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00000177-efb4-dee4-afff-efbec5570005CoastLine: Beneath the Surface is a 12 month series focusing on civil discourse in our local community and beyond. Members of the community will engage in a roundtable style conversation, one that is lively and respectful, and will explore a range of topics.As laid out in our debut show, "There will be agreements and disagreements. And while opinions might change, that is not the point. We expect politics to play a part, but that's not the point, either. We’re focused on understanding how peoples' lived experiences shape their views. We’re working to separate the person from the easy labels – the boxes we like to put each other in. The goal is to cut through the bluster...and to listen more thoughtfully and more actively to what someone else is really trying to say."Host: Rachel Lewis HilburnProducer: Katelyn Freund, Rachel KeithAudio Producer / Editor: Kaitlin Hanrahan

CoastLine: Beneath The Surface XI

Eleven people diverse in age, ethnicity and political leanings are engaged in a year long experiment in civil discourse. Each month we bring you a conversation with members of the group. 

We're observing how the tone and quality of the conversation changes over the course of the year and whether people with different views grow to value time with one another.

The master plan for this episode was to practice with our Thanksgiving nemesis. You know -- the one that makes you want to leave the table or the whole gathering.  We would find an ideological match in the group to role play with the challengee. We would first remind ourselves about the basic civil discourse principles we've been learning and then try them out.  But it quickly became clear this exercise held little relevance for our group.


Cedric, Founder of the nonprofit Support The Port; Jim, a glass artist and New Jersey transplant; Lee, an actor and woodworker; Lydia, artist and mom to a toddler; Darrell, a retired engineer and occasional wizard; Carl, a musician and army veteran; Connette, insurance broker; Joe, a real estate broker and GOP volunteer, and Kathryn, a nurse, real estate broker, also involved in the GOP and Joe's wife

RLH:  What is different for you this November versus November of 2018 when you think about going to the Thanksgiving dinner table?  Joe?

JOE:  I think hopefully that, uh, it will be an enjoyable thing. Time to reacquaint ourselves with our families and, and um, in my particular situation, uh, you know, my three sons are -- two of them have the same type of thought process as I do.  My middle son, of course, we're polar opposites, but yet, uh, we have a great time together discussing the issues of the day. So I look forward to it and of course I always have Kathy to referee for me if it, uh, if things get a little, uh, hairy...

RLH:  And they have gotten hairy and she said no more discussion of politics at the dinner table. Do you think it, it could be different this year, Kathryn?

KATHRYN:  I mean there's a respect and love between them that can be, you know, can kind of bridge the gap in, in the belief system. And I, even though, um, we discuss politics, it's, it's just not on a down and dirty level anymore. It was getting a little heated for a while. But I think that they, you know, with maturity and love -- just listening to one another -- because even though Joe Junior has a very different thought process, he still has some very good thoughts.  He's brilliant, you know, and this is his career so he can bring a lot of understanding. And it's interesting because he will call Joe Senior for advice on some of the political issues and challenges he's facing. And he even called on him to be a substitute for a debate. He wanted Joe to, you know, be the, the opposing with this candidate at a debate. And so I think there was that respect and that's the difference. It's respect for the individual and you know, you can have whatever thought you want, but if I respect you, then I'll listen. And that's what I say,

RLH:  Lee?

LEE:  As the only child of deceased parents, my holiday meals are spent with a family of my choosing. And uh, so their are not as likely to be wildly divergent political views at those tables as there were in the tables of my youth. 

RLH:  There was a component of your family...

LEE:  You mean my cousins?

RLH:  Perhaps that might, maybe that's what you've talked about, but you've talked about opting out of...

LEE:  Opting out of my cousin's world -- the racist, homophobic, xenophobic antisemites?  Yeah, I've opted out of that.

RLH:  Carl, what is it going to be like at your holiday table this year?

CARL:  My holiday table would probably be calm without a lot arguments.

RLH:  You are the guy that came into this group saying what happened? Why can't we disagree with each other anymore? Why is it that if we disagree, we have to then hate each other?

CARL:  Then maybe I should say this. I don't think that the Thanksgiving table is the place for us to have those conversations. I try to reserve that time for family time and for us to talk about what's going on in our world and with each other more -- versus who agrees with this and who agrees with that. We already know that about each other so we don't need to expound upon that while we are sitting in Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe after dinner is over, they might get into, 'cause my sons -- actually they have come closer but they were In two different directions. So they used to have some very emotional conversations, but I try to reserve, well not try to -- it's a family family holiday table.

RLH:  You're listening to CoastLine:  Beneath The Surface.  Today we have Cedric, Connette, Jim Lee, Lydia, Carl, Joe, Darrell, and Kathryn. So I think we need to figure out if we're going to do this exercise or if we're going to scrap it and just go down the road of something else.

LEE:  Because I hate improv.

JIM:  Let me just say I don't have, I don't have any experience with Thanksgiving. Here's the thing...

RLH:  Really?

JIM:  Never. In my whole life is there going to be somebody who I'm sitting, eating with who's going to have a different opinion. I never had to deal with that. But if I had to go somewhere else, if I had to get Chinese...

RLH:  Okay. So when you, when you think about yourself having gone through a year of this with this group, what's one major thing that you want to be able to take away from it? Like, I learned this or actually I found value in this or I practice this or did you learn that you really do want to just hang out with people who think like you do?

JIM:  I definitely do. I definitely do not want to associate on a regular basis with people that I perceive on the right, which would be, I mean, after this, I'll never see these -- I'll never see these guys again. I guarantee it. That's the reality. I mean, I hate to say it, but it's true.

JOE:  I was thinking just the opposite. Yeah. Okay. And I would have no problem, you know, spending, uh, you know, time socially with anybody around the table, you know? Because there's so much here. 

RLH:  Well, what is here, Joe? Why are these people, why is the conversation that you have with these people worth something when you could be with either people that you love or people who think the way you think? I mean, what value do you get from this?

JOE:  Well, if I'm continually exposed to just people like myself, man, it scares the hell out of me.

RLH:  Why?

JOE:  Because, I mean, everybody sitting around the table has brought a whole different, you know, life to this table than I did.

RLH:  Our civil discourse group members are apparently not facing the same conversational minefield over their Thanksgiving tables that news media around the country are screaming about. So basic training for that event isn't so relevant. In the next segment, we scrap our original agenda and go where the deeper conversation leads. I'm Rachel Lewis Hillburn for Beneath The Surface.

Segment 2:  

RLH:  We started out with our group of nine people today set to practice uncomfortable or extremely partisan discussions at the Thanksgiving table. But nobody here is worried about that. So I'm asking the group to explain what they've learned from this 11-month process. While Jim just told the group, no offense, but he will never again spend time with people on the other end of the political spectrum, Lydia explains a standout moment for her.

LYDIA:  The one thing that sticks out to me that was from the abortion debate was Kathryn's point of view about abortion versus mine are completely divergent. But the thing that was most interesting to me from that point of view is that we actually come from a point of views from the very same place, which is that we want the best thing for children.  And hers is that every child has the right to be born and mine is that children only deserve to be born to parents that are prepared to love and care for them completely.  But I did find it really interesting that our justification for our point of view was exactly the same.

But on a different note, in terms of the role play, I come from a family full of Republicans. People don't argue negatively. People are very rational and respectful. So it's even would be hard for me to have a pretend argument because I think people at my Thanksgiving table talk about politics a little, not a lot, but when they do, it's very, very measured and very, very sensitive.

RLH: Kathryn, you wanted to say something. 

KATHRYN:  You asked what is it about this group.  I think all of us are here voluntarily, which means that we are here because we chose to be open to the discussion to share our views. But I think so there was a presupposed, you know, civility to the fact that we are here voluntarily.

RLH:  Darrell, do you think you've learned anything from this process or have you, do you think that you value spending time in conversation with people with divergent worldviews any more than you did before you started?

DARRELL:  I have always enjoyed meeting new ideas and, and new directions. And, I often ponder as to how in the hell they came up with ideas that they did and where they come from. But, uh, I, uh, I recognize my viewpoint as of society as being an aggregation of individuals is, is confirmed and in this group. And I found everyone to be, you know, 10 other individuals in here and, uh, their opinions are all valid. Uh, and I enjoy hearing them. I honestly can't think, uh, some of the rationales that, that people have come up with. Uh, but I can respect that.

And I think that's a key there to what you have advocated and what Arthur Brooks advocates of, of respect for differing viewpoints. And I think that as a group, I think the opinions are worthwhile.

And the only thing that I wish is that we would stop looking backwards and turn around and face forward.

RLH:  What do you mean?

DARRELL:  Too many times I have heard about this is the way it was. This is what's happened. This is how I, I'm sorry Carl, but this is how I grew up and this is how I formed my opinions and stuff. And I would like for us to change our focus and say, Hey, we screwed up. Things have been bad. We've messed up. Let's turn around and see what we can do and what direction we can go for, for the future. Many of us in this group are focused on the future and we know we've screwed up in the past. We know that we haven't been the kinds of people that we would like to have been.  Our society has not been what it should have been.

RLH:  I don't want to guess at the issue that you're talking about, but I feel like there's something specific behind what you're saying.

DARRELL:  It's the racial tones that had been brought up by Cedric and Carl and I can apologize all I want, but the kind of people that I'm dealing with are people who are focused on the future. What can we do to make Chadbourn better? What can we do? We know that it's a mess. We know that it was caused mess. What can we do for the future? Let's change our emphasis. If we dwell on the past, then we're mired in that mud.

RLH:  So Darrell, I think you are articulating the tension that is always in that conversation about race and Cedric, I know that you have, I'm going to let you step up for this...

CEDRIC:  I have nothing to say.

RLH:  I don't believe that.

CEDRIC:  You're right.  That's a lie.

RLH:  Let's start with Darrell saying I will apologize basically until the cows come home, but that stops us from moving forward. What? What do you say to that? Because there's an inherent assumption there.

CEDRIC:  Before you even got to the apology aisle, I was already starting to zone him out when he said the triggering thing of let's face forward and forget about the past.

RLH:  Okay, now tell us why that's triggering.

CEDRIC:  Because when we talk about 9/11, it's never forget.  When we talk about other terrorist tragedies that have happened to this, to this country, we, we reflect on it. We highlight it on an annual basis, but when it comes to race relations, slavery, coups, race riots, all of those things, you want black people to just forget about it and move forward towards the future when really what you're saying isn't, you shouldn't be saying it to black people. You should be saying it to other white people, right?

Like, let's forget the old values that you all have built your establishments on. And we look at the paper that you guys have put together as a Declaration of Independence and reevaluate the structures of the government policies and see if like everybody is actually being, uh, being, uh, catered to in these policies as they're being made.

RLH:  That's an example of an issue that came up during the Better Angels exercise -- when Carl explained why he never feels represented by government no matter who he votes for.

CEDRIC:  So it even happened today during this conversation.  When people are talking about, arguing over how you saying you, you said something about the difference between opinions and things that's brought through hate when you all are arguing about politics and the opinions on policies -- whether you respect each other. And so, and those policies still let you roll the way that you want to roll.  A lot of those policies oppress people like me and I care.  It's more than just an opinion around around this policy because I'm actually truly affected by these policies.  And it's more than just an opinion. It's, it's a, it's another line of oppression, another fence that we have to fight through or, or build a bridge over this, this troubled water to try to live a full and meaningful life. It sucks to live in this type of space, right?

And it's, it's just a privilege to be able to carry on conversations around it.  Like I have to go into the middle of the circle and actually deal with the reality of it. And so it's easy when you're able to talk -- conversations around it to tell somebody that's in the midst of the actual physical results of that to, to say, let's forget about the past when the past is -- the whole reason why all of this is as it is has been decisions made from you.  All his great grandfathers decisions have affected my father, me and right now currently my son.  I'm learning, that the way society has been set up is the, is the reason for why I have to do these things. So that's kind of why I've been quiet the whole time. I've just been digesting this conversation.

RLH:  If you're just joining us, it's the 11th episode of CoastLine:  Beneath the Surface. We started with our civil discourse group today intending to practice for those difficult moments over the Thanksgiving table. But we quickly learned that's not reality for our members. What is real is an ongoing tension over discussions of race. We've been here before, but this day, Darrell, who runs a project called Strawberry Fields, an effort to help a community of color in rural Chadbourn, North Carolina, said he was tired of looking backwards and feeling like he still needs to apologize for the sins of his white forefathers. He also said a backward focus doesn't help people who feel oppressed. Cedric is explaining why he finds Darryl's comments triggering how the actions of white people in the past affect people of color today and why Darrell's remarks don't acknowledge present-day America and Cedric's daily experience.

Cedric continues.

CEDRIC:  I'm glad that you brought it up cause I usually feel like I'm the one that brings up race. But like it's a huge topic. It's real. We just unveiled a marker right on Market Street, a couple of blocks from here of the only coup that ever happened. And it's only finally being acknowledged from the state. So these are like when we talk about policies, it's a lot of things that we need to go back to the past and actually look at and figure out how can we make that better for the future.

RLH:  And to be clear about what Cedric's talking about, that's 1898, the only recorded coup d'etat in American history, when a cabal of white people forced out, not just elected officials who were African American but also terrorized all the black citizens...

CEDRIC:  ...and progressive whites...

RLH:  ...yes, and ran them out of town. We don't know how many people were killed in that event. The estimates range from anywhere from a dozen to hundreds. We really don't know.  We also don't know what that has meant in Wilmington in terms of the lingering effects because it's only 121 years ago, which in terms of who owns property here, where people live, what assets they have, that is something that we've been exploring. How can we document the effects of that as they exist in 21st century Wilmington?

DARRELL:  If you focus so much on what has happened, you're always looking behind you and saying, well, I want the future to be better. I want to do something about the future. I want Cedric to do something about the future. What can you do? All right. You've learned from it. You've got that experience in the background. You've got it more than I've got it. Okay. I don't have that, but I know that if I go around thinking that I am oppressed, that I have been held back because of this, that and the other, then I'll never accomplish what, what, uh, abilities and potential that I have. You just won't do it because you're looking at always in the back.

JIM:  Can I jump in for a second? Because if we don't look at the past and try to correct it today, there is not going to be any change in the future regardless of what you do in Chadbourn.  Because on your way out to Chadbourn, you're driving on the highway, you're a white guy, you're not going to get pulled over. You're not going to get harassed. Cedric and a couple of his friends driving out there to see what you've built out in Chadbourn, he's going to get targeted because he's black and he's going to get pulled over possibly, and he's probably gonna suffer some maybe not bad experience but not good. And that is something that you cannot say doesn't exist because we know it exists.

DARRELL:  I think you've got a very wrong perception of what goes on between here and Chadbourn and I really do think that it's not as quite as bad as...

CARL:  I'm glad you continue to to say what you're saying because it shows that we still have problems that we have to fix.  Without looking back to see why things are the way they are, you would be a voice like many others who say, Ooh, why did those black people not just do this or do that? Or why aren't they just working hard or why this way or why aren't they just, they should be doing this.

It's easy for you to say what I should be doing, but you don't know the things that caused me to be where I am. You act like I just walked into this. I didn't, I didn't just walk into it. I don't, I'm not looking back and feeling sorry though for me, but I am feeling sorry for my country. I am feeling sorry that you are busy right now feeling sorry about what's happening to some people in Ukraine or in Iraq or in Turkey or in Syria, but you don't care that same -- you don't have that same concern about what's happening to people right here in this country.

We don't, but it's easy for us to project our loving, caring somewhere else when it doesn't really affect us. It has no really price for us to pay, but the price to pay is that every American should be treated exactly the same.

Two weeks ago, two weeks ago, I was in my car with my sons in Hampstead riding down the street and the highway patrol pulled me over for no reason.  He said, well, I think your plates expired. But if he had punched my plates into the system, he'd see they're not expired.

But he pulled me over because it was three African American people riding in my car, which is a pretty big, you know, classic kind of car. But you pull me over for nothing, for no reason whatsoever. That didn't happen in 1890.  That happened in 2019, but you say I should get over that.

CEDRIC:  And you say we act like we're oppressed.

CARL:  And you say that I shouldn't be concerned every time my sons, my daughter, my grandkids who are in college by the way, but I have to worry about whether they can get from my house to the college in Mount Olive or here in, in Cape Fear or wherever they are. I have to worry whether they can get there safely or not without being stopped and harassed or bothered. But I should get over it.

But again, I'll say this, and I don't want a price for it. I don't want anybody to pay me for it, but I spent 20 years of my life dedicated to this country because I love it. I really love my country. I have arguments with my kids about this. I love my country, but I expect my country to love me and to love my family and to love all people inside of this country. There should be no perceptions about somebody because they wear a scarf over their head or because they dress differently.

There should be no perceptions. I don't look at you with your white beard and your hair and say, Oh, I have a preconceived idea about who you are. I don't. When I walk in here, I see a man and based on how I interact with that man, how you interact with me is how I'm going to treat you. However, again, I said the last time you say these things because you're white, but I'm not going to say that this time. I'm just going to say this. Your life is not the only life on earth. The opportunities that you've had, every person around this table hasn't had those same opportunities. 

Segment 3:

RLH:  We're nearing the end of our year-long experiment in civil discourse. Our group of 11 -- nine on this Friday before Thanksgiving -- has said they don't expect tension at the family table this holiday, but they do still have a lot to say in the group about race. We're hearing from Carl, U.S. Army Veteran, retired also from New Hanover County Public Schools and now a musician.

CARL:  But again, I'll say this and I don't want a price for it. I don't want anybody to pay me for it, but I spent 20 years of my life dedicated to this country because I love it. I really love my country. I have arguments with my kids about this. I love my country, but I expect my country to love me and to love my family and to love all people inside of this country. There should be no perceptions about somebody because they wear a scarf over their head because they dress differently. There should be no perceptions. I don't look at you with your white beard and your hair and say, Oh, I have a preconceived idea about who you are. I don't. When I walk in here, I see a man and based on how I interact with that man, how you interact with me is how I'm going to treat you.

However, again, I said the last time you say these things because you're white, but I'm not going to say that this time. I'm just going to say this. Your life is not the only life on earth. The opportunities that you've had, every person around this table hasn't had those same opportunities. For one reason or another. They may have been because it's racist. Maybe they came from a poor family. The lady who who was on the TV the other day said she came from a coal miner. She was a coal miner's daughter. And if she just stayed where she came from because of her accent, she would have been treated like a fourth-class citizen. But in all of the world and all of the earth, the one country that should never allow any type of issues like that to occur is this one because we so busy poking our fingers in other people's countries that, Oh that shouldn't happen.

CARL:  This shouldn't happen. But you have to remember where we came from and so, and the causes that have caused other people not to be so fortunate or so lucky because it didn't just happen that way. If my mama had left me a two hundred thousand dollar house or a business or something, I would probably be doing pretty good financially. I'd leave that to my kids. It's not like we don't believe in passing on, but how can you pass on nothing?

RLH:  And I know there's a gap here...

CEDRIC:  Basically I appreciate the work that he does. It's not like he is not like he's saying these things. Then at night he puts a hood on and burns crosses.  What I was saying is that I think with progressive whites, when they get in a space where they are helping or supporting or assisting blacks, I feel that they think that gives them a privilege to now speak on the black experience or to speak to black people with the, this is what you should do. If you actually study history, you would have learned that that has not been a successful way to approach racial reconciliation. And so to answer your question fully about why I came to this table voluntarily, and to also answer your question, uh, as well, Darrell, it's about facing forward and looking at the future. I came to this table to voice my opinion because every time I wake up, every day I'm trying to fight for the advancement of black people to be able to live a full and meaningful life.

CEDRIC:  Whether that's my voice on a radio station to give my opinion, So that others can learn from it or whether that's going to schools to speak to students, kids, et cetera, et cetera. And so, and then also to answer that question, there is an answer that does exist within the past.  Because before the 1898 actually happened in Wilmington, the utopia that we want so much existed.  It fully existed when almost 56% of the population was African American in 1898... Today it's 19%.

RLH:  There was a thriving black middle class, too.

CEDRIC:  Entrepreneurs, political. It was more than just political. The Thomas Miller was a loan shark, he was loaning money to black people and white people. And so when you talk about racial issues and it makes you feel a certain type of way, it should because things still haven't changed from it yet. But the conversation, Darrell, that you want to engage in isn't towards black people, it's towards the white people that have set the tone for how we interact with each other.

RLH:  I think that there are two elements of this, and correct me if I, if I misspeak here or if I oversimplify something, but part of it is the never forget part. Like even if it was an equal playing field today and everybody felt like they had the same opportunity... There is a theologian in Washington who wrote a book about America's Original Sin, slavery, and he's a white theologian.  He started to learn about the very present impacts on people of color when his son was part of a baseball team, a softball team in Washington, D.C.  So he started unpacking this and what is it like for a black family to raise a child in the city versus a white family.  The black family always, for example, has to have a conversation about when you get your driver's license and you start driving a car, here's how you survive a stop by a police officer.

That's just an example of it. The other part of this is both Carl and Cedric I think are trying to say, it's not that we're even looking backwards. It's not the same. In November, 2019 if you walked down the street as a white person versus walking down the street as a person of color, you will have a different experience on the street in a professional setting, in any setting, wherever you go.

CEDRIC:  Darrell would have different interest rates for trying to get a house. Trying to get a car would be totally different from anybody else's at this table.

RLH:  What would they be? 

CEDRIC:  Triple, quadruple the interest rate percentage than when you all may look to buy a car. 

CARL:  And it's not always about remembering, Darrell.  It's about being reminded. It's not like I don't walk around remembering or thinking about slavery or about the time that I grew up in an era where there was a different water fountain for a black kid and a white kid. I don't continue to think about those things, but I'm reminded of them involuntarily by other things that happen now. 

I know that there's still work to be done, but listen, I can come in this room and have any conversation with anybody about anything and be as dedicated and committed to making sure that the things we do better our country because of my hopes and my dreams and my aspirations, but that does not change the fact of a reality. I'm not sitting here saying, woe is me.

CARL:  I traveled the world. I go different places. I do things. I'm not sitting here feeling sorry. However, the only place that I ever go in the world that I have to define my color or define myself by a color is here. When I go and live in a country where my wife's from in Turkey, I didn't, no one asked me my color. When I go to Germany, I lived in Italy, nobody asked me when I filled out a piece of paper what color I was.  Nobody cares. But as soon as I come back home, this is my home, as soon as I come back here, then color has such a huge relevance to people. 

CEDRIC:  I just walked by a Confederate statue on the way here. How can I forget about the past when I see slaveowners on my way to work every day?

CARL:  I don't know... this racial thing... I continue to try to stay away from it because I want us to have a complete conversation about this American experience.  But it's, it's not going to go away.  I don't think it'll ever go away until...

RLH  Until what?

CEDRIC:  Until they get rid of the statues and...

CARL & CEDRIC:  Property.  But it will go away. Policies.  When the ratio of white to dark skinned people changes. And it's coming.

RLH:  It's a conversation on Beneath the Surface, our year-long experiment in civil discourse.  the conversation is about race, which has been the source of ongoing tension in the group, a deeper source of tension for some than the extreme partisan divide.

JOE:  I don't disagree with any in anything you said in that. And I've got to say thank you for what you gentlemen just presented here because it's reality. The challenge we have is how do we, where do we go from here in and changing, changing attitudes and changing what's happening. And here's what the challenge becomes... Darrell, when he made his talk, he really believes that in what he's saying and he's taking the action that he believes has to be done to change it.

And I think that everyone of us sitting around a table in this room anyway really believes in that. And if you ask about all life's experience, I think you will see, uh, you know, everybody around his table has taken steps in, in what we believe has to be done. We did when we, when I hear Cedric talk about reparations and property and that type of thing [inaudible]...

...and I'm thinking as a psychologist now, and I'm thinking in terms of the impact on, on the majority of our society, which happens to have pigmentation in the skin that I am is we, you know, the, the reaction is, you know, Hey, that happened a hundred years ago. Why are we still being blamed for the sins of our fathers?

RLH:  And that's exactly the point to which this conversation always comes.  This is where, you know, there are a lot of white people who think that, but won't say it out loud. Like they know that it's a minefield, but they don't really understand why.

CEDRIC:  And so I feel like you benefit from the privilege of those decisions that was made when, when that happened, let's dive into it. Let's forget slavery, right? Let's just go back to 1898 those are my great, great grandfathers who have businesses, who had property, who, who had a legacy that they were ready to pass down for generations onto generations.  They're already losing  -- even at building y'all's great-grandfather's houses that they got to live in off of our backs that they didn't have to pay for. They already had an establishment that they can build off of.

Just that simple headstart owes us reparations just from that simple fact, but then when you go to 1898 and all of -- not even just my great grandfathers or whatever, but their cousins and their friends and the folks that they affiliated with all are taking out all of these businesses, all of these residencies, all of these housing places where people live. If that was passed on generation is to over the generation like your family's had the privilege to do.

I wouldn't be here saying, well, it was me and that I'm feeling oppressed. I would've, I would've had the same open mindset and the same freedom to spread my wings and flap and fly wherever I want to go and look at life and whatever way I want to and argue back and forth strongly thoroughly about opinions and politics and reside in whatever which ever space. Because I know that my family is still okay, our businesses are okay and we're healthy and we still can go and do the things that we want to do in life. But because that that didn't happen and I can't get those things, this isn't the route that I have to take to try to gain these things back.

LYDIA:  Going back to what's the value of discussions like this for me, like you said earlier, I approach a lot of this Republican Democrat situation from, you know, an intellectual policy level, but until I'm in a room with Cedric and Carl, you know, Carl and I are on the same political side and when we were talking about Trump last time, you know, I'm looking at, you know, how did he breach the law? But Carl's the one that always reminds me that, what would -- you know, how does Trump and what he's done compare to a crime committed by in every, you know, by a man in Wilmington walking down the street?  Like how, you know, bringing it down to the level, you know, of a regular person but also an African American person. And then like just with what Cedric was saying, I love to come in here and talk about policy, but you know, I'm a benefactor of the Trump tax plan and in terms of education, you know, with the tax deficit and the way that that may affect access to education, which is supposed to be something that's, you know, going to equalize inequalities in our country.

If I'm, you know, my daughter, if she's in a school district that I don't like, I can privately educate her, I can send her to a charter school. I have all of these options and choices that I take for granted. And it's not until I sit in a room with Cedric to have it explained that people that are affected by these policies don't have choices. And for me, I mean some it takes hearing that to even remember that, that not everybody has the level of choice and mobility that I have. Even though I like to, you know, talk about how Trump is a disgrace. I'm still a beneficiary of the economic policies he's put in place or you know, the way that he may be, you know, structuring society or giving power to people. I'm still a beneficiary of that. And other people are not.

RLH:  Darrell, you've been very quiet and you've been taking this all in, is there, where are you now? What do you think about?

DARRELL:  I understand and, and I stick with my position that I'd like to see people turn around and face forward and say, look, you know, I've been, I've, I've suffered this, I'm in a bad position. Uh, I'm in a a bad place. Uh, but the future is brighter and I don't hear that from...

JIM:  Yeah, here's where it's like.  It's like me and Carl going out in the hallway and me beating the shit out of Carl for the next 15 minutes and then I stopped beating the shit out of him and I've stopped beating the shit out of him. I, you know, Carl, I'm going to take you out to lunch now. We're going to forget that ever happened and we're just going to move forward.  Meanwhile, he's limping and he can't see out of one eye and I broke one of his fingers, but we're, we're both equal now and we're going to move forward together. And it's ridiculous. It's a ridiculous, it's a ridiculous idea for anybody to think that we can move forward without looking at the past and correcting it. It just can't be done.

DARRELL:  I'm not advocating don't look at the past. No, but just I'm saying turn your focus.

CARL:  Okay. But I'm going to tell you that about that Darrell.  You say that very simply, but the average black man can't walk in a bank and get a loan to open a business.

DARRELL:  That's wrong.

CEDRIC:  I just won 75-grand, but I'm still being treated like I live in the projects. Yeah. And um, and I'm like almost close to six figures right now, you know what I mean? But my experience has not changed to a six-figure experience.  People still look at me and sometimes ask me do I have a criminal background?  Do you know how bad that makes me feel?

CARL:  But I want you to understand though it is not that a lot of black people don't understand what it means to move forward. It's not that a lot of black people don't know what it means to start businesses and do projects and do things to, to create income for themselves. They know. But that opportunity is not there. No one's given them a loan. No, there's no business project set up just to look in this city.  This city tore up all the inner city stuff, all the parks, everything, turned it into tennis courts. You built a tennis court in the middle of a black neighborhood where nobody plays tennis, but white people, white people come to play tennis. I'm telling you, you don't build. You don't, you don't, uh, better the environment you take away to playgrounds for little kids. They have nowhere to play.

Nothing. Zero. All you give it to somebody and then they sell it. They sold off the pool down here and over by Virgo. They sold it off to some swim team, but they'll let the little neighborhood kids come in every now and then just to make it look good, but see it. It's not that they don't have the, the intention to do better things and, and make a better future. You saying, look forward. Yes, look forward. But how do you get there without money? This country is a capitalist country. Capitalism is the heart. And if you don't have money and no one will give you money, no one will lend you money. No one will give you a grant and help you do things. Then don't tell me to go forward unless you want me to rob a bank. I can do that, but I don't think you want me to do that.

CEDRIC:  Reparations for sure.  

CARL:  But I'm a little different than him. I don't want reparations. I just want the same opportunity. I don't want any reparations.

DARRELL:  That's a point that we can all agree on. I want this equal opportunity and every person in this country should have...

CARL:  Yeah, but that's not gonna happen. It's not happening. It's not happening. Let me see. Let me not say that. It's not going to happen. I'm going to say it's not happening and you have to accept that as a reality. That way you will stop telling people to look forward and say, okay, I gotta make you acknowledge what you did so that I can get you to help me move forward.

See, that's the problem. If you want to acknowledge what you did to cause me to be in the situation that I'm in, then you want to add to the problem, then how am I going to get you to say, okay, Carl, you're right. This shouldn't have been like this and I'm going to help you go that way. I see that you want to go that way here. Take this a hundred grand and go.  

CEDRIC:  As a white, progressive person that wants to help black people, you can't, you don't lead black people. That's adding to the problem. You support. Black people know what they want to do. That's exactly what we're doing, but it sounds like you're trying to lead us with the way the dialogue of what you're telling us that we should do and not looking back and facing forward. You're, that's a, that's a leadership direction that you're giving us. You should support us if we want to look in the, if we wanna look in the past, you just support that we're looking in the past.

If you want to look to the future, you just support that. But either way, it's still us welcoming you to this space just for support. Now for you to lead us, we're not looking at you to be our savior. We know what we want, we know what we need, and if you can provide us with that, then thank you. We're very grateful for that, but you just want to support us. We're very grateful for that too, but you start walking a thin line when you start trying to tell people whether it's just set in their mind and focus and are ready to go.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.