Our hosts–Carol Jenkins, Gloria Feldt, Sherrye Henry, and Betty Spence–talk to two leaders about how to mobilize the Black vote in pursuit of a more multicultural (and more perfect) union.
Steve Phillips is a bestselling author, columnist, and national political expert, as well as the founder of Democracy in Color. Look out for his new book coming Oct. 18th, “How to Win the Civil War.”
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is a wealth, health, and education equity expert, Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has conducted extensive research and policy analysis on aging, Social Security, the social determinants of health, and the racial wealth and achievement gaps. Look out for her upcoming book: “RAGEISM: Racism, Ageism, and the Quest for Liberation Policy.”
All episodes begin and end with the 2017 single “Rise” by rock group Betty (www.hellobetty.com)
In this episode:
The hosts start with what they’re pissed about (01:48)
Carol introduces our first guest, Steve Phillips (07:09)
Steve discusses his new book and how many Americans choose whiteness over democracy (08:58)
This is an urgent issue that has very real stakes (12:00)
Gloria introduces our second guest, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings (29:40)
The Hosts Start by Sharing What They’re Pissed About
Betty is pissed by the suffering being inflicted by male-dominated state legislatures on pregnant women in a nation conceived in liberty. This week, the South Carolina Senate had a debate that wasn’t about whether or not a woman has the right to her own body — the underlying assumption is that they don’t. Instead, lawmakers debated if rape and incest victims should have 12 legal weeks to get an abortion instead of the six weeks granted to everyone else. One of the Republican senators, Sandy Senn, has repeatedly opposed these bans, stating: “If what is going on in my vagina isn’t an unreasonable invasion of privacy for this legislature to get involved in, I don’t know what is.”
Sherry is pissed about Marjorie Taylor Greene. On top of her regular QAnon shenanigans and bellicose support of Donald Trump, she’s now an international embarrassment. She compared President Biden to Hitler and called student loan forgiveness unfair, even though she got $183,504 worth of loans forgiven. Listeners in Georgia’s 14th District: Elect Marcus Flowers and vote Marjorie Taylor Greene out of office.
Gloria is pissed that a federal judge in Kelley v. Becerra ruled something unconstitutional in the Affordable Care Act, which is the portion that provides free preventative services — including contraception. Since she was instrumental in making contraception a federal issue, she takes this personally. But more than that, it’s an assault on women’s health and on the Affordable Care Act. Again, we see how important judges are at every level, and how important it is to understand who appoints those judges.
Carol uses her time to acknowledge the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Carol and all of our hosts offer condolences and sympathies to the royal family, and Carol shares an anecdote about the Queen. A friend of Carol’s once asked Her Majesty how she survived her hectic schedule, to which the Queen replied, “That’s not difficult. I survive by enjoying every single minute of every single day.”
The Guests Chime In
Our first guest, Steve, is pissed about the over-attention and lack of understanding that people have about midterm elections and how they work. That leads to tens of millions of dollars being spent poorly based upon this incorrect understanding, which shows a disrespect and disregard for the importance of voter mobilization.
Our second guest, Maya, is pissed about a North Texas ruling that is making it harder to access the HIV-preventative medication PrEP. According to the Affordable Care Act, employers have to offer coverage for this medication. A judge ruled that this is a violation of religious freedom. Moreover, she is pissed that conservative judges have been strategically planted throughout our legal system, many of whom will support the ideals of Donald Trump as well as the man himself.
Steve Phillips, Founder and President of Democracy in Color
Sherrye opens the chat with Steve Phillips about his upcoming book, “How We Win the Civil War: Securing a Multiracial Democracy and Ending White Supremacy for Good.” It’s being released October 18th. Its premise is that Confederates never really stopped fighting the Civil War, and we see the ramifications of that everywhere today.
Historian Taylor Branch posed this question to Americans: Given the choice between democracy and whiteness, how many people would choose whiteness?
Steve’s answer is simple: The same 74 million people who voted for Donald Trump, who reveled in and unleashed a celebration of white nationalism. People might not explicitly say they would choose whiteness over democracy, but their actions say it loud enough for them.
Further reading: Steve discusses an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic, titled “The First White President.”
Democrats Cannot Be Passive in This Fight for Democracy
Steve wrote his newest book to convey a sense of urgency and clarify the nature of what’s at stake. It’s not simply a difference of opinion amongst people who agree to the same social contract. We’re in a battle with people who have been fighting to keep this a white country.
Lately, there has been a shift that’s been quite pleasantly surprising to Steve. President Biden has said that we’re up against semi-fascist opposition, which is absolutely true, and made a forceful speech on Sept. 1st about the soul of our nation.
Further reading: See all of our hosts respond to President Biden’s speech on our blog.
Steve’s Call to Action for Listeners
It’s critical to be forceful and direct. We are where we are today because of strategic and coordinated attempts to suppress democracy. Thus, the most important thing we can do is expand the electorate and support organizations doing voter mobilization work.
Key Areas in the Past Decade Where We Have Made Progress
- Georgia – the New Georgia Project is protecting Raphael Warnock & working to elect Stacey Abrams
- Arizona – Potential to flip the state legislature
- Harris County, Texas – #VoteProChoice founder discusses how Harris County is trying to make itself a safe haven in Texas in Episode 5
- San Diego, California
New American Majority
As Steve discusses in his latest Democracy in Color podcast with x, this country has really only been a democracy since 1965. Also in 1965, the immigration laws were changed to allow more people of color to immigrate to the country. This means that America was unnaturally white, which then led to an unnatural concentration of white people in positions of leadership in various sectors.
Check out this great graphic from the Democracy in Color playbook that shows the amount of eligible but unregistered voters of color:
Where we put our time, energy, and effort
Steve discusses the effort put into trying to change people’s minds and their political ideology, but he sees another path forward. He cites Obamacare as an example of what we need to aspire to. Many people who didn’t vote for President Obama and indeed hated him and his politics still benefited from the Affordable Care Act. The energy was put into the policies rather than changing hearts and minds. We’re not there yet, but it’s where Steve hopes we can go.
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and the Inclusion Revolution
In Maya’s words, there are multiple groups “who are being targeted, undermined, maligned, and sidelined by conservative fundamentalism.” (34:26)
By combining the power of all of these groups, we can build the inclusion revolution which will bring an army together. That’s the way that we can reach a truly multicultural democracy.
To Maya, the key to victory is women over age 50.hey’re going to be critical to mobilizing around the issues of today, especially around access to abortion.
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman,” Malcolm X
Even more than women over 50, a vulnerable but critical population of the American electorate is the Black woman. That voting block consistently has their finger on the pulse of America. But consistently throughout history, the rights of Black women have been pushed down on the priority list, from white women excluding them in the suffrage movement to Black men advancing their own voting rights.
The intersectional battles of Black women need to be humanized and recognized. And since Black women haven’t seen that recognition from society, they are uplifting themselves.
An organization for you to support: Black Girls Vote
Steve Phillips is a bestselling author, columnist, and national political expert. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Brown Is the New White. He is a regular columnist with The Nation and The Guardian. He is also the founder of Democracy in Color, a political media organization dedicated to race, politics and the multicultural progressive New American Majority. Phillips is the host of “Democracy in Color with Steve Phillips,” a color-conscious podcast on politics. His new book, How We Win the Civil War, is due out in October.
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings Metro and the Founder, President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions. Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings is the author of the forthcoming book RAGEISM: Racism, Ageism, and the Quest for Liberation Policy (Routledge). A wealth, health, and education equity expert, Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings has conducted extensive research and policy analysis on aging, Social Security, the social determinants of health, and the racial wealth and achievement gaps.