tv Race in America CSPAN October 31, 2015 9:32am-11:01am EDT
that we begin to see in the '60s and '70s and then even more i think powerfully thereafter. it includes people like peale, of course, i think in the religious field robert schuller is someone in that tradition. joyce brothers, dr. joyce brothers, deepak chopra, steven covey, m. scott peck. and i think perhaps most popularly in terms of american culture, oprah winfrey. and i think all of them in one way or another talk about how personality development, sort of therapeutic adjustment, human relations is really the key to getting ahead in modern life. and i think dale carnegie's the guy that started all of that. >> host: where are his papers kept? >> guest: well, there's a small archive at the dale carnegie institute, a sort of family company that still runs the educational enterprise. they have offices in new york, but the little archive is out on
long island, and all of his papers and stuff is there. not many people had looked at it at all, so i really was the first guy to get in there, and it was a gold mind of information about him. >> host: professor steven watts and author of this, among other books," self-help messiah" about dale carnegie. thanks for being on booktv. >> guest: pleasure talking with you. >> booktv is on twitter. follow us to get publishing news, scheduling updates, author information and to talk directly with authors during our live programs. twitter.com/booktv. [inaudible conversations]
>> oh, that's much better. good evening, everyone. and what a great crowd. thank you all so much for coming out tonight. i'm lissa muscatine, one of the co-owners of politics & prose bookstore, and we are really delighted to be here at 14th and v and sponsoring this event. i don't know how many of you realize we also have a book operation here in the store as well as the busboys and poets at brookland and tacoma. about a year ago, the own or approached us and asked us if we would help run his book operations, and we were ecstatic at the possibility, and one of the reasons was because we have such a sort of parallel, synergistic role in our communities with busboys, and we
were very, very grateful for the opportunity to be here, to be able to bring books to many more parts of washington and also events like this one. so i wish andy were here. he was here a little while ago, he had to go off to another event, but this is very much the sort of event that busboys has become known for over the years, and we are extremely proud to be a part of. and the way this is going to work tonight is that our panel will talk for a bit, and then there will be questions from the audience, a mic will be passed around. if you have a question, just raise your hand. at the end of the event, all four of our guests are, i'm sure you know, very successful authors. their books are right here. you will have a chance to get their books and get them signed if you wish afterwards. so that's the housekeeping. maybe if you have a cell phone on and could turn it off, that would also be a good idea just sow it doesn't interrupt the conversation. and i want to just start by thanking april ryan who, really, this is her event. she came to us, she asked us if
we would consider working with her to create an event like this and sponsor it, and we were really delighted by the prospect. we made it harder for her, we said, well, you have to have authors, people who have written about this subject. and, of course, in a flash she found not only authors, but great authors and friends of ours at politics & prose who we so treasure many our community. so, april, thank you for making this possible. she really the driving force behind this. [applause] i just have to say that, you know, this is partly a shameless plug for her book, which is called "the presidency in black and white." we, of course, hosted her event when it came out last february, i think it was. >> yes, yes. >> and it's a tremendous book. she's too modest to say it, so i'm going to say it. it has just won the nonfiction award from the 11th annual african-american literary awards
show. so congratulations. [applause] and i, you know, there's a lot of controversy now about what's classified and what isn't in washington, so i'm going to err on the side of caution and just say i don't want to reveal any state secrets, but stay tuned for a few more headlines possibly pertaining to that book. just keep your eyes out for the news in the next few months. and then secondly -- and this is just a rumor -- she's got another one coming out at some point. and it's in progress, and we're going to have her back. >> i'll hold you to it. [laughter] >> so anyway, thank you, april. april will be giving a little more detailed introduction of our panelists tonight, but i do have to say just a brief word about them. michael eric dyson is possibly our best customer. [laughter] he just rolled out a dollar figure that he's spent in the
store, and i won't hold him to it, but he's got to be up there. of course, he's a professor, an incredibly prolific author, he's written 15 or 16 books, i think we have one of his collections here for you if you'd like it. so it's great to have him. special friend of our store, we're so delighted always to be with him. joy ann reid who we hosted just a few weeks ago. her new book, i hope you've had a chance to read it. if you haven't, you've got to get it. it's called "fractured." it's one of smart itself books, honestly, about american politics, especially about the evolution of race in the democratic party. fantastic book, so thank you, joy ann, so much for being here. what a contribution that book is. of course, we've got it here for you, so come right up afterwards. and then lastly but, of course, not least, paul butler who's the author of "let's get free," and he's one of the most respected civil rights attorneys in the country as well as a professor at georgetown law.
we are so delighted also to have you, another friend of our store. so i feel, you know, very, very happy to be in such great company with all of them and with all of you. so they are terrific. but i just want to say a couple more things about april. many of you know she's a very familiar voice on american urban radio, longtime commentator on american politics, been a reporter for more than 30 years and, obviously, in that amount of time she's seen her share of politics and politicians. she's been a white house correspondent for the networks since 1997, covered the presidencies of bill clinton, george w. bush and barack obama. and i think that if you read her book, you'll find that it's a compilation of a lot of yores of observation -- a lot of years of observation and a lot of years of immersion in that world of the american presidency, and she's learned a lot, for sure. but i think at least from my vantage point what is most important about april is not the reporting itself, but sort of
what she does with her reporting. she is one of 42 journalists assigned to the white house beat, but she has been intent on bringing news to communities that are also too often ignored and marginalized by the conventional news media. and over the years she literally has become herself a news outlet, a resource for millions of americans who might otherwise be left in the dark about how events in the news are affecting and shaping their own lives, their families and their communities. but i think a lot of these journalistic awards, we should be giving you a public service award. really. [applause] [inaudible] and, you know, it's not, it should be far -- be recognized at a far higher level than it often is, but you are making a tremendous contribution. and including doing this here tonight. to thank you so much for being the driving force, and thank all
of you for coming and being here, and thank all of you for coming and being here, we're delighted to have you. >> thank you, lissa. [applause] i tell you what, i'm floored. and, i mean, any author tries to get to this great place called politics & prose. so this is the owner. this is the owner. so, please, support her, and let's thank her. [applause] she didn't have to have our books in her store and have it there. i mean, everyone doesn't get to politics & prose. and not only that -- and it's true, you know that -- >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> and we want to thank her for hosting this and providing the books and hosting all of you tonight. and thank you for coming out. we want to let you know there is food and libation, so if you want -- [laughter] if you need a little nosh, a little drink, a little food while we're talking, we encourage you, and we thank busboys and poets as well. let's give them a big round of applause. [applause] well, welcome to race in america today, a panel discussion. i'm your moderator, april ryan. and i want to move on down the
line to my great panel. i mean, i'm in awe of these people. i'm going to give short bios. i mean, you know who they are. next to me, michael eric dyson, georgetown professor of sociology and author of 16, count them, 16 books,16 books including "can you hear me now." let's give him a big round of applause. [applause] thank you, michael, for coming. the great, the great, the great joy ann reid, the author of the new book, "fractured." i'm so happy for you. joy ann reid is a national correspondent for msnbc, former managing editor and author, again, of "fractured." to be honest with you, many people believe, and this is an unscientific statement that i'm going to make, but i'm going to say it, i think you're one of the best reporters around. i'm serious, and i thank you. [applause] thank you for being here.
and seated at the end, the illustrious author, paul butler, former federal prosecutor and author of "let's get free" and currently a law professor at georgetown university. thank you so much for coming. [applause] now, i want to, i want to start this off with something x many of us watch the news. we are consumed by the news and current issues. and right now issues of our culture, our time focus around race. and i can't help but last year think about a conversation we had in a car. we were in a car talking about race, and it's a lot. it's more than -- there's a lot underneath the surface that you just don't know, and i hope that this panel brings you a little bit more insight and understanding as to what's really going on. michael said you're scared of the truth. i put my head down, and i had to
hold my ears, i couldn't take it anymore. this is a real dialogue. i want to start off with the fact that w.e.b. due boys wrote -- duboise wrote the problem with the 20th century is the problem with the color line. there were frequent media assertions of a postracial america after the election of barack obama. meanwhile, earlier this year on a flight to selma, alabama, for the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday, i asked president obama after he completed his eight years in the oval office, would he consider america postracial or post-obama? now, listen to what he said to me. he said, quote: i think there's no doubt that my election was a significant moment in this country's racial history. i say that with all humility. and then later in his answer he went on to say. i wouldn't equate my election with seminal moments like the emancipation proclamation or the pass passage of the civil rights act of 1964. those were massive changes in legal status that represented
fundamental breaks with america's tragic history. he also said they were the pillars, the 13th amendment, the 14th amendment, the 15th amendment, the civil rights act of the 1960s. he said those represented the dismantling of formal discrimination in this country, and there's nothing that's going to compare to that. and with that said, where are we now? are we post-duboise? in the next 16 months or so will we be post-obama or are we postracial? i want to start with you, joy. >> oh, thanks! thanks a lot. [laughter] thanks a lot, april. well, first of all, i want to echo your thanks to politics & prose as well as to busboys and poets as well as to you, april, for bringing us all together. it is an honor to be here with this really great panel, so thank you very much. and thanks a lot for starting with me, really. [laughter] so, you know, i think when you talk about the country being postracial, i think that is a
goal that the country cannot fully share. i think when you think about the united states of america, it is one of the most explicitly race-conscious countries ever put together anywhere. the formation and the foundation of the country was consciously placed into our founding documents that to be free, white and male had a meaning for your citizenship, and to not be those things had a meaning for your lack of citizenship. and the struggle to bring about the equality of african-americans is foundational to the country. so i think it is, it's interesting that the desire to be postracial, i think it really reflects very different goals and very different sort of psychic needs that prims and white -- african-americans and white americans, frankly, have when they think about race in america. there is a desire for transcendence, to transcend the
racial path, to put it behind us, to put a coda on it, to somehow put a period on the end of that sentence and say we have now come past this point where race matters. but race hat marrieded -- has mattered in everything. it's been so explicit. and it used to be a consciousness on the part of white americans about race that sort of drove policy whether it was jim crow policy, housing policy, who could live on this block, who could go to this school. it was explicitly race conscious. so we now come to a point in our history where i think a lot of white america wants to put a period on the end of that sentence and get postracial, whereas for prims race is something that -- african-americans, race is something we're living every day, when we walk through a store, when a police officer follows us. african-americans have no desire to transcend race other than to just be fully citizens, and that has never been allowed. i think for a lot of white americans the expectation is to transcend it, and those are two
opposite goals that can never be brought boo union, and so i think that's part of the reason we have so much discord. >> let's go to former prosecutor and the litigation. and we're seeing criminal justice, we're seeing so much right now in the way of the visuals. and many people are seeing the inequity, the inequality in this nation that we have talked about more years, but now you see the visuals. we've talked about the numbers, but when people see the numbers in print, they're like, oh, wow, did you know that? of course we did. we are from the commitment. there's also an article, the paradox of the first black president. how does all that play into this post-obama issue? >> i'm going to agree with joy and respectfully disagree with dr. duboise. the problem then and now was never the color line, the problem is white supremacy. and white supremacy has not been impacted at all.
i love the president. i have an barack obama action figure on my table. [laughter] whenever i come home and someone's knocked it down, i stand it up. >> [inaudible] >> i love the president, so i -- [inaudible] [laughter] but when he was elected, i don't think anyone expected that he would reverse 400 years of white supremacy. i do think -- >> meaning slavery. >> slavery, the old jim crow, the new jim crow. i do think people hoped that he would make racial justice a significant part of his agenda. and he has not. and because i have so much love and respect for him, it's disappointing. because if he applied his brilliant mind and his amazing
political talent to racial justice as he has other issues like lgbt equality, immigration, trade, i think we could be further along than we are. so if we look at where we are now with black family wealth, when president obama took office, the average was $18,000. that's the average net worth of a black family. for a white family, it's $142,000. black family wealth has actually gone down during the time that the president has been in office. white family wealth has gone up. and if we look at the criminal justice system, you know, if you look at places like ferguson and baltimore, it's something to think that the problem is bad apple cops. that's not really the problem. the problem is criminal justice
is also infused with white supremacy. the problem isn't so much what's illegal, the problem is what's legal. what the police are allowed to do. and so in many ways when we look at ferguson, the system is working the way it's supposed to work. so when we think about reform, that might be a mild way of thinking about the change that this country needs in order to truly establish racial justice. and just really quickly, you mentioned president obama's speech at selma. i think there he understood that. there he talked about the way that the civil rights movement ott '60s had transformed -- of the '60s had transformed america. we need that transformation now. >> thank you so much, professor butler. [applause] understanding that we come from a vantage of research and knowledge and reporting and
sourcing, michael eric dyson, i want to ask can you, is it fair -- ask you, is it fair to pin a lot of these hopes on this president when it took 400 years to come out -- i mean, it took 200 years to.com out of -- to come out of what happened 400 years ago. can we lump all of this on this president? and should we look to the past to see who we are today and how we should go forward now and after he's president? >> well, i want to say it's great to be here with april, the great joy reid and the magnanimous and gifted professor paul butler. look, of course it's not fair to pin all of our hopes on one man, to put all of our eggs in one basket. but it's unavoidable. because we love him so much. he's our guy.
he's tall, terrific, talented with a tall, terrific, talented wife and children. and they are the sparkling image of the projected brilliance of the black family which is an implicit rebuttal to the moynihan report about the pathology of the black family. in a narrow, heterosexist vein, but nonetheless, an important one. on the other hand, look at the humility of obama in responding to your question. where he says, hey, i wouldn't put my presidency on the level of the 13th, 14th amendment, i'm not going to put it on the level of the civil rights bill. now, most of us would be president, yeah, that was a greatest thing in the history of negroes ever, me being president. yep, that's how it goes. so you can see that the man is exquisitely and consciously humble in the most appropriate fashion and in a refreshing
fashion. if you juxtapose him to people on the other side of the aisle running now who relentlessly remind us of their billions -- i don't want to name any names -- [laughter] then he holds the trump card, so to speak. [laughter] now, as james brown elegantly said house and ever, barack obama is the product of paradox, is the purveyor of paradox and pursues a project that as professor butler said and ms. reid said is one that is highly ironic and also disappointing to to this degree. it is not that we can foist -- hoist the entire, if you will, gravity and weight of our existence onto obama's slim shoulders, and yet history has done that. history has thrust upon him what martin luther king jr. said the battering rams of historical
necessity. history, you can't have the goodies without having the burdens. the goodies and the blessings are, you the man. the blessings are, you're the first african-american president. the first, the blessing is that you as a black man had an ideal that no other black person in the history of this universe has ever successfully nurtured in his own mind. i will be the head of the most powerful democracy in the history of the world. so that's extraordinary. on the other hand, i think what professor butler is suggesting and ms. reid is also pointing to, we never thought this was going to be a postracial reality. obama himself says in his second book about home, the audacity of hope, that slow down. don't put the postracial tag here because we ain't there yet. rather, what we should have as richard ford has said, a law professor, a postracist society. post racial is post-negro. it mean post-black.
thought we had been there, done black. thought he had finished it. now obama has been elected, we're good. we've wiped our hands of blackness, no more responsibility. is he responsible for that? of course not. but what he is responsible for is not in, i think, with great diplomacy understanding that there's not much he could be critical of white america about in this country. because they wasn't going to have it. at a fundraiser in san francisco, mr. obama, president obama, then-senator obama said, hey, when stuff gets tough, some white folk of a particular white class orientation get guns, are bitter, you turn to their religion, and he got beat down. and he knew then never again to speak ill of white brothers and sisters in america. why? because people are chagrined when even a so-called ostensibly biracial, half-white man makes a comment about white america. that lets us know, no, you are
still bear sued as a black -- perceived as a black man. on the flip side, what president obama has done relentlessly is to chide and deliver tirades against african-american people in ways that have been called out by a number of figures as unfortunate. so his genius that professor butler talks about, let's not underestimate that. this man has existed in the midst of not only white supremacy by which i mean the conscious or unconscious belief that some groups are inherently inferior and others are superior. that does not have to do with individual existential assertions about the legitimacy or the lack thereof of black people, it's an institutional mechanisms that is self-perpetuating n. light of that, when we look at what white supremacy has attempted to do, it has attempted to unbirth obama, to retroactively abort him, to wipe his name clear, to legislate against him in the supreme court to make certain that obamacare would not succeed and legislatively to pretend that it would not exist, and it
has stood the test of time. so he's opinion amazing and brilliant against the odds, but he's also reinterpreted and reasserted some of the most vicious stereotypes about black people that should not be tolerable. and it chagrins me to say that what he is possible for is his own mouth, his own bully pulpit, his own personal and political capital and the degree to which he has deployed it. why do i know that he's a great man? because lately he has turned course, he has changed his modus vivendi and his modus operandi. he has changed his rhetorical deployment of language, and he has used it to defend black people, he has used it to elevate black people, and he's pointed out the vicious persistence of white supremacy that unfurled under the banner of a hateful confederate flag. that is the obama that we were promised in 2007 and '8. that is the obama who is finally coming into full gestation, and we hope that with the birth of
that baby before he leaves, it will survive after he leaves office. >> so with that, go ahead, joy. [applause] [laughter] >> i normally am loathe to ever follow michael eric dyson. it's not a good idea. >> you have to think about all the big words that he uses. [laughter] >> i have a mental thesaurus that's always on, and it's checking off to make sure i got all the words, and i hold onto them because i love a beg word. i do, i really do. i do. [laughter] i'm a nerd. and i think one of the points that both professor butler and professor dyson made i think that is very important that i think we don't make enough about this notion of postracialism, the postracial moment in america occurred almost immediately upon the arrival of american enslaved africans. if you look at the history of african people in this country, it took no time at all for
africans, enslaved people to adopt the styles, the customs, the beliefs in democracy and the rights of man of white americans. immediately after slavery, african-americans attempted to become postracial. go back and look at the photos of african-americans at the time. frederick douglass adopted even the hair style of white america, believed in the ideals of democracy of white america, attempted to run for office, and in fact, did. you had african-americans who bought into the whole idea of american democracy and ran for the united states senate, adopted the dress. ..
down to their style of doing our hair. just like a millionaire if someone was able to help african-american women adopt the hairstyle of white america. it wasn't something that african-americans tried, the response was vicious post-reconstruction. the end the end of reconstruction was not just an afterthought, it was a vicious rebuke. we tend to think of people as racial we forget that this country was highly racialized and that racism was rejected.
he said we have to kill them to prevent them from thinking they can marry our daughters, move near our home, and be our people. so so the attempt by african-americans they had to have federal troops march them into college. they had to have federal troops march their children into elementary school. they had to fight communities, mothers, women, they had to fight lynching. so every president, up to brock obama had to face racism issues. they were confronted with questions of what to do with all of the africans who, in some communities are 90% of the population. there was fear and loathed by the people who lived with them. woodrow wilson confronted with what to do about the lynching of black soldiers who were coming
home and were wearing uniform and would walk around proud if they were white men. trying to be post-racial. he racial. he failed utterly in his response. we have this post racialism that is failing on the part of black america to get over slavery. the country could not get over slavery, it would not allow the blacks to get over it when blacks wanted nothing more than to be post- racial, they we had to go to's court, they had to risk firebombings of their churches, lynching and murders to be post-racial. i think the whole issue of it is asking the wrong people to do it. [applause]. to continue that thought, every president up until obama had to
address the issue of racism so can one president be exempt from that? >> and that's the question, whether or not eisenhower was forced to confront the idea and still be lynched and failed to confirm it. he didn't want to address board versus brown versus board of education. it was a big tax code in the 60s, he didn't want to look at civil rights but he was forced to confront it. you have lyndon johnson who is southern and born in a racist southern society. nixon wanted did not want to deal with the busing and housing segregation. every president, up until the 44th president had to deal with the race question.
it was completely strained and unfair to think the first black president was the only guy who gets a pass. >> but here's the point, if you say you don't want to be exempt from the normal characterizations of other presidents because of your color, which i think is fair, then you can't be exempt from the responsibility that every other president has had which is to address the issue of race. are within the following, the extra attentional terror, the personal discomfort, the kind of unease that this president understandably experiences because he is the first person to embody in his own person, the torn mandate and if you will the torn agenda of american democracy that he lives every
day. he says, i'm biracial, i have resolve some of the conflicts of the nation in my own body. if that is the case, how in the world we expect the first african-american president to be exempt from dealing with the most serious issue that has driven this nation, that has torn apart, that has been characterized as america's original sin by his own words, how can we not expect him to deliver that high intelligence and political power on that particular issue. that is part of the disappointment that we have experienced. >> professor butler, we understand we lash out their issues, their problems, africans were enslaved in this country, we can talk till the cows come home but we can talk further about the problems but where do you go from here, particularly
as and i want you to think of this is silva right movement was the most successful movement in this nation. women's rights, the lgbt immunity has taken the forefront, those were pro- immigration, and african-americans, and then you had hoped francis come into this nation, he dropped the mic at the white house. what did he say, we have defaulted on our promissory note. when he said that the whole south launches wooed. that was one of the strongest statements and that, i have a dream speech. so where do we go from here? what is the solution? we know their problems, we see them in the news, let's talk about the solution. >> in order to talk about the solution you have to directly from the problem.
the day after president obama was elected the first time i will go into my local start box, we high five my barista, the way that we are all giving each other piss bumps that day and there is a homeless guy outside, african-american guy who is outside the starbucks and she said that every day she has given him a little bit of change because she felt sorry for him. that morning when she got to work and she saw him lying there with his hand out she said to him, barack obama is president, get a job. the concern is, that is not understanding what the problem is in the concern is that in some ways the president has played into that narrative. so when he goes to morehouse college of all places and says, nobody cares how much
discrimination it is impossible to imagine hillary going into wisely and get over that class feeling. >> do you think he felt he could say that when he was around. >> you have the privilege to talk about it in a certain way. you also have the application to lift them up. i don't see that lifting up. perhaps it is there but we haven't seen it in his actions to that extent. he did not want to focus on race so what he said about african-american unemployment he says, i can't pass up black job law but african-americans can rise, but if you don't have a
boat in the first place which african-americans know, then you don't rise up. the problem is not african-american culture or behavior, the reason that our network that white people have a network better than we have is not because we don't work for, it's not because were not looking for jobs. it is because discrimination is alive and well. if you are black person and you have a black sounding name you don't get the call back that you get with the same qualification that all-white sounding name. so you have to confront, you have to can whites a premise. that's what the problem is. when you think about ways we can address that there are things that we can make in regards to the criminal justice system, were asking the young african-american men to back
down from the police. one and in three black men will get arrested, police are looking to arrest you for. so decriminalize some of the myths. if your stop by the cops from running away from them. they just see black people running away or if michael brown was doppler walking in the street. why should police be able to arrest you for that? so decriminalize and allow lot of conduct not because it's necessarily misconduct but we don't trust the police. we have to reduce contact between the police and its citizens, it is a democracy and that shows you how powerful, hate to keep saying it because
but how powerful the force of white supremacy is. >> let's open this up for question, if you have a question will take the mic, walk around please raise your hand. don't be shy, we have time and we have four authors here who are willing to answer your questions. >> i want to make a point that one of the things you have to understand about barack obama is that we are in a lot of ways who we are raised. rocco, i comprise this unique space in america and a racial, ethnic life in the way that he is a man that is african americanness comes from africanist. i share share that with him of having an african parent whose tradition is not
through in enslavement. it is indifferent right. so then you have the people who raised him. i think part part of the reason why he is such a six effective politician is the person best situated to be the first black president of the united states, he comes at the issue of race without any of the aspects of being african-american naturally gives you when you look at it in america. he was raised in white america and with the mindset, sort of midwestern white american. so hard work and putting your shoulder to the wheel, personal responsibility, he was raised by his grandparents i don't think barack obama is pretending to think that his african-american father wouldn't think he's
making them up i think that's what he is raised to believe. he understands in an intuitive way that a lot of white america is exhausted by the notion of race. and it is exhausted by the notion of constantly addressing these racial dynamics from slavery. when you look at a speech in philadelphia he voices almost perfectly, both the feelings of african-americans because he lived in a black body and he experienced black america and also these attitudinal from white america that says you know what my parents came from ireland 1920, that, that has nothing to do with it, when you look at linden johnson particularly in the suburbs of the country a lot of the white working-class said wait a minute, we want to deal with the issues of economic of the time that the issues of race.
we don't want to deal with the busing black kids into the school we want to do with getting ourselves better jobs. i think he understands the biracial dynamic in a unique way. he is the least angry black man in the america that's why he could be the first black president. >> if you are a black man, woman woman or child in america, if you're not angry, something is wrong. if you're not understand the so remember the context that he was in trouble because of a black preacher who made remarks about race so the point of that speech was to say, you know know what black people can be racist. and by the way, white people can be racist too.
a lot of white people thought and this was brilliant. i didn't learn anything from that speech. he has an evenhandedness when it comes to race. again, the problem is not an easy ended problem it is not african-american, it is white people and white supremacy. so when you say it's not black people who need to change, we we are not responsible for the problem, there are things we can do differently, can young men pull their pants up? that might look better but it's not going to and white supremacy. it's not going to end the unemployment for black people. it is scary when you talk about the problem of white supremacy because that mean things like body cams on police are not
going to address that. if we have this conversation that we can start to get real about the solutions [applause]. >> we need to know what is going on and what people are saying out there, i'm going to let you answer. >> do know who is? the first black person in the first woman to be on the ballot for president. twenty years later, 2008 there's another black women on the docket for president and she was
on the same year that out barack obama was under the green party. the question is we have two incidents where black people who are not democrat who are on the ballot for president and i have been ignored by not only the the press, how can black people establish any sense a black independent when black people and black organizations voluntarily subjects itself? >> i will just say as someone who is a promoter that most presidential election have 25
people on them. that's a lot of people, it's not just a democrat and republican, our system is set up as a tea party system. soma's impossible for a third-party to get any fraction so when you do have a ross perot or a john anderson had 5%, it's very rare and difficult because it's expensive to get on the ballot 50 states. it's not that the media is excluding the black candidates that are not pulling international averages the more than 1%, it is it is all of the other 24 candidates who are also running for president that no pay as much attention to. you have to realize, that the something something i definitely have learned in the research for providing my book is the black vote is a very pragmatic boat. it doesn't really spend much time looking for psychic redress for canada and see which is why
people who otherwise would be quite worthy and respective by black american had absolutely no traction among black voters. from the republican and democrat side because of civil rights. >> it was all very pragmatic. there are buildings in my neighborhood named after her. she is is referred she ran the entire black establishment. they rejected her candidacy because they were trying to put together a black candidate and they're choosing them because she was running in their view is a woman and not a black candidate she was rejected by black america. it is only when it becomes a movement and phenomenon that you have black leaders say maybe we should sign on. what brock obama
ran it was pretty much everything, he didn't have a black establishment on his side. the black establishment was with hillary clinton, until he won and i went and proved he could win in a white state. the black vote is pragmatic it is not going to be used as a defining moment. they're gonna look for candidate to win. >> black people want to win. linda may be appealing for some people but not others. just because you are black and articulating viewpoints doesn't mean you snuffed out the specific civic territory in order to get on the ballot and win enough votes to become telling and force people to take you seriously. we know know their structural impediments and obstacles that prevent, and this just laid out the possibility of these people but at the same time some of the narrow perspective that been articulated by even interesting black people means the pragmatic , black folk are tired of symbolic runs.
that's why with the great reverend al sharpton black people were like, will not so much. black brock obama came along in a different moment. he had to work for that black vote. he had to work for that vote. he went to howard university until poke what he was going to do about the criminal justice system. he had to remind us what he did in illinois in the state senate about racial profiling. this was a guy who had a strategic moment articulated his black is a and let me say this, that the difference and what professor butler said when you have the ability, of course we know brock obama can say what no the candidate can say. pull your britches out, turn the tv off, all that stuff, guess what number one he is not the first black person to say that stuff.
go to church every sunday. go to the temple, the mosque, and listen, you are going to hear some of that same conservative moral value that we now think it's been invented. here's the difference, and that same speech on father's day brock obama quoted chris rock. he said black people always want to get congratulated, i take care my kids while you should be taken part of your kids. he was that part but not the part where chris rock says bless man were the calves and word reduced in the machinery of american capitalism. he got got that part down so if you get to talk about if you are going to have an inside with your own people and speak to them the way we can but look at them three people in public reprimand their people. can you imagine first if he said you know we got to stop
all this madness that is going on in the world, no. because then you make people vulnerable because of the already preexistent existence. but brock obama has placed the truth the black existence by reinforcing stereotypes. not only would he would he not go to barner he would say to those women stop bellyaching about gender oppression and the glass ceilings. he said i identify with you and i know it sounds like i'm pandering but i think the future is involved in women. can we get some of that #can we now let me and by saying this, we know that barack obama cannot be critical for the most part of dominant white culture. stop acting like that he can't. since you can't be critical of white folk don't be critical of black folk because when you're
critical a black vote and looks like the only people who got the problem are the black people and not the white book too. if you can't be equal with all your kids don't say nothing to none of us. >> thank you reverend johnson. >> the more important issue in the pedagogy of america and talk about -- is.
>> i know we want to be forward-looking and solution oriented. i agree with that. i aspire by this moment especially by the activism of what people in the black lives matters movement. i think think they're pointing us towards away. we don't know where, but there is an incredibly savvy at using images and media and social technology in order to, again framed the problem in a more constructive way. when we think about this last year where we have gone from detroit to baltimore, it's not because the images, the cell phone video is new, we've had images up lisa beating up and killing black people since way
before rodney king. that is nothing new. what is new. what is new is that these young activists have been able to use these images to focus attention, to start a conversation. they are not perfect, and the conversation to tween hillary and the young black activists, i think hillary wants that. but that's a a conversation we need to have. what is the stand? i think it's a process. what we are confronting again is powerful. i think we have, just as we made this country in the abolition, we went from slaves and innocents being free, just as as we went from a successful civil rights movement and making a go undercover it didn't go away but it went undercover, again again we can make progress on this area now.
it's not going to lead to a utopia, again i'm not coming up with specifics because i am trusting this process to help us understand where we need to go. >> is also issues where people need to come to a place where we are comfortable listening to people who are on the other side of that racial divide and not prescribing necessarily our own sort of pathology to their motivation. a lot of the reason we have a donald trump become someone who is very popular is because for a lot of white americans there is a sense that the language of race has become all about political correctness and limiting what they are able to comfortably say in public. they don't even necessarily feel comfortable confronting issues of race across the racial divide for fear of as he said, racism has become really almost the worst thing you could say. there is a lot of raw feelings attached to that notion.
i don't think it's been truly integrated if you look at groups of friends, small circles, they're still very divided by race. we are segregated, our school system is as segregated as ever and becoming more so. you have the public school system now which is becoming majority, a place where minority kids are educated. go to a city like selma, only 2% of white children are in the public schools. the vast majority have pulled out of the public school and go to private school. we are so segregated in our lives that people so segregated in our lives that people don't feel comfortable having basic conversations. we need to become more comfortable with having uncomfortable's conversations across the racial divide. to say okay i disagree but let me explain my point of view without feeling like you're in combat. we're the only truly racial democracy and believe me know
other countries are exactly winning at this. go to europe and see how they fail to integrate north africans into france or great britain where people can never become french no matter how many generations they had been there, there still consider moroccan. there's a possibility here but it starts with people being brave. it's all he met when he said we are a nation of cowards. he was in salem americans are all cowardly, they're afraid to talk about race and issues with which we disagree across the racial divide because they are afraid of how we'll be perceived. i think we need to develop more ability to just talk. >> you want to talk about it but how can you talk about it that is so passionate and real for so many people without having the emotion? how can can you talk about race and taking the emotion out of it? >> let's get president obama credited this degree that he understood how difficult it
would be. he knew knew the racial fatigue of white america. he tells a tremendous story of the audacity of hope that one of his colleagues making a powerful point but he said the white guy leans over to him and says, you know the problem is the every time i listen to state senator, x, x, y, z i feel whiter. biracial obama took a bit of credit by thinking his more equitable and equivalent race speech did not make white people feel guilty. there is something to be set about that. the problem is the following no, when you are a minority in this country, racially, sexually, even religiously, but think mostly in terms of color at this point, you have to hear stuff on tv and radio that is outrageous before you brush your teeth in the morning. then you have to do your
listerine in the next report is about how jacked up you all are. how messed up your culture is. how you are addicted to violence. how women don't take care of their kids, and on and on. relentless, proper entrée in a news trend that is the notion that black people are somehow the problem. but but when many white americans hear things that are negative about them, they shut down. black cloak just gotta stay because where are we going to go? were right there, were in the country we don't have any place to go, we have church. some of us might get up and leave but us might get up and leave but we are conditioned even when white folks say, just criminally insane or ignorant things about african-american people, we are conditioned to stay and listen even if we disagree. one of the forms of white privileges exit. one of the forms of white
privileges denial. one of the forms of white privileges to depend that what you said is not true and go to my neighborhood that does not contain the contaminants that have to be dealt with. this is the problem with brock obama making moral equivalency between white folk over here gotta do and what black folk over here gotta do. i think it's incumbent upon the to not fall back let's look at fresh new language that may be able to re- describe the problems we confront together and to ask white brothers and sisters to take some responsibility. if brock brock obama in the last 16 months that statewide america, you know what, you can't say i haven't been fair. i have been on the negroes telling them what they have to be responsible for's and for's and i want white folk to step up to. i want you to take responsibility. he has done that apart where, in that remarkable press conference with the japanese premier when he says about freddie gray, ten walmart blows up and we get all mad
about it then we are going to say what happened? the where going to pledge that we have commitment to the relief of that suffering and we'll back to business as usual. if you want an equal society you cannot do it. that is as close as he got to say white america stop elite and up with black people. he kept re, because white america thinks black people are racially diluted. he thinks were making up stuff. now that the videos prove it and then plan evidence, if it it has happened one time on type it happened thousand times off of tape. brock obama if he is going to be serious can encourage white americans to speak more honestly and openly about the issue of race. yesterday we are studying, from slavery to michael brown. yesterday we read a book called they left their mark on us.
is about testimonies of racial violence from emancipation to before world war i. i have students present to white students, one white students at apollo, this is not what i wanted, he says in my presentation i must admit to you that it made me ashamed to be white. i don't want to make my students ashamed to be white. but but i want them to be ashamed of some of the things in the name of whiteness that has been prescribed to them. when we take that kind of responsibility then we emphasize with the other. they said the problem that white folk made with black folk on the real air they made was they put us behind them. black survival was dependent upon how white folk active. we know how they think, how they react, we know what they're up against. we know how to placate them real nice and smile. and then behind what is going
on? on the other hand she said white folk don't know anything about our culture and as a result of that that ignorance has been lethal. if the president would invite us to have that kind for station his legacy would be bananas. [applause]. let me ask you this, if we're to get the question you write them down and asked them i think we can do that. we can do it panel can't we? trust me it is going to be great. >> i just want to say i was a
i am wondering the fullness of time will the white establishment right history or diminish the contribution of obama. i think in 50 years from now the judgment man's judgment when the white establishment will underestimate or undervalue the contribution that he made. i think that has profound implication for building. >> one last question. >> we have to do more than talk
>> thank you. >> i'd be interested on the race relation issues in the united states. >> have a question about black economic power in the state of black economic power of my brothers. i'm not going to point them out. >> if we get to point where we get to a point where we sat measuring our self about them and we finally elevate our self. >> next question. >> what are two things that the everyday white person in this room can do to combat white
supremacy and one or two things that the everyday black person can do for the same thing? >> do you think biracial people have a better chance in america? >> i have another question, but case like the michael brown case what do you think the judicial system could have done better? >> okay we have one more. >> the panel i want you to get ready to start answering the question that you want to answer.
>> economically i am curious as to how socioeconomically we are as compared with middle america. i see a lot of things right now as more pro- american the middle white america. >> when you talk about the backs of this country and the african-americans would call slaves immigrants. now and immigrants. i'm going to say this. you'll get my personal opinion on this. you will get my personal
opinion. i have a problem when i hear and i everyday i am at questioning presidents on principles and administration when they say we are a nation of immigrants, immigrants are slaves. native americans, exactly, i've said that too. exactly right. we have to remember the power of who we are. and i i am going to let my author panel talk. let's give them a big round of applause. [applause]. >> all talk quickly about the criminal justice issue. what just happened, what should've happened in michael brown's case in ferguson. they are our encouraging developments in regards to things that can make a difference in the short term.
things like the police having body cams, that will make a difference. the state use of military gear, surplus from the pentagon to use on american citizens, that program has been changed in part because of pres. obama. they they are that is encouraging development. when you look at what the ferguson report is some of the problems. the the ferguson police arrested a guy named michael for giving false information because he told him his name was mike. a woman filed the police that said she was being beat up by her boyfriend, when the cops got there the boyfriend was gone, the police looked around and said looks like you lived here, does he? she said yes. he's sheet they said your interest because he's not on the occupancy permit. so they're using
african-americans as a flush form, at the atm. that is legal there is nothing unconstitutional about that. it the question it the question is, if it is true as a lot of us think that white supremacy is embedded in our country, that that our identity of the nation that we were built on exploited african-american people, we have to think about what racial justice would do to our identity as a nation. we have ten conversations, i don't know the answer. conversations about whether the free market or capitalism are consistent with our vision of racial justice. their their real quickly there is a woman who has what should you ask the black boys? so one thing you should say is don't forget about black girls, black girls are not doing any better.
they have issues with the criminal justice system just like boys do. but they also have issues way outside the criminal justice system. i talked about the average net worth of a black family, that average net worth of an on married black woman is $100. >> the white establishment to establish the about barack obama. two terms which is a very small number of them, the idea of passing health care reform which is a 100 year project, project, he got that done. the end of osama bin laden, i think the president did enough accomplished to keep him out of the top 10. i think it will drive the whites crazy but it will be hard to diminish him in history. in terms of what can be done to
change some of these overall questions. i want to bring back the responsibility of my profession of the news media. i think for too long we have operated with a certain fundamental notion that are just wrong. we tend to be all over an open, into open recipients of information of the state. the state does include the police. when we are told that a man was shot after an altercation with the police officer in which you try to take his taser, we should not just buy into that only to be embarrassed that he was shot dead running away and the taser was dropped near his body. we need to take more time and not give the benefit of the doubt always to the state. that is part of the problem we have. for white america, one of the things we can do and something brock obama can do is stop postcard eating civil rights. it is not something that happened in the 60s, it is an ongoing and ever present struggle. for african-americans it is not a thing of the path they're bringing up, up, it is the thing that happened this morning.
if we can start stop thinking about is a thing of the past and start emphasizing with our citizen that who cannot walk across the street without being afraid, who can't can't send their kids to the corner's store without being afraid of the police, that that is a serious and undermining condition of our society. if you have a substantial number of citizens, and yes you have to deal with this is that majority of black community, and congress's interest in keeping them from having more franchise because it is to diminish the young people who can vote against you get you out of your job. you don't want to lose your job right, so we, so we have so many disincentives for quality and i think americans need to be ever present citizens and think outside your box. when people talk about race if they're not bringing up something 100 years ago there bring up what happened to their children now. they're telling their sons tonight to be careful of the police.
we really get afraid when a police car comes up behind us not because were delusional but the incidence of police are never ever followed by prosecution, leslie vote for lawson prosecutors who will also hold back cops to account. they don't want those guys in there because they threaten them too. they can even tell him back cops because they're afraid that they will get backed up on a robbery in their life will be in danger. we need to have prosecutors who have the courage to take cases to trial. if you have someone like what happened in st. louis is where the had no interest in pursuing the case, the officer eventually investigated himself and showed no interest in the inheritance of caring about prosecution. those people are elected official. vote as much as you can in every election. >> great point by both of the speakers.
black boys, love them for their protection against the inevitable and assault upon their being. love them so thoroughly that they will love the hell out of themselves. that we will squeeze the resistance to their greatness out of them. one of the great marks of what it means to be black in this country, under the spell of a certain belief that we are inferior is the belief that we should snuff out the genius and black talent. we think that we have to be competitive against it opposed to clobbering with it. that is one of the most vicious consequences of what we have spoken about in terms of white supremacy. teach them teach them to love and respect women and treat them all. in terms of obama, i think the due save the automobile industry the first year in, he gave gave the american recovery act and out. he also gave us obama care.
then, he save the economy. i know a lot of people were pissed but he said what about wall street and main street, if the first black president comes in and the headline reads, obama allows the banks to fail and the economy has gone to hell, it ain't much more after that. that will be written about that brother right there. he was in a difficult position and he did what he had to do. i think it will be seen as the black reagan. as time goes on, brock obama will be seen as a great president, maybe the top seven within the history of top seven within the history of this country as being the first african-american. a couple more things. starbucks ceo, beautiful i love what he did. it was very beautiful what he was trying to do in trying to engage people to think seriously about race. take your copy and by the way, deal thrice a premise at the same time. it was a bootable kind of thing. in terms of the young baby african about biracial, that most brilliant question that was asked, is a bright racialism and
vanished as some people, yes. when you live in a country that privileges the white side of a in combination and inevitably people think all you got pretty hair, you got good hair, you got stellar skin, you are more the european ideal what it means to be beautiful. that's not the person's fault, that is the sickness and the culture that only privileges one form of beauty. being light, bright and almost white might be beautiful to many but being dark, in the in the parklike bark is a beautiful thing as well. i think we should celebrate that as well. i just made it up. so some biracial people like barack obama have to work harder because they didn't have black privilege. a lot of black people are born with black privilege. when obama talks in his first book he tried to tell his young
to that says i don't need to read malcolm x, i'm in negro, i live i live it every day. what biracial people don't have the advantage of black racial privilege compared tivoli speaking so they have to learn their way. the interesting thing is when i've stance are not african american in my class when i tell them you can't just come up in here and just because you black be black, no black. there's no kind of vast moses for what you can absorb knowledge. you have to read the damn book like everybody else. now, it's extremely important to do so because you are able to perpetuate a legacy of fighting against white supremacy. one of the most vicious things white supremacy has done is believe they don't they don't have to study their own culture. for me, in terms of middle-class versus middle america, versus urban america that is a great point. from harvard university to have a store out about said just because he has a suit on, no
negro, i'm a preacher and i was raised as a preacher and i understand this is the uniform of war. i'm in war against mrs. conceptions of what black misses. if you can consider that i am challenging respectability. i'm saying to you, black people must understand that even people who are denied and seen as less than are just as important who are seen more than. i'll tell you what the consequence of respectability and politics is. a big bowl of jell-o. pudding pie, the man who promoted it now deals with these horrible consequences of his alleged activity, that is the ultimate logic of respectability politics in america. urban america is not be privileged above all others. we talked we talk about the city right here, it might've been chocolate city but it is awful vanilla right now.
the reality is gentrification is real. it is powerful. i'm not saying we should invite everyone in but james baldwin of the 1960s, kenneth clark's until we grapple with the consequence of the re- territorial visitation of our urban democracy we won't see how black people are systematically being trained from these urban places. let me by simas, i love brock obama. i love what he represents. i love the beauty of his family. i love the integrity of his voice. i disagree with him on some things but i think if we love him seriously we must call him to account. when barack obama was running for president he was asked the question what would dr. king say to you? what would he recommend. he said dr. king would not raise
any of us. what he would do was hold us accountable according to the principles of democracy and the struggle of our people and as a result of that he said change doesn't happen from the top down but the bottom up. how are we going to be mad at black people if we hold barack obama accountable, we know that the crack and proxy is deep. were talking about the far right wing, we know the vicious right wing that is racist, that is even more reason for him to stand up and love us in public and say it is time. i'll tell you when it happened at the funeral for reverend we didn't hear any pull your bootstraps up, or lift yourself up, we didn't hear, we heard on unadulterated black love and that is the most beautiful thing that a black president can do. reinforce the value of black life. if all black lives matter no black lives matter. [applause].
collection is common. >> i am very thankful for this very inclusive and civil dialogue that we have had. on a discussion that is what some people believe it's a vicious. you can talk about it civilly, that, that with people have written about it. i want to talk about, first first of all did you enjoy the conversation? [applause]. did you enjoy the conversation? [applause]. i want to thank my friends, reverend dyson, hello you anytime. i want you to show them your love by buying his what he is talk about hearing his books. i want to thank joy and reed who is the latest author, please
support her, she is a great dynamic reporter. also, paul, he knows knows what he is talking about. support him. and of course i have a book as well, thank you. we want to thank especially the best bookstore ever, you are blessed to have this bookstore in this area, politics and prose. we also want to thank c-span, you will be on c-span, thank you also much [applause]. the book signing we can sign. >> the books will be in the lobby for sale out there.
>> you're watching the tv on c-span two. with top nonfiction nonfiction books and authors every weekend. but tv, television for serious readers. this week and a book tv we bring your coverage for the 2015 southern festival festival of books held every year in nashville. starting at noon you can watch authors talk some panel discussions on the life of pat conway, race race in america. southern culture and more.