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tv   Book TV After Words  CSPAN  January 18, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EST

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well respected in that arena and has argued a lot of very important cases. >> where do you stand on the death penalty and did your views change after doing research and writing this book? >> well i didn't go into it for ideological reasons. i didn't go into it to write a book about why we shouldn't have the death penalty however it's certainly a book that concentrates more on one side of the argument and the other. i chose to concentrate on the death penalty lawyers. the lawyers to represent inmates. i don't know that my views changed a whole lot. i felt like going and from the research i've done and from what i had read and the people i talked to that it was a system that doesn't work particularly well. ..
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>> host: welcome to booktv "after words." we are talking to tufts university history professor, peniel jospeh who has a very compelling new book out "dark days, bright nights" from black power to barack obama." we'll come professor joseph. >> guest: think you. >> host: tell me what the title means. that is very intriguing. >> guest: it refers to wear black people have come from in this country from the dark days of slavery and jim crow down to the first
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african-american president. >> host: there was a little diddy during the campaign that went viral and you mentioned it too early on in the book. moses psat so martin could walk so barack could run so your children could fly. that was a catch phrase particularly toward african-americans but use inside this and say it emotionally powerful they make for poor history. >> guest: of some of the. the whole notion of rosa parks as a iconic trope and the civil-rights movement is a point* i like to call the heroic point* and by what i need is may 17, 1954 through august 6 that encompasses the period from the brown
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desegregation court decision all the way of signing the voting rights act. in between what we are told us students and as a nation nation, it is that there are all kinds of six and 10 demonstrations and marches occur. but they are done by the famous iconic people. rosa parks who was just so tired she refused to get up from the but said montgomery alabama and basically a young preacher who even the president referred to during the election as a young preacher from georgia who was dr. march and 213 junior who leads the masses of their march 10 could do this stuff and jeffrey could run an barack could fly, they sound good but they simplify
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a complicated history. with so many african-americans who dismantle segregation include a gross the parks. she did not just refuse to give up percy to buy accident it was a concerted strategic effort to transform democratic institutions. the less than a half to impart to our kids and the nation, this is not just something that happened by accident as these iconic figures like dr. martin luther king, jr. to help the rest of us it is a debate during the election because hillary clinton said even though martin luther king, jr. was important it took a president to signed the voting rights act that is when then senator obama i kept invoking dr. keying as a fierce urgency of now and
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senator clinton said hold up. it took a president to sign that bill. she was invoking the notion that our politics still run it a top down way even though keying was the seminal figure her point* is that you still need a president to transform this nation and really i think the most transformative part to our history when you think of the civil-rights movement and the power movement of the '60s and '70s and the postwar period, it is people who transform this point* it is seamstress. it is regular people who would converge of these people who become iconic. >> host: one of the things i loved about your book is the complexity of its and to try a complex portrait.
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martin luther king, jr. for instance was a critic of racism and protested and called attention to rural poverty and he had a different actual life than is often described and remembered. it is a figure that some had zero who a figure who gave the "i have a dream" speech but there are hard edges of his portfolio. >> guest: but especially when worth mentioning we are about to celebrate dr. king's birthday, january 18. he is sure of his complexity bru-ha-ha he is with the bulls was cedric critics than the most biggest
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purveyor of violence in the world by 1967. his riverside speech when he first comes out against the vietnam war and a robust and public way gives one year to the date he is assassinated invent this tennessee. would rethink give him 1965 through 68 by the time king it goes to chicago, he is there to transform the slum and desegregate housing, he is talking about poverty and economic marginal is setian of four people, labor, king makes a very famous speech when he talks about all labor has dignity which is one of his last speeches and 1968. the poor people campaign we shoved aside rekey pound rose in august 28 with the
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"i have a dream" speech and we don't think about the king who was much more combative it until he was non-violent he believed to -- you could use it as a moral and political force, a battering ram to transform democracy. not the he was not combative. he was but the difference between king in the african-american critics see did not believe by lance was acceptable politically or morally. >> host: it was also true that king that come everybody remembers him now but back at the time people that want them coming in because it made life more difficult for many of those who had to stay behind. >> of some of the. they gang of the southern leadership conference they are the mobilizes of the civil-rights movement.
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st. nick was led by stoically carmichael and john lewis. he goes into places like birmingham or albany georgia or chicago were meant this tennessee and stirs things up. that is what is so interesting. demanding dozens of things from mayor daley in chicago of the early version of affirmative-action if he precipitates fear and loathing among the white population but also among certain black power brokers to have their own relationship with city hall and look at king as the outsider who is upsetting the delicate balance of power in their own city. >> host:. >> host: what compel due to write this book? >> guest: i was
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transformed and impacted by the 2008 election. i wanted to connect to the election results with my own work on postwar african-american in history and especially the civil-rights and black power movement. one of the least reported stories was the impact that black power radicalism had on the nation in terms of transforming the nation to elective the first black president. when we talk about obama cover we talk about civil-rights including the then is senator obama. one of the most famous speeches 2007 at the demonstration 1965 that culminated in the passage of the voting rights act several months later and famously kane and others were turned away from the bridge their rebalance and
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john bill was head of the student 95 and coordinates bid committee is brutally beaten and the iconic images of the civil-rights era. senator obama said at that speech to the new generation of civil rights activists were the joshua generation. people like him who would see the promised land. he put himself directly as the air and beneficiary of the civil-rights movement. and contrast we never really talk to the nation of black power and only in a negative context of one of the things i wanted to show and argue in this book is the black power movement all the very combative very forceful and its mazes them it made the
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foundation along the civil-rights movement transforming this nation to have the first black president. >> he remain that is the most interest -- misunderstood from the postwar era? >> also still we usually think of black power as a movement of violence, a gun toting black panthers and others it would drive down counterparts and social justice for the movement that a practice without portfolio and the civil-rights movement evil twin that wracked dr. king's dream of a beloved community. when the big of the black power movement and what occurred empirically, a black power really grows out of the same historical context that produces civil-rights rolling out of
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activism. from the harlem renaissance and the postwar context grows out of malcolm x in the nation of islam but also secular radicals light james and grace lee and james baldwin so when we think of black power it has a very ecumenical and very secular side to it and it is the side that people don't discuss. one of the most interesting things is the way intellectual social component. on one score black power activist in high school and colleges but then try to transform consciousness through poetry and prose but then also push for
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anti-poverty so would rethink of the popular conception we don't think of black women being at the forefront but they really were some of the key activists. not just the iconic figures like davis and cleaver but poor black women in places like deer of north carolina, baltimore maryland and philadelphia. survey black women participated in that movement in organizations like snic and black panther but more black women and black people participated just in the al talk grass-roots organizations on campus and off campus through the '60s and '70s. >> host: the people that were in bed shadow a personal note to to know
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william were the who turned out was an adviser to boston university when i was say president they're countrymecountryme n should him and a number of instances where he was one of those people in the four french getting to know malcolm "maxim" playing the role as the american and journalists when you could go to china. >> one of the great unsung heros bill were the board in 19211 of the key radical black journalists of the 1950's and '60's and goes to the soviet union the late forties and into china and the fifties and run the best key black journalists in cuba during the revolution
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and a friend and ally of malcolm x. the key domestic ideas called the freedom no party will be one of three black independent political parties in 1960's. one is the mississippi freedom democratic party led by the sharecropper from louisville lot of mississippi who was not allowed to be seated at the 1964 dnc in atlantic city new jersey. the other will be their freedom organization which is nicknamed the black panther party and that starts with the grass roots from the snic activists especially stoke the car michael. were the is interesting as a black power active is to went to jail for refusing to fight in the warm one say for policy based on human
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rights we before carter talks about that william where they was talking about this. part of the robeson generation a group of activist to come of age during the prime political time of paul robeson who is the key african-american of the 1930's and '40's and '50's he will be marginalized by the cold war between 1961 and 68 his passport is revoked and he cannot earn a living outside of the country because of the left-wing believes. he never joined the communist party but is very sympathetic to marxism and communism and will suffer because of that. >> he provides a different genealogy mayor richard sent
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who is the activists from cambridge merrill lynch that is called the ladies general who has the unprecedented struggle in 1963 and 642 help desegregate to sign a a peace accord but also goes to malcolm x leadership conference in detroit where the outcome delivers the famous message where he lays out the second revision of the national and international political revolution. >> host: you write malcolm x was nothing less than the civil-rights era invisible man. >> guest: of civility and the terms in way historians view malcolm x. they are not part of their heroic point*. he usually only pops up
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around 1963/64 and only serves as a foil to dr. kagan. he is characterized as a profit of rage he was not only a brilliant political strategist and not one of the most important figures of the postwar period. >> you know, back in the '50s the most important term -- important political organizer and holland. >> release from prison in 1952 after serving six years for burglary he transforms himself while in prison in massachusetts and comes out of prisons and works the number of odd jobs while working as a muslim minister. in 1954 he opens the moscow in philadelphia but also becomes the head of muslim
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mosque number seven and right away now becomes the key muslim, black muslim figure it goes my group of several hundred when he joined in the late forties and early fifties to over 25,000 by the time he leaves the group. what is important is between 1954 and 64 with he is the most active in the group, he really transforms that group from the sectarian group to a secular group. he transforms the group that is not on anyone's radar to a group considered to be one of the leading subversive groups and then in 1959 there is a mike wallace documentary that produced that makes not. >> the international figure.
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then that key african american reporter of the '50s and '60s before his untimely death is one of the key journalist to interview is not on and also becomes an expert on the nation of islam. >> host: one of the things about malcolm and all of those things if they are true it is the rob language that is a searing, piercing searing, piercing, he would say these things. a quote to during a press conference that a mere 10 democracy was just not equipped to protect and that was not made for african-american and at that time. but a press conference said if anyone sent to a dog on a black man of the black man should kill the dog whether a for the dog or a two legged dog.
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that is hard to say and public. and baby to put that in perspective today we did not get important african-american to stand up and say things like that. >> absolutely one of his most important characteristics was the ability to speak truth to power and probably will be the most eloquent radical critic of america and democracy during the postwar period. the outcome is also a bold enough for not acting proactively enough but what is interesting study about the backs she really day she really serves as the counterpart in a way that people don't think of. they think of him as a counterpart for the a good black man and malcolm is the nasty anti-white.
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no. saying things that king cannot say it a very confrontational manner but keira is king room to negotiate and not just came but wilkins from the naacp and urban league to negotiate. people look at malcolm as being so extreme because of the robust criticism but also against the politics of white supremacy give sees other civil-rights leaders room to maneuver. but the quote that you take that malcolm had a great gift to "superfreakonomics" ordinary people. the genius writer of the '60s and '70s have often said that malcolm had such a love for people he spoke in a language they understood. and one way that ♪ ♪ could be effectively communicate is he was from the black working-class.
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and handing out with hustlers and in roxbury and detroit and hot harlem but before he becomes a minister , he was selling people illegal substances. and how black people felt he knew about the african-american culture in barbershops and not just fed nation of islam but the is, as well the becomes a singular important figure but not as a profit or raise your icons, a grass-roots local organizer not adjusted new york but detroit and chicago and other places as well. >> host: long after his death becomes enough of an american ef- figure to get a
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stamp. >> guest. [laughter] there is a rehabilitation of malcolm x and has occurred over the last 20 years. we start with spike lee malcolm x in 1982 there reissue of the autobiography and also the stamp. even barack obama autobiography dreams for my father he expresses admiration and says he admires his self-determination and his ability to recreate himself. malcolm x is the quintessential self-made african-american man of the postwar period. >> the cardis them for you live on the ideological spectrum justice clarence thomas also embraced the collective recordings of malcolm x and found something important in the theories himself spasmodic
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spasmodic . >> absence of the he liked ploy yourself up from your boot straps and political self-determination in the notion the outcome would say that black people had to do for themselves. and to reduce handouts for the white man so conservatives would find that as a great attribute. >> another important figure in your book that you devote considerable space is stoke the car might call -- stokely carmichael. >> guest: of the most politically activist in civil-rights black pair were point*. he is going to be a key civil-rights activist who becomes a black power icon. stokely carmichael is the only black power figure who are also been a civil-rights
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organizer in the deep south. born in trinidad in 1941. emigres to the united states two weeks before his 11th birthday 1952. lives in the bronx. one of the only african-american students that test into the bronx science high school that is one of the most prestigious high schools. even as a high school student come he is an activist. 1960 he unrolls howard university and joins the nonviolent action group which is a affiliate of snic and becomes a free director and is arrested in mississippi and spent 49 days in the worst prison farm and he celebrates his 20th birthday in prison with civil-rights activity that is the first-ever 27
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arrest but what is really important about stokely carmichael that i tried to convey a is carmichael is one of the few americans domestically who actually pleads for democracy. undergoing physical terror and violence at the hands of hate to groups and domestic terrorist like the mississippi delta and in cambridge merrill lynch to promote poaching rights in sitters and share price for all african-americans. >> host: we're getting close to the break time and i want to get into some contemporary thoughts a get your opinion on what is couple of minutes and we will talk about current events. ♪
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up 70 >> if you watch iptv uc gwen ifill. with her and new book what are you reading? >> i had no time to read anything that had nothing to do with the book but now that it is out, i am in the built middle of the buck about anthony skelly at and i reading the book about the campaign of course. and i am reading subsection called trading dreams at midnight. >> host: who writes these
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stories? >> said they are about african-americans and stories in this city it is a downer. >> host: what is the preferred place and time? >> guest: i read a lot of the plane, i have the amazon candles all i can carry six books at one time and i read at home and i have a special book chair that is dedicated special just to reading with a special task light. >> host: the latest interview is break through you can go to and check out her interview. thank you very much. >> host: welcome back to booktv after word spread the we're talking with professor peniel jospeh tufts university history professor.
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and a very interesting book which i recommend. "dark days, bright nights" from black power to barack obama" a great piece of work and congratulations. let's talk about you mentioned in your book with some of the media coverage with barack obama and some of his views and speeches to have not been as sharp coverage as it should have then. how do you think obama's as the first african-american a president has been covered? >> guest: in a unique and interesting way. in terms of politics of race, race is always shadowing and contrary specifically what i talk
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about in the book in which the way the president has tried to talk and address waste how the media has really read the speeches differently than i would have. there is the naacp speech the president gave last year 2009 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the civil-rights organization. in that speech he does a couple of things. he critiques african-americans who aren't doing the right thing and people who were not taking care of their kids are promoting education but also to acknowledge is racism is a huge part of the united states. he does say litton eight or a roll call of civil-rights activists but talks about criminal-justice system and racial disparities and it is a well-balanced speech. but the reporting after
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words says it tells black people to get their act together. what is interesting is the media when talking about race the most interesting aspect is the chastises that's what happened during the campaign as well. that produced tension between jesse jackson and senator obama. another example was the skip gates incident where the cambridge police department had acted stupidly and immediate the the media came down on him siding with african-americans quote-unquote showing his true color that he was definitely a partisan and on this side of black folks. remember then senator obama is somebody above the fray and the honest archer even
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though he happens to be black. and obama as the umpire is the famous race speech in 2008 that the president made while he was still a senator when the association with the trinity church his 20 year association in chicago and the pastor jeremiah wright threatened to derail the candidacy because bloggers got a videotape of jeremiah wright partially criticizing u.s. and domestic foreign policy. if this is his preacher that obama must share the same beliefs. so obama's gave a very good speech on race that was perceived as being extraordinary. and he parse very well. on one level he disagreed but on another he could understand where wright was coming from. on some level see criticized
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whites and blacks equally. >> he had to cut his pastor loose and apologize for his choice of words during decades episode. how do think he has handled these controversial moments? >> he hints of it as best as he can that as the first black president he is forced out of necessity to tread lightly on racial matters. he did this as a candidate and say on one hand yes, america has a history of history and it segregation about on the other he was a prime example of the progress made. another great example is a three times dimensions race during the inaugural race. you talks about those of us who felt the lash of the web
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that was a reference to slavery. he talked about segregation at one point and finally he talked about his father. he might not have been able to sit at a restaurant in washington d.c. decades ago because of his race. he was right about that. on certain level sometimes he plays history professor and chief nine just commander in chief and imparts a real lesson but for the most part he has tried to stay away from racial matters which is very impact on the african-american community especially in terms of public policy. >> there was a recent flap disclosed in a new book by two journalists called game change, the book which
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revealed a private conversation and harry reid had, the senate democratic leader. especially back gain obama, as saying this was a match your view calling him the fact he was a light skinned african-americans and and did not use the negro dialect unless he wanted to. there was a lot of back and forth, that. over the weekend. what do you make of that? that comment and a controversy? >> guest: it shows the complexity of the african americans when they try to judge the sincerity in terms of harry reid politically is not a right-wing politician
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he was neutral initially but then as a bomb a became the nominee he was a vehement supporter and now we know behind the scenes he was a supporter who wanted obama's to run. on one bubble we think of read although he is a great admirer he still had his own there are ways in which he perceives black people. he is coming out of the baby boomer generation. the way he is light skinned and even the term negro is a very antiquated term and it is certainly a pre-black power movement term. it just says when we think about politics the race still matters the words may show something different. >> host: the suggestion is
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that to him being white skin and his skin color and how he spoke would make him more palatable to a mainstream voting audience. what are people saying? if you do not speak in a black dialect were focusing on the skin color, what kind of person they are saying he is? >> guest: they say what is closer to mainstream white america is acceptable and not a typical black person. reed's comments said within the context of support and they actually contrast with something what clinton got into hot water for saying when he said jesse jackson ran a good campaign in south
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carolina and barack obama ran a good campaign in the south carolina. the inference taken by many was the notion that obama was another jesse jackson and clinton was trying to smear the obama campaign as a black campaign. everybody knows the black candidate never wins 3-1/2 to be a candidate who happens to be black to win. mobile month it the script and became the phenomenon. >> host: is he the only african-american been to be elected president? the only one on the scene to be elected? >> guest: i think so. in a search tin context the leapfrogged over certain people. >> host: he was considering running for the senate? what is interesting is 2000
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and 2004 back-to-back they gave these bright up-and-coming african american men the keynote address. the first person was berber jordon but then back-to-back 2000 and los angeles and it was a convention barack obama could not attend. he could not again or even get credentials. by 2004 it changed and he gave an extraordinary speech that catapulted him merely to the senate because he was not a senator but then to the white house. yes. he was the only person in that context too could have one. >> colin powell who declined in 1996 pulled well and someone who could be elected president of the country? >> he would have had tough time getting the party's
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nomination and he knew that because he was a republican who is a much more moderate pain of the republican his own that is now a lost art. thinking of nelson rockefeller, there is a republican party of the rockefeller wing of the republican party which were moderates compared to contemporary republican so colin powell is somebody republicans love to look at it and pulled and say this is such a great figure he was secretary of state and chairman of joints chief of staff and a role model but had a tough time to get his own party's nomination. >> after barack obama elected president there was a sense that all things were possible and felt there was great euphoria and said a lot about the country and
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how it had changed and evolved. one year into the presidency would you see has happened in the country and has the country changed? >> is a mixed response that the euphoria after november 4th has certainly reseeded in light of the enormous political challenges that obama has fixed but also the notion that was erroneous that that nation have become post racial and a devil. then nation that obama's election proved that active racism and it did not matter any more. thinking of the pressures the president is facing now like unemployment rate in the country is very
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high, 10% but the unemployment rate is double in places like new york city and black men it is triple. there are great to rescind a new stories have african americans who were college-educated are disproportionately more unemployed than counterparts. we still see even with the euphoria of the obama's victory and has significant as that that -- victory is it is a watershed of american history is not transmitting immediately into ending racial disparity >> host: some have criticized obama particularly in the african american communities were not focusing enough on those disparities in particularly the record unemployment among african-american and employment in some places and give it concentrated attention.
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what do you make of those critiques? >> they exemplify the dilemma that black americans face having the first black president because historic way we never had an african-american leader within the black community like a doctor came who also had an elected office little loan the highest in the country. when you think of obama's through the 2008 election season he became one of the most powerful black leaders in the country as the obama's phenomenon evolves. he went from pulling behind clinton into a dominating in south carolina and receiving over 90% of the black vote in the election. now blacks are faced with the fact he is not just a black leader but president of the united states. black leadership everything from the congressional black
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caucus needs to exert pressure on the black president that you really cannot where both had set the same time. when thinking of the unemployment thinking of universal solutions where black leaders want him to focus cover rightfully so on racial disparity and they are finding it pretty hard in the unique situation how you criticize the first african-american president who has enormous reserves of good will? of obamacare paygo and td sinn to any barbershops across the country and will be embraced. and the same people are suffering. the quandary, so far that black leaders have shown of the right balance to criticize the president in a way that has traction with the larger black community.
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>> host: he grew up and a large part in hawaii and has embraced the notion and the possibilities of multi-cultural the some. you write in your book he sees racial power as the anachronism. >> absolutely. it really subscribes to the popular vision. and his memoir he describes the older gentleman who serves as a mentor to him in hawaii who would always talk about black power and and he listens to them very carefully but at the same time he feels the view of the world is too narrow and static and it is the unchanging view of racial discrimination. at one point he describes
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listening to a speech from the former stokely carmichael in the early '80s at columbia had one woman asked a question and he said the way in which it was responded his eyes glowed from a mad man or a saint. the obama's view is something that is anachronistic that is suitable for the politics of the '60s and '70s but not flexible enough to take into the changing demographics. >> host: yet he has opened the white house and made it available to people of different ideological and a wide range and al sharpton is somebody who in the
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popular imagination and we considered as a fiery black activist but yet he is someone who has access to the white house and down to see the president. what do you think of how obama has handled four been accessible or reached out to african-americans? >> guest: it is complicated because on one though he is the first black president who has not necessarily had to do the same kind about reach as his predecessors because he is so popular in the african-american community. whether jesse jackson or al sharpton nor the congressional black caucus, they are wondering they're wondering how can they provide accountability who is so popular within the black community?
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so this the call public policy there is no discernible transformation in terms of the house there may be urban end of reach but not as the dramatic policy initiative especially those from the cbc were hoping for. >> host: where do think we are with the race relations in this nation? >> we're really at a unique crossroads because on one level obama victory can be attributed to millions of younger voters white, black, latino multiracial under 32 participated in the process for the first time and looked at obama as just
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another candidate even though they might have their own individual racial hangups they did not view that campaign and candidate through the prism of race. at the same time we have an older generation and get back to the harry reid comment deal is still coming to grips with a multi-cultural or multiracial nature of this democracy. the obama's victory is very important, the symbolism but also it has been exaggerated in the sense of obama's 53 = the end of racism. it = a post racial united states. there is one aspect of the obama victory that incursions -- encourages is a mythology that the united states has turned a corner and if you don't make it is based on your soul
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individual behavior and not kind of institutional racism where racial discrimination. the positive to the victory is the way in which obama, as president delivers a different image of blackness common not only to the rest of the country and globally but also too blacks themselves, especially young black people. one of the best things about zero pablo been president, going back to the hobble the with so barack could fly common that the residents on african american in children and children of color but white children as well we cannot calculate. we have to see. that will be very, very important. you hope that resonance is connected also with public policy because he has a social logical impact but
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will it be a public policy impact that we can quantify in 10 or 15 years? one of the interesting measures said they post a bond united states where he serves one or two terms, what is the quantifiable transformation if any that the presidency has? >> host: as you mentioned is the nightly news of the black family in places where there on the south lawn playing with the dog or eating ice cream with the girls, you see a portrait of a black family and the highest levels of power is a knightley experience as opposed to i don't know how nightly news is in your town but nothing but crime in most towns.
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that certainly has the impact individualized. >> guest: absolutely. one of the biggest things obama's election did to transform the a static is project the consistent and mitch of the whole black family by the president, first lady, the children, sasha, malia and even the dog by grandmother grandmother, at michele's mother in the white house for the first time since the truman the administration. that is very, very important. positive but at the same time i would also argue in those images provoked aspects of a racial backlash we have seen against this president when we think of the 912 movement and a whole notion the president is not
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a citizen. >> host: it with a face like hitler. >> guest: absence of a. talking about criticism that crosses the line from legitimate public policy differences into the racial stereotypes and racist caricatures. >> host: what is next for you? >> guest: i working on a biography of stokely carmichael. >> host: what do your students make of this point*? >> guest: i think they are fascinated. what is very interesting is now a college student it aged 18 through 22 many of them are born in the '90s at this point*. this is why after the civil rights act come of voters rights act or the death of martin luther king and it is
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ancient history for them and they are very fascinated by this. many of my students follow the election very closely like students did all across the country and around the world. race continues to be this important crucible to go through in terms of understanding the history of this country and democracy. >> host: does this set the stage for more african-americans to be elected president? is this something that can happen again and again? or was this unique with the circumstances the man and the moment? >> guest: both. it can happen again but it is unique. we are seeing another african-american candidate who was like a obama man or
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woman potentially could wind and could run. at the same time, can we get a black candidate who is considered a very robust lead dark skinned, who speaks in the cadences of the black community, i can that person win? right now, i would say no. they would turn off a large segment of the electorate. that is the true measure and test of the democracy when what henry reed was saying is the politics of realism how the electorate is shaped when somebody who was not light skinned or perceived as speaking as if he were not a black person could win an election. >> host: did you believe they will then would be elected before an african american? >> guest: it seemed as if
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senator clinton was poised and thinking of women around the country, they are ready for that. and a way it seemed as if that would happen especially because before barack obama arrived if we look at those landscape of the black elected political leaders it did not seem if anyone had the impossibility of becoming president. >> host: we're just about out of time. but i enjoyed this a lot we are talking with peniel jospeh a professor of history at tufts university. who has a very deep and complex book, "dark days, bright nights" from black power to barack obama" the congratulations and continued success out there. >> guest: think you. i and to avoid this conversation. .


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