With Friends Like These

Ana Marie Cox, political columnist and culture critic, sits down with liberals and conservatives, pastors, writers, activists, and other people you should know for an open, funny, in-depth conversation about what divides us - a show about listening instead of arguing.

“The Jackie Robinson of Bisexuals w/ Travon Free” (9/2018)

This week, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Travon Free (@Travon), the star of the new HBO show Him or Her. They started things off by delving into the show’s premise: it’s largely based on Travon’s dating experiences as a black, bisexual male in America. That transitioned to a conversation about the importance of representation, something personal to Travon specifically because he hasn’t ever seen himself represented in popular movies or tv shows. Ana then shifted the conversation, asking Travon about his journey to realizing and accepting his sexuality. Growing up in a conservative Christian church made things more difficult, and eventually led him to stop attending and eventually led him to stop attending before adopting a new approach. Toward the close of the show, Travon continued on, and explained the ways he’s found acceptance of his sexuality later in life.


Get in touch with us on Twitter at @crooked_friends or email the show at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com.


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"White Fragility in the Wild" (9/2018)

Princeton University professor Robert Wuthnow (@RobertWuthnow), author of the book The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America, joined Ana (@anamariecox) this week to talk about his research. He and Ana began by exploring common misconceptions of rural America, and how rural Americans often conceive of themselves. Although he often found a perceived sense of “we-ness” within rural communities, that dynamic broke down when people shared their true opinions about things like marriage equality or a woman’s right to choose. Although many people held similar beliefs, the group was much less homogenous than they may have thought. Ana asked Robert about how the group dynamic can change, and he explained that the boundaries of the groups get complicated, because the divide between us and them is never as obvious as people may think it is. Ana also asked whether Robert had foreseen the rise of Donald Trump (spoiler alert: he hadn’t). Yet, he wasn’t surprised that people in rural America supported a Republican, as it merely continued a pattern established by the anti-abortion movement. 


Then, former Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges (@BetsyHodges) joined Ana to answer a listener question about allyship from Teresa, a listener who joined them on the line. 


You can find Robert’s book here.


Get in touch with us on Twitter at @crooked_friends or email the show at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com


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“Why Pleasure Is Political w/ Michael Arceneaux” (9/2018)

Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick), author of the New York Times bestseller I Can’t Date Jesus. Their conversation kicked off with an exploration of Michael’s experience as a queer black man, how it is inherently political, and what that means in his daily life. They then talked about his work as a writer, and why he chose to write the book he wanted to rather than one craved by editors, that would have catered to a white audience. That turned the conversation towards representation, and what it takes for a black person to succeed in traditional media, namely an ability to speak to white people. Ana and Michael also dove into how he discovered his sexuality, and the ways that lack of representation not just of gay men, but black, Latino, and Asian men made that more difficult. They finished things off by talking about Michael’s family, and the influence they have not just on who he is, but on the book itself. His mother, a devout Catholic, still has issues with his sexuality, and he explained that despite them maintaining a relationship it remains a wedge.


You can find Michael’s book here.


Get in touch with us on Twitter at @crooked_friends or email us at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com


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"ARA: Ask Rick Anything!" (8/2018)

On this week’s pod, Ana (@anamariecox) checked back in with Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) to do something different: answer questions from listeners. Their wide-ranging conversation kicked off with Ana asking Rick to put on his strategist hat, and analyze the governor’s races in Florida and Georgia, and the Senate races in Tennessee, Florida, and Texas. Ana then asked Rick how he will vote in the Florida gubernatorial election, before going deeper on how/when Never Trumpers will vote for Democrats. They then changed course, and talked about Rick’s future career prospects as well as what a Never Trumper needs to do for liberals and progressives to trust them. Rick and Ana closed things out by talking about their memories of John McCain, from the perspective of someone who worked for a pro-McCain super PAC and a journalist who covered him, and what they like about each other.


Get in touch with us on Twitter at @crooked_friends or email us at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com


Thank you to our sponsors!


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"White Fragility 101" (8/2018)

On this week’s pod, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Robin DiAngelo, author of the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. To kick things off, Robin explained what white fragility is, and the impact that it has not just on white people, but white progressives in particular. Ana and Robin then talked about the need for people who recognize racism’s ills not to get complacent or arrogant, but rather be actively anti-racist, and continue educating themselves. They then switched gears, and explored why white women often fail to be allies for people of color before probing the ways de facto segregation and tokenizing minorities are so deeply problematic. Ana and Robin also put forth a series of suggestions for what well-meaning white people should do when they put their foot in their mouths and say something racist. 


You can find Robin’s book here: https://www.amazon.com/White-Fragility-People-About-Racism/dp/0807047414


Robin referenced an article she wrote, which you can find here: https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116

Get in touch with us on Twitter at @crooked_friends or email us at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com.


Thank you to our sponsors!


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“Funny Is How We Got Here: When Journalists Amplify Hate” (8/2018)

Whitney Phillips (@wphillips49) joined Ana (@anamariecox) to talk about her recent work, The Oxygen of Amplification, which chronicles the battle journalists face to report on extremism without amplifying it. Early in their conversation, Ana and Whitney dove into the central paradox of that battle: that it’s almost impossible to report on extremism without normalizing and spreading it. Another part of that paradox is that for an uninitiated journalist, it is all too easy to get duped into spreading misinformation. They also explored one of the central problems of this reporting and reporting in general: newsrooms are overwhelmingly white, male, Christian, cis, and able-bodied. Because those people are the ones least at risk from white supremacists, they’re (*shocker*) who white supremacists will talk to, and the most likely to downplay threats from those same white supremacists. Lastly, after touching on Unite The Right 2.0, Ana played assignment editor and suggested different directions to take a Nazi Next Door™story.

You can find Whitney’s book here.

Get in touch with us on Twitter at @crooked_friends, or email the show at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com.


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“Almost Bravery w/ Rick Wilson” (8/2018)

This week, the one and only Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) stopped by to talk with Ana (@anamariecox) about his new book, Everything Trump Touches Dies. Ana kicked things off by asking Rick about things he regrets from his past as a political consultant. That led to a conversation about the reaction he’s received from past colleagues and clients to the book, and why he decided to move from working in the political shadows to the light. After Ana called Rick out for the way he uses mental illness and drug addiction in the book to mock Trump supporters, they discussed the people that have disappointed Rick in the Trump era. At the top of the list: Rudy Giuliani.

Afterwards, friend of the pod Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) joined Ana to answer a listener question from Alex, a Spanish teacher at a conservative, largely homogenous school who wants to reach her students and help them learn that discrimination isn’t ok.


You can find Rick’s book here.

Get in touch with us on Twitter @crooked_friends or email us at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com.


Thank you to our sponsors!

Try Chameleon Iced Coffee anywhere you shop.

Get free shipping on your first order when you visit everlane.com/friends.

For up to $55 in free postage, a four-week trial, and a free digital scale, visit stamps.com, click on the microphone at the top, and enter FRIENDS.

Visit sunbasket.com/friends for $35 off your first order.

“A Country Built On a Hate Crime w/ Arjun Sethi” (8/2018)

Arjun Singh Sethi (@arjunsethi81), author of American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, joined Ana (@anamariecox) on this week’s pod. Over the course of their conversation, Arjun explained why he wrote the book: to center the perspectives of hate survivors, who live with the everyday hate not just of Trump’s America, but that -- shocker -- has always been present in American life. He and Ana talked about the general erasure of hate survivors in no less a setting that prosecution of hate crimes, and why hate crime legislation, restorative justice, and listening to survivors is so important in the first place. Their conversation also touched on the role social media does, and should, play in tackling hate. Lastly, they talked about how Arjun’s two German Shepherds help him continue to do this work, and the most important thing he learned through this project.

You can find Arjun’s book here.

A clip from Taylor Dumpson’s TED Talk is included in the show’s intro. If you’re interested in the full version, you can find it here.

Arjun referenced an SPLC report.

Get in touch with the show on twitter at @crooked_friends or email us at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com

Thank you to our sponsors!

Get one FREE month of unlimited Victorious fitness classes when you sign up at victorious.com/friends.

Check out Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant.

Go to Framebridge.com and use the promo code “Friends” to save 15% on your first order.

“Evangelism’s God Complex w/ Sarah Jones” (7/2018)

This week, Ana (@anamariecox) talked with Sarah Jones (@onesarahjones), a staff writer for The New Republic who covers social inequality and religion. Their conversation began with Sarah’s religious upbringing, and her journey from Christian fundamentalist to secular activist. Ana asked about what influence -- if any -- her parents’ teaching still has on her, as well as what the dearth of religious news outlets means for coverage of religion moving forward. Finally, at the end of the show, Sarah explained what she wishes people understood about white evangelicals.

At the end of the show, Ana answered a listener question about reckoning with depression as a person of privilege.

Sarah mentioned this New York Times piece.

Get in touch with us on Twitter at @crooked_friends, or email the show at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com.


Thank you to our sponsors!

Visit stitchfix.com/friends and get 25% off when you keep all five items in your box.

Head to squarespace.com/friends and use the offer code FRIENDS when you’re ready to launch to save 10% on your first purchase of a website or domain name.

Get one FREE month of unlimited Victorious fitness classes when you sign up at victorious.com/friends.

For your first refill pack free, visit getquip.com/friends.


“Contemplative Activism” with Teresa P Mateus (7/2018)

This week, Ana (@anamariecox) talked with Teresa P Mateus (@teresapmateus), trauma specialist, professor, and founder of The Mystic Soul Project. They began their conversation talking about Teresa’s journey to become a trauma specialist, and explored what her work looks like in practice. Ana also asked her to explain how well meaning white people can fit into the people of color centered approach Teresa espoused. They then closed out the show talking about how this moment is similar and different to what came before, and why we can be hopeful things will get better.

Get in touch with us on Twitter at @crooked_friends or email us at withfriendslikepod@gmail.com.


Thank you to our sponsors!

Go to thirdlove.com/friends to find your perfect fitting bra and get 15% off your first order.

Check out Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant.

Go to stamps.com, click on the radio microphone at the top of the page and enter FRIENDS for up to $55 in postage, a four-week trial and a free digital scale.

Get free shipping on your first order when you visit everlane.com/friends.