From SCOTUS to white womanhood: Dr. Brittney Cooper decodes our world

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Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Hey y’all, we back. It’s been a minute. So allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is not Hov, but it is Brittany Packnett Cunningham and I am your partner in this journey we call UNDISTRACTED. You might catch me in the street as an activist or on your TV, as an analyst, on your phone screens, as a writer or just around the way as a very proud Black girl. But wherever it is, just know you’re always going to get the same me. I missed y’all when we were out on break. I mean, a lot has happened. The rolling back of women’s rights in Afghanistan, Texas’ six-week abortion law, COVID wants to make its way through the entire Greek alphabet. Britney is finally free, and some of society is finally realizing that the Super Bowl wasn’t Janet Jackson’s fault, just like the Beatles breakup wasn’t Yoko Ono’s. It has been a time. So I’m happy to be back and ready for season two. With all of the rule breaking, status quo smashing critical questioning you’ve grown to love and demand. It’s a new season, more focused than ever. We are UNDISTRACTED. 

On the show today, a Black feminist scholar and truth teller: Brittney Cooper. I’ll be talking to the outspoken activist about white women, motherhood and the emotional drive behind their voting choices.

Brittney Cooper When we wonder why white women keep on voting for Republicans, they are doing that because they understand that their caretaking role in their community is to pass down a world in which white men get to be on top. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham That’s coming up, but first, it’s your “UNtrending News.” 

Supreme Court: Oyez Oyez Oyez

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Brace yourselves. Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard the state of Mississippi argue that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. 

Supreme Court: We will hear arguments this morning in case 191392 Dobbs versus Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Lawyers for Mississippi are defending a law that bans abortions after 15 weeks and are urging the court to go even further and overrule the right to abortion set in 1973. Here’s what Justice Sonia Sotomayor had to say:

Justice Sonia Sotomayor: Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible.

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham: If the court agrees with Mississippi’s abortion ban next year, as it is likely to do, many states are expected to instantly follow. But here’s the thing—most Americans want to keep abortion legal. A recent poll from ABC News and The Washington Post found that 60 percent of voters believe the Supreme Court should uphold Roe, whereas only 27 percent want to see the precedent overturned. Upholding Roe is, of course, also the right thing to do. You know, us having full bodily agency and all. Some advocates have been pushing us to stop relying on the courts, which, let’s be honest, have not been doing us many favors and actually move toward enshrining the explicit right to abortion in the Constitution. I say let’s protect our freedom by any means necessary. 

Protestors: Hands up! Chrystul! Hands up! Chrystul!

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham: In the wake of the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, advocates are bringing more attention to the case of Chrystul Kizer. Chrystul, a survivor of child sex trafficking, is awaiting trial in Wisconsin on charges of killing her alleged sex trafficker abuser three years ago. She was 17 at the time, and she shot him in self-defense after years of abuse. 

Anchorperson Kizer’s mother, she says that her daughter is the real victim. 

Devore Taylor The fact that it took for her to do something, because she got tired of it. And he trying to like sweep the whole problem under the rug but it’s so much more bigger than just her.

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Advocates argue that if Wisconsin self-defense law actually led to Rittenhouses’s acquittal, then surely Chrystul should be allowed to claim self-defense, too. Now, this story is really important. Chrystul is one of many criminalized survivors – people who’ve been imprisoned for killing or injuring their abusers. You may remember Cyntoia Brown, who in 2019 was finally granted clemency 15 years into her Tennessee prison sentence for the exact same thing Chrystul is now on trial for. We can’t keep criminalizing survival, y’all, especially when vulnerable women and children like Chrystul are not kept safe by our systems in the first place. Chrystul was forced to defend herself to survive, and in my opinion, it’s a crime that she’s being further harmed by a criminal legal system that promised to protect her. And finally, tributes keep coming in for the visionary fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who died last weekend after battling a rare cancer. He was only 41. Virgil made history as Louis Vuitton’s first Black artistic director, and he was regarded as an innovator who helped bring high fashion into the modern era. Here’s Virgil speaking to Hypebeast magazine in 2017. 

Virgil Abloh You know, I’m an optimist. You know, I’m into humanity more than like the cool sneakers or something. But design has that ability to transform and use both those tools. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham There have been lots of tweets about how hard Virgil worked, how he cemented his legacy, how it all got done before he died. But as my brilliant colleague Treasure Brooks said, the point is not to grind more in case life is shorter than we planned. The plan is to concentrate on how much we’re actually living and never to let grind culture take life away from us. Virgil was a father, a brother, a son, a human, and his death leaves a gap like any of ours. That is his legacy. Coming up, I’ll be talking to Dr. Brittney Cooper about the Right Wing’s concerted effort to shut down Black women and the personal toll of her being so outspoken right after this short break. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham And we are back. So, look, we rightfully spend a lot of our time on this talking to and about Black, Indigenous and other women and femmes of color, but uh… white women? This last month with some of y’all has been real interesting. So first, you helped Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin into the Virginia governor’s seat and then next you berated your school boards to stop teaching. Toni Morrison and George Johnson books? Like, I can’t even with that. And then there was Kyle Rittenhouse’s mama. We’ll get to her later. But the bottom line? This ain’t gon work. It’s not a new phenomenon, of course, it’s been happening for hundreds of years. Back in 2018, in the shadow of the 53 percent, I went on TV and I reminded white women that your whiteness will not save y’all from what patriarchy has for you. And every time we have a month like the one we just did, there are white women who will post that quote of mine everywhere. So what is it actually going to take for enough white women to finally listen? Here’s just the person to help us answer that question. The one and only Professor Crunk Dr. Brittney Cooper. She’s a Rutgers University professor, a co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective, and the author of books like Beyond Respectability and Eloquent Rage. She’s a good troublemaker and always speaks her mind.

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham  Dr. Brittney Cooper, I’m so grateful to have you here on undistracted. Thank you for joining us. 

Brittney Cooper So glad to be here 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham and thank you for joining us on your birthday. December 2nd is a beautiful day in the history of this country. This world? 

Brittney Cooper Thank you. I mean, it’s Sagittarius season. I also shared this birthday with my fellow Britney, Britney Spears. So it’s a Brittney party. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Listen, I’m always down for a Britney party. I’m glad Britney is finally free. Let’s talk about freedom a little bit. I think you know that we are a show dedicated to true equity and liberation for all people, but especially women femmes and non-binary people. 

Brittney Cooper Yes. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham So I want to ask you: as a culture, how are we doing with that liberation journey right now? December 2nd, 2021. 

Brittney Cooper You know, there was a recent some recent polling data that said that support for the Black Lives Matter movement is drastically, dramatically shrinking among white Americans. And so I think that that’s an indicator of how we’re doing. I think that Black people continue to be in this space where we are hypervigilant, where we understand the urgency of this moment where all of us are looking at the march back into a kind of 19th century horror show happening before our eyes. And I think we’re all trying to figure out how to both not to lose our minds in this moment, and also how to find the energy to fight this multi-generational battle that just never seems to end. The thing that’s so hard is I remember that during the George Floyd protest, we saw this tidal wave of change. It felt like corporations were putting out statements. Everybody was sort of talking about this, and we are just one year out from that moment. And already, you know, we see our white counterparts going back to status quo, and status quo is they don’t want things to look too terrible. But then once things start to look slightly like normal, which is to say just your regular level of white dominance, then they are ready to embrace that again. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Yeah.

Brittney Cooper  I think that’s where we are, and I think it’s I think it’s a hard I think it’s a very hot room to be in. Yeah, it’s hot in here. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Yeah, it’s definitely hot in here. And polite racism seems to be, to your point, the very comfortable status quo. There’s another status quo, though, a piece of this larger status quo that I want to get into with you. 

Brittney Cooper Yeah 

Brittany Packnett CunninhghamBecause, you know, on season one of the podcast, we kind of we hinted at this. We poked around at it a little bit. And when we started off the season, I said, No, we need to talk about the white women. 

Brittney Cooper Come on, let’s do it.

[00:11:48] Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham And we were like, Who are we going to talk about it with? Oh, Dr. Brittney Cooper for certain. Because look, white women voters in Virginia sealed the deal for that governor’s race, in which Republican Glenn Youngkin won over Democrat and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. There was a 13 percentage point swing toward the GOP among white women. That includes a 37 point shift among white women without a college degree, but all white women have to be part of this conversation. I mean, it’s just, this pattern keeps repeating itself. 

[00:12:27] Brittney Cooper Yeah. You know, white women on the right exhaust me and they exhaust me because as a feminist, as a feminist scholar, as a feminist activist, you know, I am often confronted by Black women with the question about why should we be feminists when white women are so terrible, when they’re untrustworthy, when they politically undermine all of our gains? And I understand that my short answer to Black women is always well because white women, as we can clearly see from their voting behavior, didn’t invent feminism, right? They are not the source and the origin of that particular movement for liberation, which is why they cannot be the arbiter of our commitment to it. But one of the things I’ve been thinking about trying to make sense of this, I think we actually have to have a conversation about white women and motherhood. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Hmm. 

Brittney Cooper Here’s why. Because as we know, one of the ways that Republicans got to this victory in Virginia was because of these asinine fights at school board meetings about whether or not critical race theory was being taught right and it got reframed on the right as this question about parental rights, and ‘do you want to be involved in what your kids are being taught as parents’? Well, one of the things that we don’t say enough when we think about how white women are politically inclined and this is something that I think that we actually can’t understand in Black communities. So in the Black community, one of the things you know that we fight against in movements is that all of the energy is about Black boys and their mothers. And so, a Black boy gets killed and then we deal with the grieving mother who is made a spectacle of often to her great detriment. But all of this energy is about Black mother saying, ‘What kind of world are we passing down to our children? And so they vote their racial interests above their gendered interests, often because they want to protect our sons, our husbands, our brothers, our uncles. It becomes so much about men. We miss that white women do exactly the same thing. They’re just doing it from a position of power. So the thing about mothering is that we charge mothers in the Republic with passing down. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Yeah. 

Brittney Cooper You know, possibility, right? The possibility of citizenship, of rights of career. Well, if you are a white person and the marker of progress in every generation is tethered to white dominance, then your understanding of white maternity is that you have to continue to pass down generational white dominance. So when we wonder why white women keep on voting for Republicans, they are doing that because they understand that their caretaking role in their community is to pass down a world in which white men get to be on top. That’s not just their husbands, but it’s also their sons. That’s emotionally what they are voting for and what they are doing. 

And until we can have a conversation about the emotional drive and narrative around white maternity that drives so much of these political decisions, we will continue to misstep here. And in Black politics, we get this, right? We understand that all you really have to do is get a bunch of Black women mad about what is happening to our sons and any revolution can happen. We should use that as a basis to understand that that’s literally what is being mobilized when you tell a bunch of white mamas to show up at the school board meeting because someone is shaming their children. They’re tapping into that emotional ethos. And it’s like the Janus face of a coin, right? And we miss it because we’re like, well, white mothers and Black mothers cannot possibly be doing the same thing because white people have everything. They have all of the power, they have all of the privilege. 

But just like we know that Black women are the backbone of our communities, white women are the backbone of their communities. They’re the people that instilled the values. They’re the people that raise the kids. I mean, you know, they hire Black and brown women to also raise the kids, right? But they’re the people who sort of are the folks that are inculcating values. And so just like Black women are trying to pass down this notion that we are equal, we are worthy. White women are passing down values that say, you are meant to be a leader. The world is yours. It is your oyster. They might use the language of equality. But really, white folks forever have dominated Black people and called that equality, which is why you get a constitution that says all men are created equal while you have slavery. Because, you know, in white political ideology, equality is dominance, and that is what white women are passing down. And so I think if we can come to understand that, maybe then we can change our political narrative to think about what strategies then appeal to a more ethical white maternity. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham So this is the question I want to ask you, right? Because I’ve been thinking a lot about white mothers and that white maternal instinct, to your point. And we will see these white women yelling at these school board meetings. We also, a few weeks ago have seen Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother, go from television station, a television station to television station defending her son and his character. So if this is part of that maternal training, then is there any incentive to actually withdraw from that kind of behavior, like can that even change? 

Brittney Cooper You know, I think that we have to do the same work, quite frankly, among white women that we have to do among Black women. Most Black women aren’t feminists, right? So what happens when we go into Black communities and we say, you know, what about the girls, right? There’s always this sort of pearl clutching like, What do you mean? What about the girls? What about our boys, right? 

And so white women have a version of this, and I think that it is incumbent upon white women who get it. I will always say that I’m looking at white feminists to actually use their politics to create a set of narratives to disrupt this. Here’s why. Because the thing that we have to be saying to white women is your investment in being a good mother is actually being used against you to get you to sign up for a way of being that limits your own scope of possibility. You know what I mean? This is your only role is to really mother these children. 

Because here’s the thing, you know, there was recent evidence to that. Only 9 percent of the women who worked from home during the pandemic got promoted, while 33 percent of the dudes that work from home got promoted. So we’ve got to start saying to women across the board and to white women in particular, this actually undermines your own political well-being in the long run to keep signing up for this project because these dudes are out for themselves. 

And do you want to raise sons who ultimately are only out for themselves and don’t have any sort of commitment to the women in their lives? Right? And it reminds me, like many Black folks that grew up in the deep south and in predominantly white environments, I have these white friends and former friends from high school who both want to tell me about why they support Trump — white women, right? But who also tell me about how their husbands are insufferable. You know what I mean, how they’re unhappy with these sort of narcissistic dudes that have no empathy and that are overbearing and who basically treat them like a Donald Trump, right? 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham They’re not connecting the dots?

Brittney Cooper No, they’re not. I’m like, Why aren’t people saying to these women, you know, your husband makes you miserable? Why do you keep on giving this man more power to oppress you, not just economically or socially, but emotionally? You don’t even enjoy being in the house with this man. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Not to mention the fact that he then will go out and create or support a party platform that is against paid family leave. That, as you already said, is against reproductive justice that is against access to all of the things that you’re talking about.

Brittney Cooper Yeah. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham So you, you’ve recently really been under attack by the right wing and I will say more than usual, right? Because unfortunately, this has been par for the course. 

Brittney Cooper Yeah. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham You made some remarks in September about white supremacy and the need to eradicate it. 

Brittney Cooper Yes. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham And those words were later taken out of context.

Brittney Cooper Yeah. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham  You said those words with our friend Michael Harriot from The Root, right? 

Brittney Cooper Yeah. Michael and I were talking about critical race theory and the concerted effort on the right to misrepresent and misunderstand that intellectual tradition. 

Brittany Packnett Cunningham Right. 

Brittney Cooper And he then asked me about what happens if white people prove recalcitrant, right? If they remain invested in this world of dominance, of hierarchy, of oppression that really is not working for any of us. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham We’re going to play back a little bit of what you actually said. And then I’m going to ask you about it. 

Brittney Cooper There is no answer that is sufficient. Like, the thing I want to say to you is we got to take these motherfuckers out. But I know, like, we can’t say that, right? We can’t say, like, I don’t believe in a project of violence. I truly don’t because I think in the end that our souls suffer from that. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham So what happened? 

Brittney Cooper So look, part of what happened is that I expressed this moment of frustration in what was more of a dinner table conversation. Do I think that Black people should mount up with weapons and engage in a campaign of genocide against white people? Absolutely not. That’s completely ridiculous. What floors me about the disingenuous nature of the response is that there really are people who believe that Black people should be oppressed every day and should never, ever feel an extreme reaction or frustration about the nature of that oppression. 

And one of the things that I have done in my work, sometimes to greater or lesser eloquence, is to give voice to Black rage. What we know is that Black people in the aggregate do not have, nor have we ever had a massive campaign to murder or kill white people. And quite frankly, when I then said right after that moment, I do not believe in a campaign of violence because I think our souls suffer from that. I really meant that I have challenged in our Black organizing spaces the rhetoric around violent revolution, in part because I think that it’s an incredibly masculinist rhetoric that says that the only way that we can change things is to destroy everything and to kill people. 

And I come to that both because of my own story as a survivor of violence and therefore not trusting men to take up arms against anybody because I often think that women and children become and femmes and nonbinary folks, any gender marginalized person becomes a casualty of those kinds of wars. So I don’t support any sort of violent revolution for precisely those reasons, but also because I think that the thing that makes the Black Freedom Project so extraordinary is that we have over and over again chosen not to remake ourselves in the image of our oppressors, right? Not to use their tactics. And what I hate about that moment is that it became a tool for other people to mischaracterize our movements as the violent movement. And so I have had to sit with that. You know, I don’t know how to not victim blame myself. And at the same time, to say, what does it look like to exercise care for the comrades that I’m in the street with who deserve both an honest conversation but who don’t need, you know, sort of me giving our enemies easy tools to, like, do additional harm.  

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham I respect that, but I will say, sister sister that they are going to try to engage in that harm regardless, and that attempting to contort yourself in a way that is antithetical to the eloquent rage that you have helped give so many of us language to you is a disservice, a disservice to your brilliance. It is a disservice to the movement. It is a disservice to our people. And to be really clear, the response was expectedly violent. Fox News and the New York Post, The Daily Mail, they cut off the very clear second part of your comment that says you do not believe in an exercise of violence. And the response that you get are these heightened death threats and right wing smears in public and in private. And let’s be really clear, these are not just mean replies on Twitter, right? So this has also had a personal toll for the work that you do. 

Brittney Cooper Yeah. Death threats, doxing, people passing information around about me online. You know, many dozens of emails to my job. One particularly memorable threat someone threatened to bring an armed militia to my job to neutralize me. That was the language they used. They also threaten the staff members that run the office at my job. And most of the folks who do those jobs, they’re disproportionately Black women. So there are other Black women who get death threats and who have to deal with the cops, you know, around this kind of stuff. And they threatened my department chair. They threatened to protest outside her house because she wouldn’t fire me. 

So these are well-funded, coordinated assaults that are designed to sort of overwhelm systems. And I want to say that one of the reasons that I’ve been able to withstand some of those assaults, in addition to sort of being supported in community, is that I have tenure. You know, I’m one of these Black women that’s like has a job where the university can’t just fire me simply because I said something they disagreed with. And I’m not saying that as a flex. I’m saying, What do we do for Black women who want to speak their truth, but who don’t have any sort of community support, right? Because it isn’t just about what I say, but about the sisters that these guys don’t even know they’re targeting but become collateral damage. So when they send the suspicious packages to my job and the cops have to be called, and the building has to be evacuated, all of which are things that have happened, there are other folks in the building besides. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Yeah. 

Brittney Cooper It is scary. It’s all tactically designed to silence us and to make us stop seeking the truth. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham I mean, this is the pattern that we see. You have clearly spoken about the death threats you’ve received. I’ve spoken about the ones I’ve received on this podcast. We had both Kimberlé Crenshaw and Nikole Hannah-Jones on the pod last year. They had to talk about these same things. We watched Joy Reid go through it just a couple of weeks ago with our comments about Kyle Rittenhouse, somebody who actually killed people. But your point is so clarifying and why Black women at all stations in life are favorite targets of these right wing mobs because it is intentionally to terrorize us out of speaking the truth. 

Brittney Cooper Yeah, I mean, it’s a it’s a concerted effort to deplatform public Black women, right? And look, the de-platforming of outspoken Black women is as much a part of our journey as any feminism we could imagine. Ida B. Wells When the white men in town burned down her newspaper because she calls out white women, she too — her newspaper gets burned down right and they tell her, like, You can’t come back to Memphis, or we will kill you. So this is also a part of white supremacy that we should be naming. It is not just the sort of targeting and murdering of Black men, but it is literally threatening to silence Black women who are doing the job that we’re always doing. Black women are always somewhere on a lecture platform telling the story, doing the analysis, calling stuff out and being like, You’re not going to do our people like this. And white men come for us to white communities. White, conservative, racist apparatuses come for us to, to silence and to shut us down. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Even when that lectern is the the street corner is a church house, is a city council meeting. We are always there speaking that. What I really appreciate about you, though, is that knowing that that is the threat, you still intentionally defy the kind of respectability politics that can trick you into thinking that will keep you more safe. Right. And we know that this comes at a real cost. I mean, has shirking respectability become a really conscious choice? Or are you at the point where it’s habitual and it’s natural, you just wake up like this? 

Brittney Cooper I would say both and. I mean, most days, I really do kind of wake up like this. But there was a journey to let that self lead as opposed to the sort of more performative self, because I don’t think Black women are ever not aware of our need to perform and of the way that people are watching every move that we make and what the consequences of those moves are. So I would say that when I sort of roll up to my job as I like to tell people, I don’t cuss at the dean when we have meetings, you know what I mean? I have a sort of different comportment because strategically, one I just I have good since I was raised with good sense, and I just know that every strategy doesn’t work in every place. But I also try to build a life where there are many spaces in my life where I can literally just show up in the way that I choose to, which is as someone who is slightly uncouth and very country and very Crunk. Because I think that Black folks deserve to not have to always perform and to feel like the failure to perform civility, professionalism, proper decorum, that our entire fate and set of possibilities is tethered to whether or not we can make white people think we are civilized enough. Like, I reject that and I resent that. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Well, I personally love that you wake up like this and this and that you do it with great intention. Before I let you go, I have to get back into the news a little bit. But let’s talk about the Supreme Court, right? So yesterday they heard arguments in Dobbs versus Jackson Women’s Health Organization. And we know that the majority of Americans still support a person’s right to have access to abortion and end their pregnancy. But odds are that Wednesday’s case will result in abortion being outlawed in a lot of states. How do we brace for that? How do we prepare for that? 

Brittney Cooper You know, it will be one of the most devastating Supreme Court decisions of a few generations, quite frankly. And I think that what we also know at the point that the Supreme Court makes that decision is that people who need to terminate pregnancies will not stop terminating pregnancies. What they will do is resort to desperate and unhealthy measures in order to get the medical care that they need. And so I think that we have to then take our notes from movement spaces, which is: how are we going to build our community apparatuses, fugitive spaces for folks to get the health care and services that they need? In the 70s, we had these kinds of organizations. I imagine that we will have to go underground again to support folks being able to to take care of themselves. And I think that the other thing to remember is that, you know, we are not the first generation of people to live through a massive gaining of rights and then loss of rights. This is the thing that ties us to folks like Ida B. Wells, right? Ida B. Wells, you know, was born in 1862, so she lived through the gains of reconstruction and then the losses of Jim Crow, Mary Church Terrell and Anna Julia. Cooper, all of those women that I write about in my work. One of the reasons that they continue to be my muse is because they saw the country lean towards its better angels and then become nightmarish in the span of a lifetime. And the lesson that they teach us is that you simply don’t stop fighting. You keep showing up. You keep witnessing. You keep calling it out and saying, this is wrong. We can be better than this. We don’t have to do this. But I think the other thing that those women did was they built a massive social apparatus to take care of Black communities. They built the nursing homes, the libraries, the hospitals, the old folks home. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham The Schools.

Brittney Cooper They — schools, right? Kindergartens. So these women built an infrastructure to take care of our people, and I think that we have to see this massive assault coming from the right. On the social safety net across the board as an invitation, not just towards protest, not just towards writing angered think pieces, all of which are important, but what community institutions are we going to build to take care of people? That is our job. That is our task. That is what our people have done. And here’s the thing, when we figure out the answer to that question, we won’t have a problem with people getting on board with our revolution. Once you know how to educate people, take care of their healthcare and make sure that they got like an income of some sort to manage their basic needs, folks will get on board with your revolution. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Dr. Brittney Cooper Brilliant as usual. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for lending as your time and for lending this world your voice. We are always better when we get to listen to you. 

Brittney Cooper Thank you. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham Dr. Brittney Cooper is a professor, writer and unapologetic public speaker. Her most recent handbook, which she coauthored, is called Feminist A.F.:  A Guide to Crushing Girlhood. It’s amazing and intersectional AF. Make sure you check it out. Brittney dropped several major keys during this conversation, but the one I’m really sticking with is that we have been here before. We are not the first folks to live through major gains, followed by massive losses. And often those massive losses come because we made major gains. It’s retribution from those who’ve much rather the social order remained the same. Ida B. Wells knew it. Mary Church Terrell knew it. Harriet Tubman had scars to prove it. We make traction on abortion rights. They eliminate access. We trounce voting expectations. Well, here come news suppression laws. Trans folks finally getting the shine they deserve? Cool, let’s take away their health care. Just like the intentional destruction of reconstruction, we are facing yet another existential choice about whether we will be a world of our aspiration or one of our baser instincts. But the power of those who’ve always chosen the former and helped us fight our way back from the repeated hell of supremacy…that’s my motivation. Feel free to borrow it. 

Brittany Packnett Cunninhgham That’s it for today, but never, ever for tomorrow undistracted is a production of The Meteor and Pineapple Street Studios. Our lead producer is Rachel Matlow, our associate producer is Alexis Moore. Thanks always to Treasure Brooks, Grace Chen, and Haniss Brown. Our executive producers at The Meteor, are Cindi Leive and myself and our executive producers at Pineapple are Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky. You can follow me at @MsPacketti on all social media and our team @themeteor. Make sure you subscribe to UNDISTRACTED and rate and review us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you check out your favorite podcasts. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being. Thanks for doing. I’m Brittany Packnett Cunningham. Let’s go get free.