MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And now we want to take this conversation to - where else? - The Barbershop. That's our weekly conversation where a group of interesting folks gets together for a shapeup on the news of the week. With us in the studio today are Ordale Allen. He's a high school English teacher in the D.C. public school system. Welcome to The Barbershop. Thanks for coming.
ORDALE ALLEN: Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: Also with us, a familiar voice, Jolene Ivey. She's a public relations professional and a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates. Good to have you with us, Jolene.
JOLENE IVEY: Great to see you, Michel.
MARTIN: Also Farajii Muhammad, he's the host of Listen Up!, a radio show on member station WEAA in Baltimore. He's also director of the youth organization Peace by Piece. Welcome back to you, Farajii. Thanks for coming.
FARAJAII MUHAMMAD, BYLINE: Thank you, Michel.
MARTIN: So let me jump into the story about the South Carolina school resource officer. Farajii, you work with high school students...
MARTIN: ...In Baltimore. Are they talking about this, and what are...
MUHAMMAD: Oh, yeah.
MARTIN: ...They saying?
MUHAMMAD: Everybody's talking about it. It's such a sad situation. But I want to say on the outset, this case would not make national headlines if it was just simply about a student disrupting class. The case made national headlines because you have a person in authority who handled a young black student in a very brutal way, and that's what happened. I mean, considering the larger tapestry of what's happening in this country, this sits up there.
MARTIN: Well, what are the kids saying about it, the students that you're working with?
MUHAMMAD: Students are upset, but...
MARTIN: Because I have to mention that there was actually a walkout in support of that officer...
MARTIN: ...Earlier this week that...
MARTIN: ...some of the students actually supported him.
MUHAMMAD: Right, right, right.
MUHAMMAD: Well, they said they had about 100 students, both black and white, which is very interesting - but at the end of the day, you know, you have students that say, you know what? This type of stuff generally happens. I mean, this is the type of confrontation - in Baltimore, for example, you know, if you go outside of any high school where there's a predominantly black school, you see not just school resource officers, you see police officers. And that's the culture, that's the climate, that's the environment that a lot of students have.
MARTIN: Ordale, what about you? I mean, this is - well, why don't you just tell us, right?
ALLEN: Well, for me, it was something that we talked about the very next day in the teachers' lounge. And the issue is that it immediately jumped to what the teacher should've done. Like, should the cops have even been - this is what he said. But for us, it's that we deal with that all the time. So I'm not saying it was justified what happened to her at all. But the issue of well, why was the principal in there, why couldn't the teacher control the classroom is that we have a lot of kids who come to us with a lot of problems. A lot of kids - because they were saying her mom died, and that's why she was on her cellphone. But it's like we have kids who are blatantly disrespectful - kids who are yelling at us, cursing at us, screaming at us - and we have to control that and manage the other 25 to 30 in the classroom. And so it gets to a point where something like that does happen. We have cops in the building because these are not all angels.
MARTIN: Well, what's your take on it, though? What's your bottom line?
ALLEN: My bottom line, I think it was wrong what happened. But I do think that the teacher was right in terms of getting the assistant principal in there, and I do think that there should be some type of consequences for her as well because that's what we have to deal with every single day.
MARTIN: Jolene, final word on this. You have five boys, and they've gone to all different kinds of schools. What do you have to say about it?
IVEY: Well, I believe that children should never be held to the same standard as adults.
MUHAMMAD: Thank you.
IVEY: And this is an adult in authority, as you were saying...
IVEY: ...And I think that it's reprehensible what happened to this girl. And all she was doing, frankly, was being kind of irritating. She wasn't calling anybody a name. She wasn't yelling and screaming. She wasn't hitting anybody. She was sitting there looking at her phone. The teacher could have given her a lower grade for the day or whatever and moved on. You don't have to call anybody, in my opinion, on that issue. But if you do, the resource officer, the sheriff's deputy, he just needs to - well, I'm glad what happened to him happened.
MARTIN: Well, let's move on to another topic that actually is kind of related, and it's this whole question of behavior, right, that Hillary Clinton was interrupted at a rally in Atlanta yesterday by Black Lives Matter protesters. I'll just play a short clip of that.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Black lives matter. Black lives matter...
HILLARY CLINTON: Of the feelings that come forward - and yes they do. Yes, they do.
>>UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Black lives matter, black lives matter.
CLINTON: Yes, they do, and I'm going to talk a lot about that in a minute.
MARTIN: So this went on for about 15 minutes before these folks were escorted out, let's say. Now, we're starting to hear more from - and one of the reasons we want to talk to you about this is because you recently ran for lieutenant governor. And I don't know if this had happened to you, whether any of your rallies were disrupted like this. But we're hearing some of the, you know, activists say they're getting a little tired of this because they feel that these tactics are not helpful and that it's just disrespectful and seems like maybe there's a little bit of a generational divide happening here.
IVEY: It's definitely generational. And no, I'm kind of old, so I look at this - and on the one hand...
MARTIN: But still fly.
IVEY: ...I do feel like - you know, could you all just be quiet and listen? But, but, I think that one thing we have to do, we have to applaud these young people because they're engaged, they're trying to make a difference, OK? They - sometimes you have to make some noise in order to make a difference. If you look back at the history of the civil rights movement, there were things done that really made some people uncomfortable. And instead of us all just coming down on these kids, maybe we should appreciate the fact that they have raised some issues on the national stage that - the presidential contests are now all having to deal with it. And I also wish they'd take a moment and listen, too, and, you know, I love my girl Hillary.
MUHAMMAD: I - I don't think they should...
MUHAMMAD: I don't think they should necessarily listen. And I think the reason is - Avery Jackson, who's one of the coordinators, mentioned that, you know, having this kind of monolithic view of leadership, you know, where we're constantly asking and putting our hopes and our trust into elected officials, but the rhetoric continues. And what he mentioned was that, you know, it has to be moved beyond rhetoric. It has to get into action. And they did - what made them interrupt Hillary was the fact that she came to a black campus without anybody really knowing, and she started talking about how African-Americans, quote, unquote, "African-Americans for Hillary" - that was the name of the gathering. And it's, like, what - in this day and time, young people are looking for a different model of leadership. We're talking about shared leadership. We're talking about leadership where information is being passed. And at this point, if you just keep telling us hey, put all our hope in this candidate. Don't worry, everything's going to get better, then that is the same model that we've been hearing for the past 50 years.
MARTIN: But what does yelling at her have to do with it? Why don't they just do something else? Well, Ordale wanted to say something. Go ahead.
ALLEN: Yeah, like, what's the purpose though? Like, I get that you want to demand an audience with them, but that's not the right platform to do it.
MUHAMMAD: So what's the right platform? I mean, honestly, there's a lot of conflict - and I've been a part of demonstrations and whatnot - and their folks that are just like well, this is not the right way to do it. And it's like well, how did change happen?
ALLEN: Not that - I mean, all right...
MARTIN: Go ahead, let Ordale finish.
ALLEN: ...You protested, so now what do you want? I mean, what if she'd stopped and said all right, now make your point? What do you want me to say? I mean, you're just saying that black lives matter over and over again, but - I mean, I agree - obviously, I'm a black man, so I agree black lives matter. But my issue is that you need to demand an audience with her to actually talk about what you want her platform to be...
MUHAMMAD: They did, they did, and she didn't incorporate some of it - and it's the same thing. She didn't incorporate some of the points of the Black Lives Matter perform into her larger platform. It's the same thing. I mean, if we're talking about rhetoric, and it gets down to this whole idea that, you know, you can talk about it but then you're not actually having a plan about it. Just recognition of the problem is not enough and sufficient to that.
ALLEN: First, though - you've got elected first. I mean...
IVEY: Well, you know...
MARTIN: OK, Julie...
IVEY: ...What they need to do is vote.
MARTIN: ...Get the final word.
IVEY: They need to vote. And that's the thing that I hope that they end up doing. That needs to be the next step is to get everybody that they know who agrees with them registered and make sure they get out and vote.
MUHAMMAD: Well, there has to be a candidate that truly reflects the ideas and the interests.
MARTIN: Well, who is that? They also interrupted Bernie Sanders...
MARTIN: ...These protesters - not the same one, but some of the same ones...
MUHAMMAD: I think they should interrupt Donald Trump. I think they should interrupt - (laughter) I think they should interrupt...
ALLEN: Yeah, they're up the allies, like...
MUHAMMAD: ...The Republicans, you know what I mean?
ALLEN: ...They don't go after the Republicans.
MUHAMMAD: But, you know, there may not be a candidate out there for the next generation.
MARTIN: So what should they do?
MUHAMMAD: At this point, if we have to make a critical - and I know that a lot of folks may not agree with this - but if you don't see a candidate that speaks for your interest, then don't vote.
IVEY: No, you've got to vote for the best one...
ALLEN: No, that's going to be even worse.
IVEY: You can't - never, ever, never...
MUHAMMAD: No, but I'm saying...
IVEY: ...Tell kids not to vote.
MUHAMMAD: ...that the voters value...
MARTIN: Jolene's going to be yelling black lives matter at Youth Horizon.
MARTIN: Count on it...
MUHAMMAD: I'm just keeping it real.
MARTIN: ...Next show.
MUHAMMAD: This is what folks are saying.
MARTIN: I hear you, I hear you. Finally - OK, finally - final question here, prepare yourselves. Bad news for bacon lovers, the World Health Organization says red meat, like beef and lamb and especially processed meats like bacon and hot dogs...
MUHAMMAD: Oh, I'm so sorry.
MARTIN: ...Could be carcinogenic. Now, Farajii is a vegetarian, so he's laughing.
MARTIN: He doesn't care. Odale, what are you going to do, any lifestyle changes?
ALLEN: Nothing will change...
MUHAMMAD: Odale, you want a tissue, bro?
ALLEN: Nothing at all will change (laughter).
IVEY: Now is that because you don't eat these bad foods now?
ALLEN: Oh, no, I have some in my pocket right now. No, nothing...
ALLEN: Bacon is a carcinogen, so is alcohol I believe.
ALLEN: They were saying that working nights affects your sleeping rhythm. That can be a carcinogen.
MUHAMMAD: All right, wait a minute. So you're saying that you're going to just pretty much disregard this...
ALLEN: I am completely going to disregard it.
MUHAMMAD: Oh, my gosh.
ALLEN: If it goes on sale tomorrow, I'm going to buy some more.
MARTIN: Wait a minute, what about Jolene? Jolene is a bake-your-own-bread person...
MARTIN: ...Grinds her own wheat.
IVEY: I'm kind of granola-ey in that way. And I do think that processed foods - we all should know processed foods are bad for you.
MUHAMMAD: Worse, right.
IVEY: And the less you eat out of the processed aisles, the better for all of us. Now, I do enjoy bacon, and it did bring a tear to my eye when I heard this. But I already knew that bacon was bad for me.
MUHAMMAD: Come to the lighter side.
IVEY: I already know that all of those processed meats are bad for me...
MARTIN: All right, so it's a sometime food, not an all-the-time food, as Cookie Monster would say.
IVEY: It's a very, very sometimes...
MUHAMMAD: It didn't say vegetables.
MARTIN: All right...
MUHAMMAD: It did not say vegetables.
MARTIN: All right, Jolene Ivey is a public relations specialist. She's a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates. Farajii Muhammad is the host of Listen Up! on member station WEAA in Baltimore and Ordale Allen is a high school English teacher in the D.C. public school system. Thank you all so much for joining us.
ALLEN: Thank you.
MUHAMMAD: Thank you.
IVEY: Thanks, Michel. It was fun.