Today we took a scenic drive through the Catskills and stopped in a small town for lunch. There was an 80 year old white woman on the corner holding up signs for racial justice. I asked her how often she does this.

"Every Saturday at 12 PM."
"Since when?"
"Since George Floyd."
There was a Black man standing with her, probably half her age, also holding up anti-racism signs and speaking with folks as they walked by. Many cars honked and some people cheered. A few drivers shouted "TRUMP 2020" and revved their engines..
I watched as kids came up on their bikes -- one of them had a Trump sticker -- and asked questions about race. Eventually I made my way over, as did a 60-something year old Trump supporter and his liberal wife. I stood on that corner talking with them all for nearly two hours..
I asked the Trump supporter his name. He gave me his business card and evidently wanted me to know that he's a CEO. "What's your name?" he asked.

"Dr. Fleming."
Anyway. There were 8 of us on this corner -- 6 humans, a dog and a cat -- talking, arguing, listening for nearly two hours. A Black man, one interracial lesBian couple (us), one white straight couple, a bad ass 80 year old white peace activist, a Jewish Trump supporter.. I mean..
We addressed everything from fracking to foreign policy, the Civil War, immigration, the civil rights movement.. I lectured this man on the meaning of systemic racism, the history of white supremacy -- even brought in W.E.B. Du Bois. By the end, he promised to read my book..
Before we parted ways, the 80 year old activist invited us to visit her the next time we're in town, the Black antiracist asked to collaborate, and the wife of the Trump supporter wants to bring my work to the school where she teaches . . . .
The Trump supporter was like "At least you're willing to talk about these issues. My wife gets too upset. She won't speak to me about this."

Me: "Well, I would never marry someone with your views. The only reason I can talk to you right now is because I can walk away..."

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More from @alwaystheself

5 Oct
I will say that over the last years, the most unexpected thing has been shifting from writing and speaking my critiques into the ether to discovering that there was a sizable audience for those same critiques -- even among the people and organizations I was critiquing.
One can become so accustomed to feeling and speaking as an outsider (even if you're not entirely an outsider) that once the folks and organizations you criticize start to invite that critique, it can all feel . . . rather surprising.
I'm thinking of talks I've given on white supremacy in academia for academic institutions, or talks on racism in Sociology for sociologists, or being invited to speak at Harvard after writing a book addressing Harvard's racism (and then continuing to denounce Harvard's racism)..
Read 5 tweets
4 Oct
Socially distanced perfection at @meadowsweetnyc — impeccable food as per usual AND the best COVID protocols we’ve seen at any restaurant in the city. 😷
The second most delicious Bloody Mary I’ve had anywhere in the world is right here in Brooklyn.. the most delicious being at a bar on a tomato farm in Iceland..
What I loved about Meadowsweet’s COVID protocols: We called ahead to ensure table would be outside and at least 6 ft from other tables. They explained that they take precautions very seriously.. +
Read 5 tweets
4 Oct
My self-care victories for the weekend: (1) spending lots of time outside in the sun (2) spending lots of time outside at night under the moon and stars and planets (3) a 3 mile hike through Brooklyn (4) a 1 hour virtual session with my trainer (5) adequate sleep
I'm on week #4 of virtual training and it's been the best thing I've done for my health during COVID. I'm not going back to the gym anytime before 2022 and having someone show me how I can work out at home and hold me accountable has been amazing.
I'd been seeing my trainer off and on for two years but I was very skeptical about what we could do remotely. My holistic doc (who, I'm devastated to say, is closing her NYC practice) suggested in one of our last sessions that I reach out to him about virtual training..
Read 5 tweets
29 Sep
I’m not sure why anyone believes that Trump’s non-payment of his taxes will be a game changer in this election or deter any of his supporters. I can’t think of literally a single thing Trump could do to deter followers of his cult.
The man was impeached and it didn’t matter. He was caught on tape lying about COVID and it didn’t matter. He cheated on his wife, bullied a disabled journalist, insulted veterans and soldiers, bragged about sexual assault.. All these things may have even increased his popularity.
I think his followers like the fact that he’s a lawless criminal and thug because somehow they feel empowered by his thuggery. They like the fact that he flaunts social norms they themselves don’t even truly believe in. He can do no wrong in the eyes of his cult and he knows it.
Read 10 tweets
28 Sep
When I give talks, people often ask what I do for self-care. I try to tell the unvarnished truth — What I’ve been able to do for my health and wellbeing has depended on my resources. When I had less, I could do less. What I can afford now wasn’t accessible to me in grad school..
When I was a student, I had access to health resources and insurance through elite institutions and lots of help from my Mom and, sometimes, other family members. As a junior prof, I still had insurance but had to do a lot of work to learn how to navigate health plans on my own..
Self-care in grad school meant getting really bad therapy, taking low cost tai chi classes, going to the gym, getting occasional training (I couldn’t afford long term packages), occasional massage and trying to eat healthier foods without knowing much about nutrition..
Read 13 tweets
28 Sep
Today in my grad seminar on Qualitative Interviewing, we discussed readings on the methodological and ethical challenges of conducting remote interviews during the pandemic. One question students struggled with: What platforms do the best job of protecting respondents' privacy?
Some of the most recent scholarship on remote interviewing forthrightly acknowledges the reality of mass surveillance and government/quasi-government monitoring of communications. Most "apps", including WhatsApp, have significant privacy concerns and known "breaches"..
Therapists and other health practitioners have a range of encrypted, HIPPA compliant software packages to facilitate greater confidentiality. I haven't seen anything similar for qualitative researchers. How are other scholars navigating the privacy minefields of remote fieldwork?
Read 10 tweets

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