The Inaugural Roundtable: Barack, Orenthal James, Steph & LeBron

On a sunny, cloudless Manhattan afternoon this past Saturday, June 18, 2016, I sat down with six close friends—five African-Americans and one Caucasian—to moderate the inaugural Politics, Race & Pop Culture Roundtable.  During this hour-long conversation and debate, this opinionated group discussed President Obama’s complex legacy, the nature and extent of America’s progress in race relations since the O.J. Simpson verdict in 1995, and whether or not colorism—and perhaps even white supremacy—is lurking behind the differential treatment Steph Curry and LeBron James receive from the NBA and media.

Roundtable participants in order of appearance (hometown; employment):

J. Paul Hoest: Menasha, WI; Investment Banking Associate, Lazard (NYC)

Jamie Woodward: Lowell, MA; Director of Development & Special Events, MS Hope for a Cure (NYC)

Maya Peterson: Oakland, CA; Director, Marketing & Strategy at Scratch (Viacom Media Networks) (NYC)

Erin McGee: Chicago, IL; Senior Associate, Optimity Advisors (NYC)

Kevin Bryant: Roanoke Rapids, NC; Director of Recruitment, Uncommon Schools (NYC)

Taylor Jackson: Chappaqua, NY; HR Business Partner, Barclays (NYC)


While these three topics are raised and discussed individually in turn, given that members of the Roundtable often refer back to prior themes and commentary, I encourage you to listen to this recording in its entirety from start to finish. For your convenience, set forth below are the applicable beginning and end times for each of the four segments (including the Introduction).

Introduction of PR&PC Roundtable: 0 — 4:41

President Obama’s Legacy: 4:41 — 25:00

The 1995 O.J. Verdict & Subsequent American Progress in Race Relations: 25:01 — 50:00

The 2016 NBA Finals, Steph Curry, LeBron James and Colorism: 50:00 — 1:11:45

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