Useful Idiots: Matt Taibbi, Katie Halper With Adolph Reed - Rolling Stone
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Useful Idiots: Professor Adolph Reed on Identity Politics

Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper also discuss ‘White Fragility’ book

In this week’s quarantine episode of our Useful Idiots podcast, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined by Adolph Reed, political science professor from the University of Pennsylvania.

Before getting into the details later, at the top of the show our hosts allude to Matt’s recent Substack piece. “I sort of got canceled again a little bit,” says Matt.

“Because of your White Fragility piece?” asks Katie.

“Yeah. But that’s OK; I’m going to set the all-time record hopefully.”

Our duo have a lengthy discussion about the Amazon Number One best-seller, Matt’s response, and the corporate background of author Robin DiAngelo. They also play a new game called “Robin DiAngelo or Richard Spencer,” in which Katie has to guess who is the speaker of each given quote, with Matt pointing out the similarities in logic between varying quotes from these seemingly opposite thinkers.

Katie and Matt review footage from the St. Louis mayor’s Facebook video, in which Mayor Lyda Krewson allegedly doxxed her constituents, revealing the names and addresses of protestors. This discussion leads to the definitive ranking of the best uses of the word “folks” in modern American politics. Katie also came prepared with a triumvirate of penis-themed stories from around the world for the “Isn’t That Weird” segment.

Professor Adolph Reed joins our hosts to discuss distinctions in race-versus-class relations, and how the dominant capitalist class can adopt the messaging of Black Lives Matter protests in a way that hinders the goals of the movement.

“There is a political economy of identity group relations, right? And It’s centered largely in the cultural sectors, all up and down the professional managerial strata,” says Reed, who looks at difference in treatment by society and police of a multigenerational black political class. “I’m not suggesting for a second that a Yale graduate investment banker who is black doesn’t have a greater likelihood of being pushed face-down on a platform of Metro-North than his white classmate than a transit cop, but that same person doesn’t have anywhere near the same chance of being jacked up in that way as somebody that lived in the same zip code that George Floyd lived in.”

Reed also offers that the neoliberal political class may be quick to adopt identity politics as a distraction to the types of concerns that are brought up by the same groups that are stressing identity politics, as evidence by both the Trump and Sanders movements. “The neoliberal political economy may be exhausting its capacities for delivering enough stuff to enough people to be able to keep functioning as a democracy,” Reed explains.

In This Article: Books, Matt Taibbi, Racism, Useful Idiots

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