tv Book Discussion on From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime CSPAN August 13, 2016 4:15pm-5:16pm EDT
presenting her new book from the war on poverty to the war on crime the fight -- the friday forum series takes place during the academic year. our next and final of the season on policing reform handcuffed. to learn more about this in our many other upcoming events visit us online. today's talk will conclude with some time for your questions after which we will have a book signing right here. we are very pleased to have c-span book tv here taping today's event. you will be recorded and please wait a moment for the microphone to come to you.
it is part of how we say thanks. and finally just a quick reminder to silence yourself once. and so now we will introduce today's speaker. she's the assistant professor in the department of history in the department of african and african-american studies at harvard. research focus is on poverty and racial inequality in the 20h century. she is coeditor of the book the new black history revisiting the second reconstruction they had been published in the journal of american history today she will be discussing her new book the guardian calls it a new history and brooklyn magazine rights a clear eyed and timely book it traces the countries prison industrial complex back to the social
wherefore -- welfare program. this history is heartbreaking it is one that affects an enormous percentage of the country. read it and vote. please join me in welcoming elizabeth hinton. [applause]. thank you for the introduction in for hosting me and including me as a part of the series. it's a privilege to be here. thank you to all of you for coming out today. i know it's incredibly busy time of year but it's overwhelming to me to see so many colleagues and friends thank you for coming out. this book is really the first historical account of a national crime control policy and it traces the rise of mass
incarceration in the united states. the garden he -- the guardian has done in her groundbreaking. i really take that as a compliment. it is the product of a labor of love. in the central files. and when i began this project i have to make the case to other african-americans and historians of why we need to study crimes. the current political campaign. i think even the fact that you are all here it really shows that we have come over the time to a new moment of where
we are in terms of these issues and the consequences of the policy decisions that have been made over the past half-century in this country. the book is deeply rooted i thought i would read from the epilogue that was called the war on crime. i hope you will read the book it provides really the first narrative account of the rise of mass incarceration that we have. but if you don't get to read all of the books really read part of the book i hope that at least everyone will walk away with some of the implications that it took me a decade of research to come to. i want to share some of these with you. we can get into conversation about the implications of the book in crime control policies. or any kind of questions about the book itself. i would welcome questions about the ford and carter administration because there has been a lot of focus on my work on the johnson
administration and rethinking the war on poverty. they are also really kind of important in setting up and laying the groundwork for the crime control and prison infrastructure that ronald reagan stepped into when he took office. the punitive transformation of domestic policy in the late 20th century followed a historical pattern. in the shadow of emancipation national policymakers stopped at the extension of formal equality and instead new criminal laws emerged in the form of codes and convict leasing. the systematic criminalization and incarceration of nearly three people in their descendents shaped local and state law-enforcement practices from the beginning of reconstruction in 1855 into the start of the war on crime in 1965. after this as the military police forces it was capable
of sustaining a new threshold of prisoners the developments of the earlier timeframe matured into a different approach than social call control. merging equal opportunity in crime control program which in the great society. it satisfied the policymakers desire to expose the poor of americans to dominant values while suppressing the grips of antisocial and alienated black youth that officials blamed for incidents of collective violence. national priorities increasingly shifted from fighting black poverty to fighting black youth crime. as policymakers introduced near patrol and surveillance measures and targeted urban communities. in the absence of programs that provide concrete means. poverty and crime increased during the ensuing 15 years at the now national law-enforcement program. the crime control strategy
they proved to have the opposite impacts in the cities and neighborhoods that they placed under siege it's one of the most disturbing ironies in history of american domestic policy. by the time ronald reagan took office in 1981 african-americans have been vulnerable on two fronts. a struggle against one another in a struggle with the institutions and policies that they developed. together the strategies at the core of the national law-enforcement program said that these are ones that i described in the book. they include preemptive controls. juvenile liquid seek policies that criminalized generations. while decriminalizing the counterparts. they brought federal law-enforcement to the street. they created an expedited
criminal justice. all of these towards internal violence in incarceration. they gave rise to historically distinct network and post of punitive and social welfare opportunities they were serving at the intellectual foundation. it promoted a particular type of social control. one that signals the target arrest. in the late 20th century. the decisions that policymakers and officials as part of a larger coalition of
the had and measurable consequences for low income americans and the nations unintended some of those choices may have bent at different times and in different political moments. ultimately however the bipartisan consultants and eventually removing generations from their communities to live inside the prison. as merely an electoral tactic. by doing so they don't fully realize the promise. for many americans it appeared that it ended with the civil rights movement in the united states have to move beyond race-based systems. alongside the tremendous growth of american law enforcement over the last 50 years the assumed positions of
power. the displays of black wealth for popular consumption to the residency of barack obama. these achievements promoted discourse and the personal responsibility even further. making it seem the incarceration of entire groups reflected the natural order of things. political representation and the fact that some of black americans have substantial wealth. do not mean that it has ended i'm sure is not news to many of you who are in the room today. they grew more affluent and by the end of the 20 century the financial assets were $7,448. only $448 about that of the lowest fifth of white american households.
it's always been concentrated in the public sphere and social services. in celebrating the inclusion during black history month every year the fact that many of the reform have been negated by a national crime control remains unrecognized. nine years after the passage the supreme court ruled constitutional to deny convicted felons the right to vote. they had removed convex ever since the 1974 decision. and today nearly 6 million americans most of them have already served their sentences are deprived of the franchise. as a result. an estimated one out of 13 african-americans well not vote in the 2016 election due
to a prior conviction. a key civil rights game of the 1960s has come undone. you can go on and on to make it already works. it mainly counts people who are incarcerated as residents of the county where they are serving time. the rural areas they are home to the majority of prisons. urban americans who tended to favor democrats lost representation because of how it works in rural districts gained representation. .. in order to begin moving
towards a more just nation. the grassroots representation. this policy directive proved to be fleeting. promising initiatives that have been designed in that funding. directly during the first year were increasingly required to include public officials and top level positions following the uprising. before community action programs were given the chance to work.
>> the white house and the justice department, defensible space and newlaw enforcement technologies and low income neighborhoods while fusing police, direction and social welfare programs. put bluntly, due to its own shared set of assumptions about race and its unwillingness to destruct the racial hierarchies that have defined the social, political and economic groups, did not believe that african-americans were capable of governing themselves. nixon expressed the sentiment overtly to his chief of staff, h.r. haldeman. there has never in history been an adequate black nation, the
president said, and they are the only race of which this is true. i know that nixon's comments to domestic councilman ehrlichman has been getting press, but the quotes are her kind of telling -- more kind of telling of the racist intent. jimmy carter stressed grassroots participation as a critical component of his administration's punitive urban program. authorities refused to fund citizen groups such as the league to improve the community this chicago's robert taylor homes which advocated strategies very much in line with the stated commitments of the administration but sought to implement those strategies without oversight from police and public housing authorities. when reagan took office, the rhetoric of community involvement vanished from the domestic policy arena, never to return. it's up to you, especially my students, to -- [inaudible] that's what we've been talking about.
segregated low incomecommunities, on the other hand, their task is to search for suspects and remove offenders and potential offenders from the streets. disproportionate numbers of african-americans received criminal records and prison sentences as a result of the differential approaches to public safety that policymakers enshrined in crime control legislation. by introducing greater numbers of hostly white police officers in the nation's most isolated urban areas, only 4% of the sworn police officers who fought the war on crime during the second half of the 1960s and through the 1970s were of african-american descent, a low
figure. james baldwin observed the impact of this dynamic as early as 1961 as my students know. the only way to police a ghetto is to be oppressive, baldwin wrote, in nobody knows my name. police officers represented, in baldwin's words, the force of the white world and that world's criminal profit and ease to keep the black man corralled up this here in its place like an occupying soldier in a bitterly hostile country. baldwin went on to observe that the police officer faced, quote, daily and nightly the people who would gladly see him dead, and he knows it. with suspicion on both sides, the problem -- as baldwin identified it -- lay not in the individual policeman, but in the systemic forces that supported questionable and sometimes deadly policing practices. the response of outside forces on the segregated urban beat and the response of residents to the presence of those forces were
the outcomes of both historical developments and socioeconomic circumstancement yet the officer had few alternatives but to act in the manner in which he or she had been conditioned and trained. more than a half century after baldwin's insight, aggressive policing rackses and mass incarceration have become the foremost civil rights issue of our time. low this many citizens hub empowered to -- income citizens must be fully integrated into all institutions. residents and communities should be responsible for keeping their own communities safe. various national reforms such as police body cams merely continue the use of taxpayer dollars to fund new equipment for police forces, a process that began with the law enforcement assistance act of 1965. the militarization of american police and overpolicing of black neighborhoods is a policy path that has consistently
provenhighly unsuccessful as a crime reduction strategy and fuels mass incarceration and racial disparities within the nation. now is the time to try new strategies there residency requirements for police to civilian review boards to autonomous grassroots social programs to job creation measures for at-risk groups who policymakers originally labeled outside of a service economy. that will enable us to confront be, finally, the entrenched systemic inequalities and civil liberties violences that exist as well as the persistence of inequality in the united states. in august 2014 during a series of demonstrations in ferguson, missouri, images of law enforcement authorities drawing m-4 carbine rifles and dropping tear gas on protesters and civilians alike shocked much of the american public. ferguson looked like a war zone, prompting new discussions about the nation's punitive domestic policy priorities. outrage over the deaths of
unarmed african-american citizens and the general lack of police accountability for those killed in the year after the death of michael brown and the tergson outbreak, so during 2014, and i'm going to say their names in tribute to them, this includes ed sell ford, dante parker, tamir rice, laquan mcdonald, natasha mckenna, tony robinson, anthony be hill, megan -- [inaudible] maya hall, walter scott, freddie gray, alexa christian, sandra bland, sam duboise and christian taylor. their deaths have set a new climate for social movements and federal action. the conditions of the police encounters that ended in the loss of eachover their lives and the lives of thousands of other innocent citizens that will never be known could have been entirely avoided had federal policymakers decided to respond
in a different way to the civil rights movement and the enlightened protests of the 1960s. questions of intent or the degree to which federal policymakers foresaw the consequences of the choices they made with respect to urban social programs and black communities are only relevant to a certain extent. the issue is to uncover the series of decisions that made contemporary mass incarceration possible in order to discover our own actual history. the domestic policies of the center of this book shape the lives of black women and men, their families and their communities. and these policies will shape life prospects for black children and their children's children even if the criminal justice system is transtomorrowed once again. transtomorrowed once again. a step in the right direction,
the united states would still be home to the largest penal system in the world be if we only released those placed behind bars for drug offenses. and as long as law enforcement remains at the tore front of domestic -- forefront of domestic urban policy and remains focused on young urban citizens of color, their aggressive impulses of the last half century will continue to erode american democracy. barring fundamental redistributive changes at the national level, the cycle -- not of poverty, but of racial marginalization, socioeconomic isolation and imprisonment -- is ever more likely to repeat itself. thank you. [applause] questions, comments. >> [inaudible]
[inaudible conversations] >> ohioan? microphone? >> i've been reading your book, and you often seem to suggest that the remedies for racism involve structural change. maybe you could elaborate on what you mean by that. >> i think in terms of if we want to think about the kind of root causes of what we call crime and violence, it really stems from mass unemployment and the fact that the united states economy transitions during the period where johnson's calling the war on crime from a vibrant industrial/manufacturing sector to outsourcing much of the labor. so in the communities where police officers or the federal government begins investing in augmenting police force and
simulating a new level of police patrols, these communities are placed under surveillance when really, you know, this job creation program for -- as i mentioned in the epilogue -- hostly white police officers is created. structural solutions in terms of job creation, in terms of rethinking education systems, in terms of investing in education and going beyond remedial programs, the kind of meat of the war onoverty really focused on -- on poverty really focused on self-help programs as johnson officials called them and were more about providing training to low income americans without necessarily thinking about whether that job training could lead them to get a job after they've completed, you know, the series of training provided by the war on poverty and other social welfare be programs.
>> [inaudible] you mentioned job climate and education, but could you talk a little bit about the residency requirement? >> yeah. i mean, that is, you know, that police officers, one way to approach a different kind of rethinking public safety is to have police live in the communities that they're responsible for keeping safe. so instead of having people come into a community that they don't live in and police it and arrest people, instead of having police officers live in the communities that they're meant to protect and and kind of serve different types of functions. and in some ways, you know, this might be a row plantized -- romanticized view. this returns to some of the earlier forms of american policing where police officers lived on the block that they were responsible for keeping safe. this was before the era of really, really professional, modernized forces. and i think there is something -- you have a different level of
responsibility and accountability to communities when they're, when you're policing your neighbors, essentially, instead of people who you don't really know or understand. here and then here. >> i was wondering if you could identify or if you've looked at what legislative changes would be needed, because there are protections inherent in the system of police practices because they're backed up by the laws and the statutes. massachusetts doesn't have a death penalty, but we have among the most onerous three strike law in the country. >> right. >> i work for the public be defender agency, so you see this on a daily basis with the criminalization of poverty. do you see -- how do you see that happening where the statute change? obviously, in addition to electing more progressive people, but how do you see that fundamental legislative statute change that is there really protecting and helping the
district attorneys enforce the laws and the police in turn to enforce the laws and giving them the power to arrest and prosecute. >> right. i think that's a fantastic question, and it gets to the way in which i ended the book, which is trying to think how to move beyond the war on drugs. part of what gave rise to mass incarceration is not just incarcerating people for really minor offenses or things like drug possession be, but the kind of extends of american punitiveness. i believe there are currently 700,000 people serving life without papa role sentences -- parole sentences which is as large as the entire prison population in japan. so accompanying these and rethinking the way that we've prosecuted the war on drugs, we also need to think about the ways in which our sentencing practices themselves sustain mass incarceration and provisions like three strikes laws, like mandatory minimum
sentences, etc., like the widespread use of life without parole sentences which some people view as another form of the death penalty. we have to rethink the punitiveness of american statutes the if we want to enact meaningful criminal justice reform. the first line of contact between the criminal justice institutions and residents, we also have to rethink policing practices. and if police are meant to take on greater roles, especially social welfare roles in communities as many forces have been asked to do, much the result of the federal policies i explore in the book, then we also have to change incentives within police departments so that lis are rewarded -- police are rewarded just as much for the kind of community work that they do as they are for apprehending suspects in high-speed chases and meeting their arrest quotas, etc. so we have the to rethink our draconian sentencing provisions and also the kind of general police practices that have been
sustained for the past 50 years. >> but do you actually see -- [inaudible] politics being a way to do that? because who you elect makes the statutes. do you see that's a viable -- >> of course. i think electoral politics is key. i think voting, you know, everybody should vote in this election, and we should vote for lawmakers, for politicians that we see representing our own interests and that we see kind of growing forth society that we'd want to see. but it's also -- and i'd hope that new research and new understanding of these issues, especially qualitative research, can really help us come to a new, identify new avenues for possible change. you had your hand -- yeah. >> so i was just wondering, how much do you believe that the changes in policing that you documented was facilitated or opposed by the actual communities? i think there was, for instance, a book -- the title i can't remember, maybethe new --
>> black silent majority? >> black silent majority, right, who talks a about the members of the community desiring better policing, better control over what at the time was a large problem of violation. i'm just -- of violence. i'm just wondering about your comments. >> yeah. i recently co-authored an op-ed in "the new york times" with my colleagues that addressed some of this issue, because similar arguments have been made. and in the case of that week, about the rise of the rockefeller drug laws. both clinton himself and hillary clinton rationalized their support of the bill saying this was something that the cdc advocated for, which was what blacking communities wanted, so this is the democratic process be at work because we're giving black constituents a what they're asking for. but it obscures the extent to which these calls for greater protection, these calls for safety this communities -- in communities were also accompanied with critiques of
police brutality, with calls for rehabilitation, with calls for crime prevention. and despite, you know, these kind of larger set of demands which yoocially included -- usually included, you know, a real critique of police brutality and aggressive law enforcement in low income communities, and that took into account the larger socioeconomic factors that contribute to problems of crime and violence, policymakers only responded with, to the demands for punitive programs. and so as we say in the op-ed, you know, residents called for better policing, and politicians heard more policing, and that's what they, that's what they got. and this is a historic trend, you know? despite all of the demands that black activists have made, you know, what they end up getting from the state tends to be law enforcement programs, crime control programs. >> [inaudible] >> it was published in april, i
believe. last month. yeah. >> i'll accept your invitation and ask you to say something about carter, because so much scholarship has been done on the recent situation, on the '90s and the role of the clinton administration, and your work gives us the '60s. but tell us what happened in the late '70s. >> so, so -- [laughter] so one of the things that i argue in the book is that, you know, that carter, the kind of deregulation in the carter administration, the new, the even stronger partnerships that were forged between the public and private sector especially to solve social problems really begin to take hold in new ways during the carter administration. so, you know, we can see the transition to the the kind of deregulatory oils of the reagan administration emerging in the prior administration. and i think carter doesn't necessarily -- people don't necessarily discuss carter in
that way. so, you know, after johnson, the nixon and ford administrations, we don't get this kind of rhetoric of community involvement that i mentioned in the epilogue and kind of a focus on addressing urban problems such as employment, education, etc. but what carter ends up doing, and this is reflective of where kind of federal priorities were and where funding had been allocated by the time he took office, youth employment programs during his administration for black youth take the form of installing security cameras, barbed wires, bars on the windows, extra locks within housing projects. so in this sense, you know, during the carter administration his major kind of youth employment program forces african-american youth to be calm, complacent to a degree in the surveillance and criminalization of their own communities. so that's kind of a metaphor for the larger aspects and
limitations of domestic policy after, essentially, a decade of the war on crime and this new federal crime control priority. yeah, eugene. >> so moving forward, where will we put obama's federal policy within the context of chiraq or any number of cities that have been influenced or informed by obama's federal policy? draw the connection between obama, your analysis of his approach to this and a chicago, a philly. close your eyes, pick a city. >> well, what would you say obama's approach is -- >> no, i'm asking you. >> i don't necessarily think obama's approach has been, as far as i'm concerned or as far as be i see it, my brother's keeper,right? that is part of -- >> [inaudible] >> right, right, exactly. exactly. so, again, it's like this
rhetoric of trying to do something, the kind of concrete -- so we get the ferguson report from the department of justice which is a really, i think, in some ways dealing with racism and and a level of extraction that is going on in many majority black cities like ferguson where basically police as the federal government said, if ferguson police department isn't functioning or wasn't functioning to keep citizens safe, but really as a collection agency where it would, you know, kind of profile and arrest people for failing to pay traffic tickets. so literally the ferguson police department, when the city transitioned to being majority black, kind of fed off and continues this historical trend of extraction. so the solution that we're getting to that are body cams. that seems to be the foremost reform that we've gotten in terms of dealing with the police and residents' relation to each other.
this is outside obama releasing nonviolent drug offenders, the format that is currently before congress, this attempt to decarcerate. but the body cams, not only does this benefit private companies like taser which tragically, ironically, taser, you know, provides officers with stun guns, provides officers with instruments of brutality, and now they're profiting off body cams which are supposed to hold officers accountable. but what they also do is open up a whole new data collection monster on top of the other criminal justice databanks we have which will then create new opportunities for private sec or to kind of come in and analyze that data and work with that day a that. again, this is a band-aid to a problem. it does not solve the real root causes of police/community tension. and i think really until police departments and the residents that they are responsible for patrolling and surveilling come, are able to kind of come to the
table together where residents can really have a voice ask an input over the programs be and especially the policing programs that are being implemented this their communities, body cams are going to perhaps open up a whole new level of issues and robs that we can't -- problems that we can't even foresee. for taser, though, it continues to be good business. so -- >> so johnson versus obama. laugh. >> that's a hard question. what about nixon versus obama? the policies of -- richard nixon is far to the left of obama in many respects. >> let me -- in fact, i didn't want to go there, but you're right. nixon was on domestic policy -- >> oh, yeah. guaranteed income. >> so johnson versus obama, where would you -- given his initiatives, domestic policy initiatives and our man in d.c. >> there are, you know, the war on poverty, and i am critical of johnson in the war on poverty, but that's because that's our job as historians, to be
critical of even figures and programs that we admire. johnson is a complicated figure, but the war on poverty and the policies of his administration, the promise of the principle of maximum feasible participation is something that i think we really, really need to return to. i think that if we want to, if we want to think about a road map or a precedent for policies moving forward, then we need to kind of look at some of the early really, you know, the earlier ideas that were emerging in the kennedy and the johnson administration. this many senses -- in many senses johnson kind of took the urban programs the kennedy administration had developed on an experimental level and implemented them nationwide. so i think returning to these rells of empowering communities to -- principles of empowering communities to direct and shape the rams and the resources that they were receiving from the federal government, i think, is very important. i think there is a role for the federal government in promoting greater opportunity, in promoting and lessening
inequality in the united states and opening up new dialogues to really address the long-term consequences of racism, discrimination and class inequality in the united states. yeah. >> what you're saying a about the idea of it being a band-aid really in any of this, and it's just to your last point. you just mentioned it. but i'm wondering if there is any possibility of moving forward unless there is some kind of acknowledgment that 1865 didn't end everything, it simply evolved after that and that there has been no suggestion of any sort of truth this reconciliation or any kind of national conversation. and i'm wondering where that might figure into your excellent book. >> i think it's, i think it's something that's completely necessary, and that's one of the things that's been really exciting about kind of finishing this research and revising the
book over past year. when black lives matter and kind of the awareness and the coverage of what has been going on really, you know, since the mid '60s in low income communities, in targeted african-american communities is beginning to become part of the national discussion. the fact that hillary clinton talks about making ending inequality the mission of her presidency should she become elected, i think, is very promising. harriet tubman is going to be on the $20 bill. the question is whether they will really move beyond these conversations in this room and elsewhere into concrete change and kind of a growing awareness and a change in consciousness about who gets to be a citizen, who doesn't, who should be included, who shouldn't and what -- how much opportunities we should provide to citizens who have been systematically and historically excluded from access to basic resources
including, in the case of flint, water that isn't poisoned. oh. >> amazing book. incredible work. and i actually just wanted to ask a historical question. above the maximum feasible participation argument, how much of the decline in the appeal of that ideal do you think turns on the robust participation of black power militants in community control programs? and in community programming? so, you know, how much causal weight do you put on black powers' insurgency into this sphere and, two, how -- you know, and you can punt on this one. it's difficult, but how would
you even suggest, you know, a johnson administration, a nixon administration would be capable of navigating that dilemma, right? the sort of black militant, organized control of community control programs. >> so i think that's an excellent question, and you're right, a difficult one to answer. i mean, i think this terms of maximum teasebl participation, you know, johnson almost immediately a after the federal government begins funding these grassroots organizations like the wood lawn organization in chicago which was involved with the gangster disciples and gang membership supposedly, the question is, you know, to what extent -- as it was presented to the johnson administration, local officials really opposed this because they didn't want to cede their power to grassroots organizations. so eventually, as kind of a way to remedy the situation, johnson not only institutionalizes many of the programs of the war on poverty, but gives local
authorities new levels of oversight and our within these community organizations like wood lawn, you know? local officials charged that this was kind of a voter registration drive for the democratic party, etc., and so johnson increasingly backed off. but i think that even more, and this is really a central argument in the book, even more involved with these community control, what really kind of rocks johnson and liberal sympathizers further and further away from these more transformative notions of liberal reform are the uprisings in the '60s beginning with harlem in '64, harlem, chicago, philadelphia, brooklyn, rochester, new york, and that continue to escalate every single year as more and more resources are being allocated towards the war on crime. so, you know, johnson, johnson and his advisers debated the extent to which these uprisings,
these riots were somehow political in nature. they recognized that issues of unemployment, that issues of lack of access to education, the same grievances that were shared by the civil rights movement had inspired, you know, these incidents of collective urban violence. but yet, you know, instead of saying, okay, we can respond to these issues with, actually, you know, we obviously haven't gone far enough with hacks hum feasible participation. -- maximum feasible participation. maybe we really do need structural solutions if we want to prevent future uprisings from happening. instead, they back away from war on poverty programs and increasingly turn towards the war on crime. and really kind of merging the war on poverty with the war on crime as a way to suppress black militancy, as a way to suppress future uprise aringsing. -- uprisings. >> [inaudible] >> yeah. i didn't ask your second question, but that's okay. [laughter] i'll get to it later.
>> [inaudible] >> yeah. >> for those of us that are old enough to sort of have been around antiquity -- [laughter] what do you do -- there's the black power piece, and then there was sort of the corruption and disorganization. i'm old enough to remember a lot of the community-based programs in philly. and so you had an interesting combination of the black muslims, frank rizzo and the angelo bruno family all operating this concert. so in that context where the narrative gets a little stickier and more comply dated because there -- complicated was there actually is corruption, moynihan responds in part to that. >> right. >> because they had a couple of case studies, and i know the philadelphia case. they were actually pretty remarkable. and in the case of wood lawn in chicago, you know, it was arthur or brazier, the preacher. that was sort of a faith-based program led by churches in the area.
what do we do with that? because here part of the difficulty is that there's a criminal element that the left, and this is my discussion with brandon, never quite knew what to do with. so the narrative, you know, white folk, black liberation, and then there's a third wrinkle which is sort of the complicated nature of what passed for black militants which had a criminal wing to it. >> so what -- >> so my question is how do you put that, how do you fit that into your analysis? i'm trying to complicate the analysis. [laughter] how does one filter that element into your analysis? >> well, i mean, my initial thought when you're talking about corruption especially during that period and the nixon administration, there's corruption -- >> [inaudible] we can talk about johnson. [inaudible] >> i mean be, the ways in which these programs are imelemented on the local level in some ways, you know, there's corruption maybe within some of the organizations that are getting
funded, but there's corruption in which the ways the programs are even selected to be funded and things like that. that is a problem with the kind of bureaucracy in some ways that's created. we really see this corruption at the highest levels taking off during the nixon administration. so there's corruption, you know, at the -- there's white collar corruption, there's corruption amongst federal policymakers in the ways in which these programs are allocated. the nixon administration, what we see actually this watergate is very much reflected in the ways in which nixon's friends and supporters get these newly-available crime control grants. and similar things happen with the war on poverty. when the central government introduces and begins funding -- as we see with the body cams -- creates new channels where funding is available are, then groups will emerge to reap that. the rob is that especially when -- the rob is that especially when you're dealing with these kind of more transformative programs with
less oversight from state officials, these programs are cut off before they're really, really given a chance to work. >> i'd say we have time for one more. >> okay. [inaudible conversations] >> i think one thing that your week does well if we're going to talk about corruption, you do a good job of giving us ap even-handed amount, you know, democrats and republicans. and i just wanted to have you comment a bit about what i perceive to be an issue of disend franchisement -- disenfranchisement in terms of african-americans as a voting bloc being left with just democrats being their representative in the governance of things whether it's at the local level or the national level. how has that sort of contributed to an inability on the part of ordinary citizens to actually
get their leaders to respond to them this senator because sometimes there's this -- in part. because sometimes there's this issue where they're being taken as given as voters. >> well, that, you know, i think for the last half sent century if not before, the democratic party has taken for granted african-american voters or, latino voters and has made these rhetorical gestures without enacting policies that address the issues that are most important to them. we see this very much in the clinton administration not only with the crime bill which kind of exacerbated an already kind of bubbling prison population -- the prison population explodes as a result of this bill, introduces more police onto the streets, so we get that, increases the death penalty, provisions for the death penalty. two years later, we get his welfare reform. i mean, you know, hillary will say in campaign speeches that,
you know, the black middle class rose in the '90s and things like that, but the number of americans living in extreme poverty actually increased drastically during the clinton administration. so part of it is -- and i think that, again, you know, new social movements and the discussions that are being opened up by groups like black lives heart are really putting pressure on the democratic party to address issues of, you know, police/community tensions in policing, educational disparities, mass incarceration, reentry programs that will actually provide people with housing and education and things like that. and it's up to us to keep that, to keep that pressure going. i think this kind of gets to one of the questions that reverend rivers raised earlier, perhaps, because it looks like -- unless there's a huge surprise -- we're not going to get another to black president. perhaps the next president will be able to do, especially the be it's someone in the democratic
party, will be able to actually address racial issues head on in a way that barack obama, being the first black president, can't. so i think i'm hopeful that we're in, we're kind of coming to this moment of change. but as history shows us and the civil rights movement shows us, it's not as if if these changes are just going to come off the the goodness of policy merricks' hearts. -- policymakers' hearts. we have to keep the pressure on them. >> [inaudible] >> yeah, quick follow-up. >> there's also the rhetoric of, oh, we're losing white voters, so what do we do. which we know also was what brought out the clinton triangulation sort of middle ground type governance. so aren't you also worried that perhaps even with all these pressures, the democratic party itself too is having to face the decline in white voters and may have to respond to that which then might -- >> i think in so many ways. i'm not a political pun be admit, so i can't -- you know --
pundit, so i can't, but i do think the way we are right now, the way this election has untolded already reflects the fact that we still remain in many ways inequality is widening. we have not -- the civil rights movement and the war on poverty because it did not involve a major structural transformation, we can kind of dealing with the consequences of this and the ways in which race has played, as dubois said, a psychological wedge in people whose interests are shared opposed to one another. we're seeing the long-term consequences of that begin to play out. and, you know, i hope that as we begin to have these conversations and think about the choices that we've made in terms of domestic policy and begun to reckon with our -- begin to reckon with our history, that perhaps new coalitions and maybe even new political parties will form out of this, out of this moment that we're in right now.
one her? okay. last question. >> i'm wondering if you can just theorize a little bit. >> okay. i feel like i've been theorizing. [laughter] okay, okay. >> how do you get trump supporters -- >> oh, gosh. >> third party supporters to agree or begin to see things the way that you see things? because i think the big problem with a lot of these discussions is that if you can forgive the term, it's become a bit academic, right? [laughter] if we're not able to get those who do not agree with these positions, right, people who believe that america's best days were a hundred years ago, right, to actually see that there are changes that do need to be made. so how do we begin that process of widening the table? >> that's a great question. it's a hard question. i mean, i think that we are so divided, unfortunately, as a nation and in all of the different kind of classifications and categories,
many of them, most of them arbitrary that we assign to the other, to people that we don't know. that prevents us from being able to form these kinds of coalitions that you're suggesting less. just with the example of criminal justice reform. i think it's so important that people who have been incarcerated, who are just coming out of the prison system are at the fore forefront of this movement. i think that once people begin to know someone who was incarcerated if they don't already and begin to interact with people and have dialogue with people, people's world view, people's opinions on things begin to change. so i think part of it is we are so segregated not just by race, but in this society that we really need to begin -- gosh, i sound kind of like what hillary clinton's talking about, we need to become whole again in a way. [laughter] we need to see that we actually have far more in common than we do things that divide us. the things that divide us really don't matter. and i think, you know, it's
difficult to think about how on in a large-scale, immediate way how to change that. it does take exposure to communities and to people who you thought acted a certain way, you thought were, you know, had a certain kind of belief or behaved in a certain way to see that, actually, they're not that different than you are. and then, hopefully, we can begin to actually act as a collective instead of acting, you know, as, in our own self-interests. tough one. all right, thank you. [applause] >> thanks, everyone. and thanks so much to elizabeth. this was fantastic. we have books for sale at the registers, and we'll just get all of this out of the way and have a signing right here. thanks again. [inaudible conversations]
>> you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> on booktv's "after words" this weekend, dana be lash argues the united states is splintering into two countries, coastal and flyover nation. linda greenhouse looks back at the decisions of the supreme court under chief justice warren burger. and journalist monique morris discusses how some school policies have a negative impact on the lives of black female students. also this weekend elaine caymark
on why americans have lost faith in their political leaders. a look at the life of helen gurley brown x a recount of the social and political upheavals that took place in the be u.s. from 969 to 1970. that's just a few of the programs you'll see on booktv this weekend. for a complete television schedule, booktv.org. booktv, 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors. television for serious read ors. readers. >> here's a look at some of the upcoming book fairs and festivals happening around the country.
>> for more information about the book fairs and festivals that booktv will be covering and to watch previous festival coverage, click the book fairs tab on our web site, booktv.org. >> host: representative marsha blackburn, what's on your reading list? >> guest: i've got a great reading list for the summer. one of the things i'm starting with is the constitution. and so many of my constituents are reading through the constitution and the declaration. they're doing that with their kids this summer. and so we're going to have some fun with a that, do some things working toward constitution day