My new Race-Baiter adventure: Talking up the book with Bubba the Love Sponge and CNN
Never had a heated debate on the effects of code words, prejudice and racism in a radio studio with a built-in shower stall and band stage.
But that all changed on Friday, when Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem invited me onto his morning show to talk about my new book, Race-Baiter.
The almost hourlong bit capped a week where my talk at the University of South Florida in Sarasota was featured in an interesting online publication called the Sarasota News Leader (that presentation, formatted as a conversation with Sarasota Herald-Tribune op-ed editor Tom Tryon, was also filmed for C-SPAN's Book TV; expect to see that here soon) and CNN welcomed me on to talk about my recent piece on life as a black nerd.
But the Bubba experience was something else, starting with the "green room" where guests wait to go onto the show -- tricked out with a sprawling pool table, lots of autographed guitars, lots of couches, a bar and Bubba Army logos plastered everywhere.
Inside, the studio was dark as a nightclub, with Bubba seated up on an elevated area with a sound board and control panels allowing him to regulate the show's flow. I grabbed a wireless microphone and headphones to sit down with Clem, his sister Tara, producer Brent Hatley -- who came up with this crazy idea in the first place -- and Manson.
As you might expect, the guy who presents a Mexican Olympics every year to celebrate Cinco de Mayo didn't appreciate what I had to say about how he often talks about race on his show. As I often say during my speeches on material from the book, stereotypes often don't seem as ugly as we expect -- they explain the world in ways which seem to make sense, entertaining and comforting us in the same moment.
Clem pointed out many of the good things he's done on his show, from offering rewards to catch criminals to criticizing suspicious charities. My take: the good works are wonderful, now lets work on getting you right on all the stereotypes you're passing along in your humor.
It was an interesting morning, to be sure. Check out the audio below: