Denouncing the Proud Boys and Condemning White Supremacy : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders When President Trump told white supremacists to "stand back and stand by," the country responded with heavy criticism. Sam talks with Kathleen Belew, assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago, about what we get wrong when we talk about the white power movement. Then, Sam chats with Demi Adejuyigbe, writer for The Amber Ruffin Show. They talk about his career, his viral September 21 videos, and how he uses online fame for good.
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The Dangers of White Supremacy, Plus Demi Adejuyigbe Brings Joy

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The Dangers of White Supremacy, Plus Demi Adejuyigbe Brings Joy

The Dangers of White Supremacy, Plus Demi Adejuyigbe Brings Joy

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/919516430/919705836" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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SAM SANDERS, HOST:

Hey, y'all - Sam here. Just a heads up - we taped this episode before we found out the news that President Trump and the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus, which means that this episode will not address that news. Of course, we wish them both a speedy recovery. All right, to the show.

This week, I just had to catch up with my Aunt Betty about the debate.

Hey, Betty. How are you?

AUNT BETTY: Hey, Sam. I'm doing very well, thanks.

SANDERS: OK, OK. Did you watch the debate this week?

AUNT BETTY: Yes, I did. I don't think I've missed a debate since I've been an adult. So, yes, I was determined to watch this one.

SANDERS: What was your emotional reaction to the debate?

AUNT BETTY: I mean, it was so many - I think my mouth was open for 90 minutes. And when I finally could close my mouth, I was - all I could think of was, wow, the world saw that.

SANDERS: I think it was the first time in a while where two people I don't know on a TV screen talking to each other made me feel personally ashamed. I was ashamed by it. I would have rather have watched, you know, a middle school debate competition. It would have probably followed the rules more.

AUNT BETTY: They would have followed the rules. But I think it's more not that that's what we do, but it's that's what we've come to. And that doesn't say a lot for us.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. Well, I think our listeners deserve to hear what Aunt Betty's official grade of this week's debate is. Letter grade, go ahead, from you.

AUNT BETTY: If there was an F-minus, I think it would have to be that.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

AUNT BETTY: I just - it just couldn't have been worse, I don't think.

SANDERS: OK. I think you speak for the nation when you say that. With that, give folks your famous lines to kick off the episode.

AUNT BETTY: All right. Let's start the show.

SANDERS: That gets an A-plus, no F-minus for that.

AUNT BETTY: OK.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders. And this week on the show, the fallout from the presidential debate. It might seem like eons ago now, but you remember how bad it was, as my Aunt Betty just confirmed. So for the first part of this show, we're going to talk about one specific topic that came up that night - white supremacy. You might recall the moment when President Trump - during the debate, he was asked to condemn a white supremacist group. Instead of just doing that, Trump said something else.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Do you want to call them - what do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name. Go ahead...

CHRIS WALLACE: White supremacists and right-wing militia.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: ...Who would you like me to condemn?

JOE BIDEN: The Proud Boys.

TRUMP: Who?

BIDEN: The Proud Boys.

TRUMP: The Proud Boys? Stand back, and stand by.

SANDERS: Stand back, and stand by. Since then, Donald Trump has said he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are, and that, quote, "Whoever they are, they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work." And Trump spoke to Fox News on Thursday, and he told Sean Hannity in an interview that he condemns all white supremacists. But what was said on that debate stage was said.

KATHLEEN BELEW: I think that what people in the white power movement heard was a call-out to prepare for violence. My reaction is that it's very difficult to unring this particular bell.

SANDERS: That's Kathleen Belew. She's an assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago. And she's the author of the book "Bring The War Home: The White Power Movement And Paramilitary America". Kathleen's going to talk with us now about what we all kind of get wrong when we talk about groups like the Proud Boys and America's resurgent white power movement.

BELEW: Proud Boys have been connected to acts of violence in a number of different cases. And they immediately online took the president's words as a directive. They incorporated on T-shirts and logos, stand back, stand by. They tweeted things like, we will stand by, sir. So they sort of see themselves as kind of a strike force or a fight club that could be utilized in this way.

I'm actually, as a person that studies the movement as a whole, much more concerned about the underground of the movement and the question of sort of, you know, Trump can perhaps give a call to arms. And I think that that much is quite clear. It is not clear to me and other experts who study the movement whether he can also give a call to stop. Many of these groups are not interested in defense of the nation or even in the nation at all.

I mean - so one thing to understand that's a kind of a widely misinterpreted bit is that when people think of white nationalism, I think sometimes people think of sort of, like, overzealous patriotism. But the nation in white nationalism is not the United States. The nation in white nationalism, from 1983 forward, is the Aryan Nation. They see race as nation. Some want a white ethnostate. Some want a minority-rule government. Some want systematic disenfranchisement such that they can assert white supremacist systems. That's not a democratic project.

SANDERS: Yeah. You know, I'm so glad that you brought this up, the way that some of these white power factions view the government. I had noticed that in your work and in your writing, you don't use the phrase white nationalist; you use the phrase white power because in lots of situations, these groups are anti-government and they want to establish a new kind of global Aryan government that doesn't know boundaries really. Is there a problem when people on the outside looking in don't see that and perhaps tie this current white power movement too much to Donald Trump?

BELEW: Absolutely. And that's one of several major misunderstandings that have allowed this movement to continue to wage war on America for decades, if not generations. I mean, one way to think about this is this is the movement responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. That bombing was the largest deliberate mass casualty event on American soil between Pearl Harbor and 9/11. But most people still don't know what it was or what it meant. People think of it as the work of one or a few people who were disaffected, maybe didn't like the government. But it was an organized event carried out by a social movement that has largely gone unopposed. These are activists who, although they are small in number, are incredibly effective both at waging acts of violence and on evading public understanding and public prosecution.

SANDERS: Yeah.

BELEW: And one of the reasons for that is that the strategy of self-styled terror, which they called leaderless resistance, they've been doing that strategy since 1983, '84. So, you know, it's often misreported as they've borrowed the playbook from al-Qaida or jihad. In fact, it's just the reverse. These activists adopted that strategy of working in cells without communication with each other, without communication with leadership largely because there had been pretty effective infiltration of these groups in the civil rights era by FBI and ATF agents and because they didn't want to be prosecuted in court.

But there was an unforeseen consequence in that what happened was that this strategy allowed the entire movement to disappear. And because of leaderless resistance, what we usually read about are disconnected acts of, quote-unquote, "lone wolf actors" instead of understanding them as interconnected and part of the same groundswell. So for instance, we read about the attack in Christchurch as Islamophobic violence, the attack in Charleston as anti-Black violence, the attack in Pittsburgh as anti-Semitic violence, the attack in El Paso is anti-Latino or anti-immigrant violence. And they are all of those things, but those were all gunmen who were motivated by the white power movement.

SANDERS: Yeah. You know, you've already probably laid out a very new idea for most of our listeners - the reality that the Oklahoma City bombing was part of the white power movement. Something else in your work and in your writing that I think a lot of folks might not realize or put together is that you trace the history of this current manifestation of the white power movement that we know and see now - you write that it goes back to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Explain.

BELEW: So the Vietnam War turned out to be a watershed for vigilante organizing in the United States because what happened was that a narrative of the war about government betrayal created the space for a series of alliances between groups that previously would not get in the same room. So what we see in the late 1970s and early '80s is that, using the Vietnam War as a common story, people like Klansmen, neo-Nazis, radical tax resisters and followers of white supremacist religions and then, later on, skinheads in some parts of the militia movement were able to band together as an organized white power movement. And these activists regularly circulated between groups. It would be very common to go to a meeting where there were multiple affiliations present. And it really worked as kind of an organized milieu of people.

The other thing that the Vietnam War did was to make available a set of weapons and tactics and uniforms and strategies...

SANDERS: Wow.

BELEW: ...Or what we might think of as paramilitarism more broadly...

SANDERS: Wow.

BELEW: ...Meaning - I just mean sort of the appearance of military stuff outside of military apparatuses but instead in civilian spaces. That paramilitarism dramatically escalated the kind of violence that these groups were able to carry out. It is a military project starting in the post-Vietnam moment, and we see vestiges of that kind of organizational structure into the present.

Now, I will say we don't see as many camo fatigues today. And that's partly because in every kind of moment of Klan activity or white power activity in American history, part of what these groups do is an opportunistic kind of organizing that picks up on whatever is the prevailing cultural form.

SANDERS: Yeah. Well, like, I'm thinking, like, Richard Spencer, like, wearing a suit, having his hair all slicked back now, you know?

BELEW: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Or like the polo shirts in Charlottesville, right? But, like - so what they're doing is using the form that they think will be appealing to people. So part of why they're in fatigues in the '80s is operational, but part of it is just that people thought camo fatigues were cool in the '80s. Like, so now when we see something like the Hawaiian shirts in boogaloo, part of that is because they think it will be appealing and cool.

SANDERS: My biggest question when I hear you talk about this, when I read about the current white power movement and start to see how it's been just simmering and there for decades - well, I mean, white power has been around since this nation's beginning, but its current manifestation has always kind of been there. And yet you read these stories of the federal government kind of ignoring it or the American public labeling their attacks, as, you know, lone wolf shooters and not seeing what it's really about. Why is that? Why has America writ large been so inclined to ignore the white power movement and its threat for decades? I mean, I have a theory, but I want to hear (laughter) yours.

BELEW: (Laughter) Well, so I think that it is a complex problem. There's a series of explanations, and some of them have to do with simply the history of what this movement is and how it's been organized. But additionally, there's been an enormous amount of political pushback against the prosecution of these activists, against even depiction of what this is and why it might be a problem. So, I mean, there was a GOP talking points memo going around after the El Paso shooting directing people to deflect attention from the idea of white power-organized violence and towards the idea of a lone wolf gunman. So people in politics are interested in deflecting our attention from what this is. And I think that, you know, people interested in democracy should be very, very concerned about that.

SANDERS: Yeah. I also think that Americans are still struggling with the idea of looking at white people or white men that do these kind of things as a group. You know, when I see incidents that involve shootings with Black men or people of color, you know, those stories are characterized as indictments of the entire group. And we just don't...

BELEW: Yes.

SANDERS: ...See white people that way. We don't ever see a white guy shoot something up and say, oh, we've got to stop those white guys.

BELEW: I mean, I think that the people who have studied the history of the construction of race in the United States would agree with you. I think that we have fundamentally different interior ideas about race that have to do with living in a system that is very deeply imbricated in histories and systems of white supremacy. Even when there is no racial animus, we are in these systems.

The other reason that I think we as a nation have not completed the work of facing this particular problem is that there is a bigger conversation we are going to have to have in America about the long legacy of white supremacy. We are the only nation that has had a system of governance and a history that has been so deeply focused on white supremacy and racial inequality over so long that has not had a period of public reconciliation and public coming together over what that means. There's been no national TRC process - truth and reconciliation process. We as a culture will have to have some kind of conversation about how we're going to deal with this history.

SANDERS: Yeah. So, you know, I think there are so many questions people ask when they see things like the Proud Boys trend during a debate. But one of them is like, what is the bigger threat here - the ideology spreading or the actual violence itself? Because violence from the Proud Boys is still pretty limited, but their ideas seem to be spreading like wildfire right now. Which is the bigger threat to you?

BELEW: Well, the thing is that these ideas have been spreading like wildfire already. And my two cents about this one is that we've tried not devoting surveillance resources and legal resources. We've tried sort of not really paying attention and dismissing it as the act of lone wolves. Where that has gotten us is violence and continued activity. I would like to try paying attention, shining a bright, bright light on it and confronting it.

SANDERS: Yeah. A lot of folks hearing this conversation are going to be, gosh, maybe a little bit depressed when they hear...

BELEW: I know.

SANDERS: ...About how widespread this thing is. Is there anything in this last week, you know, seeing the Proud Boys trend, that gives you hope that this might get better? Please say yes.

BELEW: Well (laughter)...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BELEW: ...I have to say that my level of concern is higher now than it ever has been. But unlike the period that I study, we are in a moment of sustained attention on this problem. That public attention is the thing that has been missing at every other historical moment. And I believe that public will can make a difference. I believe that democratic action can make a difference. And I also believe that these communities that are impacted by white power violence - you know, when I present my work to people who have faced this, it's a completely different feeling in the room because people understand what it is and how it impacts their lives. If those people get together or were able to join in common cause, I think that there really would be a different kind of conversation we could have as a country about how we might face this threat.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: Thanks again to Kathleen Belew. She's an assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago and also the author of the book "Bring The War Home: The White Power Movement And Paramilitary America."

All right. Coming up, we totally switch gears and talk about comedy and Earth, Wind & Fire and one of my favorite songs with a very funny comedian. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE FROM NPR.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "FLICKER")

SANDERS: This year, 2020, it has been rough. And I think we all need some joy. So listeners, indulge me for just a bit. I know it's October right now, but we're going to go back to September to find some joy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEPTEMBER")

EARTH, WIND AND FIRE: (Singing) Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders.

SANDERS: Every year for the last few years, comedian Demi Adejuyigbe - he posts these videos on the 21 of September featuring that song by Earth, Wind & Fire.

DEMI ADEJUYIGBE: But I have modified the song so that they're only singing about the date being the 21 of September.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEPTEMBER")

EARTH, WIND AND FIRE: (Singing) Ba-dee-ya (ph), today is not December. Ba-dee-ya, today is not the first. Ba-dee-ya.

ADEJUYIGBE: It started as me just dancing and, like, revealing a little shirt that I made. And it's turned into me revealing a bunch of little tricks around me and, like, little rooms.

SANDERS: And these videos, they are hard to describe, but they're really fun. One had a children's choir. Demi disappears and reappears in different locations. It has a whole Rube Goldberg feel to the entire operation.

ADEJUYIGBE: It feels like it's eclipsed me. It's just sort of like I'm the September guy now. And I'm like, OK. I don't love that, but I...

SANDERS: You're more than that to me.

ADEJUYIGBE: Oh, well, thank you.

SANDERS: These videos are honestly a highlight of the Internet every year. And they do some good as well. Demi also uses these videos to raise money for charities. It's all full of joy, which we need right now, especially this October. So thanks for that, Demi. But, you know, Demi does more than just that. Making those elaborate films is not his actual day job. In fact, Demi has a new job writing comedy for a new show.

ADEJUYIGBE: I'm writing for "The Amber Ruffin Show," which is one of two new late-night shows on Peacock, which is NBC's new streaming service. I - Amber had reached out to me ages ago about writing for her show when it was going to be started up, and I jumped at the chance just because I love her, and I think she's so brilliant. And her vision for the show is so fun. And it's like - they get rid of a lot of the sort of, like, excess of late night where it's like - you don't have guests or, like, having to do all of these, like, pieces where it's sort of like, you got to do this integration with this brand or whatever. It's just - it's, like, just the comedy. And it's a blast to write for. Everyone there is so lovely. It's a small writers room. It's, like, all-Black. It's just - it's an experience I've never had before, and it just feels, like, so right for me, and I love it.

SANDERS: An all-Black writers room - I've never had that experience either. How is that?

ADEJUYIGBE: We are a unicorn. It is great...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ADEJUYIGBE: ...Especially just getting to write to someone like Amber and not have to sort of filter it through this voice where it's like, well, she can't do that because she's not Black or, like, oh, she can't do that because she's not a woman - it's like...

SANDERS: Oh, she can do it.

ADEJUYIGBE: Yeah, exactly. She can do it, and she wants to. And it's great.

SANDERS: Yeah. I want to talk about one of the sketches that I believe you wrote for the show. This is The White Forgiveness Countdown Clock.

ADEJUYIGBE: Yeah.

SANDERS: That was you, right?

ADEJUYIGBE: That was me.

SANDERS: Set that up for us, and then we'll play a clip of it for our listeners.

ADEJUYIGBE: Sure thing. Well, I feel like with the protests that broke out earlier in the year, one thing that keeps being on my mind is, like, I see this sort of, like, surge of white allyship, and I'm very thankful for it. But then I just start thinking about, like, the moments where people slowly start to return to normal and how it feels like this weird thing where it's like everyone - everyone's thinking about it but doesn't really know when it's OK.

And so I wrote a bit called The White Forgiveness Clock, where Amber is like, all right, guys, you've been doing a lot of work and I appreciate it, and you're probably tired. And you can go back to - you can go back to living your life as you were before as long as this countdown clock goes 48 hours without a major transgression against Black people. And so she hits the clock and...

SANDERS: Uh-huh.

ADEJUYIGBE: ...You know, life goes on for about as well as you'd expect.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE AMBER RUFFIN SHOW")

AMBER RUFFIN: ...Baby snake...

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE NOTIFICATION)

RUFFIN: ...And he...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (As character) Oh, hey, Amber. Sorry to interrupt, but I just got a news alert.

RUFFIN: What's up?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: A Black child in Colorado just got arrested by seven cops because his white neighbors thought he was breaking into his own house.

RUFFIN: What? Good Lord, that's awful.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Yeah. And that means we got to reset the clock.

RUFFIN: Ugh, OK. All right, everybody...

SANDERS: The whole thing is like you never get to 48 hours. And there's this moment in the sketch where it kind of gets serious, and she turns a joke into this pretty critical commentary.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE AMBER RUFFIN SHOW")

RUFFIN: I don't want to believe that America is an unfixable country or that Black people are just meant to be burdened forever. I want to believe in your goodness because I love this country, and I won't stop believing in its goodness even when it can't seem to believe in mine.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE NOTIFICATION)

SANDERS: And hearing that and seeing that, I said, oh, this is hard to do.

ADEJUYIGBE: Yeah.

SANDERS: And a lot of the comedy that y'all are doing on this show, it can be hard. Like, a lot of the humor is dealing with race, and there are moments when the joke has to take that turn and get serious.

ADEJUYIGBE: Yeah.

SANDERS: What has been your strategy or your writers room's strategy in finding that balance and getting that turn correct?

ADEJUYIGBE: I think it's definitely a tricky balance. But I - part of me thinks it's something that we might be used to, as it's something we've dealt for so much of our lives. So in my head, it's just kind of like we get that the balance is address it in a serious manner but also allow it to be couched in humorous things that don't sort of take away from the fact that you've said something serious. So it's like you can say the serious thing, and then you can also go back to the punch line and be like, all right, as much as we want to believe in America, this thing again just happened. And it's annoying. And it's just - I don't know. I think it's a fun way to couch cynicism in a very sincere statement that isn't so cynical.

SANDERS: Yeah. Demi, thank you so much. I appreciate this. I appreciate those videos every September.

ADEJUYIGBE: Thank you.

SANDERS: And listeners, check out his work on "The Amber Ruffin Show." It's on Peacock right now. Demi, can I ask you to stick around and play a game with me?

ADEJUYIGBE: Oh, absolutely.

SANDERS: It is called Who Said That? I will explain all in just a bit.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders, here with guest Demi Adebuyigje (ph). Was that it?

ADEJUYIGBE: Close (laughter).

SANDERS: I'm so sorry. I should be better at this.

ADEJUYIGBE: It's all good. No, it's all good.

SANDERS: OK. Tell me again.

ADEJUYIGBE: Adejuyigbe.

SANDERS: Adejuyigbe.

ADEJUYIGBE: Perfect.

SANDERS: You know, you do reserve the right to go off on folks for getting your name wrong. Did you ever do that?

ADEJUYIGBE: I don't. There's a lot of silent letters in there. And it's like, there are even some Nigerian names where I look at them and I'm like, I don't - which one's which? And it's just like - I think it's hard. And I'm not so frustrated that I'm like, someone get this right.

SANDERS: OK. But if you wanted to be, you're allowed.

ADEJUYIGBE: Well, thank you. I will - let's see how this goes.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Yeah. Let's see how this goes. OK.

So, Demi, I want to play a game with you. It is called Who Said That? You down for it?

ADEJUYIGBE: Let's do it.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")

KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

SANDERS: OK. So this game is really simple. We here at the show look through the whole week of news and find a few quotes from the week's stories. We share the quotes with you, and you got to say who said it or guess what story I'm talking about. Sometimes we play with two contestants. This week, you're the one contestant. So no matter what, you're going to win. So just have at it, OK?

ADEJUYIGBE: Perfect. Love those odds.

SANDERS: Let's do it. All right. So here's the first quote. For this one, I want you to tell me what kind of animal we're talking about. It was in the news this week. The quote is, "It just went ballistic. They were all swearing. We were a little concerned about the children."

ADEJUYIGBE: That is about parrots.

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

SANDERS: Oh, my God, yes. You got it right. You got it right. Cursing parrots are in the news this week. That quote comes from Steve Nichols. He is the chief executive at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in eastern England. And he was talking this week about a group of African grey parrots. They're named Eric, Jade, Elsie, Tyson and Billy. They've been sharing this quarantine facility before they were put out on display. But once they got out on display in front of the people, they began to swear a lot. I'm going to give you a few of the things they would say. One of them called people a fat [expletive].

ADEJUYIGBE: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Another one would say eff off but, like, the whole word. They're kind of awful and nasty. And these birds have been taken out of public view since this happened, and they've been separated. But, like, what animal would most weird you out if you saw it start to swear at you?

ADEJUYIGBE: I think a rabbit because I don't know what a rabbit's voice is like...

SANDERS: Wow. That was a very quick answer.

ADEJUYIGBE: ...Well, 'cause...

SANDERS: Have you been (laughter)...

ADEJUYIGBE: I just know that I don't know what a rabbit's voice is. So I think if I heard a rabbit's voice, I'd be like, whoa, what? And then I'd go, oh, also, wait, you're swearing. Like, I'd just be so shocked by the speaking nature at all.

SANDERS: So now you've got to give me what you think a rabbit sounds like.

ADEJUYIGBE: Hm, (imitating rabbit).

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ADEJUYIGBE: Rabbits sound like a cartoon '50s gangsters in, like, an "Animaniacs" episode or something, like (imitating rabbit).

SANDERS: My kind of rabbit.

ADEJUYIGBE: Yeah.

SANDERS: I like it. I'm going to give you 2 points for that response because I like the rabbit voice.

ADEJUYIGBE: Heck yeah.

SANDERS: OK, next quote. It comes from an actual person, not a parrot. "Generally speaking, I did as well as I could, so I don't have any second thoughts there. I'm just disappointed with the results." Who said that?

ADEJUYIGBE: Was that Chris Wallace?

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

SANDERS: You are on fire.

ADEJUYIGBE: The joys of working in late night.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yes. You've probably read all these stories already.

ADEJUYIGBE: (Laughter).

SANDERS: So Chris Wallace of Fox News - he moderated this week's debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, which pretty much everyone agrees was a total crapfest. And he ended up kind of apologizing for not doing a better job of keeping things wrangled. I want Judge Mathis to moderate the next one.

ADEJUYIGBE: That would be great.

SANDERS: That would be so real, so real.

ADEJUYIGBE: Someone who will just - like, is not afraid to just yell at them and be like, sit down, and shut up.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. All right. You've got so many points. You are just like the Michael Jordan of this game, Demi.

ADEJUYIGBE: Incred (ph) - I love it.

SANDERS: There's one last quote. For this one, tell me what kind of food you have to order to get this message along with the food delivery. This is a real story from this week. Here's the quote. "For $1, our delivery driver will look you straight in the eyes and tell you everything's going to be OK and you're doing the best you can."

ADEJUYIGBE: Oh, I don't know.

SANDERS: Just give me a food that folks order a lot. What is the most popular food ordered for delivery?

ADEJUYIGBE: I assume a pizza.

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

SANDERS: Yes, sir.

ADEJUYIGBE: Woo.

SANDERS: You have swept this game now, officially. This quote comes from Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn, N.Y. They recently unveiled a new menu item on Twitter called comforting words. Comforting words is just a positive reinforcement for the price of a dollar. So if you're in Vinnie's near New York, you can order the special menu item through GrubHub that is just a short, little pep talk. Some driver comes to your house, looks you in the eyes and says, quote, "Everything's going to be OK, and you're doing the best you can."

ADEJUYIGBE: It will be very sad when that's, like, their most popular item and it's, like, all these delivery drivers...

SANDERS: Well, you know it probably already is.

ADEJUYIGBE: Oh, yeah.

SANDERS: Have you seen this year? Like...

ADEJUYIGBE: That's very true. People are going to be like, can I just get 10? Is there a way to just stack them up?

SANDERS: (Laughter) Demi, thank you for talking Earth, Wind & Fire. Thank you for talking "The Amber Ruffin Show." And congratulations on winning, in a sweep, Who Said That? Thank you so much.

ADEJUYIGBE: Thank you so much.

SANDERS: Thanks again to comedian and writer Demi Adejuyigbe.

AUNT BETTY: Now it's time to end the show as we always do. Every week, listeners share the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag, and they do. Let's hear a few of those submissions.

SONYA: Hi, Sam. This is Sonya (ph) from Seattle. And the best thing to happen to me this week was hiking in the mountains to remember my dad. He died three years ago today, and this is the best way I have to remember him. I'm going to go back to hiking uphill now.

CHRIS: Hi, Sam. This is Chris (ph). And the best thing that happened to me this week is my little 2-year-old watched two innings of baseball with me. And when she got bored, she asked me to go outside and throw a ball with her.

ANNIE: Hi, Sam. This is Annie (ph). And the best thing to happen to me this week was that after getting a negative result on my COVID test, I finally got to hug my mom, who I've missed so much during this whole pandemic. And I got to see some of my family.

RACHEL: Hi, Sam. It's Rachel (ph) calling from Cincinnati, Ohio. The best thing that happened to me this week is that my sister - my baby sister closed on her first house. Although this is a big step for anybody, the most exciting part about this for me is that it really represents how we have been able to break out of this cycle of poverty and trauma that we grew up with and that we have been able to both purchase our first houses. And we now get to live five minutes from each other.

MORGAN: Hi, Sam. This is Morgan (ph) in Cleveland, Ohio. The best thing that happened to me this week is that my father-in-law came over for dinner at our new house. This doesn't really sound like a big deal to most people, but we have not seen or spoken to him in five years. Like many Ohio families, we have not been spared from the opioid crisis. And I'm just so proud of everyone. And I just really needed to share such a bright moment on such a horrible time. I got to hug my father-in-law again, and it just felt great to have everybody smiling and sitting around and having a great time and laughing like old times. So I just wanted to share that with you. And thanks. Love the show. Bye.

SONYA: Thanks. Love the show. Bye.

RACHEL: Thanks so much for your show. And thank you for always creating space for emotionally resonant experiences.

SANDERS: So I think the theme of this week's Best Things segment is family. And I love it. Thanks again to all those listeners for sharing just now - Morgan, Rachel, Annie, Chris and Sonya. I am so happy for all of you and all of your families. Listeners, you can be a part of this segment at any point throughout any week. Just record the sound of your voice onto your phone sharing the best part of your week. And then email that file to me at samsanders@npr.org - samsanders@npr.org.

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SANDERS: All right. This week, IT'S BEEN A MINUTE was produced by Jinae West, Anjuli Sastry and Andrea Gutierrez. Our intern is Star McCown. Our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman. Our director of programming is Steve Nelson, and our big boss is NPR's senior VP of programming Anya Grundmann. All right. Listeners, till next time, stay safe. I'm Sam Sanders. We'll talk soon.

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