Kojo talks with author Colson Whitehead about his new novel "The Underground Railroad" and its resonance at this particular moment in history.
Virginia voters narrowly elect a new Democratic governor. Toronto’s embattled mayor admits to smoking crack cocaine. Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator confronts accusations of plagiarism. It’s Your Turn to call in and set the agenda.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. It's Your Turn. You can start calling now, 800-433-8850, whether you want to discuss the topic we were discussing in the last hour, recent events in the news or anything on your mind. You can also send email to email@example.com, send us a Tweet at kojoshow or simply go to our website kojoshow.org and make your comment, share your opinion there.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt is Your Turn. Let me offer what may be a few, oh well, prompts. The mayor of a major city is caught smoking crack on camera. No, it's not a flashback. It just happened in Toronto. Questions about Mayor Robb Ford's alleged drug use date back to May as he admitted Tuesday to smoking crack in what he described as a drunken stupor. Similar apparent stupors and his behavior more broadly have gotten him kicked out of a professional hockey game. How do you do that?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIHe's groped a female politician at a fundraiser and been asked to stop coaching a high school football team after a confrontation with a player. Even those who defended Mayor Ford through the earlier allegations are distancing themselves from him now. But there's no way for the Toronto city council or the provincial government to remove him from office as a result of his behavior. As a city that's, well, been there, done that, what do you think Toronto should do about Mayor Ford and his myriad issues? Give us a call, 800-433-8850.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt is Your Turn to talk about that or anything else on your mind. Speaking of mayors, New Yorkers have their first new mayor in 12 years, they're first Democratic mayor in 20 in Bill de Blasio who won in a landslide, that he sees as a mandate to pursue a liberal agenda. A narrower victory in Boston put Marty Walsh, a legislator and longtime labor leader in office as that city's first new mayor in two decades taking the reins, as longtime Mayor Tom Menino retires.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnd in Detroit, a city beset by problems and negotiating bankruptcy, a predominantly black electorate voted in its first white mayor in four decades. Did you watch any of these elections in other cities closely? Did you see -- and do you see any parallels to your own local political scene in them? Share your insights with us at 800-433-8850. And then what about the leaked voicemails full of obscenities and racist language? Miami Dolphin Richie Incognito left for former teammate Jonathan Martin guaranteeing that he'll never be incognito again.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThe Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale is reporting that Dolphins' coaches asked Incognito to toughen Martin up. Did this strike you as an isolated incident of hazing and bullying? I think I may have some more to say about that later on, but it's really your turn now. So stop me from saying anything by calling 800-433-8850. And of course you know the issue that we are all weighing in on from time to time, year after year. Everyone from Bob Costas to President Obama has weighed in. This week it was the D.C. council's turn to voice its concern over the name of the local professional football team, the Washington Redskins.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThey passed a resolution calling for the team to change what it deems a racist and derogatory name. Momentum toward a change does seem to be building even after members of the Oneida Nation were left dissatisfied by a meeting with NFL officials late last month. So what do you say? Give us a call, 800-433-8850. You know, this debate comes up from time to time over the years, but generally dies back down. What about this time? Is something different this time?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt led to a long piece in the style section of the Washington Post today about the individual from whom the team may have gotten its name and reputation, a former coach, lone star, William Henry Dietz and whether or not he in fact was part Indian as he claimed. The ultimate conclusion seems to be that he may not have been because apparently both of his parents were white. But at some point in the story, a story -- in the story in the Washington Post, the back story arose that his mother said that his father said that after her baby died just after it was born, he went out and a few days later came back with this other baby. Others said that wasn't true.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIBut there seems to be some flimflamming at some level that went on with that whole deal. So anyway, it's your turn, 800-433-8850. So allow me to start with Jerry in Manassas, Va. Jerry, it's your turn. Go ahead, please.
JERRYHey, Kojo. This is Jerry. (unintelligible) your show. (unintelligible) topic about driver's licenses in Maryland. I am actually one of the immigrants in this country so I've been here for roughly 17 years. And after 17 years of paying taxes and being part of the community, speak English, working two jobs, three jobs sometimes and still there is no way for me to leave the country and come back. I entered illegally. I'm signing up for the health care program and everything. I just got my identity stolen.
JERRYI'm running into same problems like any other American. Unfortunately, after all these years, there's no way for me to get on a legal green card.
NNAMDIDo you have children born in this country, Jerry?
JERRYNo, I do not.
NNAMDIAnd as a result, you have no legal path to immigration at this point. You say you have been working, on occasion, two jobs in this country. Do you have a driver's license?
JERRYYes, I do. It's actually (unintelligible) driver's license. I've been grandfathered in. I have a Social Security, my credit score is 795. But my wife, unfortunately, she's been here for 14 years and she's driving without a driver's license for the last three years. And there is no way to obtain driver's license in here.
NNAMDIUnless these programs in the district and Maryland go into effect. So presumably you are one of the persons who is looking forward to this.
JERRYExactly. Exactly. There must be a way for people illegal in this country. And even if somebody's going to decide in the law they're going to ship all immigrants away, if you don't know who's in this country, it's going to be really difficult to ship them back. So I think the law needs to pass -- some kind of law needs to pass in order to move forward...
NNAMDIWell, what would you say, Jerry, to people who say, look you know you broke the law. You are here illegally. You are a law breaker. You should be deported and that should be the end of the story?
JERRYAll right. I will pack my things. I will go home. I've got no issue. I'm always willing to pay up a fine and get on the -- in the line and wait for a citizenship or a green card. And I'm willing to wait for another five years. But unfortunately I was not home when my dad passed away. And...
NNAMDIWell, do you -- and you could not go to see your father -- do you think that if you describe yourself as a longtime 17-year law-abiding tax-paying resident of Maryland that you deserve a path to citizenship?
JERRYI don't deserve a citizenship, but I definitely deserve...
JERRY...some kind of acknowledgement. I've been here and I've been paying taxes. And I don't have any criminal record. I don't have any driving tickets, I don't have anything. I'm just good citizen in my eyes and the community respects me very well.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, Jerry. It is your turn. You too can call us at 800-433-8850 to discuss anything on your mind, recent events in the news or recent issues discussed on this broadcast. We go to Michael in Columbia, Maryland. Michael, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MICHAELHey, Kojo. Thanks for having me. I just wanted to comment that I think, like, as an American citizen, from that perspective seeing what's going on in Toronto, it's completely ridiculous that there's no way that the Toronto mayor can be removed from office for using a controlled substance, when we in our government hold government employees to that standard, that they're not allowed to use controlled substances. And they can lose their jobs for doing such.
NNAMDIWell, what would you say if the mayor and his lawyers argue that in the case of his job that he has, in their view being a good job that he does not have an addiction that he is not -- he has not been charged with anything because apparently -- I don't know why, but apparently he hasn't been charged with anything and that he should be allowed therefore to serve out his term?
MICHAELI think that he should be charged. And, I mean, just from a legal standpoint, I mean, he's clearly breaking the law in the video. As far as morally, I think he's the top of the executive branch in Toronto city. And he has...
NNAMDIWell, you know, as far as breaking the law in the video is concerned, the police would have to have, in my view -- and I am certainly not a lawyer -- evidence that what he was, in fact, smoking was crack cocaine. You cannot tell that from the video, unless they can get testimony from individuals whose reputation is such that that testimony can be upheld in court. I don't think they have a case against him that can prove he was using an illegal substance.
MICHAELWell, I guess. But, I mean, he also admitted that he used them.
NNAMDIHe sure did. But you can't -- I don't think you can be charged with admitting it. I'm not sure.
MICHAELOkay. Yeah, that's a good point.
NNAMDIBut you do think that he should be forced to step aside for irresponsible behavior.
MICHAELYeah, because he poses -- I mean, he's a public figure. There's people that look up to him. He's supposed to set an example and he's supposed to be a role model for the government. And when you have somebody doing that in addition to his long list of other issues that he had, I think it's just, you know, the last straw.
NNAMDIWell, the excuse he gave for it was that he was in a drunken stupor. Which do you consider to be worse, the mayor who occasionally smokes crack or the mayor who admits to on several occasions being in a drunken stupor in public?
MICHAELWell, I think that the issue is that being drunk is not illegal. And as long as he's not on the clock per say -- you know, some will say mayors are always on the clock but if he's not actively engaging in his job duties, he's granted that right to be drunk. That's his right to be drunk. Smoking crack is different. That's not legal, you know.
NNAMDIOkay. Okay. Thank you very much for your call, Michael. I'll see what other people think. Duane in Frederick, Md. wants to talk about another issue. Duane, you're on the air. Go ahead, please. It's your turn.
DUANEGood afternoon, Kojo. I just wanted to throw my two cents in about the Washington Redskins and keeping the name, changing the name. The fact of the matter is is that a nation of people have asked very kindly for the Redskins to change their name. They're offended by the name. The name should be changed. Yeah, you know, you can say everything that you want to about tradition, but let's put it in a different way.
DUANEIf the helmet had a picture of George Washington Carver on the side of it and they called themselves the Washington "N" words, do you think that people would be upset about that?
NNAMDII don't think that people would be upset about it because I don't think it could possibly happen.
DUANEWell, what's the difference between the Redskins and the "N" words? They're both offensive and racist.
NNAMDIThe difference that the Washington Redskins' management and owner argues is that this name has 81 years of a very proud tradition of being a football team. And the "N" word has no such proud 81-year-old tradition. How would you respond?
DUANEWell, I would respond that, first of all, it doesn't have a 81-year tradition because when they were in Boston, they were the Braves. They changed the name here in the District of Columbia. And look, naming something -- giving something a racist name and calling it a proud tradition is a contradiction of terms. And Daniel Snyder, of all people? I mean, you're talking about a guy who took an 80-year-old woman to court because she couldn't pay for her season tickets and wanted to give them up. You're not talking about a man with a whole lot of compassion here.
DUANEAnd I'm not sure that he has any understanding of racism.
NNAMDII see you're not a big fan of Mr. Snyder's. Are you a fan...
DUANEI'm not -- you know, I'm so much not a fan of Mr. Snyder that I have found it very difficult to watch his football, a team which I grew up loving in my heart. It was my soul, this team. But the fact of the matter is, it's very difficult to watch his team and say that I can stand behind them when they wear a racist...
NNAMDIDuane, you're making a very important point that I'd like to have you underscore before you go to a break because you're saying that this is a team that you grew up loving. It seems that the distaste that you and others have for this name has evolved as a result of what?
DUANEIt's evolved as a result of a nation of people asking the team to change its name because they find it offensive. The nation of people that we stole this country from basically.
NNAMDIAnd so you are saying that when you started loving this team, this was not something you gave a great deal of thought to.
DUANEHonestly, Kojo, it wasn't. I was a younger man. I'm older and wiser now. I listen a little bit more than I used to.
NNAMDIDuane, thank you very much for your call. We're going to take a short break. When we come back, if you have called, stay on the line because this is your hour. It's Your Turn. Just call us at 800-433-8850, whether you want to talk about the mayor of Toronto, the name of the Washington team, alleged bullying taking place in the National Football League. Is that something that surprises you? Hey, Twitter went public today. Are you buying, 800-433-8850? I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back where it's Your Turn. You cannot just join, you can start the conversation by calling 800-433-8850. If the lines are busy send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans of social media site Twitter can now own a piece of it. The company went public today with an IPO premier on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares were being valued at $26 apiece, which would've given the company an overall value of just above $18 billion. But they opened up at $45.10. Go figure.
NNAMDIA company that has $300 million in losses on the books for the last three years and that many predict won't turn a profit for at least another two. Yet many are so bullish about the stock. Would you or will you invest in Twitter? Send us a Tweet at kojoshow. Do you think the company is worth that much money? Or you can call us at 800-433-8850. I'd like to go to our caller Gerald in Washington, D.C. Gerald, you are on the air. Go ahead, please.
GERALDHi, Kojo. How you doing, man?
GERALDGood, good. I loved the show on Duke Ellington the other day, the biography. Great job...
NNAMDIA fascinating man. A mystery inside of an enigma.
GERALDYes, yeah, great interview. But I didn't call to just praise you, Kojo. I called to -- I was going to criticize WAMU, a station that I've loved for a long time.
NNAMDIAll right. We'll talk to you later. No, go ahead please, Gerald. Please do, please do.
GERALDYou know, I find that on some stories the station has lost its ability to what I call go deep. And if I'm listening -- if I'm the brother from another planet and I'm listening, I immediately know that the station has taken a slant on something. Take for example what I hear in the coverage of Syria and the civil war going on there.
NNAMDIYes, one of the topics we like people call in about today so I'm glad you did.
GERALDRight. I'm looking at it from -- I've tried to look at things (unintelligible) I mean, look at it from their point of view. And as I look at what happened in Syria, there's a couple of really great documentaries that I've posted on my Facebook page, Blood and Oil World War I in the Middle East, and another one Syria by a documentarian Dan Snow, who does a great job. He's British and he and his father work as a team doing great documentaries.
GERALDAnd looking at it from the Syrian point of view is what is lacking. Not just from the Syrian point -- looking at the Iranian situation from their point of view. That's what's AMU's (sic) not doing.
GERALDAnd what I'm hearing is just this line that seems to be being fed. And the Syrian Assad...
NNAMDIWell, allow me to raise a couple of questions with you. The fact that there is a civil war going on essentially in Syria suggests that there is not a Syrian point of view.
GERALDWell, there isn't. The Syrian government -- the Assad government has a point of view. They're trying to (word?) themselves...
NNAMDIYeah, but if there's a civil war going on in the country, it means that there is a significant opposition to the Syrian government that may not share the Syrian government's point of view.
GERALDRight. But what -- my thing is, is why is it then, because of the way things were set up after World War II when -- well, the deal that was made after World War I, the Sykes-Picot agreement that split -- that gave the Middle East to the British and the French and then what the French did after World War II. So this situation -- so the people are trying to redress those -- and that's the story that -- there was a situation that has been in place since world War I that has led up to this.
GERALDAnd again, if you take a look at that documentary by Dan Snow, it really tells a really good story of how we got here.
NNAMDIBelieve you me, over the years, I've been seeing a lot of documentaries about a lot of countries about the effects of colonialism and imperialism. But we do have to -- especially because we're talking about a radio broadcast here in which we're talking about news, we do have to also focus on what's happening today. And what's happening today is that there is a civil war going on in the country. So to simply say that viewing it through this historical lens, this group of people is right and the other half of the country that's opposing the government is simply wrong, is I don't think what a radio broadcast is in the business of doing.
NNAMDIMy own concern has been how Syria has dropped out of the headlines of the news since the members of the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons have verified that 21 out of 23 storage sites, which is a sign of progress towards the goal of the destruction of chemical weapons has taken place. It is as if now, well, the world says, okay the government is getting rid of its chemical weapons. We no longer have to be concerned about the human rights crisis that's taking place there. What do you say?
GERALDWell, I agree with that. It has dropped off. Just like I remember when the Sandy Hooks shootings took place, North Korea dropped off the front page. It was nowhere. I looked for it. It was on like page 23 of the Post and nobody was talking about it again. And that's what I think the problem is, is that our decision makers -- in 1947, the decision was made to send me to Vietnam in 1968, the Trumann Doctrine containing communism. So decisions are being made by policymakers that will send kids off -- will spend money years down the road.
GERALDAnd so, you know, 20 -- maybe 10, 15, 20 years down the road. And so the public -- our politicians will make decisions about certain things. And we need to say, look wait a minute, hold it. Let's not go -- let's not be too hasty with this. Or in the negotiations with Iran let's -- as we ask our negotiators, we ask the government, let's look at this thing from the Iranian point of view too, that overthrowing -- all of those things, they have a point of view.
NNAMDIWell, yes. And...
GERALDAnd so hopefully those diplomats will do that.
NNAMDIIndeed they have a point of view. And there are people who complain that Dan Snow's history of Syria has a point of view. The BBC Trust has upheld a complaint against Dan Snow's history of Syria in which the presenter implied that Israel had started the six-day war. As you know...
GERALDWell, yes, he did say that. I heard that. I heard that and, you know, well, okay. Well, he's not always right on everything, but I did hear that.
NNAMDIYeah, but I'm very glad for your contribution to this because I think the point that you made that I'd like to underscore is that even as people look at situations that are taking place in the world today, they need to also understand the history of those situations. And while that can't be often presented in a 90-second radio story, it behooves us to try to find out for ourselves. So, Gerald, thank you very, very much for your call. I do have to move on now. And the number of course is 800-433-8850.
NNAMDIIt is Your Turn. You decide what we discuss here. So here's Andy in Potomac, Md. Andy, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
ANDYKojo, thanks for my call. I'm glad with your last caller that you brought up the concept of diversity of understanding. Now I have a comment concerning the name of the Washington Redskins and the controversy surrounding that.
ANDYAnd every time this issue is brought up, the objective reality is that we discuss in the media the moral stance. And I will give you that, okay. It is morally wrong, all right?
ANDYBut here's the thing. Twelve years ago, I think it was, when Dan Snyder bought this team, he paid more money than had ever been paid for a sports franchise in the history of the country. And what he bought -- he didn't just buy a bunch of sweaty guys running around in helmets. (unintelligible) . What he bought was the most powerful force in the history of American consumerism. And that is a brand. He bought a brand, the Washington Redskins. And at that time that was the most -- the Redskins made the most money of any franchise in the nation, second only to the Dallas Cowboys. He bought a brand.
ANDYAnd here we go, we're coming up to where we are now. And to suggest -- I'm Dan Snyder -- to suggest that I rebrand my franchise. Okay, you're going to force me to do that? I tell you what. You will subsidize me because I didn't just buy the stars that were on the team at the time. I bought that brand. And you can bet that I had squads of accountants and marketing people and lawyers looking at this for nine months before I signed that paper.
NNAMDIDo you think that -- if he were to rebrand the team and demand some subsidy, do you think that the goodwill among area governments that he may get from rebranding the team may cause him to be able to win those subsidies? There's a proposal now in the D.C. council to build a new stadium where R.F.K. was. And the individual who's making the proposal, Vincent Orange, D.C. council member, I think has it in the back of his mind to bring that team back to that stadium that will be built with taxpayer money. And of course the taxpayers are likely to have their say about it.
NNAMDIBut do you think that if he rebrands, he can get back into a stadium that somebody else paid for?
ANDYYou know, I'm glad you brought that up. I'm so glad you’re talking about it because now we're discussing business. And ultimately that's what this is about. If you want to -- if you're the owner of an NFL team and you want to make more money, then go own Apple Computer. You have to -- we're discussing business now and I'm glad you brought that up. But my point is, is that the only thing that's salient in the media seems to be the moral question -- or issue about the Redskins, that name. And, as I said, I will give you that. Now what you just discussed is, hey let's talk. Let's do this.
NNAMDIWell, you know, the owner of an amusement park owns a business too and Dan Snyder has been in that business. The owner of an amusement park owns a business. But when you take your kids to the amusement park and you can't afford to get on the rides, you can't tell your kids, look, this is a business. That's why it costs so much to get on the rides. These things are both businesses and they are forms of entertainment.
ANDYExactly. No argument there, no argument. A business is really bottom line -- you know, I know that's a hackneyed phrase -- bottom line what carries the day? And I don't know how you'd explain to your kids that you can't get on the ride. But somehow these -- you know, the business people have this worked out. And it makes money for them. Now I don't know Dan Snyder. I don't know, you know, they have it worked out and somehow the numbers work for them.
NNAMDIIt does indeed, but we're running out of time, at least in this segment. So I'm going to have to move ahead. But thank you for bringing up the business side of it. I think what makes this more complicated is that when the business that one is in is the business of entertaining people. And the business of keeping large numbers of people happy, one of the things you have to do is to count whether or not the people you are making happy are dwindling in numbers partially because of the entertainment value that's being put on the field and maybe partially because of the approach you take to how you name your entertainment. But that's a whole other story. Thank you so much for your call.
NNAMDIIt is Your Turn so we move on now to Henry in Westminster, Md. Henry, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
HENRYKojo, it's an honor to be on your show. I'm going to try to link what I think is a common theme or thread to three of these stories. And that is the situation of the mayor of Toronto, the controversy of the name the Redskins and also the issue of bullying at the NFL. And here's what I think is the common...
HENRYIn each case, I think there is a willful participation and at best unethical and perhaps even a moral, certainly irresponsible and inappropriate behavior. And I don't -- and I think that that -- I think that's fairly obvious with -- I'm sorry, the same -- last name Ford, the Toronto Mayor?
HENRYYes. With Mr. Ford, he has acted in a highly irresponsible manner for really any professional. In most organizations he would be, I think, summarily dismissed for this kind of behavior. I realize there's no legal argument or very little legal argument but I think there is one that is analogous, and that is his supervisors, if you will, are the electorate. They put him there. And if he were to have, I think, any sense of responsibility to those people, he would voluntarily submit to a recall. Instead, he, I think, totally skirts this and he refused to take accountability in a real way, other than just in words for his actions.
HENRYI would the -- it's very similar with the Redskins. I think few would argue that it is a name that is offensive to many, if not -- to many American Indians. I think the intransigence of Dan Snyder, and many of the Redskin's fans for that matter, have shown again is willfully participating in something that is clearly hurtful and unacceptable. And yet the response is denial. And again, a lack of accountability, among other things, saying it's a wonderful tradition.
HENRYWe don't have to go back that far in history to find lots of marketing and products that were done in a very racist manner. I think in the '20s there was darky toothpaste.
HENRYThat is just the edge or the tip of that iceberg. And then finally with the NFL with bullying, I think this hasn't played out yet but the NFL, as far as I'm concerned, is an organization that enables thugs and convicted felons puts, you know, sort of wrist taps a lot of behavior that is harmful. And in many cases illegal. I don't know if this kind of bullying is illegal. And I suspect that probably in the public forum, the NFL will try to put the best face on this and say they certainly do not countenance such behavior. But I find, in general, NFL instead lacks a lot of accountability...
HENRY...in the product that it puts out. And instead tries to grab it up in some all American image.
NNAMDIOkay. A lot of what you said makes sense except for I think characterizing the majority of NFL players as thugs and convicted felons is factually incorrect. I think the overwhelming...
HENRYAnd if I said -- if I said majority I'm...
NNAMDIYeah. They're not the over...
HENRYThat is incorrect.
NNAMDIBut allow me to stoke -- allow me to stoke that fire a little bit before we go to a break, even as I thank Henry for calling. I was thinking of reading this letter that someone who shall remain anonymous to Jonathan Martin, the Miami football player. It says, "Dear Jonathan, you've have chosen to play a sport or work a job in which men of your size who play your position are expected both to do their best to bully their opponents and to scream like Neanderthals while doing it. Every year, the profits, the salaries, and the stakes get higher. These men now train themselves year round to perform this way.
NNAMDI"An excellent preparation for this is to act this way toward their fellow Neanderthal gladiators during off-the-field encounters. The logic is that this helps your on-field performance. That won't change. You should be forewarned that the outrage at Richie Incognito will not last. The NFL, however, will. Maybe you should seriously consider another line of work. By the way, I do enjoy watching the game as I do enjoy boxing, the whole point of which is to cause your opponent to have a concussion, also known as a knockout. However, I would not participate in either sport as an adult."
NNAMDIThe writer, of course, shall remain anonymous, yours truly. We've got to take short break. When we come back, it is Your Turn again. 800-433-8850. Anything on your mind. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIThis is Your Turn where you can set the agenda by calling 800-433-8850 or by sending email to email@example.com. We got a tweet from Donis (sp?) , who says, "Hard to believe you just defended the racist football team name." One of the things I have to do here, Donis, is try to present a variety of points of view on the same issue, at least two sides of the same issue, and I tried to do that as much as possible. But for the record, I don't defend the name of the football team here. Frankly, I think the name should be changed. So there you have it.
NNAMDI800-433-8850. And in Afghanistan, as the U.S. withdraws troops, it's leaving behind a booming opium trade. Despite best efforts and $7 billion spent over a decade to stem it, in fact, the Pentagon has warned that this year's poppy harvest is expected to be considerably bigger than last year's as we leave Iraq and Afghanistan. What are your thoughts about the impact that U.S. troops have had there? You can call us at 800-433-8850, or about anything else on your mind. You can also send us email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is Raquel in Silver Spring, Md. Raquel, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
RAQUELHey, Kojo. I just couldn't drop a line that one of your callers had stressed that business is bottom line.
RAQUELThat it's okay to capitalize on the identity of nation oppressed for centuries because it's profitable. Slavery was profitable, and you know, I just -- it's this kind of ideology that until we change it, we won't have real social change.
NNAMDIYou know, one of the things about slavery being profitable is that today we're still finding out exactly how slavery was profitable for which institutions in the country, including a number of our major universities, which are, on the basis of historical research, being persuaded that they need to do something to alleviate the later effects of slavery because of how those institutions were able to profit as a result of slavery. So the study of history can reveal all kinds of things that we hadn't thought about before. Raquel, anything else you'd like to add?
RAQUELWell, I wouldn't mind spending some tax dollars to change the brand of the Redskins. I think it's a worthy cause.
NNAMDIWell, as I was telling the caller, maybe there is some goodwill to be gained from doing that, but you never know. There are also a bunch of people who are going to be, and are, quite upset even that we are having this conversation. But...
NNAMDI...it is what it is, Raquel. Thank you very much for your call. We move on now to Kathy in Clifton, Va. Kathy, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
KATHYHi. Thank you for taking my call. I just -- I sort of tuned in right towards the tail end of your caller who was talking about Syria as one part of his comment. And, you know, for a while now I've been thinking to myself about how crazy it is that ultimately it seems as though Assad's best -- best move that he could have made for himself was this chemical weapons attack that he put upon his own people. Because it made him now look like the good guy by turning around and allowing the inspectors and Russia and all of that to come and make this deal.
KATHYAnd he's taken the pressure off of himself, and it's taken it off of our radar screen because we're all now like, oh, this was reasonable, he's being reasonable, we're done, when it's crazy.
NNAMDIDespite the news on that front, allow me to say an estimated 40 percent of Syrians are now in need of humanitarian aid with growing concerns about a growing polio outbreak, widespread hunger. Leaders in Saudi Arabia and other regional territories have recently decried a lack of U.S. leadership on Syria, leading Secretary of State Kerry to diffuse the possible discord during what some labeled an emergency fence-mending trip to the country earlier this week. Do you, Kathy, think that the U.S. is as engaged as it should be in Syria?
KATHYI think it's a very difficult question about how we get engaged and when and where, and I can't -- I can't say that I have a clear opinion. I think that that we should be at least diplomatically doing everything we can to resolve this crisis, and again, I just think that this sort of PR move that he made, even if he's following through on it, alleviated so much pressure from him and from the public mind because he ended up looking like the good guy.
NNAMDIAnd I think that's what knocked him off the front pages and not -- and what to some extent knocked the issue off the front pages because our attention has been turned elsewhere for the time being and we sometimes seem to have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time.
NNAMDISo for the time being, he has slipped beneath the radar screen. But thank you very much for your call.
NNAMDIOn now to Bob in Bethesda, Md. Bob, you are on the air. Well, you're not quite on the air, but now you're on the air, Bob. Go ahead, please.
BOBHow's it going, Kojo? Thanks for having me. Just wanted to say that I've been a long-time listener, first time caller.
NNAMDIThanks for calling.
BOBYeah. No. It's great to finally actually be able to call and get in on this discourse. Now, what's funny is initially I called to weigh in on the discussion regarding the name of the Washington Redskins, but you mentioned something just now that was even more interesting to me that I'd like to speak on for a moment, if you don't mind.
NNAMDIGo ahead, please.
BOBAnd that was the production on -- of opium in Afghanistan and how that's recently increased and how with the, I guess, upcoming U.S. withdrawal or scaling down of our involvement there how Afghans -- or it could be a concern for the Afghan people. I was fortunate enough to do some traveling in Central Asia when I was in school, and I noticed that even in countries, neighboring countries to Afghanistan, such as Tajikistan for example, that trade has become so engrained and is so central to some of the institutions there, whether they admit it or not, that, you know, this opium problem really, I think, is going to be the next phase of really the Afghan war and how, you know, the Afghans react to that I'm not quite sure.
NNAMDIWhen you say you think it's going to be the next phase, you mean because of the profits associated with the production of opium, that's what's going to be the source of...
BOBAbsolutely. I mean, what is really Afghanistan's main export right now? I mean, unfortunately for better or worse, I think it's the poppy in one form or another. And, you know, when that's really -- when there's so many people in your country beholden to a certain way of living, to a certain means of production and a certain, I guess, medium of production, it's -- it's -- the problems are there and they're pervasive, and not only that, they're spreading.
BOBSo it's not only an Afghan issue too. It'll be a Tajik issue, it'll be a Tajik issue, it'll be an issue that affects really anywhere that is touched by the heroin trade.
NNAMDII was about to say, is it going to be a U.S. issue also? Will that come back to bite us?
BOBYou know, I -- no one wishes that issue on anyone really, but, you know, it may, and that's a fair point you raise. And, you know, I appreciate, you know, programs like yours and discourses like this because it really raises public awareness. I mean, this is a problem now that's been festering Afghanistan for what, the last maybe 20 years.
BOBAnd unfortunately, based on my travels while, you know, I didn't see a whole lot. What I saw was deeply disturbing. So it's, you know, it's about time that this issue is brought to the forefront, and I hope there are more discussions on it, and I hope that everyone from, you know, U.S. policymakers to the average American starts thinking about the repercussions of our actions and our involvement in the world, because, you know, it's -- they are very real.
NNAMDIDetroit's got enough problems as it is. You don't want another problem of that hitting the streets of Detroit at this point. So thank you very much for your call and for making that connection. Onto Kwami (sp?) in Washington DC. Kwami, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
KWAMIHi Kojo. Thanks for taking my call. I'm a first-time caller, and I really like your show.
KWAMIYeah. I'm calling to make a contribution on the issue of illegal immigration.
KWAMIYeah. I'm one of those millions of illegals in this country, and I believe that for most illegal immigrants, their main concern is to be able to work legally and have some kind of legal authorization to remain in the country. And I strongly believe that if the Democrats would drop the requirement that people instantly become citizens, I think it would make it easier...
NNAMDITheir requirement that what?
KWAMIThat illegals become citizens in the next five or ten years. I think it would make it easier for Republicans who are very reluctant to pass the bill to change their mind.
NNAMDIAre you think -- are you making any distinction between a path to citizenship and a path to legal residency?
KWAMIBecause I think illegals here don't expect to me citizens overnight. I think we have to earn it, so it would be easier for the bill to pass if Democrats wouldn't require that they become citizens overnight.
NNAMDISo you're saying if there is a path to legal residence, you think both you, as an undocumented immigrant on the one hand, and conservative Republicans on the other hand, might be able to accept it?
KWAMIYes. I think so.
NNAMDIBut you know, legal residency itself does ultimately offer a path to citizenship.
KWAMIYes. I know that. But I think that if we can be given some form of authorization to work and to leave and come back into the country and then go through the usual means of becoming citizens, I think it would be easier for the bill to pass. For example, you could marry an American to become a citizen or your child could file, you know, paperwork for you.
NNAMDIOkay. Okay. Got your point. Thank you very much. Point well taken. Onto to Iman in Chantilly, Va. Iman, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
IMANHi, Kojo. Thank you for taking my call.
IMANI think that -- I'm talking about -- actually, I'm going to change the subject about the election on Tuesday.
IMANI don't know if you remember -- if you remember three years ago when you invited Ken Cuccinelli on your show. I clearly told him one thing, and I don't know if you go back there, but as long his -- you -- Tea Party -- as long as they have the Tea Party mentality, you cannot win in Virginia, because the Virginians are much smarter than Tea Party as you might think. If you don't win in Fairfax, you cannot win at all as a Republican. I think that is the whole thing that they don't get. Virginia is not -- is no longer Charlottesville or Richmond area.
IMANVirginia has changed. (unintelligible) in Fairfax area, you might have a chance to win the election, and I think that's what happened on Tuesday, because he keep attacking the woman rights and -- and he's bringing a lot of Muslim issues and they really turn off a lot of issues that they people, they don't want to talk about because...
NNAMDIWell, Iman, you said he may have had a chance to win the election. The ultimate result was a lot closer than the earlier polling had showed, and so now you have an argument within the Virginia Republican party that had he got enough support from the party itself, that he did have a chance of winning, and so the argument that the Republicans no longer have traction, or the Tea Party no longer has traction in the commonwealth of Virginia is an argument that Tea Party supporters are saying was disproven by the fact that Cuccinelli did much better than he expected, and had they spent more money, had the party backed him more, they would won. To which you say what, Iman?
IMANI think that, Kojo, I disagree with you. Because of Virginia is actually they're very upset about Obamacare because there is a state as you know that they always -- a lot of businesses -- small business, and they don't -- they disagree with the present Obamacare. That issue -- I think that's what the people, they voted to stop Obamacare. Not because they -- they agree with Cuccinelli issues, he used this day one to attack Obamacare, to stop, you know, the Obamacare, and that's how -- how the people come up.
IMANBecause a lot of small businesses, they invested so heavily to stop the Obamacare, and that's why they mobilized their voters to come up and vote, but most of the Republicans all know that if they don't get off this Tea Party mentality, which is attacking the president day in and day out, and attacking everybody, that they think that they love this country better than anybody, they cannot win election. Simple as that.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, Iman. We move on now to Andy in Vienna, Va. Oh, I'm sorry if I cut you off, Iman, but Andy has been waiting. Andy, it's your turn.
ANDYThanks, Kojo. I'm calling in response to the comment about the brand equity in the Redskins, and while I agree with the caller that Daniel Snyder essentially bought a brand that happens to play a sport, in this case, football, my observation is the people don't buy brands without an army of lawyers and accounts to access the risks involved. And my feeling is, Daniel Snyder took a calculated risk as the pejorative meaning of Redskins was not unknown at the time he bought the team, but what he effectively did was failed to adequately understand what that risk is, and I think just based on the personalities involved, the (word?) said oh, they'll never the change the name, the fans won't allow it.
NNAMDIWell, do you think it was...
ANDYWell, guess what?
NNAMDIDo you think it was only a business decision on his part? This is a guy who said, look, I grew up in this area rooting for and loving this team. That is at least one of the very important reasons I bought this team.
ANDYWell, I take a mercenary view on business decisions, and I say there's a lot of passion in sports and loyalty, however, with the money at stake, I think this was a predominately a business decision, and in any case, even if he was passionately in love with the team, the issue is, did you assess your risks properly, and I think clearly he didn't. And so I do take exception that he feels, well, if you're going to take the name away from me, then you better subsidize me.
ANDYBecause the rest of the world, you and I we -- we don't get our risks subsidized this way if we make a bad (unintelligible)
NNAMDIAndy, you get the last word. Thank you so much for your call, and thanks to all of you who participated in this edition of Your Turn. Thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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