That Time I got Into a Fight with Larry Elder
This is kind of about politics, but mostly me losing my cool.
Welcome to another post from my essay series titled, “Politics and Bullshit.” This week we’re talking about the time I got into an argument with a Far-Right Republican. You can find the previous post here.
A couple of years ago, my former Podcast host, Selena Hill and I decided to discuss reparations on our show. At the time we thought it was important to give space for people with different opinions. We we ended up inviting Larry Elder to make a “policy backed” case against Reparations.
For those of you who don’t know, Larry Elder is the author of “Dear Father, Dear Son–Two Lives, Eight Hours,” and a radio talk show host. He’s also a very staunch conservative, who ran a failed race against California Governor, Gavin Newsome. I knew all of these things (minus the candidacy, this was years before) but still was unprepared for what happened. We knew that Larry would be against Reparations, I don’t know if we expected him to sound like Trump. Larry spent the interview blaming single mothers, “Black on Black crime” and “low value” people for Black poverty, and after 20 minutes of this I lost my cool. The clip below is what happened next.
Can we be honest with each other? I’m not proud of this clip. I mean sure, Larry Elder was offensive and extremely problematic but what did interrupting, name calling and silencing him accomplish? Nothing. Larry didn’t change his mind about Reparations, and his politics are still conservative. As much as it hurts my ego, and doesn’t feel good in the moment, it’s important to be kind and curious. This is an example of me not doing that, so yeah, this is a pretty fiery clip, but it changed nothing, so what was the point?
I personally don't think you did anything wrong at all, and I certainly don't think you were misbehaved. I think you're allowed to clap back at someone in a targeted way. You still respected him, and explained your point thoroughly and with facts... I think this sort of emotional back and forth makes for good content, and quality old-fashioned debates. I don't think everything needs to be softened to be most impactful. Sometimes the clapback is most impactful!