🎁'Tis the season to support public service journalism Donate Now
Critical race theory has been around for decades — why’s it a powder keg now? (rerun)
Dec 21, 2021

Critical race theory has been around for decades — why’s it a powder keg now? (rerun)

On today's show, we'll talk to a critical race theorist about what CRT is and isn't — and what the recent controversy has to do with voting restrictions.

Hey smarties! We’re on a break for the holidays and revisiting some favorite episodes from 2021. We want to say a big thank-you for being part of the “Make Me Smart” family this year — every voicemail, question and donation made a huge difference. None of us is as smart as all of us, and we couldn’t do this show without you. There’s still time to help Marketplace reach its end-of-year fundraising goal. If you can, please donate here. Thanks, happy holidays and we’ll see you in the new year.

If you’ve been tuned in to the culture war at all in the last six to 12 months, you’ve probably heard a lot about “critical race theory.” You’ve probably heard less about what it actually is. We asked a critical race theorist.

“We had social inequality of serious dimensions … even after the victories of the civil rights movement in the embrace of a so-called colorblind society,” said law professor Cheryl Harris of the University of California, Los Angeles. “And we wanted to ask, what is the role of law in that? Is this an enforcement problem?”

CRT, as it’s sometimes called, posits that racism is not just perpetuated by individuals, it’s embedded into our institutions. But Harris said  recent Republican efforts to ban CRT from schools aren’t really about those decades-old discussions, but an effort to create a political “boogeyman.” Some conservative thinkers have said as much.

On today’s show, we’ll go deep with Harris on the nuances of what CRT is and isn’t, and what the recent controversy around systemic racism in schools has to do with the voting restrictions we talked about last week.

Later in the show, we’ll talk about California’s new rental-assistance program, Juneteenth commercialization and the economic conditions that would cause the rich not to get richer. (Spoiler alert: There really aren’t any.) Plus we’ll hear from a listener who is celebrating becoming debt-free.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Make Me Smart December 21, 2021 transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Kai Ryssdal: Hey everyone, it’s Kai, and yes, Make Me Smart is taking a break for a few weeks. But you’re still here listening so figured we’d share some of our top episodes from the past year. Before we get to that though, I was hoping you could help us hit our end of year fundraising goal. Your support is critical. Help us keep doing the work we do with Make Me Smart, and Marketplace by making a tax-deductible donation, at Marketplace.org/GIVESMART. Or click the link in the show notes. Thank you for your support, it really makes a difference. And now on to the show.

Kimberly Adams: I am ready.

Kai Ryssdal: Drew Jostad, do that thing that you do.

Kimberly Adams: He was right on time.

Kai Ryssdal: He was, and you know what’s really funny? I don’t have the right piece of paper in front of me on my computer. Hey, everybody, it’s Kai Ryssdal. I’m woefully unprepared but that’s okay. It’s, it’s Tuesday, deep dive Tuesday is what we do around here on this day of the week.

Kimberly Adams: Yes, and I’m Kimberly Adams, welcome, welcome back to Make Me Smart, where none of us is as smart as all of us. And which is why today we are going to be talking about something that is so in the conversation, you’re probably hearing it everywhere. CRT, critical race theory.

Kai Ryssdal: It has been around for decades as a theory and an idea. And in the last, I don’t know, six, eight, ten, twelve months, it has kind of exploded for a lot of, for a lot of reasons, which we will get into. But the idea basically is that racism is, is not just perpetuated by individuals in the society, it is institutional to our founding. Everything from the legal system to, to the economy that we have in the United States.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, kind of embedded into everything just because of the way that this country came to be. And this topic has exploded, in particular, because a lot of conservative groups are using CRT to protest lessons on systemic racism and a lot of other topics at schools. And these conflict is especially heated in places where Republican lawmakers are introducing legislation to ban the, what they call the teaching of CRT. So lots to unpack here.

Kai Ryssdal: So we’ve gotten a scholar of critical race theory on the phone. Cheryl Harris is a critical race theorist, also a professor of law at UCLA. Professor Harris, thanks for coming on.

Cheryl Harris: Thank you for having me.

Kai Ryssdal: Can we start just because this phrase has been bandied about out there by so many people who have only a tenuous grasp of what it actually is, could you give us the, if this is even possible, the thumbnail description of critical race theory?

Cheryl Harris: Certainly. I’ll start by saying that those of us who identify with critical race theory and as critical race theorists, we’re like millions of people who came into the street last summer and millions more who expressed support for a broader idea of real equality and for our practices to match the values we espouse. 20, 30 years ago, we had the same aspiration. And as law professors, we were focused on the law. And the question we were trying to grapple with is why, despite the fact that we have had laws and legislation against discrimination since Reconstruction, all the way up through the Voting Rights Act, and that we’ve struggled for so many years to try to achieve it, that we continue to have huge racial disparities in society, basically across every dimension of American life, whether it’s education, health care, the law itself, housing. And our concern was that we needed to figure out what role law was playing in helping us achieve or in thwarting the goals that we had. So the basic issue was we had social inequality of serious dimensions that still was in existence, even after the victories of the civil rights movement and the embrace of a so called colorblind society. So we have a society committed to colorblindness, but we still end up with a lot of visible racial inequality. And we wanted to ask, what is the role of law in that? Is this an enforcement problem? If we think about society like a big building that turns out not to be functioning very well in some respects, we could maybe say, is this a code enforcement problem? Is this an architectural design problem? Is it a problem that goes deeper than the code in the process? And so we were trying to take a deeper look that went beyond the standard story of, we’re all evolving to a colorblind reality. But I, I want to say, if I may, that, and to some extent I think your introduction invites this, that in some respect, this attack on CRT isn’t really about that idea. It’s not about what we write. It’s not about CRT itself. And we know that because the people who are attacking it have said so. They’ve kind of said the quiet part out loud. Christopher Ruffo, who’s one of the big architects of this, has said in one of his tweets that his objective is to make the brand CRT toxic, to load it with all the cultural insanities, this is his words. So, that leads, you know, leads me to say that this really isn’t about CRT itself. In some respects, it’s about last summer, it’s about George Floyd, it’s about Brianna Taylor, it’s about the Georgia election and the emerging new majority. Partly what’s happening here is that the opponents of change want to label any anti-racism as toxic in order to keep power. And in effect, they’re censoring any meaningful discussion of racial inequality. They’re trying to actually throttle something just as it’s coming into being in order to maintain power and control.

Kimberly Adams: And I should say you mentioned Christopher Ruffo who’s at the Manhattan Institute, if I’m not mistaken. And I imagine we’ll have links to those now archived tweets in our show notes. That explanation you laid out at the top of what critical race theory actually is and how it was developed is so complex and nuanced. And that is not at all the discussion that we’re having in this country right now.

Cheryl Harris: No, no, it’s not. It’s not. And, I mean, maybe, if I may, break it down to an analogy. It is complex. But if we go back to our building code violation, or our building code situation, and we think about it this way: there was a time when we put asbestos in all of our buildings all over the place. We now realize that that was toxic. So what’s the solution? Well, we have people who can look at the design of the buildings to see where it is, they can grade the level of toxicity, they can do all these things to assess it, to figure out how to extract it safely. And how do we do all these things? Partly what Critical Race Theory is doing is trying to deal with that, it’s trying to actually figure out how you get the stuff that’s embedded in the building out safely. And what’s happening now is, if we take this analogy into what these legislators the, this legislation is proposing, is it’s telling us that the solution to asbestos toxicity is not to see it, not to name it, and not to remove it, and not to even talk about it. They’re doubling down and they’re actually saying, we’re going to punish you, because this is what some of these laws are doing in places like Oklahoma and others, imposing penalties on those who violate it. We’re going to punish you if you run around and try to identify the asbestos and try to remove it. And in fact, maybe what we ought to do is banned the word asbestos because if people find out they’re living in a building with asbestos, they might feel discomfort, they might feel bad. One of the provisions of one of these laws actually says, you can’t teach this idea if it’s going to create feelings of discomfort in students. So, in some respects, I guess what I’m saying is it is complex, but in another level, it would have to be. Given the history of our country, it could not be simple to either talk about this or to deal with it or to try to address it. What’s very disheartening about this situation is that so much of the conversation is staying on the question of what CRT is or isn’t, which I, I’m happy to have that conversation, but that’s actually not the one that’s going on. What’s going on is a kind of creation of a boogeyman that under which any form of racial reckoning is basically being put, put in a box as toxic.

Kai Ryssdal: Would it be easier maybe to, for you to take a minute and explain what Critical Race Theory is not? Does that make any sense?

Cheryl Harris: Well, certainly. Critical race theory is not the idea that racism is inherent in any human being. That is not critical race theory. We’re interested in institution, as you said before, we’re interested in how racism is embedded in institutions and in structures. So we’ve had an idea about discrimination that has been relatively simplistic, that is actually been part of a project, both in the courts and in political discourse, to make it simple. Racism is about bigoted individuals acting negatively towards other individuals. That is one part of racism, but the harder part of racism is the part that proceeds without any intent. It’s the part that goes on automatic, it’s the ways in which systems are set up to produce certain preferences, racial preferences, for certain people in ways that have nothing to do with intent. So you can actually have very well intentioned people sitting at the helm of structures and institutions carrying out their jobs in the way that they’re supposed to, and still producing a lot of racial inequality. And that’s been, I think, one of the biggest misconceptions, which is that critical race theory is about labeling individual people racist. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Kimberly Adams: So if we just focus on the accurate take, or what critical race theory actually is, where is this currently being taught? Because many of these laws and protests on school boards and all these people trying to recall members of school boards, this is about K through 12 education.

Cheryl Harris: Yes, that’s what makes the whole thing so bizarre. Critical Race Theory has really developed out of law school teaching, it developed out of a debate, as I said, within law, which is, how do we explain this attack, I guess, I would say embrace of colorblindness that we purportedly have with all this racial inequality, looking at the role of law. That’s not to say that there haven’t been graduate programs in teaching that have picked up on some of the ideas, or that there haven’t been other parts of the universities, particularly history and in the social sciences, that have not also found critical race theory useful. But it has not been the case that this has been a part of K to 12 education simply because it’s graduate education. You wouldn’t necessarily be trying to teach behavioral economics to, to second and third graders. I’m sure there are some principles of economics that you might want to teach, but you wouldn’t necessarily do that.

Kai Ryssdal: I don’t want to learn behavioral economics right now.

Cheryl Harris: Well, you get my point. So if the whole thing is kind of, it, that’s what I think is the tell. That’s the tell that this really isn’t about critical race theory. If we, if we were actually debating it, we would be debating how does it appear, how is it being taught in the places that it’s actually being taught. But that’s not what’s on the table, as you’ve mentioned, instead, as, as I’ve indicated before, I started finding out about this in a very odd way. I started getting very hostile emails. You know, I’ve been in, I’ve been teaching for over 20 years, occasionally I get an email from somebody who has read something that I’ve written and has taken exception to it. But these, the tenor of these were very different. They were multiple, they were coming in, and I couldn’t figure out what in the world was happening until I was in a conversation online, on a listserv that I am with other law professors who were talking about a pamphlet that they had received. And this was from different people all over the country in which the topic was critical race theory in which I was being cited, misquoted, misrepresented for my ideas. And I realized that this thing had really spread quite rapidly and quite quickly in a way that had nothing to do with sort of the natural dissemination of ideas. And that was a key to me. Ultimately, as I said, the tenor of these were very, very different, very hostile. And they reflected a campaign to create division. There was nothing in what was being represented that I’ve ever said, this isn’t like one of those typical academic debates where you can talk about, well, maybe that’s a phrase that might have been subject to a couple of different interpretations. No, this was an actual misattribution. And so that was sort of the key to me, the tell to me, that there was something else afoot.

Kai Ryssdal: So it was either Mark Twain or Jefferson, one of the two, who had that line about allies, you know, 1000 miles around the world before the truth even puts its shoes on in the morning, or whatever it was, which is an awkward setup to now what do we do? Because, as you pointed out, these arguments against critical race theory are being made in obvious bad faith. And yet, that’s the side of the discussion that seems to be carrying the day thanks to Fox News and the big lie and all of them. So what do you do?

Cheryl Harris: Well, I think it’s no accident that some of the same jurisdictions that are seeking to restrict voter access are at the epicenter of these anti-CRT bills. Part of their project is to try to throttle any kind of development of a multiracial democracy. So this is a manufactured crisis that’s actually obscuring what the real crisis is. So for example, Georgia is passing one of these anti-CRT bills, but they are also in a, in a process where the Georgia legislature is about to cut out a lot of money out of public education in Georgia. So to some extent, I think one of the tasks is to try to bring people back to what the real issue is, to bring people back to recognize that these are some of the same people that brought us the big lie. These are some of the same people that took isolated incidents of voter irregularities and turned them into the myth that Trump was actually elected president in November of 2020. And I think we have to remember that people actually are not gullible at that level if they’re given basic information. And this is where I think the role of the media is so crucial. And I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have this conversation with you. because quite frankly, so many of the media enquiries have wanted to start and stop on the question of what is critical race theory, as though that were the subject. And as I said, I’m happy to talk about it. Like a lot of academics, you know, we’d love to have public conversations about the ideas. But that’s not what’s happening here. This is a project about attacking anti-racism more broadly, critical race theory has become the vehicle for that. And, you know, what’s I think important is to recognize that this is a project about maintaining political power and control. To some extent, this is a project about the elections in 2022. And so I think we have a duty to–I recognize fully well what you’re saying about the sort of asymmetry of the conversation right now–but I do think that it’s really important for the media, for those of us who have platforms, to really try to point people back to what this is really about. We have been at an inflection point in this country as a result, if we think about where we were last June and where we are today, and what has happened has been important, and we cannot allow it to be sort of squandered in this way.

Kimberly Adams: But even you speaking about an idea you’ve been working on for a while that has been taken over in this way, it is not without risk because, as you said, a lot of the same people pushing this agenda are the same people who helped lay the groundwork for the insurrection, and you’re getting hostile emails, your name has been put out there. How has this all felt personally for you?

Cheryl Harris: It’s been very challenging, to be quite candid. I’ve had to take a number of steps to try to reduce my exposure. I think we, you know, we’ve seen we’re living in an environment now where people’s personal information becomes weaponized in a lot of these ways. I have to say that it is very uncomfortable to, to be made a target in this way. But I have to also recognize that this is actually bigger than me. It’s bigger than me personally. I’m going to continue to do my work. And I’m going to continue to do what I can do to protect myself. But this is actually about the question of who we are going to be as a country, whether–and I’m not trying to say that I’m, you know, like a key player in that, please don’t get me wrong–but I’m just saying I’m trying to play, I’m trying to situate this in terms of what the historical moment is. I don’t think it’s any accident that we’re here. I think that we are basically really in a fight for the democracy that we can become. And I just have to kind of just keep grinding away at what I do and recognize and I guess I would say draw support from my colleagues and friends and allies, many of whom have stepped up for me, and recognize that it’s, it’s part of the process that we’re in.

Kimberly Adams: Cheryl Harris, critical race theorist and a law professor at UCLA, one of the scholars behind the now infamous CRT. Thank you so much, Professor Harris, for sharing all that.

Cheryl Harris: Thank you for having me. Thank you very much.

Kai Ryssdal: So you know what? That, that last thing she said about it not being an accident, that’s exactly right. It’s not an accident. It’s all so intentional, you know? And that to me is, yeah.

Kimberly Adams: You know, I’ve been, I have several friends and family members with, with kids in middle school who keep sending me, you know, notices from their school boards and these fights that are happening, and they’re just like, what is going on? And I tell them, this is an intentional campaign. And it’s a misinformation campaign, is what it is. And those, one of the things that became clear after the election and The Big Lie, as you referenced, is that misinformation campaigns can easily translate to action. And I hope what we’ve learned is that potentially, too, something even worse.

Kai Ryssdal: What, I mean, she, you know, Dr., Professor Harris alluded to that pretty clearly, right? She’s been targeted and, and look, I mean, she downplays her role, right? She’s, she’s a significant cog in the machine of helping us understand what critical race theory is, but she’s not super high profile, she’s not any of those things. And if, and if people are going to attack her, imagine what they’ll do to people with more visibility who will also be, odds are, people of color. I mean, it’s, you know, this goes bad in a hurry. But anyway, totally important discussion to have and I’m really glad we did.

Kimberly Adams: And now we’re, we’ve hopefully given everybody listening some tools to make themselves and others smart about this issue. So when you hear something about it, you can have some tools.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, and weigh in, would you, about what Professor Harris said and, you know, this whole thing because it’s a big deal, and as she said, it goes straight to the heart of this democracy, full stop. Emails, voice memos, all y’all know the drill, makemesmart@marketplace.org We’re coming right back.

Kimberly Adams: Okay, time for the news fix. Kai, go.

Kai Ryssdal: So mine is, mine is part politics California version and part macro-economic impact of the pandemic, sort of a national version. So there’s a story in The New York Times talking about the Governor of the state of California Gavin Newsom, who is facing a recall election, and what can only be described as a transparent plan to keep his job–and look, he will almost certainly keep his job because California is overwhelmingly democratic and there’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger waiting in the wings like there was the last time we had a recall. But one of the things the governor’s doing is giving away money because California now, and this is the macro part, has a lot of money from federal relief programs but also because the state budget did not take as big a hit as everybody thought it would during the pandemic. So California, I’ll just read the headline, “California has a plan to pay the back rents for low income tenants, all of it.” So Gavin Newsom, facing a recall and understanding that people are still suffering from the pandemic, is using part of the state budget surplus and part of this federal money to take care of back rent, which is, number one, a huge problem, right, because eviction moratoriums are expiring, people got clobbered, I mean, the whole deal, it’s actually a key social safety net move that he’s making. But it’s also deeply political, which, you know, you got to respect it. And also, kind of economic at the same time. There is more money now than we had thought there would be, partially from the Feds and partially from the recovery. And it’s just, it’s an interesting little piece that points to two, you know, key facets of what’s going on out there today.

Kimberly Adams: It’s been really interesting watching these rent relief, back rent relief programs try to get money out the door. And I know there’s been some reporting on Marketplace about it, how some landlords don’t want to take it because they’re worried that then they won’t be able to evict the people they’ve been waiting to evict, and the system is clunky in some places. And so it’ll be fascinating to see if California is able to actually roll this out in a way that works. Because if I’m not mistaken, there’s still a lot of money in that pot for the federal relief of back rent, which, you know, tens of millions of millions of dollars that people did not, were not able to pay, or in some rare cases chose not to pay, during the pandemic. So, yeah.

Kai Ryssdal: It’s just interesting. Anyway, so that’s mine. What do you got?

Kimberly Adams: It, it’s fascinating because it actually relates to something that Dr. Harris was saying about systems that are designed, even if neutral on their face, to advantage one group versus the other. So, I will direct your attention to this article in Bloomberg where it highlights, I’m just gonna read the first line, “the share of wealth held by the richest 1% in nations, including the US, China, Brazil, and India, jumped in the fallout from the pandemic, fueled by efforts to curb the effects of the virus,” and they’re citing a Credit Suisse report. So basically, there’s a really interesting chart in this Bloomberg piece, multiple charts, showing how much wealth, what share of wealth the top 1% of people in each of these countries has, and it’s just a, it’s just uphill, it’s just a sharp uphill line in, in all of these different countries. And, you know, at least some of the other countries in this chart have like, the moderate decency to go up and down a little bit. US, it’s just straight up, just straight up from in 2000, the richest 1%, wealthiest 1% having like, you know, a third of the wealth of the country. Now it’s up closer to like, 36%. And we, it’s, it’s, I don’t know, let me see if I can say this right. We have systems that in a crisis, and the government was doing things to try to avert said crisis–and we can talk for days and days about whether they did what they were supposed to do–it just made rich people richer. And there are definitely things that helped lower income people. But this is, wow.

Kai Ryssdal: It’s tough to think of a macroeconomic circumstance where rich don’t get richer, right? The very act of being rich makes you richer because you have the means to work around or diversify or have a good tax lawyer or what a short, long hedge, take your pick, that’s going to work out to your advantage when things go south for the other 99%. I, you know, that’s just kind of the way it is, not to accept it, but it just is.

Kimberly Adams: Right. So it gets back to that main point though, these systems are designed in such a way that certain groups will always do better no matter what you do. So then do you go back and do you redesign the system? Well, now people who have an interest in maintaining it are going to do whatever it takes to maintain that advantage to the detriment of others, or, you know, with some rare exceptions, but as soon, as I’m saying these things about the global markets, I’m realizing they’re just a direct echo of what Dr. Harris just said a little bit ago about this social conversation that we’re having and political conversation that we’re having. So, okay. Yes.

Kai Ryssdal: I think we shall.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, let’s do the mail bag.

Kai Ryssdal: Alright, we’re gonna do all those things. Talked about Juneteenth becoming a national holiday last week, Jeff in Austin sent us this.

Jeff: So I have a thought on Juneteenth. First, it’s finally a holiday. That took way too long, but it’s finally being recognized, which is great. My concern is that it’s likely because, you know, we live in a capitalist society, to become another, hey, come out and spend all your money on all these great Juneteenth deals. And my thought is, who’s usually working behind the counter when we go in for all those Juneteenth deals? It just seems like we’re going to be celebrating something by buying things from people who, well, should be celebrating that day more than a lot of other people.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, totally. And here’s the deal, Jeff, it’s already turned into that day. I mean, there were, there were sales and whatever, you know, going across my Twitter feed Friday night, Saturday morning.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, there were definitely some missteps by corporations trying to attach their branding to this, which just, there were a lot of fails, to put it delicately. But one thing that a lot of companies did do that one could argue is actually helpful to the Black community, is they highlighted the black owned brands on their prep, platform or in their stores. And one of the things that can potentially help the Black community is investing in Black-owned businesses or supporting Black-owned businesses because we’ve all the reporting we’ve done on, on those issues. So, there’s definitely a lot of concern, valid, I think, about the commercialization of Juneteenth. I still can’t believe that Memorial Day, somehow, is the mattress sale thing. Like, every year, I just get deeply offended by that. I’m just like, really, this is what we’re doing to honor our war dead is, is mattresses? Okay. But I’m not going to go on too much more about that. Let’s go to another voice memo. This one is from Matt in Ohio.

Matt: In the last 15 months, you know, our, our job has been in high demand. And for myself, there was never a hiccup. I never lost a single day of work because of the pandemic, but now I’m feeling really burned out. Other counselors that I talked to, they are too. And our services are in such high demand that our schedules are full because of telehealth now being an option. I worry about what the field of counseling is going to be look like for myself especially. It causes me a lot of stress. You know, honestly, I, I, almost everyday daydream about doing something else. So, for your listeners, if you have a counselor or a therapist, please make an effort to tell them how thankful you are for them.

Kai Ryssdal: You know what’s funny? So let’s just own it. We didn’t ID the, Matt’s job correctly. But the first two sentences, I’m feeling burned out, it’s really stressful, I mean, it could have been anybody. And now imagine you’re a therapist and people are coming to you saying, I’m really burned out. And you’re like, no, I’m burned out! You know?

Kimberly Adams: Yeah. Well, first of all, thank you, Matt. And thank you to all the therapists and counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and folks who’ve been handling some of the mental health load of this pandemic, not just for themselves but also for all their patients. So, it is, it is a heavy burden to carry. And it’s probably not going to let up anytime soon. All the indications is that sort of in addition to dealing with long COVID, we are going to have a mental health epidemic or pandemic, I’m probably not using those words correctly, coming out of this that’s gonna stay with us for a while. You don’t lose more than 600,000 people in the community and it not strike deeply into our core.

Kai Ryssdal: Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. Make me smart question. What is something you thought you knew you later found out you were wrong about? That is where we’ll end today as always. Andrew in Houston, go.

Andrew: Something I thought I knew but later found out I was wrong about was that I would be paying off student loans for the rest of my life. In September 2019, I sent in a voice memo describing my experience as a grocery delivery gig worker. I’ve been working that while maintaining my anchor job and just last month wrapped up paying off my student loans from when I graduated in 2011. Debt free at 33 feels a little strange, but I’m excited for using my discretionary income towards bolstering the economy in my own small way instead of paying off a loan company.

Kai Ryssdal: That’s great. That’s awesome. Andrew, seriously, congratulations. That’s huge.

Kimberly Adams: Debt free at 33. It rhymes, I love it.

Kai Ryssdal: Really cool. Good for him.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah, nice to end on an up note, and I’m curious as to what Andrew is going to spend like, that extra discretionary income on in this consumer-driven economy that’s rebounding in a weird way. Let us know, Andrew.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, please do.

Kimberly Adams: Also, yeah. Yeah, I was gonna say, everybody else, don’t forget to send us your answer to the make me smart question. Which is what is something you thought you knew you later found out you were wrong about? You can reach us at makemesmart@marketplace.org.

Kai Ryssdal: Another one in the books.

Kimberly Adams: Another one. Make Me Smart is produced and directed by Marissa Cabrera. Tony Wagner is our digital producer. Erica Phillips writes our newsletter and smart speaker skills. Our intern is Grace Rubin.

Kai Ryssdal: Drew Jostad engineered today, Juan Carlos Torrado is gonna mix it up later. Ben Tolliday–I guess it’s mix it down, you mix it down–Ben Tolliday and Daniel Ramirez composed our theme music. The senior producer is Donna Tam and the executive director of on demand is Sitara Nieves.

None of us is as smart as all of us.

No matter how bananapants your day is, “Make Me Smart” is here to help you through it all— 5 days a week.

It’s never just a one-way conversation. Your questions, reactions, and donations are a vital part of the show. And we’re grateful for every single one.

Donate any amount to become a Marketplace Investor and help make us smarter (and make us smile!) every day.

The team

Marissa Cabrera Senior Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Marque Greene Associate Producer