tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 23, 2016 10:00am-12:01pm EST
all of our program is available .nline any time at c-span.org we welcome our listeners on c-span radio. thank you for joining us. safe travels if you are on the road. thanksgiving from all of us. ♪ >> president-elect donald trump has chosen south carolina governor nikki haley to be u.s. ambassador to the united nations. the newspaper writes that the 44-year-old's chief foreign centers on immigration and went international companies, seeking international deals and reading seven overseas trade
deals as governor. they say the choice may be aimed at outstanding trumps divisive comments about immigrants and minorities. signedar, governor haley a bill to remove the confederate flag from the capital and condemned donald trump during the primary for not speaking out more forcefully against white supremacists. here are some of our future programs thursday, thanksgiving day, on c-span. after 11:00 a.m. eastern, nebraska senator on american values, the founding fathers and the purpose of government. >> there is a huge, civic mindedness in american history, but it is not compelled by the government. >> followed by tom harkin at noon on the rise of childhood obesity in the u.s. >> from everything to monster anders with 1420 calories
107 grams of fat, to 20 ounce cokes and pepsi's, 12 to 15 teaspoons of sugar, feeding an epidemic of child obesity. >> at 3:30, wikipedia founder jimmy wales talks about the evolution of the online encyclopedia and the challenge of providing global access to information. >> if there are 1000 entries, i know there is a small community, five to 10 active users, another 20 to 30 that no a little bit and they think of themselves as immunity. look at the 7:00, a effort to repair and restore the capitol dome. at 8:00, a reflection of life and career. >> and then i did my senior thesis. it taught me an incredible amount, but it also taught me what it was like to be a serious historian and said in my cards -- and to sit and archives all
date and every day and i realized it was not for me. >> followed by justice clarence thomas at 9:00. -- it isnot putting putting a $20 deal on a two cent sentence. >> at an exclusive ceremony at the white house after 10:00, president obama will present the middle of freedom to 21 recipients, including nba star michael jordan, who springsteen, sisley tyson and bill and melinda gates. watch on c-span and www.c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. president obama yesterday granted commutations to 79 federal drug offenders to the number of inmates who received clemency to more than 1000. "the washington post" writes that his historic number of
commutations, more than the previous 11 presidents combined, was announced that administration officials are moving quickly to rule on the clemency applications before the end of this term. over the next hours, a look at president obama's legacy on race and civil rights, hosted by harvard's kennedy school of government. >> well, it is now my pleasure to introduce the moderator for today's opening panel. kelly crossley is the host of under the radar airing sundays from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. her commentaries air monday during the weekend edition. she's a frequent commentator, local and national television and radio programs posted in -- and has been quoted in "the new york times," "the politico,"
and "washington post," and has appeared on broadside, cnn reliable sources on the media, pbs news hour and take away. she appears weekly on wpg htp, examining local and national coverage and frequently hosts a show focused on current events considering communities of color. she's also been the recipient of two harvard fellowships from the nieman journalism and the john f. kennedy school of government. she was also producer for "black site incorporated eyes on the rights"merica's civil that found her an oscar nomination, national emmy and the dupont columbia award. with that, i'm going to turn over to the moderator to introduce the panelist. thank you. [applause] kelly: i will start by introducing the panelist and we will talk about 45 minutes and
then there will be time for each of you to ask a question so you can be prepared to do that after we stopped speaking. every one of the panelists was a robust biography. you will not hear it now. [laughter] i'm going to give you the one sentence on this page, beginning with mary frances berry, the geraldine arts professor of american social thought, history and africana studies at the university of pennsylvania. [applause] joshua dubois is the founder of the values partnership and former head of the white house office of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships. [applause] taylor is assistant professor and department of african american studies at princeton university. [applause] and michael singleton is the republican political consultant, writer and political analyst.
[applause] i know our panel title this -- is titled opportunity and opportunities missed. we are going to start on the opportunities end, which is the uplifting side of the equation and i want to begin with someone who has much gravitas set of professor berry. you worked with several presidents, so when we talk about race and justice and at the age of obama, you can bring up a context i think few others can, and i want to ask you what is the opportunity that you see from the policy perspective that president obama has been able to make happen? i think i know too much and some days i should think i should stop talking to anyone about anything because i am a cynic because i served in some
capacity in every administration since nixon, republican and democrat. so when i look at obama when he was running for office, i was excited about it and they looked at him in the context of all the other administrations that i knew about and never believed in hope and change to begin with because i knew too much and i also teach policy history, so i know too much. but obama, not to be too cynical because i don't like to discourage people, but the opportunity he had was to show what joe biden said about him was correct. that he was clean and articulate and would always be that way. as a black man as president, he would not be frightening to anybody and he had all of the right credentials the righten in all places and punched all the right
tickets and had an engaging personality and was really smart, and no one had to be embarrassed by what he did in his day to day, the way that he behaved with his wife and children, his mother-in-law and all the things he did that he would engage in the model , personal behavior, which he did do. he also knew from the speech he gave at the convention that he was a wonderful artist and i -- order, and i happened to have written a book about it called over and words about all the speeches he made in the background. so you knew he was incredibly lucky because the senators he ran with and against collapsed in the illinois race, which gave a leg up and he was incredibly lucky because he was from chicago, and the islands look at the chicago tv and everyone knew him and people came from chicago
in the first primary, which he won. when i told bill clinton and lose, they going to should just stop running and bill got mad at me. [laughter] so he had the opportunity to show when you are black and have the opportunity to do something, and i've been in that position a lot of times when i saw some people say you are going to mess it up so much that people can ever do it again. i don't think anyone can say that he messed up so much that nobody black can do it again. racial inequality has been touched but intact. the people that got still get and give more and is not only that but the article the other week about people that are educated, black folk with college degrees have been coming
to places like this in the job market and they don't get the same opportunity to move up so capitalism is safe to. -- safe. inequality, protest, all of that. we haven't had a widespread rebellion and the poor whites, , i guess theys are called, they are still out there and will likely move on. i think the opportunity is to show with the right credentials and the right kind of black men could do the job, and he has john the job -- and he has done the job he's done the best he could with what he had. callie: is there a specific policy that he was able to take all that but you just said and make that work in a policy that you think exhibited his use of the opportunity? barry: i think that obama didn't use his policies and opportunities in the first term as effectively as i would have liked to see.
i was present at the creation of the affordable care act and they know that lots of people come , advocates came to try to put a public option in the affordable care act coming into and the democrats had control of the other thing -- congress -- control of congress. but the other thing, the more grievous the whole wide enough failure is that they left for a truck to drive through so the court could find medicaid didn't have to be expanded and millions of people who live in the poorest states in the country, mississippi, alabama, a lot of poor black folks, his constituents and all that all across the country are covered -- are not covered because they were trying to hide what was in the bill -- this is true -- from the republicans and they didn't let the staffers that had the expertise read the bill, as nancy said, congress one pelosi
they dids of people, not know what was in it but they had it pass. they had the majority. the other thing he should have done better, in my opinion, is that the race to the top, using that discretionary money for the untested, untried and and evaluated -- on evaluated money that could have been spent on programs for kids who are out on the streets now stealing and robbing and shooting each other and for them to be in school and training and job programs like they are in school, like they did at one time in the 1960's and 1970's. and afterschool programs and vocational programs to get them off the street, which are tried and true. they are not just pie-in-the-sky
, let's go and check it out. they are tried and true. i think he could have done better on that. crosley: i going to stop you am there because you are going into my opportunity miss berry: i'm sorry. sley: i approach you on this question with some interpretation because you began when president obama came in by saying he wasn't on your plan but i want to ask you to dig deep and find the opportunity that he was able to make happen in terms of policy. , if i can, i think the president has done so far a reasonably decent job. i think in particular if you look around at the country at the african-american youth even hispanic youth and poor white who share the same communities as those groups, he is given a
lot of hope and inspiration and i think for a lot of minorities who believed of course you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to an america, that wasn't quite fully realized until you did see the minority become the first president of the most powerful individual in the world. that is something i don't think any number of case studies, you can't quantify with something like that can do for the community of people and if you look at places like chicago and baltimore, new orleans, other cities, and my grandmother happens to be an educator and i visit often and talk to a lot of the kids there and they lived in an environment i could never imagine. when i ask them what you think about your future? how do you see yourself? what are you going to do after high school? are you going to college, etc.?
ire often than not, they say can do anything and when i ask why? they say look at president obama and michelle obama. i constantly reflect on what that means and it's puzzling. i'm not quite sure how to figure out what his presidency has meant to so many black and brown people. and again, i think that's something that you can't quantify and maybe you can theorize it a bit, but for me, it is not a policy. it's beyond policy. it's something that i think and i hope will potentially uplift the entire generation of people so that is an opportunity for me. crossley: joshua, you start from the position of faith, but i know that at the selma 50th anniversary, you connected the civil rights movement with president obama's legacy. you saw the connection and spoke about it. so i'm wondering if you see that as his opportunity. [laughter]
joshua: i am a person of faith, but i would like to talk about some of the president's work and concrete policy achievements that we've seen over the last eight years, and then we can move to more cultural content after that. very specific things. first, the african-american unemployment rate at the height of the recession in 2010 was 16.8%. last month, it was 8.3%. because of president obama's intervention in the economy -- and i was there at the beginning when he wrote down pennsylvania avenue to switching arms on capitol hill to make sure that we got the stimulus act passed and he made the moves on the auto industry that he didn't -- that he did and so forth -- the black unemployment rate has been cut in half. the second thing i would mention is the affordable care act. certainly much more could have been done. the public option would be ideal and was very much immersed in
the negotiations that was a little known fact. a black woman graduate of harvard law school and the first mexican-american first cabinet secretary were responsible for drafting a lot of the language , even with the flaws in the affordable care act. some are non-seniors and it's been cut in half since the beginning of the open enrollment time in that is a big deal for 2013. their real-life individuals that have health insurance because of president obama. a few more things. the president has permanently banned the use of solitary confinement for juvenile offenders. that's a huge deal. i used to work at a juvenile pre-release facility in cambridge and interacted with a number of juveniles then have to spend weeks or months in solitary confinement. that's not allowed anymore. it is a very important thing. with juvenile detention
, you have 30% fewer juveniles insecure detention today than we did when president obama started in 2008. he's begun to shift towards the nonsecure interventions, meaning community-based programming in a very specific way. let's talk about teen pregnancy. in the bush administration we had ideological approaches and interventions that didn't focus on contraception and intervention. we also had the team right to of a rate same number of two pregnancy dropping to 34.9%. a big deal because the president has invested in the evidence-based intervention , particularly related to contraception and also community-based programs as well. i could go on and on and you could look at the number of black folks and black women on the federal bench, 26
appointments to the bench. more than any other and that woman will be there for the lifetime because of president obama. in general, i should say that i think there is a little bit of a disconnect between the way the folks i interact with for example in my second home which is my barbershop, masons in d.c., and the perspective of president obama and african-american circles, i everyday african americans in my own family, there is the sense that president obama did everything he could and there were some achievements made by the way we take a look there is more disappointment. hopefully, -- ms. crossley: we will let you circled back. [indiscernible] [laughter]
i might ask you to answer the same question. what did the administration get right about using an opportunity to make policy? >> i think it is a very complicated question because i think when you look at the level of expectation and hope that existed at the beginning of the obama administration where in some circles at least in the news media there was a discussion on whether or not we were entering into the post-racial period and there was the majority of african-americans who believed the election was the achievement of king's dream. if you look at some of those dreams and the level of expectations that came with the administration and where we are now, ironically, it was during this administration you had to
-- had the irruption of black lives matter and it raises a serious question i don't think "elites."y we can see that question ruminating in the publications hillary clinton has right now in terms of mobilizing black millennial voters. we have to grapple with the fact that 44% of the black voters between 18 and 30 voted for bernie sanders, and when president obama is saying that hillary clinton is a continuation of his administration, what does that say about half of the young black voters and what is the disconnect? that is borne out in their own experiences in terms of dealing with police violence and is borne out in the enormous amount of student debt that the black students in particular have incurred, and it's borne out in the complete uncertainty about what the future holds a in terms
of having jobs that can respond or get rid of that and the ability to have a secure future in general. so i think that there is a big question. there are policies we can pick out that say this may have had a positive impact for this group of people, but when we are looking at the overall assessment in terms of where the expectations were, and i was the cash i would say quickly that when people talk about expectations, it is unrealistic to waste this on the president. i think we have to look at how the expectations were cultivated. not the firstas black political choice in 2007 or 2008. but there was a concerted effort to try to transform his campaign into less of a political
campaign and more of a social movement. i had never heard a presidential campaign in a mainstream presidential race invoke the legacy of the abolitionist movement and the workers who engaged with this in the 1930's, the legacy of the stonewall rebellion in the movement to say his campaign as an expressionisan expression of the grassroots mobilization that can stand up to the status quo . that is our the expectations came from. to me, that is were a lot of the disappointment lies. the disconnect is between what candidate obama ran on and what president obama ultimately became. that is the complication in the history that we have to deal with. >> let's move to the opportunities missed. [laughter]
somebody said that nothing is more expensive than an opportunity missed. what did it cost us? we are talking about race and justice as the theme of this conference so in terms of race and justice, what did it cost for these opportunities to the next? -- to be missed? josh: i think we have been handed a next ray and we can see all of the cancer that have been in our body as a country now, and that is shocking. i agreed that we have not achieved the level of hope and and the shift in public discourse, the sense of unity as a country as president obama articulates it so beautifully in 2008.
what we may be missing is i believe the recently have not [indiscernible] and others have done an amazing job pointing this out, the white fragility and supremacy and that is out for everyone to see. we can see the trump supporters. you can see the tea party movement in 2010. we can see issues of thrace environment. cannot be done without that x-ray. took thet probably country too long or maybe the president too long to identify these things. now, because of the tremendous others,h activists and keeping issues at the forefront, now we can do something about that.
we are having serious rigorous conversation about not only ships completing more broadly, but how it is on the american life. it is the missed opportunity, the fact that it took a while to get put there, even though other policy achievements can come to become a but now it is there and we can do something with that. this berry: you started out with but i want you to target race and justice and see what do you think is the chief opportunities missed from the administration? this berry: cash new -- erry: i spent three years trying to get someone in the white house to target program stored lack of employment.
at one point, black women's unemployment, which is way high. and people who had jobs, they got laid off in school systems and bad things that happen. finally, i had to result to getting a recorder to raise the question at the white house conference. when the reporter raised it, the other finally did and the were better than the press. they may be eight point whatever it is, twice the rate. but the whole obama's first term , you have this suffering going on in the country. youpoignard make is that could target some of those resources that i talked about earlier. stimulus was passed but not big enough and it was not [indiscernible]
i only say on policy that we can criticize if we must -- if they love him and he did the best he could with what he has. for what they did when the had a year.e his problem is not just deplorables, the per pupil who are white and the term people, his problem is the democratic party that has become too much and isgerial and lead that the party of the poor anymore. since it is not, people on the hill have worried about where they get campaign contributions and what people say and the reason why they get affordable care act and it was because of that. the woman who is lobbying for the insurance claim, she is now making money doing something
else. she knew there are going to get a big cut out of this. now, they are saying to give us more money because we are losing money. obama.blem is not the problem is the democratic party and what it does as a party that no longer represents the people who wanted to vote for it. votes,ve us all to vote, [indiscernible] forget about the policy part on what we will do and what we will not to. we do not hold them accountable because what we do is go away and gold sleep until the next and they say, but for us. people like us sitting in here
though to our civil rights who is president. i'm talking about the for their the people farther down and the opportunities missed are opportunities for someone us to rise up. some like bernie sanders, not my favorite guy, but he talked the talk. obama is fine. he did great. [indiscernible] said, why are his people ratings so high? black people love him. we pray for him every sunday in church. the other thing is that trump is , when something is so bad, even babic's good. [laughter] i know you did not -- even bad looks good. [laughter] i know you did not ask now that. ley: this focus is
about president obama and the administration. you said the party also had a part to play in that. hopes it wasael important in terms of cultural and certainly, black americans is still did not translate into policy he could pinpoint. month ago they said if black a lot of the criticism for president obama went into the range of what he could do and there is an emphasis on targeting policies for african-american specifically, none. i know you have been a chief critic of this. for many people, this is paramount in opportunities. he says in 2012 in the midst of his second run for president to clarify, i'm the
president of the united states. during this time, there was disproportionate suffering, and impact of economic crisis in black communities. part of the reason why the tide turn obaed for among black voters was the belief that -- a belief that whether or not he you specific promises probably cannot pinpoint, but the idea of change does not come from washington, it comes from through washington, all of that, it was the idea that the election of the president would result in particular attention maintained to the problem in black communities that were front-page news when the economic crisis was happening. not only did that not happen,
but i think it is important to point out how the president, paying attention to black communities policy wise, was also preserving this space of the black community for the problems that existed. what i mean by that is at a time when the occupy movement is exploding, when the western world is talking about economic inequality in the problems of capitalism, the reckless implicationa direct with the economic crisis in 2008. white is president obama talking about? black men need to act like fathers. black parents need to stop feeding their children cold, fried chicken. lack parents need to turn off the tv and read to their children. going to chicago, you bemoan the lack of role models. all of this kind of language
that was taking the spotlight and emphasis off of the systemic problems everyone was talking about and redirecting the attention back into the behavioral or the morality of black communities. basically, preserving that space , which was shrinking in effect and keeping it alive which was distractive. ssley: but what we isw, although the presidency large, it is limited in what he can do. exception to the expectation. >> if you going to black communities and talk about your candidacy as a product, if you go into black communities and try to demonstrate your campaign as the trajectory of social
movements that have been unfolding since the 19th century, then i think it is unfair for them to then turn back to the communities and say , why do except me to do particular things for black people now? president obama that spent much of his administration from distancing himself from talking about race and dealing with issues in the black community. a month ago, and he says, if black people to not vote for hillary clinton, that is slander against my legacy. [laughter] >> another seminal moment. i will come back to you. your job is to look at the political process and direct so
given that we understand that the presidency is limited, can't -- a strong reaction, but you created the expectation, so explain from your perspective in terms of race and justice and how the opportunities were missed and how how he may have , even in his administration, taken an opportunity to exchange that. surprise, but i'm not the biggest fan of president obama. in 2012, i worked for governor romney and speaker ryan. i traveled all over. they were my preference to be in the white house but as it pertains, he's probably been president of all of america, but yet, when gay americans were attempting to get legalized in they advocated for that. in the white house, the allocated or some type of
comprehensive immigration, but these are specific policy initiatives he targeted throughout his presidency. as it pertains to african-americans, for the most part, he didn't say anything as it relates to greece and -- to race and injustice. i want to talk about two come -- specific things, education and criminal justice reform. television, a large african-american audience, and typically, i'm the only republican. we talk about these issues weekly and it baffles me when you look at an education, let's think about the pell grant. i went to morehouse, and the historical black college. most of my friends did go to those. the rules are drastically changed. under president obama's administration, that impacted a lot of young applicant americans. -- a lot of
african-americans. the rules for creditworthiness were absolutely changed. they can't send their kids to college who may want to go to school. you might say they can play at cash can apply at pwi come predominantly -- can apply at pwi, predominantly white institutions. most wouldn't qualify. it would give them an opportunity to excel but if the parents can't find a loan to get them through the door they can't go see you have kids on the street. the president has done nothing. a couple of months ago, the president had a meeting with black caucus members and it was .bout more funding the president for the most part and a lot of the members of say it was clear and -- that it was out
of touch. it should have hired graduation rates and this and that and so they say we get those things. i remember in college i had many of my friends that came from backgrounds. first year or two in college, did not perform well academically. at another institution, they would of got foodbackgrounds. in and out. but morehouse kept the students there, 100 them -- worked with them. the couple months ago, i was on tv and we were sharing the story during commercial break about a young lady who got [indiscernible] who could not afford to be there. do have to let her go and the doctor said, no we are not going to do that. we're not going to do that. we're going to work with her.
this in lady is an attorney now. if the president had his way, we would continue to cut funding, make it difficult for the people who voted for you. 90%, extremely loyal. you can work on conference of immigration. you can work on this gay marriage issue, but for the people that give you majority of their vote for times and in my opinion assumed anything for it and the alaska name. do -- assume anything. the president -- i believe 600 individuals, -- >> 774. [laughter] >> there we go. more than anyone, lyndon johnson i believe was over 200.
kudos to the president. it cost between $18,000 to $50,000 per prisoner, per year depending on the state. federal costfederal cost between 20 to 30,000 per year. our prison system in the country is at capacity. we have the largest prison population in the world, the largest. i'm saying that as a republican that it is absurd. 90% of the people imprisoned are in for nonviolent offenses. 90%. we have a minimum that impacts african-americans and hispanics and the president hasn't focused on these issues. it is absurd that you had the first african-american president doesn't focus on issues that impact the community that gave the majority of their support and has been loyal to him, if you ask me, and he ignores the issues. if you ask me, the president
hasn't been a very effective job and those are two things that disproportionately impact black people. ton i travel, when i went new orleans, my grandma is an educator and i talk to people from your lens. i see how these impacts affect communities. that is one example of where the president has failed. becausesley: josh, .you are in the white house with -- because you are in the white house withthe president, he curated the expectation that more would be expected but because he is the first african-american president, are retreating him differently than we would have treated another administration when we focus on race and justice? joshua: i mean this is in the specific way, and i will talk about that but i want to address a couple of important points. is acriminal justice
fascinating perspective in terms president obama has been publicly and aggressively on that issue. naacp convinced him last year, he gave a major speech into the advice special, where he was the first president to tour and if they had been on a push. who is stopping criminal justice reform? , republicaney senator, and other republicans not drinking criminal justice reform to the floor. specifick about policies and moments. let's talk about addressing race. i would love for somebody to study preparing disconnects between the speeches that president obama gives, many are positively accepted.
a couple weeks later, the same folks say, why can't we talk about race? i have been there, when president obama was in selma and 2007, i was there with him on the 50th anniversary and we walked across the bridge. right after that speech, he walked over to the reverend and pushed him across the bridge to spend time with him privately, in ways that folks would never have known. i was in philadelphia when he gave his great speech on the campaign, when right after trayvon martin was killed and he walked out to the rose garden and said if he had a son, he would the collective on passion of the collect trayvon martin. -- he would look like trayvon martin. did not talk about personal responsibility but looked at systemic issues and that speech.
let's keep going. i was there in charleston when he stood seven feet above the coffin and did not just talk of it. this could've been a funeral, a regular funeral and a eulogy, but he spoke to the history of black people in this country and why that man died. i was sitting behind the family , thethe audience congregation, it felt like the church service, rose to greet him when he sank "amazing grace," and his voice was choking, so they mixed his voice with his because they understood he stood for and with them. ms. crossley: please, do not go on. [indiscernible] [indiscernible] tasha: 15 minutes about bureaucracy and public policy. you heard some of the achievement that he put in
place. we will talk about eric holder and his achievements, and the names he will never know, people like melody barnes, who has's promise neighborhoods around the and that poverty and intervention. he has a tremendous amount he should have done but there is a reason. i do not think black folks are done. when you pulled most black americans, did he do as much as he could? the vast majority would say yes and they would have questions about this. i trust my great-grandmother tab a pretty good assessment of president obama. crossley: i know you want to respond, but would we have put the same pressure on another administration? joshua: no. [indiscernible] >> really quickly, i hear this
argument a lot and it drives me nuts. the president gave great speeches. >> weight a minute. kudos to the president, but that is not results. that is not results. wait a minute. i will agree as it pertains to senator chuck grassley. i do not agree with the fact that he is holding up criminal justice reform. in my personal opinion, i would prefer the president to be more target rather than having a robust policy initiative. i would want more targeted. [indiscernible] works. is not how d.c. you know this. if you talk about mandatory andmums, you go to congress you either taken up or down votes on the issue, and then you go down from there. easy. >> [indiscernible] crossley: all right, i am
moving on. >> [indiscernible] just -- >> i just wanted to say want to push back on this notion of it "s only "believes -- "elites that criticized the president. you can do any number of holes you want. i believe that black people will not reduce size the president in polling because of the structural impediment and all that. to me, you have to use a different measures. if you think the people on the streets of ferguson where the elites, than i'm not sure can help you or the people on the streets of charlotte, or the people who ordinary, black, working-class people who'd been on the street for two years because of the absolute lack of change in the issues of police
violence and youth. justicetalk about endres and missed opportunities, i believe we are living through one now, that the president does a number of things to appeal to idea that of a the something is happening. you take the commission, the police in commission that came out of the first wave of protest in ferguson and nationally in 2014. it has been on this 19 months since the 58 recommendations of that report that cannot and march of 2015. -- that came out in march 2015. we can talk about the constraints of federalism and the length to which the federal government can go and policing is local. those -- you cannot dismiss those. there is ar hand,
problem with the lack of accountability with policing. they continue to happen evenhanded approach, which the president probably has to do, but this is the reason i think why the movement has continued to stay on the streets. it is because of that lack of response. you cannot just dismiss that as a couple of black professors having an issue of president obama, but everyone else is great with president obama. it makes no sense of the current political situation with the emergence of lack lives matter. it makes no sense in black the rejection of hillary clinton. those have to be accounted for besides the couple professors who don't like what is happening. >> we are going into questions. you have 30 seconds. [indiscernible] [laughter]
you will get a chance to answer. the speeches, which are good at, and it builds up the persona i talked about at first. that is the role that the president who is good at that can do that comfortably. it is not radical and wild and mix of the people of color feel great. that is what the speeches are about. it is not about policy unless it is implemented before or after. partobama has done about -- part of the problem is we don't know enough history. there should be more history and policymaking here at the kennedy school and other places. they used to be more. not know,st people do for example, that when you talk about producing, there have been so many police commissions, commissions looking to balance
-- to violence and the police, and there have been recommendations and usually, we recommend the same thing. usually what happens, it usually, just give more money to the police, but if we knew something about the history before, it might have helped us. the third thing is obama hasn't had the pressure put on him that other presidents have had. when people have tried -- went ack oaks of popped up -- when black folks pop-up to try to do something, they get crossed out. republicans love us, democrats love us. why don't you shut up? your job is to go over there and take care of all these problems. [indiscernible] go over there and take care of all these problems. do not be bothering the president, so groups know that we love obama, said they have not put the pressure. if you had a white president in the white house and unemployment
was 16.9% and all these other things, you would have more people complaining. we just want him to go through the eight years, go home and be happy. i mean that. if he can do that, it be fine. >> questions. we need a microphone. thank you. >> two things. i was struck knowing mentioned anything about foreign policy. >> we weren't asked. [laughter] >> to connect it to this, most of the people of the united states had killed hundreds of thousands of people of color around the world. the second is the fact this may the more of a comment -- >> please give me a question. >> but no one has gone to prison, austria terminals -- wall street, criminals and police. >> who would like to respond? >> i will respond to anything.
as you know this. [laughter] first, we were not asked about foreign policy. one of the things i like about obama is his foreign-policy has been cannot send a whole bunch of troops someplace to fight and get killed or get named comp -- med, which is what they do now and come back as amputees. since as wall street, capitalism is intact, you don't expect the justice department to go after those people and put them in jail. then wall street would be worse. wall street people do not care how much you find them -- fine them. it is the going to jail that really bites. [laughter] >> all the way over here. you, but anybody
can say is they want. you have an intimate relationship with president obama and there's been talk about how he presented himself as a community organizer and campaigned as a social movement preserve yet there has been a lack of policies to support community organizing community initiatives at the federal level. can you speak to why you think there was a disconnect but there are no [indiscernible] organizing experience and his lack of community organizing? >> great question. a few things. one, i think one of great failures of community organizing in the obama administration was
was the lack of transitioning of that goodwill and all that enthusiasm after the 2008 election into a movement in 2009 and 2010. the movement that could have helped health care reform, may be past the public auction and so forth. the president has mentioned that, but i believe there was a significant gap and much more could have been done, once that could have kept leadership across the country, so i think more could have been done from a dnc perspective from leadership across the government and all the mechanisms of the democratic party. there are a few bright spots in terms of community organizing, both practical and more relational. one, on the practical side, the president regularly engages with
the groups and brings them into conversation about the policy initiatives. i was at the white house recently in the same room as vivian, and we heard from last night, and these folks connect across generations and provoke the conversation about where we were with organizing in the civil rights movement and where we are now. i would say that i don't think this is an achievement of the president per se but the moment we are in. i think [indiscernible] the best thing to happen since the civil rights movement. that was in response to police think thei don't president created the black lives matter movement, but i think he has learned to or pretty quickly learned to be in conversation. there are a lot of black lives matter movements, some not in
conversation, but some saying they do help a robust conversation over policy initiatives at the white house, so that is a unique thing. you had folks who heard from yesterday and others around the country who say i am in a real dialogue with the white house between community organizing and s in the federal government. in my getting everything i'm asking for? no, but it is taken seriously. >> right here. >> you mentioned there is a lack of specific targeting in terms of the african-american andunity, but obama's terms voting has been marked as revolutionary by some to get voters to the polls, so i was that mobilization not present in the implementation of policy or could it have been used to encourage popular participation?
>> i think that the president grew on political strategy. our two of presidential three candidates. all republicans, of course. , we wish we could implement what president obama did in terms of his ability to mobilize young voters. i do think that if that same strategy was utilized as far as policy that he supported he could have put pressure on congress to answer to some of those questions versus tabling an option. if they are getting thousands of calls, trust me i've seen it on the other side, i have made these things happen. if you are getting thousands of calls, they will say we cannot table this, let's bring it for an up or down vote. he could've utilized that. >> it is easier to promise
things as a candidate and mobilize that way then to pass policy for the first year or so when obama had a super majority in congress. if you cannot get anything past then, it speaks to the complication of doing so, and political will. i think that that is the part of the problem. when people talk about the discussion on race and issues with criminal justice, and try to attribute that solely to the president, the black president issues of race and inequality into every day people's living room. how themissing is movement has forced the issues into the open in an unprecedented way.
so, we look at the different moments when this happened around the execution of troy davis in 2011, when hundreds of black students marched around washington, d.c., hoping to get the president to make a statement. think was naive enough to you would intervene in georgia, but to make a statement. this is why we voted to have a black president in the white house in the first place. nothing happened. he sent a press person out to ' rightsas a states issue. trayvon martin, getting zimmerman arrested, that is what brought the issue into every day people's living rooms. the president has been reactive, speaking to his intelligence that you cannot ignore central issues to a black constituency,
but has not lead on them. which has toeasons do with the constraints of the democratic party which i am not sure are interested in having a mobilized and engaged electorate outside of the four-year voting cycle and mid term election. >> back in the back. >> thank you, very much. if i tell you that i am a dangerous driver, and we ride with me, and i drive very fast you will not take it is just him driving very fast, you will think it is me being a dangerous driver. we have been told that obama is a very different person. how much of the things he has done as president that were
different, outstanding, or outliers were overshadowed the negative expectations, the negative framework, built around him from the beginning. how much of what he has achieved has been lost on young african-american voters or other communities of color? how much has been lost that we are told from the beginning that he would be different, and for some very scary. so when he does things that are different or scary it is not seen that way because he is living up to negative expectations. i hope that that makes sense. >> what i understand of your question is people make those determinations based on what changes in their lives. people do not only form their political opinions on news media. there is some combination with an impact, but it is also your own experience.
chicago, for example, the 's adoptive hometown, are situations -- the situations for black millennials in chicago is a disaster. there is no political spin that can transform that reality. what many ordinary people, whether it is in the polls or not, are reacting to. what has changed in our day to day life? 40% of black children live in poverty. black men 20-24 in chicago are running late and out of school. can be laid at the doorstep of president obama, obviously, but when you are the leader of the free world, when you could direct drone strikes
very precisely in yemen and pakistan, it raises the expectation of what you should be able to do in this country. only talk about the complications and political paralysis. we have seen the american government move quickly on things it is determined to move through, and sporadically on other issues. particularly social issues dealing with poverty and inequality. >> people did carry in expectations, negative viewpoint , whatever the case may be. they should be pointed out. it is important to look at even marginal progress that impacts people's lives. 2015 was the largest the client in the poverty rate for african americans since 1999 when it dropped 2.1%, 4.2% among black children, seven hundred thousand
overall, 400,000 lacked children above the poverty line. it is not close to everything, but it is important. some can be traced back to bureaucratic intervention that progressives that president obama put in place have moved forward on. there is a broad expectation that things will get better. not everything got better. things in some ways have got to more apparently worse, or at least we can see the problems. it is not that president obama put those problems on the table himself. the causal chain is that a lot of white americans reacted to the black president in office. african-americans, especially young activists, mobilize to respond to the reaction.
the president had a role in theoking the reaction in first place and has had an ongoing role in responding to it. thatnvironment created now has the issues at the forefront, that is important. the question is, where do we go from here? what do we do now that the issues are on the table? >> the gentleman on the back wall, then here and here. quick question. what specific race-related leases of legislation would you have liked to see past in the past administration, and how likely do you think those would have been passed? >> chair michael? >> that is a hard question. it is a hard question for the simple fact that i'm not sure how much the president would be
able to have accomplished in a bipartisanship in congress. i was texting a friend that works in the white house before we came to the stage and he was giving me pointers. make sure you boost the president, i said i will try my best, lol. [laughter] at any rate, i would want the president to focus more on education as it pertains to historically black colleges. his focus on criminal justice reform should have been more targeted versus than -- versus one big policy objective. with the partisanship we see today, i'm not sure those would have passed. i'm saying that as a republican. i am not even sure. >> it is an excellent question, but the wrong question.
what specific legislation would i have liked to have seen passed that would have affected positively the black folks that were left out, don't have jobs, unemployment rate? if you ask that question, for a , withime i have thought other people, what do you need is a piece of legislation that targets resources to geographic areas where the highest poverty rates are. therefore cover you get the black folks in the area talking about it. josh, when you look at declines in property, you have to look where it started. way back before 1999. so, now, i hear there is a proposal from the congressional black caucus that hillary clinton talks about in her campaign. they will try to do that, the
poverty thing. you could propose that the first year they were there and you would not have had to say wait. you and not get into the problem, even for black folks. just say the areas where it existed. there are lots of legislation you could draft that would look at where people are, what the data is of the groups, and you can target them without saying, i'm here today to talk about black folks. that is all i will say. >> even to the professor's points, there are a lot of pro-white republicans that would in effect. -- that would benefit. >> i cannot describe very specifically, but there are formulas that take resources to the highest level. >> the first year they got here for blackoverty rate
unemployment was 6.9%, and for hillary clinton's campaign, ask yourself -- [indiscernible] question.nt the first thing was a knockdown drag out fight over the stimulus. republicans wanted it all and he fought for as much as he could. that took a lot of energy. i wish you could pass whatever he wanted, but you couldn't. second lead decided i will get the best possible health care bill i can do. when that is over we are at 2010, then a political disaster by not selling the health care bill at mobilizing constituencies. this was a very relatively withw time that started the economic recovery and moved to health care. we are at the midterm election in 2010.
could he have made different decisions? immigration reform, anti-poverty , yes, but we had a hemorrhaging economy on the verge of a great depression. it would have been an easy legislative fight. no one would say the stimulus was easy. it was very difficult legislatively. point. is not the -- isint is we should not that we should not have had stimulus, the point is when you have control of the legislature with an overwhelming majority, and you can do what you want because you have an overwhelming majority copy you make choices. among the grab bag of things, if there is something essential to your 90% electorate that voted for you and loves you, maybe you
could look at it, mention it, discuss it, see if someone else agrees with you. that is all i am saying. >> one of the issues i have been concerned about is the devastating effect of foreclosures on the black community. it affects everything else. in many cities with gentrification many black families are forced out of their traditional neighborhoods, communities. it affects educational toievement and is linked almost every issue, mental health status. one issue i'm curious about, and the banks have string and their position, in the context of growing wealth and income inequality i want to know, what do you see as opportunities that
could have been taken care of? we talk about housing, but shelter is an essential issue. have been addressed? i still think we have not dealt with that issue in terms of policy. >> it is a great critique. havthe critique of lack of accountability for wall street i would agree with. i think people should have gone to jail. period. they have done important things on the rental side out of substandard public housing moving in to more quality housing, and so forth. possible that they did everything they could between hu d and treasury in the most urgent foreclosure cases, but i do not think there was a robust enough programmatic a policy
approach to addressing foreclosures. >> 244,000 african americans lost their homes as a result of recession inf the 2008. the issues of debt forgiveness, once it was discovered that many of the loans that have been made to african-americans, sub prime inns that were often pushed predatory and fraudulent ways, that there should have been some kind of debt forgiveness as a result. these things, in some ways, when we talk about the obama or the reallydministration tried to narrowly fixate on what this or that individual could do. we are talking about huge,
systemic issues. when goldman sachs is running the treasury department, it is unlikely that people with goldman sachs and the financing jail.ry will be put in same thing with the influence of the real estate industry, hud, the rules, laws, and regulations to not be such a way as beneficial as they could to ordinary citizens, but are beneficial to business interests. this is not peculiar to the obama administration, but shows the continuity with obama and previous administrations. as much as people want to talk about how different this administration was, with the housing crisis in particular we see continuity and how typical this administration reacted in terms of defending and
deflecting for the financing sector, the real estate industry, and the banks themselves that were shown to engage in duplicitous practices that resulted in black people taking fraudulent loans. again, fines. fines for the banks, no one is seriously punished. the process begins to replicate in other ways. wells fargo, which was implicated in baltimore for pushing "ghetto loans." now, wells fargo has new issues because none of these people are ever punished. they are not forced to account , sometimesraudulent it illegal, duplicitous practices in the first place. in that respect, the obama administration fell in line
with how most administrations operate. >> that is right particularly if the first part of the first term. it is important to mention the consumer financial protection bureau and the partnership between elizabeth warren and barack obama. if that was not in place we would not know about the issues. is asot think that important or significant as some of the interventions that should have taken place in 2009, but it is an important and substantial that a federal judge ruled that andas too much authority, there are conversations about rolling it back. that is a very real advocate on behalf of consumers that is doing real things, like holding wells fargo accountable, even
now. >> what about people going to jail? >> hopefully they will. they are trying. >> this woman, right here. >> [inaudible question] conversation the on criminal justice reform and police abuses continues, becomes importantd reaches conclusions at the same time wealth,talk about black paying teachers more, focusing on retirement. that is being missed. >> the question was about black recovery. hand up?u have your >> i did not know if you were pointing to me. my frame of reference is on my bilingual school psychologist. i worked in boston public schools and now i am in a large
district where the students are primarily undocumented immigrants. i am passionate about education policy. my question is do you feel like president obama replacing no child left behind with every student succeeds was him taking an opportunity or not? >> why did you have to ask me? [laughter] i think no child left behind, -- teachers called it [inaudible] it stole the trademark from the children's defense law. with the students succeed act, he probably believes in his education policy people, believes they were making some
progress. i think the mere title of the act tells you right away it is not real. first, not every student is going to succeed. every student is not going to succeed by what happens in school. there seems to be this belief, which is not shared by education policy people, not in the university where i teach or any other ones, maybe even this one, that that is not the only thing you need to worry about, what happens in school. that is not true. you need to worry about the structural issues you were talking about. the social economic issues. on the premise that if every student does not succeed it is because of something that did not happen at school.
i think the provisions that give opportunities to use public money to go to places where i do not think it should go. show are no studies that that that pays off. we have had since the first bush , we have had a succession of education policies put into place without any kind of research support by scholars who work on these matters. to say that we should do whatever it is. instead of doing, as one of my undergraduate kids told me in a seminar, why don't they do for poor kids what my parents did for me. he went to a fancy prep school. if they really want to help them, why do they keep putting labels on them, seeing what happens to them in school, without giving them the
opportunity what i had in school, will be enough? it is largely a matter of money and because we wish something would happen. starting with the title, disconnecting -- all sugar was right -- al shanker was right about something. i have to say that, now that he is dead. the reasonsay to me we do not want a department of education is because education is connected to health and it should stay connected. i helped jimmy carter get it out of education and welfare. the more we disconnect it from the idea of what kind of work two people have, their parents, the environment they live in, what is going on in the communities, additional resources in the school, not every student is going to succeed. >> that is the former head of the teachers union.
with the offense that took in ferguson and other places, has obama done anything in this field of executive theon in scaling back material given by the department of defense for police departments in order to cut down on what is going on? >> he did, and then he didn't. >> the answer is yes. funding available and threats to withdraw funding on the militarization side. training, asbias much as is possible. something in the
department of justice, they have done something when it comes to federal assistance for police departments. we need to have a more robust conversation about how the president come in combination with communities, can hold departments accountable when he does not have authority over them. he instigated rigorous investigations, we see one almost every other week, where they are sending justice officials. progressive justice officials into local communities and detailing the issues with police departments in these communities. .hat is another mechanism the question is, can the president do more to use federal authority and federal incentives to impact local police? there are things he can do, but
there are important local components to take into account. this is another moment where rhetoric needs action. a lot of folks wanted him to go to dallas and not talk about policing because of the tragedy. he addressed the tragedy, more lies the on -- memorialized the officers, and talks about policing. when he does something unexpected, he did something more robust than anyone expected. when he does not do something, that is what is focused on. >> the reasons for that is withse of continued issues not only police violence and abuse, but the lack of accountability for that. it was crystallized, for many people, and the movement particularly with the death of
freddie gray, how it was handled, and the fact that the corner in baltimore can say that freddie gray's death was a homicide, yet all of the officers involved with him, not a single one will be held to account. this is 2 years later. countless meetings in the white house. this is a commission. this is several reports and investigations later. still, the police officer who killed mike brown is not indicted. the police officer who choked eric garner to death is not indicted. the police officer who killed walter scott, who was held without bail, was given bail because the judge felt bad the officer was removed from his family for so long. this is part of the
frustration. we can have lots of reports that narrate the experience of people that are victimized by the police. that accurately document illegal practices of police in any given city. yet, nothing appears to happen that has an impact on how police interact with the black and brown communities in this country. the last thing i will say is in the heat of social movement, president obama restricted the amount of military hardware that goes to police departments. in the aftermath of dallas felt he would look into that and see about allowing police department s to receive this military hardware. this contributes to the idea.
talking and not a lot of action. we can go through the difficulties and complications, interfacing on a localinterfaci, but at the end of the day when nothing happens to actually in mpede the ability of police to treat black people as second-class citizens in this country, the frustration and anger that is demonstrated anytime there is another police killing will continue to be on display. >> really quickly. i think i think the president could pull federal funding so that militarization should be a
concern to a lot of people. and as a conservative i am all for limited government and it bothers me significantly that there is a government entity that has this much power. let's say someone were to take over the government. you have a military that can help power the people. that's antithetical to conservatism. i have found it extremely perplexing that republicans have been militantly silent on this. >> it's not perplexing. >> i don't want to go that far. [applause] >> you have a lot of police associations that say, we are normally outnumbered so it's a necessity that we have. it were happening to white people republicans would be all over this. [applause] point -- i don't
want to get into that. a lot of police associations will say we outnumbered so we these weapons. if you look at the numbers it's when people are walking down the street with m-16s shooting at police. that argument doesn't hold a lot of water. it's a threat to our civil liberties. it is something conservatives should definitely be at the forefront of. they are not. you could say it is because of racial bias. for me personally that is something that drastically concerns me. was murdered in cold blood. there is no question about that soever.ind what h killer is out on bail.
the space in between demands specificity. what is the president's role? even if he agrees that he should what is thel, federal role in this? that is an issue of racism. i don't think anyone connects the decisions that are made by local prosecutors in local courts to race and bias in local communities. that is an accurate connection. how can you impact that? there are some ways. those ways are sometimes more limited than we would like. maybe that is something that needs to be changed. if we are required to ask the question what is our black president's role in these decisions? >> we have to leave it there.
everything that happened in the first two hours i forgot i had a part to play in the next section so forgive me. introducing our moderator who will take it from there, the pulitzer prize-winning author and co-executive producer of the pbs documentary based on the same name and is also a colleague. douglas blackmon is also a contributing correspondent at the washington post and producer and host of america public affairs program produced by the university of virginia and airs on 100 public television's across the united states. the book important to how we
frame historically the long journey of the of raw materials to make their way to teach right detroit with the non free labor and it is haunting and connected to the incarceration . there is a lot more to say that is wonderfully detailed but for now in the interest of moving forward read his book and watch the documentary and pay close attention to what he will say now. [applause] >> we did first meet when the interviews were done with a group of historians.
is that better? it was on before. i first met him by watching video and done by a the collaborator with the greatest filmmakers i called him not payback to say this is a good-looking guy. it's great to be here and great to be with such a terrific group of people on this panel and the one we just heard. let me quickly give short bios for the folks here on the stage. i'm just going to do it in the order i have.
this panel is to look at the state of civil rights during the obama presidency and the obama era. we will try to focus on that rather than the more expensive questions the previous panel engaged in. we have megan francis. trained at princeton. she specializes in the study of american politics, race, constitutional law, postwar civil -- post-civil war south. projecty working on a examining the role of the criminal justice system in the rebuilding of southern political and economic power after the civil war. very closely related to sleepy. of raceis a historian with a focus on u.s. history in the president. professor of african studies and american studies at brown
university. he has written four books on race. we also have clarissa martinez decastro. -- expert on immigration policy, latino perspectives, coalition building. -- oversees the immigration organizations work to expand latino engagement in civic life. she is also a graduate of the kennedy school. sullivan,ve ron leading theorist in the areas of criminal law, trial practice and techniques, legal ethics and race theory. also serves as the first
african-american master in harvard's history as master of winthrop house at harvard college. was a senior fellow of the jamestown project. thompson, something of a emerging celebrity. she is crossing all the boundaries. professor of history in the department of afro-american and african studies at the university of michigan. she writes about the history as well as current crises in mass incarceration. her work has appeared in the new york times, huffington post, npr and others. book is a finalist for the national book award and has been something of a sensation this past year. her commiserating about
it over many years of wondering if this thing would ever be done. congratulations on the wonderful response you have gotten. why don't we hear from each of the panelists on this topic. we just heard a discussion that was pretty critical, pretty harsh critique of the lost opportunities for limited that were described of the obama administration in more general terms about issues of race and broad questions of opportunity. how would we compare your assessments of civil rights more specifically in the obama era against the backdrop of a sense of some lack of fulfillment in terms of the broader questions?
juxtapose your view of progress on civil rights versus the critique we just heard. why don't we start at the very end. the interesting thing to me is that the question itself makes some assumptions which relate back to the previous is a about whether there undue expectations of the first african-american president to deliver on progress on civil rights or other issues that would be completely unrealistic to expect of anybody else. and on the question of civil rights i think it is similar to in general the expectations of this president coming in given the state of the country at the time. i remember thinking this president is sort of like when you get a new car. it starts devaluing the moment you drive it off the lot. the expectations were just so
incredible and so unrealistic. organization which is the largest latino civil rights advocacy organization in the country were critical of the president on many counts. making stickbly although we were not the originators of the title of reporter in chief which i understand the president to this day is very sensitive about. but it's factual. the same way that people have said in the past it was a democrat that could have taken welfare reform like bill clinton did however you may agree or disagree with what he actually did and we have certainly had a number of disagreements on that. or a republican is best positioned to move immigration reform. unfortunately bush did a push for us and didn't get there.
in some ways it's the reverse of that. what president obama i think because immediately there was an that he would be a president only of black americans that he was very measured in how he would engage and sometimes openly and aggressively of civil rights. the other side of the coin is that in some ways he also accepted certain frames that were part of narratives that have been there for a very long time. on immigration which is an issue that i have worked on for a long of borderotion security and enforcement and the necessity of leading with enforcement. a regime that has seen nothing
but in the last decade. it was the strategy. republicans keep talking about the border is not secure and they can't trust a democratic president to enforce the laws. so i'm going to do that to show them and then they can play. i think there was a lot of skepticism about whether that is what would get people to play. is having thep president who has deported more immigrants than any previous president and republicans still saying he's not enforcing the law. which i think many of us thought that has been the mantra among some republicans for the last year. it would continue to be. excepting a certain frame, still trying to figure out how to overcome it but excepting those. i think that applies in a couple other areas as well. that were possible things
nevertheless have those kinds of impact. latinos and african-americans had severe unemployment rates as a result of the recession and loss of wealth. and those have gone down. recently aeen more move by the department of justice to reject the use of private prisons. and that is very significant because as we know, imprisonment of human beings is a huge moneymaker proposition. interestingly enough when you started moving away from three strikes you're out policies, you saw the increased criminalization of immigrants to keep feeding that machine and keep that money making venture going. businesseautiful strategy when you think about it. you have created it. it feeds private and in some cases public pockets.
and then you create laws to make sure -- if you have a hotel and your city passes a law that says x amount of beds have to be filled and paid for and by the way as the government we are going to pay for some. imagine the scandal that would be in any other circumstance. there is that these which is important. but we should also not forget that the department of homeland security is actually the largest law enforcement entity in the country. as for whom rules that apply weekly as they may to some police departments don't even apply to the department of homeland security. we have seen that enforcement machine grow. talking about the positives. health care coverage is up significantly in addition to better unemployment rates. the use of private prisons i think there has been some sentencing reform. on immigration let's not forget
about the deferred action for childhood arrival program. in the previous panel people cited withhat often many presidents who have moved on to do significant pieces of legislation. the conversation they have had with advocates of their time. feel that part of the conversation here is what he should have done on his own. i think that's kind of the wrong context. i don't care how well intentioned a politician is. the make me is always part of the equation. been a lotertainly of make me pressure from a lot of different communities whether it is on criminal justice, policing, certainly immigration. some of the issues that still
remain and also were mentioned his jobs. and the need to really do some of those policies in a very targeted way. bringing it back on the civil rights side i think part of the cautiousness of not falling into that wasnal accusation trying to be made that he would only be a president for some americans and not others, there was a lot of caution in how to frame certain things and how to lean into certain things. and in many cases pieces of legislation or fights that we also were lacking in that way. this is not just about the president but the whole of congress who is necessary to make laws. in those pieces of legislation fingerprints of people who were trying to be really careful not to create a backlash among white voters.
with jobs and other kinds of economic intervention not necessarily targeting them to the most vulnerable communities in needs of job creation. with tax reform same thing. the vulnerable continue to be on the chopping block even when you win. you have to continue fighting that fight over and over again. the focus on the middle class. many electionsw we have gone through without talking about the working class who is the majority of americans. it's not only not talking about not necessarily a war on poverty but a war on the poor. that has not been unleashed by the president but there has not been an assertive attempt to challenge that frame. continue to talk about the middle class. that's aspirational. we all like to talk about the middle class. warink in that vacuum the on being poor has just gotten
more vicious. it's part of the whole talk about who is unworthy, who is undeserving. incredible to is me is when you are working poor and have to spend so much energy just trying to survive and make if people hade some support where that energy could be used in the same way that you and i use it sitting here. or those of us who have a connection to that experience. how am i doing on time? >> let's see if we can move down through the panel so everyone can get a little something of this first assessment. dou'm going to continue the r theme. i want to exploit the relation between the age of -- the name of the conference and the name of the panel.
think about what a particular administration or a particular person in that administration can do makes us answer this question very differently. if i'm talking about the age of obama, the state of civil rights is terrible at the end of it. we have rollbacks of voting rights. reproductive justice is in shambles. questions of indigenous sovereignty have been challenged and not resolved. that doesn't even get us to the question of policing, militarization of civil authority. out further you can have the diminishment of the office if self treated disrespectfully by a larger theext that has shamed president and shamed his constituency and shamed the issues that he might care about. i leave the age of obama thinking that it has been terrible for questions that i care very deeply about personally and politically. that we are 27 days away
from an election in which one candidate has called specifically for voter suppression. who cares very little about civil authority and jurisprudence. who may wipe the slate completely clean. right now.l good i feel anxious. i have only had one cup of coffee. my blood pressure medication. this is a rational assessment of where we are at the end of eight years. briefly. jump in very think it's an extraordinarily complicated question and its complicated for a couple of reasons. if you think about it on a purely descriptive register, absolutely. it's fairly dour. if we think about the question in a different sort of way, it allows for some sense of hope.
a president can't wave a magic wand and say civil rights repair. that doesn't happen. the executive is constrained in very real ways. sign that has been -- at least gives me some hope is that the justice department and civil rights division has been busier than it has been in any administration prior. maybe except for johnson. it has been busy. passess that congress constrains its reach. in very real ways. i will give you one example and i'm going to pass it on. there was a mention of trayvon martin in the last panel. it was the correct decision for the department of justice not to
intervene in trayvon martin. in ase the law is written way that makes it nearly impossible for them to intervene. in that way. they have to show that at the time that zimmerman dealt the motivatedhe was solely by racial animus. how in the world do you prove that? but that's the law. that's what they are constrained with. similarly, that case wasn't necessarily lost in the trial court because of poor lawyering. it was lost because the law says that you can exercise your right the sort ofnse in irrational way that zimmerman did. was lost because people didn't pay attention when bills were in the state legislature. that's why that case was lost.
in some sense civil rights has to be viewed in a broader context and we have to put pressure on very many actors in the system in order to get to a peoplehat i think most of goodwill would be comfortable in. having said that, this administration done everything that it's could've done given the limitations just articulated? i think that answer is no as well. >> grade. thanks. hi everybody. i'm going to try to think about -- i've never believed that we can really understand civil rights without understanding that also and at the same time with civil liberties. the things that i really want to are about right now
guantanamo torture and drone strikes. these are three really important in so many ways have expanded and gotten worse in the last eight years. i'm sure there's a few lefties in here. ran on a promise to close guantanamo. over the last six months he has made finally huge important moves to actually close guantanamo. he will leave office and it will not be closed. for seven full years he released less people who are cleared for release that were sitting in guantanamo than president bush did. i think it's very important. people have not already been cleared by all national security agencies are in oftentimes many attorneys down there have argued is because of a lack of will on his part. aboutmportant to think
militarization abroad and also different forms of torture in guantanamo and before that. the reason i think it's important to think about that not just waterboarding because we know that is something important to end. these different forms of torture. i think it's important to think about what is going on in guantanamo not just as something that is going on somewhere else in the world but because so many of our tactics practiced abroad always come home to roost. when we think about the militarization of local police departments it is often because of extra surplus and which we had budgets for that is then used domestically. methods, ideasat of how to get information and interrogate individuals, some of those tactics have been practiced abroad and brought home.
we can't really ignore what happens in guantanamo and other areas of the world and not think about what's going on here. the other thing we could talk the deportation in chief is the drone king. barack obama in his first year in office we know that he inherited two ugly wars. he also expanded dramatically a covert one. dramatically expanded drone strikes in pakistan and expanded it in yemen and somalia. many civilians have died. as a result of these drone strikes. heldovernment has not been accountable for these significant losses in human life. the other thing i think is going onportant
without me saying it explosively and talking about guantanamo and these drone strikes is also the marginalization of muslim communities here. effects also been a side of our policies abroad. exchangehis horrible in the last debate in which hillary clinton and trump responded to this question in which a citizen raised about the danger that many muslim ifricans feel and what either one of them was president what they do to protect and/or repair this harm. it's like, we are going to put muslim americans on the frontline and they are going to report. no no no no. that's not the question.