"The Jackie Robinson of Bisexuals w/ Travon Free"

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This week, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Travon Free (@Travon), the star of the new HBO show Him or Her. They started things off by delving into the show’s premise: it’s largely based on Travon’s dating experiences as a black, bisexual male in America. That transitioned to a conversation about the importance of representation, something personal to Travon specifically because he hasn’t ever seen himself represented in popular movies or tv shows. Ana then shifted the conversation, asking Travon about his journey to realizing and accepting his sexuality. Growing up in a conservative Christian church made things more difficult, and eventually led him to stop attending and eventually led him to stop attending before adopting a new approach. Toward the close of the show, Travon continued on, and explained the ways he’s found acceptance of his sexuality later in life.

"White Fragility In The Wild"

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Princeton University professor Robert Wuthnow (@RobertWuthnow), author of the book The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America, joined Ana (@anamariecox) this week to talk about his research. He and Ana began by exploring common misconceptions of rural America, and how rural Americans often conceive of themselves. Although he often found a perceived sense of “we-ness” within rural communities, that dynamic broke down when people shared their true opinions about things like marriage equality or a woman’s right to choose. Although many people held similar beliefs, the group was much less homogenous than they may have thought. Ana asked Robert about how the group dynamic can change, and he explained that the boundaries of the groups get complicated, because the divide between us and them is never as obvious as people may think it is. Ana also asked whether Robert had foreseen the rise of Donald Trump (spoiler alert: he hadn’t). Yet, he wasn’t surprised that people in rural America supported a Republican, as it merely continued a pattern established by the anti-abortion movement.

Then, former Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges (@BetsyHodges) joined Ana to answer a listener question about allyship from Teresa, a listener who joined them on the line.

"Why Pleasure Is Political w/ Michael Arceneaux"

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Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick), author of the New York Times bestseller I Can’t Date Jesus. Their conversation kicked off with an exploration of Michael’s experience as a queer black man, how it is inherently political, and what that means in his daily life. They then talked about his work as a writer, and why he chose to write the book he wanted to rather than one craved by editors, that would have catered to a white audience. That turned the conversation towards representation, and what it takes for a black person to succeed in traditional media, namely an ability to speak to white people. Ana and Michael also dove into how he discovered his sexuality, and the ways that lack of representation not just of gay men, but black, Latino, and Asian men made that more difficult. They finished things off by talking about Michael’s family, and the influence they have not just on who he is, but on the book itself. His mother, a devout Catholic, still has issues with his sexuality, and he explained that despite them maintaining a relationship it remains a wedge.

"ARA: Ask Rick Anything!"

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On this week’s pod, Ana (@anamariecox) checked back in with Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) to do something different: answer questions from listeners. Their wide-ranging conversation kicked off with Ana asking Rick to put on his strategist hat, and analyze the governor’s races in Florida and Georgia, and the Senate races in Tennessee, Florida, and Texas. Ana then asked Rick how he will vote in the Florida gubernatorial election, before going deeper on how/when Never Trumpers will vote for Democrats. They then changed course, and talked about Rick’s future career prospects as well as what a Never Trumper needs to do for liberals and progressives to trust them. Rick and Ana closed things out by talking about their memories of John McCain, from the perspective of someone who worked for a pro-McCain super PAC and a journalist who covered him, and what they like about each other.

"White Fragility 101"

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On this week’s pod, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Robin DiAngelo, author of the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. To kick things off, Robin explained what white fragility is, and the impact that it has not just on white people, but white progressives in particular. Ana and Robin then talked about the need for people who recognize racism’s ills not to get complacent or arrogant, but rather be actively anti-racist, and continue educating themselves. They then switched gears, and explored why white women often fail to be allies for people of color before probing the ways de facto segregation and tokenizing minorities are so deeply problematic. Ana and Robin also put forth a series of suggestions for what well-meaning white people should do when they put their foot in their mouths and say something racist.

"Funny Is How We Got Here: When Journalists Amplify Hate"

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Whitney Phillips (@wphillips49) joined Ana (@anamariecox) to talk about her recent work, The Oxygen of Amplification, which chronicles the battle journalists face to report on extremism without amplifying it. Early in their conversation, Ana and Whitney dove into the central paradox of that battle: that it’s almost impossible to report on extremism without normalizing and spreading it. Another part of that paradox is that for an uninitiated journalist, it is all too easy to get duped into spreading misinformation. They also explored one of the central problems of this reporting and reporting in general: newsrooms are overwhelmingly white, male, Christian, cis, and able-bodied. Because those people are the ones least at risk from white supremacists, they’re (*shocker*) who white supremacists will talk to, and the most likely to downplay threats from those same white supremacists. Lastly, after touching on Unite The Right 2.0, Ana played assignment editor and suggested different directions to take a Nazi Next Door™story.

"Almost Bravery w/ Rick Wilson"

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This week, the one and only Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) stopped by to talk with Ana (@anamariecox) about his new book, Everything Trump Touches Dies. Ana kicked things off by asking Rick about things he regrets from his past as a political consultant. That led to a conversation about the reaction he’s received from past colleagues and clients to the book, and why he decided to move from working in the political shadows to the light. After Ana called Rick out for the way he uses mental illness and drug addiction in the book to mock Trump supporters, they discussed the people that have disappointed Rick in the Trump era. At the top of the list: Rudy Giuliani. 

Afterwards, friend of the pod Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) joined Ana to answer a listener question from Alex, a Spanish teacher at a conservative, largely homogenous school who wants to reach her students and help them learn that discrimination isn’t ok.

"A Country Built On a Hate Crime w/ Arjun Sethi"

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Arjun Singh Sethi (@arjunsethi81), author of American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, joined Ana (@anamariecox) on this week’s pod. Over the course of their conversation, Arjun explained why he wrote the book: to center the perspectives of hate survivors, who live with the everyday hate not just of Trump’s America, but that -- shocker -- has always been present in American life. He and Ana talked about the general erasure of hate survivors in no less a setting that prosecution of hate crimes, and why hate crime legislation, restorative justice, and listening to survivors is so important in the first place. Their conversation also touched on the role social media does, and should, play in tackling hate. Lastly, they talked about how Arjun’s two German Shepherds help him continue to do this work, and the most important thing he learned through this project.

"Evangelism's God Complex w/ Sarah Jones"

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This week, Ana (@anamariecox) talked with Sarah Jones (@onesarahjones), a staff writer for The New Republic who covers social inequality and religion. Their conversation began with Sarah’s religious upbringing, and her journey from Christian fundamentalist to secular activist. Ana asked about what influence -- if any -- her parents’ teaching still has on her, as well as what the dearth of religious news outlets means for coverage of religion moving forward. Finally, at the end of the show, Sarah explained what she wishes people understood about white evangelicals.

At the end of the show, Ana answered a listener question about reckoning with depression as a person of privilege.

"Contemplative Activism with Teresa P. Mateus"

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This week, Ana (@anamariecox) talked with Teresa P Mateus (@teresapmateus), trauma specialist, professor, and founder of The Mystic Soul Project. They began their conversation talking about Teresa’s journey to become a trauma specialist, and explored what her work looks like in practice. Ana also asked her to explain how well meaning white people can fit into the people of color centered approach Teresa espoused. They then closed out the show talking about how this moment is similar and different to what came before, and why we can be hopeful things will get better.

 

"Spiteful and Shortsighted with Rick Wilson"

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This week, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down for her regular check in with WFLT’s favorite Never Trumper Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson). They talked about what Rick expects from President Trump’s upcoming summit with Vladimir Putin, and why the international order upheld by NATO is so important. Rick then offered his verdict on Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, and what could push him to work for a Democratic Presidential candidate in 2020.

"Amy Chozick on Hillary and Humility"

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This week, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Amy Chozick (@amychozick), New York Times writer at large and the author of the new book Chasing Hillary. Over the course of a wide-ranging conversation, they dove into some of the threads within Amy’s book that the national political press has overlooked. In addition to examining the Hillary that Amy felt voters often didn’t see, they discussed the lessons learned by Amy and the press corps writ large from the 2016 election, and how that press corps can win people’s trust back.

When Ideology is Identity with Lilliana Mason

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This week, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Amy Chozick (@amychozick), New York Times writer at large and the author of the new book Chasing Hillary. Over the course of a wide-ranging conversation, they dove into some of the threads within Amy’s book that the national political press has overlooked. In addition to examining the Hillary that Amy felt voters often didn’t see, they discussed the lessons learned by Amy and the press corps writ large from the 2016 election, and how that press corps can win people’s trust back.

 

Cruelty is as American as Thanksgiving with Adam Serwer

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This week, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer (@AdamSerwer) to talk about the Trump Administration’s inhumane policy of separating children from their parents detained at America’s southern border. Adam wrote a story in The Atlantic about how this policy is the realization of Trumpism, and laid out the argument he makes in the piece: that this policy is the natural byproduct of Trump’s political appeal, and builds off an American tradition of doing horrible things to black and brown children. He and Ana proceeded to examine the central importance of cruelty to this policy, and to much of what else Trump does.

Ana covered Trump’s rally in Duluth on Wednesday for Rolling Stone, and shared some of her reflections on it at the end of the show.

You can find Ana’s story from Duluth in full here.

Ana referenced another piece of Adam’s in The Atlantic, “The Nationalist’s Delusion,” which you can find here.

Adam cited this Atlantic piece from his colleague, and friend of the pod, Vann Newkirk II.

Ana and Adam also mentioned a Vanity Fair piece about Stephen Miller.

Hurting Unit Cohesion with Charlotte Clymer

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This week, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Charlotte Clymer (@cmclymer), the Press Secretary for Rapid Response at the Human Rights Campaign. They started their conversation by talking about the Trump Administration’s decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military, which Charlotte, as a transgender woman and a veteran, is uniquely able to analyze. Charlotte then shared the story of her own transition, and talked about what it means to see transgender people actually be represented.

She and Ana then talked about one of the most important aspects to being an ally with a platform: lifting up other voices. Charlotte talked about one of her favorite activists, Ruby Corado, a transgender woman who is the founder and executive director of Casa Ruby (@CasaRubyDC), a bilingual, multicultural community and resource center for LGBTQ+ people and immigrants in Washington, DC. Finally, to close out the show, Ana and Charlotte answered a listener question from a white, cis, heterosexual woman who wants her students to feel safe and respected while teaching at a rural, white, conservative school.

"Rick Wilson is Giving Up on Corporate Christians"

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This week, Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) stopped by for his monthly check-in with Ana (@anamariecox). They began their conversation by talking about how to cope with the constant distraction posed by Donald Trump’s Twitter account and stay focused on the real issues. Afterwards, they dove into Rick’s own political evolution, and the issues he’s willing to compromise on to gain allies against Trump leading into the midterms. Ana also asked Rick for an insight into what Republican lawmakers and staffers on Capitol Hill are thinking as they head towards November.

"Tall Decaf, Implicit Bias, No Whip with W. Kamau Bell"

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This week, comedian and host of CNN’s United Shades of America W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) joined Ana (@anamariecox) to talk about the racial bias training Starbucks workers across the country had this past week. They spoke about the hypocrisy in trying to take on racism while relying on euphemisms like “racial profiling” and “color brave” without being able to say the word “racist,” as well as how many anti-racism trainings only encompass racism against black people, and leave out other people of color. They also discussed the ways racism actively harms people of color in their daily lives, and Kamau shared one of the ways he physically alters himself when entering white spaces: crouching, so his height appears less intimidating.

 

 

"Grateful (in Trump adjusted terms) with Diana Butler Bass"

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This week, Diana Butler Bass (@DianaButlerBass), historian and author of the new book Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Grace, joined Ana (@anamariecox). Diana wrote the book during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration, and she talked about how the act of practicing gratitude helped her to deal with the myriad ways the Administration was making the country worse. She also talked about how that conception of gratitude is different than the transactional practice many -- including the President, who constantly asks for thanks after doing anything -- believe it is. She and Ana dove into how thinking of gratitude and grace as something that is simply done out of thanks, and makes life better for you and those around you, helps people deal with whatever problems they may face in their daily lives.

"Imani Gandy on the Road to Gilead"

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Rewire’s Senior Legal Analyst Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) joined Ana (@anamariecox) this week for a wide-ranging conversation. They began by exploring the differences between the reproductive rights and reproductive justice movements before discussing what it’s like to receive abuse on Twitter. After talking about how people of privilege can use it for good, the conversation got more serious when Imani proposed that the real reason so much time and energy is focused on the Trump/Russia scandal is that it’s easier and less scary to think about than the tangible ways the Administration is making life worse for people.

After that, Pod Save America co-host Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) sat down with Ana to answer a listener question about intraleft fighting. They discussed some of the problems with talking about political differences (be they about policy or political tribalism) is to have real-life conversations about what people want, and how we can get there.

"Sex Robots Titillate and Childish Gambino Provokes with Ross Douthat and Doreen St. Felix"

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New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) joined Ana this week to continue the discussion they started in columns last week. Ross wrote an op-ed in the Times about the prospect of sex robots as the answer for people who can’t fulfill their sexual desires, to which Ana responded with a lengthy critique. To take that debate off the computer screen, they conducted a wide-ranging conversation that encompassed Ross’ argument, Ana’s problems with it, and what it’s like writing in the age of Trump.

After the conversation with Ross, the New Yorker’s Doreen St. Felix (@dstfelix) joined Ana to talk about Childish Gambino’s music video for “This is America.” Doreen analyzed the new video, and they tried to parse through who it was actually made for as well as what makes Glover so compelling.