Ben & Jerry's to Release Podcast Addressing Racism in America
Earlier this summer, after George Floyd was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis and protesters filled the streets in many cities around the country—and around the world—in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Ben & Jerry's posted a striking graphic on its Instagram page. "We Must Dismantle White Supremacy," it read, and the Vermont ice cream company followed that up with a powerful statement on its website.
"What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning," the statement said. "What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore."
For the past few months, Ben & Jerry's has alternated between posting product shots ("Grab a pint of Chip Happens") and calls to action on issues ranging from the problematic policy of qualified immunity for police officers, to how the criminal justice system continues to fail transgender Americans. And in its latest Instagram post, it announced that it had partnered with Vox Media and the Who We Are Project to launch a podcast that focuses on America's long history of systemic racism and racial injustice.
The six-part podcast, "Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America," premieres on September 15. The show will be hosted by author Carvell Wallace and Jeffery Robinson, the deputy legal director of the ACLU and the director of the organization's Trone Center for Justice and Equality.
"[The podcast] will take a deep look at our country’s lesser-known history of racial injustice and show how legally-enforced discrimination and state-sanctioned brutality continued long after slavery ended, profoundly affecting Black Americans’ ability to gain access to jobs, housing, education, and health care, or to create and accumulate wealth," the company said in a statement.
Ben & Jerry's has been a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter since 2016, as well as further examination of the social and economic conditions (along with other factors) that have contributed to racial inequality seems like another logical step in the company's social justice efforts.
“What I have learned as a white male of privilege, spending a lot of my life not even understanding the very concepts of white privilege and the benefits that I’ve received through my entire life as a white man, is that systemic racism is everywhere," Ben & Jerry's CEO Matthew McCarthy told Vermont Public Radio earlier this summer. "It is literally everywhere and understanding it is a prerequisite to dismantling it."
A combination of education and calls to action are two of the cornerstones of the upcoming podcast. "We have been lifting the lid on systemic racism and criminal justice reform over the last few years, and are excited to bring this story to our fans," Ben & Jerry's said.