tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 8, 2016 1:23am-2:01am EDT
profession. so i am not involved in what i'm doing in order to get history about me. there is an extensive record. some people, although i must say, the way the mass of material that is produced in the internet age, i'm not sure whether you can say history will come to a fair judgment anyway. that is not my concern. i tried to do the best i could. that is all i can say. mark: that is all anyone can say. [applause]
mark: we are not only grateful to you for being our honored guest tonight but for serving your country as -- in world war ii. we have many veterans out there. i would ask you stand and be recognized by this audience. [applause] mark: thank you for your service. dr. kissinger, thank you for your time tonight. thank you all.
meet whennxious to you ask for a meeting. >> we saw the extremists exploited, although we have been by the surge,ly by reaching out to the sunnis, forces, andup iraqi to bring about security. violence was down. unfortunately when we left the vacuum was filled by a regional .ower pulling iraq apart we have isis now.
>> this week and president obama was at howard university in washington to give this year's immense that address, the sixth president to do so at the historically black clause -- college. he also encourage students to listen to those who they may disagree with. before the speech they presented the president with an honorary degree. this is 45 minutes. [applause] president obama: thank you. hello, howard. hu. thank you so much, everybody. have a seat. i feel important now. got a degree from howard.
sisley tyson said something nice about me. i love you back. to president frederick, the board of trustees, faculty and staff, fellow recep rants -- recipients of honorary degrees, thank you for the honor of spending this day with you, and congratulations to the class of 2016. [applause] pres. obama: four years ago i understand many of you came by my house the night i was reelected. i decided to return the favor and come by yours. to the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, family and friends who stood by this class, cheered them on, helped
them get here today, this is your day as well. let's give them a big round of applause as well. [applause] pres. obama: i am not trying to stir up any rivalries. i just want to see who is in the house. carver? towers? and meridian? rest in peace, meridian. [laughter] pres. obama: rest in peace. i know you are all excited today.
you might be a little tired as well. some will be up all night making sure your credits were in order. some of you stayed up too late, ended up at ho chi at 2:00 a.m., got some mambo sauce on your fingers. but you got here. and you have all worked hard to reach this day. you have gone between challenging classes in greek life, played an instrument or sport, volunteered, in turn, held down one, 2, 3 jobs. made lifelong friends and discovered exactly what you are made of. the howard hustle that strengthens your sense of purpose and ambition. which means you are part of a long line of howard graduates. some are on this stage today. some are in the audience.
the spirit of achievement and special responsibility has defined this can't this campus ever since the freedmen's bureau established howard just four years after the emancipation proclamation. two years after the civil war came to an end. they created this university with a vision of uplift, a vision of america where our place would be determined not by our gender, race, or creed, but where we would be free to pursue our intellectual -- individual and collective dreams. it is that spirit that has made howard a centerpiece of african-american life and a centerpiece of a larger american story.
this institution has been the home of many firsts. the first black nobel peace prize winner. the first black supreme court justice. but it's mission has been to ensure those firsts were not the last. countless scholars, professionals, artists, leaders from every field received their training here. the generations of men and women who walk through this yard, helped reform our government, cure disease, grow a black middle class, advance civil rights, shape our culture. the seeds of change for all americans were sold here --sowed here. that is what i want to talk
about today. as i was preparing these remarks, when i realized when i was first elected president most of you, the class of 2016, were just starting high school. today you are graduating college. i used to joke about being old. now, i realize i am old. [laughter] pres. obama: it is not a joke anymore. but seeing all of you here gives me some perspective. it makes me reflect on the changes that i have seen over my own lifetime. so let me begin with what may sound like a controversial statement. given the current state of our political rhetoric and debate, let me say something that may be
controversial and that is this -- america is a better place today than it was when i graduated from college. [applause] pres. obama: let me repeat -- america is by almost every measure measure than it -- better than it was when i graduated college. it is also better than when i took office. that is a different story. that is a different discussion for another speech. but think about it, i graduated in 1983. new york city, america's largest city where i lived at the time had endured a decade marked by
crime and deterioration and near bankruptcy. and many cities were in similar shape. our nation had gone three years of economic stagnation. the stranglehold of foreign oil, a recession where unemployment nearly scraped 11%. the auto industry was getting its clock cleaned by foreign competition, and do not even get me started on the clothing and the hairstyles. i tried to eliminate all photos of me from this period. i thought i looked good. i was wrong. [laughter] pres. obama: since that year, since the year i graduated, the poverty rate is down.
americans with college degrees, that rate is up. crime rates are down. america's cities have undergone a renaissance. there are more women in the workforce. we have cut teen pregnancy and half. have slashed the african-american dropout rate by almost 60%, and all of you have a computer in your pocket that gives you the world at the touch of a button. in 1983i was part of fewer than 10% of african-americans who graduated with a bachelor degree . today you are part of 20% who will. many of us say we were better off than our parents were in our kids will be better off than we were. the world is better. a wall came down in berlin. an iron curtain was torn asunder. apartheid came to an end. a young generation in belfast
and london have grown up without ever having to think about ira bombs. in just the past 16 years, we have come from a world without marriage equality to where it is a reality in nearly two dozen countries. we have lifted more than one billion people from extreme poverty. we have cut the child mortality rate worldwide by more than half. america is better. the world is better, and stay with me now, race relations are better since i graduated. that is the truth. my election did not create a post-racial society. i do not know who was propagating that notion. that was not mine. but the election itself and the subsequent one, because the first one folks might have made
a mistake. the second one, they knew what they were getting. [laughter. ] pres. obama: the election was one indicator of how attitudes have changed. in my inauguration, i remarked 60 years earlier my father might not have been served in a d.c. restaurant. there were no black ceos of fortune 500 companies. very few black judges. as larry wal-mart pointed out last week, -- larry wilmore pointed out last week, a lot of people did not think lacks had the tools to be a quarterback -- blacks have the tools to be a quarterback. michael jordan is not just the greatest basketball player of all time, he owns the team. when i was graduating, the main black man on tv was mr.
t. [laughter] pres. obama: rap and hip-hop were counterculture, underground. now beyonce runs the world. we are no longer entertainers, we are producers, studio executives. a longer small business owners, we are ceos. we are mayors, representatives, presidents of the united states. i am not saying they did not persist, obviously they do. racism persists, inequality
persists, do not worry, i will get to that. i wanted to start the class of 2016 by opening your eyes to the moment that you are in. if you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born and you did not know ahead of time who you were going to be , what nationality, or it gender, what race, whether you would be rich, poor, and a or straight -- gay or straight, what faith you would be born into, you would not choose 100 years ago. you would not choose the 1950's, the 1960's, or the 1970's. he would choose right now. if you had to choose a time to be in the world to be younger, gifted and black in america, you would choose right now.
[applause] i tell you this because it is important to note progress. because to deny how far we have come would do a disturbance to justice, to the legions of foot soldiers, to not only the incredibly accomplished individuals who have already been mentioned, but your mothers, your dad's your grandparents, great-grandparents who marched and toiled and suffered and overcame to make this day possible. i tell you this not to lull you into complacency but to spur you into action. because there is still so much more work to do, so many more miles to travel. america needs you to gladly,
happily take up that work. you all have some work to do. enjoy the party. [laughter] because you will be busy. [laughter] yes, our economy is recovered, price is stronger than almost any other in the world, but there are folks of all races still hurting, who still cannot find work to keep the lights on, who cannot save for retirement. we still have a racial gap in economic opportunity. the overall unemployment rate is 5%, but the black unemployment rate is almost 9%. we still have an achievement gap . when black girls and boys graduate at lower rates than white boys and girls.
harriet tubman may be going on the $20, but we have a gender gap when a black woman earns 66% of what the white man gets paid. [applause] we have got to justice gap. too many black boys and girls passed through a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded [indiscernible] this is one area where things have gotten worse. when i was in college, about half a million people in america were behind bars. today, about 2.2 million. black men are about six times as likely to be in prison right now than white men. around the world, we still have challenges to solve that threaten everybody in the 21st century. old scourges like disease,
conflict, but also new challenges from terrorism and climate change. make no mistake, class of 2016, you have got plenty of work to do. but as complicated and sometimes impractical as these challenges may seem, the truth is that your generation is better positioned than any before you to meet those challenges, to flip the script . how you do that, how you meet the challenges, how you bring about change will ultimately be up to you. my generation, like all generations, is too confined ir own experience, too invested in our own biases, too stuck in our
own ways to provide much of the new thinking that will be required. but us old heads have learned a few things that might be useful in your journey, so with the rest of my time, i would like to offer suggestions for how young leaders like you can before your destiny and shape our collective future. and then it ended direction -- and bend it in the direction of justice, freedom and equality. first of all, and this should not be a problem for this group, the confident in your heritage. [applause] be confident in your blackness. [applause] one of the great changes that has occurred in our country since i was your age is
the realization that there is no one way to be black. take it from somebody who has seen both sides of the fence on whether i am black or not. past couple of months, i have had lunch with the queen of england and hosted kendrick lamar in the oval office. [laughter] there is no straitjacket, constraints, litmus test for authenticity. look at howard. one thing most folks do not know about how it is how diverse it is. when you arrived here, some of you are like -- they have like people in iowa -- they have a black people in iowa? [laughter] but it is true. this class comes from the cities, rural communities, and some of you across cultures to study here. you shatter stereotypes.
some of you come from a long line of fighters, some of you are the first in your family to graduate from college. [applause] you all talk different, you dress different, lakers fans, celtics fans, maybe even some hockey fans. [cheering] [laughter] and because of those who come before you, you have models to follow. you can work for a company or start your own. you can go into politics or rent an organization to hold politicians accountable. you can write a book that wins the national book award or you can write the new run on black panther or you can go ahead and do both like one of your alumni.
[applause] you can create your own style. set your own standard of beauty. embrace your own sexuality. think about an icon we lost, prince. he blew up categories. people did not know what prince was doing. [laughter] and folks loved him for it. you need to have the same confidence. or as my daughters tell me all the time, you be you, daddy. sometimes i should put their variation on it, you do you, daddy. [laughter] because you are a black person do whatever it is
you are doing, that makes it a black thing. feel confident. second, even as we each embrace our own beautiful, unique and valid versions of our blackness, remember the tide that does bind us is african-american -- that does bind us as african-americans is the injustice, unfairness and struggle. that means we cannot sleepwalk through life. we cannot be ignorant of history. [applause] we cannot meet the world with a sense of entitlement. we cannot walk by a homeless man
without asking white society as wealthy as ours allows that state to occur. we cannot just walk up -- block up the lower-level dealer, this boy barely out of childhood, felt he had no other option spirit we have uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters who we remember were just as smart and talented as we were, but got ground down by structures that are unjust, and that means we have to not only question the world as it is and stand up to those african-americans have not been so lucky because yes, you have worked hard but you have also been lucky. that is a pet people of mine. -- that is a pet peeve of mine. people who have been successful did not realize that they have been lucky. that god may have blessed them. it was nothing you did, so do
not have an attitude. [applause] but we must also expand our moral imaginations to understand and empathize with all people to our struggling, not just black folks who are struggling. the refugees, the immigrants the , the rural folks, the transgender, and yes, the middle-aged white guy, who you may think has all the advantages, but over all the last decades over the technological change and feels powerless to stop it, you have got to get in his head, too.
number three, you have to go through life with more than just passion for change. you need a strategy. i will repeat that. i want you to have passion for you have to have a strategy. not just awareness but action. not just hashtags but votes. [applause] you see, change requires more than [indiscernible] in requires a program and organizing. the 1964 democratic convention, maddie live, five feet, four inches tall, gave a fiery speech on the national stage, but then she went back home to mississippi and organized cotton
pickers. she did not have the tools, technology or you can whip up a movement in minutes. she had to go door to door. i am so proud of the new black civil rights leaders who understand this, and thanks in large part to the other people, like many of you, from black lives matter to twitter, that american eyes have been opened, white, black, democrat, republican. the real problems in our criminal justice system, for example. but to bring about structural change, lasting change, awareness is not enough. it requires changes in law. changes in customs. if you care about mass incarceration, let me ask you, how are you pressuring members
of congress to pass the criminal justice reform bill now pending before them? [applause] if you care about better policing, do you know who your district attorney is? do you know who your state attorney general is? do you know the difference? do you know who appoints the police chief and who writes the police training manual? find out who they are, what their responsibilities are, mobilize the community, present them with a plan, work with them to bring about change, hold them accountable if they do not deliver. passion is vital, but you have to have a strategy. your plan better includes voting , not just some of the time but all of the time.
[applause] it is absolutely true that 50 years after the voting rights act, there are still too many barriers in this country to vote. there are too many people trying to erect new barriers to voting. this is the only democracy on earth that goes out of its way to make it difficult for people to vote. there is a reason for that. there is a legacy to that. let me say this, even if we dismantle every barrier to vote, that alone would not change the fact that america has some of the lowest voting rates in the free world. in 2014, only 36% of americans turned out to vote in the midterms. second lowest participation rate on record. youth turnout, that would be you, less than 20%. less than 20%. four out of five did not vote.
in 2012, newly two and three americans, african-americans, turned out. in 2014, only two and five turned out. you do not think that made the difference in terms of the congress i have got to deal with? [laughter] and people wonder, how come obama has not gone this or that done? you do not think that made a difference? what would have happened if you turned out at 50%, 60%, 70% all across this country? people try to make this political thing really complicated. oh, what kind of reforms doing need and how do we have to do that? you know what? just vote. [laughter] it is math. if you had more votes than the other guy, you get to do what you want. [laughter] [applause]
it is not that complicated. and you do not have excuses. you did not have to guess the number of jellybeans in the jar, bubbles on the bar of soap to register to vote. you do not have to risk your own like to cast a ballot. other people already did that for you. [applause] your grandparents, your great-grandparents. what is your excuse? when we do not votes, we give away our power, disenfranchise ourselves, right when we need to use the power that we have. right now we need your power to stop others from taking away the votes in like of those more vulnerable than you are, the elderly, the poor, the formally consecrated trying to earn their second chance. -- the formally incarcerated trying to earn their second chance. you have to vote all the time,
not only when it is cool, time to elect the president, when you are inspired, it is your duty. when you are electing congress, city councilman, school board member, sheriff, it will help change our politics i electing people at every level who are representatives of and accountable to us. it is not that complicated. do not make it complicated. [applause] finally, change requires more than just speaking out. it requires listening as well. in particular, it requires listening to those with whom you disagree. and being prepared to compromise. when i was a state senator, i
had illinoisirst racial profiling law and one of the first laws in the nation requiring the videotaping of confessions in capital cases. we were successful because early on i engaged [indiscernible] i did not say to them, you guys are so racist, you need to do something. [laughter] i understood, as many of you do, that the overwhelming majority of police officers are good, honest, courageous and fair and love the communities they serve, and we knew they were some bad apples, and that even good cops with the best of intentions, including, by the way, african-american police officers might have unconscious biases, as we all do, so we engaged and
listened, and we kept working and to weep build consensus, and because we took the time to listen, we crafted legislation that was good for the police because it improved the trust and cooperation of the community, and it was good for the community who were less likely to be treated unfairly. and i can say this unequivocally, without at least the acceptance of the police organization in illinois, i could never have gotten those bills passed. very simple. they would have blocked them. the point is you need allies in a democracy. that is just the way it is. it can be frustrating and it can be slow. but history teaches us that the alternative to democracy is