Host of ‘Pensive Politics’ Christian Watson Talks About Color Us United and His Recent Op-Ed

Host of ‘Pensive Politics’ Christian Watson Talks About Color Us United and His Recent Op-Ed

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the host of Pensive Politics Christian Watson to the newsmaker line to talk about his background, recent Orange County op-ed and the pushback he’s receiving based on his worldview.

Leahy: We are joined by Christian Watson on our newsmaker line. He is the host of Pensive Politics. It’s a podcast. And also is a spokesperson for a new group called Colors Us United. Good morning, Christian.

Watson: Good morning. How are you?

Leahy: Good. Color Us United. It turns out that we’re friends with Fred Levin, who’s one of the organizers there. You probably know Fred pretty well.

And then also Christopher Rufo as part of this, as is Ward Connerly. Tell us a little bit about Color Us United.

Watson: Well, Color Us United really is, I think this sort of machine, an organization that is trying to organize Americans around a very basic and good principle.

A principle that America was founded upon, that our race, our identities, whatever they may be, do not define us. That we are colorfully united by one single similarity that we are all individuals.

And that should be the most important thing about us because that is something that is unique to every single one of us. It’s not a category.

It’s not a box. It’s not a statement. It’s not a political sentiment. It’s a sort of natural condition. And so we are formulated on that principle and we’re trying to push back against the ideology that says your race and other identities are the most important thing about you because we just don’t believe that’s true at all.

Leahy: Well, yeah, exactly. Tell me a little bit about Christian Watson. Who are you and how did you come to prominence here?

Watson: I host a podcast called Pensive Politics and I talk a lot about race issues on my program and on my YouTube channel where my podcast lives.

And I’m not quite sure I would say I’ve come to prominence quite yet. But I have been putting myself out there over the past seven or so months as Critical Race Theory has risen in the public consciousness.

And I have been doing my best to not warn people, but just to inform people about what it is and why there are better alternatives to these sort of fringe ideas of the academic movement and that America was much purer and much better for all of us.

Not someone who is of a particular group, Black or White, not someone whose particular sexuality, that all of us can tap into.

And that is the idea that we are all free people and that free people have access to reason and that we can use that to live good and productive lives. That’s how I kind of formulated my entire brand.

Leahy: Christian, where did you grow up?

Watson: I grew up in Pennsylvania for the first 10 years of my life, but then for the last 11 years, I’ve been living in Georgia.

Leahy: So you’re relatively young.

Watson: Yes, sir. I’m 21.

Leahy: Are you currently in college or what’s been your academic background?

Watson: I’m actually in college. I’m about to graduate in the next four to five months. I’m graduating a little bit early. I’m finishing up the first semester of my senior year.

I’m studying philosophy and journalism, which was a decision some folks question, but I have not regretted it one bit.

Leahy: Where are you going to school right now?

Watson: I go to school at Mercer University in Georgia.

Leahy: Oh, yeah. Good school. Good school, Mercer. Aren’t they a D-1 school now?

Watson: I think so. I’m not the guy to ask about sports.

Leahy: You’re not a sports guy?

Watson: My knowledge is iffy a little bit. I try to keep up, though.

Leahy: So there’s this opinion piece that you wrote for The Orange County Register out in Southern California, and the headline is kind of interesting. Black Americans Must Overcome Negative Self Concepts to Succeed. Tell us about that.

Watson: So there are these mindsets amongst African Americans. And I made my thesis from an article by Sonya Lewis and her academic partner and they were studying mindsets amongst Black youth, various demographics. This is not just inner-city Black youth.

This is inner-city Black youth, the urban Black youth of every demographic and every economic status. And they found one stunning similarity within all demographics: the youth were concerned about the idea of being authentic to their blackness, whatever that meant.

Or more simply put, acting Black. And this was much more than simply a fashion statement, although it was certainly a fashion statement as well.

They found that it was a statement about how one is supposed to interact with academics and academia. They found that it was a statement about how one was supposed to speak and then conduct themselves in their private and public affairs.

A lot of these Black youth thought acting Black should consume the whole of their existence. And this is not something I needed to study to confirm.

Throughout my youth, I have been accused of not acting Black sufficiently enough and actually acting White for certain things, and it’s always bothered me.

But until very recently, I’ve never really put a lot of thought into how to work past that. The article in The Orange County Register is an attempt or a product – is sort of a way to work past that mentality.

Leahy: I’m guessing then that a lot of people have been critical of you?

Watson: Yes. Yes. The mindset of acting Black, and especially in this era of wokeness, authenticity is the biggest thing because for a lot of people who happen to be, mostly – may not be, on the left and who happen to have woke ideologies, if you do not act a certain way that is different from how the norm is, you are embodying the language and actions of your oppressor.

This acting Black thing isn’t just some sort of colloquial thing that was concocted amongst a bunch of youth who just don’t know much about the world.

It kind of has roots in a broader movement, a broader system to critique what is understood as normal in America and to replace it with a sort of revolutionary technique.

So when you realize just the depth of this thing, oh yes. There is, sort of, no escape from criticism if you deny it.

Leahy: Let’s follow up on this. You attend Mercer in Georgia, a good school. And when you have these kinds of conversations at Mercer with people, how do they react to you when you say these things?

Watson: The interesting thing is we don’t really have this kind of conversation and that’s the unfortunate thing. A lot of people, at least in my experience, are very non-confrontational on this issue unless you force a confrontation.

If you force a confrontation, then you better believe there’s going to be holy rage to pay. But a lot of folks are very scared about talking about race.

They’re most certainly scared about talking about acting White or acting Black because they don’t want to be castigated as a racist or as an insensitive person.

And so I think my project at Mercer and abroad as well has been to allow – set a foundation that allows – for a productive conversation to flow forth. And sometimes when you do that, you get criticism.

But I don’t really worry about the criticism too much. I worry about: am I reaching the people who need to be reached and am I causing or encouraging people to be courageous in their opinions? And I think once I’ve gotten past that point, it’s all uphill from there.

Leahy: Let me ask you a little bit about your personal plan. So you’re about to become a senior right? Are you in your last semester?

Watson: Yes.

Leahy: So what do you do after that? How does somebody with your world view, what’s your next career move?

Watson: What I’ve been trying to do for the past few months, and I’m going to continue my podcast. I’m going to continue running the Pensive Politics program.

I’m going to continue working with Color Us United to fight for race behind society. I’m going to continue just doing things that will allow my voice to be utilized in productive ways.

And hopefully will bless people with a certain different kind of understanding. That’s my hope at least.

Leahy: Did you ever talk to your parents about this issue?

Watson: Yeah, sometimes. And those conversations can also sometimes be hard to have. Not because anyone has a particular belief, but just because, again, the confrontation issue, this is not a critique of other people.

I myself have had this problem in the past. There are parts of me that just don’t want to talk about this kind of issue with anyone.

But as I continue to get out there and do this, I am beginning to engage more people and my family about this. And I’m happy that I’m able to do that because there are some folks who cannot do that, unfortunately.

There are some folks that, if they do that, themselves will be castigated and scorned if they hold a certain kind of perspective. But that’s not a problem for me.

Leahy: Not within your own family. When we come back, we talk a little bit more about this view of the world and the pushback that Christian Watson is getting on it.

Listen to the full first hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Christian Watson” by Christian Watson. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Pulliam Says State Legislature and Governor Lee Should Take More Than ‘Illusory Action’ to Rein in Woke Taxpayer Funded Universities in Tennessee

Mark Pulliam Says State Legislature and Governor Lee Should Take More Than ‘Illusory Action’ to Rein in Woke Taxpayer Funded Universities in Tennessee

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed retired attorney and blog creator of Misrule of Law Mark Pulliam to the studio to discuss the inconsistencies between Tennessee universities and their conservative legislators.

Leahy: And that’s governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem. A rising star in the Republican firmament. And she’s talking about Joe Biden’s reckless decision to cancel this Keystone pipeline. We are talking with Mark Pulliam in studio who is a blogger and a refugee from California. And then later a refugee from the People’s Republic of Austin Texas who’s come to East Tennessee and is sending out warning signs about the complacency of conservatives which needs to be addressed here.

But we’re talking a little bit about how the country will survive the next two years of the Biden administration between now and the midterm elections. One of my theories Mark is that we need in those 35 states where freedom is still possible, by the way, California is not on the list of those 35 States. You’re shaking your head. you agree with that.

But in those 35 states, we need to return to federalism. We need those states, the state legislators, and the governor’s states to be strong proponents of state sovereignty and push back against the usurpations of the national federal government. Kristi Noem in South Dakota I think it’s done a very good job of that. She didn’t do any lockdowns.

And is a great rising star. At CPAC I think she was in the top four-five of potential presidential candidates. My question to you you’ve lived in California recently. You’ve lived in, Texas and now you live in Tennessee. How would you rate the governors of those states in terms of their exercise of authority pushing back against the usurpations of the national federal government?

Pulliam: Well federalism is important. And in Washington, we have gridlock. We’ve got Chuck Schumer. We got Nancy Pelosi. We got a lot of complicated problems and it’s hard to get things done there. But in states like Tennessee where you have an overwhelmingly Republican electorate, where you have a Republican super-majority in the legislature, and where you have statewide elected officials who are all Republicans, we should be able to chart a different direction to run things differently.

And just because the federal government is in bad shape doesn’t mean that we cannot enact good policies at the state level. But we have to have the will and the resolve to do so. And what is disappointing and this was disappointing in Texas and I’m beginning to feel becoming disappointed about in Tennessee is that even though you have this Republican establishment that is in charge at the state level they don’t govern like Republicans should be governing.

Leahy: So when we talk about that, I think one of the areas that we’re talking about of air during the break has to do with how higher education here in Tennessee is being subjected to the kind of left-wing, critical race theory indoctrination that you are seeing in California, New York, and these other states. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Pulliam: Well, the legislature has plenary power over the state universities because they fund them. And the governor has a great deal of authority over state universities because he points to most of the members of the boards of trustees that oversee them. Nevertheless notwithstanding the fact that we’re paying for it, and we’re overseeing it across Tennessee at the flagship campus and at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, but at the other campuses, we see critical race theory.

We see the whole diversity agenda. LGBTQ. All of the elements of wokeness being woven into the curriculum. And our children are being indoctrinated right here in Nashville. At Tennessee State, Al Sharpton this semester is being paid $48,000 to be a lecturer and an adjunct professor in social justice. . . Why are the taxpayers and Tennessee paying him $48,000? He’s a despicable character and by bringing him in we are legitimizing him. But it’s not just Tennessee State. Its athletes taking a knee and being praised by University administrators.

Leahy: This is East Tennessee?

Pulliam: Well, not just East Tennessee the women basketball players at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. And at the men’s basketball players. In fact, all of the athletes at the University of Tennessee marched during the George Floyd protest, and this was during a COVID shutdown at the time. And the university administrators applauded it.

Leahy: That was back in the summer. But the one in the news now is the East Tennessee State University men’s basketball team took a knee recently to protest the national anthem.

Pulliam: And the coaches are defending them. And when the GOP legislators senators wrote a letter criticizing it the university administrators are pushing back and saying oh you’re violating these athletes’ First Amendment rights even though most of them are on taxpayer-paid scholarships. They’re wearing taxpayer-provided uniforms. They are representing the state of Tennessee.

Leahy: So is it a first amendment right? You are an attorney.

Pulliam: No. I think that what student-athletes do on their own time. That’s a First Amendment Right. What you do on the court while you are literally representing the state is rules can be set.

Leahy: So let me just stop. I think that’s a very good point. So the First Amendment basically gives freedom of speech but doesn’t require that people have an opportunity to hear you necessarily and you can go on a soapbox and say whatever you want. But if you’re working for an employer or if you’re representing an employer or an institution there are rules and regulations that bind your conduct at that time. Is that right?

Pulliam: Yes. And for all intents and purposes, they are employees performing a job when they are athletes playing basketball. And so what they do in their capacity as basketball players is subject to management and regulation by the state. and making people stand respectfully during the national anthem I think is part of that. The NFL is making people do that. If you want to take a knee stay in the locker room etc. There’s no reason why the University of Tennessee can’t do it or others.

Leahy: So let’s talk about that a little bit. And this is kind of one of the things that I find interesting. So in theory, it’s the state legislature that sets the law in the state?

Pulliam: Right.

Leahy: Signed by the governor.

Pulliam: And appropriates all the money.

Leahy: So here’s what I find. So the state . . . when we talk to the state legislators, it’s about two-thirds Republican in the House. It’s more than that in the Senate like I think 27 Republicans and six Democrats in the state senate. But if you talk to them they all are very conservative and very supportive of the Constitution. As an example, there’s a law that says the Constitution will be part of the curriculum.

But if you go in and you try and find that curriculum and find teachers telling teaching it, you don’t really find it in the way that the state legislature intended. We know this because as you know, we’ve done this Constitution Bee for four years now going on five written a book about it. Complimentary text Guide to the Constitution the Bill of Rights for Secondary School Students.

We are not getting a lot of teachers in public schools that really care to use that content, even though it hits all of the elements that the state legislature says should be hit in teaching the Constitution. So we see a lot of times the state legislature will say this is what should be done. But the implementation of it doesn’t seem to happen that much.

Pulliam: Well speaking of how a conservative legislature should manage taxpayer-funded universities. So five years ago there was a controversy at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville regarding gender-neutral pronouns and sex week activities.

Leahy: The sex week, we did a lot of stories on it. But they were really kind of bizarre.

Pulliam: Well it’s no more bizarre than a lot of other stuff that’s part of this curriculum. Well, so it got controversial the legislature defunded the diversity office. It got a lot of attention $400,000 taken out of the budget. What people didn’t realize it was only for one year. So after one year that the vice-chancellor of diversity is back.

All of the money is back. And in fact, it’s gotten a lot worse. Now, they have diversity officers in every academic department. Every department has to have a diversity plan. Critical race theory is being promoted throughout the school. And so they sort of pushed away a lot of this controversy by taking some action, but it was illusory action.

Leahy: We’ll have more with Mark Pulliam blogger at the Misrule of Law and Refugee from California here on The Tennessee Star Report.

Listen to the full first hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Mark Pulliam” by Mark Pulliam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author and Former NYU Professor Dr. Michael Rectenwald Talks About His New Book Thought Criminal and Cancel Culture

Author and Former NYU Professor Dr. Michael Rectenwald Talks About His New Book Thought Criminal and Cancel Culture

 

Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Dr. Michael Rectenwald to the newsmakers line who is the author of 11 books, including Thought Criminal and Google Archipelago.

During the third hour, Rectenwald gave a synopsis of his new thriller Thought Criminal and his experience as a conservative professor. He explained how he was dismissed by NYU for being a free thinker and exposing social justice agendas on college campuses as it is now entirely impossible to be in academia unless you are a leftist.

Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by Dr. Professor Michael Rectenwald. He was formerly a professor of global liberal studies at NYU from 2008 to 2019. You can find him on Twitter at theAntiPCProf. He’s the author of Thought Criminal, Beyond Woke and Google Archipelago. Welcome, Dr. Rectenwald to the Tennessee Star Report.

Rectenwald: Thank you, Michael. Good to be here.

Leahy: So we have something in common. You are a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Pitt panther. You got a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. I went to high school in Jamestown, New York just about 100 miles north of Pittsburgh. And you probably spent a few summers up I’m guessing at the Chautauqua Institute or know of it, which was near my hometown.

Rectenwald: I’ve absolutely been there.

Leahy: Yep. Great place, although they are so PC these days it’s just unbelievable. You have done some great work. Tell us about your new book Thought Criminal.

Rectenwald: Well, Thought Criminal is a science fiction thriller set in the not-so-distant future in which there is a database called the collective mind and there is a virus that’s been released, the protagonist thinks directly by the state. And the nanobots and then our robot that connects the neurons of the neocortex to the collective mind done controls inputs and outputs therefore of thinking in general. So the idea is to stay free of the virus because we connect you to this database that controls your thoughts. And the hero is attempting to stay disconnected and to retain his own individuality.

Leahy: It sounds like it’s a continuation of your work on what’s really been happening. And it’s nonfiction. Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom. And then I love this one. Springtime for Snowflakes. ‘Social Justice’ and Its Postmodern Parentage. Springtime for Snowflakes, was that a take on the musical play The Producers?

Rectenwald: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, Springtime for Hitler is exactly where it came from. And I’m trying to talk about the totalitarian nature of the left and I think that’s become evident by now to just about everybody.

Carmichael: Who do you include on the left?

Rectenwald: Well, ironically I include of course the Democratic Party today who are basically overtly socialist, but also Big Tech ironically, and most of the political establishment in general. But also ironically a lot of corporations are now considered part of the left. And of course, the deep state, or if you will, the intelligence community and the major bureaucracy. So basically it’s the entire social and political establishment at this point.

Carmichael: Now, why do you think that Big Tech and big companies are members of the left?

Rectenwald: Well, I think it’s pretty obvious what they’re trying to do is establish a kind of oligarchy on top with the monopolies basically and nothing else in between monopolies. And the rest of the people effectively are under ‘socialism.’ So it’s a kind of corporate socialism that’s being established.

Carmichael: Well, let me approach it a little differently. Let me use Warren Buffett because Warren Buffett for years has said that he should pay more taxes.

Rectenwald: Right.

Carmichael: That’s what he said. And then when he has the right the opportunity to ride a large check and send it to the treasury he demurs. So why do you think Warren Buffett for years has said he wants to pay more taxes, but then never has? Why do you think he has said it for years?

Rectenwald: Well, he’s trying to suggest that the oligarchy is benevolent in that they are willing to extend their largesse to the public. But I don’t think that’s really the case. I think they’re very much set on establishing and keeping their oligarchical position and then effectively dueling out whatever they will to the state and then the state to the people.

So really there’s an ongoing concerted effort to destroy the middle class. There’s no question about it. This is why you have all this socialist ideology coming out of every institution. All of Academia. Almost the entire Democratic Party and Big Tech actually promoting socialism. It’s a very ironic circumstance.

Carmichael: I’m going to tell you what I think it is. I think it’s the multi-billionaires trying to protect their multi-billions, and they don’t see the Republican Party as the threat to taxing their wealth. They do see the Democrat Party as a threat so they’re going to throw in with the Democrat Party to help the Democrat Party do what you say and that is destroying the middle class and set themselves up to be on the inner circle of what then becomes a fascist form of government.

Rectenwald: That’s right. It’s fascism but to the extent that it’s the collusion between the state and these corporations or oligarchs. But international fascism if you will. The only difference is it’s not nationalists, it’s globalists.

Leahy: Professor Michael Rectenwald this is Michael Patrick Leahy again, of course, earlier was Crom Carmichael who’s in here as a co-host every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I want to follow up with your own career. You’ve got a fantastic academic background. You left NYU, New York University in 2019. Is it difficult now to continue in the academic world and exercise free thought?

Rectenwald: It’s absolutely impossible. You must be a leftist. There’s no way around it. You have to be a leftist and if you’re not a leftist and you come out basically like I did by criticizing social justice and wokeness, then you’re in trouble. And that’s exactly what happened to me. It’s almost impossible to be in Academia otherwise, you have to hide it. You’d have to completely defect and be a complete socially isolated person and never speak your views once.

Leahy: What’s your plan to combat that personally?

Carmichael: Let’s ask him what happened.

Leahy: What happened to you?

Rectenwald: Well, what happened to me is I started a Twitter account called @TheAntiPCProf and started tweeting criticisms of social justice. And then I was interviewed by the student newspaper where I came out publicly as myself. The Twitter account had been anonymous, and then within two days, I was forced into a paid leave of absence and condemned by a committee called the diversity equity and inclusion group.

Carmichael: Whoa.

Rectenwald: Yeah. And they basically totally trashed my academic career just for making criticisms of what was going on at campuses.

Leahy: So what’s your plan going forward to be an academic public intellectual and make a living in this very different and weird world we live in?

Rectenwald: I’ve created a situation in which I’m basically uncancellable. I write for the Mises Institute and I write books and I live as a public intellectual at this point. I am a completely intellectual entrepreneur. So I don’t rely on any of these institutions for my income because it’s impossible to be a freethinker within these institutions.

Carmichael: I would encourage you that if you are paid to do public speeches that you come up with a number of pseudonyms. (Laughter) You can become an army of 20. They can cancel one speaker and poop you could pop up as another one. (Laughs)

Leahy: Hey, here’s an open invitation when the coronavirus situation improves come on down to Nashville. We will welcome you with open arms and give you an opportunity to speak. And our listeners here on the Tennessee Star Report would be delighted to hear your argument.

Carmichael: And you’ll like Nashville a lot better than wherever you are.

Rectenwald: I like Nashville. My publisher is located in Nashville.

Leahy: Is that Post Hill Press?

Rectenwald: The New English Review Press.

Leahy: I didn’t know about them. We want to meet them. So thanks for letting us know that.

Rectenwald: Great.

Leahy: Professor Michael Rectenwald, thanks so much for joining us and we look forward to talking with you more.

Carmichael: And meeting him.

Leahy: And meeting you in person.

Rectenwald: Sounds great to me guys. That’s fantastic.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Dr. Michael Rectenwald” by Dr. Michael Rectenwald.