Blake Griffin, Malcolm Gladwell Discuss Police Brutality, Social Justice on Season Premiere of The Pursuit of Healthiness

Illustration for article titled Blake Griffin, Malcolm Gladwell Discuss Police Brutality, Social Justice on Season Premiere of The Pursuit of Healthiness
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Most of us only know six-time NBA All-Star Blake Griffin because of his exploits on the court. But if you pay a little more attention, you’ll see that he’s a burgeoning stand-up comedian—who’s actually funny—who also dabbles in several other forms of self-expression, creativity, and entertainment.


One of those outlets is an Audible-exclusive podcast, The Pursuit of Healthiness; which lives up to its namesake by discussing what it takes for everyday people to keep their mind and body in shape. But with the world around us changing, as we navigate a global pandemic coupled with rising racial and political tensions, the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk champ has decided to expand the scope of the show and explore issues relating to identity, sexual well-being, addiction, the critical skill of listening, and much more. He’ll also be joined by a wider range of experts, as well as some of the biggest names in entertainment, as they work together to discuss how healthier individuals create healthier communities—and in turn, a much healthier world.

On the show’s second season premiere, the Brooklyn Nets forward is joined by author Malcolm Gladwell, who, aside from discussing the benefits of exercising with joy and expressing his impassioned desire to beat LeBron James in a foot race—no, really—digs into one of the most prevalent topics of today: police brutality.

“I remember, before I wrote my last book, I read this book called When Police Kill by a criminologist named Frank Zimring,” Gladwell begins. “It’s an incredible book in which he basically systematically goes through, and he describes what police violence looks like in this country, and compares it to other countries and points out there’s no other country in the world that has this. You go to Germany, almost nobody gets killed by the police. I mean, this never happens. You go to Canada, you go to France. And I remember reading that book and thinking the same thing. Like, I don’t understand why this isn’t an issue.”

He continues, “And then we had the whole wave of cases beginning with Ferguson. And I really thought, okay, we’ve now turned the corner. And there were like, 15 high-profile cases. And I wrote about one of them. As you know, in my book, Talking to Strangers, Sandra Bland. I had the same feeling, I’m like, alright, this is finally the moment we’re going to start addressing these things on a systematic basis. I felt like everyone forgot Sandra Bland, and I didn’t want to forget her, and then all of a sudden George Floyd happened and maybe we finally reached that moment. I am grateful it finally happened, but I remain stunned at how long it took. This stuff has been going on for centuries and that’s what I don’t get. I don’t understand why we’re so slow.”

I do. Because contrary to what GOP mascot Sen. Tim Scott says, we live in a racist-ass country. I was unaware this was even a controversial opinion.

In a subsequent episode, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, a Stanford social psychologist, expresses her optimism at what she sees in today’s social justice movements.


“Definitely there’s positive change,” she says. “With the killing of George Floyd, those protests were all over the country and they were also international protests, right? And it was intergenerational. There were people of all races out there protesting. That was an awakening like I have not experienced before in my lifetime.”

She continues, “I think part of it had to do with the fact that the killing was filmed and it was so brazen. We couldn’t turn away from it. It was at a time where the world had stopped and we couldn’t just go back to work or go back to doing what we were doing. It forced us to reflect on it and to reflect in a way where people can understand, for the first time, what this was all about. I’m hopeful that the moment is going to generate a lot of change in the country.”


 The Pursuit of Healthiness is available exclusively on Audible.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.



When Malcolm Gladwell gets angry, does he turn into Blake Griffin?