tv Face the Nation CBS January 1, 2017 8:30am-9:01am PST
>> dickerson: today on "face the nation", on the first day of 2017, a look at america. >> on this new year's day we will explore the challenges facing our divided country, and what can be done to forge more unity in 20 speech. >> 2017. >> first a book panel with isabel wilkerson who wrote the warmth of other suns, j.d. vance, author of hillbilly elegy, actor diane guerrero, the author of in the country we love, and amani al-khatahtbeh, who wrote muslim girl, a coming of age. then a panel discussion with journalist michele norris of the race card project, jeffrey goldberg, editor of the atlantic, "washington post" columnist michael gerson and atlantic columnist david frum, all ahead on "face the nation".
good morning and welcome captioning sponsored by cbs to "face the nation". i am john dickerson. happy new year. we begin 2017 with a look ahead to what is in store for our nation .. we have gathered four authors who have written about the many faces of america about the differences that divide us as well as the common experiences that can unite us a, unite us, unite us as one, isabel wilkerson is the author of the warmth of other suns, a history of the great migration of african americans from the rural south to the industrial north in the 20th century, j.d. vance has written hillbilly elegy, a memoir of his upbringing in the rust belt heartland the part of the country that proved crucial to donald trump's electoral victory, diane guerrero is in the author in the country we love, memoir of her experience as a child of undocumented immigrants who were door deported when she was a teenager she is an actor you might reflect her from orange is the new black and has served
president obama as ambassador in citizenship and naturalization and amani al-khatahtbeh is the author of muslim girl, a coming of age, muslim woman in the aftermath of 9/11 and the creator of the muslim girl and features other muslim millennials, thanks for sharing your heart of the american experience. j.d. vance i will start with you, you call yourself a hillbilly, what sat hillbilly? >> well, i think it is somebody with some attachment to the broad region of appalachia, whether they grew up there like my grandparents or the descendants of people who migrated from there and a pejorative in some way if it is used from the outside but mamaw always said if used by people inside the family that is over, my grandmother. >> dickerson: diane, you say you write in your book 0 deported long before i fully understood what that word meant i learned to dread it. >> yeah. it was a topic of conversation in my household every day and
since i was a kid, my parents knew i had to be prepared of the possibility of them being deported one day, so i lived my life that way. >> dickerson: and you write that you were nine years old after 9/11, amani, and obviously traumatic for the nation, what was it like for your family? >> well, i mean, that year was the same year i heard my first racial sure, so it was definitely very a huge turk point for my family, our house gotti peed and egg, the flea market where my dad worked launched petition to kick all of the muslims out and we moved to jordan for a short period of time, and i discovered in writing the book, my dad -- >> dickerson: and isabel, let me ask you, you write about the great migration. so much that was changed in america as a result of that, everything from jazz to the blues to the way the neighborhoods are designed.
this line really stood out to me though, more than that this was the first big step the nation servant class ever took without asking. how does that start? how did this millions of people moving, why did it start? >> well, i think that first of all, migration is not really about migration it is about freedom and how far people are willing to go to achieve it which bind all of us the together as americans, but this great migration i have written about gives you a window into a caste system that existed in the south and actually radiates also throughout our culture and even into the north, and in that world it was actually against the law for a black person and a white person to play checkers together, you could d go to jai, it was against the law for african americans to pass a white motorist on the road. these are examples of the arcane nature of the caste system that we lived with even to this day,
in many respects. >> dickerson: amani you moved away because of islamophobia, and then the family came back, why? >> my family came back because my mom became ill in jordan so we took the family here, i think that experience opened my eyes to the stark contrast between the reality in the middle east, how things were on the ground as compared to how they are being misrepresented in western media. and upon my return, that was kind of my personal goal was, oh, my god i have to open the eyes to this, do something to create change in that way, and also when i returned from jordan i was the wearing a head scarf which was a huge difference for me because i noticed a major shift in the way people treated me, the way that my friends regarded me, and the way that total strangers would behave towards me in public. >> dickerson: you write about growing up in a family where you were always under this, because your parents were undocumented this kind of sense of fear that
the word deported hanging over, what did the american dream look like from inside of that growing up period? >> a -- immigration reform, i always hoped my parents could find that so we could stay together and i always hoped we wouldn't be create separated, and we were of. >> dickerson: the american dream was basically just citizenship. >> yes, it was very simple, it was just staying together. sometimes it is as basic as that. >> dickerson: j.d., you say in the introduction to the book you write those of us lucky enough to live the american dream the demons of life continue to chase us, what does that mean? >> well for me it means you don't just all of a sudden get maybe money or nice credential and all of a sudden everything you learned, every habit you acquired, every familiar relationship you have goes away because both the people upward mobile brings you in contact with, whether professors or new
social circles but also the pep who you moved away from in some ways, they continue to pull and push in different ways and say you always, so you always feel in some way i think like you left people that you loved the most behind but also you are not totally an insider in this new place you joined. >> dickerson: your history is always attached to you. >> yes, absolutely, you want it tto be attached to you es, thats the contradiction you don't want to leave that behind but also recognize the history makes you a little bit different to the people you are coming in contact with. >> dickerson: isabel does that sound familiar, the thousands of people you interviewed that feeling of having a history in one place but being, as you said, desperately anxious to get away from that place? >> absolutely, when these people left they went along beautifully predictable streams of migration which is what immigrants do throughout the world, they often, they had to plot, plan and strategize in order to leave, it was also often difficult and dangerous for them to leave the jim crow south because there were efforts to keep them there, because they served as the backbone of the economy, and they often were
faced with, with violence and arrest if they sought to board some of those northbound trains, so they were, when they left, they had to experience great dislocation and then try to find a way for themselves in these alien big cities of the north and midwest and many carried the same culture with them. >> dickerson: i was struggling, you talked about the american dream, you said by their actions they did not dream the american dream, they willed it into being, by a definition of their own choosing. this idea that the american dream is not something that is sort of on your drive but something you have to make yourself. >> that's a critical part of the line in the book, because this is the only group of americans that had to act like immigrants in order to be recognized as citizens, and their dreams and their goals and what they were leaving for and what they were hoping for are the same thing that many, any american who lived thon soil wanted and the goal we are facing right now is
to see our share of humanity, and, you know, we talk a lot about diversity but i think we should talk more about commonality, i think we are very aware of the things that make us different, i don't think we realize enough what makes us the same and what makes us, our hearts beat the same and the things we want. >> i like that, thank you. >> dickerson: let's see if we can make a collection and, with these different experiences. >> i think we all want to be happy and i think that, you know, i don't think we should look at equality as a -- i think that is what we are all struggling for is to be equal, to be recognized as -- that we are all in this place together and going through the same things. i love my family. that's one thing. >> dickerson: family -- you have a line about family -- >> incredible family ties, such
strengths and bonds and rules and code and you talk about hillbilly justice and on the other hand, conflict within family. >> yes. absolutely. and what i think what really ties us together is something aspirational about being an american, whether a black american moving from the rural south or south america or from an islamic country, like whether it is our parents, our grandparents or even further back is this idea that we want something better for our kids than we have right now, and there is this sense, i think that is built into that whole idea of the pursuit of happiness right, that we are going to keep getting better things, they are going to keep on improving and i think a lot of the problems we have in our politics are in some ways rooted in different groups thinking that things aren't continuing to get better, i think that guess sphism, pessimism and cynicism is a problem in our politics and society in yen. >> dickerson: is that what everybody signs up to, things can get better. there is skepticism of some groups in america the idea of hope in the next general
investigation a dream and idea that only a certain class or a certain kind of america can have. >> as long as we continue -- those that are underrepresented or marginalized in knees conversations, especially conversations on focus on them, that are usually neglected from, i think that that will allow us to just make those commonalities more apparent. i am so curious to know, if you grew up with any muslim friends, because they have so many pulls, a majority of americans have never met a muslim person or had a muslim friend before, a lot from the great appalachia region, those who vote odd ten next president on policies that he has been creating ground about -- so it is like, you know, for a lot of people, we just respect able to humanize each other. >> yes. that's a very important point, the question is no not until i went to college did i actually meet a muslim american, and to your point, part of sit just because we were so regionally isolated, there were three basically groups of people i saw
growing up, the people who were like me, the middle class white people and maybe the working class black people who lived in my city and that was pretty much it, and, you know, there is a lot of evidence when people actually spend time around people who are different from them, a lot of these biases and a lot of this frustration sort of fades away, and that is a problem with the fact that we are so isolated right now. >> there is a fear of losing something, instead of seeing this as an opportunity to gain so much by uniting, by seeing that if we all sort of, you know, kind of lived in a more balanced world it would be better fo for all of us, and noe is here to take anything away from you. >> dickerson: all right. we are going to pause right there. we are going to take a short break. we will be back in a minute with our panel. technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. it's the best thing that ever happened to me. every great why needs a great how.
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is there any of that in your experience? where you looked at your own family, they need to assimilate more? >> i don't think that i really looked at my family for a place -- for them to change, but of course growing up immediately after 9/11 through the height of islamophobia it caused a lot of discomfort for me as a child. i remember that summer, i was nine years old, the right after 9/11 happened, my dad had a store on the jersey shores, so we decided to go to the water park one day and my aunt, who was a muslim woman who is from jordan for the first time, she was in the united states and decided to come with me, and she comes on to the tallest water rafting slide in the entire park, fully clothed in her islamic outfit from head to toe, covered, all of the families of course predominantly white were just like staring at us and like sheer confusion and possibly horror, like what is going on here and i just remember in that moment wanting to disappear,
like i could not wait to rush down the slide and then run off the boardwalk and po too my dad and tell him oh, my god do you understand what my aunt put me through? but when i told my dad he looked back at me, like wow that was pretty cool of her, wasn't it, it took a lot of strength and guts. >> dickerson: j.d., you talked about feeling like a tourist at yale and now you go home and you feel like an outsider, so you are caught between it. >> yes. you know, sometimes i feel like an outsider at hopes and probably i feel more home there than at yale. i remember when i went home, it was actually the first time i introduced my now wife, but then girlfriend to my family. we were at a gas station in middletown and i had on a yale. tht-shirt and a woman at the pup next to mine said, oh, did you go to yale? my nephew goes there too, my son or something and i go, i like had this really intense moment of cultural conflict in my mind and i am thinking, well, if i ii confess to going to yale she will think i am an outsider and sort of maybe she will, if she
is from the yale side of divide she will judge me and say oh look at the simpleton from middleton ohio, of course that was stupid because i was in middleton ohio, i looked at her said no but my girlfriend does and i got in my car and drove away, i didn't want to admit to going to an ivy league school back home. >> if i went to yale i would say i had gone to yale. >> the focus on this show is that, we can tell -- >> you are in the mainstream now. let me ask you a question about hope, because you write in your book someone once said hope is the best medicine. in our family and community, in that attorney's office hope wasn't the finest remedy it was the only one we knew. talk about hope. tell me, tell the story about that attorney that your father went to to try to get legal status, and what happened? >> so this attorney gave us a card and this person is helping people, they are helping who had
worst situations that you guys, so we went to this attorney and my dad had high hopes and he was desperate at this point, and we gave him money, said he could help, and he stopped calling. and we went back in his, and his office was gone. >> wow. >> everything was gone, and that was the breaking point for my father and that was sort of the beginning of sort of the end of our family unit. and i was with him every step of the way and it was heartbreaking because we -- you know, it could have been a lack of education, it could have been hope was our last -- it was our last string of hope and we held onto it and really this would be the day, maybe this will be the time that things do go well for us, and it didn't happen, and so we just sort of -- everything sort of collapsed after that, but my parents always taught me to have hope and to dream and that is why i think i made it from
whatever happened to my family, and i think that is why i am a here sitting with you here because i held on to that to that humanity, to my dream, to that things are going to get better and if i do try really hard and if i participate and if i do my part then maybe something good can happen. >> dickerson: does that sound familiar, isabel, to the people -- migration leaving the south? obviously hope was part of leaving jim crow but also part is the hope and hoping things, of things unseen. >> yes, hope and desperation and a desire to be recognized as citizens in the country, that they had helped to build, african americans have been on the soil since 1619, longer than many, many people who are currently here, and yet when they migrated out to what they hoped would be freedom, they were met with tremendous hostility and resentment. there is a story out of chicago in which this family tried to find a home, make a home in a place called cicero, and when
they moved in, it turned out that the people who were living in that neighborhood rushed the building and tore out all of the fixtures and threw out the panel, threw out the sofa, threw out even the faucet and sinks from the walls, and then after they did that, they burned the building, which meant that even the residents who had been, who were white were left homeless. this is what happened in the 20th century, and this happened within the last span 0, lifespan of people's today in the 1950's and that is what they were met with, and we still in this country live with the asterisk of that unresolved history, unresolved resentment, unresolved and misunderstanding of who we are and what we all want for ourselves. >> dickerson: you have all written books, about trying to get people to understand, something that they are not familiar with.
that is not an easy thing to do. j.d., when you wrote your book, what was the reaction to that? >> by and large i thought the reaction has been pretty positive. one of the things i was worried about when i wrote the book, you know, there is this classic hillbilly stereotype, the sort of toothless guy playing the banjo from deliverance i really wanted to present a different image of what i thought my particular culture represented and that of course was most embodied by mamaw and folks have responded pretty positively to her, they think she is a hero or powerful woman. >> dickerson: that is grandmother. >> that's right, and that's how i feel about her, that's the reaction to her, that's my reaction, i think she is more representative of what is back home than what the stereotype is. >> amani what has your reaction been to people who reach out to you through -- and ask questions and do you find people seeking understanding? what is the, what has the reaction been? >> absolutely, i think that people are always fascinated
that my mom chooses not to wear a head scarf while i do or my dad who is a muslim father was very encouraging of me, trying to push me forward my entire life, things that clash with stereotypes or preconceived notions of how muslims really are, but mostly i think people have been surprised that things are really this bad for us, you know, especially, as for a woman, especially for a muslim woman who chooses to cover, one of the most visible religious minors advertise in the country, we are a lightning rod for a lot of the hateful rhetoric that is happening on a nationwide scale, my whole goal has been shown to how that rhetoric doesn't happen a in a vacuum, it trickles down and affects our livelihoods and life and death cry says for a lot of us. and that a is what a lot of people have a people grasping when they read the book. >> dickerson: how about you, a similar experience and what was the reaction to your book? you know, it was so surprising to me that people didn't really
understand, because i feel like immigration and immigrants are so embedded in this country's fabric, so -- i got some hateful stuff but i think for the most part i think people are really supportive and understanding and they don't believe that 11 million people should be deported or families should be separated and i think there is a minority that feel that way that feel the growing diversity or feel -- or fear maybe a path for citizenship or notions of people just rushing this country, but i don't think they understand what we really want is a path for citizenship for the people who are here and updated visa system, these are things that people didn't really understand but i think that we are starting to have more conversation. i know this year has been tough for a lot of people, like who are not really happen with 20 queen and it has been a, 2016 and it has been a tough year .. but i think it has opened up dialogue and i think for that we
need to be grateful, and now we just more than ever need to move forward and have these conversations. and seek happiness. >> dickerson: isabel, what has been the reaction to your book? >> one of the purposes of the work that i did was to reach the human heart, i really believe that the heart is the last frontier. i was actually at a -- i had a book event on long island and it was a rainy, miserable day, but plots of people would come out and at the end of the day, there was a signing line, at the front of the signing line was this -- diminutive grandmotherly figure, and her eyes had already been well with tears as she stood before me, she said if i start talking about the bookly cry for sure. she said, i can't talk about the book because the book is my story. you see, i am an immigrant from greece and this book is my story, and hearing that from her was confirmation to me that the mission of this work was accomplished in some way, meaning that someone had a completely different experience, could see herself in people that
many in our culture would say she had nothing in common with but she saw it, she felt it, and she was there standing before me sharing with me that these were the stories of her own experience. >> dickerson: thank you all for being here to help us share these stories and perhaps crosse these stories and perhaps crosse some boundaries. we will be back in a moment. >> i took warfarin for over 15 years. until i learned more about once-daily xarelto®... a latest-generation blood thinner. then i made the switch. xarelto® significantly lowers the risk of stroke in people with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. it has similar effectiveness to warfarin. warfarin interferes with vitamin k and at least six blood-clotting factors. xarelto® is selective. targeting one critical factor of your body's natural clotting function. for people with afib currently well-managed on warfarin, there is limited information on how xarelto® and warfarin compare in reducing the risk of stroke. like all blood thinners,
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