A few things from Jennifer and Hakeem's research:

1) white support for BLM surged last year, but it is now lower than it was *before* George Floyd's murder.
2.) maybe more people should have been skeptical of the so-called “reckoning.” @pikachudy said that public opinion polling of whites people on issues of race show that only about 1 in 5 white people consistently express some degree of distress at news of Black suffering.
(That data suggests it was unlikely that suddenly solid majorities of white ppl — 60 percent and higher, depending on the polls — had suddenly permanently moved into that “racially sympathetic” cohort after the killings of a George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.)
and 3.) Even among the most racially sympathetic white people, they tend to favor small-bore actions like “educating oneself about racism or listening to people of color” but not things like moving out of their segregated neighborhoods or organizing for policy changes.
As Jennifer put it: for the white people who came to understand the ways that racism is structural and systemic, their responses have been mostly personal and individual.
More later.
Okay, back from the gym.

So last year, when we had this influx of new listeners — the podcast was on a bunch of those “anti-racist reading lists” that popped up, which i still feel ambivalent about — and all these new, white IG followers were doing a LOT in my DMs. Bc of course.
So i put a story question up like, “okay, white people. but why are you here NOW? What is different NOW?”

I got a LOT of messages. There was a lot of stuff about the horror of the Floyd video, but almost every response mentioned Trump and the pandemic.
both those last two things get to the context of the "Great Awokening," as @nprAudie calls it.

As you see #onhere all the time, a whole lot of white Democrats talk about racism insofar as it is a cudgel they can use against Republicans — and especially Trump.
Trump was a very particular, salient villain. His racism was cartoonish + legible to people who understand racism as a personal failing

The flip of that is that policies taken as evidence of Trump/Republican venality were unlikely to be understood that way if a Dem enacted them
(see "they're throwing kids in cages!" because...)
so you had a lot of people who hated Trump, and that dislike was supercharged by an election year...

...and then you had the pandemic. A lot of people told me the precarity of everything made them understand how other people who were always in precarious circumstances. Ok, sure.
But @nic_fisher said that quarantines and lockdowns have historically been cauldrons of civil unrest and riots. We should have expected that *something* would have been the spark that activated the kindling that was already there.

Spontaneous mass protests, she said, usually needs: a lack of trust in government or authority, shared grievances, shared intensity, geographic proximity, and anonymity.

(These conditions, btw, are almost always present in Black communities.)

So anyway, as Shereen asked on the episode last year, what happens when all these conditions are no longer present for white people? Will they still care and show up?

And Jennifer + Hakeem reminded us that white people might have responded angrily to the Floyd video — it doesn't take much moral imagination to see the horror in that — but that's a very different thing from being on board with any of the policy responses offered by organizers.
we got an email today from a white dude who said that while, he was down with banning chokeholds and ending qualified immunity, he was turned off by all that "intersectionality" and "defunding the police" and "dismantling capitalism" talk. He suspected other white folks were too.
So yeah. this cohort — white liberals, broadly — is

1) consistently unreliable and fickle when it comes to antiblack racism

2) the subset of them that aren't — that shows up *all* the time — is "a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage" of the white population, Jen Chudy says
but they are not going to be part of dismantling racist structures.

As Hakeem said in the episode, to the extent that the events of last summer DID move white people, it was mostly from the bookshelf to the couch.

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