Racists and Transphobes and Scaredy Cats, oh my Transcript

Megan:  Hi and welcome to the Vocal Fries podcast, the podcast about linguistic discrimination.

Carrie: I’m Carrie Gillon.

Megan: I’m Megan Figueroa. It’s been a hot second and I almost forgot how we start this, but I got it

Carrie:  it’s been a bit.

Megan: It’s been a bit,

Carrie: Life has gotten in the way.

Megan: Life got in the way COVID’s gotten the way my dogs have gotten in the way, I guess they’re part of life, but yeah, everything comes crumbling down sometimes.

Yes. I still think it’s impressive that we’ve done so many episodes during COVID.

Carrie: that’s true.  we’ve gotten down to about one a month and I think that’s probably where we’re going to stay for a little bit because I’m moving. Got a new job. I’m going to be teaching, we’re trying to write a a book. It’s just going to probably be too much to do more than once a month for the foreseeable future.

Megan: yeah. And it’s hard to get our guests too, I mean, people are busy or people just can’t, they cannot, you know, so

we totally understand,  But still look forward to some really exciting upcoming episodes. We have some great guest ideas and we’ll be having some good stuff in the upcoming year.  of course, if anyone has a topic that they want us to address, they should really tweet at us or send us an email.

Carrie: for sure.

Megan: And we just recorded our bonus episode for November, and we were talking about Sia. So if y’all want access to our bonus episodes, it’s actually a great time to join on Patreon because, you know, since we’re only having about one a month, one episode a month,  you can listen to all of our back bonus episodes.

Carrie: yes. And there are a fair number of them. I don’t remember exactly how many, but more than 24, I think.

Megan: Yeah. So if you’ve been missing this vocal fry, then that’s a way to get access to it.

Carrie: yes. Yeah. So if you want to access it’s at http://www.patreon.com/vocalfriespod, and that’s at the $5 a month level. You get all the bonus episodes and a sticker.

Megan: And can you gift Patreon things for people.

Carrie: Not that I’m aware of, but maybe

Megan: Christmas is coming or whatever you celebrate Channukah, um, other holidays, or if you’re boycotting.

Carrie: Other holidays, only Christianity and Judaism counts.

Megan: I know it’s so bad, it’s I, I’m not even either one of those, like, uh, you know, here we are though.

Carrie: I mean, solstice is like, that’s the real reason for the season. Festivus, Kwanzaa.

Megan: anything.  You know, and you, I don’t know. want to get something? We have a great mug too.  I’ll put some links up and I also made a new notebook that you can buy on red bubble.

It says “language changes. Don’t be an asshole.” And I think it’s very cool. and you can get it in any color. Just let me know right now it’s just black and white.

Carrie: Not even our colors?

Megan: Um, that’s coming. Ok Carrie. Life is hard.

Carrie: We have a brand.

Megan: I know, I know we’ll have a red and a yellow one soon and someone else wanted a dark, like a Navy and a white.

So those at least three will be a thing, but let me know, let Megan know. In case you still don’t know our voices, let Megan know which color combos you want.  I think it’s a pretty cool notebook.

Carrie: so. Yeah.

Megan: it would have been a cool notebook if it just said “language changes.” but it says don’t be an asshole. 

Carrie: No, that’s important.

Megan: It’s on brand.

Carrie: Yes,

Megan: red and yellow because, my brain can only handle so much. I was joking with Carrie earlier that we’re going to be an international podcast soon with her going back to Canada.  I guess that’s.

Maybe more exciting in my head than it is in reality,

Carrie: I mean, yeah, the whole time we’ve done this, it’s been long distance, except I guess a couple of times you’ve been up here to record, but it’s just going to be slightly longer distance and it won’t really make any functional difference.

Megan: It won’t make functional difference. I’ve gotten used to not seeing you in person cause of COVID, but still makes me sad to think that you’ll be so far away.

Carrie: I know, it’s been weird because yeah. It’s been however many months now, 10 months. Well, at least nine, it’s been nine months, basically, since you could really just be normal, we probably should have shut down earlier than that because yeah. COVID was like all throughout most of our communities and we just didn’t even know.

but anyway, we didn’t know. So, uh, so anyway, it’s been a long time since we’ve been, you know, behaving like a normal, like we normally did back in the day. And, um, yeah, it means that moving, it seems like less of a big deal because it’s not like I see people very often. I mean, now that it’s nice out, I have seen some people outside, cause it’s much more safer to be outside with a mask, obviously, but still,

Megan: Yeah. But it’s still a trick, Carrie. It’s still a trick. I’m going to be really sad when I can finally go back to Phoenix. Or, you know, travel and see people. I know I’m not going to go there anymore. Actually, my parent I’m just gonna have my parents come here what’s left in Phoenix? Nothing. So anyway, goodbye, Phoenix.


 I’ve been thinking about cults a lot, like lately because of NXIVM and,  the leader just getting,  His sentencing

Carrie: Apparently there’s an even better show about it that focuses on

Megan: India?

Megan: or something like that. yeah.

Yeah. I’ve heard people say that because apparently like the one that’s on HBO that everyone’s like is the most boring thing ever leaves out so many terrible things like that. It’s kind of like, I was already, when I’m watching it, I’m like, I’m trying to have sympathy.

Or empathize at all with people, these people that seem to be well to do and got into this cult. And I’m like, I’m having a hard time, but also cult, like the manipulation is gaslighting. It’s really just terrible stuff. But apparently like in seduced, you can see all of the warning signs even more like how disgusting, Keith Raniere was more,

Carrie: I mean, yes, but does that negate the fact that they were all brainwashed?

Megan: Yeah, no,

Carrie: No, it doesn’t.

Megan: I think I’ve joked and it’s not, it’s not like really, it’s not fair to me to joke, but I, I think I have joked about how, like, you know, the right woman at, you know, if I were like 19 and 20 could have gotten me to join a cult. Cause that was like a very vulnerable time.

Carrie: yeah, it’s extremely vulnerable for almost everybody.

Megan: yeah. So, I mean, I really, I do get that cause I would have loved some guidance at that age.

Carrie: Uh huh. Same, but I was also very skeptical.

Megan: Yeah, I’m naive

Carrie: I mean, I’m, I was definitely naive and I would say maybe a lot less naive now, but it’s still like, I was still very naive, but I was still, also very like suspicious of people. So like for example, there would be like Christian clubs on campus who would try and get me to talk to them.

And I was just like, Oh no, I’m like, I don’t, I don’t need whatever you’re selling and I would run away. So I was also very scared of being, of being like  somehow sucked into a cult. Like that was like one of my number one fears, which is a kind of bizarre fear to have, but I did have it. So, so I probably was not that susceptible

Megan: probably not. I w I was not actively thinking about cults, you know,

Carrie: Oh, I was, I don’t know why, like I, like, it’s not like cults were part of the zeitgeist really at the time. I really don’t know

Megan: Yeah, I know you just survived the satanic panic. Maybe you were like,

Carrie: No, I mean, yes, but I didn’t know. Like in the early, like in the mid nineties, the satanic panic was not fully like absorbed and understood.

Megan: right? I mean, they’re still trying to understand. All the ways it went wrong. I mean,

we have a better picture, but did you know that this is a true crime podcast now?

Carrie: Well, I, you know, you know, that I’m obsessed with like cults and true crime, although maybe less, maybe less true crime these days, but definitely still cults and there’s linguistic stuff going on. And I would love to have someone come on and talk about cults from a linguistic point of view.

Megan: Please, is there a person? There’s some very important gaps in our linguistic knowledge. And I think that might be one of them, but if anyone else,

Carrie: Oh, it’s huge for me, even though I’m obsessed with them, I still don’t really understand all the linguistic side of it.

Megan: Forensic linguist too I want to get more into that, because it would be nice. I think that what we do is important and practical, but I think a lot of people still don’t see how practical linguistics is. So if we could have some like forensic linguists where it’s like undeniably practical, that would be nice. you know, for a wider audience,

so when we talked to dr. Marianne Mason about the Reid technique and interviewing suspects, I think it’s really important. Cause I mean, I didn’t know about all that. I suspected that there were some, you know, bad shit going on during questioning of, of suspects, but to kind of learn from an expert on how language fits into this picture and how we’re basically taking people’s rights away with linguistics. Yeah. It’s I don’t know. Yeah. Anyone that studies, that kind of stuff don’t think that you aren’t relevant to this podcast. We would love to talk about more about that.

Carrie: Yeah. Anyway, I think you have something you wanted to talk about. That’s actually 100% related to our podcast.

Megan: Yes it is. So I, as I tend to do, got mad at something. Yamiche Alcindor is a white house correspondent and she is fantastic.

fantastic let’s listen to it.

Carrie: let’s listen to it.

Yamiche Alcindor: When president Trump is selling this idea that there’s a deep state conspiracy theory against him. That he’s the number one victim in America. So if he gets indicted, if he even goes to jail, he might sell that idea to the millions of people who voted for him. And he might become even more powerful. And that’s what the GOP is really scared about.

That’s why you’re seeing a, not that many people stand up to him.

Tucker Carlson:  It’s just, it’s unbelievable at every level. A correspondent who can’t speak in a grammatically correct sentence, a. B) the dishonesty of it. Framing this as another clever conspiracy by Donald Trump.

Megan:  so it’s really hard to watch and to listen to, because. It’s so racist. It’s so disgusting. I, I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m not surprised. It’s just always hard to watch these things and to hear these things, to say that Yamiche can’t speak in grammatically correct sentences.

I okay. So I listened to her several times. And I have no idea what he’s picking up on. Anyway, for one thing, I’m like everything that she said, like, if we’re going to really do this was grammatically correct in like mainstream white English. You’ve been like, I don’t know what you’re, what you’re talking about.

Carrie: Yeah. Like of all of the standard language ideologies that you could have.

Megan: Yeah. She meets them. And that’s, that’s another point of why this is so disgusting  is because of, of course this double bind that we put Black people in, but of course it’s always worse for women, Black women, um, where for them to succeed, we’ve said that they have to fit this standard language ideology, which is mainstream white English.

She does. And yet this white asshole racist asshole still says that she cannot not speak in grammatically correct sentences. She is still not passing the linguistic test, because she’s Black.  like we always said, it’s always a proxy. I mean, it’s what she said to your, to both of our ears is like what?  Isn’t that what, you know, we expect everyone to, you know, that’s what a marker of success is, is speaking like a white man or a middle-class white man or whatever in, if you’re in America.

  Carrie:  I would say  gender is not that important when it comes to it’s a standard English.

Megan: Unless we’re talking about tone. Right? So then women are like, you know,

Carrie: Yeah, but that’s not grammar

Megan: even white women yeah, that’s true. But it’s also like, I’m not trying to say that she wants to sound like she wants to sound white at all, because guess what? Black people sound like her because she’s Black, you  know, like that’s how a Black person speaks because Yamiche’s Black and it’s just like, what more. There’s always something more expected

Carrie: in this case, it’s not really about expectations. He’s just trying, this is more of a dog whistle than anything. he’s saying she’s Black. Like that’s all he’s saying. She’s not actually really making a claim about her language. I mean, he is, but he’s just saying she’s Black, that’s it.

Cause if like, if there were anything that he could pick on you damn well, better believe he would have said them. He would have said the words, like if she’d had dared to say “ain’t” or something, not that “ain’t” is only black, but you know, it’s, non-standard quote unquote but yeah, he didn’t because there’s nothing there for him to actually pick on.

So what he was actually literally saying was she’s Black.

Well, I only say  a dog whistle because he doesn’t actually say the words

Megan: I, you know, I mean, he may not have been able to pinpoint anything specific, like, “ain’t”, or whatever, but I mean, I’m really believed that he perceived it as ungrammatical because she’s Black,

Carrie: You think so? I don’t think so. He’s disingenuous. He is truly a disingenuous man.

Megan: Yeah.

Carrie: He lies all the time.

Megan: well, that’s true, but I do think that there’s a point there that there are some people that aren’t Tucker Carlson that will hear Black people speak, and it will think it’s ungrammatical, no matter what, like their perceptions,  are that, embedded in racism, that their perceptions are going to be off.

Just like those studies that we all know about. Cause we’ve talked about them on the show before, where if you have a picture of a white woman, an Asian woman and use the same voice, people will say that they understand the white woman better, even though it’s exactly the same voice. So I think the same things at play here.

Um, maybe not with Tucker, but there will be other people who will have perceptions based on the color of someone’s skin.

Carrie: I 100% believe that most of his listeners will retrospectively say, “Oh yeah, she was speaking ungrammatically.” But I don’t think that anyone would have thought it just from listening to her because there’s nothing there, like really like, if it like seeing her face. Okay. You can see, you can perceive that she’s black.

But even still, she doesn’t say anything

Megan: Right,

Carrie: that would violate any of their rules.

Megan: right. And yet, okay. Um, like I’ve always said, okay, Trump, the way he speaks is, is very interesting, but we should not be saying that, like, he doesn’t speak English or he still bad at English because he’s a, he’s an English speaker. He’s good at English.  Because ultimately, if we say that Trump’s speech is bad, it’s going to harm minoritized people and marginalized people, but people that Tucker Carlson think the way that Trump speaks is grammatical.

Carrie: that’s interesting. I bet that’s not true because, because Tucker Carlson is a complete snob. He won’t say it out loud because he can’t possibly say anything bad about, you know, dear leader,

Megan: but his listeners,

Carrie: but his listeners, yeah, for sure his listeners, I just think that he’s a

deeply hypocritical man.

Megan: He’s something. And the video is so hard to watch because he’s like the way he’s laughing. Like his face. I’m like, that is the embodiment of racism, the way he like it’s disgusting.

Carrie: Yeah, he’s a disgusting human being. Yeah.

Almost everything that comes out of his mouth is vile. Every once in a while he says something that you have to agree with and it sucks.

Megan: Right. Well, what is it like even a broken clock is right. Two times a day

 I know that Yamiche is amazing, but I don’t really know her views about her own language. I’m not trying to say how she means to sound or means to be perceived.

All I’m saying is Tucker Carlson’s a fucking asshole.

 I mean, people have taken it apart.  Black linguists have taken it apart on Twitter.

 no, what was her response?

Carrie: Here’s what she said.  I know I’m doing something right when Tucker Carlson is threatened by my reporting and making baseless claims about bad grammar. As the great Beyonce said, “boy, bye.”  So she’s, she’s not  bothered.

Megan:  Oh. Oh, of course not. I mean, I shouldn’t be bothered by Tucker Carlson, but it’s like one of those things where it’s like, we just have to keep pointing these things out, like you and I, I mean, on the show, like this is what we do. And also like, since we have certain amounts of privilege, it’s maybe people will  listen to us

Carrie: maybe we should be pointing it out more on our side of the fence. Because of course, Tucker Carlson is a racist. He’s a known white supremacist.

Megan: I will call someone out on my side of the fence right now. So God damn Latinx is back in the news maybe two weeks ago, like right after the election, one of the representatives from Arizona that I actually really respect Ruben Gallego  tweeted, “stopped saying Latinx ”  and I was very, very disappointed

 the thing with Latinx is there’s so many people that aren’t in the community that think that they can have an opinion, which I don’t get. Like, why are you saying that this should not be used because you know, the Latino community doesn’t use it when you’re not part of that community is really weird to me for one thing.

 but Rubin is. Yeah. So my point here is that a room is Latino. and he is not afraid to say it, right? Like, he will talk about Latino issues  and for him to say  don’t use Latinx 1), don’t tell people what to use 2) Oh, that’s so disappointing.

This is someone who was very progressive.  so he’s being, he’s being regressive. unfortunately I’ve seen a few other people that I respected.  I can’t remember their names now.

saying like in the last couple of days, not to use Latinx, and they’re in the community. so it was Dave Weigel [waygle]

Carrie: I think it’s Weigel, but it could be [Waygle]. I really don’t know.

Megan: Dave [Waygle] or Weigel, sorry, even though you suck  I want to say your name, right. This person is not Latino, but said: “how long can the Latinx label survive? It was coined to solve a problem for modern academics, removing gendered language, not Latinos. Is the Democratic Party’s political apparatus led by Latino, married to a term that Latinos don’t use.” So several things wrong with that. We talked about before.

 It wasn’t created by academics. It was created within the Latinx community.   I’m so tired of that argument. And also, I think it was perpetuated by non-friend, John McWhorter, because he wrote that Atlantic article and he said that Latinx was formed  in the ivory tower.

And I was so mad because so many people respect the Atlantic. That’s fine. but then see this by a linguist in the Atlantic and take it seriously. So I would not be surprised if Dave [Waygle] actually read that article. And, and I’m just like how much more harm will this article again, just because John McWhorter is a linguist doesn’t mean he has any

Carrie: Right. And he’s not part of the community. So I want to go back to Ruben Gallego who is part of the community and like maybe why this is happening. So right after the election Democrats freaked the fuck out because they didn’t win as many house seats and senate seats as they thought they would. And it wasn’t clear that they were for sure going to win the presidential seat either. And instead of waiting for the results, they just went into panic mode and you know some House people did lose their seats. And most of them were in fact, maybe all of them were more centrist. And so they’re like, Oh my God, all these quote, unquote woke things are ruining my chances. So there’s this, this internecine fight that’s going on in the Democratic Party between, more progressive and less progressive people.

And I just think this is just one of the threads that people are pulling on and trying to  place all this blame for a really weird election year. The pandemic, like all kinds of factors went into the fact that, Democrats lost some House seats and to put it all on Latinx is Hilariously bad.

Megan: Hilariously bad. I think that you’re right. It’s just so annoying to me because Ruben Gallego is someone I would put in the more progressive,

Carrie: he’s definitely progressive.  he likes to build bridges. And so I think he’s like, okay, I see what’s going on.  And he just was like, let’s just not even bother with this. Cause it’s just upsetting people.

Megan: Yeah. I mean, I hate the idea that building bridges means that we have to like marginalized the marginalized even more. I mean, that seems to be what happens  because then progressives, they’re going to go more toward the center and,  when you keep going more and more to the center to the left, it means that you’re dropping off more and more marginalized people

I mean, you think you’re compromising on things that don’t matter, but these things matter so much. And that’s why I wanted to talk about it again. Because I said it on Twitter  I would love to never have to tell someone to stop with their hot take on Latinx and just like move on from it and just use Latinx or Latine or, you know, whatever someone wants to use.

But people keep saying that they won’t use it. Or that it’s white Americans trying to place it on the Latinx community. And all I’m seeing is just like really harmful rhetoric that is ultimately hurting, I think trans and non-binary and non-gender conforming Latinx people. people keep pointing to the Pew, research,  centers.

They’re like how many people use Latinx and it’s like 3% or something. And it’s just like, For one thing who cares, like how many people are using it,  if someone’s using it, then someone’s using it and, you know, we should respect that. but that seems to be the thing that keeps coming up over and over again is the percentage of people who use it

 But it should be enough that, you know, some people are using it and that we should just respect people when they tell us that that’s how they identify or what they want to be referenced as.

Carrie: Like you don’t have to use it, but if someone else is using it, just let them use it, let it, let them be like, this is the, this is the thing it’s just like, do no harm. Like, don’t be an asshole. Just let people talk about themselves the way they want to talk about themselves.

And I guarantee you it had nothing to do with the election results. Zero. Stop it. You don’t have to like it. No one says you have to like it. Just stop talking about it  let it go.

Megan: so I’ll keep like, Retweeting or keep saying that Latinx and Latine are great. it’s not hurting the Spanish language. that’s for sure.  it’s so frustrating.

And ultimately it continues to marginalize the marginalized when we say shit like this,

Carrie:  people have very strong opinions about how language should work and, you know, we all do. That’s fine. does your opinion really matter? Right. Like, I have all kinds of opinions about all kinds of things. And I’m just like, does my opinion really matter in this situation? No,

 Megan: Right. Like if you, if you’re a cis non-Latinx person, what does your opinionmatter in this situation?  And for my fellow, Latinos and Latinas. That are against Latinx people that identify as Latino or Latina fucking get over  yourself,

Carrie: and you can continue to call your community Latino, do what you want. Like it’s fine, but other people can talk about their community the way they want to. give them the amount of respect that you expect for yourself. Bare minimum.

Megan:  And I get politicians are politicians and I’m not trying to like say that they can do whatever they want. Definitely not. But if some politicians are using Latinx instead to reach out to the community, to communities, what The

Carrie: Democrats are just scaredy cats. Like they lose a couple of seats or some cases more than a couple, but you know, they lose some seats in the house and they’re like, Oh my God, it’s the end of time.

Megan: I know,  definitively say Latinx to not destroy any house seats.  if the word Latinx or Latine bother you in any way, I really think you should stop and investigate why?

Carrie: and also if it’s really about the Spanish thing, well, then you’ve got Latine and you’ve got that option. Just like take that then. It’s fine.

Megan: Yeah, Like they/them

Carrie: it’s the same fight. It’s the same fight, but I feel like the they/them one is calming down. Cause I think it’s all it fits into English grammar, just 100%. And eventually people are like, Oh, I guess you’re right. And people will just get like so fixated on like one aspect. And once you convince them, actually it fits into language is fine.

They calm down. But this one’s not over yet. This is still churning. And they/them is still churning. I just feel like in terms of the amount of activity I’ve seen, they/them has calmed down

Megan: Right. Well, it has to do with the people that are only using the grammar argument. I mean, if you really don’t want to be seen as transphobic, then you’re going to need to have better argument. Um, and, and really there is no better argument if someone wants they/them. That’s that’s it final point. That’s it done? Just respect people’s pronouns and their identity markers. If it’s Latinx just be kind, Wow. People are ridiculous. well, anyway, you know, people continue to be assholes.

Carrie: Yeah.  we’ll see you all in December

 Megan: Yes until next time stay safe and masked.

Carrie: within your actual bubble. So, yeah, please stay safe and don’t be an asshole!

Megan: yeah. don’t be an asshole.

Carrie: We would like to thank our newest patrons. And thanks, especially to those of you who paid for an entire year, which you can do, and yeah, you get a 15% discount if you do that. So we would like to thank Douglas R Eich Elizabeth Peterson Annemie Hanson, Lisa Dücker, Christine Manke and Edward Riley. Thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

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