tv A Colony in a Nation CSPAN September 17, 2017 12:01pm-1:04pm EDT
>> good afternoon, everybody. how is everybody doing? all right. love this festival. we're talking about how much it's grown over the years. pretty phenomenal. pretty wonderful. we are going to in a few minutes, give folks sometime to spill into the room. just to let everybody know, we are being live streamed on c-span2, so tweets and tell your friends would also turn your ringers off on your phones, please. i'm heather mcghee, president of demos, and i am really excited -- thank you. [applause] >> i am so excited to turn the tables today on my dear friend chris hayes who's often when interviewing me, and i get to do
the same today. and for a little bit longer than we get to have on the air on his show. >> this is five minutes, right? >> out go to commercial ties and i will talk over you most of the time. [laughing] >> just getting. i would not do that to you. i'm really so thrilled to be in this conversation with you, chris, and to bring your stellar stellar book, yazidis audits your to the brooklyn book festival, book this will also to the use of the live stream at home. i think anybody knows who chris hayes is everybody knows that he is the editor at large of the nation magazine. he is on our television screens and on our social media feeds, seems nearly constantly as he
broke on to the scene, when was it? winded -- >> when did i break? 2011. >> which was really when thoughtful policy discourse joined cable news and usually been able to bring that to his nightly new show at 8 p.m., all in. chris also a "new york times" best-selling book twilight of the elites, america after a meritocracy. and then this spring release this book, "a colony in a nation." so let's get started. chris, why did you write this book? who did you want to read it and what did you want them to feel when they finished the last page of the book? >> i think i wrote the book because i had been covering, i've been covering criminal justice a lot and then i've been
coming policing a lot and i've been in ferguson and in baltimore. i've been in north charleston, which where a police officer shot a man in the back as he was running away. and had covered policing and crime in chicago quite a bit. had covered the aftermath of eric garner is death in new york, in staten island quite a bit. and in the midst of that also is reflecting a lot from upbringing in new york city. i grew up in the bronx in, you know, i was born in 1979 so when i was or 13 i started going to middle and high school in manhattan. in 1983 there somewhere in the neighborhood of i think 2200 murders in new york city. there were about 350 last year to give you a benchmark. the jurors are coming in. [laughing]
>> do we get -- [laughing] >> we can just go on for a minute. >> and i think actually my editor send an email when he is watching our coverage of baltimore to my book agency christian right about this. my first thought was, maybe i'm not the best person to write about race, sort of race and crime and politics because i'm a white guy and then the more i i thought about the more i thought that should definitely not be a reason you don't write a book about race. >> white people invented race. >> exactly. that's right. white people invented race, that's a good point. white people are more interested in racing anyone. they invented race, they deploy it. it is front and center in the
way that white politics is structured. it's not talked about in a way because that's the power of hegemony that it's invisible. and so i thought i could write, i could contribute something, a perspective on this particular moment in sort of racial inequality and racial separation that attempted to combat it from a particular perfected by it which was both reporting perspective and first person expressed of the seed at this time antifuse those to get into thinking about, to me the project of the book is less about what is the nature of sort of racial segregation and more why did we white people build this. as a project the books project is getting to the bottom of the question. what did we make and why did we make it? because that's the thing after
answer before you begin the project. >> one of the i think most powerful new ideas in the book is the way that you remind us of what the american revolution was really about, and link it to what you call him, from your of being there, a revolutionary moment in ferguson, missouri, can you tell us more about that? >> i think we have a notion of the american revolution that is usually summed up with no taxation without preposition, it was but democratic representation at about taxation. but really that's misleading because when we think of taxation we think about in the modern context where you have automatic payroll deductions and then you file your phones at april 15 and that's not the way taxation works in 1770. all taxes were terrorists, customs duties -- tariffs if the
way to enforce was to policing action. the precipitating, we to understand revolution is basically for a very long time america the colonies functioned as this kind of graymarket hive of the smugglers and criminals. the reason is britain has these incredibly stringent custom duties and mercantilist laws is basically said you get removing many goods along that are not from within the british empire and paying these duties, right? that sole point of having an empire at that point. the colonies were producing more rom than any place in the and they need valassis to get the additional molasses, coming from the french and dutch colonies. there's just this lawlessness everywhere. think about the weight drug dealing functions either in a college campus or in a neighborhood that's disinvest it. it's essentially a graymarket
commercial enterprise that provide something for which there is demand that the law as he sent is outside the purview of what's legal transactions. the crown gets into debt at the french indian war and they decide they're going to squeeze the colonies by ramping up enforcement of this smuggling. the way the ramp up enforcement is policing. what you think about the revolution is the precipitating incident of the revolution is essentially a kind of war on crime are what i call the first stop and frisk eric give all of a sudden every british ship is searching every columnist shippen harbor, knocking, searching warehouses. there is this unbelievable increase in the kind of, the presence of police but also the insult to ones own dignity that
comes with having your space invaded. it's the reason web the fifth amendment, and, in fact, thomas jefferson says in a declaration of independence a phrase i had never encountered a but back to write this book that in the bill, what it thinks he says is he sent his swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. that's just the cops. [laughing] the cops are, won't leave us alone that jefferson about the crown. this is also the emotional tip of the spear for the colonists in the sense people don't like when their dignity is insulted, whether people walking around brooklyn today, or in ferguson or colonists back in newport, and they get mad. in fact, receiving the big battles of the revolution there's a tremendous amount of mob violence. another part of the proliferation i've not note by customs officers being beaten,
tarred and feathered, being wheelbarrows into town, locked inside warehouses, huge confiscations of wine which is again from -- was not allowed in the colonies, even though george washington loved it, being broken into and seized back. and so not only that, mary to that is a fact many of the most powerful players in the colonies of the time our smugglers. john hancock is a smuggler. he is essentially a big drug kingpin. he is getting rich off this graymarket enterprise, and he's not super psyched about the cops being up in this business all the time. that a kind of like foundational part of with relish is about that when you go to ferguson and what you find is a policing regime in ferguson that exists entirely to extract tax revenue from its citizens.
it's not there for public safety the same weight these customs duties are not the for public duty in the time of the revolution. if there a fundamentally a kind of incursion to these citizens lives to extract value from them, to make good on the fiscal balance sheet of the misspelled of ferguson. >> and just for those who may be did read the department of justice report about ferguson and the revenue situation, say a little bit more about how much it was linked. >> you have these e-mails going back and forth in which everyone, the city manager, ahead of police are all very open about the fact the point of enforcement is revenue. they will talk about opening a new revenue pipeline. so the city manager will talk to the police chief to say like we need to fill this budget, can you park cops in this one street and start giving more tickets? so that we can make up the cisco amount that is a shortfall. >> so what is the colony in your
foreign relations in the book and what is the nation then? >> to me, i should say there's a long literature about collimator, postcolonial theory, the nature in which particularly african-americans of the u.s. had been essentially a subject to colonial like conditions. there is a long debate, wb the boys talks about nation within mission, malcolm x is a right of speech is in the 1960s, black panthers in which they are expressly making this kind of type of third of world claim about the sort of similarity between the experience of black america and experience of occupy and colonized people. to be part of the reason i'm using the term is i'm trying to get people who are on the other side of that formulation in the nation to think about the insult that is done to our basic democratic values. when you have constructive legal
regimes like the one we had in the college. what i mean is the colony is a a place where all of these things that we ostensibly cherish about america, that we fought a revolution over, due process, the right against unwarranted search and seizure are just routinely violate. they don't even exist. i remember oftentimes in ferguson and a baltimore at a tavern in chicago and its happen in new york where when you're at the point of interaction with the police officer, the constitution seems very remote. it's there somewhere, but if a cop has again in your fate or a cop is ordering you to do something or for cops to set up on you and they have handcuffed you, those procedural protections which may be somewhere down the road you will maybe sue, possibly, if something is going to happen, but the fact of the matter is
the weight american criminal justice works in the way our legal system works in a functional, practical descriptive sense, essentially bears no resemblance to all of those things that we ostensibly fought a revolution over. the way criminal justice works, it's like the i love lucy episode where the chocolates and the conveyor belt, like that's what a court is in america. it's not perry mason. it's not like we have to prep -- no trials in america. like there were no trials in america. yes, there are trials in america but they are a rounding error. that's what what happens in american courtrooms. what happens is basically a system that looks like a factory that has a conveyor belt that is full of overwhelmingly people of color moving through a set of essentially bureaucratic determinations that source people into categories and this category stick with them.
and that is just so insulting to what we say that we are as a people. i do that like a democratic quality. part of the idea, the metaphors to get people to be insulted by it even if they're not on the wrong side of that system. so you talk about chris, in the book, you pretty personal bachelor life, moments away from where we are right now. talk a little bit about that, about your experience of him which most of us in this room sure, i've seen new york change, seeing the sort of two americas or as a calling in the nation really begin to play a role here in newark city over the past decade. >> one place to start with, and i don't, i'm not someone who is disposed to universalist claims but i think one universalistic claim is people like to be
secure, right? no one wants to be under threat of violence, anywhere. rich neighborhoods, poor neighborhoods, in the u.s., in syria. we want to be secure. we want to be able to go about our lives and we don't want to be in fear for our personal safety, from strangers or friends. and so at of level i think is important return the fact that christ like that happens in the united states started roughly 1966 to 1993 isn't some fabrication, isn't some kind of social construction of law and order politics of white supremacy. it's actual natural things happen. that is real effects. it has a fax and i would really recommend the fantastic book locking up our own which just got nominated for the national book award, deservedly, you have
great take on how that plays out in the context. but in new york you get the sense of this dystopian unraveling, and there's a real palpable sense of the ticket to get it all turns around. again 350 murders versus 2200. extraordinary difference. extraordinary difference. what is produced by the drop in crime is this sort of very comfortable, gentrified world. it's not very affordable. it's deeply an equal as the borough of brooklyn is worth what a 5% of the people live in poverty, but it is also a place were in the sort of warns of order, why is his sister -- life is super comfortable. you see this constant that we
were return to the bad old days in the politics of this. the "new york post" is ready for the great bill de blasio crime spike before there's any data to back it up if they would just like praying on the front page every day. and the fact of the matter is, if crime spike the way it hasn't baltimore, chicago, cleveland or milwaukee or st. louis which are five cities that have seen homicides go by about 20-25% over the last few years, bill de blasio would be in trouble, like serious trouble. he would not be cruising to reelection. part of what my first-person writing about is the fact that i think when you get down to the heart of the there's this question about what i more equal city or society will look like for people who are right now enjoying the fruits of the current order. there are two ways to think about what that could be. one is a nonzero sum of which as you can imagine a city that is
more equal than less oppressive to huge swaths of its population that essentially means we collectively flourish together. which is my vision and my hope for what it would look like. the current criminal justice system essentially light on fire untold amounts of human potential everyday, constantly, brilliant, amazing people whose potential is being burned in this kind of bonfire of treatment toward our fears. but the other way to think about it and something i think if you think about is that actually there is all a bit of a fixed by and equality would mean less for me. >> also? >> i don't know, like maybe, i don't, it's like first-person, subject is, like i don't want a lot of homeless people on the streets. is that my principal to view, my political view? no. is that my initial instinct as
brought about by the acculturation to which we've all been subjected? yes. do i want like people, there's all these things like these of life crimes, remember the squeegee men, like election was about them. which is crazy but it's that crazy when you think about them as a symbol for something so much deeper pics of there's this question of like, it's not the heart of a lot of debate and discourse around this administration, they may oral administration -- may oral pics tapping back, not missing future selling m&ms on the site which by the way is a thing we do in new york city and is outrageous, right? that if you let up like that like anything is going to explode and be unruly. there's this sense of order i write about in the book have the free or does much of a order than about law. there's this sense this word,
you start to step back and disorder. >> chris, there's something, there were two things i felt when his reading the book were kind of outside the four corners of the book that i wish had been in it more. one was, is the economy, right? when you say, for example, i do what a lot of homeless people on my street, the way to stop that from happening is not arresting people for being on the street, which is a way it currently is today, but rather deal with the affordable housing crisis, which just created hundreds of thousands of new homeless families including people who are working in new york city. and the backdrop of the crime wave, the change in the demographics and incomes in york city is the rise in inequality over all.
so i wonder if there is something that you can say to us now about what the overall picture of economic opportunity and mobility and they guarantee or not of a living wage job has to do with the difference between the colony and the nation? >> that's a great question. one, on the homelessness question, it's so true, the way that homelessness in most major city is a balm for the people that seem as opposed to the people that are homeless, right? like those are two different problems but newspapers cover them in like homeless, as opposed to like we don't have homes. we have no way to live. the solution is on that come is on the affordable housing side. and, in fact, there's a lot of research that shows with proper
investment and capacity on the supply side you can really cut into homelessness quite dramatically. crazily enough, the biggest thing that matters, and this will blow your mind is getting people homes. it's true. it's like a big development when this was discovered in the literature. it's a true thing actually. so the inequality in the city has produced this sort of vanishing, i mean the place where this is most appear to be in san francisco which is this sort of like almost dystopic version of us 1 15 years from nw where it's like it just really feels like a place where there are only rich people, that is all city and its entire, the constant juxtaposition between the two. there is a real broader question about the dynamics of american economy that produce these
insane levels of inequality, and the way they, home to roost geographically concentrated places around cities like new york city that had huge amounts of jobs in finance and in services. and a shrinking base of essentially affordable housing and middle-class employment. so, but to the extent the book doesn't talk about that, one of the things that's remarkable what happens in new york crime lies is that -- wise. one of the statistical oddities of the crime declines in 93 tonight is that it happened during periods of very different economic activity. so crime does not go up during the post-2008 housing crash. it doesn't go drink the 2001 recession. there's this weirdness of this secular trajectory that seems to detach from the fluctuation. in terms of this idea of anyone
thriving together, like what the city is now is untenable. and particularly if it continues in this direction. >> there's a character in your book, chris, that a think about a lot. i think a lot every time a white officer or office of color is acquitted in the killing of a black man, as happen just this weekend with ant thing of them are smith and jason stokley, which is the character of white fear picky talk a lot about that as a sort of primal force in our politics and how white fears transform into policies and sort never abates a matter what the conditions are in the ground. and, of course,, we've now got about half an hour into this conversation without mentioning donald trump which i think we should be really proud of.
[applause] >> when was the last time you when a half hour in your show without mentioning donald trump? [laughing] anyway, moving on -- [inaudible] >> you know, this election was come his running mate was white fear. >> white fear was at the top of the ticket. >> say a little bit about white fear, how was translated into policy and maybe even like what we can do about it. >> well, one of the great questions, mrs. of donald trump that was very probable to me when you saw him during the campaign was how did this person who is born in queens, a lifelong new yorker, billionaire real estate error connect in the
visceral fashion to these crowds in scottsdale, youngstown or in kenosha, and i think white fear is the answer. and, in fact, i think you can't understand donald trump without understanding the white racial politics of the 1980s and '90s which was defined by this idea of the city had been great, was no longer great pixel is animated by essence of palpable decline but the declined it, advance of a nonwhite other. this was made very acute like the central park jogger case in which the story that was told which proved to be false, even though six young men did about seven years in prison for it, was that this sort of precinct of greatness and stability which is like the placid beautiful central park where this white lady was running had been
invaded by these black teenagers literally from uptown would come down across the border to rate and beat this woman for sport. and that story was an allegory for the entirety of how the cities decline i think is often viewed. donald trump took those politics and export them across the country and it turned out there was an unbelievable audience for it. so the wall, right, the wall is just the borderlands made painfully literal. i mean, i would watch him during the campaign the of in kenosha and you would be like we're going to build the wall. and i'm like, you guys are in kenosha. [laughing] it's far away. why do you care?
why do you care? when was going to happen, it will come across the rio grande and like take nine different buses and come up to kenosha? [laughing] and then get a job? but it sold kenosha and it sold in youngstown and the result was because it was just this absolutely literal manifestation of precisely the suffix of the whole campaign, which is that the countries lack of current lack of greatness is directly responsible by the unruly incursions of this nonwhite other, and that have to be sort of re-ordered and boundaries and walls have to be erected a meta-get tough again with these people so we can reassert people are we as a country great, hence, will make america great again. >> without devolving too much into media criticism i do feel like we have to name another major broadcaster of white fear and creator of white fear which is not just donald trump but the
right-wing media in general, right? if you wake up and turn on fox news, as so many people in this country do, you have a sort of -- [laughing] okay. the lights and power just went out momentarily. we're going to soldier on. we shall not be intimidated. [laughing] [applause] fox news -- [laughing] okay. so you wake up, after breakfast yet this sort of breakfast of muslim terrorists, right? with the sharia law camps in the desert and the united states. you have lunch of the undocumented criminal who killed
a young white woman every day in a century city and then over dinner you got the inner-city times who are beating up white people. and this is despite near record lows in crime, and despite, obviously, the majority of crime still being conducted by white people in this country. and so some of you may know that i have this experience about a year ago where a man called in c-span while i was on and admitted that he was prejudiced and went, he talked about that gangs and the drugs and the crime that he sees on the news. gary from north carolina, is some of that is actually gotten to know since that phone call. he asked me how to be less prejudice. he asked better change to become a better american come in his
words, and they gave him some thoughts off the top of my head. one of them was turn off the news which you know over represents crime. i apologize to the post of the time when i said that, but we know over represents black crime and underrepresented white critic as i've gotten to know gary over the past year who has actually transferred his life and taken my sort of top of that advice to heart and is now a voracious reader of black history and his favorite author is cornell west. it's really quite something. [laughing] he has made it really clear to me how much of his view of the world comes from television. and the most powerful thing he did over this past year was turn off the tv and pick up a book. was start talking to people in line at the va with them for people of color, just talk about the weather. have some kind of social interaction to replace what is a pretty monolithic diet of
stereotypes that are degrading and criminalizing and vilifying about people of color. >> i agree. [laughing] i mean, i can't say it any better. well, i mean, i would really tell people to turn off the television. [laughing] for self interested reasons. i think if you don't consume a lot of particularly let's call conservative cable news speeders and conservative internet news, right? >> it's hard to realize just how relentless racist it is. it's really crazy. fox news our member fox news leading, leading programmer r&r with the knockout game. remember that? this sort of, you know, summer between some genuine small social phenomenon and an urban
legend which is kids beating up people that they magnified into this like it like north korean nuclear weapons in transit intention to cut cut and does all this grainy footage and it's like packs, i use were violently because because that's out there communicating it, a black teenagers beating up white people and just over and over and over. if you saw this, if you are just like watching this all the time, you're going to get his vision of this race war around the corner. so yeah, i think, and a thinker something really, i think it's gotten worse recently because i think trump discovered, basically the discovery of saying -- kind of the whole trump appeal is to say it's allowed and to fly in the face of these taboos. you increasingly have explicit,
explicit calls to white racial solidarity as an ordering principle for conservative politics. that's always been there, right? >> i like to remind people, which is like a shocker at the dinner party, that there has not been a white majority that is voted in a presidential election for democrat since linton johnson sign the civil rights act. so if you take that fact pages sort of sat with that last summer, the idea that we could, trump couldn't possibly win, when you knew his going to win the white vote even if he had not been the most masterful wielder of white identity politics that we've seen in our lifetimes, it just, it is the organizing principle of our politics for now. and i say for now because i do
want to have a little bit of hope in this conversation, and i do want -- i do want to recognize that there is alongside this moment of mass hysteria, there's also a moment right now mascots in this raising around why does victor is i think emerging a new identity, a way to be white that is an antiracist white identity, that is choosing sides and is finding it easy to choose sides against neo-nazis and the kkk come what some people can't, but is also seen how it's not just about the statute to white supremacy but also about the statutes. people are really beginning to make the connections also because of the movement for black lives, because of the visibility of the over policing and the police violence which does feel like if you actually put your finger on the nerve in this book the most horrific
violent expression of the lack of dignity, humanity and citizenship for people of color in this country. there is a sea change coming i really do believe that. i think you can't look at how much, your book and i started this conversation by asking you why did you write this book. you talk, i did know if i should write this book as a white person. absolutely you should bu write s book as a white person, and for white people to read. because our -- everything erases. [laughing] >> buy two copies. >> thank you. >> our elected officials in this country are so 90% white. >> it is the hardest thing. it's the hardest thing because it's the foundational, i argued about its foundational. white fear is the foundation of the country.
the first diary entry of the captain of the ship of the first settlement in jamestown is the first diary entry, like open, we were set upon by the savages. that's sentence number one. that's all there. so it's the deepest, i think your point come you to set something that stuck with me i haven't heard in that way, like forming an antiracist white identity. one of the things i think that is promising to me and also i think frustrates me about the question of identity politics isn't like identities are not fixed. in the same ways come in the same way racists invented race, we trafficked through various identities during our day, in our political life in our public sphere all the time and we can destroy or blow up or redefine
or reconceptualize what we are given and fight for new ones are fight for one's that are more solid terroristic or fight for one's that feel like they are more expensive and less trapping tickets not unilateral. society is doing a lot of work ito bike to d.c. catches unilaterally overturn them. but a lot of the work of politics is forging new ones and lot of the work of politics is what identities are going to matter to people. we think of identities identity politics in this way where you just have one. but we all have a million. part of the push and pull of politics a part of the promise of politics is some are more salient than others at different times. i think that's really promising. the other thing i will say at a think this is an important point, adjacent which are saying
is, there's a lot of what we do with crime that has to do about race but not all of it. and there's something really interesting happening right now, tragic and upsetting about opioids in america where we have a huge epidemic, 60,000 people died in 2016 which is more people that died in car crash in which is insane and the overwhelming majority of white people. there's huge swaths of the country but in the grips of this epidemic that are 90, 95% white. and there was this thinking i think that they were going to be less punitive than the crack era because of all of the racial dynamics that make the crack era what it was. it is true the language and rhetoric has been nowhere near as despicable and humanizing as was around crack, which ever have an opportunity to go back and offer guides, it's shocking how horrifying and races and dehumanizing it is.
at the same time it is really punitive. like they're filling up the jails in white america with alexander passing tough loss and crack at getting tough on crime. these are in places where it's just white people. it's white cops, why politicians, white citizens, white people dealing with addiction and the fallout from it. so there's this punitive miss even over and above the racial politics that is another part of the american heritage that is deep. it's like a deep thinker fight, and talking to people in these areas that are being waylaid by heroin and fentanyl and opioids, you can see that kind of like desire for toughness. and they're still a lot of work to do.
>> i'm working on a book right now as you know, chris, and the book is about the costs of racism to white people. the idea that, of course, racial hierarchy is something that has benefits and incurs privileges for white people and is discriminatory and oppressive towards people of color, but that we're not actually aliens to one another living entirely separate worlds. that ultimately our fates are quite interconnected and there are ways in which systems have been set up and practices that are set up to make life more difficult for people of color now in our society are making life more difficult for particularly white people who are not wealthy. this example of a system of mass incarceration, criminalization of drugs is one of the chapters in the book. >> people should know also, like cops shoot a shocking number of
white people every year. shoot and kill. it's incredibly disproportionate in terms of people they kill being black and people of color but in raw numbers compared like france and oecd countries, it's insane how many people of all races get shot and killed by cops in this country. that's another example. the system that is constructed based on these racial fears produces something that has all sorts of spillover effects all over the place. >> we need to recognize that our society is a deeply hierarchical one, right? there's a scaffolding of a hierarchy of human value that is greater along lines of race and gender and class and ability and immigration status. but without a sort of common baseline sense of human rights really, like a floor under which you should not be able to fall just by being a human, that's where we get the sense of
anybody at any point could fall far, far down into the level of homelessness, of second torture that we see in our criminal justice system, and i think fundamentally that question of is there a hierarchy of human value in this country for our view all great eagle and would that look like in policy, in substance, something we were going at demos all the time is was a fundamental question. so we are going to take a question or two. some going to put my glasses back on. and there is -- there we go. so the c-span staff have mics so please wait until -- there's one writer in the corner. please wait until you get the
mic to ask your question. [inaudible] thank you for your contribution and fight against white racism. i have lived in the south bronx so i knew your father -- >> he's right over there. >> you're kidding? [laughing] [applause] [inaudible] >> i'm so glad we could renew you two together. [laughing] [inaudible] a better mic. >> thank you. my goodness. of stopping white land owners from abandoning and burning down the buildings. race was the issue. across the north rocks was run by whites are a no blacks could move over that imaginary line.
your father started organizing against white racism in the north broad street this stop white landlords and everybody was accusing blacks, the problem in america in the bronx. but he wasn't and he was organizing, buildings antennas and not being exclusionary towards black people moving north of fordham road so he fought a great battle. i appreciate you mentioning. he only gave your paragraph. you want to write a book, right? [laughing] [applause] >> both my parents are here, both deserving of their own books. they raised me and my brother in the bronx, and i think to your point, we were, my brother and i talk a lot about how lucky we were to be raised in the vibrant we were, which is really unique
in the ways in which we are able to move through different classes and ethnic community and race, and races. we went to public school in the bronx. it was this sort of school that drew from all over the borough, and one of the things that a thing, i worry about for my architecture, particularly in this new york of this very vulcanized new york is to have his point about creating a society that is not as hierarchical, that hierarchical society are very several ones where there's a sort of autocatalytic affected people are separate from each other and don't get to talk to chuck and experts life together. a don't get to struggle together, which is kind of tea. we have a lot of discourse about antiracism. there's a lot about talking and feeling, which is important but to me with the secondary to working together, to struggle together, fighting a collective bad guy together, landlord.
the more opportunities that are for that, the more opportunities that are too kind of put together our society. but the society we have right now doesn't afford a lot of opportunities to do that. >> we have time for one more question, and i made eye contact with this woman over here so i feel like i need to -- but i should note on the mic is, that chris will be downstairs taking your questions and signing your books that you have purchased from -- he doesn't like being interviewed. this is really interesting. he will be signing books that at table h right outside when you walk out of this building. okay, last question. >> actually this ties in to provoke of what you just speaking about, so how do you see the nation time into and maybe being enacted by the current education system in u.s., specifically public
schools, charter schools? >> great question about education. there's a great cover story by nicole hannah jones about jefferson county, alabama called the resegregation of jefferson can. she is working on a book that i literally cannot wait to read them which is about the resegregation of schools. one of the things i have really, to think is about a huge missing part from a policy perspective is that we need to reinvest and prioritize desegregation as a policy goal. that term has a kind of antiquity to it. like no one in twentysomethings like i'm running on desegregation here in brooklyn or in worchester, like you are doing what? but actually that's -- the project of desegregation reached
a certain date and then was fought back through a variety of political factors in court decision. the supreme court makes it constitutionally problematic for parents to try to get together and create integrated schools. there has to be i will believe strongly a huge part of racial justice this time is actually finding a push both in the course and politically and locally towards the project of desegregation as a project, particularly in schools and in housing, to places where we have allowed them both to re-segregate quite a bit. and not for no reason. the reason is, opponents fought actions that one. and eventually politicians touch the stove enough and if not screw it, bill de blasio,, the degree to which there's any actual genuine push to disagree,
particularly brooklyn school sanitizing craze because brooklyn of all the ingredients to create an incredible laboratory or desegregation thriving multiracial schools. but you know what? white parents are going to lose their ship. sorry, c-span. [laughing] like they are. this is the use of desegregation battles. but yes, yes, i think that actuy is like a real cornerstone. i've come to understand that at a should stay in her work on this, she just happened of a cover story this week, that really helped me see that because she's such an incredible just on the ground reporting but if you zoom it out to more your point about how segregation, housing and schooling which were seen as the frontiers of segregation and the things that had to be desegregation and we had both court cases and legislation to do each, have under the sort of cover of an ostensible desegregate a regime,
re-segregate quite a bit. >> wrap. that's a little voice in the year when chris is on tv, the producer saying it's time to go. i'm sorry w with come to that te here, but remember by his book. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> you have been listening to msnbc host and author chris hayes talking about race in america.
more live from the brooklyn book festival in just a few minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> so could you tell us of the importance of the underground railroad that detroit played? >> i think earlier we have a sculptor, let me see if i can go back to it, that add to white who is a fantastic sculptor, and he did the one, the sculptor done at the waterfront where you have these, a group of black people who are looking across the detroit river to canada, i
think is the next one, this year particular. many people have come to detroit and sometimes against the scratch their heads, what is that all about? this symbolizes the underground railroad. when you have people like william lambert, george d baptista, william webb, madison lightfoot, you can go on and on in terms of these pioneering abolitionists. they were joined at some extent by the white abolitionists, many of them being quakers, is william lambert had been schooled, educate and lived among the quakers when you left trenton, new jersey, -- he is a phenomenal individual because like what of the name conductors of the underground railroad.
i know in my class at the newark city when i talk about the underground railroad, the first ticket semite is the a train, the d train, no. colson has done his thing in terms of the metaphorical treatment of the underground railroad, but this was a process, the byway in which these here fugitive slaves could get away from bondage come to get away from the so-called peculiar institution and end up in detroit. so this year, sculpture symbolizes the people and after 1850 when you had the fusion is slave law, when the act was passed that meant -- fugitive slave law. we got the blackburn case, the blackbird affair, of these runaway fugitives who arrived from louisville, kentucky, and thought they had found a safe refuge away from these bounty hunters. with the passing of the 1850 slave act that meant you had to
go a little bit further pics of these people are looking across the detroit river to windsor. sometimes even windsor wasn't far enough. you had to keep going. on up the 401 up to ontario, on to toronto. and, of course, chatham laid on become a very profound what you call community of abolitionists that was up there. we can talk about anderson was one of the black new road with john brad pitt when you start talking about the later time after the whole abolitionist beginning with william lambert, here's frederick douglass comes to detroit and he meets with john brown. there's a marker downtown, second baptist church, very instant middle that and, of course, saint matthews is going to be instrumental later on. we cannot ignore the church, this whole, together in terms of resistance, you know, the whole
idea of self-determination. it was coming from a number of the church leaders who are affiliated with the abolitionist movement but no one more pronounced and profound than what you lambert. his story, that would make just a faceting film to see the kind of stuff he went through, then mistry said somebody put together the they had a coding, a secret code, secret language. they are trained all these individuals on the underground railroad in case you encounter some of those bounty hunters. so instructive, late on his involvement with saint matthews church and his involvement in the educational process, working with people like fannie richards who is a pioneering black woman in terms of the first african-american to teach in the so-called public school system here. so we have this conjunction and is going to be a collaborative situation from one generation to another. each and kurds on by the other, each taking this kind of
influence and its enthusiasm for the breakthroughs occurring in the previous generation we will see that happening time and time again in this whole odyssey of black detroit. .. journalists reports on the history of concentration camps around the world. also being published this week historian brian offers a