Right Now in Unpopular

Every week, host Rose Reid interviews changemakers, disruptors, and trailblazers from all over the world and across the aisle. The Women is now available wherever you get your podcasts. Listen here.

BONUS: Anticolonial Resistance with Dr. Priyamvada Gopal

Stay tuned for season 2 of Unpopular! In the meantime, enjoy this episode with Dr. Priyamvada Gopal, author of the book "Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent," stops by the show to discuss how enslaved people and people who lived in the British colonies were not just passive subjects of British oppression. Dissenters at home in the U.K. and abroad rejected the tyranny of imperialism and actively rebelled against the empire, uniting different oppressed groups and insurgents along the way.


Find Dr. Priyamvada Gopal on Twitter @PriyamvadaGopal


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Introducing Worst Year Ever

2020 isn't going to be fun for anybody, left, right, or center. What many call the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime is going to be exhausting, ugly, angry, and probably at least a little racist. Listen as Robert, Katy, and Cody try to keep level heads covering the election while traveling the country, from the Iowa Caucus to gun shows and anti-vaccine conventions, finding out what Real America really wants and thinks during the, “Worst Year Ever.”

The first two episodes are now available. You can listen here.

Introducing Modern Ruhles with Stephanie Ruhle

In Modern Ruhles, MSNBC anchor and NBC News correspondent Stephanie Ruhle brings her characteristic curiosity, empathy and insight to some of today’s thorniest, most complex conversations.

Modern Ruhles is now available. Listen here.

Enslaved women were involved in uprisings, even though prominent narratives of revolts focus on the actions of men. In this bonus episode, Yves speaks with Dr. Rebecca Hall about the reasons why women have not been widely recognized in the history of slave revolts and about some of the enslaved women who participated in rebellions. 
 
Keep up with Dr. Hall on Twitter @WakeRevolt 
 
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Richard Wright: Hurling Words Into Darkness

“I knew that I lived in a country in which the aspirations of black people were limited, marked-off. Yet I felt that I had to go somewhere and do something to redeem my being alive.” – Richard Wright, from “Black Boy.”

Richard Wright’s writing was controversial. His work was both praised as improving race relations and criticized as perpetuating dangerous stereotypes of Black people in the United States. James Baldwin took issue with Wright’s novel “Native Son” and protest fiction’s reductionist approach to race relations and Black humanity. Wright’s work ignited conversations about race and about the treatment and perspective of Black Americans. But the role of this literary protest in bettering Black lives and futures was disputable. 

Today’s episode wraps up season one of Unpopular. We’ll be back in October. But in the meantime, be on the lookout for bonus episodes. And don’t forget to share, rate, and review the show.

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Hans and Sophie Scholl: A Call to Action

Nazi Germany was oppressive, racist, and barbaric. Dissidents were arrested and killed under the Nazi regime. Still, vocal opponents of the government emerged. Some of them were involved in the White Rose, a nonviolent resistance group that distributed leaflets informing people of the Nazis’ atrocities and urging them to break their silence. Two people involved in that group were a sister and brother named Sophie and Hans Scholl. 
 
In this episode, we trace the Scholls’ path to resistance and look back on their efforts, which were cut short when the Nazis ordered their execution. What’s the value of spreading awareness against the state when it’s so massive, powerful, and unrelenting?

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Vincent Ogé: Privilege and Protest

Vincent Ogé was a free man of color in Saint-Domingue, or modern-day Haiti, in the mid- to late-18th century. He petitioned for the rights of wealthy free men of color – a class distinct from free Black slaves – but he upheld the institution of slavery. Ogé was not a revolutionary, and it’s hard to know the degree to which self-preservation, internalized racism and white supremacy, classism, ego, and compassion informed his decisions, separately. But his activism and sensationalized execution set the stage for the extension of rights to free men of color and heralded the uprising of enslaved people in Saint-Domingue. 
 
His resistance isn’t a model to follow to a T. It was exclusionary and executed at the expense of more marginalized and mistreated people, under the specific circumstances of that time. What Ogé did do was challenge racist colonial practices and advocate for the civil rights of an exclusive group of people of color. The question is, how can we put our specific privileges and powers to work in a meaningful way? 
 
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Andrei Sakharov: The Physics of Protest

Andrei Sakharov was a nuclear physicist whose secret work was instrumental in the secret development of Soviet thermonuclear weapons. Initially committed to the necessity of his contributions to the design, construction, and testing of hydrogen bombs, Sakharov began to feel the pressure of personal and professional responsibility. The testing and deployment of nuclear weapons was a moral and biological issue that Sakharov could no longer condone. And he became a dissident. He said in an essay, “Freedom of thought is the only guarantee of the feasibility of a scientific democratic approach to politics, economy, and culture.”

Sakharov’s activism extended beyond disarmament, though. He campaigned for peace and human rights, and he was exiled for his dissent. If Sakharov’s story carries any weight, major turns in thought and action are not impossible, even though they may take a while.

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The Mirabal Sisters – Patria, Minerva, Maria Teresa, and Dedé – were known as las Mariposas (the Butterflies) in the anti-Rafael Trujillo underground. The Trujillo regime openly persecuted and even killed dissidents and opponents. Still, the sisters organized a resistance against the dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and put their lives on the line in doing so. They raised awareness about the brutality of the regime and prepared for an armed uprising. 
 
Until their assassination, they fought for freedom from fear and state oppression and terrorism. For that they remained a threat in the eyes of Trujillo. But that same activism and dedication to creating a better future for the Dominican people inspired in others the will to protest and the ability to envision progress. 
 
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Qiu Jin: Poet, Teacher, Revolutionary

“The old traditions are extremely shameful: Women treated as if they were no different from cattle! The light of dawn now brings the tide of civilization. We’ll take the lead in independence. Let’s eradicate our slavery, become proficient in knowledge and learning. We’ll shoulder that responsibility. We women heroes of our nation will never betray its trust!” – from “A Fighting Song for Women’s Rights” by Qiu Jin. 
Qiu Jin was nationalist, anti-Qing and anti-Manchu, and pro-women’s liberation. She did not mince her words when speaking about the failure of the Qing government, the oppression of women in China, and her discontent with foreign dominance in China. She was executed for her attempt to overthrow the Qing Dynasty, and she’s since attained hero status in Chinese history. How do her challenges of gender roles, advocacy for women’s rights, and criticism of government resonate when it comes to revolutionary efforts today? 
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Ida B. Wells: The Light of Truth

From 1882 to 1968, more than 4,700 people were lynched in the United States, most of them Black. They were lynched for attempting to vote. Lynched for seeming suspicious. Basically, it didn’t take much for a mob to deem the murder of a Black person necessary, and the lynching itself was often the white community’s idea of a good old-fashioned gathering. 
Ida B. Wells, an investigative journalist and activist born in the South, used words to break down the myths that white people used to justify lynching and exposed the brutal practice for what it truly was – racial terrorism designed to spread fear and limit Black power. 
Wells died less than a century ago. The importance of her research, organizing, and activism can’t be overstated, especially considering the profound and detrimental effect lynching has left on law enforcement, criminal justice, race relations, and Black lives in the United States. 
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Stephen Bantu Biko: The Road Toward Emancipation

"This is the first truth, bitter as it may seem, that we have to acknowledge before we can start on any programme designed to change the status quo. It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realise that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth. This is what we mean by an inward-looking process. This is the definition of “Black Consciousness” – Steve Biko, We Blacks, 1984. 

Today, we recognize South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who encouraged a mindset shift, promoting the idea that black is beautiful and that Black people should view themselves as human beings. By rejecting white dominance and empowering Black South Africans to embrace their humanity, Biko became a threat. His resistance and emphasis on decolonizing the mind is relevant today. 
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Galileo: Reason and Rejection

Galileo wrote the following in his 1615 letter to the Grand Duchess Christina: "But I do not feel obliged to believe that that same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them." Galileo was convinced the sun was near the center of the universe. Other people (ahem, the Catholic Church), not so much. As we are still fully aware of today, it can be pretty rough to get people onboard with new scientific knowledge -- and to get them to give up what they've always known.
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Amelia Bloomer and Elizabeth Smith Miller: Seeking (Re)dress

Victorian social mores may have taken the idea that women should be seen and not heard a little far, if you consider how ostentatious the garb of mid-18th century middle-class women was. Petticoats could be cumbersome, and corsets could cause a wearer physical harm. But fashion is worth it, right? Nay, some women said. Amelia Bloomer and Elizabeth Smith Miller advocated for more "rational dress" and -- gasp! -- wore pants. Today on the show, we ask: What's the value in pushing back against norms of dress? 
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Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti: The Lioness of Lisabi

Nigerian women's rights activist and teacher Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a force to be reckoned with. From the work she did protesting taxes on women, to her efforts in educating children and women, to her opposition of British colonialism, she played a major role in mid-20th century Nigerian politics and society. There were people who sought to diminish her power, as she fought systems that privileged few and penalized many. But what she was doing wasn't about her. Whether one enemy or 1,000 -- if the fight is worth it, it's worth it. 
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Sitting Bull: Warrior, Leader, Symbol

A large part, but by no means the only part, of the story of Native Americans once Europeans arrived in the Americas is persecution. White colonists attempted to strip away their traditions, land, and lives through policy and combat. Many Native Americans assimilated, some going so far as to advocate for slavery and enslave Black people. Others resisted the dominance of white supremacy and the destruction of tribal culture. Sitting Bull was a Hunkpapa Lakota leader who dedicated his life to making sure his people and his culture could persist. He met a tragic end, but there's a reason his reputation as a warrior precedes him more than a century after his death. 
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Introducing Unpopular

Throughout history, people have been denounced and demonized for dissenting from the majority. But that didn’t stop them from speaking up. Unpopular is about resisters and pariahs, rebels and revolutionaries. People like Sitting Bull, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Galileo, and the Mirabal Sisters took a chance on what they believed in – and inspired real change. Every week, host Yves Jeffcoat tells the story of someone who challenged the status quo, connecting the dots between their history and the history we’re making today. Unpopular launches on May 30th. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, the iHeartRadio app, and wherever else you get your podcasts. 

At times when people accepted the status quo without question, some rebels have dared to resist. When a cause is noble, it often pays to be unpopular.