tv Book Discussion on From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime CSPAN October 9, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT
we're very pleased to have c-span be booktv here taping today's event. when asking questions in the q&a, please know that you'll be recorded, and please wait for the microphone to come to you before asking your question. as always, today's title is 20% off. it's part of how we say thanks for buying books from harvard bookstore. your purchases insure the future of an independent bookstore, so thank you. and finally, just a quick reminder to silence your cell phones. and so now i'm very pleased to introduce today's speaker, elizabeth hinton is assistant professor in the department of history and the department of african and african-american studies at harvard where her research focuses on poverty and racial inequality in the 20th century. she is co-editor of the book the new black history: revisiting the second reconstruction, and her essays and articles have been published in the journal of american history, the journal of urban history and "time." today she'll be discussing her
new book, "from the war on poverty to the war on crime." the guardian calls it a magisterial new history, and brooklyn magazine writes: a clear-eyed and timely book. it traces the prison industrial complex back to the social welfare programs created by lyndon johnson's war on poverty. this history is heartbreaking, but it affects an enormous percentage of the country. read it and vote. we're so pleased to host its author here at harvard bookstore today. please join me in welcoming elizabeth hinton. [applause] >> thank you for that introduction and for hosting me and including me as part of the friday forum series. it's really an honor and a privilege to be here and, of course, thank you to all of you for coming out today. i know it is an incredibly busy time of year, but it's overwhelming to me to see so many colleagues, friends and
especially students who i know are in the midst of finals. so thank you for coming out. so this book is really the first historical account of national crime control policy, and it traces the rise of mass incarceration in the united states. the guardian in its review called it a kind of a prequel or a prehistory to some of the work michelle alexander has done in her groundbreaking "the new jim crow," and i really take that as a compliment. it's a product of a labor of love and the white house central files of the kennedy/johnson/nixon/ford/cartr administrations, and when i began this project a decade ago, i had to make the case as to why we need to study crime control policy to really kind of understand the developments that happened in the aftermath of the civil rights movement. and now especially in the past two years, these issues are kind of at the forefront of national
conversations and discussions and really at center of at least from a democratic side the current political campaign. so i think that even the fact that you're all here to hear about this topic really shows that we've come over the course of the time that i've done this research to a new kind of moment of where we are in terms of coming to terms with these issues and the consequences of the policy decisions made over the past half century in this country. so the book is deeply rooted in archival documents, but today i thought i would read from the epilogue which is called reckoning with the war on crime because i hope you'll read the book, especially this summer. it's good summer reading. 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 the book, only 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. so i wanted to share some of these with you, and we can get into conversation about the implications of the book, future directions for crime control policies and criminal justice
reform or any kind of questions about the book itself. especially, i would especially welcome questions, actually, about the ford and carter administrations, because there's been a lot of focus on my work on the johnson administration and kind of rethinking the war on poverty, and rightfully so, but ford and carter are also really kind of important in setting up the -- or laying the groundwork for the kind of crime control and prison infrastructure that ronald reagan stepped into when he took office. all right. epilogue. recking with the war on crime. -- reckoning with the war on crime. late 20th century united states followed a historical pattern. in the shadow of emancipation, national policymakers stopped at the extends of formal equality and instead new criminal laws and penal systems emerged in the form of convict leasing. the systematic criminalization and incarceration of newly-freed people and their descendants shaped local and state law enforcement practices from the
beginnings of reconstruction in 1865 until the start of the war on crime in 1965. after the dismantling of jim crow as militarized police forces and a criminal justice apparatus capable of sustaining a new threshold of prisoners took hold, the developments of the earlier period matured into a markedly different approach to social control and state authority. merging equal opportunity and crime control programs within the great society, satisfied federal policymakers' desire to expose poor americans to dominant values while suppressing the groups of antisocial and alienated black youth that officials blamed for incidents of collective violence in the second half of the 1960s. national priorities increasingly shifted from fighting black youth poverty to fighting black youth crime for the remainder of the decade as policymakers introduced new patrol and surveillance measures in targeted urban communities. in the absence of programs that
provided a concrete means to access decent shelter, education and employment, poverty and crime increased during the ensuing 15 years, the national law enforcement program. that the crime control strategies federal policymakers developed proved to have a opposite impact in the cities and neighborhoods they placed under siege is one of the most disturbing ironies in the history of american domestic policy. by the time ronald reagan took office in 1981, african-americans had become vulnerable on two fronts; a struggle against one another and a struggle with the institutions and policies that federal policymakers developed to fight the war on crime. together the strategies at the core of the national law enforcement program, these are programs that i describe in the book, so i hope that you'll read them to learn about them in more detail, but these include preemptive patrols that aim to catch robberies in progress, sting operations that created underground economies, juvenile
delinquency policy that criminalized generations of black youth while decriminalizing their white counterparts, firearm sanctions that brought federal law enforcement authorities to the streets, career criminal court units that created an expedited criminal justice system for gang members and security programs that made housing projects resemble detention centers. all of these hastened the trend toward internal violence and incarceration. the process of implementing these measures eventually gave rise to a historically distinct carsal network composed of social welfare institutions with statistical discourses of black criminology serving as its intellectual foundation. in effect, the federal government's long mobilization of the war on crime promoted a particular type of social control, one that signals the target arrest of racially marginalized americans and the subsequent creation of new industries to sport this regime of control are among the central
characteristics of domestic policy in the late 20th century. the decisions that policymakers and officials acting in closed circles or as part of a larger coalition made at the highest levels of government had immeasurable consequences for low income americans and the nation. however, unintended some of those choices may have been at different times and in different political moments. ultimately, however, the bipartisan consensus the policymakers fixated on the policing of urban space and eventually removing generations of young men and women of color from their communities to live inside a prison. we can excuse a set of actions and choices these historical actors made as a product of their time or as merely an electoral tactic, but by doing so, we will continue to avoid confronting legacies of enslavement that still prevent the nation from fully realizing the promise of its founding principles. until recently, the devastating outcomes of the or war on crime have gone relatively unnoticed.
for many americans, it appeared as though discriminationing ended with the civil rights movement and the united states had moved beyond exploitation. alongside the tremendous growth of american law enforcement over the last 50 years, a formidable black middle class surfaced and african-americans assumed positions of power from the rise of black mayors in the 1970s to displays of black wealth for popular consumption to the presidency of barack obama. these achievements promoted discourses of cultural pathology and personal responsibility even further, making it seem as though the systematic incarceration of entire groups of racially marginalized citizens reflected the natural order of things. political representation and the fact that some black americans have amassed substantial wealth and capital do not mean that historical racism and inequality have ended, which i'm sure is not news to many of you who are in this room today. african-americans grew more affluent after 1965, by the end
of the 20th century the net financial assets of the highest fifth of black american households were 7,448, only $348 above that of the lowest fifth of white american households. and the black middle class has always been concentrated in the public sphere of social services. in celebrating the racial inclusion championed by african-american activists and their allies in classroom ares across the nation during black history month every year, the fact that many of the critical reforms of the postwar period have been negated by national crime control priorities remains unrecognized. for instance, nine years after the passage of the voting rights act -- the dawn of mass incarceration -- the supreme court ruled it constitutional to deny convicted felons the right to vote. states have consistently removed convicts from voter rolls ever since the court's 1974 richard ard v. ramirez -- richardson v
ramirez decision, and nearly six million americans are deprived of the franchise. as a result of the disparities in policing and criminal justice practices, an estimated 1 out of 13 african-americans will not vote in the 2016 election due to a prior conviction. because of this felon disenfranchisement and the set of punitive policies behind it, a key civil rights gain of the 1960s has come undone. we can go on and on to make an already questionable situation worse, the u.s. census mainly counts people who are incarcerated as residents of the county where they are serving time. and census counts in turn determine representation. so although rural areas are home to the minority of the u.s. population, they are home to the majority of prisons. in other words, urban americans who tend to favor democrats lost representation because of how disenfranchisement works and rural districts that tend to favor republicans gained actual representation because of how the prison system works.
meanwhile, as mobility remains stagnant, public schools in many urban neighborhoods are more segregated than they were before the civil rights movement. we must revisit the principles of community representation and grass ruths empowerment -- grass roots empowerment that guided the great society in order to begin moving towards a more equitable and just nation. the johnson administration included grass roots programs, but this policy directive proved to be fleeting. promising initiatives that had been designed and that received federal funding indirectly during the first year of the war on poverty were increasingly required to include public officials and municipal authorities in top level positions following the watts uprising in august 1965. before community action programs were given the chance to work on a wider level and for entire communities rather than for individuals, federal policymakers decided to defund them and switch course.
police forces took on a more prominent role in urban life and in social services in the low income neighborhoods. one can only imagine what the united states might look like today had the bipartisan political consensus mobilized behind the principle of maximum feasible participation that steered the war on poverty's community action programs with the same length and level of commitment as they gave to the war on crime. out of their sense that society was becoming unraveled in the context of civil rights and anti-war protests, federal policymakers held african-americans accountable for the turmoil and instability and took the wrong policy turn, opting to deploy militarized police forces in urban neighborhoods and to build more prisons instead of seeking to resolve the problems that caused the unrest in the first place. once the nixon administration moved to terminate the office of economic opportunity and increasingly partnered its activity with the law enforcement assistance administration, community involvement in federal social
programs was largely relegated to the law enforcement realm. even within the crime control apparatus only about 2% of grants the law enforcement assistance administration awarded to urban police departments went to tenant patrols and other community-based programs. the white house and the justice department were far more interested many supporting measures -- in supporting measures of new law enforcement technologies in low income neighborhoods while fusing police, correction and anti-delinquency initiatives with social welfare programs. put bluntly, due to its own shared set of assumptions about race and its unwillingness to disrupt the racial hierarchies that have defined the social, political and economic relations of the united states historically, the bipartisan consensus that launched the punitive intervention did not believe that african-americans were capable of governing themselves. nixon expressed this sentiment overtly to his chief of staff, h.r. haldeman, there has never
be nistly been -- history been an adequate black nation, and they are the only race of which this is true. i know nixon's comments have been getting a lot of press lately, but this and a number of other quotes i have in the book are more kind of telling about the racist intent behind many of the policies of his administration. in a less con pickous form -- conspicuous form, carter -- [inaudible] authorities refused to fund citizen groups which add slow wait candidated strategies that were 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 change it. i know that's something we've been talking about. stemming from the punitive shift
in urban social programs over the course of the 1980s, law enforcement officers came to provide the primary and in some areas the only public social services to residents. as the first line of contact between government authorities and the public, police officers assume various duties depending on the groups of citizens they are charged with protecting. throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, police patrols in white and middle class communities are expected to guard property from outsiders. in segregated, low-income communities, on the other hand, their task is to search for suspects and remove offenders and potential offenders from the state. 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 mostly white police officers in the nation's most isolated urban areas, federal policymakers polarized both residents and law enforcement authorities.
only 4 of the sworn police officers -- 4% of the sworn police officers in the second half of the '60s and through the '70s were of african-american descent, a low figure given the overrepresentation of black americans both in national arrest rates and merchandise the prison system. james baldwin observed the impact of this dynamic as early as 1961, as students in my urban inequality class know. the only way to police a ghetto is to be oppressive, baldwin wrote. for black residents, police officers represented the force of the white world and that world's criminal profit and ease to keep the black man corralled up in 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 sported questionable -- 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 circumstance. yet the officer had few alternatives but to act in the manner in which she or he had been conditioned and trained. more than a half century after baldwin's insight, aggressive policing practices and mass incarceration have become the foremost civil rights issue of our time. instead of being criminalized, low income citizens must be empowered and must be fully integrated into public institutions at all levels. crime control is a local matter. 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 game for police forces, a process that began with the law enforcement assistance act of 1965. the militarization of american police and the overmissing of black neighborhoods is a policy path that is consistently proven highly unsuccessful as a crime reduction strategy and fuels mass incarceration and the racial disparities within the nation's enormous carserral complex. civilian review boards to autonomous grassroots social programs to job creation measures for the at-risk groups who policymakers initially labeled potentially delinquent that will enable us to confront finally the equality and civil liberties violations that exist within the criminal justice system 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 bombs shocked much of the american public. ferguson looked like a war zone, prompting new discussions about the nation's punitive domestic policy priorities among the general public, scholars and policymakers. 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 ferguson outbreak alone, 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 hill, megan hockday, walter scott, freddie gray, alexa christian, randolph, 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 each of their lives and the lives of thousands of other innocent citizens that will never be known would not have existed and 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 in black communities are only relevant to a certain extent. the issue was to uncover the series of decisions that made contemporary mass incarceration possible in order to discover our own actual history. the domestic policies at the center of this book shape the lives of black women and men, their families and their communities, and these policies will shape prospects for black children and their children's children even at the criminal -- as the criminal justice system is transformed once again.
ending the war on drugs will not resolve the nation's policing and prison problems even if all the citizens serving time for drug convictions are released -- and as you may have heard, president obama commuted the time of some, but the nation would still be home to the largest penal system in the world. and as long as law enforcement remains at the 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 redistrictive 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. ms. -- [applause]
yes, sir, comment -- questions, comments. [inaudible conversations] >> microphone? oh. you -- 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 be 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 transitioned during the period where johnson's calling
the war on crime from a vibrant industrial manufacturing sector to outsourcing much of this 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 ender surveillance when really, you know, this job creation program for mostly white police officers is created. we don't get a job creation program to give low income people new kinds of opportunities. so structural solutions in terms of job creation, in terms of rethinking education systems, in terms of really investing in education and going beyond remedial programs. the kind of the meat of the war on poverty focused on equal opportunity programs, 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'd completed,
you know, the series of training provided by the war on poverty and other social welfare programs. yeah. >> [inaudible] you mentioned -- [inaudible] could you talk a little bit about the residency requirement? >> yeah. i mean, that is, you know, that police officers -- one way to a 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 having people -- having police officers live in the communities that they're meant to protect and kind of serve different types of functions. and in some ways, you know, this might be a romanticized view. it's been challenged, but this
kind of returns to some of the earlier forms of american policing that we think about where police officers lived on the block that they are 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 you're policing your neighbors, essentially, instead of people who you don't really know or understand. yeah. here and then here. >> i was wondering if you could identify or if you've looked at what statute changes, legislative changes would be needed, because there's a hot of protection -- a lot of protection that are inherent in the system of the 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. >> and i work for the public defender agency, and so you see this on a daily basis, the criminalization of poverty with the cs and other things.
so 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, enforce the laws and give them the power to arrest and prosecute? >> right. i think that's a fantastic question, and it kind of gets to the way in which i ended the book which is, you know, trying to think about how to move beyond the war on drugs. you know, part of what gave rise to mass incarceration is not just incarcerating people for really minor offenses or drug, things like drug possession, but the kind of extent of american punitiveness. so i believe there are currently 700,000 people serving life without parole sentences which is as large as the entire prison population in japan. and so accompanying these, you know, gestures that we've made towards decarcerating nonviolent drug offenders and kind of
rethinking the way we've prosecuted the war on drugs, we also these to think about the ways in which -- need to think about the ways in which our sentencing practices sustain mass incarceration and provisions of three strike laws, like the widespread use of life without parole sentences. we have to rethink the punitiveness of american statutes if we want to think about really, really enacting meaningful criminal justice reform. and then of course, as i mentioned, you know, the first line of contact between the criminal justice institutions and resident, 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 you been asked -- have been asked to do, then we also have to change incentives within police departments so that 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 making, and meeting their arrest quotas, etc. so we have 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 -- [inaudible] politics being a way to do that? because who you elect makes the statutes. do you see it as a viable -- >> of course. i think electoral politics is key. i think, you know, voting, everybody should vote in this election, and and we should vote for lawmakers, for politicians that we see representing our own interests and that we see bringing forth what we'd want see. but it's also, you know -- and i hope that, you know, 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.
>> 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, maybe the new -- >> black silent majority? >> black silent majority, right, who talks about the members of the community desiring better policing, better control over what at the time was a large problem of violence. i'm just wondering what your comments are. >> yeah. i recently co-authored an op-ed in "the new york times" with my colleagues at yale and cornell respectively that address some of this issue, because similar arguments have been made in the case of that book about the rise of the rockefeller drug laws and then the '94 crime bill. bill clinton himself and hillary clinton kind of rationalized their support by saying this is what black communities wanted, so this is the democratic process at work because we're giving black constituents what
they're asking for. but problem is in that narrative it obscures the extent to which this calls for greater protection, these calls for safety in communities were also accompanied with critiques of police brutality, with calls for new employment programs, with calls for rehabilitation, with calls for crime prevention. and despite, you know, these kind of larger set of demands which usually included, you know, a real critique of police brutality and aggressive law enforcement in low income communities, and that took into account kind of the larger socioeconomic factors that contribute to problems of crime and violence, policymakers only responded 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 get, what they end up getting from the state tends to be punitive programs, law enforcement programs, crime control programs. >> [inaudible] >> it was published in april, i believe. last month. yeah, jim. >> i'll accept your invitation and ask you to say something about carter -- >> thank you. >> so much scholarship has been done on the recent situation, on the '9 0s and the role of the clinton administration, and your work gives us the '60s, but tell us what happened in the late '70s. [laughter] >> so, 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 kind of deregulatory policies of the reagan administration emerging in the prior administration, and i think that carter doesn't -- 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 be, 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 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. >> what would you say that obama's approach is to -- >> no, i'm asking you. you're -- >> i don't think, i don't
necessarily think that obama's approach has been as far as i'm concerned or as far as i see it my brother's keeper, right? that is part of -- >> [inaudible] >> right, right are, 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 county of justice which is a really, i think in some ways, dealing with racism and a level of extraction that is going on in many majority black cities like ferguson where basically police, as the federal government said, the 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 really. 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 of, you know, obama releasing nonviolent drug offenders, the sentencing reform act that is currently before congress, this attempt to decarcerate. but the body cams, i mean, not only does this directly benefit private companies like taser which, tragically and ironically, taser was responsible -- is, 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 kind of criminal justice databanks we have which will then create new opportunities for private sector to kind of come in and analyze that data and work with that data. 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 sit at the table together where residents can really have a voice and an input over the programs and especiallythe policing programs that are being implemented in their communities, body cams are going to, perhaps, open up a whole new level of issues and problems that we can't even foresee. for taser, though, it continues to be good business. >> so johnson versus obama. [laughter] >> that's a hard question. what about nixon versus obama? the nixon administration, richard nixon is far to the left of obama in many respects. >> in fact, is so -- i didn't want to to go there, but you right. >> yeah. >> nixon was on domestic policy -- >> oh, yeah. guaranteed income. >> so johnson versus obama, what
would you -- given his initiatives, domestic policy initiatives and our mayor in d.c. >> there are sol, you know, the war on poverty -- and i am critical of johnson and the war on povertity but that's because that's our job as historians to be critical of programs. johnson is a complicated figure, but the war on poverty and the policy of his administration, 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 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. i mean, in many cases johnson just kind of took the urban programs of the kennedy administration on an experimental level is and implemented them nationwide, and so i think returning to these principles of empowering
communities to direct and shape the programs and the resources that they were receiving from the federal government, i think, is really important. i think that there is a role for the federal government in proto proto -- promoting greater opportunity, 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. >> [inaudible] what you were saying about the idea of it being a band-aid really in any of of this, and it's to your last point, you just mentioned it. i'm wondering if there is any possibility of moving forward unless there is some kind of acknowledgment that 1865 didn't can end everything, it simply evolved after that and that there has been no suggestion of any sort of truth in reconciliation or any kind of national conversation. and i'm wondering if, 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 things that's been really exciting about kind of finishing this research and revising the book over the 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 and targeted african-american communities is beginning to become part of the national discussion. i mean, this is -- the fact that hillary clinton talks about making, ending inequality the mission of her presidency should she become elected, i think, is very promising. so these conversations are opening up. 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 changing 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. >> amazing book. incredible work. i actually just wanted to ask a historical question about 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 black militant, organized control of community control programs. >> so i think, i think that's an excellent question, and you're right, a difficult one to answer. i mean, i think in terms of maximum feasible participation, you know, johnson almost immediately 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 was -- 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 in the war on poverty, but gives local authorities new levels of oversight and power within these community organizations like wood lauren, you know? -- wood lawn, you know? local officials charged this was kind of a voter registration drive for the democratic party, etc., so johnson increasingly backed off. but i think even more, and this is a really central argument in the book, even more and involved with these cultural 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 be, 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 violation. but yet -- urban violence. but yet instead of saying, okay, we can respond to these issues with actually, you know, we obviously haven't gone far enough, we haven't gone far enough with the war on poverty, 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 uprisings. yeah, i didn't answer your second question, but that's okay. i'll get to it later. [laughter] >> getting to brandon's question around the black power, for those of us that are old enough to have sort of been around, antiquity -- [laughter] what do you do -- there's a the black power piece and then there was sort of the corruption in this organization, but there was a lot of hustling. i'm old enough to remember a lot of the community-based programs in if you wily. and so you -- in philly. you had an interesting combination of the black muslims and the -- [inaudible] all operating in concert. so in that context where the narrative gets a little stickier and more complicated because there actually is corruption and gangster stuff, because moynihan responds in part to that. >> right. >> because they had a couple of case studies, and i though the philadelphia case.
they were actually pretty remarkable. and in the case of wood lawn in chicago, you know, it was arthur brazier, the preacher, right? so that was sort of a faith-based program led by the churches in the area. what do we do with that? because here part of the difficulty is that there's a criminal element at the left, and this is my discussion with brandon, never quite knew what to do with. so the narrative, you know, black liberation and then there's a third wrinkle which is sort of the complicated nature of what pass for black militants which had a criminal wing to it. >> so -- >> so my question is how do you put that, how do you filter that into your analysis? i'm trying to complicate the analysis. [laughter] so how does one filter that element? into your analysis? >> well, i mean, my initial thought when you're talking about especially that period and
during the nixon administration that there's corruption running through -- >> you can take it back to johnson. >> i mean, the ways many which these programs are implemented on the local level, in some ways there's corruption within some of the organizations getting funded, but there's corruption within the ways in which 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 policymakerses in the ways in which these programs are being allocated. the nixon administration and what we see, actually, in watergate is very much reflected in the ways many which nixon's friends and supporters get these newly-available crime control grants. and similar things happen with the war onoverty. when -- poverty. when the federal government introduces and begins funding, as we see with the body cams,
creates new channels where funding is available, then groups will emerge to reap that. the problem 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 think we have time for one or two more. >> okay. [inaudible conversations] >> i think one thing that your book does well if we're going to talk about corruption is you do a good job of giving us an even-handed analysis of, you know, democrats and republicans. and i just wanted to have you comment a bit about what i perceive to be an issue of 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 at the national level. how has that sort of contributed to an inability on part of ordinary citizens to actually get their leaders to respond to them in part, because sometimes there's this issue of this clientele/patron relationship where they're being taken as given. as voters. >> uh-huh. well, that, you know, i think for the last half century if not before, the democratic party has really taken for granted african-american voters, latino voters and is able to kind of make these rhetorical gestures without necessarily enacting policies that really address the issues that are most important to them. so we see this very much in, you know, the clinton administration not only with the crime bill which kind of exacerbated an are 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. we -- two years later we get his welfare reform bill which has really, 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 matter 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. and this kind of gets to one of the questions that reverend lives raised earlier -- reverend
rivers raised earlier because unless there's a huge surprise, we're not going to get another black president. perhaps the next president will be able to do -- especially if 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 these changes are just going to come out of the goodness of policymakers' hearts. we have to keep the pressure on them. yeah, quick thought. >> there's also the rhetoric of, oh, we're losing white voters, so so what do we do? which we know was also what brought out the clinton triangulation sort of middle ground type governance. so aren't you also worried
perhaps even with all these pressures, the democratic party itself too is having the face the decline in white voters and may have to respond to that which then might -- >> i think, i think in so many ways i'm not a political pundit, so i can't -- but i do think that these, where we are right now, what we're seeing in terms of the way this election has unfolded already reflect the fact that, you know, we still remain in many ways inequality is widening, income disparities are widening. we have not -- the civil rights movement and the war on poverty because it did not involve a major structural transformation, we are kind of dealing with the consequences of this and the ways in which race has kind of played, as duboise said, a psychological wedging in keeping people whose interests in many ways 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 these, as we begin to have these conversations and think about the choices that we've made in terms of domestic policy and
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 more? okay. yeah. last question. >> i'm wondering if you could just theorize a little bit. >> okay, i feel like i've been -- [laughter] >> this is a little different. >> okay, okay. >> how do you get trump supporters -- >> oh, gosh. >> -- 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, have 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 to 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 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 kind of coalitions that you're suggesting less. and so, you know, part of it if we think just with the example of criminal justice the reform, i think it's so important that people who are, who have been incarcerated who are just coming off the the prison system are at the forefront of this movement. i think that once people begin to know someone who is incarcerated if they don't already is and begin to interact with people and have dialogue with people, people's world view, people's opinions on things begin to change. and 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 to -- and, gosh, i sound kind of like what hillary clinton's talking about, we need to become whole
again in a way. [laughter] but we need to see that we actually have far more in common than we do things that divide us. and the things that divide us really don't matter. and i think, you know, it's difficult to think about how in a large scale, like, immediate way how to change that. but i think it does take exposure to communities and to people 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. thanks for the question. 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 the signing right here. thanks again. [inaudible conversations] >> and the final program from booktv's campaign issues series on policing is heather mac donald on booktv's "after words." >> host: good afternoon, mrs. donald. how are you today? >> guest: great. thank you so much, dolores. >> host: i'm happy to have this opportunity to talk with you about your new book, "the war on cops: how the new attack on law
and order makes everyone less safe." we know each other, we've been on previous panels together, so one of the first things i'd like to ask you, there's a lot of discussion in the book about whether or not the criminal justice system and police in particular are racist. what's your definition of racism? because you don't give one in the book, but you talk a lot about racism and being racist. how should we take your definition of racism? >> guest: i think it's hostile treatment towards a person on the basis of his skin color. >> host: okay. and a person who would be a racist would do what? >> guest: make judgments about somebody based on skin color alone or even as part of a other set of characteristics. what we hear from the black lives matter movement is that
cops are racist, that they are in minority neighborhoods and oppressing people in those communities. presumably, it would seem really out of whim or caprice because there's never any explanation as to why officers would be in those communities. so i am simply adopting a phrase that is often bandied about by black lives matter protesters. i go to these protests, and i see the signs that say racist killer cops, kkk cops. they are suggesting that cops are motivated by racial animus in the law enforcement actions that they take. >> host: okay. so you previously wrote a book, and i think the title is something are cops racist, right? and that book was published at a time when there was an incident on the new jersey turnpike where four young men -- three
african-american and one latino male -- were shot by two police officers. they were shot 11 times. in the guilty plea that the two officers entered for having provided false information about who they were stopping on the turnpike, didn't those officers admit that they had, in fact, targeted black and latino males and that they had been told to do so by superiors? >> guest: well, that, that was part of the guilty plea, you're right. but evidence that was more broad-based and statistical that the new jersey attorney general used to show disparities in stops did not take into account driving behavior. and this was a study that was subsequently done by same statistical organization that had contributed to the justice department and new jersey attorney general's suit that
looked at driving behavior and found that blacks sped on the new jersey turnpike at twice the rate of white drivers and that the disparities at speeds over 90 miles an hour was even greater. .. this officers admitted that they engaged in racial targeting on the highway and their supervisorsessed a swayed advise