A Word … with Jason Johnson-logo

A Word … with Jason Johnson

Slate

America doesn’t need another conversation about race. At least, not the kind we’ve been having ... the ones that are sparked by a crisis and move quickly from shock, to empty promises, to forgetting. No. What America needs are REAL conversations about race … ones that shine a light on the facts, the history, and the reality of how race plays out in our politics and society. That’s what Slate offers each week on A Word With Jason Johnson. A veteran political commentator, Johnson will bring his incisive wit to thoughtful discussions with leaders, journalists and other change-makers who will tell the truth about America’s challenges around race, and ideas on the way forward.

Location:

United States

Genres:

World Talk

Networks:

Slate

Description:

America doesn’t need another conversation about race. At least, not the kind we’ve been having ... the ones that are sparked by a crisis and move quickly from shock, to empty promises, to forgetting. No. What America needs are REAL conversations about race … ones that shine a light on the facts, the history, and the reality of how race plays out in our politics and society. That’s what Slate offers each week on A Word With Jason Johnson. A veteran political commentator, Johnson will bring his incisive wit to thoughtful discussions with leaders, journalists and other change-makers who will tell the truth about America’s challenges around race, and ideas on the way forward.

Language:

English


Episodes

Green Black Power

3/1/2024
Environmentalism has long been viewed as a preoccupation of white, educated, affluent voters. But climate change disproportionally impacts communities of color. Now a new generation of activists is building political awareness around environmentalism in the Black community. That’s part of the mission of the Hip Hop Caucus, a group that’s been working for decades to activate young voters around climate justice as a civil rights issue. On today’s episode of A Word, Hip Hop Caucus leader Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. joins host Jason Johnson to talk about the impact of environmental policy on Black Americans, and how to harness political power around the issue. Guest: Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., chief of the Hip Hop Caucus Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:35:50

Diversity in the Diaspora

2/23/2024
The American obsession with categorizing people by race isn’t just a problem for our institutions. For multi-racial and multi-ethnic Americans, it can be intensely personal. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by journalist Natasha Alford. She shares her own unique experience navigating America’s complicated ideas about race in her new book, American Negra: A Memoir. Alford shares how her African American and Puerto Rican heritage shaped her understanding of race in her early life, and how those ideas were challenged when she attended Harvard University and later became a journalist. Guest: Natasha Alford, author of American Negra: A Memoir Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:41:38

Ghost in the Medical Machine

2/16/2024
The promise of artificial intelligence in medicine is that it can reduce the influence of human error and bias in health care. But there’s growing concern that A.I. in medicine –as in other fields– can reflect the biases and lack of diversity among its creators. And that can have life threatening consequences for African American patients. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Margo Snipe, a health reporter for CapitalB News. They discuss how A.I. can sometimes fuel medical racism, and reasons to hope that it can change. Guest: Margo Snipe, health journalist for CapitalB News Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:26:40

True Crime in Black and White

2/9/2024
The 1989 murder of Carol Stuart in Boston became a national story, fueled by anxiety over urban crime. The city’s police broke down doors in the Black community, strip searched dozens of Black and brown men on the street, and arrested a Black suspect. Then Stuart’s husband was exposed as the killer. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Boston Globe associate editor Adrian Walker, who hosts the Murder in Boston podcast about the infamous case. They discuss the history of racial tension that led up to crime, and the lasting consequences for the families of the victim, the killer, and the wrongfully arrested Black suspect. Guest: Adrian Walker, host of the Murder in Boston podcast Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:26:11

Revolutionary Recharge

2/2/2024
A generation of activists –and well-meaning citizens– was pulled into intense social justice work by the murder of George Floyd in 2020. And the horrific crime, the fight for progess, and the backlash has taken a toll on their mental health. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by writer and activist Ijeoma Oluo about her new book, Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too. It’s the collected wisdom of activists across a range of issues about how to do the hard and emotional work of confronting racism without losing hope. Guest: Writer Ijeoma Oluo Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:32:31

Fix Your CROWN

1/26/2024
Texas is one of the 24 states that has passed the CROWN Act. “CROWN” stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, and these laws are supposed to stop discrimination against Black people who wear their hair in natural styles. But high school senior Darryl George has been fighting suspension for months over his dreadlocks. The issue is now set to be decided in court in February. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Jennifer Wyatt Bourgeois, a professor at Lone Star College in Texas, and a research fellow at Texas Southern University’s Center for Justice Research. They discuss the specifics of Darryl George’s case, and why the CROWN Act in Texas seems to be falling short. Guest: Professor Jennifer Wyatt Bourgeois of Lone Star College in Texas Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:23:52

Send In the Clowns?

1/19/2024
Decades before most people had heard of Barack Obama, Black Republican Colin Powell was widely believed to be on the path to the presidency. And the Republican Party was the first political home of many African Americans. But the contemporary G.O.P, led by former President Donald Trump, has introduced a new class of Black Republicans who command little respect within the community. What happened, and is there a place for Black Americans in today’s or tomorrow’s Republican Party? On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson discusses that with Clay Cane, journalist and author of The Grift: The Downward Spiral of Black Republicans from the Party of Lincoln to the Cult of Trump. Guest: Writer Clay Cane Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:47:41

Can He Get an Amen?

1/12/2024
President Biden’s campaign kick-off speech at the historic Mother Emanuel AME church in South Carolina was interrupted by protesters this week. It was an awkward moment that provoked a lot of debate on social media about whether demonstrators were abusing the spirit of the Black church, or honoring it. It also revived questions about whether Democratic candidates’ reliance on the Black church is still an effective strategy in motivating African American voters. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by veteran journalist Errin Haines to discuss whether President Biden and Democratic leaders are misunderstanding the strengths and the limits of the Black church as a political stage. Guest: Errin Haines, founding mother and editor-at-large for The 19th* Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:26:39

A Multiverse of Problems

1/5/2024
Comic book films have dominated the box office for a generation, and gave many diverse actors and artists an opportunity to shine. But the genre struggled during 2023, and fans are worried that the golden age has ended for those movies and the culture that inspired them. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by journalist David Betancourt, who covered comic book movies and culture for The Washington Post for more than a decade. They talk about why superhero films may be going through a rough patch, and whether they can rebound. Guest: Journalist David Betancourt, author of The Avengers Assembled: The Origin Story of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:41:11

A Black Power Radical’s Rise and Fall

12/22/2023
The man who rose to fame –some would say infamy– as H. Rap Brown has a uniquely American story, inventing and reinventing himself over the course of decades. He turned himself from a teenage tough guy into a civil rights leader. He abandoned the philosophy of non-violence to become a Black Power pioneer. He underwent a jailhouse conversion to Islam, and became Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, a guiding force of an insular Black Muslim community. And then, almost 40 years after he stepped into the public consciousness, he was convicted of fatally shooting a cop. But was Imam Jamil being punished for his actions, or his past? In today’s episode of A Word, host Jason Johnson dives into the tangled history of the man once known as H. Rap Brown, and the murder case that landed him in jail for life. His guest is Mosi Secret, journalist and the host of the Radical podcast, which explores the case and the complicated search for justice. Guest: Mosi Secret, investigative journalist and host of the Radical podcast Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:27:44

“Good” Hair; Bad Health

12/15/2023
In recent years, several states and localities have passed “crown” laws, statutes that keep employers from discriminating against African Amercans for wearing their hair in natural styles. That’s because, historically, having straight hair has often been a requirement for professional advancement for Black women in particular. But there is more science emerging that connects chemical relaxers with cancer. In today’s episode of A Word, reporter and cancer survivor Victoria St. Martin speaks with host Jason Johnson about the dangers of formaldehyde in hair relaxers, the history of marketing toxic cosmetics to African Americans, and consumer efforts to raise awareness. Guest: Victoria St. Martin, Inside Climate News reporter Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:29:07

Is “The Talk” Too Much?

12/8/2023
Shanice Stewart was 9 months pregnant when Sacramento police pulled her over, and compelled her to leave her car at gunpoint. The reason? They mistook her 8-year-old son for a hardened criminal. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by journalist Christina Carrega to discuss “the talk.” Carrega explains why the conversation that many Black parents give to their children about the potential dangers of police interactions may be happening for younger children, and whether it makes them safer, or just more afraid. Guest: Christina Carrega, criminal justice reporter at Capital B. Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:28:13

Black Cop, White Mob

12/1/2023
The violent January 6th insurrection was a historic threat to American democracy. It led to five deaths, and many more injuries. Several Capitol police were hurt, but still managed to keep congressmembers and staff safe. Veteran officer Harry Dunn was awarded a Presidential Citizens Medal for his service that day, and is now sharing his experience in his new book Standing My Ground: A Capitol Police Officer’s Fight for Accountability and Good Trouble After January 6th. In today’s episode of A Word, Dunn speaks with host Jason Johnson about fighting the insurrectionists, testifying in congressional hearings, and calling for accountability for the attackers. Guest: Harry Dunn, Capitol Police Officer Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:28:51

Quinta Brunson: Comedy’s Class Act

11/24/2023
It’s Black Friday, prime time for many of us to binge on holiday leftovers and some of our favorite family-friendly shows. One of them is likely to be ABC’s Abbott Elementary. Before the show rewrote the lesson plan for workplace comedies, star and creator Quinta Brunson joined A Word to speak with Jason Johnson to talk about what inspired Abbott, her foundation in sketch comedy, and her unlikely path to showrunner. Guest: Quinta Brunson, writer, producer, and star of Abbott Elementary. She’s the author of the memoir “She Memes Well.” Podcast production by Jasmine Ellis and Ahyiana Angel You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:25:01

Rebirth of a Nation

11/17/2023
The first hopes for a post-racial America were raised during Reconstruction, the post-Civil War era when the country’s leaders pledged to fulfill the promise of freedom for formerly enslaved Blacks. But after a decade of reforms, the brutal racial hierarchy was reestablished in the South, costing African Americans their rights, opportunities, and—in many cases—their lives. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson discusses the legacy of Reconstruction with Vann Newkirk II. He’s a senior editor for The Atlantic, which has devoted its latest issue to exploring that era of American history and what it can tell us about the current state of race in this country. Guest: Vann Newkirk II, senior editor of The Atlantic Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:38:35

Black Voters, Blue Waves?

11/10/2023
Despite dismal poll numbers for President Biden, the off-year elections brought big wins for Democrats around the country, including in red states. Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Andy Beshear beat Black Republican Daniel Cameron to retain his seat, while Ohio voters supported legalized marijuana and abortion rights, in defiance of the state’s GOP leaders. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Brandon Tensley, national political reporter for Capital B News, to talk about the role of Black voters in Democratic victories, and what it all could mean for the 2024 general elections. Guest: Brandon Tensley, national political reporter for Capital B News Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:25:46

A F—ing Funny Lady

11/3/2023
**THIS EPISODE CONTAINS REPEATED PROFANITY, AND MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR ALL LISTENERS.** Leslie Jones got her big break, joining the cast of Saturday Night Live, at the age of 47. She says that the long wait for stardom meant that she knew her worth and how to stand up for herself, even when the stakes were high. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Leslie Jones to discuss her new book, “Leslie Fucking Jones: A Memoir.” Guest: Comedian Leslie Jones Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:34:02

Sidelined by Racism?

10/27/2023
The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business, with a player population that’s more than 60 percent African American. Yet the league’s owners, leadership, and reporters don’t reflect that diversity. In his role as an NFL Media journalist, Jim Trotter repeatedly questioned officials, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, about the league’s lack of diversity. After he lost his job, Trotter filed a lawsuit, claiming racial discrimination and retaliation. On today’s episode of A Word, Trotter joins host Jason Johnson to talk about career, his court case, and the importance of having more African American journalists covering professional football. Sandy Nunes, Vice President Talent Management On-Air at National Football League, declined to comment Stephen A. Smith, host of ESPN’s First Take, declined to comment. Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula previously denied Jim Trotter’s allegations. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones previously denied much of Trotter’s account, saying “Some of the representation is not accurate” in response to the lawsuit. Guest: Jim Trotter, senior opinion writer for The Athletic Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:38:31

Courting a Voting Rights Disaster

10/20/2023
Supreme Court watchers are concerned that the Justices are poised to make racial gerrymandering all but impossible to prove. This comes after the Court recently heard arguments in the case of Alexander v. the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Brandon Tensley, national political reporter for Capital B News. They discuss the South Carolina voters who are directly impacted by the case, and what it could mean for voting rights around the country. Guest: Brandon Tensley, national political reporter for Capital B News Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:27:48

Cruel and Usual Punishment

10/13/2023
With more than one and half million people behind bars, the U.S. is second only to China in the number of citizens who are incarcerated. And an estimated one of three African American men spend some part of their lives under the control or supervision of the criminal justice system. The consequences of incarceration for individuals, families, and communities are devastating…and little understood. Even the worst outcomes in prison –sickness, suicide and other deaths– are frequently overlooked because the victims aren’t valued and the incidents aren’t documented. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Andrea Armstrong. She’s a professor at Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law, and the chair of the Prison and Jail Innovation Lab at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She also recently won a MacArthur Fellowship –widely known as a genius award– for her work. Guest: Andrea Armstrong, professor at Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law, and the chair of the Prison and Jail Innovation Lab at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:28:16