the full report

Greg Olson (00:01):

Hey, good morning Wayne. How are you doing today?

Wayne Hare (00:05):

So far? So good, Greg, how you doing?

Greg Olson (00:07):

Right as you take a cup, a drink, a coffee. Ah, I’m doing good. Hey, I’d like to welcome everybody to a, another Civil Conversations episode. My name’s Greg Olson. I’m the founder of GROWL Agency and really the big wig of the show is Wayne Hare here, which is the other guy on the screen. So we enjoy having this show really once a month on this. And sometimes we get a great chance to bring in guest speakers. And so Hey Wayne, for some of our listeners, maybe they haven’t heard of the Wayne and Greg show here. What tell me a little bit about you and what civil conversations is, and then we’ll get started with

Wayne Hare (00:52):

Sure. First, so please don’t call me a big wig. Like I’m a little sensitive about, about wigs, you know?

Greg Olson (00:59):

Yeah. You do not have any wigs there, but you have, you have nice eyebrows. I got to tell you that.

Wayne Hare (01:03):

Yeah, I’ve heard that eyebrow one. So, Greg I’m Wayne Hare I found a nonprofit and a project called the Civil Conversations Project. We started three years ago in association with a magazine called high country news where I sought out stories to write and film about that could help answer the question that I’m asked, you know, fairly frequently. You know, now that the playing field is all level why aren’t black Americans further ahead. And so I try to, I try to just show the, you know, the long and deep history of institutional racism, you know, if you’re if your grandparents couldn’t buy a house they had nothing to pass on. They had no wealth to pass on to your parents and if they couldn’t buy a house, they had no wealth to pass on to you. You know, one of hundreds of sorts of situations. So that’s what we’ve been doing. And in you know, about you know, after the George, what I call the George Floyd era after he was murdered, it really became apparent that it was time to kind of take this project to the next level so that more people could you know, be, be get tuned into this kind of what we’re going to talk about today, this false narrative that America tells itself and the world about itself that, that really it’s not meant to be racist, I don’t think, but it you know, it’s like so many institutionalized things. It is set up for white America to glorify white American kind of leaves kind of leaves black America out. So that’s a little bit about who I am and what the Civil Conversations Project is about.

Greg Olson (03:03):

Yeah. And I’ve really enjoyed this journey. And I think people listening can go, I was just pulling up the website here, And we’ll put that out after this recording to, so people can learn more. I know you keep updating that site. You have a team of people volunteering and working closely with you to continue to tell their story and how people can get involved and continue to learn. And yeah.

Wayne Hare (03:36):

Is you and the GROWL marketing agency.

Greg Olson (03:41):

Yeah, we are just so thankful and it’s been an honor to work with you and I’ll quit giving you strokes Wayne. And so people you know, I’m just getting, building you up so people will listen past three minutes. That’s what we’re, that’s why. Okay. So we’ll tell some jokes, but we’ll be serious and go from there. So anyways, look at for more information on that. Well, let’s get started, you know, I think as I have been doing this with you for months and months, and we do have past recordings of this on the, you can see the past Civil Conversations where we have great guests great speakers on various topics. So let’s jump into this false narrative and let’s talk about our founding fathers. Let’s, let’s go right to that. I think one of it is like what I learned when I was a young man and let’s take George Washington. Right. So tell me a little bit about why, why is George Washington have a false, why w what is the false narrative around this? And, you know and let’s have a little discussion through some of our founding fathers.

Wayne Hare (04:55):

Okay. We can talk about George. So when you were in school, you probably learn that George Washington in theory, received a hatchet for a birthday or something went out, they cut down the cherry tree. And you probably also learned that that he and Martha ran slaves, 300 of them. You learn that too. Right. And so which of those two, the myth about them cutting down a cherry tree or the non-myth about a moaning slaves which would you consider more important?

Greg Olson (05:35):

Well, of course him owning slaves. But I think the, you are right, but I have this image in my head of him in on, there was a Delaware river in front of, on the end of this rowboat leading all these people across as this, as this great warrior and leader kind of thing as my envision of him on a white horse too. Right. So we, I learned it and then more and more like digging into this narrative or this, the truth about him owning slaves, but I really wasn’t taught that in the very beginning.

Wayne Hare (06:04):

Yeah. And that’s, that’s my, that’s my point. Yeah. That’s what I was going to ask. Which did you learn first?

Greg Olson (06:11):

Yeah, I learned about the cherry tree and him on a white horse. And, you know,

Wayne Hare (06:17):

Yeah. I think he was on a white horse when he, when he cut down the cherry tree

Greg Olson (06:20):

I think you, I think he could, he did, he was original superhero of the country

Wayne Hare (06:28):

But you know, there’s this myth about them cutting down a cherry tree, you know, it sort of sets them up, you know, that narrative sets them up to show, you know, they’re really saying that this great man was always a great person. You know, even as a kid, he was, he was great, you know, he cut down a cherry tree and owned up to it, you know, right away and, you know, took the beat in or whatever happened. I don’t know the story about him owning slaves, that’s not such an attractive story. Know that that’s, that’s kind of a different George Washington. And so that’s what we’re going to talk about this false narrative. You know, we do that a lot, you know, like, like these, these you know, great white men just you know you know, always moving this country, you know, forward and upward towards that more perfect union. And, and so that’s A that these guys are human and that’s not really a true story. And B nowhere in there as mentioned of the black Americans that also participated in you know, in creating a more, always moving towards a more creative, a more perfect union. So that’s the narrative that I try to bring out so people can understand it a little more. So going back to George Washington. Yeah, go ahead.

Greg Olson (08:05):

No, I mean, one of the things you know, we were talking about this before is some things I didn’t know about, you talk about how he moves slaves in and out of Philly. He moved the capital to DC. So I, those are, can you talk a little bit about those two points? I mean, again, what I’m asking the listeners to do is either just points that we want them to go look into further for them to understand, you know, what was going on. That’s all we’re trying to do here. At least that’s my point. Right. cause there’s a lot of deep history here that we’re asking people to think to look into, but I think the Pennsylvania and moving the capital DC was interesting to me. I didn’t know those two things.

Wayne Hare (08:46):

Yeah. He was part of the Congress that worked on the constitution. And when you went up to Philadelphia to do that you know, there was there was a law in that state when that you know, territory that if slaves stayed I think X number of months, I think it was six months, then they could petition to be free. So, you know, he would, he would rotate his slaves in and out, so they didn’t get to that six month point. You know, he was pretty, he was pretty serious about keeping his slaves. One of the reasons that he advocated for moving the capital to Washington DC was, was adjacent to a slave owning state, Virginia. Yeah, I’m really not commenting on, I don’t think I’m commenting on a slave ownership so much. It’s just, again, just as a, you know, kind of like the, you know, the, the narrative that we’re taught and then the underlying history, that’s more, it’s more real we could talk about. We, could we talk about Andrew Jackson? You know what I mean? Certainly Andrew, you know, Andrew Jackson is who’s on our $20 bill. I think a lot of people know of his background. He was, he was the architect of a genocidal policy towards the Indians of the Southeast when he gathered them together. And they, the choice of marching to the newly formed Indian territory, which is Oklahoma, which is a Choctaw word for red man, or they could be shot. And they were just gathered up and you know, thousands died along the way. And it opened up the Southeast for more plantations. I think a lot of people know of that story. I know of Native Americans who won’t carry a $20 bill in their wallet. But the story that I think you don’t hear a lot is, you know, and again, I think it’s known that he was a slave owner, as many of our early gents were, but you know more serious than owning slaves is being a slave trader, which he was but a more serious hit than that is that when his slaves escape either, but all the other slave owners, did he quit advertising papers across the, I don’t know, across the South and across the East describing a slave and offering a reward to return it. But Andrew went one step further. He would also, he would offer an additional amount of money if that slave were whipped. And so, we’d often it’d be suitable for $50 and I’ve seen the advertisements. You know, copies of it showed up in newspapers. He had offered $50 for a slave to be returned and then $10 more for every hundred lashes up to 300. I don’t know why he stopped at 300 cause I’m pretty sure I don’t know a lot about whipping but I’m pretty sure she lashed 300 times, you’re bringing back a corpse, maybe just didn’t want to waste money on another 10 or 20 bucks whipping a dead guy. So, you know, that’s a pretty unpleasant story, but what kind of sticks in my mind, Greg is like these are the $20 bill. And my question is wasn’t there somebody else we could put it on the $20 bill that didn’t, you know, that didn’t engage in slavery perhaps, and didn’t engage in having a slaves whipped and you know, anybody. And then now we have of course a whole issue or trying, but Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill who was an actual slave and an actual hero who actually risked her life again and again and again, to free slaves instead of not risking their life to whip slaves. But you know, for some reason we just can’t get that accomplished according to Steve Munchkin or whatever his name is. You know, would just be, it’s just too much of a process too expensive. Let’s just set that aside. But Andrew Jackson really that’s the guy that we, that we put on a $20 bill and that’s the narrative that we put out there. This is a great, wonderful American. You’ve heard our president honor and respect and admire Andrew Jackson, any number of times, he’s got his picture of Andrew Jackson on his wall in the in the oval office. So what would you say about that?

Greg Olson (13:27):

Yeah, I think that people just, you know, either he knows the people know this narrative or they don’t, you know, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do on this show. So I want to keep moving through because I want to give people some key points to think about. Let’s talk a little bit about our national Anthem, the star Spangled banner, which I go to a lot of baseball games and sports games. And there’s been lots of discussions around this, but let’s talk a little bit about Francis Scott Key

Wayne Hare (13:58):

Well I’m going to sing the national Anthem for audience.

Greg Olson (14:03):

I’m going to wait. I’ve always had a dream of doing that, but I’m not sure.

Wayne Hare (14:10):

Okay. Yeah. I mean the national Anthem. So in, in recent times people have begun to, you know, mainly football games you know, kneel or not stand when the national Anthem is, is being played. Black athletes have, you know, in the past shown some resentment towards the national Anthem, raising fists in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. And the, the rationale behind that is to try to bring out that there’s kind of two Americas, right? You know, more recently the protests have been about you know, police violence towards black Americans. Not, it’s not a protest. Let me be very clear. It’s not a protest against police in general. It’s only a protest against bad police. I don’t know why everybody wouldn’t support identify and getting rid of bad police. And it’s not a protest against the military. It’s a protest against you know, overly violent you know, overly bio police. But my issue with the national Anthem goes a little bit back a little bit further, a little bit deeper than that. It goes to Francis Scott Key and it goes to some of the verbiage and the Anthem. So when Francis Scott Key wrote that ode to freedom. You know, when he wrote it, he owned slaves who, you know, they were slaves who weren’t free, not the type of slaves that are free, which is no such a thing. And in addition to that, if you sing the national Anthem all the way through and you get to the third verse, yes, there are multiple voices to our national Anthem. The third verse pays tribute to slavery and in a little more into Francis Scott key’s not only did he own slaves, but he was such a proponent of, of that, of that industry or that institution that when he was district attorney in in Washington DC, he tried to have a man hung for the crime of being in possession of abolitionist literature. That was it. And so my question goes back to kind of like a $20 bill or say, Oh, wasn’t there somebody else we could put on the $20 bill? And my same thing goes to that, to that Anthem. Wasn’t there some other guy that we could choose a song that he wrote, some guy that didn’t own slaves, some guy that didn’t try to have you hung from opposing slavery you know, some guy that didn’t write a song or a song, then they tribute to slavery or was that just like the only song available? And then again, you know, it’s so subtle, you know, that we’re, you know, our, you know, our involvement with race, our involvement with racism, it’s just so subtle. It’s, it’s built into everything starting from before we were a country. You know, personally, I don’t think that song to be on national Anthem now. I don’t think anybody should stand for that song. I really don’t. Just find another song we can do that.

Greg Olson (17:41):

You know, I used to go to a lot of hockey games, and I lived up in Northern Minnesota and everybody, I think for a long time, I knew the Canadian anthem more than I knew our own. Right. Because of, they would always play that when the Canadian hockey team would skate onto the rink. Right. So and I made me think like, what other the, the meaning behind some of these songs that countries have this, let’s say their national Anthem. Right. and you know, so I, I think you’re, you’re onto something here we have talked about, and we’ll keep going here, but we’ve talked about things like civil war monuments in the past episodes, and, you know, all of these things that are displayed prominently in through towns and cities and various places and songs and things like that. And again, things that we’ve never talked about, the $20 bill, for instance. So I think these are all fascinating for us to look at and like, you know, where do we start and how do we start to change these things? And I think one of the items is, is just us having this conversation on a monthly basis to continue to educate and create awareness. So again, I thank you for taking the time Wayne to do this with us. And again, you do a very good job of keeping it civil, and that’s what this is called civil conversations.

Wayne Hare (19:00):

That’s right. That’s because I’m a big wig,

Greg Olson (19:04):

One great eyebrow. I know we’ve talked about this, so, all right. Hey, I want to get on, we only have a little bit of time because one thing I promised our listeners is we keep it a little bit shorter and have more of these content as we launch into our 2021 kind of podcasting that you and I are going to be doing. We’ll have a lot of these shorter episodes or more ongoing things where we can get into these topics, but can we talk a little bit about code talk? And I think that, you know, the specific way, the way I look at this code talk, I think it’s that sneaky language maybe that politicians or others use to talk about racism, is that how you’re thinking of co-talk or are we thinking of it differently?

Wayne Hare (19:47):

I think we’re thinking of it the same, Greg, it’s you know, racism in this country again, right. I say all the time, I’m going to say it again right now. It’s just so embedded into the, you know, just into, into the foundation of this country that we have, we have a language around it that you know, as subtle and understood, I guess, by I think it’s, I think it’s more understood by racist than non-racist, you know? So you know, like, like the term law and order Greg, I mean, law and order is when politicians talk about, you know, doubling down on law and order you know, they are talking about, and white America understands and black America understands too that they’re talking about a law in order that is applied against you know, black Americans, you know, and that’s really the, the dog there, you know, we’re going to not let you know, black Americans get out of control and invade your, you know, white suburbs. It’s used in you know, like the Willie Horton ad they’re really famous, Michael Dukakis when he was running for president, George Bush, running against him, you know, found a criminal that that Dukakis said pardon. And he was out in the streets and killing somebody, and it was a really scary looking black guy. You know, we just put that out there just to kind of remind America that or have them believe that George Dukakis would, you know, that he was more, you know, for black Americans and George Bush was, you know, his message was, you know, I’m with you, white America will keep them in their place. When you talk about Ronald Reagan, you know, when he, and I can’t get a straight, whether he announced or just made a campaign stop at the state fair and Philadelphia, Mississippi, and you know, he did it at the very least made it make a campaign stop in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and at the state fair. And, you know, maybe it was just because there was a lot of people at the state fair. Maybe the state fair had good acoustics. Maybe the Mississippi background was a gorgeous thing to look at, or maybe it’s because Philadelphia, Mississippi is, is the exact spot where three civil rights workers were killed by the sheriff and some others and buried in an earthen dam that was under construction, you know, that movie, Mississippi Burning and you know, me personally, I think that’s why he was in Philadelphia, Mississippi, again, it was kind of a dog whistle. It’s a subtle conversation with, I think in this case, white southerners, like, “Hey, I’m on your side. I understand your problems. I understand that. I understand the issues here in the South, not to worry, you know, we’re going to keep, we’re going to keep you know, black Americans in their place.” So, Reagan and I think the first George W. Bush, the first George Bush shared a an advisory, common Lee Atwater. And Lee this, you know, in the sixties and seventies and eighties, it was getting where, you know things getting more politically correct. So I’m going to read you a quote. Ray Atwater said to Reagan, you know, “You start out in 1954 by saying, I mean, by 1968, you can’t say that hurts you. It backfires. So you stay stuff like a florist boss stage by it’s and all that stuff. You know, again, the code talk, they were talking about busing, and you’re getting so abstract. Now you’re talking about cutting taxes and all these things, you’re talking about a totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” So, you know, kind of maybe going back to Reagan. If I if I mentioned if I say that word or the words you know, if I asked you to imagine somebody who’s on welfare, you likely think about a very fat black woman and you know, Reagan again in his campaign. He, he just, he kind of pushed, you know, he created that term welfare queen. He created the image of the welfare queen, and here it is decades later. And, and when white America thinks of somebody on welfare, they think of, of a black person you know, just as an aside w a, there is no such program called welfare, but B those programs that people like to group and call and call welfare more white people are in those programs than black people, but still the image we have is a black person. He also talked about you know, the, the pain of waiting in line to buy your groceries with, with, with money that you’ve earned. And in front of you as a young buck neighbor, getting his groceries with food stamps. And again I think we know what color a young buck is, the same color as a thug is. So, we have all this, you know, this non-stop coded language to make sure that you know, that white America looks down on black American, the black Americans know their place

Greg Olson (25:45):

Wow. You know, all this is around. I mean, I don’t want to get off track cause I only have a few more minutes, but I think that, like, I want like listeners when we talked about even things like how infrastructure was built on American inequality and they built roads around black neighborhoods or through black neighborhood to create the vines and things. So anyways, every time we talk Wayne, it triggers previous conversations that you and I have had. And this is just amazing to me. And it is you know, it’s truly the impact that we’re still seeing and what we all started this out. If you remember, we were talking about racism in the West, right. And really, I still think, you know, we need to talk about how that is and things, but now we’re building up this story about how this has been ongoing and why we’re here today. So I do appreciate these stories and these quotes. They’re very powerful. So and we talked a lot about the Southern you call it. I think in the notes I have Southern strategy, but the, how the South and the different things going on, how impactful it’s been even to today.

Wayne Hare (26:53):

So, we know that Southern strategy mean white people like to say, Oh, there’s no such thing as a Southern strategy. You’re imagining that. But you know, maybe, but again, during the George W. Bush administration the head of the Republican national committee went to the NAACP in person, and he apologized for the Southern strategy of you know, these code words and you know, playing on, on white fears. I can see you kind of wrapping up Greg, but I’d like to take a couple minutes to talk about one of my…

Greg Olson (27:30):

Yeah, you can take up, I just wanted to, you know, keep us on track. Cause I know one thing you and I can get excited and next thing you know, we’d have an hour. And then you know, we don’t have anybody, we don’t have any more listeners. It’s just you and I talk, which is completely fine too, you know? Cause I, you know, but I just want to try to keep, yeah. So go on Wayne, go, what you were going to say. I love these key points.

Wayne Hare (27:50):

So a number of years ago, I took my son young at the time to the to Washington DC. And we arranged a tour of the Capitol building with our Senator, with his one of his aids. And so, it was a pretty cool tour. I liked it. It was, it was, it was fascinating. It ends under the, under the rotunda, the dome and center of the Capitol, the inside that’s where it ends. And on the rotunda is a mural, a 4,000 square foot mural. That’s a big mural. You know, it’s like three times or four times the size of my house. And on that mural, as the senators pointed out is a depiction of the entire history of the United States. So, you look up and there’s all these you know, not all, but the other several, you know, white guys on white horses, always white horses, you know, ferocious looking like horses, you know, snarling and ready to go get the enemy. You know, there, there are native Americans up there, they were Chinese up there building the railroad is there’s everything you can kind of, maybe not everything you could think of is an awful lot of stuff on this 4,000-foot mural. But what isn’t on that 4,000-foot mural in this building that was built on slave labor directly underneath a freedom of statute. That was, that was designed partially by a black slave. What’s not on that mural is a black person, not one, not even a slave, nothing, nada like we do not exist anywhere in the entire history of the United States. So I asked the aid about that and he looked up and the other 40 peoples where they all looked up and there was, you know, four minutes of uncomfortable silence. People shuffling their feet around a shortly. We’ve got to be one where there wasn’t. And so again, just you know, that can’t be a mistake that can’t be unintentional, right? And again, not all ongoing everywhere you look narrative about great white men doing great things. And, and yeah, we had some we had some blacks, they were, they were slaves because, you know, that’s why God put them on earth and not very smart. They’re kind of lazy. So we’re taking care of them.

Greg Olson (30:14):

So I’ll have to, I’ve looked up that image and you’re right. I don’t find any black people in that image that I can see. And I haven’t like got the microscope out. So maybe they’re behind some people. I don’t know. I get it. Cause I did look. So I think those are great examples and I’ll have our team, like maybe we put an image up as opposed to that, just so people can know what they’re looking at and maybe they can get back to us and say, no, you’re wrong. It’s right here. There’s a, you know, a little black baby behind the horse or something. I don’t know. But it can’t be a mistake. And I don’t understand why that is because when you first talked about that to me, I was like, you know, talking about the history and things and how can, why would that happen? Right. And that’s the, quite the, the light bulb that goes off in my head that I guess that’s why they have gin, so we can sit and have a gin and tonic and contemplate these things. But I, and I’m sure there’s a hundred thousands of examples like that in artwork, right. That I’ve seen or been in buildings and things like that. So, and again, we go back to the civil war monument discussions, which I found fascinating discussion that we have recorded that I think people should listen to about, you know, what are some options to these kinds of memorials in these cities and communities and artwork. And so, you know, how do we tell them, how do we retell the story or how do we benefit or get people thinking? So they’re really, I think that’s what this is, the civil conversations show story, and your efforts are all about I’m going to start to close us out because we are, yeah. We’re trying to keep it to a level that people can consume. We will have this episode on our connex. Wayne will also be sending out the link to his fans. You have a growing fan base, I’m thinking of getting a little bobble head doll of you and sending it around to people. So, you know, we can raise ones. Yeah. A little Wayne, little Wayne bobblehead. I think that’d be good. It’s been fascinating. Today’s show Wayne. I think we’ve talked about our founding fathers. You know, I’ve learned more about we talked about George Washington and Andrew and Francis Scott keys and we’ve talked, you know, you’ve talked about different things like a code talk that’s happening you know, through different, through these things. And, you know, next time I’d like to explore more about we’ve had, we didn’t even get to these broken windows policies and stop and frisk issues. Thurgood Marshall, names of military bases. And so we’ll have those on a future show and you, and I know we’ll get some we’ve have exciting opportunities for some speakers to come on with us. So we’ll look forward to that. Any final closing comments, Wayne?

Wayne Hare (33:16):

Yeah. Military bases that were named after ranking members of the Klu Klux Klan of military people who weren’t very good at their jobs. So yeah, that, that’s, that’s a whole a whole onther issue that we ought to talk about one of these days, Greg,

Greg Olson (33:36):

I’d like to learn more about that too. And so I think we’ll leave, we’ll have that on a upcoming show. Again, I’m excited that we’ll be having, we’ve had a few of these recorded kind of webinars, the podcast version. We strip out the audio, but we’re going to have a peer podcast Wayne and I are working on. So we’ll have more exciting topics to talk about as we keep going without, I wish everybody a wonderful day. And Wayne, thank you again for taking time to you know, have banter with Greg. And I think we’ll, you know, we’ll look forward to the next show,

Wayne Hare (34:09):

Greg. Thanks a lot for I mean, you know, this is all you, you’re doing, you created these and invited me into him. So no, I totally appreciate all of your involvement with the Civil Conversations Project and the involvement that your many members of your team with that. So thanks much, man. Yeah.

Greg Olson (34:28):

Thank you, Wayne. We’ll talk to you soon.

Wayne Hare (34:31):

All right, bye.

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