares what black people think. And like, they just think this like, and I feel like this happens a lot in sports. It’s like, oh, it’s natural. This comes natural to that person. You know, whereas I mean, I’m sure you know, the trope of like, the black athlete is, like, naturally gifted, and then yeah, and the white athlete is disciplined and focused, you know? And who, who would have thought it was possible the JJ Reddick could make baskets, right, man.

David Dennis Jr 38:58
Or like how nobody calls LeBron James a genius. Right? You know, like, right, in order for him to see the paths ahead of time. And do that is genius work? You know? And same with Michael Jordan.

Traci Thomas 39:14
Yeah. You can’t be the greatest ever in your field and not be intelligent, right? Like, it’s just not possible. You know what I mean? Like, it’s just with, no matter what the field is, if you’re the fucking best, you understand that thing inside and out. You’ve studied it, you’ve researched it, you’ve watched it you like there’s no way to be the goat and to just be like, a buffoon, right, you know, like, it’s so racist,

David Dennis Jr 39:43
Even if you’re a genius, only at that one thing. The only thing one thing you can do, you’re still a genius.

Traci Thomas 39:49
I mean, if we’re using basketball like I can’t, I still can’t even see what a triangle offense looks like. I don’t know. I’m like they’re they’re in zone now. I’m like it It looks like it’s hard, you know, like, sort of be able to see it and like understand it and break it down and talk about it. I know he’s on my favorite person right now even though I love the Warriors. But Draymond Green has been also talked about in that same way and he’s like a real basketball savant. Right? That like he can see it. I even think LeBron has said that about him. And like, these black men, these dark skinned black men, especially do not get the credit, but like, please allow JJ Reddick to sit at the table and explain basketball to me. You know, I’m like, JJ Reddick is good at basketball. Like it’s not against him, but it’s just like this idea that it’s gotta be a light skinned guy. It’s got to be a white guy. And that everyone else is just naturally talented. And what a fluke. Right? You know, like, no one says the joke of it, or dawn judge was born to be a basketball player, even though he was seven feet or whatever the fuck, but like-

David Dennis Jr 40:55
Oh, they’re white. Yeah, to be like, You’re seven feet tall.

Traci Thomas 41:00
What else are you gonna do? Kidding. I know seven feet tall people do other things. I just, you know,

David Dennis Jr 41:07
I’m glad you went to the food one because like you said that if you weren’t doing book podcasts, you’d be doing like sports. But if I were not doing this, I would be a food person.

Traci Thomas 41:15
I would do all these things. My dream job is to bring food sports and books together into my house.

David Dennis Jr 41:22
That’s the one Yeah, the the one. So the food thing was fascinating to me fast for a lot for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is Paula Deen. pilotlight. Okay, here’s my problem. Here’s my call the dean. I have a cold policy in stores one for my me and my wife. For our honeymoon. We were in Savannah. I mean, one of the holidays restaurant. Oh, and it was delicious. And it’s like, it was really good. And it’s also very clear as she laid out the book that this is not white folks recipes, right? Like it’s clear, like people talk about like, I don’t know if you have if you’ve if you’ve ever been to Cracker Barrel, but never as yet. Cracker Barrel is delicious. Yes, it feels, you know, a little slavery in there. And there’s like it’s like very old timey. And it has this like feeling of like you’ve gone back in time, but those are black recipes up in a Cracker Barrel right back and so it’s so apologies restaurant was delicious, right? But a few years so there was this video. And I wrote about it, like very short. In the early blog smoking section days, like we used to do like these sort of quick blurb things. And there was this video of like, somebody threw, like a ham. Like at and like, you know, Paul Dean was doing like those like ham giveaways or whatever. And somebody threw it at her like through an accident, and it hit her in the face. And I thought it was hilarious. And like it was it was smokestacks, a hip hop site and all these black dudes, all these brothers were like, That’s not funny, like you, like don’t make fun of Paula Dean. She’s a saint. She’s like the best person ever. And I felt so redeemed when she was, you know, this inward spouting racist, but I could not believe what I didn’t know is that she went on after that night she made like $95 million dollars like with their own network of

Traci Thomas 43:19
I didn’t know that her downfall was not the N word. Because I obviously stopped paying attention after that. Not that I was like super dialed in. I’m more of a Barefoot Contessa gal myself if I’m honest, but she really taps into her whiteness she’s really not stealing from people of color like she does not have anything black. She does not have anything Asian.

David Dennis Jr 43:40
Guy Fieri just goes around, Yeah, yeah-

Traci Thomas 43:43
Barefoot Contessa is giving you a grilled eggplant. She is giving you like a macaroni and cheese, which is just, it’s a Caucasian food. And you know what? It’s great party food. Very easy can sit out on my car for a while. Anyways, love-

David Dennis Jr 43:58
Sidebar. Did you watch Beat Bobby Flay? No? So beat Bobby Flay. You know, they have. I used to love B.

Traci Thomas 44:05
He’s the grill guy?

David Dennis Jr 44:07
Yeah, I used to love beat Bobby Flay because it was like, they would have you know, somebody would would challenge him and their specialty. So it’d be like, you know, Mr. Meatballs, got loans. And Mike Bob would be like, I’m gonna challenge you to put the meatball sandwich in Bobby Flay would cook it and then he would win, right? When, but what would piss me off by beat Bobby Flay, which fits into this book, is that you would have folks you would have like, this Vietnamese lady be like, I’m making fun. And this is like how I made it my Tony and he would make some soup. That is nuts and he would win. He always beat the folks by making like some white version of some shit. That’s not the actual thing that you’re supposed to be making. You know, that would end up here. If I had to start watching people I was like, because he was just beating just weapon ethnic folks in their own food by making a white thing Okay, I’m sorry, keep going.

Traci Thomas 45:02
It’s okay. Anyway, so my point is that I’m not a huge politician person I never was. I am a pretty much a food purist. I don’t like to mix foods. And one of the things I don’t like about polyenes is a lot of this wrapped in that. Okay, I like this. And I like that. I don’t like this wrapped in that. Okay, that’s so that’s why I’m not in turn. I wasn’t in turn. But I had no idea that the reason she had a downfall is because she had fucking type two diabetes and lying around. And people were like mad at her. Yes, she made them also have type two diabetes with her recipes or whatever. Like, that is the that is like so quintessentially this book, right? It has nothing to do with the N word has nothing to do with stealing recipes. It has nothing to do with any of that has everything to do with the fact that she fucked over white people. Right? And that’s where the line is drawn, you know, unlike that, bitch guys gave her $95 million after she was like, Yeah, I use that word a lot. Right. And I made my employees go through separate entrances. And I stole their recipes. And I wanted to give my brother plantation wedding a real plantation experience. Right? Or like, that’s fine you right? Yeah, that’s her culture. Right? What is it what do they say about the Confederacy culture over

David Dennis Jr 46:26
right yeah. Yeah. Culture over country or I don’t know so but like the the polity thing in the throne ham thing. And these black dudes defended her right really made me think about, like, at the undercurrent of a lot of this stuff is like Sorry, like a lot of black dudes who are like, either in this pursuit of whiteness, or like in his pursuit of power, who are enabling this in a very weird way, like there. I don’t know if you’ve read. And this is like one of the most brilliant articles I’ve ever read. I think Clover hope wrote it. And it was about Iggy Azalea. It was about like this rise of Iggy Azalea. But she only interviewed black men who like, helped her along the way.

Traci Thomas 47:17
Like didn’t she date Swaggy P-

David Dennis Jr 47:19
yeah, she dated Swaggy P but it was like the producers, the engineers, like the people co-signed or like all the Bucha the article never said like the black man who enabled it was just like the rise Vegas elite. And just like all and so like, I think about, you know, leaving at the beginning, like Christina Aguilera got a whole album produced by DJ Premier. You know, and, like, there’s this feeling of like that black like these dudes who are like, see the this appropriate, like they see the appropriation as a two way door. You know, like, they, they’re, they’re going to take from us, but they’re gonna bring us up with them right on the way down, and they don’t ever paint and you end up with Justin Timberlake, who, though all those beats, you know, I love timberland. I love for rail, all the beats could have gone to usher, you know, all in BS could have gone to Omarion. Really, you know, and they would have made just good songs. And then as soon as Justin Timberlake was like, I’m gonna be white again.

Traci Thomas 48:25
He put on his little, his little fucking Hunter’s outfit was like, I’m John of the forest or whatever that was called-

David Dennis Jr 48:33
And went white again. And what’s the name of the talk? And Miley Cyrus Cyrus did the same thing they like when white Machine Gun Kelly is going back to white and

Traci Thomas 48:45
what’s his name? Red, red one. Who did Lady Gaga? Red. You know, in the beginning of like, Just Dance. She’s like, red one guy. Introduce a red wine. Okay, anyways, she had I’m pretty sure he’s a white black person too. But she also has gone full. Tony Bennett, Jerry, exclusive, Caucasian, exclusive, deep white. And obviously, our book club pick last month was shine bright by Daniel Smith. So for this book to start in the Music Section, right. And it felt like such a seamless transition from this like a ratio of black women and pop music to because here’s the other thing that’s so fucked up also, is that black people in America, black music or music in America is almost all exclusively based off of black music, right? And like, I think about the sort of reverse of this, which is not the reverse because black people invented country music, but like when Beyonce went to the Country Music Awards, and everyone was so upset, and they gave the she gave the best performance ever with the Dixie Chicks. And it’s like, so we can’t sing quote unquote, your music even though it’s our music but you guys can come over here and have little Kim dancing with you and your little you know urban Harlem imaginary Disneyland set like it’s it’s just like the hypocrisy of it also is so infuriating you know like and just even when black people just like sing a song it’s like oh it’s an r&b artists like that Why am I pop that can be pop Not that there’s anything wrong with r&b Love r&b, but like, why is that r&b?

David Dennis Jr 50:31
Well, you know, I did an article like a long time ago that sort of like, and went into those categories, you know, like Beyonce hasn’t like she’s won like what 20 Grammys or something like that? I don’t have a number but like only like three of them are in the non urban quote unquote categories urban you know, horse Yeah, you know, like she’s want no, she will, you know, sweep up the r&b sweep up all that stuff. But when it’s like, pop, or best song, our best album, it’s like, No, you stay over Taylor Swift is here. Yeah, like used like Drake. Like, you cannot tell me Drake does not make pop music. You know, like Drake.

Traci Thomas 51:16
Tell me Drake makes rap music. I gotta be honest. And that’s a harder sell to me. Yeah, it’s like is Drake a pop artists or rap artists, I might have to go pop like,

David Dennis Jr 51:25
he is a he’s a pop artists like he when he did, um, God’s plan. Well, he made God’s plan. And then Post Malone made some whatever song and Post Malone was a pop artist. And God’s plan was a rap song. And it’s like, there’s no rapping and God’s plan, like God’s plan isn’t is a pop song. And like, right, those all those categories just raised, they really just made the category. So white people go in awards, right?

Traci Thomas 51:52
And they made the categories to like gate keep black people out, right? Yeah. To be like, don’t you don’t have to take this category serious? Because it’s the best song in this category. It’s not the best song, you know, right. And we see that I mean, I see that a ton and books to write that. It’s like, oh, this book is urban fiction. Because there’s a black person. Like, feels weird, right? Really? That’s very questionable to me that this is urban, urban experience urban fiction. Right. But like this other books set in New York City is not right. Explain that to me, because it’s the same city. No, I’m just I’m confused.

David Dennis Jr 52:33
Or, like, you know, they don’t talk about like, what makes a Christmas you know, they don’t talk about best man holiday as a Christmas movie. Right? You know, just like a I don’t know, the Kwanzaa movie.

Traci Thomas 52:46
I don’t know. I hate holiday movies. Famously. I don’t know if it’s famous. But in my house. I’m famous for hating Christmas holiday things. It’s not for me.

David Dennis Jr 52:54
No, no Christmas movies. Not even Elf?

Traci Thomas 52:59
No, thank you. Oh, my goodness. It’s I don’t like Christmas music either. Christmas music starts in my house at the very earliest December 23.

David Dennis Jr 53:07
Oh, yeah, I’m not a big Christmas music person.

Traci Thomas 53:10
But my husband will be playing it and then I’ll come home and I’ll be like, it’s gotta go off. It’s done. Like it’s a No wonder my children’s birthdays are December 22. So now it’s no question. She’s like till after the boy’s birthday. Oh, sorry. Birthday. We gotta do birthday. This is only in the last two years prior to that. It was just I don’t like Christmas music. But now I’m like, we can’t it’s going to take over the boy’s birthday. They have to have their own day.

David Dennis Jr 53:37
That’s terrible. And Elf is a is a top tier movie. And the best-

Traci Thomas 53:42
They’re not the best Christian has ever ever made. The only one I like and I will watch it maybe once every five years is Home Alone to not home on one home alone to in New York. That’s the best one. Well, Donald Trump’s in that one. So okay, sorry. He’s in everything. He was a pop culture icon. It’s not mine also.

David Dennis Jr 54:01
And then also, it was home alone to really nailed how rich that family was, which made them less likeable.

Traci Thomas 54:07
Okay, because they were so rich. They were all flying to Paris and

David Dennis Jr 54:10
They were fun. They were fun, but the dude was like, but he spent like a week at the Ritz at the Trump Tower and ran up like a $10,000 bill on the day. I was like, sorry, his kid was alive.

Traci Thomas 54:23
If your kid did that, you’d be like, well, this does really fucking suck, but at least you’re alive and these horrible men didn’t get you Merry Christmas. No, it’s not a great movie. It’s just my favorite Christmas movie, but I only like one and that’s it. That’s the list.

David Dennis Jr 54:38
I hope that you and your family watch Elf this year.

Traci Thomas 54:40
I watched Elf last year part of it- but then I had to leave the room. It was too much. It’s too much, too much joy. Too much joy bliss. In those tights. It’s a no it’s a no and the worst one is Love Actually, and I’ll fight anybody about no love actually is a terrible movie. Terrible movie. But I’ve been hating Love Actually, since the first time I ever saw it last Long before everyone like in the last three years decided it was bad because it’s fat phobic and like a little rapey I think a lot of tears. I just didn’t like it on the merits of the movie. I just was like, I don’t like this.

David Dennis Jr 55:12
Yeah, I liked it for non social justice reasons also,

Traci Thomas 55:16
but now I’m like, Oh, you like it? Or do you like rape and fatphobia but secretly, I’ve just like, I don’t like this movie yet. And I just would rather listen. The only Christmas album that’s exists in my mind is Mariah Carey. Chris actually, there’s a few right Carrie Christmas is on rotation for the two days. Temptations. Temptations Christmas for a few days. Um, Donny Hathaway. And that’s it. Yeah, just a very Merry Christmas Volume Two All right,

David Dennis Jr 55:46
I guess I understand. No, I feel you on that one because I have mixtape series like that. Like southern smoke vine 26 is the best southern smoke yeah,

Traci Thomas 55:53
There’s just like now that’s my call music for is the best one. Yeah, I guess trust me people. Okay, wait, what else we have to say about this book? Because we’re getting towards the end of our time. Um, I know sorry. We have to talk about the language and the meat. Okay. I have to talk about the social media of it all. Okay, because eat that sandwich cold bread baby. Probably the room temperature because to me now, when I think about cultural appropriation, it is all about the social media of it all the the reels, the vine situation, how vine was murdered by white people. The fucking black murder actual murder videos being shown on repeat constantly. The language the stealing of the slang, you know, the misuse of all of the words mispronouncing them like whoa, Chile. Chile, like, what’s happening, like, like the video I mentioned earlier, taking black music and not even knowing what the reference like all of that, that, to me now is like the most obvious manifestation or like the most common manifestation, that is just that’s like the micro shit that drives me crazy. But the macro part of that is when the like little white girl raps to Busta Rhymes and then gets to go on fucking Ellen. I’m like, Alan, have you even had Busta Rhymes on your show?

David Dennis Jr 57:29
You know, and the thing is, like, I don’t, again, I’m so numb to it, that it doesn’t like the actual video itself doesn’t upset me. Because it’s just that I’m dead inside. Alright. But it’s the like, it’s the reactions to it as if we don’t know what’s going to happen. You know, like, the the white girl at the wedding. Right? Who rapped the Lil Baby verse on the Drake thing, right? And it was so clear. From the moment I clicked on that video, that there will be an N-word like a controversy, it was so clear and focus on like, why are you hating on it, when you just gonna assume that she has some sort of, and it took 24 hours for somebody found that she was calling that N-word? You know, and it you can you can set your watch to it. But what upsets me is how folks act like that’s not going to be the case. You know, like, of course, white folks, try your best to appropriate make your stupid ice creams and cups and whatever, do your dumbass rap videos, and all that stuff? Like, do it but like, I wish that they could just do it into the void. And the reason they’re not doing it into the void is because so many people keep saying, No, this time is different. No, it’s not. It’s exactly the same as every single time before.

Traci Thomas 58:56
But the question that it really begs to me is like, if if you’re rapping over debate or Lil B aby versus like, if you’re rapping over Busta, or Biggie or whoever, if you are taking a song that already exists, it’s published in the world as a famous song. Why are we celebrating someone’s singing along to someone else’s music? Like that’s, that’s the question because you’re not going to take a video of a little black kid rapping along to Busta and be like, Wow, this black kid said black words so fast. What a black you know.

David Dennis Jr 59:28
Or like why folks are gonna be like, just watching the video of a little black kid singing don’t stop believing. If you’re like, oh, you’re invited to the honky tonk like yeah, that doesn’t happen.

Traci Thomas 59:42
didn’t write the song maybe she wrote the song was like, Wow, this seven year old wrote this great rap first like I’d be like, Wow, that is impressive. She’s seven she’s a good rapper, like Star Search or whatever the fuck but like you’re getting credit for singing. It’s karaoke. You’re getting right if you’re going on Ellen for karaoke, like Please explain this to me. Like, why is this impressive? I do it in my car. I do it in my car and my parents car when I was seven should hear me do Lionel Richie. I’m incredible. You know, that was really my thing. Big Lionel fan over here.

David Dennis Jr 1:00:13
Go for it, do it. We need some lines.

Traci Thomas 1:00:17
That’s actually something you have to pay for. That’s, that’s my onlyfans. Join the patreon to hear me.

David Dennis Jr 1:00:25
Yeah, no. Yeah, it’s the it’s the the machine that bothers me. Yeah. You know, the follow through that, like, I see white folks doing this stuff. And I’m just like, okay, whatever, but it’s the machine follow up and knowing that it’s going to happen. Yeah. And being like, every cent, like every time, a black person invites a white person to the cookout and Angel lose its wings. Like, that’s the, like, that’s the stuff that bothers me. It’s like, why are you do what like, why are you saying that? This is incorrect. Why are you reposting that white girl seeing a little baby? Right? Right? Like, what? Why do you find value? In that? That’s the stuff that fresh, right?

Traci Thomas 1:01:06
Why is that valuable? In any way? I’m like, why are you impressed by this? Like?

David Dennis Jr 1:01:14
That’s because like, it’s because we just like, you know, if we could just free ourselves being enamored with everything white people do. Yeah, you know, that would take that would go a long way. You know, like, right. Like, even like you said, like, with the food stuff, like, you know, or I think, I think dress codes in black establishments are the worst, like, there was this works on not to be named black owned workspace here in Atlanta, than I used to have to go to with my old job. It was That was where we work. And they had this dress code. And I’m like, but you can go in there. Like if you were in a suit, but like, you can wear a shitty suit and look like Captain Crunch and walk in there. And you’d be following the dress code. Like you can look like a full ride. And felt like I had always wanted to like go to Party City, and buy a pimp suit. And like, go in there anyway. And just because like I just think like that type of stuff. Like, like free or like why? Like, you know, that they’re brilliant, hard working business or whatever black folks who wear sweatpants and T shirts.

Traci Thomas 1:02:27
Right? You know? And like, like the NBA dress code the most race right? Fucking Oh, man. I wrote a paper on that in college.

David Dennis Jr 1:02:37
Well, I mean, Phil Jackson called it prison guard. He said, What’s your stop wearing prison guards out there like people forget exactly how racist It was so bad.

Traci Thomas 1:02:47
Yeah, it was so bad. No, it’s true. It’s like this the pursuit of whiteness, like a respectability politics. I mean, that’s what it really is, I guess. Right. Yeah. I mean, and then there’s also like, the N word of all, which, you know, she has a line in the book that I’m paraphrasing, but it’s something along the lines of like, if the word wasn’t dangerous, or like, if it didn’t hold power, they wouldn’t want to use it. Right? Which, like, we all know. And by we all I mean, black people, like we get it. But that’s always that conversation. I always hate but the conversation I hate even more, which is sort of to your point is when black people tell me why it shouldn’t be used? And I’m like, No, yeah,

David Dennis Jr 1:03:30
I’ve never found a compelling argument to give.

Traci Thomas 1:03:34
That’s the least compelling argument to me the like, we can’t use it because then they think they can use it. I’m like, they think they can use it, right? It’s not because I’m using it. They used it before I ever used it and keep using it.

David Dennis Jr 1:03:46
whatever, when ever have white people been like, oh, black people. Y’all think that’s not okay, let me stop offending you. Like that just don’t happen.

Traci Thomas 1:03:56
Never. And I and you know, it also begs the question, and there’s not an answer for this. Just like, whatever. This is the stuff that I probably shouldn’t say to my from what I’m gonna say it, which is, why can’t Why people just come up with their own shit. You live in the same world. Like, you can’t just come up with some words that you guys want to just be using and like that are fine. And you guys just go do your own white shit. Like, why? Why can’t you just sing along to your white songs?

David Dennis Jr 1:04:20
Like, because it’s about to me, it’s, this is what I think like, especially with the N word. It’s about being told. No. Yeah.

Traci Thomas 1:04:29
I agree with the N word. But like, what about everything else? Like why can’t you just make your own food? Why can’t you just create your own art? Why can’t you come up with your own dances on tick tock? Why when the black kids stopped doing tick tock videos, are there no more dancing videos? You guys couldn’t figure out a PATA Baray here or pivot turn there. You can do some body roll. Like, why can’t they figure it out? And if they can, why don’t they? You could go be a star and your little white shit, right? It’s like the only thing why people have figured out how to be great at it. like lead in is like terrorism, that’s their jam. That’s their bag. And like, I don’t know, come up with come up with some fucking food come up with some shit. You been here just as long as we have, right?

David Dennis Jr 1:05:13
Well, I mean, I think I think it’s just like- I want what’s yours? Right? I just wanted, you know, like, you know, I think I think obviously, you know white folks are capable human beings sure and like you said can do these things I believe well, but like, what’s the joy in that? Versus give me what’s yours which is

Traci Thomas 1:05:40
like join us creating we create stuff all the time and it

David Dennis Jr 1:05:44
well yeah, we have but there’s but I think we have more joy in that then like give me well give me what’s yours but also not that much take from them but also like, you know, I just think that they I just think that this historical, European thing of like valuing your self worth is what you can take from other people, right?

Traci Thomas 1:06:07
It’s like the ethos of colonizing.

David Dennis Jr 1:06:10
Yeah, it’s like, it’s like, I’ve conquered, like, where did how do we how do we determine who the best rulers are? They took the most stuff, you know? And it’s like, Now, I want you know, and that’s the, that’s a value system that we created for generations. And to continue on that value system. I want to show you what I took, right? And like, even like when do you know, these, you know, Nazi white dudes who are on Twitter who were like, you know, we enslaved y’all, and we did this to you. We like, that’s the value system, right? That comes from us. What can I take and what can I make into my own and to like, make you and to continue to make you want to be like me? Right? You know, right. And the way to continue making you want to be like me is to take the shit that’s yours. Right? Make you start and then make you want to get it back. You know, like, take this thing that’s yours. And you want it. Like, come get it wrong from my side of town.

Traci Thomas 1:07:12
Right? And usually by people are like, we don’t even want it anymore. You right?

David Dennis Jr 1:07:17
We don’t want anymore. And then we’re going to create another thing. I want I want that thing to

Traci Thomas 1:07:22
Yeah, it’s like we by the time it becomes a thing that white people are super into. It’s like we’ve already moved on right now. Okay, the last thing we always talked about on every episode for the book club is title and cover. What did you think of the title? What did you think of the cover? The title to remind people is white negros when cornrows were in vogue and other thoughts on cultural appropriation. The cover sort of light pink with like yellow braids.

David Dennis Jr 1:07:47
I really liked I liked the because like the cover, sort of is like, I don’t know if these are I don’t know if these another look at it closely. I don’t know what these little tracks are. But they sort of reminded me of like the braids.

Traci Thomas 1:07:59
I think like corn. Are they burnt? Oh. Oh, so they kind of look like gold chains also, like they could be like, oh chains. They could be like, That’s what I thought. But what did you think that makes sense?

David Dennis Jr 1:08:12
I was thinking like, the little feathery things that like Caesar would wear. Like the ruler

Traci Thomas 1:08:20
Yeah, sure.

David Dennis Jr 1:08:22
Um, the only thing was that I thought that like the cornrows was probably was like the least fascinating. Like, you know, like, the least. Yeah. Like I kind of would like, you know, I understand that. You had to pick something that would go there. But I thought Yeah, I thought I mean, I think I bought the book because of the title.

Traci Thomas 1:08:43
Yeah, you know, titles. Fantastic. Subtitles medium, but the title was fantastic. Yeah, I agree. Okay, we did it. We ate peanut butter and jelly. Yeah, we talked about basketball. Again. Don’t worry about it in everybody. And Guy Fieri which we mentioned here, which was so important. i This feels successful. You’re eating peanut butter jelly again. This feels successful to me. I feel like we nailed it. Everybody this is David Dennis Jr. His book is called the movement made us if you haven’t read it yet. You absolutely must. It’s so good. Yeah. Thanks for being here.

David Dennis Jr 1:09:16
Thank you for having me. I’m gonna continue eating room temperature bread now. So much better because it’s room temperature.

Traci Thomas 1:09:23
Everybody else we will see you in The Stacks.

That does it for us today. Thank you so much for listening. And thank you, of course to David Dennis for being our guest. And I can now reveal the Stacks book club pick for July. It is a classic Sudanese novel. It’s called Season of Migration to the North by Tyeb Selah. We will be discussing the book on July 27. Listen to next week’s episode to find out who our guests will be for that conversation. If you love this show and want inside access to it, head to patreon.com/the stacks to join the stacks Pack. Make sure you’re subscribed to the stats wherever you listen to your podcasts. And if you’re listening through Apple or Spotify, be sure to leave us a rating and a review. For more from the stats follow us on social media at the stacks pod on Instagram at the stacks pod underscore on Twitter and check out our website the stackspodcast.com This episode of the stocks was edited by Christian Duenas with production assistance from Lauren Tyree. A graphic designer is Robin MacWrite. The Stacks is created and produced by me Traci Thomas.

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