11/2 Race And Freedom in France and the U.S. w/ Tyler Edward Stovall

November 2, 2021

Sam and Emma host Tyler Edward Stovall, Professor of History and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University, to discuss his recent book White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea, looking at how the construct of liberty, largely from the French and American perspective, was built around a central element of whiteness. Professor Stovall takes on the mythologies of Peter Pan, looking at how Pirates and Indians were treated in white childhood, as these symbols of freedom from responsibility, something that comes to define white adulthood, and how these represent the specificity of white liberty. They also look at the appropriation project around piracy when it comes to shaping Hollywood heroes like Johnny Depp, and how fetishization combined with a de-racialization worked to reinforce this exclusive liberty, before they dive into the French and American roots of liberty, and how the nations were ingrained in promoting the enslavement of nonwhite people internationally. Next, Professor Stovall dives into the slipperiness of whiteness, specifically around the symbol of the Statue of Liberty, first exploring how this was read as an anti-immigrant symbol, before looking at how the original model for the statue came as a warrior breaking free from chains of enslavement, and how the changing reading of this worked in tandem with a changing perception of whiteness. Tyler, Emma, and Sam then dive into the effects of the first and second World Wars on the treatment of liberty, with Woodrow Wilson’s gift to the world following the Great War as freeing Eastern Europe to democracies while colonized nations remained under control, before WWII tore open the racialized sores of liberty, centering Western concepts of white supremacy and colonialism in the most public genocide to that point, forcing the US to actually take on this issue, resulting in free countries engaged with the UN doubling in the decades following it, while France attempted to double down on their empire, involving themselves in two bloody failures of war. They wrap up the interview with the state of liberty today, looking at the battlegrounds in the US as BLM and Defund The Police begin to question what our perception of freedom is and what it should be.

And in the Fun Half: Nomiki Konst joins Emma and Sam as they cover Dave Rubin’s backing out of a debate on Big Tech regulation for totally legitimate reasons this time, Devin from St. John talks overuse of antibiotics, Manchin says compromise isn’t enough, enough is enough, and enough is exclusively what he says, and they discuss how progressives can take back the narrative from centrists. They admire “the Good Liars” taking on CRT protesters in VA, expand a little on the VA elections, Tom Friedman reminds us that capitalism is what’s too big to fail, the Earth is fine to fall by the wayside, Donald Trump continues to hit on both anti-Semitism and anti-anti-Semitism, and Sarah from NJ talks fascist business boys and the genuine dangers they pose, plus, your calls and IMs!

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