Episode for August 24, 2023
Stand Up is a daily podcast. I book,host,edit, post and promote new episodes with brilliant guests every day.
Please subscribe now for as little as 5$ and gain access to a community of over 700 awesome, curious, kind, funny, brilliant, generous souls
Check out StandUpwithPete.com to learn more
On today’s show I quickly recapped the first GOP debate without the guy likely to be the nominee and our watch party that we had so much fun at – then I got to my guest Robbie Jones to talk about his amazing and very important new book
Taking the story of white supremacy in America back to 1493, and examining contemporary communities in Mississippi, Minnesota, and Oklahoma for models of racial repair, The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy helps chart a new course toward a genuinely pluralistic democracy.
Beginning with contemporary efforts to reckon with the legacy of white supremacy in America, Jones returns to the fateful year when a little-known church doctrine emerged that shaped the way five centuries of European Christians would understand the “discovered” world and the people who populated it. Along the way, he shows us the connections between Emmett Till and the Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto in the Mississippi Delta, between the lynching of three Black circus workers in Duluth and the mass execution of thirty-eight Dakota men in Mankato, and between the murder of 300 African Americans during the burning of Black Wall Street in Tulsa and the Trail of Tears.
From this vantage point, Jones shows how the enslavement of Africans was not America’s original sin but, rather, the continuation of acts of genocide and dispossession flowing from the first European contact with Native Americans. These deeds were justified by people who embraced the 15th century Doctrine of Discovery: the belief that God had designated all territory not inhabited or controlled by Christians as their new promised land.
This reframing of American origins explains how the founders of the United States could build the philosophical framework for a democratic society on a foundation of mass racial violence—and why this paradox survives today in the form of white Christian nationalism. Through stories of people navigating these contradictions in three communities, Jones illuminates the possibility of a new American future in which we finally fulfill the promise of a pluralistic democracy.
Robert P. Jones is the CEO and Founder of PRRI and a leading scholar and commentator on religion, culture, and politics.
Robert P. Jones is the CEO and founder of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, which won a 2021 American Book Award. Jones writes regularly on politics, culture, and religion for The Atlantic online, NBC Think, and other outlets. He is frequently featured in major national media, such as CNN, MSNBC, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others. He is also the author of The End of White Christian America, which won the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.
Jones writes weekly at https://robertpjones.substack.com, a newsletter for those dedicated to the work of truth-telling, repair, and healing from the legacy of white supremacy in American Christianity.
He holds a Ph.D. in religion from Emory University, an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a B.S. in computing science and mathematics from Mississippi College. Jones was selected by Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2013, and by Mississippi College’s Mathematics Department as Alumnus of the Year in 2016. Jones serves on the national program committee for the American Academy of Religion and is a past member of the editorial boards for the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Politics and Religion, a journal of the American Political Science Association.