“I think that one of the things that benefits me as a historian is that I try to look at things from the vantage point of the troubles that people in preceding generations have had to confront and surmount. That always makes me feel like, oh we can get by, we can handle this. The truly epic and dire crises and tragedies that confronted people who lived before we did– they have a humbling effect when you look at those things. And so, I tend to just kind of wake up in the morning, try to put things in perspective, and do what I have to do.” – Jelani Cobb, episode 173 on Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
Jelani Cobb is a professor, historian, and staff writer for The New Yorker, where he covers race and politics. He joins us to discuss the “dimension and contours” of this moment in America (6:00), the intersection of Amy Cooper’s phone call and George Floyd’s death (12:05), how to engage those with whom you disagree (18:30), Ahmaud Arbery and the age of the black-panic defense (24:00), why body cam videos may objectify instead of humanize (28:45), Twitter’s sudden censorship of President Trump (37:30), and, finally, his predictions for what the next 5-6 months may look like (44:00).
- Jelani on The Death of George Floyd, in Context.
- Also discussed: We Are Living in the Age of the Black-Panic Defense.
- His latest piece–Minneapolis, the Coronavirus, and Trump’s Failure to See a Crisis Coming–is out now.
- You can find all of Jelani Cobb’s work for the The New Yorker here.
- Donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund here.
- Learn more about the Black Visions Collective and donate here.
- Learn more about the North Star Health Collective and donate here.
Illustrations by: Krishna Shenoi.
Music by: Dylan Peck and Jinsang.