Recovering Asshole podcast

RecoveringAssholeI wanted a place to talk about the touchy subject of privilege, something too many people deny they have. I’ve got a lot of privileges and if they remain invisible to me, I come off as an asshole. The best way to recover from this affliction is to talk to people who don’t hold that same privilege. So this podcast is all about great conversations and me trying to unpack my status as an asshole. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and maybe become a little bit less of an asshole yourself. And a great theme song called “Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Note: The ideas expressed in this podcast represent the intellectually property of Dr. Blazak and his guests and may not be reproduced without their permission.

Episode 20: Getting in Front of Hate Crime (June 10, 2018)

We have a conversation with Seemab Hussaini of CAIR-Oregon (the local chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations) at the local offices of Unite Oregon to talk about his journey to activism and how the local Muslim community has responded to a brutal hate crime that occurred on a Portland commuter train.

Council on American-Islamic Relations: CAIR

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 19: Talking Race with Donna Maxey (March 17, 2018)

We sit down with Donna Maxey, founder and host of Race Talks, to discuss why it’s so hard to talk to white people about race. Donna brings some anthropology to the table as we take the long view about racial conflict in Portland and America. She discusses the experience of growing up black in very white Portland and her mission to get neighbors to talk about issues that matter.

Race Talks website

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 18: Ableism and Action (January 26, 2018).

Just how we talk about disability is problematic.  “That’s so lame.” There is a fascinating discussion going on among disability activists about how are current social model defines people as problem instead of looking at how are society creates a definition of “normal” that disadvantages many members of our community. This episode we feature an amazing conversation with Grant Miller, who is a community organizer around disability rights issue. It’s kind of mind blowing how much I, as an able bodied person, don’t even think about.

Transcript Here: RARecovering_Privilege_-_Ableism_and_Action

Resources provided by Grant Miller:

Sins Invalid- “Skin, Tooth, and Bone – The Basis of Movement is Our People: A Disability Justice Primer” Patti Berne, Leroy Moore, Stacy Milbern, and many others

Carmen Papalia – Artist, Open Access

Sunaura Taylor – Artist, writer “The Right Not to Work”

Vilissa Thompson – Disability So White

Alice Wong – Disability Visibility Project

ADAPT – American Disabled for Attendant Personal-care Today

Alison Kafer –  Disability Scholar, “Queer Crip Feminism”

Tobin Siebers – Disability Scholar, “Disability Aesthetics,” “Disability Theory”

Stella Young – TED Talk on Inspiration Porn

Claudia Alick – Independent Artist

Kathy Coleman- Disability Arts and Culture Program

Wobbly – Erik Ferguson and Yulia Arakelyan, Wobbly Dance

Cheryl Green – Documentary Filmmaker “Who Am I to Stop It,”  Podcaster “Pigeonhole”

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 17: Stop Acting Like an Ally (January 18, 2018)

After great delay, we are back for Season 2 of Recovering Asshole! After my interview with Cameron Whitten in Episode 7, we were on a Race Talks panel together to discuss being a white ally. It went a bit sideways for me. Fortunately, some more skilled white allies reached out to me for a conversation about white fragility and performative allyship. I learned a whole hell of a lot. I hope you will too!

My blog post about Performative Allyship

How whites can better respond to being called out for their racism: White Fragility

The Race Talks panel that inspired the need for this conversation: White America

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 16: The Sociological Imagination on the Road (October 31, 2017)

I got the great opportunity to interview the guy who turned ,me on to sociology in the first place, Oxford College’s Dr. Mike McQuaide. We had a chat about the sociological imagination in a Mexican restaurant in Covington, Georgia. But before that, we stop by Greenwich Village to talk to Phast Phreddie Patterson about the music of New York cabs.

C. Wright Mills’ Sociological Imagination.

“MacDougal Blues” by Kevn Kinney.

My recent interview in NYC on CBSN.

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 15: The Historical Roots of White Supremacy (October 16, 2017)

This week we talk to Dr. Carmen Thompson, a professor in the Black Studies program at Portland State, She earned her PhD in History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her interest is in the historical roots of white supremacy that will be included her upcoming book, American Whiteness. We had a great talk about the structural roots of racism over tea.

Dr. Carmen Thompson – “African American History: From Pedagogy to Praxis.”

Dr. Thompson’s work is included in Towards a Biography of Critical Whiteness Studies 

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 14: Shah’s Privilege Points (October 3, 3017)

Shah Smith stops by to give us his take on privilege. A conservative who works to get Republican candidates elected, Shah brings a alternative perspective for the conversation. I was going to call this episode, “Interview with an Asshole,” but he had some provocative ideas that were worth listening to.

Peggy McIntosh’s Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of Privilege

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 13: Large and In Charge (September 24, 2017)

After an end of summer vacation, we’re back with a great episode on body size acceptance. It still seems acceptable to stereotype larger people. Fat shaming flows out of our mouths and fingers with little question. For lucky 13, we sit down with the president of the Tualatin City Council, Joelle Davis, to get her take on our state our body consciousness.

My original blogpost on the subject: Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Fat Shaming

Required Reading: The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

The well-meaning harm of “the last acceptable discrimination.”

REI: Fat shaming is real

Are you a larger person? How to enjoy Disneyland and Disneyworld

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 12: After the Flood (September 4, 2017)

Ed Washington, like a wise old owl, has a powerful longview of race in America. Born in the Jm Crow south, his family moved to Vanport, Oregon in 1944 for war work. Vanport was destroyed by a massive flood in 1948. We chat about Jim Crow, the flood, gentrification, and Charlottesville. Ed offers some insight on how to move forward.

Ed Washington talks to a third grade class abut the 1948 Vanport flood.

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 11: Delia Rae on the Rock (August 22, 2017)

While in LA, we stopped in to talk to Delia Rae Saldivar about gender in entertainment industry. Delia works at Disney Studios now but was something of a radio star in the 1990s. We get the some honest stories about breaking into the boys club of rack radio, including one about the Butthole Surfers at Lollapalooza ’91. If you ever listened to Delia on the radio, this will sound sweet to your ears.

Delia in action in 1992, highly relevant to our chat – TNT Saturday Night Six PackTNT Saturday Night Six Pack

Butthole Surfers – Live at Lollapalooza 1991

Disney’s Policy on Women

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 10: It’s Gay Parenting! (August 14, 2017)

Scott Dillinger let me drop in at his office so I could pepper him with questions with what its like to be a gay parent. As a straight parent I had a feeling that there were a few obstacles he had to contend with that I didn’t. What would a President Mike Pence do his family? In the end, parenting is parenting. Oh, and we premiere the the theme song to the new Sharknado movie!

A great resource for gay parents: The Rainbow Babies

There’s my entry on the Oregon Citizens Alliance: Oregon Encyclopedia 

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 9: Transgender in Trump’s America (August 6, 2017)

President Trump’s recent tweet claiming to ban transgender people from military service has put trans rights back on the front page. We invite KC in to the studio (aka, the Multnomah Library) to discuss her transgender journey and where we are as a nation on this thing. And KC gives cis-gendered folks some tips on being a little less Trumpie.

Here’s one of the studies KC mentioned: Male-to-Female Transsexuals Have Female Neuron Numbers in a Limbic Nucleus

A great local advocate for trans rights: Basic Rights Oregon

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

KC picked this as her song…

Episode 8: George Nakata’s Internement (July 31, 2017)

George Nakata was a 9-year-old boy in Portland, Oregon in 1942 when FDR signed Executive Order 9066, ordering the rounding up of 120,000 west coast Japanese immigrants and citizens. They were placed in camps for the duration of World War 2. George sits down with me on a relatively quiet bench in Oregon’s Japanese Garden to discuss his experience and how we are dangerously close to that moment again.

Visit the Portland Japanes Garden.

The Portland Japanese Garden, a reminder of peace and reconciliation.

An excellent 2015 book about the Japanese Internment (and the 442nd): Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II

The Japanese American Citizens League: JACL,org

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 7: Know Your White City (July 23, 2017)

The Oregonian in 2015 referred to Cameron Whitten as “Portland’s most famous young radical.” Most recently he has been the executive director of Know Your City. Cameron’s a great person to open our long discussion on race and white privilege. We meet downstairs in a Portland teahouse and it gets pretty intense. And helpful.

For those that want to know the real story of Portland: Know Your City

Here’s my piece on why “All Lives Matters” is kinda racist: Watching the Wheels

“Echo Chamber” by Jared Mees.

Episode 6: Michelle Malone Rocks (July 17, 2017)

Atlanta rocker Michelle Ma;one takes a break from her tour and comes down to the Alberta Vinyl Den do discuss gender, sexuality and rock & roll. We also get a live performance of her Drag the River classic, “Battle Him Republican.” And our first contest, to win an Andrea Barrios original, is on!

Michelle Malone’s music, mech and tour info:

Michelle and Trish Land live at Eddie’s Attic.

Trish Land’s Fine Art

Drivin’ ‘n’ Cryin’ with Michelle Malone – “Honeysuckle Blue”

Andrea Barrios art website:

Life is Long by Jared Mees.

Episode 5: Pray the Gay Away (July 10, 2017)

Sterling McKay joins us to talk about being a gay kid on a ranch, coming out, and coming into Portland. We discuss Mississippi riverboats, Garth Brooks, and being a gay uncle all while drinking tequila. The emphasis on straight marriage goes under the microscope.

Sterling says check out these resources for gay kids coming out: PFLAG and GLSEN

Life is Long by Jared Mees.

Episode 4: I Am Woman, Shut Up (July 3, 2017)

We sit down with a feminist educator Jen Moore (and a bottle of wine) to talk about male privilege. This is a big topic so I wanted to start with her story about becoming a teacher on gender issues. We touch on the Beauty Myth, Anita Hill, and “HR Ladies.” And of course rape culture and a proposed Menstrual Blood March.

Jen says get this book: Beyond God the Father by Mary Daly

Trailer for the latest Killing Us Softly

Life is Long by Jared Mees.

Episode 3: Meet a Muslim (June 26, 2017)

I headed up to Tacoma to see my old college buddy Syed Ashraf Meer and talk about being a Muslim in America and what he thinks of the “Anti Sharia Law” rallies that are happening. But first we had an amazing dinner with his wife, Soraya, and their three kids, and their friend, Destiny. Once we got talking, I didn’t want to stop. In a first for Recovering Asshole, I just kind of shut up and let Ashraf lay it all down. Super interesting to a non-Muslim guy like me.

Ashraf says check out this organization: Turning Point

Anti-Sharia Law Rally in Seattle: King 5 News

Life is Long by Jared Mees.

Episode 2: We Go Left (June 17, 2017)

I wanted to get into the issue of right-handed privilege right off the bat. It’s an entry way to talk about other types of privilege. Our guest, high school teacher, Pat McCreey, is the perfect guide on this topic. We recorded the interview outside at Towshend’s Tea House in NE Portland. Maybe next episode we’ll record it in a house that’s being torn down.

Biases against left-handed people: Wikipedia

Life is Long by Jared Mees.

Episode 1: My Favorite Alien (June 12, 2017) 

For our first episode we talk to artist and award-winning writer Andrea Barrios, about her experience as an undocumented immigrant. Some people don’t like them. I married this one (long after she got her Green Card), but I still need help with my privilege. It’s a good start, although I’m still figuring out the microphone situation. (Listen here on iTunes.)

Andrea Barrios art website:

A Journey of Words featuring “A Conversation with the Serpent” by Andrea Barrios:

Life is Long by Jared Mees.