tv Civil Rights in 1968 CSPAN January 7, 2018 4:01am-4:28am EST
politicians to stir up people. so i'm really wondering what is actual to welcome professor of american university here in washington, d.c. founding director of the anti-racist research and au.icy center at and your first here at american university. here. you for being >> pleasure. >> let's go back to 1968. why was that such a defining
the civil rights movement? well, i think keen fascination i think led us to two different things. first, you had people who really turned the page on civil rights began embracing sort of black power, notion of black notions of forcing america to end racism. nd then, of course, you had others who double downed on civil rights and doubled down on martin the ideas that luther king and others were utting forth, who tried to continue the poor people's campaign. you really had this ideological ultimately became, flowered into what became known as the black power movement. there was a year the civil rights movement ended, it was probably 1968. > you don't have to travel far from where we're at to still see some of the devastation caused raoeu kwrots and the demonstrations. dr. king talked about
yet his ce, assassination led to violence in detroit, washington, d.c., chicago. our home city of new york and elsewhere around the country. why? actually the fourth straight year, really fifth straight year of urban rebellions that were happening the country, in which people were upset. people were angry. were angry at the violence in their neighborhood. they ere angry at what considered to be exploitive businesses in their community. angry that they felt their government, their local and federal governments were not speaking to their concerns. they were angry, of course, ab police brutality, which was of ally typically the cause many of these urban rebellions. following they were king who had, as you stated, preached nonviolence throughout career suffered fatal violence. other movements in 1968? dr. king was first and foremost.
other.ere were >> i think by '68, carmichael, sort of the personification for the lack of a better term of black power course, uttered black power in mississippi in 1968. leaders like h. brown who was also a major black power leader. course, you had some of king's aides, like jesse jackson. people like e, had roy wilson, naacp. course, a whole group of people who were trying of make the case that racism was certainly a problem. different making strategies as to how it ended. >> it's ironic. 1965, president johnson outlined his state of the union address great society took place january 4th. and yet now, as you look back at tried to accomplish, lot of the focus is on the civil
city.s movement and inner how did he do? > well, i think johnson simultaneously launched the society and was, of course, in the ly involved launching of the vietnam war. two very costly initiatives. historians have focused on how it became untenable for americans to support both. johnson, partly of the protests, decided that certain people were not people were tain not worthy. hat people were not impoverished. that it was their own doing and term erefore, by '68, the law and order became popular in the american political scene the vietnam war accelerated. >> our phone lines are open. area code. 748-8900 for those in the
eastern or central time zones. 748-8901.or pacific, live here on c-span 3 american history tv. studied this generation of americans, your predecessors, what questions do you have? i like to sort of ask, so what thinking? my work, my most recent work, of history of n the racist ideas, anti-racist ideas. i'm fundamentally concerned they thinking? how were they trying to understand their nation, their world? nation in a world of inequities everywhere. explain they looking to this. you had some americans who were inequities, these protests, these rebellions on the people. with was something wrong people. these people were lazy, these dangerous. then you had americans who found who felt the problem was policy,
was structure. the problem was american. sort of see and i continuously ask questions about between the split problem as policy. still see that split in america today. >> why was there, why is there america?n >> i think when we think about it, from the beginning of this racial we've had equality. of course, the beginning of that manifested in ty its way. when we think about it in its have to lest form, we ask the question, why does this racial inequality fit? only two answers. either racial inequality exists wrong there's something and inferior about particular groups of people and that's why to be in re likely prison. that's why they're more likely to be unemployed. likely hy they're more to be poor. they're lazy, more
criminal-like. r there's something wrong with american policy. there's something about -- something persisting like racial discrimination. that's why we have racial inequity. americans refuse to believe their nations have racial iscrimination, that it is pervasive. so the only other explanation racist inequality is ideas. >> how significant was the election and re-election of barack obama to this issue? >> well, i think it was significant in that for some signified for them, that america was certainly no racist. how could a nation that lected a lack person to its highest office be racist? so it's been, for them, caused hem to believe this nation was post racial is a whole idea of this nation being post racial many quite prominent for americans. so what that then means is racism didn't exist. discrimination didn't exist. and when a nation still had
you say equity, when racial discrimination doesn't simultaneously saying why those inequities persist is because of people. ecause there's something wrong with people. >> your work has two bi-lines. kendi and before that rodgers. explain. grew up in queens. at the time there was a on inent children's show called mr. rogers. always be kid for, will you be my neighbor and let me get your sweater. really had an affinity skwrers.t name ro in the african-american community there's somewhat of a tradition for changing your name. particularly because frican-americans, their names were typically bestowed upon them by slave owners. so i decided that it was best to
sort of change my name. so i changed my name together we wed.wife when >> tell us about your work at american university. university, i an recently founded new anti-racist center. nd this center is based on a fundamental idea that there really is nothing wrong with groups of people in this country. there's nothing wrong or inferior about black people or any asian people, about group of people. and that then we still have inequities.l so that means that we have racial inequities because policies.cist and so we, at the center, are teams of e organizing people to uncover discriminatory policies, to figure out policy, ways to out disseminate policies to make people aware of them.
engage in to campaigns of change because those policies. >> as you know this year marking 50th anniversary of what happened in 1968 clearly a many icant year on so different levels politically, the vietnam war and, of course, rights movement. 50 years later, how are we doing, especially in regard to civil rights? >> well, i think we've oferienced simultaneous sort history. we've experienced a dual history. history of enced racial progress and, of course, obama as can look at one of the signifiers of racial segment of certain people of color, of the african-american community. ut the nation has also experienced the progression of racism. the progression of racism that i argue was critical in the election of our current president. >> let me stop you there. you mean by progression in racism? > that means racist policies
continuously get more sophisticated. and so what i mean by becomes more it difficult for people, for you and i, for concerned americans, to identify, to counter ct policies that are discriminating to particular groups of people. discriminating and targeting african-american voters with, quote, surgical a north carolina court stated is a lot more voter icated form of suppression than a grandfather clause or a poll tax. what i sort of mean by the racist progress. >> let's get phone calls. is joining us from jackson heights, new york. we're live here in washington, at the american association annual convention. dan, good morning. ahead, please. >> go ahead. allowed to be present this as i see it.
what's happening to black people could be because -- not because they're black, but they're americans who can be identified by color. therefore, they become attempts to behe counter to racism. is, just to y that cite one example. merican education as compared to european education puts the emphasis on higher education. european education puts especially the tactical of onent in the first years school. so by the time you get to high school, you're doing what be icans are supposed to doing in college. americans realize that blacks are denied opportunities schooling, they start to do things like, well, we will ave open admissions to the
colleges for them so they can get in. question, well, if you gave them a lousy part, howin the first are they going to do in college they have to do? >> let me stop you there. we'll get a response. thank you very much for the call, by the way. relates tothat as it education, i think certainly raised the point about ensuring equality in children, but in particular to black children. and that was the point that many parents in the '60s made. even certainly by the late '60s you had this movement emerge, in which you had black children being bussed to what considered to be better white schools. you had some black students you improvehy don't the school for the majority of black people are sending their
kids to? isn't that a solution? as opposed to bussing white kids other schools?to equalizing ution of the school and not viewing a hite school as fundamentally superior to a black school has certainly never been a major on the american political table. that's one of the ways in which we can equalize the schools. say equalize the schools, i'm talking about equalizing the of the school. that's what it will be focused on. not assuming somebody in a resourced school is intellectually superior, but they have less resources. is your background? >> of course, long time professor. i guess somewhat long time. i actually was trained a journalist when i was at florida a&m. eventually i realized that i'd to write of autonomy and think as a professor, and so ph.d. in to pursue my
african-american studies where i received it in 2010 at temple university. started my career in academics. >> let's go next to anthony oining us from york, pennsylvania. good morning. morning. i'm a long time resident of the u.s., throughout the u.s. quite fortunate to hold high government positions as well as political person. one of the complaints that i leadership is in ecent years, we have joined up with the war on drugs and blacks middle classworking in law and cement and drugs audience. participated in the instruction of millions of black class s, mostly working and poor. there's no accountability for
it. talking about the black families. we have been fully into that. more blacks, in these capacities. there's no reason we should be participating in trying to change that. of black families, in many case have grown up in middle class, these men could successful. now that we have the problem in whites in a bigger scale, doing reconstruction. many of these black people were continuing to do that. even though some have been destroyed. blaming the tantly white people. it has to go from the federal, this cities and towns of country, participating in that. i'd like him to comment on that.
thank you. anthony, thank you. >> i write early in my book in that the only thing wrong with black people is that we think something is wrong with black people. and so i go all over the country black ypically hear people saying, no. the problem is black people. caller's point, here certainly has been judges and politicians who have devastated families. not only black families, but families.e i guess what i'm talking about, over the last 50 years there has been a growing divide from an economic standpoint. e're talking a lot about economic inequality. that economic inequality is not the black ng in community. not just black politicians. also other politicians. you've had judges and oliticians who have devastated families. clearly, if you are the lower structuralety from a
standpoint, and all of these families in the middle are being devastated, you are going to be devastated the most. that doesn't necessarily mean being amilies aren't devastated. that doesn't also mean that black politicians in particular problem. politicians generally were the problem. >> part of that problem is the cycle of poverty. more black men in prison than there are white men in prison. how do you change that trajectory? >> i think first and foremost we understand that a more effective way of fighting crime is not through locking people up. police onputting more the street. but by providing jobs and for people.s we can actually see the relationship between higher evels of unemployment and higher levels of violent crime. black people hat and white people typically consume and sell drugs at similar rates. people who have been locked up in the last few decades have
crimes.ked up for drug but black people are far more likely to be arrested an crimes.ated for drug so we, of course, have to eliminate that discrimination. a large extent do like many states are doing, in which hey're legalizing drugs like marijuana, that a drug that is ess harmful to the body than alcohol. so i think for me, the focus should not be on thinking that in a general sense, people.listic sense is for us to see the ways in which by providing jobs and people, that for that actually will lessen crime. conversation with ibram here in washington, d.c. next caller is from indianapolis. go ahead, paul. on the air. >> yes, dr. kendi, it's an honor talk to you. i have been studying this since
retired about ten years ago. i have come to the conclusion that racism doesn't have much to slavery. slavery was ancient and universal, where as what we racism now actually developed, started developing in called s with so scientific racism, where the whole idea that somehow you gradiant whereh a white english men were on top on the k africans are bottom. somehow that was the natural science. but then -- that was taught in actual accepted science in the early 20th century. woodrow wilson was a perfect example of that. but owned, i just got through a very strange interview fuller a british author on hitler. he said it was stupidity. t's just a useful way for
politicians to stir up people. so i'm really wondering what is actual nature e of racism. from?did it come our current, what we now call racism. you, paul. >> sure. so i think what's important for define racism. racism is really the marriage of and racist policies. and racist policies are ssentially policies that yield racially unequal outcomes. disparity.s racial racial ideas are really any idea hat suggest the racial group superior and inferior to another racial group in any way. actually begin the story of racist ideas and in 15th century portugal. decided to tuguese die verge and divert from other region and s in the
slave trading ly in african people. you had slave traders from the to the o the dutch british who began focusing on this transatlantic slave trade. simultaneously they had justify whyt how to they were exclusively slave trading in african-american. defenses, those rationalizations were, of kourbgs racist ideas. were worthy of slavery. that true the slave trade were civilized again. moment we're going to another live panel looking at the current commission. this is the report that came out. an extensive report on the civil rights and civil disorder of 1968. two of the questions we focused on what happened. the second question on the title book is what can be done? so from 50 years ago to where we today, what has been done, what needs to be done.
>> i think the carter commission laid out one of the most xpansive series of conclusions and recommendations to eliminate in american they viewed the prs racism. as racist policy. therefore they put forth a series of solutions that would racism by providing opportunities, housing, jobs. that is the way we eliminate this problem. fundamentally what races and results in is groups of people having less opportunities than other groups. those with more opportunities thinking they are more successful because they are superior, when they have more opportunities and resources. the kerner commission made the case we need to equalize opportunities, equalize
resources. that is what we should have done in 1968 and we should seek to do today. had aa historian, if you chance to sit down with dr. king, what would you ask? -- thatld ask him whether he still felt his dream had turned into a nightmare by the time he died. king gave a prominent interview with a reporter where he stated my dream from 1963 has turned into a nightmare. of course, the evening before his assassination he gave the mountaintop speech. he said i may not get there with you, but i have seen the mountaintop. i believe we are going to get to the mountaintop.
it was a message of hope, just as the message in 1963 was i have a dream that i think will be actualized. in 1967 he was questioning that. particularly as he was organizing the campaign and receiving resistance from a president that stated he was waging a war on poverty. i would ask what he believed. is racism a nightmare to him, or does he still have the dream? >> are there is still physical , or have we968 moved on in america's cities? >> there are still physical scars. for people who were arrested for trying toriod provide a better community for people who look like them who are still in prison, to businesses that left and never