tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera October 19, 2015 10:30pm-11:01pm EDT
>> explosions going on... we're not quite sure - >> is that an i.e.d.? >> "faultlines". al jazeera america's award-winning investigative series. monday, 10:00 eastern. on al jazeera america. i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight. president obama and african americans many should he could he have done better to lift them up. the long arm of slavery over the american south. barack obama's election in 2008 gave hope to many african americans that a black man living in the white house would mean better lives for black men, women and children living in houses across america. but with just over a year to go in the president's second term some of those hopes have been
replaced by criticism that barack obama hasn't done enough for blacks. sure, enough data on income inequality and childhood poverty, supports a view that black americans have not narrowed their gaps with whites. i'll talk to america's first elected black governor about why he finds fault with the president. but some of the criticism of obama is misguided or ignores what he has done, that has benefited blacks as well as other americans. benefits like obamacare, the affordable care act, brought health care insurance to millions of african americans. the nonprofit urban institutes institute says that by 2016, 2.9 million more blacks will be covered thanks to the law to thd medicaid expansion. the percentage of uninsured blacks dropped. education is another area that
is critical for prosperity and there are signs of improvement for african americans during the obama administration. the dropout rate for black youth fell to a record low of 8% in 2013. it's fallen by nearly half since 2000 and the president has proposed freeze community college something that could hugely bft the 1 million african americans who attend these schools. finally i want to call your attention to my brother's keeper, obama's public-private jeive to help young peep of color. $3 million of commitments in response to the president's call to education, mentoring and career development for minorities. earlier i used the word miss guided, to explain criticism blaming the abou president, to x the unemployment rate and inequality. it is naive to think one man can
change the dynamics of a $17 trillion economy especially following worst recession since the great depression. i'm not here to criticize him in office but the results is to be fair. he still has the time ochange the minds of some of his opponents acknowledge many of the minds criticizing barack obama today, started out as his supporters. they include the former governor of virginia, doug wilder, he lays out some of that criticism, son of virginia life in america's political arena. why he thinks obama could have done better for blacks in america. >> you were the first black governor since the civil war. >> first elected ever. >> that's right. during reconstruction they weren't elected. you have some interesting words in your book about president obama. let me just quote from 159.
you say during the president's first term, organizations representing african americans were particularly side lined and even directly insulted. president obama in his administration seemed utterly tone deaf to the voice of the african american community. tell me what you meant by that. >> well, there were any numbers of things that people would thought would take place. the neighborhoods, the communities. schools. crime. many of them thought that there might be a rebuilding of the cities. he said one of the best speeches i've heard him make is at the u.s. conference of mayors, i was a mayor for a period of time. and he said that cities were not the obstacles to metropolitan growth but they were the real engines. >> we also need to stop seeing our cities as the problem and start seeing them as the solution. [applause] >> that was unanimous approval and these were people who were
republicans, independents, democrats and yet if you look past that 2008 speech to see what has really happened in america, to do those things, where the majority of those people that we've referenced live. >> yep. >> crime is rising, education, dropouts, lack of employment. >> yep about. >> undue incarceration. i was one of the first people of color of recognition to endorse obama. i did so before black caucus members and before oprah winfrey, i didn't wait for people to tell me. i said i hope this guy has got it. i hope in the next year and a half of office will support -- >> your support didn't carry over to his second term, why? >> because i wasn't asked quite
frankly and i saw no need to step forth because i still had some questions. i raised questions for instance about why not have somebody on the supreme court of color, if -- >> last i checked there was an african american on the supreme court, clarence thomas. >> but clarence thomas is a good person, i've known him. but clarence thomas will tell you and be the first, all you got to do is look at the record, oollie. who's voting to get rid of legislation, clarence thomas. >> you were hoping that president obama perhaps use one of his nomination to the supreme court for an african american. >> most people did in the communities. and when you consider most presidents don't have one chance. he had two. and so if you take loretta lynch, good lady. >> yep. >> who is now the attorney general, are you saying she
wasn't good enough to be nominated? my answer would have to be she wasn't. if she wasn't, then why is she good enough to be the attorney general? and if she was good enough to be nominated, do you think there were too many? there aren't too many of other people on the bench. that was just one of the two things. the other thing i reference in the book. when he went to the congressional black caucus and speaking to people who had stretched out for him and told them to quit whining, literally, shut up! >> take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. shake it off. stop complaining. stop grumbling, stop crying. >> you would expect that from somebody 50, 100 years ago. who would be speaking down to people. >> yes. >> for pep to speak down and i've spoken to any numbers of people of that council, that caucus, they didn't like it, they don't like it. but i'm speaking. >> let me ask you a question. you were mayor, mayor of
richmond. a difficult city to be mayor of. >> yes. >> one of the things we've learned from ferguson, people have to go out to vote. they turn out less for municipal elections, which mean more for them than state and federal elections. the kinds of problems that needed to be solved in richmond or ferguson or any number of cities in the country, could they have been fixed? he was the first president to go to a prison. he has initiated things, he initiated my brother's keeper. he seems to have his heart in the right place about helping african americans. >> i think so and i hope so, that that will continue. what i'm speaking of when bill clinton was called upon to be -- not called upon, had been recognized as the first black president, why do you think that was said? because of the people he appointed. secretary of commerce. secretary of labor. secretary of the army, secretary
of veterans affairs. budget director. go down the line. these are people who are intricately involved in the day-to-day -- >> isn't that easier for a white president than first black president of america? >> no, no. >> would you change the complexion of virginia? >> yes, when i was governor of virginia, i appointed more women, more people of color than ever before because i wasn't criticized for it. i wasn't asking a person to serve because of their color. i wanted the most competent people. what that message sends when you don't have that expression of reaching out that they're not there. and so right now, let me just ask you: would you be saying that he didn't appoint anyone to the supreme court of color because they were unqualified? >> no. >> then why would he not have? >> good question. >> thank you. >> are there things about president barack obama of which you are proud? >> yes, any numbers of things.
the fact that he is recognized the needs to see that too many people are incarcerated who shouldn't be. first to go to a federal prison, he's standing his own ground with reference to not engaging militarily, every time somebody says weaver got to send some people -- we've got to send some people. i'm being constructive. >> coming up. rupert murdoch suggested ben carson would be a real black president. find out what doug wilder has to say about ben carson when we come back.
>> former virginia governor doug wilder, america's first elected black governor thinks president obama let black people down during his tenure and hopes obama uses the next year and a half to do more for them. rupert murdoch suggestedbeck woulbencarson would do better tn obama could. i asked him what he felt about ben carson. >> he has done well in his field. i wouldn't express myself like
rupert murdoch would, to be the president of the united states, like ronald reagan, ronald reagan was a smart man. let no one tell you otherwise. i met with him spoke with him to be elected governor of the state of california twice, dumb people don't -- that doesn't happen. >> right. >> so i don't think ben carson is going to be the nominee. there's no need for us to even spend too much more time with that. >> let me ask you about this. you say we're not living in a post-racial world. i've never fully understood what a post-racial world is but the last couple of years in america, we've had black lives matter, we've had retaliation against the idea that there's a use of force that seems to be concentrated on minority communities. have we played progress or are we further behind than we were eight years ago, let's say? >> oh we've made progress. no question about that. one of the concerns i have ali is when people said black lives
matter they should have said, black lives matter too, black lives matter also. the unfortunate thing is that when people are saying, we have reached the highest points we could make relative to the election of a president that's not the end of it. i agree with you too. i don't know what the post-racial means. there has not been the fullest more adequate discussion of race in america. it needs to be put on the table. >> you brought up the point we're not so far removed from slavery and not so removed from the lives of slaiches. slaves. i believe your grandfather was a slave. >> and my grandmother was a slave on my father's side. my grandmother would set, taking care of the two kids that she had to take care of for her owner and when the tuner would teach the two kids she'd stay in
the room, and listen, played her able to teach her kids. so my grandfather who walked on the weekends 20 miles to connect with his family, reclaim them after the war, our family was always interested in education. that's why my uncle that i never knew became a medical doctor. >> uh-huh. >> as fathers, his mother and father were slaves. can you imagine that? >> as a man who knew slaves in your family, it's too early to be a post-racial world, we haven't worked that out. >> that's why i'm putting the united states slavery museum at the old church we had in richmond, virginia, at the virginia commonwealth university, we are in discussion to do that it's in something that americans never knew what slavery did, what slavery was about. they never knew for instance the dread scott decision, 1857, when the supreme court of the united states say that black people have no rights, that whites have
the respect as a matter of fact that they were not even human beings. i'm not talking about 500 years ago. 1857! that was the law of the land. we had a democratic and a republican candidate now running who has said, dread scott is still the law of the land. >> let me ask you this: i'm lookinlook forward to seeing th. where was it? it went into bankruptcy -- >> it went into the bankruptcy and came out. the city of fredricksburg was taxing us. we're nonprofit. the city of fredricksburg in virginia was taxing us, consequently we couldn't afford it. we have rescued ourselves from that, we have gotten sufficient funding to be able to restart in richmond. the virginia commonwealth university owns the building. >> got it. >> that should now be operated by the state at some level in
terms of the united states national slavery museum. >> when might we see this open? >> it will be opened before the fowrnt anniversary of the bringing of people to virginia in 1619. women came for first time ever, tobacco was founded at that time or brought here from england and slaves were brought to virginia in 1619. >> i'm going to ask you one question. who do you think is going to be the president of the united states? >> the best qualified person. i really think that it is too early. and i think that hillary clinton will ultimately be the nominee for the democratic party. the republican side is a bit different. trump has surprised me to the extent that he's been as long last is as he has. >> you wouldn't be the only one surprised. >> but that being said, he's got to put more meat on the bones before he can sell it. marc rubio has hundred in pretty
>> former virginia governor douglas wilder told me before the break about his efforts to open a slavery museum in virginia. the goal is making sure more americans understand the true legacy of slavery but travel some 400 miles south to charleston, south carolina and that legacy is going largelying in ordelargelyignored in a citye center of slavery in the south. christof putzel has the story. >> you'd never know these are the fingerprints of the slave -- >> that made that particular brick. i go around the city and i look for those fingerprints and i find these fingerprints right here. >> joe mcgill who works at charleston's old slave mart museum scattered showers the scr
signs. >> this could be a child making these bricks. >> there's no reference that this place was making these bricks but there's evidence all over the place. >> yes. >> cobblestone streets, historic churches, horse drawn carriages filled with tour ifortsists, log for a sign of the south. but the vision of antebellum gentility, signs of horrors of slavery are right at the surface if you know where to look. >> these folks were being bought and sold here in charleston. charleston had already established itself as a prominent place for people who would be enslaved. and surrounded by buildings on this street, state street that once served as those places where these people were sold. >> all these buildings here? >> well right here this building here. >> some 40% of enslaved africans
who reached these shores came to the port of charleston. some black residents even before the church massacre left nine people dead inside emanuel ame church says charleston pays too little attention to the city's troubling past and the roots of the murders in the enduring legacy of racism and slavery. >> the black history is so deep in charleston and goes back so far there should be a marker, every time you're walking, you should be tripping over markers about what happened here. >> darryl calhoun came for a master's in history and stayed on to work in educational outreach. darren's last name came from the man who owned and enslaved his ancestors. john c. calhoun, the 19th century vice president and preeminent symbol of slavery. >> every time i drove down calhoun street, i'd see that
statue and there is not one statue i have despised more than that ca calhoun, vile race is qe unquote state's rights. man. everything he stood for goes back to slavery, of the oppression of my ancestors. you say you are not supposed to hate people? i hate this man. he oppressed my people. >> one of the few indications of charleston's troubling past can be found at the old slave mart museum. >> how many slaves were sold here? >> thousands. >> this market was one of 40 in downtown charleston during the mid 1800s. >> one can't hope but notice being in the space it is so small and so confined. >> and the thing is you don't need a lot of space to buy and sell people. >> but long time residents of charleston say that times have changed here. pointing to the response of the
city across diverse communities rejecting the racial ideology of alleged killer dylann roof. his roots go back hundreds of years, his an says torsion fought for confreas. confederacy. >> as a son of confederate war veterans, there is such an emotional image because we all want to belief that the war was fought for reasons other than slavery when we all in reality and any student of history and anyone who is true to their heart, true to their mind, knows that the civil war was fought 99.9% as a result of slavery. it's been labeled and camouflaged as state's rights. so -- but it was fought. it's over. it's been a long long time.
the confederate flag belongs in a museum. the confederate flag should not be flying in columbia on state property. >> another charleston native retired history professor wilmont frazier is trying to create a museum for the lives of slaves. >> there is a law we passed in the 1970s that says you have to teach african american history but it's not been done. >> christof putzel joins me now about charleston and the legacy of its role in slave history. what a lot of african americans refer to as their ellis island where they would come in and get processed and come into the city. you saw these horse drawn tours of charleston but then you can
go out the slave charleston, can you go out to the plantations nearby and see how slaves live. it's interesting that mainstream charleston still manages to escape its slave history. >> absolutely. just as i said in the peace, it isn't a popular idea that this is something that attracts tourism. they basically were able to boost back the economy of charleston coming through tourism to go to the good old times, the cobblestone streets. >> there aren't that many antebellum cities. >> you can go in hoop skirts an enjoy yourself. nobody wands to be reminded that this happened. but i actually think from talking to a few people after this, that it's time for this, they need more of it. take the holocaust museum in washington, d.c. that is one of the most successful museums. >> not a fun thing.
>> not a fun thing but something people don't want. >> part of the things of the holocaust museum is it doesn't speak to american complicity. in charleston you are speaking of american complicity. the american flag is a symbol of complicity and slavery. >> it comes off in a lot more subtle ways as well by just eliminating things. by the mere fact that you can be taking an historical tour of downtown charleston and ignore fact that there were 40 auction houses there selling humans that supplied 40% of the slaves throughout north america. >> right. >> thathat's a pretty huge facto eliminate on a historical tour. >> thank you for that. that is our show.
i'm ali velshi. thanks for joining us. >> ballot counting in canada. polls close in an historic election north of the border. heightened security. israel takes action to stop a wave of deadly violence in the middle east. >> safer skies. >> registration will reinforce the need for unmanned aircraft users. including consumers to operate drones safely. >>