tv We Gon Be Alright CSPAN November 6, 2016 4:00pm-4:51pm EST
some of the introduction in jeff's book. the introduction on the crisis cycle and i want to hit a couple of points and open it up to jeff and dr. cunningham. mark, is it okay that i call you mark? >> please, please. >> race makes itself known in crisis, in the singular event that captures a larger pattern of abuse and pain, we react to crisis with the flurry of words an sometimes action. in turn the reaction sparked its own backlash about rage, justification and denial, the cycle turns next towards exhaustition, complacency and before we know it we find ourselves back in crisis. they are not abstract thing and impact real people and real life in terms of poverty, annual income and schooling, inscars ration, persistent tbaps, --
gaps and pacific islander and in the united states segregation and desegregation happens through sign of inequality whether through white life, optics of diversity foreclosed the possibility of empathy and transformation. how do we define equal and equity? maybe you can share your own personal experience. >> first of all, how is everybody doing today? [laughter] really, really nice to be here.
they finally got your memo up there and it's all good now. i think it's a sign, the rain stopped. the question of equal versus equity is kind of strange for me. i think what has happened is the -- the -- let me try to put it in a historical perspective. what i was trying to talk about the crisis cycle was to say that each generation since the 60's has faced its own moment of racial crisis and so we are all of a certain anal here, we are all kind from, i guess, you might call it the hip-hop generation and so, you know, what you could see 1965 being a moment racial crisis and at that moment the united states react by forming a consensus that race is an issue that needs to be dealt with. racial inequities is an issue
that needs to be dealt with and we build an infrastructure that leads us to inequality. at the time the language was inequality. but what we see is over the last 50 years that infrastructure has been dismantled. sometimes very loudly and sometimes quietly in sort of subtle kinds of ways and what we can talk a lot about in the ways that has manifested itself but what we see in our generation, 1992, become it is moment for us of racial crisis and then now 2014 till now, 2012, 2014, till now sort of the kind of crisis, returning to the cycle and so i was reflecting on the fact that we seem to be having the cycles where we go through moments and backlash that comes back in.
we feel like we can't do anything and we find ourselves in another crisis. one of the things that previous moments did was they took the word of equality and delight miezed it and the question became, are we talking about quality of opportunity or result . so what i think we are in now is a moment in which people are pushing again towards looking at questions of equity across the board and in this book what i have tried to do is talk about how inequality has yes, affected all of us as americans and all of us across the board and impacted by inequality but the biggest gaps are still along the lines of race. still between blacks and whites, between whites and folks of color. when we talk about wealth,
income, when we talk about health, we talk about mass incarceration, we talk about policing, when we get down to premature death and life expectancy, these are still the biggest gap that is we are seeing. what people are trying to do and i'm kind of building upon in this book is talking about how inequities can be connected all across the lines, we can talk about inequities in terms of the indices, right, that i was outlining but we can talk about the actual facts of resegregation in housing and schooling but also in the popular culture. we can see things like oscar is so white, that particular campaign that popped up last year. and so for me it's a really prime moment for us to try to move ourselves out of this particular crisis cycle. we are in a very divided moment,
in a very dangerous moment in some ways, it feels that we are in a moment that -- that we can't really act in some ways, that politics is not necessarily the way that we can move forward through towards a better future, shared future for all of us, but i think that in this particular moment more than any time, more than than any other kind of time it's important for us to be able to bring back the imagination of what equity and justice can look like and that's what i'm trying to write towards in this particular book. >> thank you, jeff. >> mark. >> you know, i'm under the impression that equity and inequality are interchangeable and think they are the same thing and a meme online that shows a group of kids at a fence and they are trying to look at the same thing but the fence is the same level, inequality, of course, is that everybody is treated the same and we can put
everything everybody at the fence and give everybody the height and some people are able to see and some aren't able to see. equities is we are going to give everybody a box that allows everybody to see over the fence and see the same thick and as a film scholar, i like to talk about things and reference the film and to go back to what you were saying about oscar is so white and what you talk about in your book in terms of culture, viola davis who has done television show how to get away with murder and just seen in fences and suicide squad. she won the emmy after the first black actress to be nominated and to win as lead actress in a drama series category and she made the comment that the only thing that separates anybody of color or actresses of color is opportunity. opportunity is equity. that if everybody is allowed the opportunity to succeed, you
know, then that makes a world of difference, but i think, even when you have these conversations about particularly with the oscars and what people have been talking about that and when you read the message boards, the message boards a lot of times more interesting in terms of giving you insight about what people think, people think because they see black faces on television then there's no problem. but they don't worry about the fact that there are no blacks faces in leading roles, that there are no black stories being told outside of certain kinds of -- so people think as long as they see a latino face, as long as they see an asian face that, you know, everything is equal. everything is fine, everybody is getting a chance but everybody is not getting a shot because when you put the things together they don't add up and they're not equitable at all. >> thank you. and i wanted to also -- i was sharing with jeff and with mark some of the challenges we are facing here with the austin independent school district, the fifth largest urban school
district in the state of texas so that will give you a snapshot, 84,000 students, 75% are students are students of color, latinos represent 60%, african americans represent 8%. we have a hundred languages in our schools and we serve refugees from 42 countries and i don't know if you all have read the paper here locally but there was a conversation about the fact that here in austin in texas 2016 we still have segregation within our schools and unfortunately a lot of it is because of the concrete barrier that separates east and west and to put that in perspective, so we have two covenant magnet schools in austin and the majority of the students that attend those covenant magnet schools are anglo and if you look at a map, there was a map in the austin american statesman that presented this real positive powerful visual that
perspective. more than half of our schools are majority hispanic and african american and anglo students represent, they are the majority in 30 schools that all happen to be west of i-35. you know, our board had a conversation, how do you define equity and equal? well, i think it's difficult that we are sitting around and ask everybody, stand up and give me your definition of equity and equal, we would probably have a long conversation this afternoon. but i think the best way that i can put nit perspective for me is based on how i grew up experiencing that. i'm a native born and raised. i was a product of desegregation, i went to ten different schools before i graduated high school. every year after second grade i went to a different school and so the way i define equity and equal is based on what my personal experience has been and so you may stand up and have a very different experience of what your public education experience.
i cannot invalidate that, just like you can't invalidate mine. so let's move on. >> can i just add to that? the national statistics show us that schools reached a peak of desegregation in 1989, by the way a great year for hip-hop and i actually don't think they are unconnected and hip-hop became so popular in part because this is what a desegregated generation was looking for in terms of pop culture and i can probably talk about that forever. >> yeah, let's do it. >> not right now. [laughter] >> but what we have seen is since 1989, school districts have rolled desegregation orders, they have rolled back consent decrees and in many cases attacked and, of course, some of the kids have gone all the way to the supreme court and so what we have seen is that there's been a rise across the country in resegregation in many areas m school districts and so what that leaves us with now is
the fact that something like 80%, i think, of latino kids go to schools that are majority-minority schools. something like 75% of black kids go to schools that are majority-minority schools. but white students are the most racially isolated actually, the average white student goes to a school 11% white and lives in a neighborhood that's 77% white and these are not the kinds of things that we've actually been talking about. this has been sort of coming up in different kinds of discussions, for instance, in the cities over the last two decades across the country specially where i'm coming the san francisco bay area, the big discussion but it's actually too small to describe what's going on because what's the root word,
and so if you're in orlando, florida, suburb which is where and you might move to a town called ferguson which is where officer darren wilson shot michael brown and so it's part of the larger thing that's happening of desegregation and i think that it's anemic in that kind of a way and all across the board. and in that regard to the lack of enforcement, desegregation order and lack of enforcement.
we haven't had a national consensus in this country around racial equity and over 50 years and in a lot of ways, have fallen apart and yet we are not really paying attention to how to build that infrastructure back up to move us back even as, right, the state here like california, like hawaii where i came from is moving demographically into a generation that are going to be more and more diverse than they were in the generations before. >> mark, your perspective? >> working in that -- having worked in education too i also noticed that this kind of redegas station education -- resegregation and what services are they being provided, and if you look at a school that's
predominantly title one, prodam -- predominantly latino or black, i saw more what i felt was guinea pigging on these pigs trying new programs. this is going to help the students do better. they didn't teach well and that's not the case. people have to learn the system and learn whatever it is that you're trying to implement. they are to learn it first, if that's not learning that's not giving a chance to grow and thrive, you can't call these people failures but what happens is that you are looking at it's scores and it turns out these kids are not performing well and they are the ones that get the
revolving doors and teachers and people changing, you know, the staff and whatever else on these children in the middle of the year, the ones who need the most, affected the most by these kinds of things. and you also see in terms of now there's a big discussion in terms of minorities and stem. again, what kinds of computers are they being offered, what kinds of classes are being offered. a lot of the kids who are minorities don't realize that they are interested interested in stem because they are not given what viola davis talks about opportunity to even realize that this is something that they are interested in. so desegregation is making a lot of that happen and done quietly and the discussion not being had because it doesn't affect certain sectors of the world, they turn to blind eye to it. it's kind of like back in the 90 when boys in the hood came out. if that had been happening for years, it's the same thing with
mike brown being killed and trayvon martin being killed. this has been happening for years. it hadn't been recorded until now. so social media, things of that nature is making it possible for you to see the things now that you had the luxury, if you will, turn a blind eye to. >> i think also maybe it's intended or maybe unintentional but one of the challenges too is a policy decision that we make. we have sort of an open transfer policy here in usa ip, a child can transfer to any school that's open but if they opt to transfer to another school we do not provide bus transportation. i mentioned this by default, austin for those of you who don't know is the most economically desegregated city in the u.s. and number four when
it comes to genderfication. if you go to east austin, you see more fluent families and they are not opting to send kids of neighborhood schools to the perception that those are the negative stigma, low-performing schools, the quality of the teachers is not great. 75% of students are students of color but less than 28% of teachers are teachers of color. and so the question often is, is there a culture value disconnect? i'm married to a buy lingual special-ed teacher and i hear all the challenges every day and we have 9 people on the school board, we have elections coming up and we could end up having one african-american and one hispanic on the school board of nine people. and so as the board and policymakers, we impose and expect cultural competency upon our teachers and administrators.
so i wanted to get your perspectives on that, maybe what you're seeing across the u.s., many things that you have written about, jeff, i want to give you a positive spin from the perspective, are you seeing things in other communities across the u.s. that might help us? >> well, i mean, maybe this is a good time to kind of take it to culture. >> yeah. >> we mentioned hip-hop earlier, half jokingly but this may be an interesting point embedded in this. in so many ways, culture a place to be able to think about how we can live together and i think that in so many ways culture is a place where we work out values and the kind of stories and the images and the ideas and sounds and songs and those kinds of things that allow us to be able
to figure out how to share space and i will be bullish on this, even in a time where it feels like so much of our -- our shared culture is fragmenting, it feels as if there are still a lot of -- i feel like, for instance, the drive for black lives is really the spark for this book. and i think one of the things that it's done it's created an amazing outpouring of story telling, song-making that -- that puts us into what we may look at golden age. think of this empire, there's blackish, queen sugar, there's atlanta, all of the stories that are out there, this is the 13th that aba did as well.
all of the pieces of what alternative can be in the kind of situation that we have been living through, this nightmare in so many ways in the last generation. in music we have seen so much amazing work coming from, salange was on saturday night, beyonce, the knowles sisters, texas in the house, right? [laughter] >> amaze to go me that we have so much coming out that's offering different things. beyonce's album i read about in the book in the last chapter because after beyonce there's really nothing left to say. [laughter] >> in some ways you can read lemonade as this personal thing between her and jay z which is a way that gossip columnist and
folks kind of did but in some so many ways it represents so much more, right? it's really about this concept in the movement for black lives agenda called transformative justice and what is that? the idea that we've all still got the figure out how to live together and we bring justice to the folks who need it the most and still need to be able to figure out the folks who did the harm in the first place, right? and there's a happy ending in a way which when i first heard the album, it didn't seem true to me but it was because i was so focused on the first part of the album, fire and cards getting cracked and houses burning down. what does it say? what does it say to me to be more in love where the images of division and anker and pain than with the images of at the end
which actually did move me of couples in love and families being able to live together and share together. and so here is an album, number one in the country, that comes in some ways, whatever, sort of almost hidden like thing in this period of division saying we might be able to figure ourselves our way out of this. that was powerful to me. >> i would take it back a little bit further. i'm going take it back. you talk about beyonce and what happens with black lives matter and the output. he has the conversation, the interview, if you will, with pac, you know we were talking about how pac was saying when you're 20 year's old that's when
you want to be -- you're angry, you the fire in your belly but when you're 30 it's been beaten out of you in the sense. that's kind of how i feel. that's how i feel with black lives matter that when i was in my 20's, do the right thing, jungle fever and beyonce's lemonade is janet jackson's rhythm nation. >> you did take it back. [laughter] >> janet -- and janet isn't getting credit either because she did this stuff first. jackson and everybody before that. janet jackson did this in terms of this context but, you know, also when michael griffin got killed and eleanor and people like that and rodney king and what happened to him.
that's when i was angry and mad and, you know, that really wasn't a black lives matter movement then but we were wearing the shirts and public enemy had us riled up and we were protesting and i think you're right and you talk about this in the book, this is so true, kind of wash, rinse and repeat in what happens here and here we are back again with beyonce, with kendry and now with trayvon and mcdonald and sandra and, you know, mike brown, we are here again. it's like a sense of we are repeating ourselves because nobody is taking us seriously and it can't just be people of color upset about this and realizing that there's an issue, everybody has to realize that there's an issue. [applause] >> everybody does. and, you know, you can't -- you
can't sit in your bubble and say that's them, you know, when you're basically doing things, you know, to kind of facilitate a lot of the things happening, if you sit there, if at any time you looked at mike brown and you looked at trayvon and said they were thugs, you're wrong, you're wrong. that has nothing to do with being shot down like a dog in the street and being laid there and not for four hours and nobody picking your body up. that has nothing to do with that. as a matter of fact, forget mike brown, forget that, right? because the cops who pulled him over had no idea he had done that before they shot him. that has nothing to do with anything. it's basic human diskenningy that we are talking about. >> i think this is a moment actually where we can't we can't
afford to be neutral specially those who are not black or those who are not indigenous, we need to be able to say that all lives matter when black lives matter, when black lives matter all lives matter. that's the tragedy of having being able to say that is, i think, the problem here that we are trying to all resolve together. we have been looking at candidate's agents, i would encouraging people to look at the movement of black lives agenda because it's a movement for everybody to get free and i think that in that regard, you know, it's about listening to the folks who are on the front lines all of the time and centering those kinds of stories and narratives so we can all move forward together. >> all right, thank you, jeff. we are going get to the audience's participation part. we have a mike phone in the
central aisle and so we encouraging if you have any questions to please come up and ask a question. don't be shy. welcome. >> hi, i really enjoyed this. i'm a product, one of the only generations that was a product of school integration and i went to a whole bunch of schools too, i drove in pasadena, california. i heard a podcast talking about that integration is really going to be the way to make the opportunity for education in this country possible. i don't see any way to do that, but one thing that i keep hearing about and reading about in austin is the fact that we have this lasa sitting on top of the lbj high school and they are in the exact same building and the level of education is so different and it just gets me every time. so if you guys can speak to that at all?
>> sure, i'm happy to say that we are sending the admissions policy and dr. ted gordon who is my colleague, his daughters went to that school and they had a problem with all the african-american kids being on the bottom and all the anglo kids being on the top. and i think is when we get the adults in a conversation, we make it complicated. the kids want to be integrated, they want to be among their peers, i think that's how they excel. that is the challenge. i was mention to go jeff and mark as a school district one of the things that we have actually dope as part of annual score card that holds our board and our superintendent accountable is we have actually for the first time incorporated a measure that talks about integration. if we have 84,000 students in our school district, 75% are minority, over 60% are low income, then we should aspire to inspire that all of our 130 campuses looks like our district, right? so that means 50% minimum
threshold for economically disadvantaged in every school, 50% diversity in every school. that's a huge task in order to take for sure. >> yeah, i thought at lbj for six years and i will tell you that it makes a difference, the kids -- the african american and latino kids talk about that all of the time. they felt it was a slice and they really did. if we talk about equity, again, they didn't feel it was equitable at all. so that's some of the students' perspectives. >> absolutely. >> charter school versus government school discussion plays into this? [laughter] >> i think that's a whole other panel discussion because i grew up on all of this. technically by state law the
legislators -- the legislature does not differentiate public schools from public schools. they are both considered to be public institutions, public education institutions, however, i think, you know, i certainly have a biased opinion on that as the school board member from austin independent school district, i think our charter schools select and they don't want to deal with students that are english learners or children with other issues. that's a challenge. i don't know if you want to offer your perspectives on that. >> i agree with you. i'm a fan of public schools. i taught in them so, you know, fix those, work on those. i think people do charter schools because they think they are going to get something better, they are looking for something different but if you put the work into your neighborhood schools and stop funneling your children out of them and sending them in some place better, i think it will make a world of difference. [applause]
>> to summarize, i believe that public education is a civic responsibility and so that's my -- >> the kids wanting integration and having to get the adults involved in the conversation, it seems like the adult thing to stop at the childhood's experiences and even worse home values or whatever. i was curious if the panel has had experience of national scope of successes and breaking through the initial road blocks to get to a secondary understanding with these adults as you say inhibiting the school integration or experience. >> maybe you can speak to that about what you were talking about, you know, the whole issue about inequality and how we interconnect and we bring that to the forth front.
>> yeah, i'm hesitating because school policy is very localized, it's very complicated, obviously. >> sure. >> and we all can approach it with shared values and come to different policy outcomes on different types of things. i think that in so many ways, though, what we are really trying -- what we are really trying to figure out how to do and accomplish is to be able to have classrooms that are vibrant with diversity of our society, right? and in some cases for those of us who have the means it's going to be, it's a choice, right. it's a choice of where you decide to liver and where you decide to have your kids go to school and for many other folks it's not a choice.
and i think that that's partly because some of the soul searching has to come to those folks who have privilege, that regard and part of it for us to be able to go back to many of these ideas that were very good ideas that are very good ideas enforcing fair housing laws, enforcing fair lending laws, creating more mixed income and affordable housing in cities and defending that. you know, trying to figure out ways to -- to have folks who have been in neighborhoods be able to continue on in neighborhoods. not to be displaced and left to the winds and the winds of the marketplace all of the time. these are all ideas that are not new and a lot of them are on our books but we are not enforcing them and this is nationally. that's the thing that i can say
is -- is generalizable that it's a combination of us trying to find our internal wills, live to our sort of personal values and then to be able to think about what are the kind of communities that we want to have, not just just for the next three or four years but looking for decades into this as this country becomes more and more diverse. >> mark, you want to quickly answer that? >> you can go ahead and go on. >> next question. >> hi, thank you for being here. i'm a grad wage student at the university of texas at austin and i understand that one thing we are focusing on today is the distinction between equality and equity, right, what are the differences, another term that comes up dr. chang in your work is diversity and how is everything and nothing at once. and maybe she choose it is word
inclusiveness as a better term. as an educator and a teacher educator and a teacher i'm wondering about what does it mean to enact diversity in a sincere and authentic way, how do you address that, and then i have one more question which is about -- as a muslim woman in this country, just -- there's also the term of people of color, right, and so sometimes in scholarship distinctions are made between, there's african american or black and then people of color, we have a lot of terms that are being used and sort of how you keep them meaningful? [laughter] >> okay. >> so i will take the first one, the question about diversity. so i have an essay in the book and i will address this head-on right here for those who haven't seen it.
the essay is diversity for white people and the title provocative but the point that i was trying to make is that it's become possible for us to separate diversity from equity to decouple diversity and equity and so in some ways what we have to do is repair, right, repair and repair diversity with equity and a perfect example of that is to think about the top 10 percent admission programs that ut uses in order to try to create diversity. these are based on the facts of segregation at the high school level. we only achieve diversity if your schools are economically and racially segregated. you achieve diversity at the university of texas if the high schools remain segregated racially and economically. and that's not equity. that's not pushing for equity.
and so we are able to, i think, in this particular point in history figure out ways to uphold and maintain the picture of diversity while letting the larger questions of equity slide or backslide, and i think the schools across the board, i think that last year you saw 100 campuses, more than 100 campuses across the country, students walked out and issued demands, right? a lot of the data around that is are they requiring safe spaces where they don't have to hear anything that they don't want to hear and all the stuff about like trigger warnings and whether that impacts figure of speech and that kind of thing. you look at the demands, the overwhelming of demands they are asking for, culture sensitivity training, more diverse faculty and more diverse staff of color, these are the demands that they are asking for.
the base that they were trying to force was a picture of diversity versus reality of inequality, reality of inequity that's happening out there. to your second point around language. i work for a program, i run a program called diversity of arts. it's in the name of the place that i work for. [laughter] >> yet, i think that what happens is a lot of times our language will slip away from us and our intentions and particularly around the questions of race and i think that's a continual type of question, you know what i mean, is that in so many ways we will settle, i think, for the easier types of answers and -- and use the language that allows us to be able to settle for that while leading -- leaving behind the
harder questions to be asked. part of the deal is for us who believe in these types of questions that we all ought to be moving together towards the resolution of inequality is that we have to continue to invent new language. we always will have to do that. >> this is a great conversation. >> i'm sorry. >> i have been given the signal that we need to go ahead and wrap up and so i certainly want to thank everybody for being here this afternoon, jeff, i want to thank you for being here and joining us this afternoon and mark certainly as well. as a reminder, jeff will be here and available, book is for sale and certainly available to sign your copy of that. i think the last thing we can say is that these conversations in our community need to continue so i encouraging us as individuals to get outside of our comfort zone and go and participate and have the conversations within your own
[inaudible conversations] >> and you're watching book tv on c-span2, this is live coverage of the 21st annual festival in downtown ayes in. we have one more author today. in about ten minutes former obama official derek chollet will weigh in. now, while we wait for the texas book festival to resume, we want to show you from a little bit of an interview we did from a texas university professor in the visit to austin.
[inaudible conversations] >> studying physics. >> well, there are many reasons for doing it. it has enormous practical value, of course, not the kind of physics i do. that may at some future date bring some technological advances, but that's not why i do it and i can't imagine now what they might be. there's also in addition to that kind of pract calling reason, there's a grand historical program of trying to uncover the laws of nature. they are at the root of all chains of explanation so if you ask why is grass green, you can
trace the answer back through a chain of explanation to some fundamental mathematical principle. we don't have them yet. we have gone pretty far toward them. we have a very satisfying fare of all particles that make ordinary matter and all the forces that act on those particles called the standard model and it's amazingly comprehensive. it covers almost everything we know aside from gravitation but it's not the final answer and so we try to take the next step. >> is it important to know the final answer? >> oh, it is to me. to some of us it has importance but you can ask is it important to write symphonies or to preserve our environment, i think these things are important in themselves.
the importance of learning the laws of nature is a little bit by the fact that they are probably going to be expressed in mathematical terms that most people won't have the language to understand, but that changes with time also when gravitate and motion was first developed, people in the world who were able to understand it. now it's common place, something that everyone who goes into engineering or science learns quite early in their education. so these things do spread out in society in general and i think also apart from knowing the details, there's a great value to knowing what kind of world this is, that it's a world
governed by impersonal laws in which human beings play little and play no essential role. i think that gives us a better understanding of our place in the scheme of things and it helps to free us of some of the superstitions that have deviled the human race. >> such as? >> i don't want to insult anyone but the historian roper said it was the scientific revolution of the 17th century that led to a sharp decline in burning witches in the 18th century. i think that today large parts of the world are obsessed with religious fanaticism and i think the example of scientific knowledge which is so difful