tv Book Discussion on Democracy in Black CSPAN August 21, 2016 9:45am-10:31am EDT
instance, in walter isakson's biography is really in this kind of genius he donist and -- here donist, and not all the founders were absolute saints. what's been the turn in virtue in america that has been kind of walked away from? >> i don't think it's very easy to pip point it. pip point it. i think roughly speaking it started in the 'of 0s, basically -- '60s, basically, but it's a trickle down from the '20s and '30s. elite schools like yale already turned the corner in the '30s, basically. and europe turned this corner as a result of world war i, that they had seen the twin authorities of church and state basically let them down and, you know, they had lost lives, and they really turned against those authorities in a way. and i think that the same kind of thing happened, it was like a loss of confidence in authority to begin with and a kind of
cynicism or a nihilism or something. but i really don't think it reached us until the '60s and the '70s where it really became codified, it became part of, you know, the way we function. and so it's nothing you can put your finger on, but i think you do see the media typically tend to be uncomfortably secular. even though they're talking to a nation where most people have some kind of faith, you typically don't get that. in other words, you don't have that kind of a free market operating in the media. the media typically is people that they're, you know, secular l.a. people or secular new york people. they don't get that. so they speak a different kind of language. and i think that, you know, the market always corrects itself, but it doesn't necessarily do it right away, you know? the truth will out eventually, but, you know, we had 70 years of soviet communism before that wall fell down.
so these things can last a very long time, and i would say for a long time -- about 50 or so years -- we've had in this, you know, hollywood basically created anti-heroes in the '60s. all the films you had before that, i mentioned mr. smith goes to washington, suddenly they were seen as corny or something like that. and it's part of the culture, the drinking water. the ivy league, where i went to school, it's part of the way people begin to see things, and then that's the club you belong to. that's how people think. and i really think that the gatekeepers, the people in media, you know, people in teachers unions, people in politics, generally speaking a lot of them are those kinds of idealogues. your average american is not really there. but over time it's affected america, you know? so i do think -- i think we're at a tipping point. i really think we're very close to the edge. so for me there's hope, but i say this with a level of desperation as well. i think we must take this seriously. this is not something that -- it cannot go on.
so this you have it. well, folks, thank you so much for coming. [applause] i appreciate it very much. so many of you have come from out of town. what we're going to do -- thank you. [applause] i appreciate that. let me just say what we're going to do is let the party continue, and you can happening around as long -- hang around as long as you want. i'll be signing books as long as there are people who want books signed, and i'm happy to do that just to hang out. please do tell your friends about socrates in the city. please do read the book. please do -- if you don't want to read the book, i don't care, but at least buy several copies, if you don't mind. [laughter] we'll leave it at that. god bless you and god bless america. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
>> on sunday, september 4th, booktv is live from hillsdale college in michigan with best selling author, radio talk show host and columnist dennis prager on "in depth," our live monthly author call-in program. his book examines how the ten commandments are still relevant today. he writes about idealism and extremism, racism, the holocaust and other such topics in "think a second time." in his 2013 book, "still the best hope," mr. prager lays out why he believes american values must triumph in an uncertain world.
here he is from this year's los angeles times festival of books. >> it's very simple. if everybody lived by the ten commandments, you would not need one army, you would not need one missile, you would not need any policemen, you would not have to put locks on your doors. this is all humans need. it's amazing. >> dennis prager taking your calls, e-mails, tweets and text messages live on booktv's "in depth" from hillsdale college in michigan sunday, september 4th from noon to 3 p.m. eastern. [inaudible conversations] >> okay.
good afternoon again. max rodriguez, founder of the harlem book fair, and this is the fourth of our discussions. following this presentation by our author, we will, of course, have the tea here which is a online video book discussion program. and we have the presentation of the annual wheatley book awards. so we hope that you'll stay. i have the honor of presenting mr. eddie glaud conscientious who -- glaude who is the author of a new book titled "democracy in black: how race still enslaves the american soul." i'm going to come to that in a second. eddie glaude is a professor at princeton university teaching in the religion department and department of african-american studies. he writes for "time" magazine
and "democracy now." this book i have read, it intrigues me. it's very thought-provoking, very provocative, and the title itself says that. it's actually quite off-putting, how race still enslaves the american soul. how many ideas do we have in that title, the idea of race, the idea of enslavement, the idea of the american soul. i find that very interesting because we're never really able to answer that question because, you know, the idea of soul has a connotation of groundedness, of truth, of absoluteness, of truth and being truth. and then there's life as we know
it, and the two sort of don't align. the american soul. democracy in black: how race still enslaves the american soul. eddie glaude. [applause] >> how y'all doing? can you hear me in the back? i got a little black preacher in me, so i want to make sure you're all right. i want to thank the organizers of this amazing book fair. that last panel was so enriching. there's a picture, a photo of when i was a little kid, bunk beds, and i had this rag tied around my head. i had the mumps. and i was doing research for my book on african-american religion, and i was reading zora neale hurston's the sanctified
church and there she wrote about a remedy for the mumps. my mother is a devout catholic. she goes to mass every sunday, she sings in the choir. but in this little moment in the book she writes that if you get some sardines and you have the patient eat the star dines -- sardines and then you pour the sardine juice on a rag and tie it around the head, it will heal the mumps. [laughter] now, i've been looking at this picture for a long time, so i called my mother. i'm from mississippi, by the way. moss point, mississippi. and i said, mama, did you put sardine juice on my face when i had mumps? and this devout catholic woman said, i sure did. [laughter] zora neale hurston speaking to us. so i want to thank the workers
of this amazing -- the organize tokers of this amazing book fair. it is truly a blessing to be here in historic harlem surrounded by lovers of books, people who revel at ideas and those who are committed to a more just and loving world. as you can see, i'm a text preacher. we need this. in these trying times, to take comfort in each other even as we are angry and as we grieve that our lives are not reducible to that anger and to that grief. i want to thank brother max rodriguez for his vision, his courage and persistence. i can only imagine what it takes to do this, in making all of this a reality. i want to thank all of the folks who are running around behind the cameras, trying to manage this atrium and the sound and all the folks out there on the street.
i'm honored and humbled by your presence and by your powerful witness. now, i'm here to talk about my book, "democracy in black," but that book and my presence here today aren't limited to that. this moment requires much more of us. we have witnessed other these many dark days the senseless murder of so many of our people. alton sterling and philando castile were the latest in a long list of casualties in what seems like an all-out war on our communities. we could call the names of so many from trayvon martin and eric garner and mike brown to a keel boyd and ayanna stanley jones. so many of our dead. so many loved ones whose lives have been cut short too early. and we all have had to grapple
with the collective trauma of it all. to see over and over again this haunting, public ritual of grabbing -- of black grief. and then we find ourselves having to convince many of our fellow white americans of the truth of our anguish and the depth of our sorrow. many would seek to blame those who no longer have a voice because they're dead and buried in the ground. they want to blame them for their own demise. talk of black-on-black crime. didn't rudy giuliani say something like that? talk of the need for the respect of police. talk of a kind of general culture of poverty, all serve as distractions from what is really being said, that these black people deserved to die. yeah? it's exhausting. it's enraging. and i think we've had enough. and i say this as we rightly decry the senseless murders of
the police officers in dallas, but i don't want folk to get it confused. we are still grieving, and we are still angry. right? so i wrote "democracy in black" because i want today provide an account of the crisis in our community. the crisis in this moment. from the mouths of pundits and politician, many were declaring that we had turned an economic corner, that america had survived the great recession and was now on a path of genuine recovery. but as i looked around my communities and families, i saw a different picture. are we better off? hmm. you know the old adage, when america has a cold, we got the what? we have the flu. i saw people who had lost their homes in the housing crisis and were now struggling in a brutal rental market. black americans lost over 240,000 homes. folks lost their jobs, and those who were lucky enough to get a
new job found themselves working harder and longer, hours for less money. many folks having to make the decision, do we put food on the table or do we pay the rent? many young black families find themselves spiraling into poverty. downward mobility is a central feature of this new economy in our community. too many of our children languish in poverty, 38% of them are growing up in poverty. in my home state of mississippi, 50% of black children are growing up in poverty. 50%. by damn near every statistical measure, black america is suffering. by damn near every statistical measure, we're suffering. this isn't the flu. it's a flare-up of a national congenital disease. we experienced and are experiencing what i call in the book the great black depression. and too many of our fellow
americans have ignored that fact or simply don't want to know what is happening all around them. they are add minute in -- adamant in their contrived innocence. you hear me? they're adamant in their contrived innocent. why is the case? black people, especially the black poor and the black vulnerable, are invisible and disposable to so many people many this country. why is that the case? ..
[applause] i know a thing to talk books, but i have so much spirit. this belief animates our social lives and farms are economic reality. it is for monetary describes as the dissident equality. it's not just about intentional discrimination or explicit prejudice. it is the way we come to see the world that shakes our choices and actions and the value has been a key feature of this country since its inception. this is true even when weight knowledge the progress we have made over the generations with each moment of genuine progress, we have a reassertion of the limits and his figures a democracy in this country. at the moment in which the
united states or the founding fathers quote, unquote a voice to the principles of freedom, liberty and inequality. at the moment which we have a civil war and wayside over the institution of slavery, no matter what the school said and engage in embark upon radical reconstruction and democracy come away to be in response to it. birmingham is built on the back of black prisoners, unjustly imprisoned. in response to that, we did jim and jay crew in mississippi and alabama all throughout this, the value gap. in response to the civil rights movement, the black freedom struggle is that the mid-20th century insisting upon dignity. we get the test results in california.
forget powerful law and order. not just by republicans, but democrats, too. and president obama get to that is in everyone's talking about koran. what do we get an response? the vitriol of the tea party. a wholesale attack on voting rights and we get whatever he is donald trump. in each moment -- with each moment we get a reassertion of the value gap good at the heart of this country for the first time it was created with the institution of slavery ended determines the very idea of citizenship. at the heart of this nation and the belief that some people because of the color of their skin are valued more than others. today isn't the same as 1960
year 1868, of what is consistent across these moments as the value gap. when you hear black people say things haven't changed, we know we are not living in the mississippi that i got grew up in, but we do now in this country are babies can be taken from us just like that. last value precarious. you don't know what to conditions may be. you have to worry about your dog runs. you have to worry every time you have an encounter with someone sworn to protect and serve you. let me say this. the value gap isn't sustained. y'all alright? i'm yelling at you because i want you to hear me in the back. actually one finisher matt type
if the value gap isn't saying i'm not racist. that is too easy. we like to identify the folks running around talking about we want to take back our country. that is too easy. it allows the sentimental type girls -- it allows them to say don't do five people. zero lord. i'm one of them to look at me. [laughter] at the heart of the value cap are these racial habit. i tell this story in the book. my dad was the second african-american hired at the post office in mississippi at the place where faulkner honeymooned and his wife tried to commit suicide in the gulf of mexico. my dad got hired by the post office.
he knew he had some for kosher schizo removed us from the eastside to the westside. so we moved up on a hill and as we were moving in, the police drove by. my dad hung out and said i own it. a couple days later the kids in the back blow out the back window with a pellet gun in my dad responded by shooting a 12 gauge and blowing off the oaktree landen said shoot back here again. and then i heard his daddy say stop playing with that nigger. it was the first time they've been called that word in that context. i thought you didn't get that. in that context. i grabbed my truck and ran inside and i saw the history of mississippi come down on it. he ran out type you i don't know what he said to my new neighbor but the other for sale sign up within months.
the power to the story of american racism that some black family has achieved the american dream and then their child gets wounded by some mean-spirited adults who cause some mean-spirited adult who calls them the and not prayers for the rest of our life that he's not that, but that's too easy. i knew at the age of eight we were moving from the black side of town to the wayside. i knew it because in our old neighborhood when her brain is flooded because the pipes are bad. the sidewalks weren't paid, houses were were smaller, schools weren't as good. in the very spatial environment, and i was learning race. i was learning the value gap. that's all these folks have to do. the enough to be allowed. they just have to drive around. drive through harlem. drive through brooklyn. drive uptown. you know what i'm talking about. i had to say that for the folks out here. you have raised racial habit.
it is all of us. we are making choices again and day out that reproduce inequality. all of us, uni. think about this. this is the example i use. i'm not a climate change denier. i think the world is getting hotter and i think human beings are the reason why it is getting hotter. but if you look at my car, you look at my house, you look at the label of zaire's, you look at all my daily choices come to you with think i would think the plan that was just fine. but i'm not running around saying and denying that the climate is changing. i don't need folks to run around calling people the. i don't need people talking about that we need to take our country back. when people say what to send my kids to the best schools, what does that mean? it typically means how many lack
of brown people in the school. we are making choices they in and day out that are reproducing the value gap, racial habit. giving the lie to the value data. and then there is something else i will try to bring it home. are you all right? i'm trying to stay close to the time. what is in addition to racial habit? i was thinking about this the other day because i was watching a town hall meeting on abc. wait fear. racial habits are nourished by weight fear. wait fear is the kind of political fear, reaches beyond anxiety experienced by individuals, bigger than any one person. it is a deeply self collectively held fear shared by people who
believe together someone threatened them them and their way of life. wait fear isn't just simply the possession of white people. if a new inmate. political fear takes fears based in narrow concerns and generalizes them and that fear can drive public policy, can cause racial moral panic. and about that fear of lack of male sexuality and what it drove at the end of slavery at the context of emancipation. think about white fear and what it did in new york city in terms of central park. think about white fear in the knockout games. remember that? they started passing laws thinking that this gaggle of young black men were walking around randomly knocking white people out and it turned out to just be isolated incidences.
but we have the new york legislature passing laws and it's not male. thomas jefferson and the notes of virginia was panicking. white fear. in that moment he says i fear for my country as he is thinking about slavery. abraham lincoln thinking about the civil war as god's punishment for the institution of slavery. worrying about black revenge are the living daylights out of the western world still paying for via the black panther party, the black power movement scaring black folk. black revenge that they've got them doing the fist of them. secret code has been initiated. wait fear. rising public policy. interact with their babies.
what is so interesting about white fear? check it out. our fear of white fear affects their political behavior. how many times are you in your office in your white colleague says something and you bite your lip? how many times have we shifted our behavior because we don't want to be perceived as that angry negro. he has to be as cool as the other side of the pillow. but i'm with malcolm on this. remember that wonderful line he says. tell them what kind of you've been catching and if they are not ready to clean up their act, if they are not ready to clean up their house, they shouldn't have a house. they should catch on fire and burned down. i ain't trying to scare nobody. we are not trying to burn peoples houses down.
what we do need to do is affirm the reality that chickens come home to roost. we don't have an unlimited moral capacity to forgive and to suffer. we don't have an unlimited moral capacity to forgive and to suffer. we are human beings, too. [applause] so i just gave me the first five chapters of the book. the first chapter is the great black depression. the third chapter of racial habit or the fourth chapter weight fear in the fifth chapter had everything to do, transition i'm an account to our complicity in this thing. the fact that we are afraid to tell the truth, that we are scared to tell the truth. the fact i'm trying fact that the class contradictions are
fully in view, that we have folks out here who have taken it and are willing to engage in rearguard actions in order to undermine a deep radical reimagining of american democracy. you will hear me? the second part involves a deep come at least i take it to be, deep interrogation of the black medical -- political class. it involves a profound critique. critique of black liberalism. even if you don't control, even if the steering wheel is locked and you see it going over the hill, if you are not as you should be screaming at the top of your lungs. what have people been doing? the new crack of the moment.
so many people have been so excited about this moment. so what i'm trying to argue it is for revolution of values. if we have a value gap sustained by racial habit, fueled a weight fear. in some ways reinforced by our complicity. we have to overturn this thing in a revolution of value which echoes dr. king's 1968 call for revolution of values involves changing how we view government, changing how we do black people in changing what we take to matter most. how do we change our view of government? how do we change our view of black people? we have to change our view of white people and only white people can kill the idea of white people. they have to do it. how do we change what ultimately matters question we can't have great. if we, we get donald trump. use a reflection of the heart of
our society. so revolution of value will require a strategy in the street from a strategy in the courtroom in a strategy at the ballot box. you all feel me? a strategy at the street and a strategy in the ballot box. we need to have a debate about what we going to do this election season. don't let that make you feel afraid because of the prospects of trump. and then they don't have to give you anything. they don't have to address your condition, the specifics of your community. the only thing they need to tell you is donald trump is in the wing. when in fact the republican party didn't pass welfare reform. the republican party didn't pass the bill. the republican party didn't dismantle glass-steagall. these are democrats.
are we going to exhibit the political maturity reflective of the conditions of our community. democracy is rooted in one simple idea. since we were brought here, since that experience joy here, what we have done is try to expand this notion that this country as a country of the people, for the people, by the people and what we had done by sacrificing our lives is to expand and redefine who those people are. does that make sense? who those people are so we need to do democracy again. that is also going to require we understand the complexity of our community. note is the blackness. it is in solidarity. we have to understand not gender confirming people. we have to understand what lg btt remains. we have to understand that we are complex and we need to do politics politics and all of its complexity.
read my book. [applause] but beyond not, beyond that, let's stop fighting for freedom and just be free. jimmy baldwin says that moment we stop acting like they expect us to, the moment we step outside of the orbit of the universe that they have fixed this in, the moment we reject the category then imprisoned mass, all held breaks loose. let's just to be free. thank you so much. [applause]
>> dr. claude, it seems in the panels coming you'll dated today that our politicians and our president seemed to be constrained by their blackness. but obama, whenever he has said things that i may applaud him, he gets his vehement cries of being a racist and he backtracks. in the future, can our politicians in this kind of represented? will it take another hillary clinton to actually do things in our interest? >> there is a wonderful story by nicholas steffan all of this, a legal scholar who said there is a correlation between -- can you hear me? a wonderful story by a legal scholar at the university of chicago who says there is a correlation between a policy that black people support in
policies that don't forget or don't get past. the more black people like it, the less likely it is to get past. the more we like it, the less likely it will be passed. so remember, we've got a language called the racial essay should. i try to inform black politics that one of the ways we could get out of our niche representation of category is that we need to present ourselves as the racialized. part of that was to break loose from this idea that we could only represent our community. blackness, perception of blackness is understood to be limiting, confining, constraining. but political scientists say is we are casted elect area. we can't go through the republican party because they have no interest in it. the democratic party has no real
reason to deliver in terms of policy because we have no place to go. so when we see all the time this kind of dancing. unless they are on the steve harvey show. you hear the language. you hear that the racialized move and then they give us a wink and a nod. you know it. i just can't talk about it in public. it means we have to trust them in places they. there are no mechanisms of accountability. what happens when black politics becomes this, when there's no viable distinction between the democratic establishment and the blood political class and they are winking and nodding when in fact black political elites are doing the work of a democratic establishment is captured by corporate interests. what does that mean for our community? it means that we need to begin to an astounding different kind
of politics. that is to say we need to insist on specificity. how is it that your policies will it drives unemployment in black communities, how will your policies address the housing crisis in black communities. how your policies affect hbcus and how i'm not having a public option of fact. we need to assess questions about preserving our black representatives are behind closed doors doing it for us. because often times some of them. not all of them are behind closed doors taking care of their own. are you all feeling me? maybe not. but we've got to tell the truth. that's a long one. i'll be sure during my answer. yes, ma'am. >> your talk was phenomenal.
my name is michelle mccleary. i am the president of the black mba association and a couple days ago we just had a big fundraiser. but doctors and engineers looking for a speaker and you would've been perfect. i'm telling you. more than a thousand people there and i want to take you in front of my board and see if we can do a book signing with you. i think you'd be phenomenal. >> thank you so much. >> i've been thinking about which you were saying that we as black people are complicit in vietnam most apologetic to bite people. being so concerned about their feelings. they want us to be in there with them when they talk about what's going on in midlife, but they don't feel the need to do that with us. i know for a man going to stop doing that. you said you were at princeton? what is your performance there? i know a lot of white people there. i've not been complicit in that
way. what is your performance? >> i'm not in any% stakes. i navigate these just like you are. and now, having to have arguments over african-american studies. princeton founded in 1968. we just made it in 26 games. this is the first year in the history of princeton that we will offer the nature and african-american studies. one of my colleagues in his back bearing teaches with me at print as well. 2016. we are still fighting a battle. that doesn't mean we have to lose our homes. i'm not running around angry. i am not running around not doing now. part of what we find ourselves doing is navigating these environments by masking, by
covering outperform. james baldwin writes that we have to make ourselves blank in order to wash away your guilt. the opportunity in this moment is simply a shorthand for us to live the specificity of our suffering at the door. if we talk about it, somehow we can't be unified. that means they've stopped breathing and public if we can't be angry in public. we can't advocate on behalf of the people we care most about in public. we've got a mask. we've got to cover. that's why we are one of the most unique population and i put that democratic in terms of how we participate in the political process. but what happens when we step outside of the expectation.
but they say this really quickly. please stand up. i'm going to be real quick. they want us to bear the burden of holding up the neofascism of trust. they want us to bear the burden of holding off the neofascism of trump, but they can't even speak to the specificity of irony is a community in the process. vote for him because if you did and he's going to destroy your community. i get that. but what are you going to do? specifically, what are you going to do about this? you feel me? we can get back to that. he can tell i'm angry. >> hi, i'm an educator.
the new york city department of bad teacher. i want to know, how do we get it on the basic foundation level as far as diversity? you would think they would need diversity, but when it comes to curriculum and when you do presentations, i am the only one who would do some thing about an african culture that would give background history in 2016. so i don't see people coming out to the pta meeting to give presentations about history and diversity. i want to know, how would you encourage all people whether they have children in the public school system or not to come out of not only educate teachers, believe it or not if you don't know about the demographics of the public school system in new
york city, we are not the majority educating our children. how do we get more education out there to my colleagues because they don't even want to talk about black history, african history. nothing. i'm the only one who would do something. i would say i'm guilty because i came from chicago where i didn't -- because everyone was doing it. the question is how do we get people to get involved in our public school system who don't have children? how do we get them to come out to the community education council and say listen, we need more diversity in our workshop in our professional development. how do we do that? >> i wish i had the answer. i want to be very clear come in the days of people getting up in front of you, clearing the space and filling the space, we need
to stop except in them. i'm not standing up here presenting myself as someone who knows everything about how we need to do this work. we've all got to do it together. one of the things i can say on a certain level of churn morality is we have to imagine our politics. often times we think about owning. voting is the last thing you do. democracies require us to do so much more before we go into the ballot box. if we begin to see our politics is local, we can organize and mobilize around those very issues, particularly diversity in school, but how public schools are in peril generally. we can begin to mobilize and organize. they here is ella baker. ms. baker informs the second half of the book.
it is her model of organizing. her as this did that we are the leaders we've been looking for. her rejection of a custodial model of leadership. all you and i need to do is handed over to somebody else. but somebody else will then go and broker for us behind closed doors. we want to change the scene of the operations of power and we want to understand our power to how that will take shape in relation to schools. how that's going to take shape in relation to criminal justice. i was going to take shape in terms of employment. it's going to vary in terms of local communities, but we need to organize to do it. you see what i mean? change the center of gravity in politics and change the world of politics.