tv Born a Crime CSPAN November 20, 2016 6:15am-7:16am EST
>> your dad's a columnist? [laughter] >> yes. >> it's a great thing. [laughter] no, i fear, i fear it's, you know, not do bring everything down, but the way journalism's going, there's just less and less space, it's harder and harder to get a column into a paper anymore. it's harder and harder to make it a living as a newspaper columnist. there are just fewer and fewer of them. so -- but i'm sure your dad will be fine. [laughter] >> why won't you run for governor? [laughter] [applause] >> i think that's a wonderful note to end our session on. let's give a round of applause, david barry. >> thank you! >> thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you all. >> thank you. [applause]
>> and, of course, the autographing area on this floor is on the other side of the elevator. you can purchase dave barry's book and get it autographed. thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> and that was humorous dave barry owning the booktv room here at the miami book festival. best.state.ever: a florida man defends his homeland, was the name of the book. well, coming up in our live coverage from miami, a call-in program with senator bernie sanders, a call-in program with andrew bacevich whose newest book is called "america's war for the greater middle east." those are both coming up, and the miami book fair has now become a week-long event. and earlier this week daily show host trevor noah was in town to talk about his new book.
it's called "born a crime." we're going to show that to you now. [applause] >> thank you, thank you. well, welcome to the 33rd miami book fair. [cheers and applause] some of us have been involved from the gunning, some of us gray beards realize we've been doing this more than half our lives. [laughter] it's pretty astonishing when i think about it. but, and what a fair we have for you this year. we have everyone from james carville to dana perino to we're doing a new program this year called read caribbean, we're doing programs in spanish. we have this wonderful new part of the fair called the porch which is right that way. [laughter] and as you know, after tonight
we have every evening we've got authors coming in leading to the street fair which happens on friday where we have over 500 authors coming, programs in spanish and english and creole, and there's literally something for everyone. so we hope you'll do all you can do to find out by going to miamibookfair.com, create your own schedule, find out about all the great things you'd like to go to. it's also, it's also no exaggeration when i say that this book fair could not be done without the work of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of volunteers. but at the center of all of it is this remarkable, remarkable educational institution, and i would like to thank from the bottom of my heart everybody at miami-dade college for giving us this remarkable gift. [applause]
and, you know, this has been quite a week, huh? to say the least. [laughter] and, you know, after this really very emotional week, my thoughts really, like all of us, we went into our little cocoons and listened to music, and i had the good fortune or unfortunate thing of listening to a lot of leonard cohen during that time. but i, my thoughts began to turn to that time 35 years ago when a group of us were called down by dr. eduardo padron, the then-vice president of this very campus. and it was then a very much smaller miami-dade college. it was the early 1980s, and miami was very much in turmoil.
if you can remember the early '80s. hundreds of thousands of new immigrants came here. there was an incredible amount of racial strife. there were riots. we had a very moribund downtown, nobody was sure what the future of downtown would be. in fact, many of you might remember "time" magazine had an article that said miami: paradise lost with a big question mark. miami at the time was really straining at its seams. but under dr. padron's leadership, a group of us felt that we would help heal the wounds of our community by celebrating its diversity, because back then miami was one of the most diverse communities in the country as it is now. and that we would invite everyone under one gigantic tent to celebrate the written word and begin a conversation together. that conversation hasn't stopped for these 33 book fairs. and i, for one, want to thank
dr. padron, who's now president of the largest college in the country, with eight campuses -- [applause] for never wavering from that vision. and in this year's fair, you will hear from the best writers of poetry, fiction, history, politics and memoir, from every color of the spectrum. we need the big tent of the book fair now more than ever. it reaffirms our commitment to help all of us here and everywhere mark and celebrate what we all have in common; the love of ideas and the power of the written word to express them. we need this book fair now more than ever. i hope you'll agree with me. [applause]
the book fair has grown over all these years as well, and we have some remarkable sponsors. we're pleased to announce tonight that we have a partnership with the degrassroot foundation to launch the miami book fair prize for an unpublished novella. it's, as far as i know, about the only one in the country. and we're lucky enough to have charles and diane here with us to introduce tonight's session. charles has an mba from the harvard business school and worked in finance until founding a real estate company which he listed on the new york stock exchange. he has served on the boards of directors of several for-profit and nonprofit organizations and lectures in international business schools. clydette holds a doctorate in psychology and organizational development. in addition to an extensive career as director of behavioral sciences and family medicine residency training programs, she
had an international consulting business and has served on numerous nonprofit boards. charles and clydette are chairs of the foundation which supports literary, art, education and innovation projects. they divide their time between paris and miami, and on a personal note, there couldn't be two more nice people in the entire world. so, please, welcome charles and clydette degroot. [applause] >> thank you very much, mitchell. when clydette and i and my parents set up the foundation, one of the first projects that we initiated was a prize for an unpublished novella. we picked the novella because it's a genre that's perfect in this fast-paced society. it's a small book, and they translate very well into films.
elmore leonard's, just about all of his books have been made into movies. for the last two cycles we partnered with shakespeare and company, the english bookstore in paris. and in the last competition, we had productionly 600 entrants -- approximately 600 entrants from all around the world. and now we're very excited to be partnering with miami-dade college and the miami book fair, because we feel they can extend the reach of the prize as well as create a solid home so it's sustainable and will live a long life. >> and as charles just said, we're absolutely thrilled to be working with mitchell kaplan and the wonderful team that organize toes this wonderful book fair that goes on literally all year long. a prize like this serves, i think, a very important purpose. it's important to keep discovering new voices, and also we need to keep supporting and
encouraging anyone who writes. as mitchell said, the written word very important. and the novella is a wonderful form. it's longer than a short story and shorter than a novel. and when you think of some of the -- we grew up learning about great authors reading novellas like hemingway's old man in the sea and a number of other, there's lots of other novellas out there that we've all learned to enjoy and learn about great writers. so we are really excited about this endeavor. all the details about the prizes, how the submission process works and all of that will be up on the miami book fair web site on january 1. and most of all, we invite you all that are writers to submit your work. thank you. [applause] >> and i know you came here to listen to clydette and i, but maybe listen to the other guy first. [laughter] we're thrilled that trevor noah is here tonight with us --
[cheers and applause] as most of you know, he was born and raised in south africa where he honed his skills as a television host, an actor and a comedian. and he moved to the u.s. in 2011. in 2015 he received what i think is the greatest acknowledgment of anybody in his industry, jon stewart selected him to take over the daily show. [cheers and applause] and backstage i was telling trevor about what a great honor i thought that was, and he said, look, he said, anybody who took over a job after jon stewart is an idiot. [laughter] and i was that idiot. [laughter] but you, he's a delightful man, and i look forward to him being out here in just a minute. but in the latest issue of
"vanity fair," he said his greatest heroes are his mother and all single mothers. and he'll talk more about that in his book -- [applause] and he said the motto he lives by is everything is helping you. and i think we -- that's good for all of us to remember in these turbulent times. trevor's going to be in the conversation with bob weisberg. after president obama was elected, bob was appointed the regional attorney for the miami district of the u.s. equal employment opportunity commission. he oversees the enforcement of federal laws that prohibit workplace discrimination throughout florida, puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands. prior to joining the eeoc in 2010, he maintained a private civil rights law practice for over 20 years representing victims of workplace discrimination and other types
of civil rights violation. so please join me in welcoming trevor noah and bob weisberg. [cheers and applause] >> hello, everyone. trevor, i want to welcome you to miami, welcome you to the miami book fair. >> thank you so much. thank you for having me, and thank you for coming out, everybody. [cheers and applause] >> and i really want to congratulate you on writing a phenomenal book. i've sort of been ins grossed in it for the last couple of weeks,
and i found it poignant, scary, funny, and i learned a lot about south africa that i never would have otherwise known. i really thank you for that. >> thank you. >> and i thank you for being so truthful. >> thank you. i appreciate it. thank you. [laughter] >> i recognize, i recognize that many of you in this room have, and your family members have shed a lot of tears since tuesday -- [laughter] and are keenly interested in hearing trevor's take on what happened -- [laughter] [applause] and i assure you that whether we get to it in our conversation or not, there is an opportunity after, there's going to be a question and answer period, and you can ask trevor all about that. so -- [laughter] so, trevor, let me start with the title of your book.
it's "born a crime." what, what did you mean by that? >> well, i was born at a time when in south africa, due to the laws of apartheid, my parents weren't allowed to be in any shape or form in contact with one another. you know? i grew up during a time when we were governed by the laws of my song nation as they were called, interracial relationships were forbidden, the mixing of races was forbidden. so essentially, i mean, being born from my parents, a white swiss man and a black woman from south africa, i was essentially born a crime. you know? the very existence of me was something that was against the law. what my parents had done was breaking the law, and because of that our lives were impacted in the way we could live as a family under those laws of apartheid.
>> now, you were born in 1984. how did you interact with your mother -- your black mother and your white father? >> well -- >> at that time. >> lucky for me, i interacted with them like a child. [laughter] you know? i was very lucky in that my participants did a great job of shielding me from the realities of what was going on in the country. i only knew the world that i was in, and i was only surrounded by people who were in the same world as i. so, you know, ignorance truly was bliss in that regard. i knew i had a father who was white, but i didn't know that he was a white person, i just knew that he was my father. i knew that i had a mom who was black. but, again, her race meant anything to me because -- nothing to me because at the time, that was the only way i knew it to be. i thought fathers were right and uncles were black, and that's how the world worked. [laughter] ..
>> and so for me i still played with my mother. with my mother. because from the outside, i don't, i don't know what had it looked leak to everyone. but a lot of people just assumed that black woman was care caretaker in south africa and my problem, he couldn't be with us at all in public. there were time when is we were together but he wouldn't play the role of a father because then that would give the game away because that was a limitation but one story i tell in the book is when i was really young, i used to love running. i still do. but i would go to my mom and dad and if we were in public, in a park together. the only limitation was that i couldn't get too close to him. i couldn't be seen as his son.
so i would chase him as any child would, their posh. but then he would run away. [laughter] to protect us. and then i was like yeah the game is on. [laughter] so if i i would chase him and my mother could be chasing me so i have great memories of running in the park with my parents. only difference is they see it from a slightly different perspective. and you -- you talk about the book that when you visit your grandmother how -- frightened they were of you being out the in the street. >> yeah. >> you know what had, that was one of the moments when i learned from the book, i only realized that when i was writing the book, i tried to write everything from memory. but for -- for some stories i felt like i had pieces missing so i went back and i asked my grandmother and mom about a few of the story and one that fascinated me as welled i had grown up my entire life as a child who was
basically locked indoors. i was an indoor kid and i didn't suffer. i loved reading. i loved staying indoors in my own world and i knew my grandmother wouldn't allow me to go inside because they were afraid they would steal you. they'll steal you. and when she said that, i assumed she meant the neighbors or, you know, kidnappers in the neighborhood or i just assumed it was just people. only when i went become to talk to her if the back, i came to learn from her that she was afraid that the police would take me with away. because if they saw me in a black area they would know immediately i didn't belong because of the laws and every right to take me, send me to an orphanage and family would never see me again. so again i even learned as grown man i didn't even know how dire the situation actually was. >> so you didn't until like working on the book realize why earn always wanted trevor to stay inside.
>> yeah, don't get me wrong i was a terrorist so protecting the world that's what i thought some of it was. [laughter] >> the booking you make -- i think repeated references to recognizing and you say a different way the genius of apartheid how the architect built the most advance system of the oppression known to man. what about it make use describe it in that way? >> well because you have to acknowledge it's an fin insane amount of hard work that went into building such an abominable system. apartheid was perfect racism. it was a system designed to oppress a majority because america and south africa share a
lot of similarities in terms of a racial history. in terms of reckoning with that racial history in the present. one place where it was different was that in south africa, black people are the majority. so question is how do you o oppress the majority to extremely difficult. how do you make the majority unable to stand stand up and apartheid government was really, really committed to piepgding way to do that and study racisms from the dutch from os australia to united states and looked at systems and coalesce them into finding a perfect racism. so they found the key was to separate people into the most -- minutia of the groups so they didn't see black as it seemed in america. they said no we're going to divide you up into your triads.
we'll divide you into color of shades and if you're biracial person, most of the time you kargz as black and south alaska africa they department do that so dividing up by language, culture, by their tribe and creating smaller groups that you could put against each other, and have dominion over within the so it was really scary and well thought out opinion i was wanted to like sometimes why racist like they really committed. i wonder why they don't commit to making the world a better place because, i mean, very good at what they do. [applause] sometimes wish -- >> you talk a lot if how important language is and was to keeping people separate. how did it play out in sort of the apartheid sort of design? >> well, there were different ways.
you know, it was everything from the schooling system in which were taught in languages that weren't theirs. certain languages were prioritized above others. language was one of the biggest barrier in term was giving someone an opportunity to switch from one world to another. and one thing i grew up realizing was the power of language. you know, i have the quote in the book and it was nelson mandela said if you speak to a man in a language he understands, you speak to his head. you speak to a man in his language and you speak to his heart. and the power of language is something that i've learned over the years in that it's one of the biggest things that essentially there's nothing there. just a miscommunication is just people conceiving a difference. you know, just based on how you commute using different language, and what i learned
very quickly my family did and even in the country we realize that language was a tool to divide people and also bring them together and i learned in my life every time i learned a new language i gained entry into another world. i gained insight into another way of living into another way of thinking, and probably one of the biggest gifts i think i gained from learning lag languaging and continue to gain is as many as i can, and i think it's always a constant humility that's forced on you. because when you learn a new language, you can't be arrogant about it, you have to be a child again and stupid again, you have to accept that you can't be superior again. you know, because you probably don't know what superior is in that language. [laughter] but it's really something that that's why i -- you know, i advocate for that for everyone. learn a new language not about being good or not but a new language because you'll be surprised how it activates different parts of your mind in thinking about other people.
>> well, as you learn new languages, did it surprise your fellow countrymen that this colored person would be speaking languages other than africa or english or whatever it might be? >> definitely. definitely. i came from a country where, you know, in terms of a ranking english and a i guess a substance of dutch those were with two languages that were spoken and two languages you needed. everything else was considered the riffraff, below it was sub-- nothing that was to be aspired to so you have tribes in south africa you have people of colonizer and best way that i could connect with people it was to try top learn their language. you know, fellow south africans
where, you know, i didn't understand how we were separated until i came to realize that language was a great tool used to separate people because fundamentally if you can nots understand the person that is stupid as it sounds you cannot understand the person. and so i set the to do that and i found that it was one of the most amazing things i did even for myself even for selfish reasons i found that i could connect to people and it gave me access to worlds that i never would have had access to. >> it seemed not to give a compelling story away. but there are instances because your ability to speak language you were able to maneuver in worlds you might never have otherwise been able to maneuver in or been accepted in -- >> definitely that's exactly what had it is. at the same time, currently there's south africa has 11 national languages. >> that's true. that's i guess a -- to the leftover or -- [laughter]
>> you know what i think happened was we came from a place where some languages were put above others. and so once we ademocracy the question was what now becomes our official language? and i guess because we had come from a world where no one wanted to put anything below or above another thing, it was just look let's make them all official languages so we have official languages, four or five in national anthem as well which is -- extremely difficult. but -- [laughter] i guess you know, everyone's hearts were in the right place. >> your grandmother lived it until sweetto still does, and you've spent a lot of time there. >> i did. yeah. >> and you for americans and vaguely speak for myself but a lot of americans associate with
with the uprisings against apartheid, and nelson mandela with -- you describe it at least to me an interesting way. you describe the stark poverty, but you also quoting here something magical about sweto yes it's a prison designed by our pressers but also gave us the sense of self-determination. what did you mean by that? >> well i think what i meant by that was -- completely what i felt. by being in the place. and that was the strength of -- of the human being, the ability of the human being to overcome situations that may seem like they're designed it to have been designed to oppress. you know, so one of the examples people moved from different
places where they lived, black people relocated, forcefully, taken out of certain areas that were taken away from black people and given to white people and then there were forelsed to live in this new place with almost nothing and yet from that nothing, came so many amazing came so many amazing ideas. so many amazing leaders, because essentially the within thing that i think the apartheid government didn't think about was when they created sweto what they essentially did was they created a home base for folks. they created a space where people could exist and galvanize within, and what happened was, it was one of the birthplaces of the struggle. the struggle. it was one of the birthplace was protest. it was one of the birthplace was south africa's identity in terms of the politics that emerged because black people were forced to create and peenged for
themselves this wasn't a space that was promoted by the government and so the people found a way to create microeconomies. you know, whether it be stores that became resellers of food. you know, people who set up their own shops to fix cars, you know, people created different economy, public transportation that wasn't provided bit government they found ways to formalize a informal situation and normalize that so in trying to keep a group of people separated and helpless and hopeless, what ended happening i guess unintentionally is through the profit people who in sweto those people became hopeful, powerful, and more determined than ever because they became self-reliant and they saw the fruits of their labor what had really emerged from that was a fire that couldn't be
extinguished by a hateful government. >> so you describe as having no running -- [applause] wasn't running water and multiple families shared one toilet o. there weren't shops so other than the police force that might have -- wasn't police as we know but the s.w.a.t. team. >> it was a heavily militarized force. yeah. but you know that's one of the fun thy things is the side effects of that is -- you know, i know some people disagree, many people agree but you know where they talk about the moral ark of the universe spinning towards justice essentially, that was the one thing that came out of sweto. we live in a world where i shared a toilet request four different families. we shared a toilet. we shared one tap at one point to get our water from.
question shared a piece of land and essentially what happened was that was what became the strength of the community. because we with weren't living in this world where we department know our neighbors. we weren't living in a world where we wrnght talking to people around us or living in a world where we were with isolated having experience by ourselves. what in effect happen haded was because of the way it was set up, about the governments would railed aring it enabled people to find each other within those spaces and so it was terrible and wasn't a great way to live, but as i say the unintended consequences of that was that it created community. i think i told you how much i learned from the book. one thing i learned was thinking that the -- sweto was african name only to learn after reading your book that it's really an acronym for southwest township. >> yes. but that's exactly what i'm talking about power to reclaim
something and take it away from someone who thought there were oppressing you because it is now an african word. something that we proudly claim so it is my home and say it as african place that it is. >> in -- 19909 apartheid ended and nelson mandela was released and no elections i think from 1994. right? and i think a great expression in your -- description in your book is that the end of apartheid wasn't like the berlin wall coming crashing down but like a slow crumbling. >> yes. >> what was your life like not your six years old -- as a colored fern in south africa as apartheid started to end and get dismantled. as i tell in the book -- i never discounting the fact
that i'm extremely lucky in that we're -- were i born a few years earlier i would have been subjected to so much more of the race i. in any were i born years later, i may not have appreciated the hardship federal once freedom came. ing with born at the tile that i was, i was old enough to see the transition. i was old enough to see democracy take hold and yet young enough to recover from the effects of people not afforded that democracy, and when apartheid ended it was a gradual thing. america has a similar history with abolishment of history and civil rights movement. it doesn't happen overnight you know, that's the paper that you sign and people go okay i guess we were wrong. let's go home. you know -- there's a lot of convincing that
has to be done still a gradual process, and that's probably one of the greatest challenges and then city speak about that in the book as well is that i've come to realize that it's frustrating. especially for people who have been o opressed when you come to realized that freedom is just it is just the beginning of the journey. a lot of time we think of it as the end and yet it's not. i sometimes think of barriers whether it be racial, gender, you know, whatever the barriers are, i would think of it when you break that barrier down so when people of color achieve equality when women achieve equality when that happens, all that's happened is you've been allowed access to now claim the mountain. freedom is just getting there. now you still have to climb this mountain that's before you web and that's what we came to realize in south africa was that it was a wonderful momenting and really a honeymoon period because it was amazing freedom
and the feeling was a special thing had. and then we were like oh, wow this is now a lot of hard work. pnches and you talk about now that black man -- can but which black man? >> you said in the book you talk about how now black -- black man can rule but which black men are going to rule? >> yeah, that became, you know -- an issue because sometimes you don't think it will ever end especially when you're o oppressed it is never going to end. when had it ends, you find a place where everything was geared towards seeking out freedom. and not all to freedom can move forward once freedom has been achieved. >> and that's a tough thing we see in many countries all over the world. a lot of time liberty force end up being oppressors, you know, they take over, they free the people and once that freedom is achieved there's no longer
anything to fight over. and then so many times question see this. i know it happens in south africa i know it hams where liberator stuff their own pocket nows and start enriching themselves and next thing you know you're in the same cycle and it's just the face at the top has changed and label has shifted but u it doesn't feel like anything has most moved foe people. >> where did you as a colored person fit in as a apartheid that is being dismantled? >> well i was -- i was welcomey i was extremely welcomey in that my mother always lived as an outsider so to give you an understanding of this -- this -- people may not know -- in south africa all of the races were broken down. so whites, being most superior and then darkerrier skin tone fewer liberties you were afforded and this affected everything from the jobs you could have to education you could receive. to even how you were treated in prison meals you would get and what with you could wear within
a prison, and so as strange as it sounds, because of my skin color, i was considered a superior race to my own mother. i was considered an inferior race to my own father. you know, so i was in a world sthoos what colored means in south africa it didn't mean anything with regard to black the same way that it does in america. and so i grie up in a black femme and living black experience what happened it was that the country wanted to define me as something else because of how i looked. my mother on the other hand was a rebel. i mean, she had a child from a white man that tells you everything during's the time so i existed in a space where i knew that i wasn't defined bit labels that were set out for me because we never fit in. my family didn't match any family around me.
no other white or colored people -- so that was something that -- i don't think, i don't think it was allowed to affect me because with of the world i grew up in. it was something my mom really fought against because she didn't believe in us being defined by people wanted to define us as. >> with your ability to speak different languages did you find yourself, you know, fitting in or identifying with different groups at different times? >> yeah. yeah, i grew up as an outsider. and one of the greatest gifts i feel, you know, it's really hard to be an outsider most of the time because you feel like exactly that. an outsider. you feel like you never belong. the most amazing gift that i feel you receive from being an outsider is that it forces
perspective on you. you cannot exist in a bubble because you were always in somebody else's bubble. you always have to see somebody else's points of view because most of the time you are in their world. and so language was one of those things. i would have to adopt somebody else's language with and live within it to live within a different community to community with different people but because of that it shaped me in different ways that gave me access to thoughts, ideas even experiences that i never would have had. >> after -- as apartheid -- [applause] was -- was, you know, coming down, did some colored tends to colored ferns tend to relate more to the white person, the white community? as opposed to the black community or remain colored? how -- what was going on? >> definitely. you know, that in terms of the apartheid was structured in such a way that's --
about again i mean it is i don't to spoil things on the book but like the idea was -- that you could convince people and we still see this every day. people are convinced that the reason they aren't achieving is because of another group or another race that is holding them back. you know, now we're living through the time where it is a lot of the time, you know, a white voice that is spreading that message. and that is -- that's what the government did in south africa they reached out and they said to colored people you're almost white. you're with almost there just a few shades and you could do it. [applause] but unfortunately you still got that a little bit of black in you. and so, you know, you never know if you breed correctly for a few generations if you marry right you may be able to astoned -- ascend to a place of being white
and people could be reclassified rationally in south africa. so if you were a colored person qhiewz hair becomes straight enough and face light enough you could be reclassified as a white person and same could happen inversely if you were seem to be getting docked too much time in the sun. you could be reclassified now as a color from a white person and didn't care about your genealogy and went on appearances because it is ridiculous so laws have to be ridiculous to echo ridiculousness of the ideas. so what happened was there were people who resented any part of themselves that was connected to what they were told was inferior. there were people who resented idea that they came from a place, identity, or people who in some of their minds were holding them back. as opposed to going, we need to rise up and rise up to level of
the white man but rather rise up to where we belong in society. you know, achieve our equality instead it was an attitude of leave them behind, and let's try to aspire to get to the place that the white man said we could get to. >> the -- i think i mistakennably the hero of your book is your mom. >> yes. >> i think it speaks loud and clear and read you we cannily a message and ask you that comment that really struck me as to -- how special she was and is. my mom raised me as it there were no limitations on where i could go. or what i could do. when i look back i realized she raised me like a white kid not qhiet culturally but in the sense of believing that the world was my oyster, that i should speak up for myself. that my ideas and thoughts and
decisions mattered. my mother showed me what was possible an thing that amazed me about her life is that no one showed her. no one chose her and she did it on her own and found a way through sheer force of will. i was nearly when mandela released ten before democracy finally came, yet she was preparing me to live a life of freedom longing before we knew freedom would exist. [applause] >> can you sorts sort of commenn that? [laughter] >> one thing we couldn't deny growing up was -- we were living in a police state. and one of the biggest things we were talking about whether my grandmother, grandfather, aunt
whoever it was was as a black child you had to be twice as good. you knew that you weren't with afforded the same liberty. you weren't allowed to be making the same mistakes because there was a system that was waiting to imprison or kill you so you always had had to be twice as good, twice as polite twice as -- just twice as a human being. twice as calming you know, just twice as a human being and my mom, to a certain extent but that trend system she brought me up as if i would be in a world where i was free to express myself and as if i was going to live in a world where i would not be zero press. i guess it's an extremely risky gamble because she had no idea that it would end, but by mom told me to speak up, voice your concerns and challenge me as
your mother. that was the one thing my mom w and viewed within me was the idea that i could challenge authority. don't get me wrong, i mean, i was still on the end of that many thinkings from her, but i was told i could challenge her because in challenging her we would both learn and i still try to keep that with me today and i'm proud to say that i don't know that i don't know most things and what's great about not knowing is the joy of filling in that void or even knowing you can still learn new things. i don't know why we learn our entire lives and then we become adults and say we note now, we're done..anwe we could always change. [applause]. >> my mom always encouraged tha. >> before we go to questions, one final kind of question for you and again, this is something that in looking at different
things for a discussion today it really struck me, when you were announced to be the new host of the daily show, the guardian newspaper noted in reference to your selection and i'm quoting: this is a big achievement, not only for south africa, but for the continent and that i look up google and south africa has 55 million people with one point 2 billion people in africa. do you see yourself as a trailblazer for others from south africa and africa byca taking on such a prominent important position in the us entertainment world?.s. ente >> i see myself as more of a proud citizen. i've always considered myself a citizen of the world and once i was afforded the ability to travel i graciously grasp that
with both hands and embrace that.race it. i was tell people just try to travel. my favorite quote is troubling is the answer to ignorance and i truly believe that it is. [applause]. >> for me, you know, i'm proud to come from a country where we achieved as. we achieved good dude thinks no one believed could be done. with a revolution south africard and it's not a perfect country, but we managed to find a way to shift power from a minority that was essentially running a dictatorship and moving that over to a majority that wasry running the country and still io and it's not over not and that's why i say freedom is a lot of hard work, but i feel like i came from an exceptional place, from a country that the trailblazer and so i'm honored
to be a child of south africa and africa and when i got in the world i celebrate that. i celebrate my heritage. i still love so much to learn about africa as a whole. again, it's not a country coaches a surprise to some people, but i consider myself an african as much as i do a south african because of how many stories wii's share across the continent in trials and tribulations we imported in together and so i see myself as less of a trailblazer and more of someone who is rising to heights because of those who rose before me and that was one of the main things my mom said to me in the book. i have as the biggest thing myhe mom-- she said every generation should be further forward than the one that came before us. that's all she wanted was just for one generation to move into
the next. >> thank you. questions? >> we have time for a few questions. with the microphone here here. as all of you know trevor has a day job. >> a daily job. >> nighttime day job. he will be traveling. we are on a really tight schedule, so we can only take if you questions to allow him to make it back and everyone is lining up. i guess we will do the daily show tomorrow right from this spot. [applause]. >> i enjoy so much hearing you.
>> pleasure meeting you. >> same. i led a tour group in 1994, to south africa and we visited the children in the school's thing to and we danced in was very very moving, but what was interesting was we had a native south african tour guide helping us and he surprised me, alarmed me when he said there were better times during the apartheid because now most of us are employed and we have been fired from our jobs because they have to give us a fair wages and i was thinking like in the hebrew bible and exodus when the jews escaped from bondage and slavery from egypt and then started complaining in the desert.
if we want to go back to slavery that's when you are speaking about freedom been so difficult, so i would like your comments because i heard it more than once from other black south africans that they had better times before. >> will say this, i cannot speak for everyone in south africa and i acknowledge that the combination of the hard work of my parents, look on my part and hard work i know that i'm in a position of privilege and so i cannot speak for everyone who may not have the same things i do, but i do know this freedom as i say is hard work.id just because you cheap it just everything will be good and a lot of the time the fault falls at the feet of those who delivered the promises of liberation. if we look at the stories across the board and we even see that in america now, the promises that are made by the politicians
of those of a better life, of those of a life that will instantaneously become beneficial for all, you know, and in south africa that's what the again see promised at the time. they said free housing and free everything and it was a world that was promised it is like now that you have defeated the oppressor, everything will be opened to you and you will enjoy the spoils, but the truth is what you have achieved is the ability to work for the spoils and it's a tough thing and those liberators not have to work on providing those opportunities. think about it like this, in south africa we have a country that was a design for a minority and and not even make up 10% of the population. the servicing, housing, plumbing, the electrical grid system, highways, everything, schools were just designed for a tiny piece of the population and so once the country is now free, obviously that means you will not be able to get everyone to the same level immediately and
that means they will be a lot oa capital that needs to be injected and a read jurist or view should of well that needs to happen.tems tha there will be a lot of systems that need to change in order for that change to affect, but when people say to me it was better i struggled to grapple with the idea that it's better to be enslaved. [applause]. >> i think one of the closest parallels is when i read stories of prisoners who tell the story of how because of how hard we make it in society to reintegrate's, some prisoners would rather stay in prison. they go, i get food, get a bed, i know what my life is, i get to go to library and i'm part community and when you set me free i see the world as a prison and so the question we should
ask ourselves is not whether it's better under apartheid, but how do we create properties-- opportunities, not just in soutn africa but into america to give those people access because in the book i have a quote that says: teach a man to fish and he will eat for a day at me give a man a fish and he'll be prayed they had teach a man to fish and he will live forever and then i said if you don't give them the tools to fish that all that information is useless, so the rod is as important. >> thank you.you can >> since we have limited time if he could really make them aon question, that would be great. >> why me?uerto ri >> hello, trevor. i was born and raised in puerto rico when i came here when i was in my early 20s just uptime you were born. i do not know the difference between black and white and type
mood to this country. i did not face racism until i moved here and i sought in a different way. my grandmother was as dark as you are brown shoes. have you ever encountered racism in this country and what have you done and what of you done about it at that moment? >> ya i guess it hasn't shaken me because i come from a place where we have some of the finest racism in the world-- [laughter] >> so, you will struggle to shake me with what you have here [laughter] >> i find often times racism, in my experience, comes from eight place of fear, strangely enough. a lot of time i think we treat racism as a cause and yet i see it as a symptom. people can disagree with me, but personally i see racism as a
symptom and the cause of stems from different things, but a lot of the times that racism comes from a fear. those that i have experienced racism from seeming or see see the black man or see the man is a threat to their livelihood, threats to their dominance as a threat to the promise that they were given by their fathers or two leaders before and told them that this was their land and their future and too many people the idea of sharing is the idean of getting it all away and as so often times when someone is racist to me i'm lucky that none of the incidents have been particularly physical, so it's mostly words. i'm a firm believer in most m emotions of the world are a choice we make. things are happening to us, but the way we respond to that is on emotional choice, so it if anything i smile and send it right back. i don't believe that you can spoil my day because of something you say, you know?aus
you don't define me by saying that. [applause]. >> i know most of you in line will hype-- hate me, but we had time for two more questions. sorry. each of you have a broken in the book an e-mail address and i'm sure if you send an e-mail to that e-mail address and we'll get to trevor and i'm sure he will answer your question. [laughter]l er >> these are the promises politicians make that they can't deliver on and we wonder why there's a revolution. yes ma'am.thas >> your father was a white, soen why didn't you leave the? >> that was a question i asked my mom plenty enough. there were many south africans that left it to other countries where they could live a free life. some left to plan how they would come and inspire and spark a revolution and others left to
escape what was happening. i asked my mom that when i discovered. i did not know we could leave. i only knew the country of zen and one day i asked my mom, why the hell didn't we leave because my dad was swiss. i was like are you kidding me, i mean, we could have been skiing? are you kidding me? and my mom said one of the most powerful things to me. she looked me and she said, leave and go-- she said this is my country. she said i'm not going to let someone chased me out of my country. i'm going to say here and claim what is mine. [applause]. we cou >> so, it's as simple as that. i didn't leave because i didn't know we could leave. i don't think i would have been as strong as my mother was, but she would not allow someone to take what was hers in exchange for an easier life. >> last question.