One of the most frustrating shows I have ever seen on TV is Larry Elder's.
He is a fifty+ black talk show host (who I think used to be a lawyer) and seems to always talk about issues that are really interesting to me.
Yesterday, he had 4 women on his show. 2 believed that women should stay home with their kids and not go to work. The other 2 have kids and work and wouldn't change that even if they could.
Today's show was a wake up call for me. Blatant racism against blacks is alive and well. A white dad, mom, and 20+ year old daughter were on the show. They told her, ever since she was young, that interracial dating was immoral. They disowned her when she married a black man and disavow their mixed grandchild.
"Is there any kind of black man, with any kind of resume, acceptable to you for your daughter to marry?" Larry Elder asked.
Without a moment's hesitation, both replied, "No."
"If I came to your house and said that I was dating your daughter, what would you say?" asked Larry (who, judging from this question, seems to be some kind of glutton for punishment).
"I'd say, 'Don't let the door hit you on the way out'," was the mother's reply.
That show was frustrating. For 30+ minutes I heard the mom and dad spew racist ideas and at the same time, deny that they're really racist. Maybe they're not. Maybe they don't think that blacks are inferior to whites. Maybe, as they claim, they just don't believe that different races should mix. Whatever their views, I was unhappy.
I suppose I was unhappy that they even brought up race in the first place. I grew up indoctrinated by public education to believe that race doesn't matter. Race should not figure into any important equation. Race should not ever be a factor. A person's race is superficial.
But here they were. Husband and wife, parading on stage with a litany of ideas, completely beholden to them, unapologetically denouncing everything that I had ever been taught about race. How could they do that?! What makes them so confident and sure?
I am not satisfied to simply encounter a different opinion and say, "Oh well, different strokes for different folks." I want to understand. And I don't want simple intellectual understanding, I want an existentially satisfying understanding. I want to feel the truth of their truth. I want to feel the persuasiveness of their argument. I want to be seduced, but not give in.
But I can't understand the racist couple. I can't understand the moms-should-stay-at-home women. And for that, I hate Larry Elder's talk show.
How dare he bring up interesting topics and not even try to resolve them, just a little bit. He just asks questions that put his guests' eccentric opinions on display, never asking them to justify them. Never challenging them. Never getting the audience just one little step further towards any real understanding. He just leaves me hangin'.