I was watching “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah, as I do most nights. The October 8, 2020 show introduced me to Alex Wagner. I was not familiar with her. I didn’t get the Showtime Network until recently, so I had not heard of her show called “The Circus”. She is also a contributor to “The Atlantic”, a publication that I have quoted from on numerous occasions. I also discovered she is currently an anchor and correspondent at CBS News, co-anchoring “CBS THIS MORNING: SATURDAY”, so I am going to check that out also.
This young woman, Alex Wagner, has insight that deeply touched me. She seem to have her fingers on the pulse of frustrated Americans. In her interview with Trevor Noah, she managed to describe to a “T” the emotions that I personally have been feeling. The anger, the hopelessness that swells up inside me at times is pervasive throughout the nation. Speaking on behalf of the many disillusioned individuals she has encountered, she says, “There’s a deep and profound sense of heartbreak.” She’s right. I am heartbroken. “Trumpism” has caused a resurfacing of the tribalism, the racism that never really disappeared, but now is becoming socially acceptable again. My heart literally aches when I read some of the things I see in the news, on Facebook and other media sources. People have become ugly. Their minds are so closed to anything….except what Trump tells them to believe. He has emboldened the hate groups to rise up. He has tricked the common man into believing he is there for them. They can’t see he detests poor and middle class people and is only using them to get him where he wants to be. Trumpism and Conservatism are not the same things!!! He is leading country down a slippery path that I’m afraid it will take a long time to overcome.
Anyway, check out the interview that I was speaking of. It is 7 insightful minutes you don’t want to miss :
I couldn’t sleep last night, so watched a movie called “A Bag of Marbles”, about Jews in Nazi-occupied France. It reminded me (not that I actually forgot….) that white supremacy is not something that just appeared in this country a few years ago!! I literally see on-line that some people believe there were no racial problems until now, and that it is primarily caused by the media!!! That kind of ignorance is fuel for preserving inequality. People have to be willing to drop their defensiveness, be willing to get into an uncomfortable conversation, and be willing to find out what they don’t know and learn from it. I’m discouraged and afraid. Will hatred of people that don’t look like ourselves ever end???
I was watching Nightline (October 9, 2020) and focused on an interview with Kristine Ajrouch, Ph.D., a sociological researcher from Eastern Michigan University. She confirmed that data from sociologists from every ethnic background confirms that people, in general, do gravitate towards their own kind. She states, “Research shows that people’s social networks are very homogeneous when it comes to race and ethnicity. It’s not just the personal relationships. Larger media and societal portrayals of these groups also play a big role in how we understand people who are different from us. That immediately shapes how we react with the person we are going to come in contact with.” Basically, that means if you are bombarded with characterizations of people different than yourself in the media and in dramatic portrayals on television, you are more likely to react to a person of that race/ethnicity based on your perception of that characterization. So if you read/see blacks in the position of being violent or criminal, when you encounter a black person in real life, your perception of that person that you don’t know is of a dangerous, violent individual. If you see Hispanic people portrayed as lazy, or Italians as members of the mafia, when you encounter someone of that ethnicity, you are inclined to perceive that person as the character portrayal you are familiar with. Dr. Ajrouch says that black and brown people do this too, and often become hesitant to develop real relationships with whites because it can become tiring to teach their (black/brown) experience. When asked why it can be more difficult for white Americans to have more diverse friendships and groups, she says it’s a matter of the numbers. “Whites are still numerically the majority population, and the opportunities for them to come in contact with others that are different than them are far fewer. They don’t have to interact with people different from them in order to have opportunities. Whereas, individuals that are of racial or ethnic minority groups, have to.”