S2 E6: That’s Not Us, So We’re Clean

April 26, 2017

When it comes to America’s racial sins, past and present, a lot of us see people in one region of the country as guiltier than the rest. Host John Biewen spoke with some white Southern friends about that tendency. Part Six of our ongoing series, Seeing White. With recurring guest, Chenjerai Kumanyika.


Image: A lynching on Clarkson Street, New York City, during the Draft Riots of 1863. Credit: Greenwich Village Society of Historical Preservation.

Download a transcript of the episode.

Shannon Sullivan’s books, Revealing Whiteness and Good White People.

Thanks to Chris Julin, whose 1991 NPR report on the Wisconsin fishing rights dispute we featured.

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4 comments on “S2 E6: That’s Not Us, So We’re Clean

  1. Shel Anderson Jul 5, 2017

    I’m listening little by little. Such a major hit to what I thought I knew. Brilliant, just wonderful.

  2. Amber Jul 20, 2017

    I am catching up on this series. I am a white girl from rural Illinois, who moved to Madison by way the Chicago suburbs. I worked at golf courses near Madtown, and holy moly, yes. “Those people from Chicago”. Rural Illinois, and Chicago itself, ain’t got much to brag about. But. the amount of subtle *elbow nudge* those Chicago welfare people youknowwhatimean that I got from the (mostly) men sitting on the other side of my bar in an upper crust golf course bar.

  3. Liam See / Patrick Elijah Nov 7, 2017

    Patrick Elijah described this segment as about ¨camouflage.¨ Unpacking the meaning of this word, is the tactic of pretending to be something we are not. That is, that we are not willing to show publicly what our real attitudes are as we live these values out in our everyday lives. The instance cited of Abraham Lincolnś posting his statement in a public newspaper demonstrates that although Lincoln is remembered by most Americans (including American history teaching and in our textbooks) as being the great liberator who worked to free all slaves is contradicted by Lincolnś public statement that he would do whatever it takes to preserve the Union, whether this meant freeing all the slaves or, by ceding to some slave owners that they had the right to reclaim their slaves under the authority of the Fugitive Slave Act. So, we learn that Lincoln is clearly not an abolitionist.

    William See. My response to this segment is largely to the incident of the Draft Revolts of New York City in the year 1862. These Draft revolts, originally were focused on an unwillingness on the part of newly arrived immigrant groups (such as the Irish) to participate as members in the military service of the Union. This response to the draft entailed including the hanging of 120 black men in New York City. This clearly exposed the undercurrent of the element of racism present at that time.

  4. Brian K Freeland May 22, 2020

    The historical research used in this podcast is exceptional, and I truly appreciate your hard work.