AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all, This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week on the show, Texas Public Radio reporter Joey Palacios and NPR political correspondent Asma Khalid. All right. Let's start the show.
(SOUNDBITE OF AEROSMITH SONG, "PINK")
SAM SANDERS, HOST:
Hey, y'all. From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders. IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. I am so excited to be coming to you this week from my hometown, San Antonio, Texas, at the studios of Texas Public Radio. Speaking of Texas Public Radio, one of my guests is a city hall reporter for TPR in San Antonio - Joey Palacios - sitting here right next to me. Thanks for being here, man.
JOEY PALACIOS, BYLINE: I'm very happy to be here.
SANDERS: Also joining us, through the miracle of technology, from the Boston-Cambridge metro area is my friend Asma Khalid, national political correspondent for NPR. Hey.
ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: Hey, Sam.
SANDERS: Thanks for being here today.
KHALID: And, Joey, nice to meet you.
PALACIOS: Nice to meet you too.
SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. Also joining me in studio right now are the sounds of one of my favorite bands and one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands. This is Aerosmith's "Pink."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PINK")
AEROSMITH: (Singing) Pink - it was love at first sight. I yell pink when I turn out the light.
SANDERS: You guys know Aerosmith.
PALACIOS: Who doesn't know Aerosmith?
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PINK")
AEROSMITH: (Singing) And pink gets me high as a kite.
SANDERS: So I'm playing this song for a reason this week, you guys. I'm playing it because Aerosmith ended up in a reality show episode recently. There's this show called "American Pickers" where these two guys travel across America, searching for rare artifacts and national treasures, and they buy them up. These two guys found the original tour van of Aerosmith in the woods in Massachusetts. It had been there since the '70s. It was, like, painted green, rusted out. There's a Persian rug hanging from, like, the ceiling in the roof of the car - a 1964 International Harvester Metro. Guess how much these guys - these two "American Picker" guys, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz - guess how much they paid for that tour bus?
PALACIOS: Seven hundred fifty thousand dollars.
SANDERS: (Laughter) You really like Aerosmith.
SANDERS: Asma, how much do you think they paid?
KHALID: Two hundred fifty thousand dollars.
SANDERS: Both of y'all should really lowball. They paid $25,000 for it.
PALACIOS: Oh, wow.
SANDERS: It was in very bad condition. It was a funky looking van, though.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PINK")
AEROSMITH: (Singing) Pink - it was love at first sight. I yell pink when I turn out the light.
SANDERS: So Asma and Joey are here with me to look back on the week of news, culture and everything else. We have a lot to cover this week. Melania Trump's parents are now U.S. citizens through a process that her husband likes to call chain migration - a process that he rails against. We're going to talk with Joey about the view on immigration from San Antonio - a place just a few hours drive from the southern border and later a very special segment all about race, specifically how to talk about race with your kids. It's a thing that I've been thinking about a lot as we mark the one year anniversary of the tragedy in Charlottesville. We'll answer listener questions on the topic with some expert help. With that said, let's get into it. As we always do, I'm going to have the show start by my guests describing their week of news in only three words. Asma, you are up first.
KHALID: Oh, OK. So my three words are, are you surprised?
SANDERS: OK. Explain.
KHALID: So this week, there were two stories in particular that caught my eye. And my initial reaction was just a bit of side eye and like, really? Are you surprised?
SANDERS: Yeah. OK.
KHALID: And so there is a Fox News host, Laura Ingraham, who got a lot of attention this week for basically taking, what I would argue, were kind of fringe ideas among white nationalists - the type of stuff we heard, you know, in Charlottesville last year - and kind of giving them a mainstream platform on Fox News. And - do we have a bit of tape of actually what she said?
SANDERS: We actually have a tape of that. We can play it. Yeah.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
LAURA INGRAHAM: In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don't like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically, in some ways, the country has changed. Now, much of this is related to both illegal and, in some cases, legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.
SANDERS: You know, Asma, the three words that she says in that statement that really make me wonder what she's talking about are massive demographic change.
KHALID: I know.
SANDERS: I mean, she's basically saying America is becoming too brown.
KHALID: And, you know, there was a lot of ruckus about this. And then she came out - she's since come out to clarify that her commentary had nothing to do with race, which, you know, at this point, Sam, I feel like this is just getting so old. It's like, you know, you whistle - you make that dog whistle and then you come out and say no, no, no, I had nothing. This had...
SANDERS: It's a dog air horn.
KHALID: ...Nothing to do with race.
SANDERS: This was a...
KHALID: Exactly (laughter).
SANDERS: ...Dog air horn. I mean, like, how much more explicit could she be, you know? What I find interesting, Asma, with all of this, you know, the way that she says we are, you know, upset by these changes, who is the we that she's talking about? There is this one study from Pew that came out in June of 2018, and they found that a majority of Americans are OK with immigration. More people than not are OK with legal immigration staying at current levels. And it just feels as if the world view that she is spouting does not actually speak for the majority of Americans.
PALACIOS: A lot of it just, to me, seems really reactionary or they're trying to get a reaction to it, I should say. It just seems like they're trying to see what they can say to get them to call in or make a Facebook post about it or to continue the debate about the changing demographic in this country.
SANDERS: Yeah. You know, and - so Laura Ingraham is a Trump supporter, and it's a very interesting week to be a Trump supporter - on immigration, at least - because at the same time that the Trump White House has been cracking down on immigration, the parents of Donald Trump's wife, Melania...
KHALID: Oh, yes. This is my second story. Yes.
KHALID: Go ahead.
SANDERS: ...Citizens through a process that Donald Trump calls chain migration, where one family member comes over and helps the others gain their status. This is a process that Trump himself has criticized and said is wrong. His wife this week seems to have used that process to help her parents become citizens.
KHALID: Exactly. And what I find so interesting about this - again, Sam, my reaction was, like, are you surprised? I mean, really (laughter)?
SANDERS: What do you mean?
KHALID: It's sort of like this idea - of course, there's different rules for different people, right? I mean, like, to your point, the Trump administration has really been hitting hard at this idea of family-based immigration - what he calls chain migration. And, every year, you know, based on sort of the pool of immigrants that gain legal permanent status in this country, from the data I've seen, about two-thirds of those people that come through are family-based immigration. And so the Trump administration wants to kind of narrow down who would be allowed. And so, in theory, the sort of legislation that they foresee would not allow you to sponsor your parents. You would only be allowed to sponsor your spouse or minor children under the age of 18.
SANDERS: So you're saying that if Donald Trump's policy proposal on "chain migration," quote-unquote, was approved and went through, his wife would have had a much harder time helping her parents become citizens.
KHALID: In theory.
SANDERS: All right. Joey, your three words are also about immigration.
PALACIOS: They are. It is rough immigration year.
SANDERS: Rough immigration year - why that?
PALACIOS: I wanted to give a profile of what San Antonio has seen over the past - even more than a year, maybe year and a half...
PALACIOS: ...Because San Antonio has been at the center of this law that the state passed last year, commonly known as SB4. It's also an anti-sanctuary cities law. So...
SANDERS: So it basically tells any city in the state you can't be a sanctuary city.
PALACIOS: More or less.
PALACIOS: And it blocks police departments from putting in a policy that forbids its officers from asking about someone's immigration status. SAPDs had a policy on the books like this where officers cannot ask, or could not ask, rather, about somebody's immigration status. It also required jails to comply with immigration detainers. And it had other provisions, too, where public officials couldn't endorse policies that would benefit a sanctuary city.
SANDERS: So - but the thing that's really interesting about this - San Antonio and other cities have challenged this anti-sanctuary city law. And a U.S. court of appeals, though, they have ruled that most of this law can go into effect while challenges proceed. So while San Antonio is still challenging this law, it does not call itself a sanctuary city.
PALACIOS: Right. And the city has actually said, you know, we are not a sanctuary city. But what is a sanctuary city? Because there's never really been anything on paper or any law or anything that defines what a sanctuary city is. That's one of the things that cities found challenging when the state put in its anti-sanctuary cities law.
SANDERS: I also feel - I also want you to talk about - you know, there are certain flashpoints that really speak to the challenges that local officials in San Antonio face when it comes to what to do with immigrants. There have been a few instances now of immigrants in the back of trucks ended up in San Antonio. What's going on with that?
PALACIOS: Right. So, I mean, San Antonio has been kind of like this centerpoint, this nexus of, like, what can happen when - with immigration enforcement. And by that, I mean shortly after the city filed suit against the state last year in July of 2017, towards the middle of the month, there was a trailer found in a Walmart parking lot about 4 o'clock in the morning. And when the trailer was opened, they found about 40 migrants in there...
KHALID: Oh, wow.
PALACIOS: ...Eight of whom were dead, and two more would die in the following days.
SANDERS: I remember hearing about this case.
PALACIOS: Right. And so here's where things get really interesting because, in December, there was another trailer found. This one, thankfully, was a lot less tragic. Twelve people were found two days before Christmas in a trailer on San Antonio's east side. Now, what's different about this case is that rather than the 12 people found in the trailer being turned over to immigration authorities, the chief decided to charge it at a state level. That kind of allowed the police to - instead of releasing the migrants to immigration authorities, they were allowed to go with a refugee agency, and it was Catholic Charities.
SANDERS: Now, that is the kind of thing that you hear and say, that is what a sanctuary city would do.
PALACIOS: Oh, it could be interpreted that way.
SANDERS: Yes. Yes. San Antonio still says we aren't a sanctuary city.
KHALID: You know what this reminds me of, though, guys? I feel like there's been a widespread kind of divide between city governments and state governments in a lot of places, particularly places where the legislature is quite Republican, and the urban cores are - of cities are really Democratic. And to me, you know, this particular issue is immigration, but I recall hearing a story maybe a year and a half ago or so in Arizona where some cities were banning plastic bags, and then the state government of Arizona put a ban on ban of plastic bags. And so it's this kind of constant struggle between a Republican legislature and a Democratic city government in places where they don't really look alike, you know, in terms of...
KHALID: ...Political partisanship.
PALACIOS: It's very much the same thing here, too. I mean, the state has tried to intervene in quite a few of San Antonio's initiatives. There's one happening right now with paid sick leave where it could be passed by the council, it could be passed by voters. It's a bit of a complex issue. Austin has already passed paid sick leave, and the state is intervening, saying that it would violate the Texas Minimum Wage Act.
PALACIOS: So yeah. So the state likes to extend its authority into the cities.
KHALID: And it's so interesting, too, because I feel like the old conservative mantra was local government. Local government is best, right? And so where does that fall apart?
KHALID: Is local government best only at the state level?
SANDERS: It's all really confusing. More confusion to come. You guys, I have three words for you all. They are we are done. And you could even let me add a question mark after done because it's not sure that we're done yet, but I'm thinking this could be the beginning of the end of a thing. Let me explain. Snapchat announced recently - this is the social media platform for the youths - they lost 3 million users last quarter...
KHALID: Oh, wow.
SANDERS: ...First time the company has ever lost users - this is daily active users. Facebook users are flat in the U.S., actually down in Europe. Twitter users are down by, like, a million. We should point out that, you know, Instagram is still on the up. And I'm wondering this week specifically, is, like, is this the beginning of the end of at least Americans' obsession and love affair with social media?
KHALID: Would that be a good thing, you think?
SANDERS: Maybe. Maybe.
KHALID: No, seriously.
PALACIOS: I find social media overwhelming sometimes. Like, I...
SANDERS: Sometimes? All the time, Joey.
PALACIOS: I'm very addicted to Facebook. It's, like, my main way of communicating with people.
SANDERS: I see you on Facebook, Joey.
PALACIOS: Yeah, so...
PALACIOS: And I use Twitter mostly for work. But, you know, there's an old mantra that journalists have - or maybe not old since it's - just don't read the comments. So I...
PALACIOS: ...Try to avoid as many comments sections as I can now.
SANDERS: But what is Twitter if just one big flaming comment section?
PALACIOS: Right, right.
SANDERS: So the numbers behind this are really interesting. But there was one thing I saw this week that really, really caught me off guard. There are medical professionals who have coined a term called Snapchat dysmorphia. Have you guys heard of this?
PALACIOS: I haven't.
SANDERS: Basically, plastic surgeons are saying they're seeing more people, more patients, come in who are wanting to look like those augmented Snapchat selfies.
PALACIOS: Oh, OK. I did...
PALACIOS: ...Hear about this. Yeah.
SANDERS: Isn't it crazy? So basically, these people want to come in...
KHALID: So they want, like, really big lips and, like...
KHALID: ...Like, cat eyes?
SANDERS: Bigger eyes, fuller lips, thinner noses - all of those things that you can tweak through Snapchat the app, people are coming into the plastic surgeon's office saying, I want that in real life.
KHALID: I mean, don't you - I'm kind of curious, too, that you were saying Snapchat's numbers have dropped off because there is this generation of kids who've grown up - like, before they even had a say-so, their moms were putting pictures of them constantly on Instagram. And so (laughter) it's like they've just grown up with their entire lives in public view, which - I don't know. I feel bad for them sometimes because, you know, Sam, like, we got to make our mistakes in private kind of (laughter).
SANDERS: Oh, totally, totally. I didn't get Facebook on my campus 'til maybe, like, the end of my sophomore year of college. And it wasn't, like, a force for years after that. And the only, like, record of me as a youth are, like, those weird Lifetouch band photos from middle school.
SANDERS: Thankfully, it's just that.
All right, you guys. It's time for a break. Coming up, we're going to check in on Amazon, which is in the midst of choosing a location for its second headquarters. The search has seemed to be very public, but we're going to talk about the parts of the process that have been very, very private. Also, our chat on race and how to talk about race with your kids - your questions and some expert answers in just a bit. I'm Sam Sanders. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR.
(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")
SANDERS: We are back. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR, the show where we catch up on the week that was. I'm so happy to be broadcasting to you all from San Antonio, Texas, this week at the studios of Texas Public Radio. Here with two guests - Joey Palacios, who covers San Antonio City Hall for TPR. How are you?
PALACIOS: I'm pretty good, Sam.
SANDERS: And my friend Asma Khalid, political correspondent for NPR joining me today from the Cambridge-Boston metro area, surviving that heat wave.
KHALID: I know (laughter). We've been having...
KHALID: ...A heat wave - Boston - a relative heat wave.
SANDERS: So before our next segment, I want to talk a little bit about some Texas news that has had me giggling this week. You guys all know who Beto O'Rourke is. He's running for the U.S. Senate. He's challenging U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. He's gotten a lot of buzz. But, this week, the buzz has not been about the words Beto speaks but the signage that he uses. A lot of people are comparing his campaign signs with the logo and lettering on Whataburger's Spicy Ketchup. We should say Whataburger is a Texas institution, our burger chain of note, and they make their own ketchup. They have their own classic ketchup. It's a little bit sweeter than usual, which I love. They also make spicy ketchup, and these packets have their own logo and labeling. People are saying that Beto O'Rourke's signs look like the labels on Whataburger Spicy Ketchup, of all things.
SANDERS: Asma, as I tell you this story, Google Whataburger Beto.
KHALID: Yeah. I should look this up so that I understand the similarities.
SANDERS: I want you see it. But because Ted Cruz going to Ted Cruz, he has responded to this entire story. And his spokesperson, when asked about this whole Beto spicy ketchup situation, said, quote, "unlike the spicy ketchup, when Texans unwrap the O'Rourke packaging, they are definitely not going to like what they see underneath. He's like a triple-meat Whataburger liberal who is out of touch with Texas values." Ted Cruz...
PALACIOS: I guess I don't see the negative in a triple-meat Whataburger so...
KHALID: Also, I just looked this up, guys. It looks like it's the same color, same font. But, you know...
PALACIOS: I can totally see the font comparison right now so...
SANDERS: You see it?
PALACIOS: I see it.
KHALID: The font comparison I see.
PALACIOS: I wouldn't immediately make that connection. But I mean, I can see where people are getting it from.
SANDERS: OK. Spicy ketchup - who knew?
PALACIOS: Which is pretty good, by the way.
SANDERS: It's very good - Whataburger for the win all the time. Anyways, let's move on. Asma, Joey, I have a number for you all. The number is 2 billion, as in $2 billion. That number is in the news this week because it's the amount of money that the city council in Newark, N.J., is offering to Amazon as they try to entice Amazon to bring its HQ2 to Newark. So this $2 billion - its tax breaks and tax exemptions and land use and permit deals. Lots of other cities are doing the same thing or have been offering deals like this. Right now, Amazon is still looking at 20 cities for its possible HQ2. And some parts of the process seem very public. Like, we're hearing about this Newark deal. But the actual deals being offered - a lot of it - a lot of those deals are surprisingly secretive. So I asked NPR business and tech reporter Alina Selyukh to tell me why.
(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")
SANDERS: Alina, hey, how are you?
ALINA SELYUKH, BYLINE: Hello. Hello.
SANDERS: So I am talking with you this week because I've been hearing a bunch of news about HQ2. I mentioned earlier this $2 billion incentive from Newark, N.J. And then another thing that I saw is that earlier this year, Montgomery County in Maryland, which is bidding for HQ2 as well, they were forced to release text of their bid to show everyone what's going on. They released 10 pages. And all of it was redacted...
SANDERS: ...Like, all of it blacked out. What's that about?
SELYUKH: Yeah. So that's just one of the examples of reporters essentially trying to force governments around the country to disclose what exactly they're offering Amazon in, quote, unquote, "corporate incentives" - sort of tax breaks, free land. Virginia, for example, refuses to say what they're offering. Washington, D.C., did release a series of documents, most of which were similarly blacked out, crossed out, undisclosed. And then Maryland, as the state, had to actually publicly approve - vote and approve on an incentive package.
SELYUKH: So we do have some information about the amounts that they're offering. But then Montgomery County, for its own part, did what it did and said, here's 10 pages related to your Freedom of Information request. Unfortunately, it's all trade secret.
SANDERS: Yeah. So my big question, when I saw these 10 pages of blacked-out text, is, why is it redacted? I assumed, I guess naively, that when cities are making bids for an Amazon headquarter or whatever, they are going through local government and city council and the mayor. And because of that, it has to be public. And I can go to a city council meeting and hear all about it. It's much more private and closed-door than I thought. Why is that?
SELYUKH: It's a really fascinating and complicated web of public and private entities that negotiate these kinds of deals. It's so-called economic development councils, various economic development partnerships. It entirely depends on your location. In some cases, it might be the governor's office or the mayor's office. In some cases, it's the chamber of commerce or some kind of private group that's local. Usually, it's actually a huge sum of, you know, all of these entities. They come together and organize some kind of bid. But in a lot of cases, the governments can argue and do argue that the details cannot be disclosed. One of the major arguments they present is it's trade secrets. It's corporate information. And kind of the fundamental worry that they have is that they're tipping their hand to whoever else is bidding for the same thing. So it's essentially gamesmanship.
SANDERS: So besides just liking the attention, what does Amazon hope to get out of this drawn-out public fighting? Is it just a push to get all of these cities to go to the lowest common denominator and offer the most in incentives to get Amazon?
SELYUKH: So here is the thing that everyone in economic development will acknowledge, which is tax incentives are never what actually makes the decision for the company. It's sort of cherry on top. It's kind of a known factor. If you're a good business, you wouldn't really make your decision where you want to be based purely on what kind of tax cuts you're getting in that area. You're going to look at various other elements that Amazon has publicly disclosed. They're looking for a good transit hub. They're looking for high-quality education, a workforce that's ready to go, a variety, variety of factors that are going to be considered. In one of my stories, I quoted - I dug up this archival tape of former CEO of Alcoa, the industrial giant, Paul O'Neill, who was treasury secretary for a short period of time. And he was testifying in Congress. And lawmakers were asking him, you know, what kind of tax inducements attract businesses? And he honestly said, you know, what kind of - you know, I wouldn't be a good businessman if I base my decisions on tax inducements...
SELYUKH: If you're going to get some extra cash for a decision that I was going to make anyway, of course, I'm going to take that cash.
SANDERS: You know, speaking of money.
SANDERS: What are these cities going to get? What are the estimates about the kind of economic growth that HQ2 could bring to a city? Because that's what they want, right? They want the growth.
SELYUKH: They want the growth, and they want wealthy people to - wealthy workers to arrive and start spending locally, start, you know, shopping at local businesses. Amazon says they will invest in development of the city. It's - you know, the critics of this whole corporate subsidy thing will say, where do you get the money for the roads and the schools for all these new people who are going to be living in your area if you just gave up all the taxes that you would have collected from this corporate expansion to begin with?
SANDERS: Yeah. Last question for you - what does this entire circus of a bid process for Amazon HQ2 say about Amazon? What does it say about what kind of company Amazon is?
SELYUKH: Amazon really knows how to cash in on its high profile (laughter) is what I think it says to me.
SELYUKH: They're savvy. They knew that this was going to be a big deal. And they knew that there was going to be interest in it. So we know enough to keep the hype up but not enough to actually dig into the details. It's kind of been really fascinating to watch everybody sort of scrambling for little bits of information and only sort of hyping up this process.
SANDERS: Amazon is as quiet about HQ2 is - as Beyonce is about a new album.
SELYUKH: (Laughter) I don't know if Beyonce wants to be part of this comparison, but OK.
SANDERS: (Laughter) Alina, thank you so much. I'm going to check in with you again soon about Amazon because I'm fascinated.
SELYUKH: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")
SANDERS: Thanks again to Alina Selyukh. She covers biz and tech for NPR. Asma, Joey, how would you feel if Amazon HQ2 came to your town, to Boston or San Antonio?
PALACIOS: Well, San Antonio actually - rather than putting in a bid, they sent a letter to Amazon saying that they would not bid.
PALACIOS: So some experts said San Antonio really wouldn't be able to handle 50,000 jobs or that, you know, we didn't necessarily have the infrastructure yet. But there were people who were just like, why not? So it was an interesting decision by the city.
SANDERS: Asma, what about Boston?
KHALID: So you probably know, Sam, in my former life, I was actually a biz-tech reporter here in Boston between the elections. So I covered this story. Boston put in a bid. And Boston sees itself as a pretty competitive choice among the cities. And we didn't get any guidance in terms of financial offers made to the company. They keep talking about the fact that, you know, look, it's the talent and all the universities here in Boston but not a real good sense of what kind of money, if any money, is on the table.
SANDERS: It feels like this weird tech version of like "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette," except instead of going on dates and, like, having one-on-ones, you just offer money. So it feels even more transactional and sad.
SANDERS: All right, time for a quick break. When we come back, my favorite game, Who Said That? BRB.
(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")
SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR, the show where we catch up on the week that was. I'm Sam Sanders joined here at Texas Public Radio - one of my guests, Joey Palacios, is right here next to me in San Antonio. Hey, there.
SANDERS: Joey covers San Antonio City Hall for TPR.
PALACIOS: And the city council and all their fun antics.
SANDERS: And through the miracle of technology, joining us from Boston is my friend and NPR political correspondent, Asma Khalid. Hey, there.
SANDERS: You guys, it's time for my favorite game, Who Said That?
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")
KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?
PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?
KENYA MOORE: Who said that?
SANDERS: So the game is quite simple. I share a quote from the week. You guys have to guess who said that or the story - or the story it refers to. We say reefers in the script.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Sorry, guys.
SANDERS: The script said reefers that's why I stumbled over it.
SANDERS: Today on reefers - OK, get a keyword, just get close. Of course, per always, the winner gets absolutely nothing. You guys, ready?
KHALID: All right.
SANDERS: First quote, "we are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours." Who said that?
PALACIOS: That was with - about the Oscars. But I don't know who.
(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)
KHALID: Wait, who said this?
SANDERS: The Academy of Arts - the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, basically the Oscars, this week said, we're going to have a shorter Oscars.
KHALID: Oh, OK. That'll be good.
SANDERS: (Laughter) That will be good.
PALACIOS: Aren't they adding a new category for...
SANDERS: I'm going to tell you all of it.
PALACIOS: ...Most popular - OK.
PALACIOS: OK. OK.
SANDERS: Yeah. So the Oscars are kind of in trouble. The last broadcast of the award show was down 20 percent from the previous year. So they're doing two big things, and they announced it in a letter this week. And that quote was from that letter. The first thing they announced is the show will be shorter, as in only three hours now (laughter).
SANDERS: How is that shorter?
PALACIOS: We actually have an office pool to guess how long the Oscars is going to be.
SANDERS: Seventeen hours.
SANDERS: The second thing they announced this week is that there is going to be a new category at the Oscars. It will honor achievement and quote, "popular film." I'm calling this award the Marvel award because it seems like it's just made to be able to have some airtime in the Oscars for big blockbuster superhero movies.
SANDERS: All right. Second quote, you ready? "I truly believe I was used to drive up the price of the home." Who said that?
KHALID: Used to drive up the price of the home.
PALACIOS: Oh, Lance Bass.
(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)
SANDERS: Joey came to win (laughter).
PALACIOS: Oh, man. OK, so I feel - like, my heart breaks for Lance Bass.
SANDERS: Why would your heart break for Lance Bass?
PALACIOS: Because he wanted "The Brady Bunch" house and then got...
PALACIOS: ...Outbid post-deadline by a big unnamed company which...
SANDERS: Turned out to be HGTV.
SANDERS: We should back this up...
KHALID: I did hear that HGTV got the house.
SANDERS: ...With the whole backstory.
KHALID: I didn't realize that there was another bidder. I missed out on that part.
SANDERS: Yeah. So HGTV, Home and Garden Television, purchased the iconic "Brady Bunch" house in Studio City, Calif. But before they got the final purchase, they were in a bidding war, it seems, with former 'N Sync member Lance Bass. So Lance Bass was apparently told this week he'd won the house. But then he wrote on Instagram, quote, "the next day, due to unforeseen circumstances, the same agent informed us that there's another corporate buyer who wants the house at any cost." To all of this I say, my biggest question is, how in the world does Lance Bass have enough money to buy "The Brady Bunch" house? What has he been doing?
SANDERS: Is he working? I don't see him anywhere.
KHALID: Does he get royalties still?
PALACIOS: That's what I was going to say - royalties.
SANDERS: Oh, from 'N Sync. Maybe.
PALACIOS: I mean, it does kind of break my heart that he had to say "Bye Bye Bye" to that.
KHALID: ...That was great.
SANDERS: Lance Bass should be happy we're still talking about him.
SANDERS: Joey you're up two zip. I'm not gonna say you won the game already, but you - we're still going to do the third quote.
KHALID: How many questions do we have?
SANDERS: Three (laughter).
KHALID: Oh, my God. He won the game already. All right...
SANDERS: Hey, now...
KHALID: ...That's cool.
SANDERS: ...Don't say that. Don't say that. We're still going to keep listeners on the edge of their seats.
SANDERS: OK. Final quote - "our campaign will be selling a new line of gear. But first we have to make a final decision on the design we will use." Who said that?
KHALID: Gear? I feel like this is something that - I have no idea who said this. I feel like it's something the Trump administration would be talking about.
SANDERS: I'm going to give it to you.
(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)
KHALID: Thank you.
SANDERS: So not exactly the Trump administration. This is the Trump campaign.
KHALID: The Trump...
SANDERS: Trump PAC.
KHALID: ...Campaign, I'm sorry. That's what I meant. Yes, (unintelligible).
SANDERS: They, this week, in an email to supporters, were asking supporters to choose a logo for Donald Trump's proposed...
KHALID: Yes. Yes. OK.
SANDERS: ...Space Force.
PALACIOS: Space Force.
SANDERS: I liked that.
SANDERS: We need to add some sound effects in post for that.
PALACIOS: Well, like, when I was a kid, there was a video game that I would play on my Nintendo called "Space Megaforce." And it would - as soon as you turned it on, the first thing that it would say was Space Megaforce. And so every time I hear them talk about the space force, that soundbite comes into my head.
SANDERS: I love it.
(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO GAME, "SPACE MEGAFORCE")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Space Megaforce.
SANDERS: I love it.
SANDERS: So those that have been following this, for a while now, the Trump administration has been saying that it wants to create a Space Force, which would be a new branch of the military, dedicated to space. There are big, big questions about whether or not Trump can just do this by decree or if it's going to happen at all. But in the meantime, the Trump PAC is wasting no time in asking for help to pick a logo. There are six logos to choose from, one of which says Mars awaits. I will say, my favorite quote about all this Space Force stuff this week was a tweet from Donald Trump that just said Space Force all the way, which is what I say whenever the plane takes off.
SANDERS: Space Force all the way. We're in the air.
KHALID: Joey, congratulations.
SANDERS: I still think you're swell.
KHALID: Thank you.
SANDERS: I would still join you on any Space Force.
SANDERS: Congratulations, Joey.
PALACIOS: (Laughter) I appreciate that.
KHALID: What does he win?
PALACIOS: A high-five.
SANDERS: ...Wins nothing. Yeah, he...
SANDERS: ... A handshake is what he got here...
PALACIOS: A high-five.
SANDERS: ...In studio.
PALACIOS: A handshake.
PALACIOS: You know.
SANDERS: But that's it. All right. Asma, Joey, you're almost out of here. Listeners, stick around after this because the show is a bit different today. In just a bit, we're going to have a conversation about how to talk to your kids about race. And we're going to have answers to your questions from experts who really know this stuff. But first, as we do every week, we ask our listeners to share with us the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag. Brent, hit the tape.
NATALIE: Hey, Sam. It's Natalie (ph) from northeast Georgia. And the best part of my week just happened. I was able to feed my 7-week-old, identical twin sons all night long by myself without having to wake up my husband because today is his first day back to school as a high school teacher. And I wanted him to have a restful sleep. I feel like I just won an Olympic medal.
BETH: Hi, Sam. This is Beth (ph) in Dublin, Ohio. And the best thing that happened to me all week was watching my 2-year-old daughter, Jamison (ph), feed a giraffe at the Columbus Zoo.
REBECCA: The best thing about my week is that the surprise lilies that I planted two years ago finally bloomed.
JUSTIN: My wife finished her final day of residency. So she is now officially a fully practicing family physician.
LAURA: Hi, Sam. It's Laura (ph)...
ROBBY: And Robby (ph).
LAURA: And the best thing that happened to us this week is we completed five days of a backpacking trip over 50 miles of Pictured Rocks. And we survived our first backpacking trip together.
TOM SCHULTZ: Hi, Sam. This is Tom Schultz (ph) in Everett, Wash. The best thing that's happened to me all week is that I just finished competing in the first bodybuilding show I've done in 13 years. And I came in the top three. I am beyond excited about this.
CHARLES: Hey, Sam. The best part of my week happened last night when my wife got home from work. She's been fighting depression for the past eight months. And she was proud to point out that she had just been to work for five days in a row on time and happy about it. It was really stupendous. Thanks for your show.
BETH: Thanks so much.
LAURA: Hope you had a good week.
JUSTIN: Love the show. Bye.
SANDERS: You heard there from Natalie, Beth, Rebecca (ph), Justin (ph), Laura and Robby, Tom and Charles (ph). Thank you, guys, for sharing those stories. We get a lot more of those that we can't have on the air. But we listen to them all. And we love hearing them. Thanks for sharing those. Keep on sharing those. Email me the sound of your voice talking about the best part of your week any week at any point throughout the week at firstname.lastname@example.org - email@example.com. With that, thanks to two of the best parts of my week, my guests - Joey Palacios of TPR and Asma Khalid, national political correspondent for NPR. Thank you guys for doing this. It was fun.
KHALID: You're welcome.
PALACIOS: Thanks, Sam. This has been great.
SANDERS: Many thanks to the fine folks at Texas Public Radio, TPR, and KSTX. Thanks for engineering help today, Ruben Garcia. It's always a pleasure to get back home to San Antonio. So I am grateful to the entire city for being so nice to me this week.
(SOUNDBITE OF AEROSMITH SONG, "PINK")
SANDERS: One year ago this weekend, the nation's attention was focused squarely on Charlottesville, Va. This quaint college town was overtaken by white nationalists. There was violence and even a death. I followed the events in Charlottesville closely. We actually took an entire episode of our show last year to process it all. And one of the things I remember the most about all of it were the faces of some of those white nationalists there. A lot of those white men were boys. They looked so young. They all looked like someone's child. And that made me think, how are we talking to our kids, especially white kids, about race?
Well, Jennifer Harvey - she literally wrote the book on this. It is called "Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America." Jennifer is a professor at Drake University. She is white and the mother of two children. We asked her on the show to answer some of your questions about talking with your kids about race. And I asked her about something that she says white parents usually get wrong in this conversation.
One of the big themes of the book is this idea that a lot of white parents who think they've got it right on race when they talk to their kids...
JENNIFER HARVEY: Yeah.
SANDERS: ...Who are using a model that they think is correct - you say, actually, it's not. This is the, quote, unquote, "colorblind approach" to race. Talk about that approach and why you think it's failed.
HARVEY: Well, that approach to race is this teaching - and it takes a number of different forms. So it's sometimes deceptive. But basically, at core, we shouldn't notice race. We shouldn't notice difference. We should just value everyone's humanity the same, which - the reason that's a little deceptive is because, of course, I believe we should value everyone's humanity the same. But...
SANDERS: Yeah. And that sounds great.
HARVEY: Right - and it is great, right?
HARVEY: That's - but, in fact, colorblind teaching, which many white adults in this country were raised with - colorblind teaching sort of ends up silencing the conversations we need to be having with our children because it basically tells them, you're not seeing that, when, meanwhile, our kids are seeing it. And so what they hear is, oh, this is something we're not allowed to talk about.
SANDERS: Yeah. So with that said, we wanted our audience to not avoid this topic. So we put a call out to all of our listeners. And we wanted their questions about how to talk about race with their children - all races of parents and of kids. We got a lot of questions. And you volunteered to be so kind as to help us answer some of them.
HARVEY: Let's do it. I'm going to respond. I don't know if I'll answer, but I'm going to respond (laughter).
SANDERS: We will try. That's all we can do, right? So probably the No. 1 question we got was some kind of version of this next one I'm going to play for you now. It was sent to us by Tiffany (ph) in Idaho. And it is a very simple yet ubiquitous question.
TIFFANY: I live in a very white community. And while we talk about racism, while we talk about race, while I try and bring in diverse movies and books and toys, I still worry that, by being in a white and rural community - that my kids are going to be racist. So any help, any answers, any guidance would be most appreciated. Thank you.
SANDERS: OK. What do you think? I have thoughts. But I want to hear yours first.
HARVEY: Well, my thoughts are, you know, in the environment - what I think about in my community is, how do I desegregate my life? Like, what does that look like? And, for me, it means even though I'm in a predominately white state of Iowa that's very segregated - it means making really explicit choices about things like, what libraries do we go to? What parks do we go to? How do we actively try to overrun the barriers that society already puts into place? But thinking proactively about - OK. So how - if that's really the case that there's almost no diversity in the local context, can I drill more deeply down into the history and help my kids think deeply about that history locally, about how that happened, right? That didn't come from nowhere.
HARVEY: Who was there first? Where did they go? Could we learn that history as a family? - would be a couple of strategies I would think about around what's a really, really hard problem - a really hard problem.
SANDERS: You know, it's funny hearing this question from this listener. I'm sure that this is an experience for a lot of white parents who are ending up in places that are just very white.
SANDERS: But I also notice that there are a lot of white parents who want to be good on race who live in big cities that may be diverse, but they build their lives in ways where they isolate themselves from that diversity.
HARVEY: Yes. Yes.
SANDERS: I'm talking about the parents who just happened to end up living in the neighborhood that is pretty much all-white...
SANDERS: ...Or just happened to end up sending their kids to the private school or the charter school or whatever that happens to have, like, two black students.
SANDERS: Those are choices parents make that keep their kids away from diversity. And no one wants to call it what it is, but that's what it is, right?
HARVEY: Yes. That is absolutely - I agree with you absolutely on that. Can I make one other thing I'm thinking as you say that?
SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah.
HARVEY: I also hear people - white people in - even in small cities that say, there's not that many people of color here. And it's actually - even, oftentimes, that's not true.
SANDERS: Oh, yeah.
HARVEY: And so I was in Des Moines, Iowa. I moved to Des Moines, Iowa, from Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2004. And when I moved there, everyone said to me constantly it's a really white place. It's a really white place. And then within a couple of years, I was like, oh, no. Actually, it's a really segregated place.
SANDERS: All right. We have another question from Zikia (ph). She is in Carmel, Ind. And her question's about how black parents can talk to their children about race.
ZIKIA: My question for you today is, how do African-American parents talk to their young children about race in a way that doesn't scare them and make them think that every white person they see is a racist but also still conveys the seriousness of it and allows them to still have a love for their culture and their people?
SANDERS: Now, Jennifer, we've got to point out your book is called "Raising White Kids."
HARVEY: White kids (laughter).
SANDERS: And that's what your focus has been. So we reached out to Andrew Grant-Thomas. He is black. He and his wife co-founded a group called EmbraceRace. It's a national group that works to support families and children who want to have these conversations about race. And he has a response about what black parents can tell their kids about white people.
ANDREW GRANT-THOMAS: You know, especially if you're talking to a young child, you might say, look. Are there short, white people and tall, white people and heavy, white people and thin, white people - all of those things - or different hair color, eye color? Well, it's also true that there are white people who believe very different things from each other and who act in very different ways. People have always pushed back against unfairness and injustice and oppression of different kinds, and some of those people have been white.
SANDERS: You know, on that theme...
SANDERS: ...Another thing that I asked Andrew - and I want to ask you, too - when talking about race with kids, when is the right time? Particularly, I asked Andrew, with children of color, how old should they be when you start? How old should they be when you start to talk about the bad stuff with them?
SANDERS: He didn't give me a clear answer because there is no clear answer. But he did say it should basically be sooner than later.
GRANT-THOMAS: So I have 7- and 10-year-old girls. And, you know, I haven't shown them - my wife and I haven't shown them any videos of the police shootings of black people, right? - and others. But we certainly talk about them, right? And I don't talk to my 7-year-old about, you know, police officers, usually white, shooting black people. But I will say, you know what? A lot of people right now are talking about how police officers are hurting black people, right? And they're hurting - too often hurting black people in circumstances when there's really no reason to do it, right? So let's talk about why that might be. And also, let's talk about, what can we possibly do about it, right? Could we write a letter, have a conversation in school in your classroom? Like, how do you want to respond to that?
SANDERS: Yeah. So, like, I guess same question to you - even thinking about the conversations that you had with your kids when they were - I don't know - 4, and you felt the need to have a conversation about some of the nastier aspects of race, disparity, discrimination, shootings, what have you, is there an example of a way that you approached that to your children at that age?
HARVEY: Yeah. So one example of a conversation at that young of an age was after I had taken my then - I think she was about - 4-year-old and 2-year-old to the - one of the protests that happened after a police officer who killed Michael Brown was not indicted. And I took them to the protest. And I said a young, black teenager was killed by a police officer. Lots of people are angry about this because we believe all people should be safe. And part way through the protest, she was kind of swinging on the steps because she was little. And she leaned over to me. And she said black people aren't safe. And I said - I looked down at her. And I said, you're right. They're not. And she was just taking in, as a 4-year-old does, what she was hearing from the speakers. But then she turned to me and very loudly said, but we're white. So we are safe, right?
HARVEY: And I had that white-person, white-parent moment where you think, oh, my God. My child just, like, you know, blew up the room. I didn't want others to have to...
SANDERS: Out of the mouths of babes, they say, right?
HARVEY: That's right. But in the moment, I thought, oh, I don't want her - you know, lots of folks, of course, at this protest were grieving and in an outrage. And I didn't - so I just bent down. I said, hey, you know what? You're right. But can we talk about that in the - that part in the car?
HARVEY: So - but, you know, I didn't say shh. I didn't say - you know, I just said, you know, let's talk about that later. So - but then I did. And I think white parents - we have to remember to return to the conversation in the car. I said, hey, remember how you noticed that - you said, you know, we're white, so we're safe? And she said, yeah. And I said, well, you're right. I said, everybody should be safe and should feel safe. And she was like, yeah. We want everyone to be safe.
SANDERS: Yeah. We have another question for you from a listener.
SANDERS: This is a note that we got from Megan (ph) in Connecticut. Megan is white. And she wrote, quote, "I have two daughters, age 15 and 10. I am married to a Cuban. Real conversations about race have been very few. I remember my oldest daughter, at the age of about 5 or 6, asking why her skin is darker than her classmates. I told her she was lucky to have a natural tan. Some people have to spray it on or bake in the sun, but she is just born with it."
I'm going to pause right there to say we're going to come back to that. But let me continue with the question.
SANDERS: She continues, "I think that was a better moment for me than a recent one. Last month, we were on vacation and visiting the beach and my younger daughter told me that she didn't like how dark her skin had become. Instead of telling her that she looks beautiful with her tanned skin, I said, well, at least you're not as dark as the lifeguard at the beach. My oldest daughter called me on it. Mom, that sounds racist. I finished her statement. Yes, you're right. I'm sorry."
Well, I do appreciate Megan's candor. She put it all out there...
HARVEY: Ouch. Yeah, she did.
SANDERS: What are your thoughts on that?
HARVEY: I would say to this mom there's some reading and engaging in work that she might want to do, too, right away for herself to develop some facility around - what's going on in her mind that she jumped to that example about the lifeguard? Maybe Mom could say, you know what? I'm still thinking about, why did I say that on the beach?
Could we read this little piece together about, you know, biracial identity? Or let's read this author together and talk about it because I have some things I think that I want to learn. And I'm wondering if we can learn some of them together or talk with it together. That...
HARVEY: ...Might be a great entry (ph) point for them to do...
HARVEY: ...Something together.
SANDERS: I don't know how I feel about ever talking to kids about race or adults about race by simplifying it and saying, oh, it's just a tan. It's not. It's more than a tan.
SANDERS: It's a lot of stuff.
HARVEY: And it's - I mean, it's good people that - I mean, it's good people. That's the problem here. It's good white people.
HARVEY: We've all breathed in this stuff. So we've got to talk about that honestly and tackle it.
SANDERS: So we asked Andrew Grant-Thomas, who is the founder of EmbraceRace, this group that works to help families have conversations about race. And besides saying, you know, kudos on owning up that you messed up, also, what has to happen is acknowledging, particularly if your children are biracial and you're not, there's probably even more of a propensity to mess up because you have not lived their experience.
GRANT-THOMAS: If this biracial child is a result of sort of a parent who identify as one way and a parent who identifies differently, you know, having the child, you need - the parents should presume to know what that child's experience will be - right? - and how being biracial is implicated in what that child's experience will be. So they need to, in effect, recruit other people, to the extent that they can, who might have a better idea.
SANDERS: What kind of things do you send parents to when you're advising them on, you know, trying to recruit other people to helping that work, to find their village?
HARVEY: Yeah. I mean, two online resources that are fantastic - EmbraceRace is one of them, who - you were talking to Andrew, right? And Raising Race Conscious Children, which is also online, has a forum of parents who write blogs and stories about dialogues - actual dialogues with their kids. And both of those organizations have interactive webinars where you can talk to other parents. That's one way that, no matter where you're living, including rural Idaho, you can engage with families who are wrestling with these questions towards the interest of justice any time. So we have to do it.
HARVEY: And it's a gift. It's a joy, actually. I want to say that, Sam, that...
SANDERS: OK. Yeah.
HARVEY: ...As hard as this can be, there's an incredible joy in seeing that, you know, we could raise a different generation of children than most white adults were raised to be. If we just decide to have the will and the courage to do it, it's possible. So that - it's - and it's - it gives me great joy to watch that unfold.
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SANDERS: Listeners, if you want to read more of Jennifer's thoughts on all this stuff, her book is called "Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America." Dr. Harvey - can I call you that?
HARVEY: Sure. Go ahead. Yes, call me that (laughter)...
SANDERS: Dr. Harvey, thank you so much.
HARVEY: Sam, thank you. It's been an honor. Thanks.
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SANDERS: That's the show. Thanks again to all of our listeners who sent in their questions this week. We're back in your feeds on Tuesday with a very, very fun episode. That Tuesday episode was recorded in front of a live audience in Los Angeles. I talked with two guests onstage. John Cho was one of them, the actor who you know from things like the "Star Trek" franchise and the "Harold & Kumar" movies.
Also spoke with his writer and director Aneesh Chaganty, who talked about their new film. It's called "Searching." It is a tech thriller unlike any you've seen before. And it's getting some really, really, really big and good buzz. It's out in a few weeks. We talked about that movie and how people are already saying it is a very big step forward for Asian-American film, even though Aneesh and John kind of didn't mean it that way. That is on Tuesday. Until then, thank you for listening. I'm Sam Sanders. Talk soon.
(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")
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