tv Race Religion and Immigration CSPAN July 7, 2017 9:04pm-10:09pm EDT
i cling to this vision. i cling to this vision in my efforts to overcome a feeling of for the plight of the inner-city poor. thank you for being so attentive. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] that you missed any of conversation with william julius wilson, you can what you any time on our website at c-span.org. next, a panel from the ethics
--ter, looking at ethnics looking at ethics and religion. this is about an hour. >> good evening, everybody, and welcome. my name is simon longstaff. director ofcutive the ethics center and along with our partners which is a network of australians dotted around the world, the carnegie council on ethics and international affairs, i would like to welcome you all here to this session within our program, shades of red and blue. the reason why we have convened
this session, that is our partners have been because we think it is essential to bring together sometimes for the first time people who this to be did across the political spectrum within which -- spectrum within which there is little by way of conversation -- and a lot of shouting at people. we are all facing issues of profound importance which we think are better addressed by allowing for moments of principled disagreement, moments when people of conviction from different perspectives might come together and respectfully engage. of all the topics we will be talking about between the course of this day, one of the most sensitive is that which is going to be addressed this afternoon. he for i go to the panel, a -- now before i go to the panel, a couple of housekeeping things, if you are a person who tweets
and feel encouraged to do that, we have managed to come up with the world's longest #. #shadesofredandble. your thumbs will get a good exercise with that. -- #shadesofredandblue. you notice that the table is set with two empty chairs. if you're new to this, about half an hour into the process, the chair will open the table so if you are in the audience and you feel you would like to take a seat at the table, albeit a temporary seat, then you are most welcome to do so. either to ask a question or make a comment. but do not linger. not because you're not welcome but because there will be other people quite likely who would like to take the same opportunity. they won't be able to do that until i can to up your the -- they can cap you on the shoulder and know that you will give way. you will be joining an extraordinary group of people
who got some great depth of wisdom and insight. i will not go through their biographies, some of them you will know already by reputation, some are quite famous and others you will be meeting for the first time. but you'll be speaking with derek green -- they will be chaired by a fellow australian. so, it is good to have another aussie in the chair. would you please welcome them all? and i will now hand over to josh. [applause] >> thank you, everyone. thank you for joining. thank you to the panelists for what we hope will be an open, frank and fair debate on difficult issues. the first issue is that of race. race and racial categories have been long debated, have evolved over time and changed. race has been based on religion, it has been based on geography,
and has been based on attributes such as color and it has been based on language. the oxford english dictionary talks about race being around physical attributes but also associated with cultural identity. me personally, i think i am an australian, obviously by the accident, identify as an australian culturally but my parents were born in sri lanka. but i was born in africa. so when i encounter race, race in america to us is a different construct to race in australia and other countries. indian, brown, black, lankan, among other things. in this topic as we discuss race and race related issues it is
important to understand the context in which we are discussing this to define what is race, who are the racial groups we are about, and then after how do we address the issues in these groups. can you help i defining race? -- can you help by defining race for us? [laughter] >> i intend in my five minutes not only to define race but also to resolve all racial conflict. [laughter] >> so, if you can start the timer now, prepare to be amazed. to the idea of race and the nuances that you just gave. it is inherently and implicitly contrary to the american understanding of race to approach it with the nuance you afforded it because it is intended to be a blunt instrument. it was created for the purpose
of inscribing and reinforcing social hierarchy. and so talking about your ancestry and talking about how people categorize you, how people grouped you, my response is this. two weeks ago in a place, kansas , a gentleman shouted in a bar, get out of my country, shot two individuals, only in his mind categorized as iranian. they actually were of indian descent. this is a distinction without a difference to him, his thinking. at the same time, we would have said this is a terrific incident, we could look act in -- look back in wisconsin and say the individual who killed six people in a sikh temple believing them to be muslim, again for him, a distinction without much of a difference.
we can go through the entire catalog, also in kansas when there was the attack on the jewish cultural center and the person shot two people, all of whom were christians who happened to be attending an event at the jewish cultural center. if we do not understand how race operates in america, we would think that these were contrary actions and contrary behaviors. but the entire point of it is to not have to do with nuance to simply say as you understand it in the united states the , category of people who are deemed to be superior and a category of people who can be excluded from the benefits of democracy. and when we talk about how intractable this idea is, it does not have any biological basis. we know that it is inherently intangible and self-contradictory, but it has the durability that can only be explained by the fact that it is still useful, it still serves the purpose that was intended to serve.
as long as that purpose exists, as long as it is profitable to divide people in this way, as long as these social hierarchies exist and we are looking for reasons to justify them we will still have this irrational but present and determinate and powerful force called race in american society. >> did you want to add to that? >> he brings up a lot of good points. the thing with race in america today is that we have -- we are starting to finally move past this white-black binary that has characterized the country for 200 years. so, i think it is good that we are getting past that binary to see how race affects more than just whites. but the nuance he speaks of is needed. the reason we do not speak with nuance when it comes to race
because there is too many political agendas that are going to be endangered if we speak with that nuance. the way the political conversation has gone is it is easier to put people in categories, very firm categories where there is no flexibility, simply for advocating a particular message on a number of different issues. if we are going to transcend that, this is a good place to start to embrace nuance, to say that sometimes political agendas at the expense of the individual and groups of people are not really worth it. we have to move past that. i agree with parts of what you said. the reason it is there is there is too much at stake. >> and then who defines it? >> it depends, blacks have different -- defined himself internally to counter how blacks externally, soed that is another tension that exists.
it is a both and. >> to add one thing to that, i have a white great-grandmother. which accounts for exactly nothing in my relationship to race in this country. i jokingly -- jokingly said to someone you could be pulled over by a police officer and say, this is embarrassing, you think i am black. i have a white great-grandmother, actually. i get this all the time. [laughter] >> that that is what i mean about the bluntness of it. it is not meant to actually make sense in a particular way. >> i would say that as we move beyond the binary of black and white and we start incorporating latinos and in my case i identify as latina, so who is identifying which is actually not a race but in this case in the u.s. it is considered a
race. complicated, nonetheless. but i identify as latina, so when we move into these spaces where there is a lack of understanding, what needs to happen now is we need to start to have what i like to call bearing discussions around these there a gray issues, in which people can ask questions, be uncertain, make mistakes and how you aren't into buying and saying -- make mistakes into how you are identifying and saying. we have seen once again how race has reared its head, specifically on november 8, on the backs of brown people, latinos in particular, and muslims in particular. we are seeing the history of the united states play out once again before our eyes.
the question becomes for each individual, how do we interact with this cycle? do we do what has been done before? what do we differently? what can we do individually and in a community? that is where i am in regards to questions about race, discussions about race, and particularly where we are today about race. >> thank you. >> a number of points. a lot of points have been made, and it is incredibly complex, so i want to say on the onset that there is nothing easy about the question you raise. let me take one angle on this.
since brown versus board of education in 1954, the country -- this country has been committed to overcome a couple hundred years of very severe racism, discrimination against african americans, also hispanics and native americans. but of course, african-american discrimination was the focus of brown versus board of education. that has been a commitment that has resonated through the decades, but especially in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's period. virtually every nation -- every state in the nation committed to a diverse student body. to do that, there is explicit consideration of race and ethnicity in the admissions process of every selective university in the country. that has resulted in an enormous amount of benefits for this society. there is a contrary view, of
course, which will undoubtedly be expressed here, that it is complicated. every university has committed itself to that to this day. there is a sense within the higher education community that there is meaning behind the term race and ethnicity. and it continues to follow a practice that i think -- a result that i think is not that confusing in the real world. that is, when you talk about admissions and race in ethnicity -- and ethnicity, it does not get confused in the way you begin the question. ok, that is where the constitutional law is. that is where the practice of colleges and universities is. at the same time, there is a desire to recognize that the population of people is a lot more complicated than that.
you have constitutional law, you have policies at that level, and that can be spread out over every single institution in this society. layered on that is a desire to see the world in a more complex way. those are happening simultaneously. in essence, i think that is good because both are struggling with the reality of cap -- of past, present. what there is another fact of life, which is how you present yourself as a much more complex individual. that has a lot of social meaning, too. we need to see the world in a much more complex way.
i am just pointing out what i see as a very deep tension in the ways in which we are struggling with this simultaneous reality. it is not one reality, it is to realities. -- two realities. >> to take something you said about education, which is significant in your experience at the university of michigan, at what point does affirmative action stop eating required? -- stop being required? at one point does it start becoming do you think discriminatory and you think sometimes affirmative action may work to the detriment of people who are not influenced by that. if you are an asian-american who goes to a university and there
is affirmative action, everyone is painted the same brush. they receive a much easier route, unfairly so. and do you think that breeds resentment? as well? >> there are a lot of things in what you just said. >> sorry about that. veryain, it is a very, complicated thing which i devoted a good part of my life to advocating and being part of and you mentioned the case i was in that arose out of the lawsuit out of the university of michigan and me personally along with a number of other people. the supreme court has upheld twice in the past 15 years the university, public universities and it applies to private universities, it is constitutional to take into
account race and ethnicity purposes of developing a diverse body for better education for all of those students. i happen to believe that it started with the case in 1980, and i don't want to give a legal lecture here, but we have separated out diversity as having an educational purpose and as having a remedy purpose of past discussion. the latter is not permitted as an argument. i think that has been a mistake. i think it takes it out of the historical context, and you can only understand this in a historical context. ok. that is the first point. you ask me the main question, has this worked? ok. i believe deeply it has worked. i think it has brought immigration into the judiciary and the united states. it has brought into calloused -- into countless other parts of society.
to me, we have young people educated in an environment that was not racially and ethically diverse or internationally diverse or geographically diverse or any other number of ways in which we tried to achieve diversity as reflective of the world. i think it works in large part because there are different life experiences people bring to any institution, in this case, the higher education institution. i think it definitely works. it has worked. it has been a major advance in american society. have there been costs to doing this? i mean, i think the answer has to be yes. the strongest argument against affirmative action that i have ever heard it the argument -- is the argument that we have spent centuries trying to arrive at a point where public decision-making and private decision-making, but mainly public, would not take race into account, that that would be regarded as a wrong thing to do.
it is wrong to segregate children according to race and public education. ok, we did that. here, you're asking for an exception because it is for a good purpose. it is direct bypass this termination, educate people in a diverse environment. if you have an extension that will make it more difficult to have a very firm rule in the society that we should not take race into account, that is a strong argument. there is another argument, which you raised. that it makes people resentful or makes people feel badly, etc., who are the beneficiaries of affirmative action. almost everybody is the beneficiary of a permanent -- affirmative action of some form. i was the beneficiary of affirmative action because i
came from portland, a rural place in oregon. i am sure i got geographic affirmative-action when i was admitted into columbia law school. i loved the statement of secretary powell when this issue came up in the affirmative action cases i was part of. he said, look, i feel badly because i got a benefit going into college. i will take the extra money i earned and i will hire a psychiatrist to help me with that problem. [laughter] >> i mean, there are lots of things to say about this. it's very complex. >> i also think on a personal note with regards to the question of if affirmative action works, i am a product of government action. -- affirmative action. i came to this country to be reunited with my father. i came with my mother and brother. very soon after we arrived, my father abandoned us. he told my mother he was going to get a job, and he never came back. he left my mom with two kids, no language no family here, $300 in , our pocket. we were homeless. i lived on welfare. i lived in section eight housing. my mom worked 70 hours a week at a fast food restaurant.
somehow, someway, she did what so many immigrants before her did, which is she worked and hardly ever saw her children, but she got my brother and i to college. first through community college in california, but i will never forget my first day at ucla. i was nervous as all hell because i was 20 when i transferred into ucla. as a transfer student, i had to take a freshman class on general education i had to catch up on. it was a small class, 20 people. there was a white guy who answered a question that the teacher had asked. he spoke in such a way that i honestly did not know what he was saying. it is funny now, but then, i was thinking that i do not understand what he was saying because of his vocabulary.
at that moment, i thought to myself, oh my god, i am going to fail ucla. i am going to fail my mother. i cannot do this. that is the experience of many students in college, particularly if you are transferring into the university. i, even at the top of my class in high school and my community college, i had so much catching up to do with my peers at ucla. that is why affirmative action for me personally worked because it allowed me to go into that space. and allow me to be with people that for x, y, z reasons were smarter than me, not smarter than me, but we were all on a level playing field. at my own desires some extra studies, pursuit, i was able to graduate, get my masters, etc., but that is a small personal example of why affirmative action for me was crucial to being able to sit at this table with these gentlemen and with you all in this room. >> very briefly, i do want to say that when we talk about affirmative action, we talk about it flowing in one direction. in order for the resentment that
the program has sometimes generated, there is a limit to exist and people color being given something, you have to cook the books and not look at what people of color are having taken away from this. if you are a person who arrived at a university in through some formula wind up being a benefit to you -- it winds up being a benefit to you, this person was more likely to have died because of infant mortality. this person with more likely to have attended a substandard school correlated with race. they are more likely to be arrested, have tried to run against them, and be convicted for the same thing a white person might be guilty of more likely to receive a lengthy
than a web person who does have -- than a white person who does have a criminal record. we know that to be a case. we cooked the books. we can go on about this. if week of the books and remove all these obstacles, it looks like a giveaway. on the other side of it, we ignore the benefits, the kind of social momentum that has come from what a colleague at columbia called in his book on affirmative action, generations and decades set aside for white people. my father had a third grade education. he grew up in a segregated town in georgia. and if we were to look at the university of georgia, and my father was the smartest man i ever knew, but if we were to look at the university of georgia for the year my father turned 18 or 28 or 38, all of the graduates for that institution would have been white. and no one would ever say that the young men who graduated from that institution never had to compete against my father. and so, when we are looking at the attempts to counterbalance what is a historical force with a great deal of momentum, we have to look at the entirety of the situation if we want to have an honest assessment of it. >> i have a number of issues
with affirmative action, the way that affirmative action has played out currently. i think that if we are trying to -- i would like to see in my lifetime that affirmative action is irrelevant. and what i mean by that is not to be trying to make it more historical this nation for covering for the fact that blacks are served substandard education in underperforming schools, but get to the essence of black academic development. see, one of the things government action does not address is black academic the moment in his primary and secondary stages. it is trying to make up for what black children particularly black communities lack. it is impossible to do that. so that is why i disagree with the way a permanent action has -- way affirmative action has carried out is because it does not address the root cause of why we need affirmative action. it does nothing proactive
element. -- nothing for black development. now that we know that blacks are going to be admitted into these institutions, particularly colleges and universities, and we will not get into employment quite yet, but if they go they are going to get in or get special points for being black, they do not try as hard. what that does is that undermines the ability to compete with their multiethnic peers. if they have all false safety net, they are not going to take the risks and sacrifice we have seen many asian students do on a daily basis. rather than hanging out with friends or playing video games, we see a lot of the students go to the library, particularly those with english as a second language. they come here and master english and graduate with 3.0, 4.0, 5.0's. that's not in black culture and i think we've all safety net for vast blacks from challenging ourselves and being able to compete on the level of white and asian peers.
i am not saying it will happen this generation, but at the same time, when are we going to address the very beginning to give people resources to be successful outside of a set aside. i disagree with it because it stigmatizes black accomplishment, even black accomplishment who were not helped by a government action. so how many of you would choose a doctor knowing that person was a beneficiary of affirmative action? now the ones who said they woud, would you have that person operate on yourself, knowing they were a product of affirmative action? it just has a very negative way of stigmatizing black achievement, accomplishment, and that stigma is carried around for the duration of the academic and economic lives. so, if we want to talk about
policies, we can talk about that, but i think affirmative action, the way it has carried out, does not do that. and i think it actually creates more problems than it tends to solve. >> a 10 second response. arthur ashe that there will be complete equality in america when the black person could be completely mediocre and still be an astounding success. the second part of this is, what if that doctor were white? why we presumably see a black person that they are a beneficiary of affirmative action? never ask that question about whether or not that that is the whole point -- not -- that is the whole point. why is the way person not stigmatized? we are talking about the achievement of asian-american students. we use this language of pathology around african-american achievement. we do not say what is wrong with white students? why are they underachieving?
where are their fathers? are they watching too much tv? >> i don't think talking about them in the same way, talking about it in the same language would address the problems that blacks continue to suffer disproportionately. >> these are important points that you're raising. look at it this way. i think this is what he is trying to say. many people in the admissions process receive some kind of special consideration because of where they come from, arizona, or they come from belgium, africa. so, the admissions process takes into account a lot of different things. race and ethnicity are simply two among many. legacies.
we all know the stories of children of alumni have some special consideration at every college, university, including mine. the question, and the differences, by the way, are not that significant. i mean, the qualifications of the students, african-american and others, coming in are unbelievable. they are in the very top category of young people given what we have. the point is the stigma is the result of racism. that is, it is the result of a society that views this in a racist kind of way, which is the problem that leads to the policy being justified. so, it is not the result. >> real quick. >> this is a panel on affirmative action, isn't it?
>> the core of what i'm saying is, it seems to be addressing the reclamation with more authority than getting to the ethics of black development. >> ok. >> let's move on to the question of religion. religion is obviously a very tense subject. because it is never just about muslims and christians. even in the 1800s among christian groups, you find catholics versus protestants. irish catholics vs. polish catholics vs. italian catholics. from the 1800s or maybe even longer until the time of jfk, was the concern of protestants that catholics believed in the
church and by extension of that, the pope, but for the government. it was not until jfk came into power when he talked about separation of church and state. he formalized that as a catholic. that sort of dialogue started to occur much earlier, but started to be formalized. do you think that in today's terms, do we need to again ensure that people committed to their country and their government and the culture and identity of the country before religion? i speak specifically of two examples, say in france, where we have the burka ban and the
discussion around french ideals versus the islamic arabic ones and their culture. do you think that something that needs to be reinforced? do you think that acts like the religious freedom act or the religious freedom restoration act almost states that a step back, back to dedication to religion before country? >> i think it is very hard to ask people to put their country first when their country actually is not putting them first, when their country is attacking them, using them as scapegoats, demonizing them, and in many cases, murdering them. so i think it is a complicated and unfair question in many respects. yeah, i'll just leave it at that. >> here is what i find troubling. i think that there is a kind of litmus we are asking of muslim communities, which are based in a kind of idea of collective guilt.
and so, we rarely hear this idea of collective guilt applied to people who are marginal in society. one of the most interesting instances of this was in the boston marathon bombing of 2013, i think this was. when the uncle of the tsarnaevs was on the television talking about his nephews and said they were losers and kind of denounced them, but he said something in a way that we would not be accustomed to hearing most groups in the u.s. think, but in a way that is very familiar to african-americans, to latinos, to muslims. he said his nephew's actions had caused consequences for chechens. he made chechens look bad. it was the kind of thing that was immediately legible to people understand, saying if a
black person commits a crime, i am going to be held in some ways guilty for that. and for a society committed to the idea of individual rights, this is obviously a contradiction. and so, i reject the idea that we should primarily ask muslims to show their loyalty because it is based on the perception that they are not loyal or less loyal, or that there is some sort of connection between a person who is muslim who commits a horrendous, heinous act of terrorism and someone else who happens to share their faith as opposed to, for instance, in the shooting of the pulse nightclub where donald trump made this assessment of him having done this as a result of him being muslim, but he is also from queens. as is donald trump. as am i.
and so, i think it is kind of the lines we are accustomed to saying how we assign blame. >> i will allow you to go last because i know you have a lot to say. how about yourself? >> i mean, this is a terrible thing to think that muslims have to have some kind of test of loyalty, which is really what i think this is. it is a long, shameful tradition in this country and other countries, where groups who are at a particular moment viewed with fear or looked down on and are made to have to express their loyalty and some kind of form. it is just a sad history to this. if you look at the immigration policies that the united states -- of the united states over the past couple hundred years, this
has just been an enduring theme. anytime the country gets frightened about something, feels threatened, immediately you go after dissenters. freedom of speech is built around laws trying to censor and stop people who have minority views that people do not like. but coupled with that is always antagonism toward immigrant groups. so it is the alien and sedition act of 1798. it's the chinese exclusion act of the 1860's. it's the aliens red scare period of the post-world war i era. so it's a very, very bad and discouraging part of american history.
>> for most people, religion transcends a sense of nationalism. and so, christians, muslims, we all hold intention, adherence to our religious beliefs and obedience to the laws of the country in which we live. i am not saying we should have people prioritize nationalism over their religion because a lot of religious people would find that idolatrous. but what i am saying is that if we are going to have people regardless of their religious background and religious beliefs into the country to take advantage of warts and all, american society, we have to hold in better tension our religious believes and the laws of the country in which we seek to prosper. and so i think that -- i am not asking them to violate anything, any heartfelt religious beliefs, but i think we need to have some
sort of open and honest dialogue about some religions at a more difficult problem doing that and others. it is not to demonize the entire religion by any stretch, but i think there is certain problems we can address. it is not have their issues as well, but we are going to have this type of freedom in terms of allowing people to participate in their religious beliefs, sincere religious beliefs, we have to give them the latitude to do that within the bounds of the law. they should not be a violation of other people's say spaces and that type of thing or physical safety. it just shouldn't. >> we would like to open up the floor to anyone who elect to ask questions -- who would like to ask questions. so if you want to come down to the corner, you are welcome to do so. talking about immigration and integration, one of the commonly held beliefs is integration into
-- is fear of integration into society, obviously not necessarily justifiable, but there is that fear. how can we address that? are we willing to accept all cultures and immigrants regardless of background? >> i think we have a habit of doing that. i don't think there is a problem doing that. what i would like to see is that when we are going to allow people to come in regardless of where they are from, we need to take seriously the problems that some of the cultures represented by the people coming in have a resistance to integration. and i don't want to get to the point where we help organize centers of people -- we have vulcanized centers of people, and societies saying that is ok.
i don't think that we emphasize integration enough in this country. we don't have people who feel marginalized. it is not to say they have to completely eliminate everything from the culture they brought in, but they have to integrate into society at the very least to reduce the feelings of marginalization and anger. >> so the marginalization is the result of their feelings and subjective ideas is actually a real line for people. to your point, if we were to look at the know nothing party of the 1850's or the anti-catholic hysteria, people
believed catholics were inherently heirarchal because of the pope, and it was a structure against american society, that people cannot be integrated into american society. if we look at theodore roosevelt in the beginning of the 20th century, all of these people who were coming to the united states were not fit for democracy because democracy was generally the prerogative of white anglo-saxons. germans and brits could do it, but we had no idea why the italians and irish were capable of functioning in democracy. but what we are actually looking at is an antique prejudice that despite evidence to the contrary has irrationally maintained a grip in american society and has been continually useful the -- useful for marginalization of people. not saying, why have people maintain ideas that keep the marginalized?
why are we looking at people and finding invaluable to keep them on the margins in the first place? >> i have to pause. this will come up in some of the questions. welcome. if you do, announce and ask yourself. -- announce yourself. >> my name is eileen. i have been here all day. i do not know if it is blood sugar or the power of this particular discussion, it has its own particular rising of an emotional response. what comes to mind for me across the board, whether it is race, religion, our country, i don't know what i really think or know, but my sense is that it's not this religion, is not that religion. for me, i am challenged by fundamentalism in whatever group
there is. and that this principle-based. so, separation of church and state. right? my spirit feels encroached upon by, um, i mean to say a lack of generosity is not really accurate, but among discrete groups. it seems difficult to find a unifying principle of common ground that can be applied. golden rule kind of stuff in a way.
and that's true it seems for religion. and why don't religious principles, golden rule principles, why don't they also extend to an understanding of the dynamics of race and the focuses of the three things in this discussion, immigration as well? >> thanks for your comment. ask your question and throw it to the panel. >> my question is about things you are talking about in terms of letting in group. there is a contrast, france versus the u.s., i wonder if there is a risk of almost in a sense throwing the baby out with the bathwater. like, you see, in france, it is a version of separation of church and state reinforcing muslim immigrants to choose are
we french or are we muslim? and so on. the contast in the u.s. is better and you can analyze this. we see a number of american groups joining radical groups. maybe there is a danger in going too far almost national security is important, but we are in danger of losing what makes us great. >> thank you. >> um, i think that is a very good point that when we move into any sort of extreme or any sort of fundamentalist points of view that there is danger in that. the intricacies and details of our democracy as well as culture
gets -- and i am constantly -- gets flattened out. i think we are constantly, i am constantly fighting as a woman, as a woman of color to not only be noticed, but to be noticed in an equal standing point. when we were at the women's march, when we were putting together our policy platform, which we call the point of unity document, there was a lot of pushback and a lot of misguided questions around why our point of unity document was talking about race. why it was talking about immigration. why it was talking about poverty. why are these issues being discussed here? we should be talking about reproductive rights and justice, not immigration.
and the pushback was very severe because people wanted women in this moment in time to fit into a box, and what we were saying was that actually, no, all of these issues are women's issues, and you cannot make me choose between being a woman or being an immigrant, or being a woman and being muslim. i am one of the same. that is me. i will not choose. i think that is to me, one of the reasons why the women's march was so successful in that we were able to educate on a mass level around this idea that is not a new idea around intersectionality, but in a way to people that most of my never understood the concept or had come into conflict with that concept.
our innate nature as human beings is to not fit in a box. and when governments or someone is trying to push us in there, we will fight, and sometimes that fight will lead to unfortunate places. obviously i am not condoning that, but i am saying that we can't force people to choose between who they innately are. >> very quickly, the only thing i would say because a lot of issues, it is extremely important to realize that being tolerant, that choosing free speech, choosing pluralistic societies, choosing to live, it is very hard to do these things.
it is just not the natural human impulse. that is why you have laws, constitutional principles. that is why we expect leaders not to fan antagonisms between groups and to ignite the natural tendencies of people to be intolerant. i mean, you cannot look at the history of this country or any country and not come to the conclusion that it's really hard work to live and benefit from a pluralistic environment. it is a deep principle of the united states that we would be better because of that. >> thank you. if i could ask you. >> sure. >> hi. class of 2002 from columbia. i want to say hi. i also am a new republican, african-american descendent of a filipina. i became a republican last year. frankly, i felt totally not
welcome, no offense, at your women's march. and for some reason, i was excited to see -- i was looking forward to coming to this discussion, but i feel very disappointed because when derek was talking about what we are facing, you heard jeers in the audience. i never felt marginalized until i became a republican, until i had a trump sticker on my car. i lost a best friend over this election because i had not broken out of that box that people still think i had to be in. i never felt freer than as a black republican coming back to the republican party. because those are conversations
i have thought through and chosen to fight through. my question is, is there space for actual discourse, or do you have to still remain with the in crowd in order to feel black enough. people question my blackness now because i'm a republican. i said, i went to howard law. you can't take that away for me. i just really hope in 2017 -- i am also a child of september 11, so unfortunately, i cannot get away from the fact that i still can't go downtown far enough because of what actually happened, based on religious reasons. we have to be holistic. and i would implore us -- if we can't have these conversations in the united states in an open environment, then i don't know where we can have them. >> thank you. [applause] >> very quickly, let's move onto
this gentleman. >> i would actually say, we are having this conversation. we're talking to someone from "the other side." >> who is from the other side? i was trying to figure out. >> you are here. i'm saying we are having a discussion based on that you were able to come to this table, state your opinion, and then discussion. i agree with you that one of our biggest problems in this country at this point in time is that we cannot discuss, we cannot have civil conversations around issues that we disagree upon, being broken are up and relationships are being lost. i know several friends on the same case on the same issue, but they are not speaking to family .embers who voted for trump it is an unfortunate reality of how divided we are.
to continuege you to have those discussions thatse it is the only way on a person level we will be able to heal, and the country needs to heal in order to be able to move forward because the way in which we are moving i see asight now is only disastrous, and i do want to correct one thing because i think it is important -- i also moved to new york two days before 9/11 to go to grad school . i don't think 9/11 was religion based. been a religious fundamentalism, but that's not the reason why it was done. in my eyes, it's around our international policies towards the middle east.
>> i think my question is a bit more policy-based, but the argument came up that affirmative action at the sort of tooevel is late of an intervention to make up for 12 years or more of inequality in education systems, but then the argument also came up that the problem with affirmative action is stigmatizing. i think the alternative to a university level affirmative action, the sort of obvious alternative would be an early intervention at, like, preschool , primary level, and i don't know if that exists. if that exists and why we wait until folks are 18 to make afford. also, if there was an early intervention that was race-based, would that also be stigmatizing, and would that be an alternative?
>> you are both right. it really is important to have worked at the preschool, young -- it is not too late in my view, and it is our responsibility to do what we can to try to build a better society, but i agree with you completely. to try toe better work on this at a younger age as well. when it is not happening, we are where we are now. >> really quickly, when we talk about affirmative action, we should be mindful we think of affirmative action as a kind of higher order of liberalism. that's not what it was. affirmative action arose at a point when people were demanding sweeping systemic change. it was a stopgap, something meant to forestall even bigger social problems, even bigger social changes, let's just a. the objective of it was never to thewe're going to deal with
systemic issues with this, but they saw really talented people like still quick carmichael, who outside the system were trying to burn it down, and they were we want those people inside the system trying to benefit it. the problem they were angry hast in the first place largely gone unaddressed. it did not go to the roots of why education has reigned as an equal as it is, why helping has remained as unequal as it has, why the american cities are more segregated than they were in 1954 when brown versus board of education came about. so that is where we are. we are arguing about affirmative meant as af it were liberal panacea. it was not that. >> real quick, that's the difference between what it was meant to do in the way it is
carried out now. to your point, i think if we were going to get seriously active on trying to make any educational system for poor black children early on, and not just poor black children, but they are the ones consistently underserved, but whites in rural communities as well. i don't think a lot of people would disagree with that type of action if it were sincere. the problem is we get a lot of lip service to it and do not do anything about it. as long as teachers unions are going to be a source of a jobs program for teachers and do not take the needs and wants of children first, they do not start addressing those things, we will continue to have this conversation the next five or 10 years. we actually need to get into the system to allow these poor children to have the opportunity at better education. that means restructuring the educational system from the
ground up. >> and you are right -- the audience should not jeer when points are being made. but people feel very, very passionately, and i think appropriately so, about the issues of trump. i think the point is we should not ignore each other. we should be together. that's why i came here today. >> thank you. [applause] you are part of this, too. it is remarkable. i think when you are talking, you are telling your story. this, of course, cuts very deep for individuals. it is not just an interesting policy question. it goes right to the heart of experience. we are going to break now for half an hour. we will resume the discussion
about the media and fake news. before we go, i would like to thank everyone at the table, everyone in the audience. [applause] thank you so much. thank you. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 19 79, c-span was created as america'service by cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite providers. ♪
"washington journal" life every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning, the president of the american foreign-policy council on president trump's first g-20 summit. also, a senior policy attorney discussing the travel ban implementation and legislative actions against sexuality cities. then "nation" contributor talks about her recent investigation and article on the resentencing of juveniles serving life in prison. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern saturday morning. join the discussion. leaders from the world's top 20 major industrialized and emerging countries met in hamburg, germany. among those leaders, president donald trump and russian president vladimir putin. they met for the first time since president