S2EP10 - TIFFANI & MALEENA - THE TRUMP ADMINSTRATION
Samia: This is Make America Relate Again, presented by Better Angels Media. I’m Samia Mounts.
First things first, we got some shout-outs to give out! Jessica Blaze left the show a 5-star review on Facebook, saying, “This podcast is quite possibly the only thing that brings me comfort with this Trump presidency.” Thanks, Jessica! I’m happy the show is giving you some hope and comfort. It does the same thing for me, believe me.
A new iTunes review from Marisa reads, “Thank goodness for Samia!! Since this podcast was created a year ago, I’ve been devouring episodes. This is THE CRITICAL THING that we need right now in this country. When we engage in a way that is not so polarized, we can begin to get at the deeper issues. This is what could change the world!” Thank you, Marisa!!!
And Andrae Marquise posted on Facebook about last week’s episode, saying, “It was the best episode I’ve heard from the series. It’s the first time a conservative has been able to articulate so well what the issues we as progressive need to focus on and take into account when addressing the issues. Very smart and well done episode. Thanks for the work you do.”
Andrae, I know you’ve been listening since Season 1, so this comment means a lot to me. I’m glad the show continues to give you things to think about as we approach the end of Season 2.
And that’s a great segue into this week’s conversation. For the last three weeks, we’ve been hearing from a lot of men. For the final three episodes of the season, I’m bringing you lots of women. And this week, I’m finally bringing you two women of color.
Maleena Lawrence is an actor, journalist, entertainment correspondent, producer, and entrepreneur from Smyrna, Delaware, now based in Los Angeles. She has a degree in psychology, and has been a social justice activist since she was just a kid, advocating for underserved communities nationwide. She’s a fierce liberal who shares my tendency to bring spiritual and philosophical issues into the realm of politics.
Tiffani Jones grew up in a family of community organizers, and was a staunch Democrat for most of her life. In the last few years, however, she’s spent a good deal of time getting to know the Republican Party, after an advisor suggested she run for a California Senatorial seat on the Republican ticket. She’s come out of this period of research with a new respect for the goals and philosophy of the Republican Party, and she doesn’t think the liberal stereotyping of conservatives is particularly fair or accurate, especially where the current presidential administration is concerned.
I’m actually pretty embarrassed that I haven’t had any black women on the show before now, and I’m also thrilled to be bringing their perspectives to you. For me personally, black female voices have been the most powerful as far as inspiring positive change in my own life.
Let’s hear what Tiffani and Maleena had to say about the Trump Administration.
Samia: Tiffani, Maleena, welcome to Make America Relate Again.
Maleena: Thank you.
Tiffani: Thank you. Thank you for inviting us.
Samia: I'm so happy to have you both here. Why don't we start by having you both introduce yourselves, so the listeners can distinguish between your voices and kind of know where you're coming from politically, and otherwise? Tiffani, let's start with you.
Tiffani: Oh, thank you. I have been part of the Democratic Party for a while, for the past, I would say, as - when I was born. So my father was in politics. We, and still do have a nonprofit in Boston, Massachusetts, that is 50 years old. And that's how I got into politics. And when we came to California via Boston, Massachusetts, as a community organizer, which my father was, and founder of a nonprofit organization, we got into politics. So some of the people that I know that we're talking about today that are making decisions, I know. Just recently I decided that I wanted to discover and research the other party, which is the Republican Party. I was a little disgruntled as everybody is. But not disgruntled enough to just say and speak from no knowledge. I wanted to find out on my own what the party was about, so I decided to attract good people in the party that would show me what their beliefs, what the philosophy was like, and it's been an interesting, interesting journey, I can say that.
Samia: So you're a Democrat who spent your most recent times getting more involved with the Republican Party?
Tiffani: Yes. Well let me just tell you this, in 2018, before, prior to 2018 and I guess I can kind of tell you this, I wanted to be, excuse me, I wanted to run for an office, for a senatorial office in L.A. Because politics is my blood. I told you about my dad and the nonprofit and the community, working in the community, so I decided I wanted to make a positive change. And you can't be a candidate without understanding both sides. So I decided to really research the Republican Party and see if that might be an avenue to go. As it was suggested and advised at the time, now this was two years, three years prior to 2018, we’re talking about, maybe 2015, 2016. And they said, "Oh, you know, why don't you run on the Republican ticket?" And I said, "Well, I don't know anything about it." And that led me to my research. And again, it's been an interesting journey, I'll tell you that.
Samia: That's fascinating. All right. Maleena, how about you?
Maleena: Yeah. So politics. It came through an experience. And I remember early on in the fifth grade, there was two incidences, childhood incidences, growing up in Smyrna, Delaware, actually, that made me, before I was political, become more - these experiences that I'm about to mention helped shape me consciously to be a human being and learn the distinction between being a human and a racist. And I was in elementary school, I'll never forget, and there was a thump at the door. And the thump on the door wind up being the door just smashing down onto the living room floor right by the stairs that went straight up into my grandmother's house in which I grew up. And I remember the person laying on the door, I watched enough cartoons to know that, in my mind, it was just a animated pow, bam boom, from Roadrunner. Meep meep, boom. And this man was my Uncle Gary. And when he lifted up his head, he said, "Mom, mom," and all of my cousins including myself were on the stairs. And when he lift his head up, he had blood all over his face. I didn't know what it was, I didn't know what had happened. We, I just screamed, "Uncle Gary, Uncle Gary, Meem, Meem!“ which, that's what we called my grandmother. And my grandma came running down the stairs and was like, "What's wrong with you, boy? What's wrong?" And the next thing you know, all these police were at the door, coming inside my house. And my grandma was yelling, "You can't come in my house. What are you doing?" And they took him away, to make a long story short, in handcuffs. Fast forward, my uncle was in the parking lot. He had a white girlfriend, which he tended - I've never seen my uncle with a black woman, to be honest. He was always with a white crew of bikers, he dressed like a biker, but everybody loved him. Everybody knew Uncle Gary and all his girlfriends that were white women, tend to be thick and bike riders. And they just come rolling up by the house and they just roll off, saying, "See you later." And, so that's what we knew. But that night in particular, in the parking lot, the story, real quick, was, my uncle, they all were drinking. But when the police approached the bike crew, they approached my uncle. And then they - one particular police officer harassed my uncle and started put his hands on him. So my uncle - and they all tore up. Everybody hung out in the parking lot. Today we call it parking lot pimpin’. So everybody hang out in the parking lot, and the cop put his hands on my uncle. My uncle was a fighter. My uncle also was one of the state champions in wrestling and football. So I found that out later. And I was like, "Oh." Next thing you know, the cop tried to take down my uncle, but my uncle took down that cop and then wind up taking down all these cops that tried to jump him. And so he made it, he ran to the house, which wasn't far from this hangout, and when he made it home, after having a huge fight with the police, the street was lit. And they took him away. They released him later. And word on the street was that my uncle took down five to ten cops, and - but what we got was police brutality on our door. He was beat really bad. Even though he managed to get away, they called him Superman 'cause he had this super power strength or whatever. But that day, that look and then the police officer that came to our door, it was just - they just took him away like he was nothing. They - and it's almost like they tried to strip away our rights right when they pulled him at the same time, to cuff him up. The second was when I was in the fifth grade, and this won't be so long. But a young white boy named Steven Devarry, I'll never forget his name, called me a nigger. And the way he said it, and I don't use - I was raised not using that word as well as the U word, which was the word ugly. My father wouldn't allow us to say it. And I went to my teacher, Miss Carson, Miss Virginia Carson, who happens also to be my favorite teacher. Miss Carson made him apologize to me, which took him forever to do. And at this time in the fifth grade, during my childhood, I had never been called the N word. And it just erupted something in me. Because every day we had to, of course, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but she also made us remember and recite the Gettysburg address. Every quarter. We had to recite this Gettysburg, the Gettysburg address. And from that day on, though I spoke with Steven Devarry, until he had to write this whole letter as to why he called me the N word and apologize to me directly, which took him a while to do, it erupted in me something where I literally had the feeling that at first I was less than. Why did he call me that? My feelings were hurt. And I entered into a space and frame of mind that I didn't want that to happen again. And what could I do? So I started joining clubs. I started participating in things where I didn't see black people, like baton-twirling and things of that nature. And whether people could call me whatever, but that wouldn't start me from doing or being and showing up as a young black girl in these small towns. And that's how I was introduced to what, I don't call it just politics, but social-political environments. And that's it, and I started running for class offices, in every grade almost, whether I won campaigns or lost campaigns. I started to participate. And just be vocal about it. And not just sit around and let things happen in our school. So I challenged administrations in school, students, teachers, and I challenged myself.
Samia: Thank you so much for sharing all that. I really appreciate that.
Maleena: You're welcome.
Samia: And that's wonderful and I'm kind of in love with you. All right so, thank you both. We're here today to talk about the Trump administration. Last season, that's all any of the conversations were about, was Trump and Trump versus Clinton and the election. This season we've focused on individual topics, so this is the first time we're really going to have an in-depth conversation about this administration and what's going on with them. So I'm interested to see how you guys both feel about it. Tiffani, I know that you came from a Democrat background, but more recently, you've been exploring potentially becoming a Republican politician. So let's start with you. What's your take on the Trump administration?
Tiffani: Being that we're in California and this is a deep blue state, I don't believe that people really understand what he came to do. Obama played his part and he did as much as he could do with trying to unite humanity. Definitely Hillary did her thing with the empowerment of women. And Trump came to do his. And his, I tell everybody, he didn't come to save the world, he didn't come to save you. He just came to do what he wanted to do, the way that he saw fit. And like most people, you run for office to change what you don't like. And he came to do exactly that. So whether it came through business, it came through international trading, he's just being authentically him. And he's letting everybody know. This is a part of transparency that I don't think that everybody understands. Obama talked about transparency. And he's bringing it, but in a way that you may or may not like it. I happen to support some of the things that they actually do, and I know that in Republican cities - and when I say “Republican city,” which most of the legislators are Republican - they take care of their people. They absolutely take care of their people. They write legislation that supports some of the issues that concern the people. I just think they get sometimes a bad rap because there's not a total understanding of what they do and who they are. Again, we're in California, a deep blue state, we don't need anybody else in the country, in the world to - you know, in California. We can support ourselves all on our own, with all our wealth. So for me, I just think that people just - he's misunderstood and misinterpreted. And I have some friends who've been black that he's done things for. On a personal level. So I can't get into whether he's good, he's bad, he's this, he's - that's not my understanding of him and the things that he's trying to do within the administration. 'Cause again, I see some things. I see things that most people don't. That come across email, you know what I'm saying? I'm involved in groups that really do support the good nature of the party.
Samia: Maleena, what's your take on it? What's your response to that?
Maleena: Well, Tiffani mentioned that she and the Trump administration have in common, or Trump in particular versus the administration, is that he too was a party-flopper. And in this case, not to take party flopper out of context, but just to say whether you're Republican to Democrat, Democrat to Republican, liberal to conservative, whatever the case may be. Donald Trump started out as a Democrat, went Republican, back and forth. So he his self has admitted that. I think what concerns me about 45, Trump, the whole administration, is that consciously, separating Trump from the administration is not full accountability. And it's not full transparency. We can see that coming out now. But I think one thing that we have to look at as a society and as a community, even as legislatures, listen to your program, is that we need to be mindful that the person who represents this country, at the end of the day, the leader of this interesting world, that is written as a free world, but we have to protect it in its totality in order to engage freedom, in order to actually have and celebrate being free. And I do not think what we're witnessing is an act of freedom. It's more of an act of rebellion. And be it the GOP rebelling, the Democrats rebelling, liberals, progressives, Green Party members rebelling - these are all political parties. The position that this administration has taken has not leaned towards - and I'm speaking of leadership not policies, in this case - has not been kind to the American public because it has been misleading. It has, I think, exacerbated when it comes to trust, when it comes to full transparency, it has not been honest. And I think that we see this now, but we all - I can remember on election night, it's so funny. On election night, I had this pain in my stomach once the winner was announced. I had literally a sharp pain in my stomach, I kid you not, with downtown L.A. And Kamala Harris was giving a speech. And she just said, "We're gonna have to, you know, tighten up our bootstraps and fight, fight, fight." And till this day, on this very day, post-indictment day, and whatever else is coming down the pipeline, all parties are fighting. And what, the question I have, not only for the Trump administration but even towards the community and elected leaders, is to really get a clear agenda as to what are we fighting for? Not just the preservation of our constitutional rights, but there's a whole laundry list of things to fight for. And even though my sister Tiffani has said he has done a lot of good, and maybe it's not being aired out as his dirty or clean laundry-
Tiffani: It's not.
Maleena: And because I don't see it in him, I know he's of good nature, 'cause we all are human, but his acts and his attitude, that's what it is for me. It's the attitude of him being presidential. And yes, he's been-
Tiffani: But he's also being very transparent. He's not even saying, "Hey, I'm-"
Maleena: His transparency has been to me, more ignorant and folly and gaming on - be it on Twitter or when he gives his press speeches, when he's calling names to deter, calling names of people to deter the media from asking real solid questions, this is a smoke screen to him being really authentic. It's different being-
Maleena: -honest versus authentic.
Tiffani: And I understand, I think he's being his authentic self. I don't think he's going outside of his authentic self. And there has-
Maleena: I think he hasn't - I think he's afraid to get in touch with his authentic self.
Tiffani: You have to understand, he's representing a group of people, whoever they are, that come from that mindset.
Maleena: His mindset? If that's the case, he's a follower. He's not, darn sure not a leader. Because that mindset, if he's following, if that's the mindset he's following, then back to the point you made in the beginning, he's been very transparent. But to be President of the United States and be self-serving and not at least put your time to be of service to the people, not just the Republican Party, but all people, all voters-
Tiffani: Right, but I think what he's done right now is made a change and everybody is standing up, whether you like it or don't, everybody's coming to some kind of-
Maleena: This is the good part.
Maleena: This I agree with you.
Maleena: This is the good part, where-
Tiffani: This is the good part, we didn't do this before.
Maleena: His ignorance, no, his ignorance is definitely bringing people out of the woodwork. It's either bringing you out, like that old hip hop song, bring them out, bring them out, it's only, it's either bringing them out, or it's letting people who are disenchanted-
Tiffani: That's what a democracy is. You stand up for what you believe.
Maleena: Right. Or you lay down and you don't say nothing.
Tiffani: Right. But we didn't - we laid down when Obama was in administration.
Maleena: No, I think we laid down long enough before Obama-
Tiffani: I think so too, that's a-
Maleena: We laid down when Bush hijacked the election year. We've been - I feel like we've been laying down for a long time. We've been sleeping dogs in America.
Tiffani: Absolutely, absolutely, I agree with that.
Maleena: And even when President Obama as the first black president, so to say, I think that that, too, caused us to, as black women and on that note, thank you so much for having us on, and us being your first women-
Maleena: Black women, yes, we represent the color lines.
Tiffani: I - and let's speak to transparency, 'cause there is a transparency bill that was not supported.
Maleena: In the Obama administration?
Maleena: The one, which one?
Tiffani: Well, not in the Obama, I would say, in the last four years-
Maleena: It was introduced.
Tiffani: It was introduced, but it was never passed. It deals with accounting. Show your records, show-
Maleena: The, under the campaign finance laws.
Maleena: That's campaign laws versus-
Tiffani: But they're trying to get it passed for more than just campaign laws.
Maleena: It's being ratif - right. All the amendments coming under that particular bill, again, if we just stick to what transparency is, and who's being transparent, and transparent crossing party lines.
Tiffani: Okay so what does transparency mean to you?
Maleena: Transparency means open, clear, honest. Let me see it.
Tiffani: But if someone's coming to you with the transparency of documentation and saying - outside of the campaign - and saying, "Here's what I've spent, here's what I've done," and you can see that, then-
Maleena: That's being honest and transparent, that's showing proof, whether it's the right documents or not, you right. It's showing-
Tiffani: I mean, I had different experiences. And thank you for sharing something with me that I didn't know about you, 'cause obviously I've met you, we've been doing - we've been on a panel before. And your experience is really is part of the reason why I think my dad got into the community and served the community, as well as myself. Because you don't understand that. And I understand where you're coming from to that degree, 'cause I've heard different things in the Republican Party, and people say different things, and I had a friend, or an associate I would say, say he was a president of a school, or dean of a school, and he had to talk to a black parent and was really upset because of the way that she had spoken to her son. And-
Maleena: Who's he? I'm sorry. Who-
Tiffani: I'm sorry, the guy that, I won't mention his name, but he's-
Maleena: Okay, okay-
Tiffani: 'Cause, just because.
Maleena: Okay, this is example, okay.
Tiffani: And I, the reason why is because I don't even know what's gonna happen after this podcast, 'cause Democrats have been the worst, violent people that Republicans cannot even - you tread very lightly, especially in California, especially Los Angeles. It's literally, we're bluer-
Maleena: I've seen, when it comes to expression and aggression, I've seen both parties - I've seen highstrung Democrats misrepresented - just misrepresenting people within the party who aren't for all of that. Just as I've seen and witnessed Republican, racist Republicans, in the name of Republicans, misrepresent to me, respecting people and humanity. I think that's something that we have to come to a common ground and be able to be at a table like us and be able to really talk about it. In the spirit of transparency, without tearing people down like we've seen.
Samia: So there's a couple things I want to focus on. It's interesting that transparency was one of the first things to come up. Because I know for me as a progressive, transparency is not a word I would associate with the Trump administration, considering how resistant they've been to, for example, supporting and cooperating with the Mueller investigation, how Trump didn't want to release his tax returns, all of the scandals surrounding the Trump Foundation and their misuse of funds. So I'd love to talk more about transparency. After that, I'd like to get into the way this administration has been perceived by liberals as supporting racist policies.
Tiffani: Okay, so can I ask you, Samia, what is your definition of racist? Of being a racist or racism? Because my definition is totally different, and I've traced it back through time, through language, through culture. So I would love to understand what your definition of that is.
Samia: Well, the definition ranges from overt racism, white nationalism, and things like that, to more subtle forms of racism, implicit bias. For example, last week, I had two gentlemen from West Virginia on the show. And they both agreed that the vast majority of conservatives they know, and both of them are surrounded by conservatives, are afraid of black and brown people. And they said that explicitly. They were like, "They're afraid. They're afraid of them." And also they said, they don't even think about the needs of black and brown people as part of their normal thought process. So I include that in my definition of racism.
Tiffani: Okay. And I will tell you that as a woman coming from the south, it's really clear the line that's drawn in the sand. You know that you're black or you know that you're white. That's what it is. Here in California, you don't know how people think, you don't know any of that. You think that they're your friends when they may not be your friend. Personally, I'd like somebody to tell me straight up, "I don't like you."
Maleena: Right. I feel you on that.
Tiffani: 'Cause I can deal with the truth of that, than you trying to pretend, and the Republican Party, yes, does have, when I say stereotype, it is a stereotype in the sense that people think the all of the Republican Party's like that. People don't even know that there are black Republicans, let alone anything else. They just think that the Republican Party is made out of white, ignorant people, and that's not the truth.
Tiffani: So when you talk about racism, racism is something that - we can go back thousands of years on racism, and how that has affected slavery, how has that affected everything from what we're dealing with now, homelessness, all these issues.
Maleena: Voting rights.
Tiffani: Right. These issues are not new, these are like 25,000 plus years old. So when you talk about that, and truly when they were talking about they don't like the black and the brown, it's because the black and the brown are threats to them, and they're not going to go outside that. And I have told them, I said to them, in the Republican Party, I said, "If you want to better the party, you have to change the perspective." And quote unquote, “They look like the plantation owners."
Maleena: And if I can jump in on that, that was one of the nails on the head that we were hitting, is that the part of Republican Party, Democratic Party, because there's Democrats that are highly conservative Dems. And when it comes to just preserving democracy, it simply is that opening of people having the respect and the exercise of their rights freely. When it comes to racism or racist policies, I think we do have to start with the mindset of individuals, the mindset of individuals and legislatures, since we're in the spirit of politics, looking at people who have been in this game for years, like generations after generations after generations, because slavery was pimped through political parties. I remember, for example, my grandmother telling me I had a skewed perspective on what it was to be a Democrat, what it was to be a Republican. My grandmother, we were having pillow talk, and she said, "You know sweetie," and this was maybe a year ago, or actually, it was during the presidential campaign, when my grandma was saying to me how she remembered in Delaware, she said, "Our family was not always-“ mind you, she said, "our family." She said, "Our family was not always Democrats. We didn't become Democrats until like later, maybe during like, I don't know, '70s or something, I don't know."
Tiffani: Yeah, Martin Luther King.
Maleena: Right, exactly. But before then, prior to that, we were Republicans, and we were farmers, we were business owners. We were definitely doing our part not only to pay our taxes, but to provide services in our community. She said she could remember in order to get out the vote, Republicans would come through and make sure we had chicken dinners and a fifth of liquor. That's how they would get out the vote in the neighborhood. Then that same chicken dinner concept went into getting out the vote in the Democratic Party. When she told me this story of our family going from red to blue, it just opened up my eyes, because I still respect my family first, you know, their party lines, and whatever else happened in local politics happened. But when it comes to understanding righting wrongs in a party, I think that's all parties' responsibility, when it comes to race-bait policies, to bring them to the surface, because again, that separation, it does go back to enslavement, it goes back to the-
Tiffani: It goes back further.
Maleena: -William Lynch letter. Exactly. It goes back. My nephew and I just left the King Tut exhibit, and we were looking at how Rome conquered Egypt, and how all these different sects and countries came in and conquered Egypt when they had a civilized government, and they had these laws of balance, call them Ma'at, if you will. Then we rise up, and we have these same laws that countries adopted and created a democracy in the name of whatever, you know, be it Democrat, Republican, today in modern times, Green Party, liberals. Your show is made up of liberals, a conversation between liberals and conservatives. Yes, I'm taking a liberal approach, because that's quote unquote, "A new beginning of looking at things." But everybody should have a new beginning and way of looking at things. If you're truly liberal, you should have a liberated frame of mind in order to create new things and systems-
Tiffani: But believe it or not, Republicans want you to have that, they want you to have independence, they want you to have freedom, they want you to have that, but they don't want you to sit there on the couch and collect an SSI check and think it's okay, because at that point, when are you utilizing your skills and your ability to do more if your purpose is to do more?
Maleena: I think we as a community, and when I say, "community," not just black community, because welfare was established also, in the beginning, it helped white women get on their feet. It also helped when families started getting welfare, when a lot of white women started opening up the doors to people of color, it was like, "Oh okay." But then we created a system. When you have welfare, and then you create - just like bankruptcy laws, you know, when corporations started filing for bankruptcy, versus individual businesses, and then people of color started filing bankruptcy individually. Bankruptcy law started changing when the filing status started changing in order for bankruptcy...same with welfare. When people started filing for welfare, I remember, I'll never forget, and this was a time even when I had to file for food stamps, what I came in as, dignified young black woman, next thing you know, I went from a dignified young black woman filing for food stamps, trying to get on my feet, moving to LA, I had to come back the next day. Girl, I walked in there like I was going to work. I walked in there like I was going to work. Still sitting, 4:30, still sitting. I'd been there all day. All day. It's like, "Well, we think we can help you. You're going to have to come back tomorrow. We ran out of time for the case worker." I'm like, "Can I get some food? Can I get emergency assistance?" Then the next thing you know, I came back the next day, I said, "Oh ..." Guess what I did? I scanned the room. I scanned the room, I came back, and unfortunately, when I scanned the room, there were generations of people in conversations, that yes, I heard. "If I get it, then you get it, and then we got it, or we can have more, and I sell one of this." I said, "Okay, I heard all those type of conversations." But when I came back, true story, I had a scarf on my head, I had sweats on, I had my dirty lawnmower shoes on, and I didn't put on my lip gloss. I was out of there by noon with my food stamp card. To me it was humiliating at the concept, because it is supposed to be - my tax dollars are in that return, too. And I thought to myself, "Yes, you have people who are pimping the system, and we do need to do something to either train them, provide them, or give them, but is that really real?" You know what I'm saying? Is it an obtainable goal? It's openended, but is it obtainable-
Tiffani: It is.
Maleena: -in reality?
Tiffani: It is obtainable in reality. Kind of like going back to Samia and what Samia was saying with how people view the party as being a racist party. I think that people need to open their eyes a little bit more, and research what is being said. Don't rely on media to give you the information. I can tell where anyone has been from a conversation. If they've looked at any of these news channels, I know which one I'm going to have a conversation-
Maleena: Girl, I took a sabbatical. I'm going to tell you all straight up, I took a sabbatical on this news, because it was just so...the filtering of information was so misguided, and honestly, it's just poison when it comes to our current news and these current events. I've been unplugged for quite some time, and it's only because it's not discussing what we can do right, what we could do in spite of our differences.
Tiffani: Yeah, you have a bunch of-
Maleena: It's like, how many times can you show a rerun and the same stock photo and video of someone coming to the news podium calling for the indictment, talking about the tweets of…our president's tweets. It's just like, bam. What I really want to say is, when it comes to, be it Republicans or Democrats or progressive, we might need some new parties up in this piece. You know? It's like new parties-
Tiffani: I know, there are nine different ones, there's just like-
Maleena: -yeah, there's beyond these parties, and that's exactly-
Tiffani: There's not just two.
Maleena: Exactly, and that's what I love to share with people, it’s beyond Republicans and Democrats. It's like crazy families, you know what I'm saying? It's a whole bunch of stuff happening inside, and you have to come to a common ground and come to the table to have that common ground, but case in point, when it comes to turning your nose up at a Democrat or a Republican...I have one of my cousins, dear cousin, we grew up together, he's a Republican. He's running for public office in Delaware. Just because he's a Republican doesn't mean I'm not going to challenge him, support him, or get out to vote and tell people to vote. If his platform is right, if his platform is in support of improving the community. And he's so much for education, he's so much for economic sustainability. I think it's the perception in the...it's back to the attitude of our parties coming to a common ground and supporting one another, and in saying that, the leadership of the party, because our government, our legislator is predominantly...our Congress is high in Republican seat holders, and all that good stuff. We have to look at what people really have to say. We can't dismiss people, because if you dismiss an elected official, or you dismiss a community, you're also dismissing policy opportunities. You're dismissing an opportunity to have a conversation to improve a policy, to pass new policy, or kick another policy out and write it off, or do away with a policy that has been a proven economic hardship, or whatever the issue is within that policy. And so I think it's a responsibility for all of us to clean up the attitude.
Samia: Do you guys think that this current administration is helping or hurting when it comes to diffusing racial tensions, bringing people together? Do you think that they're doing a good job of that?
Tiffani: I think personally, and again, I get privy information from the Republican Party myself because of my involvement, so what you guys see is not what I know to be true. Ben Carson, for example, has a lot of people around him, and people would think, "Oh, it's so easy for somebody within the Republican Party to get to him." It's not so. We wanted to do a homelessness project, we are going to be addressing homelessness, and everyone's like, "We should talk to Ben Carson, Dr. Ben Carson," and it is, to some degree, one of the hardest things to do, and he has a lot of people around him that won't allow certain information to get to him. So when people talk about, "Well, it's the Republican, it's all the Republican, the Republicans..." And especially here. I have, like I said again, you have to walk on eggshells, especially in the City of LA and the County of Los Angeles. I personally don't engage. I have friends who will invite me to barbecues to engage in politics, and I'm like, "I'm not here for all that." Because once we start engaging, then my difference of opinion will probably anger most of them, and that's okay.
Maleena: And it's such immaturity. It's such a level of maturity which is why I'm glad we're having this relatable conversation, because let's just be clear. Based on, Samia, what you just said, or asked, it is difficult for average Americans who aren't openminded. It's one thing to listen in, it's another thing to engage, because many people can listen and hear what they want, but then what you have to literally engage your people in settling, and moving beyond to improve conditions, it's a whole nother animal, because then you got to get the work, and whatever you got to do to get to work, you got to take action. I think that the current administration, I don't think they are doing enough, because at least what we see. And that's why I said looking at the-
Tiffani: What you see, exactly.
Maleena: You see what I'm saying?
Tiffani: No, what you see.
Maleena: Yeah, what you see is you got to be able to exercise your mind enough and look real clear at what's being presented to you versus what's really happening in your community, because you have a federal level, which is - we're getting a glimpse at the federal level every millisecond on social media, on mass media, in underground media. You're getting bombarded every day with all of this chicken-fighting, in-fighting. Honestly, it's party against party, party member against party member. It's-
Tiffani: Gang - red or blue, call it what you want.
Tiffani: It's gangster mentality in the White House.
Maleena: It is, it is, and that's sad.
Tiffani: It is.
Maleena: To answer your question, if we're looking at the Trump administration, not separating the head from the tail, it's sad, and they are not doing enough. I don't think as an administration - it includes all parties when I say that.
Samia: How did you guys both feel about the situation on the border where they separated 2000 kids from their parents?
Tiffani: Well, okay now, that's...okay, see, well, let me just tell you this. First of all, when you engage with a Republican, they're bringing facts, they're bringing information. When you engage with a Democrat, it's coming purely from an emotional point.
Maleena: I think it's a combo. I think it's a combo.
Tiffani: Maybe. You would - I would say, Maleena, you are probably a little bit more intellectual than the-
Maleena: Hashtag Karen Bass for president.
Tiffani: Right. And see, that's what I'm saying. I know people on both sides, I think she's great, and I know the difficulty, though, in politics is that the people don't know what they want. So how can a politician know what you want if you don't tell them what you want? So what the politician ends up doing is, a special interest group comes and says, "Here's a check, and I know what I want. Can you please make...can you get it done?" So when the people don't know what they want, now you're forced to make up their mind, which it doesn't give you the freedom and independence, because now you don't have it. You're not empowered to make a decision, you're not empowered to participate in democracy. What are you doing? You can't do it.
Maleena: Well, when it comes to people answering to payola, and accepting that, as a decision or a bribe, or a waymaker in order to improve a condition, there's different ways to look at it, what you getting paid for. I look at it, when it comes to those children being snatched away from their families, yup, Houston, we got a problem. Not one party. It's America. We have to really look at, first of all, from a humane perspective. And yes, I'm getting emotional on this. As an auntie, I'm not a mother yet, but in my motherly instincts, and just as a community having human rights and civil rights, you have to look at it in a way of, "Where does that get us?" and take responsibility for the action, because they're children. As children, they have to-
Tiffani: I get all that.
Maleena: Yeah, as children, you're looking at - I'm not even talking about border police, border patrol, or rights - looking at our country as the rights of people coming and going, and I mean…I won't get into-
Tiffani: Herein lies the question for you, because you're a tax payer, and because this is an experience I've [inaudible]-
Maleena: I think I know where you're going now. Go, go, yeah.
Tiffani: You're a taxpayer, you have PPO insurance, right? Something happens to a family member, right? You live in a nice neighborhood, you can't even go to Cedars-Sinai, they have to take you to the East Side, because there are no beds. There's nothing. So what do you do? Because now you're paying for everybody else sitting in that bed, and you're also going to pay for your family member to get the right and proper treatment. At some point, you have to be - and in business, and understanding business, and understanding his mindset as a businessman, you have got to cut the blood. You've got to - there's got to be a tourniquet at some point.
Maleena: And I'm not disagreeing with you on that, I'm totally not disagreeing. I'm talking about the act of. If pulling the children...and what I'm hearing, if pulling the...if you're saying pulling the children away from their parents was a way of enacting some of these rights and regulations, state regulations, but-
Tiffani: But this was something that came way before the administration. They were doing DACA and getting the organization many years, for years.
Maleena: They've been building this wall for years, like I said-
Tiffani: I'm not talking about the wall, I'm talking about the organization-
Tiffani: DACA and everybody coming and talking about immigrants, and what are we going to do, and please donate to the cause. Now, this was before we even talked about the wall being built.
Maleena: Beyond the past 16 years, we've been talking about immigration, and immigration being an issue that will turn the decision of the next President of the United States. That's been a clearcut issue. I think that in particular, looking at the way the children have been displaced, beyond being taken from their parents, but just still displaced-
Samia: And not necessarily kept in the most humane conditions either.
Maleena: None of that, but it comes back to-
Tiffani: I get what you guys are saying-
Maleena: It comes back to the policy that you're speaking of, though.
Tiffani: No, and I understand what you're saying, but at some point, when you as an American citizen cannot even take your family member - you're paying into a system-
Maleena: What you're paying for and have the right to-
Tiffani: ...and you can't today, today, or on the news, there was a woman who was talking about how this guy came after her who was an illegal, excuse me, immigrant for six years, and had like, fake papers. No one's saying that the immigrants over here cannot be here. No one's saying that, and they're not denying that at all, because the American dream is something that every immigrant - and I have a lot of friends from different cultures who definitely believed in the American dream to come over here and succeed. That's not the issue. The issue becomes when you have to pay more taxes-
Maleena: Rights and access.
Tiffani: -to do-
Maleena: The accessibility.
Maleena: Totally agree.
Tiffani: That's what we're talking about.
Maleena: And I'm not disagreeing.
Tiffani: That's what we’re talking about, but Republicans always get a bad rap, like we don't want - it's an emotional thing. You as a business person, when it comes at the end of the day, sometimes you got to - you can't put the emotion in it.
Maleena: See, but you can't ignore it either, in this case.
Tiffani: I'm not saying that you can't ignore it.
Maleena: No, no, I'm saying just as well as you handling business, there's also okay, within this business decision, there's a social decision in this. There's a humane decision in this.
Tiffani: And I understand that, I understand-
Maleena: Because you can still-
Maleena: And so do I, and so do I. I'm not ignoring that. In answer of Samia's initial question, what do I think about the children, just like you said, I think we first need to back up and look beyond the snatching - words, words, words - the snatching of children, but not ignore the solutions that have to be activated, and acted on when it comes to placing the rights of individuals and the rights of Americans, than those same inalienable rights as immigrants coming to this country. Where do we as citizens and lawmakers literally draw the line to co-exist, and at the same time, give that first right to Americans, to your point, healthcare?
Samia: Let's bring this back to immigration and the Trump administration's policies on it. My question was, do these policies seem to be discriminating against immigrants, people of color, black and brown people, especially? In my perspective, they clearly do. Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General has definitely done things that seem counterproductive to reaching equality and equity in our society, and we've kept getting away from this. So I want to once again bring it back to you, Tiffani. Do you think that this administration is doing a good job of supporting all Americans, and also respecting the rights of immigrants, in your personal opinion, or do you think there's room for improvement?
Tiffani: I think there's definitely in every scenario, I don't care what it is, there's always room for improvement. But I think that people have to do a little bit more homework and research, and open their minds and their hearts to what it takes about humanity. I have people who - friends who want to achieve the American dream, but they're waiting on something. How are you going to wait on somebody to give you something? And then that goes back to this country founded on a Christian principle. Therein lies a lot of the problems too, when you start becoming liberal, independent. You don't want - because the typical Christian person is - we're all Christians, but when it comes to certain people, especially the Republican Party, people only look at that as the white man, and the white man's telling us what to do. But you're not doing enough of your own work, empowering yourself to get the job done as a democracy. And I love the fact that he is waking up people, because we are having conversations. Everyone was expecting Obama to be the savior and Jesus, to come on and save everybody and do everything. That cannot be possible, but I loved what he did in terms of organizing communities, and the humanitarian perspective and spin that he put on this. Hillary, you know, the empowerment of women. Women wouldn't be at this juncture if she hadn't done what she did and ran for an office. Now you have President Trump, he's playing his role, but he's playing his role so that we can be a democracy, so that we can raise our voices, so that we can talk about what's right and what's not wrong. I'm not justifying or validating any of what they're doing. My thing is just realize that there are some people, and as I deal with candidates on the Republican side that do care about the issues, that are fighting every day, that do put in legislation, in terms of immigration, they're coming from the perspective, like I told you, you're paying into a system where you expect to have treatment. Now when you have to go somewhere else for that treatment, it's because somebody else is here, and they always talk about the voter registration and everything. You go to the DMV, they're handing you a voter registration right there, checked off as Democrat. You can't even make up your mind what you want to be. You can't even think in this country, because everything is handed to you. So I think that if people would just explore more and research and get more information about what the Republican Party is actually doing, then there wouldn't be this divide. Again, I understand. On a humanitarian level, immigration and what they're doing, no. No one wants to be separated from their children and anything like that, but that movement was really done a whole many years ago. I won't say many, but back five is what I know because they had been talking about this. They had been promoting it, advertising it, so then by the time Trump comes, it looks like he's the bad guy. So what I'm saying is there's two sides to every story, but because we're deep blue here, nobody's going to receive the red at all, and, me, personally, I am for humanity. I love people, and I see that there's a lot of pain and suffering, and when I sit at the table, I'm coming with solutions, because we're going to solve this, and I think at the end of the day, people don't see a solution. They see Band-Aids, and then they see certain perspectives, but we need to have another history lesson on what really is, so that we can come together and understand our oneness as opposed to our division. Because this doesn't even make any sense. It doesn’t. But when you start to explore it and go back in time, it all makes sense, what's going on here. Maybe we do need to have another history lesson.
Tiffani: I'm just saying. I'm just saying. I'm going to be real because that needs to be done, because racism is not part of our culture. That's not even a word. In Africa, that's not a word, but in some other culture, that is a word. When you talk about racism and you talk about it, and that's typically what people see as white America, racism, white America, but there are, like I said, there are people, there are politicians that mean well, and, surely, I get what you're saying because I just had a conversation with a man who told me I was one of his few black friends that he had. I was like, "Oh, what does that mean?" I get it, but, again, I think that if we all do our due diligence in finding out a little bit more about the people, not the party, and I do agree with you, it is about an individual preference or a perspective, that that's what we need to do. It's not the blue party or the red party, and I think, here, the color is purple.
Maleena: Exactly, because this state within itself can appear blue, but when you move outside of Los Angeles territory and you go into counties like Orange County, you go towards the north and you pass through these different small farm towns, they're very conservative, and they're very conservative in their stances, and to each his own, which is the beauty of democracy, but when it comes to answering your question regarding racism and race policies, I think it's an American, a definitely American grave issue. It's a grave issue. It's being dug up. I think that our current administration, which includes the President - sometimes, we separate him from the rest of the responsibility, but it's a collective consciousness here, and I think that so many people in our country, specifically here in Los Angeles, as well - I travel. Well, I'm blessed to travel in different states and talk to many people and do a lot of community organizing work, and when it comes down to it, people want to be able to feed their families and get a good education, make a decent enough salary so that they can enjoy life beyond paycheck to paycheck, have a little something something and-
Tiffani: I do a lot of things in the community, as well, and I understand and I see that, and I do address those things-
Maleena: But beyond those things, beyond those things, we have to sustain the country in which we all live in, called America, and now we're more global, because of globalization and because of trade, and so when you look at how we're expanding as a country, as an economy, the things we're doing to go in different directions, again, it's back to the basics. Back in the day, Marcus Garvey had the great exodus, but we have to look at, we're still here. Black Americans are still here. Like you've mentioned before, where did race even come from? Be it on a census, be it in our workforce places, racism was created. Are Republicans responsible? I think anyone who believes that their race is superior to another is responsible, but, also, it's the flip side. We're all responsible for speaking up and shifting and changing policies that we identify as race bait policies, and I also think that's on an individual consciousness side, because it's culture. I was in a current conversation recently and incident where my hair became an issue, became a political workplace issue, and because I have natural hair, fro'ed out, blah, blah, blah, it presented itself as an issue, and this individual was not white. He was of Latin - I know we say LatinX now. We always coming up with another-
Maleena: -theme or title and term, ugh! But he was of Latin descent, but he also was very, very fair. When a lot of people, sometimes, you go in a place like, "Oh, they pass for the white mulatto, mestizo, and all these different categories, but the fact that he couldn't see me as someone who came to work every day, I did my job, instead, and working for a dignitary, he just, his first thought was like, "Ew, that's not professional.”
Tiffani: No, because that's not the universal way. That's not a universal look.
Maleena: That goes back to image and-
Tiffani: No, I understand what you're saying.
Maleena: And that goes back to image, and the beauty of this is... The answer to the question, yeah, but I'm going to make a point here because I have an opportunity, and that opportunity is - because we have old school - we have a new generation moving into the political scene. We're considered the next generation of political leaders, and, in that, we need to understand, and the old vanguard within this system must understand, as well, that we are accepting ourselves in this day and age for who we are, the person, the man and woman we look into the mirror, and for those of you who don't accept yourself for your natural beauty, then I'm going to speak for you, because you should. It's been years of partisanship, years of partisanship-
Tiffani: I agree.
Maleena: Where we have to straighten our hair to come in a room, to have a conversation, wear a suit. I've been told, "Don't go in there with your hair straight," and I'm talking to elected officials and different people, but the cloth that I'm cut from, I have no other outlet but to show up as I am. Period. If I want to put braids in my hair, if I want to put a ponytail on, or whatever, I will do that, but, first and foremost, what you see is what you get, and I don't think no stereotype... I'm really glad that the Republican Party has someone like you representing their party, because you don't get that on everyday news and you darn sure ain't getting that in mainstream media and in ads, in our ad campaigns. It's all important to be reflected as the world we live in and not a one-dimensional perspective of what white America is, in politics, in general society, in the workplace, in the world we're creating now. It's a new day in politics. So…
Tiffani: Absolutely, and I-
Maleena: Trump is bringing... You're right. Trump is bringing that new day of to pass.
Tiffani: I don't know. Agree or disagree, but I think, like I said, the millennials, they're bringing something. I don't know if that's a good word to use because some people say, "Millennials don't use that word," but they just want the real. Give me the real, be transparent. They will stand for change and come up with solutions and actually do what they say they were going to do. They're responsible.
Maleena: And I think beyond the responsibility of millennials, it is a generational responsibility that we all come to the table with clear points. Yes, they need to be transparent, but they also need to be clear enough that they sustain generations beyond this moment that we're living in.
Tiffani: Right, but you know - that's a good point. Generations. You got to understand what generation came from and the experience that they had. If it's all-
Maleena: And the mentality that they had-
Maleena: -within each generation.
Tiffani: The mentality's going to be different, and so you're going to have different perspectives and you're going to say, "Oh, no, a Republican can never win because that's just not what we do." That's said in the Republican Party. People think that the Republican Party backs you like that? No, the thing that I love about the Republican Party is the platform is wide enough so that you could do whatever you want to do and create a niche-
Maleena: One thing I-
Tiffani: But they're not going to give it to you.
Maleena: Well, one thing I did hear, I know it's been a stereotype word on the street, but with Republicans, is that, "Well, you know, one thing we can say about the Republicans, we might not like them, but them mofos sure stick together."
Tiffani: They do, and the women, I have never seen women stick together, and they don't care. They don't care what's going on. You don't like that candidate? As a matter of fact-
Maleena: But they pissed now, those 52% women pissed now. They got a lot to talk about since Trump's behavior and some of his choices.
Tiffani: But you're talking about a group of people who some of them are very conservative. Some of them, the establishment doesn't want to change, but you have to change because the culture is changing. So you need to come to grips with that, and I think they're trying to come to grips with that, but Trump is making them, is accelerating that, and saying, "We have to do what we have to do it now, because, if you don't, then we'll end up in a worse situation."
Maleena: I feel, just as women, it's hard to trust a leader who knocks you down at every turn.
Tiffani: But see, I think people don't understand that, in the Republican Party-
Maleena: Or it might be hypocritical.
Tiffani: There are a lot of people who didn't vote for Trump, but what I will say is that whoever voted for whomever, Cruz or another one, they-
Maleena: Bernie. I miss you, Bernie.
Tiffani: On the Republican side, that is. Regardless, they came together and the women came together, like, "Okay. This may not be our candidate, but we are still going to make sure that he wins, because we want somebody Republican in that seat.” Honestly.
Maleena: No, it was a testament of unity because, as much as they are united, the way our country is divided at this point in the game, there has to be more of a collective consciousness, and I'm saying that on the Democratic side, on all parties’ side.
Tiffani: I agree with you on all parties’ side.
Maleena: Because, right now, we live - I feel like the land is like California fires right now, and we all have to pull out our water hoses to put this shit out and rebuild. This is real. I have never felt so muted in my-
Tiffani: But you're not.
Maleena: I know I'm not, but I'm talking about a energetic feeling that I had to overcome because of what I was witnessing. It's almost like being an observer. Deepak Chopra talks about being the observer, and being the observer-
Tiffani: Right. Osho talks about the empowerment.
Maleena: And Osho, yeah. It's like, being that observer is so real. There's power in silence, but, now, there's power in our voices and being able to have clear direction, clear solutions.
Tiffani: And I think over the next few years, you will definitely see people step into position to bring solutions. I belong to organizations right now that are impacting the community, and in such a positive way. It's like everyone's tired of the Band-Aid solution.
Maleena: It's like, "What are we doing? What we doing?"
Tiffani: And it's going to be for the good of the group, for the good of the oneness of the group, for humanity, and I don't think that anybody getting into politics, obviously, understanding both sides. If the people don't know what they want, then you have to create the agenda for them, and then do what and be thinking-
Maleena: You have to show them proof. You have to show them the way.
Tiffani: You have to show what you think, but if the people come to you and say, "Hey, this is what we think, and can you just negotiate this with the government?” which is all that a politician does, it's easier, but when they have to pick a side and there's a check coming in for millions of dollars, because somebody said, "Hey, I need this agenda met and I know you can do it," you go that direction, but I will say, in the beginning, you have all the passion, you have all the fire, but once that goes and dissolves-
Maleena: You got to still keep working.
Tiffani: You need to pass the baton and get somebody else in there with that same amount of passion, that same amount of fire. Don't sit there in that position for 26, 30 years.
Maleena: And that's why I said generational leadership. That's why I said earlier and I spoke of generations beyond millennials. It's identifying when it's time to step down, when it's time to vote people out that have a habit, their own cycle of political habits and power. When we identify as a community, that this or that individual has served us well and now it's time to go, I don't care what party you are, if it's time to go, in your community, identify, identify someone who is for your community and the needs of the people within that community across color lines, and start ramping up campaigns. Start identifying, raising money, doing community engagement, and supporting those organizations that solve the problem that your elected officials are no longer tending to or taking to the legislature, because, sometimes, they forget why they even were elected in the first place. They forget the needs.
Tiffani: Right, and I understand that.
Maleena: It's up to us to remind them of what our needs are.
Tiffani: Right, but think. You have a voice. Challenge your legislator.
Tiffani: If you don't think it's right, then challenge.
Maleena: Call a number, Tweet.
Tiffani: Vote. How about vote? Let's even talk about voting. Nobody wants to vote. Oh, well, what is my vote going to do? Well, it might change the way that this course is run.
Maleena: We see that voting has power. Whether you-
Tiffani: Your voice has power.
Maleena: Your voice has power. The exercise in your will has power. When you are looking at how and what you're voting for, not just the individual, but what's backing that person at the polls, that's just as equally important, and for us to even, speaking back to the policies that are foundationally built on racism or the race of a people, when we're looking at the civil rights and our voting rights act, I feel as though that should never have been something that we literally had to gear up-
Tiffani: I get what you're saying.
Maleena: -gear up on to go around to that-
Tiffani: I do get what you're saying.
Maleena: -to let's save this bill.
Tiffani: On the conservative side, if you're coming from a Christian stock, Christian background, and you're like, "Hey, I need you to do it this way. I want you to do this. I don't want you to fornicate. You can't happen to be an adulterer," then you find out the person who's saying all that is doing the exact same thing that they're telling you not to do, that does cause internal conflict.
Maleena: It's definitely hypocrisy.
Tiffani: It is.
Maleena: It's like President Trump saying, as a producer of his TV show, The Apprentice, that if you want something done, to hire a woman, or women run his companies, to-
Tiffani: It’s kind of smart that way.
Maleena: It is smart that way, and I've seen it work that way over and over again.
Tiffani: Or a man-
Maleena: But the flip side of that that's showing his hypocrisy is when it came to equal pay and equal rights, he was like, "Just hold off for a minute," paraphrase, "Just hold off for a minute. Move her to the side. Stay in your lane." You know? You have to give credit where credit is due, male or female, but when it comes to empowerment and when it comes to a woman's right, be it - or voter rights, it's everybody's right to have their voice heard.
Tiffani: Right, and then here is another conflict. It's with religion. You're taught as a Christian to believe in God and the principles from the founding fathers, so to speak. You know, Muslims believe in God. Christians believe in God. Catholics believe in God. And now, what they're trying to do is for people to vote according to belief. Don't vote according to party, but what happens is that most people vote according to how they believe because it is a conservative Christian viewpoint.
Maleena: Yeah. Look at the beginning.
Tiffani: And guess who's connected to that. The Republicans are. So there's a lot of different things we could talk about in regards to that, especially-
Maleena: But religion itself, too, in America is shifting the tides. As much as the conservative, you said, we're all Christian earlier, I should be able to…not should be. I am able to vote for anyone that I would want to vote for, no minds of their religious background, but in America, we have to come to accept beyond conservative religious belief systems. We have to come to an acceptance that America now is waking up beyond conservative Christian beliefs.
Tiffani: No, and I understand that and-
Maleena: We are coming fully awakened in our consciousness.
Tiffani: Yes. Yes. We are.
Maleena: With that, you look at religion and how religion has steered us left and right, religion be it Christian, Catholicism, Judaism, Muslims, spiritual enlightenment, what, Buddhist, whatever the case may be. It's a consciousness. It's a spiritual movement.
Tiffani: It was always a consciousness, but we've turned it into a category of pitting people against each other.
Maleena: Based off of religion.
Tiffani: That's what it-
Maleena: And that's discrimination.
Samia: It's definitely time to wrap up this conversation, but what I've gotten from both of you, what I've heard is that you both value personal responsibility.
Samia: And you both value taking care of humanity, and it sounds like the solution here, if we, as a people, can get to it, is combining those two concepts into solutions that work, respecting the concept of personal responsibility, the idea that we have to balance our resources, that we have to make things fair, but also realizing we're all human beings who all have a point of view that should be heard and respected, if not agreed with, and that by talking to each other and having these kinds of conversations, we can find enough common ground to balance out all of our various needs and find real, workable solutions.
Tiffani: And that's where we're headed and I feel that-
Tiffani: The culture right now is headed to some viable solutions, some concrete solutions. I know I work on them every day in the community, and I'm bringing them to the community.
Maleena: Right on.
Samia: Tiffani and Maleena, I so appreciate that you both agreed to be on the show. Thank you so much for being so passionate.
Maleena: Thank you for having us.
Tiffani: Yes, thank you for having us. It was a great discussion, and I think we should... The conversation needs to begin on all levels. Everything begins with conversation, and then once the conversation begins, then we can start doing something about solutions.
Maleena: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Samia: Thank you both so much.
Tiffani: Thank you.
Well, that conversation certainly got heated at times, but I loved how both women found a way to bring it back around to what they agree on - which is a lot.
Compassionate, respectful communication. Giving others the benefit of the doubt. Refusing to dehumanize another person because you disagree with their opinions and ideas. These are practices that can help all of us to build a better country and a better world. None of us are alone in this, and none of us can afford to stick only to our “tribe.” We improve as individuals when we listen to and absorb the perspectives of others.
Next week, instead of a conversation, I’m going to be interviewing an incredible scholar and researcher in the areas of implicit bias and unintentional unethical behavior. Dolly Chugh is an award-winning psychologist and associate professor of management and organizations at the Stern School of Business at New York University. She studies how and why most of us, however well-intended, are still prone to race and gender bias, as well as what she calls “bounded ethicality.”
In a political climate where many of the most polarizing policies are the ones that many people feel to be discriminating against marginalized populations, the issue of implicit bias is an incredibly important one, and I’m so excited to have Dolly on the show to share what she’s found over years of intense research and study. I’ll give you a hint - we ALL have areas of improvement when it comes to implicit bias. Ms. Chugh’s new book, The Person You Mean To Be: How Good People Fight Bias, explores the effects of implicit bias on our behaviors and choices, and will be available in stores on September 4th, the same day that she’ll be appearing on Make America Relate Again. I’ve been reading an advanced copy, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
You’ll find a transcript of this episode at makeamericarelatepodcast.com, and for more information on Better Angels, head to better-angels.org. There are lots of way to volunteer your time and energy to help depolarize America through Better Angels, and I highly encourage everyone who wants to be a part of the depolarization movement to sign up and become a member. A $10 donation gets you membership in the organization, and from there, you can go on to become a workshop organizer yourself, or find workshops in your area to attend. Everyone who goes through the Better Angels process comes out with a renewed appreciation for civil dialogue; the reviews have been glowing.
If you’re loving the show, please take a moment to leave a 5-star review on iTunes. The reviews help new listeners find the show, and I personally read every single one. You can also share the show on Facebook or Twitter. Just tag Make America Relate Again on Facebook or @RelatePodcast on Twitter. All new reviews and social media shares will get a personal shout-out on one of the two remaining episodes in this season.
Many thanks to Podcast Center LA and Michael Nease for recording this conversation, Dear Culture Studio in Seoul for recording my intro and outro segments, Dani Valdizan for creating the theme music, and Christopher Gilroy for mixing and editing this episode.
This is Make America Relate Again. See you next week.