tv Panel Discussion on Race in America CSPAN December 19, 2016 11:26pm-12:18am EST
three will hear from the national book award winner.on >> and could afternoon i will serve as the moderator for the panel black america. to have in the opportunityoo to listen to the school's leader one of the things that he said last night but if it is that becky school that questions perception and they have a greater knowledge through questions and answers. and today is because of april 161862 with the emancipation of washington d.c. and we have a couple of
great authors from the university of florida who authors of books diem to from the beginning showing the history of the racist idea in america. . .h the >> he sits down and talks about and how he looks at some of his ideas. the next individual in the book is an individual, thomas jefferson who talks about him and his family's upbringing and some of the thoughts he had
in framing the constitution. then we look at the abolitionists, william lloydst garrison who are strong and making sure he ended slavery. we also have an amazing scholar who sits down as one of the elitist and puts together the naacp. he also doesn't with the legendary prison activists. we have he is a native stand on jamaica queens new york where he lived until he moved to virginia. the last two years of high school. he then went to the florida a ne for his undergraduate then was able to get his doctorate from temple university. his no a professor at the university of florida. so doctor kitty kinde will sit down and give the background and terms of the history of racism in america. we have with us professor
watkins. i will young young man from baltimore city, a native man from the city of baltimore. he has has put together a number of essays in a book, living and dying while black in america. professor watkins is from baltimore city in his book chronicled his life story. he talks about the things he grew up in sans witness. professor watkins was able to sit down and talk about the racist policies we've had in america, how they've impacted him growing up black in america. professor watkins is young man who's turned his life around from the early days to get an education and show the power of reading and how important it is through education and that the key to success. he is is a graduate and has masters from john hopkins. he also teaches a creative writing program at the university baltimore. so to have both of these
gentlemen with us on this panel i think it's a great opportunity for the key school and for all the panelists. we thank you for joining us. like to start with doctor kindee just talking about your book and talking about what led you to this point in terms of the publication in your research. thank you. >> think you. that's an incredible introduction it is a pleasure and honor to be here to be presenting at the annapolis book festival. the state i went to high schooli not too far from here and so anytime i can come back to my second home i certainly take that opportunity. i'm actually here talking to you about my new book and it really is brand-new. it came out on april 12. just a few days ago. and it's the definitive history
of racist ideas in america. on april twelfth, 1860 jefferson davis who, at the time was one of the u.s. senators from mississippi stood before his colleagues in the u.s. senate and under the phrase, inequality between the black and white races was stamped from thewh beginning. and so ironically my book came out on the very day that the title was inspired hee t. he read that statement and made that statement because there is a bill on the floor that was considering granting funds to educate black people in d.c. of course he got up and argued against it. many of you know jefferson davis later became the president of the confederacy. i start with that small story to
say that was indicative of the long and lingering history of racist ideas.ingeri that you essentially over the course of history have racist policies put in place, or you have individuals who do not want antiracist policies to be put into place. like a bill that would provide education to black children in washington, d.c. in the same manner that educational funds were being provided to white children heard that he had individuals like davis presented and reproduce racist ideas to either challenge those antiracist bills or to defend existing racist bills and policies. so what i'm saying in a nutshell is that typically we have been taught this history that ignorance and hate has led to
racist ideas. and and then individuals who have these racist ideas of the ones who have essentially created these racist policies that have impacted the lives of people of african descent over the course of american history.tond what i found your studying the history of racist ideas is thesi connection is the opposite. so i'm differentiating between what i call the producers of racist ideas, these these powerful producers, someone as influential as a jefferson davis and or someone as influential today is donald trump. these powerful producers of racist ideas are powerful producers of ideas. i'm differentiating between them and the consumers of those ideas. people like us. people like you
and i. in my book i study the history of these producers of ideas. why were they producing these ideas. i found that people created racist ideas to justify the slaveeeaea trade.le i found that people racist ideas to justify slavery. i found that people created racist ideas to justify segregation. i found found that people continue to create racist ideas to justify mass incarceration. some finding that we have these policies in place, we had these disparities in place and people were creating racist ideas over the course of american history to justify and rationalize. in a cause you and i, having consumed these ideas to look at america and to see disparities or to see people enslaved or deceived 2,000,000 black people in jail or to see hundreds of thousands of people in chains coming over to america and view that is normal.
and view that is normal. that is the power that racist ideas have had over the course of american history. i tried to chronicle that from the beginning. these ideas have been powerfulth enough to make us believe that in equities are normal.mal once a hopefully we'll have more time to talk about that. i just wanted to give a brief introduction. >> thank you. it is very important to know that with these policies and throughout the history where are we today? what is going on in the community and how have these policies impacted us in the grassroots level? that is that is why we have professor watkins and living and dying while black in america. professor watkins, think you for being here. >> thank you for having me. so doctor kinde has done amazing research to put these things into historical context.
i think it goes well with his book because it breaks down how these things hit everydayayen citizens who have to deal with these issues, who are still dealing with some of these same issues that came were that were established a long time ago.m a it's a simple book, if you're from a simple place like east baltimore or any urban area never see yourself in the book on television, or as a statue when he walked on the streets. there's no representation no representation of yourself anywhere in the country that you help bill and it's a lost story for you.re it's a love story for you. and it's putting some of these huge issues into the historical context. on the other side if you are from a place far removed from a place like east baltimore, if you're from a suburb and you don't have a lot of experience with urban communities or you have one black friend that gives you the
opportunity to be able to understand or see the humanity that the media leaps out. a lot of times you see an unarmed black kid gunned down to and then what's next. but really we have to stop and think, will that kid, he was just a kid. he had goals and dreams and ambitions. he could have been the next barack obama. you never know what these people can grow into because they don't get a chance. think about some about some of the people we celebrated society today. look at them when they were 20 years old. get malcolm x. x. at 21 or for those of you who look up to george w. bush. look at him in his 20s. but you get the point. in life, we all make mistakes, nobody is squeaky clean. i andnd
we go through these things and we can experience redemption and take those mistakes and thaton d resilience and grow to great people. so i think they do a great job at showing the humanity that the media leaps out. the people going we have a lot in common with lots of types off people in this country. i try to do that and i try to put it in a language that everyone can understand. it's very accessible. if you read 20,000,000 academic articles a day the new look at this and say literature. if you're on a second grade reading level you'll still be a we get book in three days. >> thank you. doctor candy and professor watkins, as as you hurt together and research and your personal
background, what is the number one thing that you would like the reader to take from your book? >> black readers are white readers? >> both. i asked that for specific reason. for black readers one of the major unfortunate findings in the book on studying this history is -- i not only try to study racist ideas, but i've also tried to study antiracist ideas and policies and strategies in protest movements and show over the course of history this interlocking struggle. black people specifically middln income black people have been long time since the abolitionist movement that the way that weitt
can undermine the racist ideas of whites is when we go before white audiences to not defy stereotypes. like to quote represent the race well. many of our parents have told us to represent the race well which means don't if i i mean defy stereotypes, don't don't make it seem as if you are inferior. fact intelligent, speak speak proper, all of these things. and abolitionists specifically in the 1790s begin lecturingpe free blacks that this is the way that you undermine the prejudices of whites and thereb undermined the ideas that are ideas ined slavery. that you free blacks need to go before white audiences and show your equal humanity. that's what was taught to black people by white abolitionists.
many blacks internalize thoselin ideas on ribbon consuming and re- consuming in reteaching ever since. what i found in the book is that idea is actually based on a racist idea. that strategy is is actually based on a racist idea. it's like somehow black people are responsible for the racist ideas that white people had. that black people are somehow responsible which means there is some in that racist idea that my people have because black people are acting a particular way. i basically chronicle what i call up persuasion, this upwardly movement a black ideas that show the way that those are based on racist ideas. to whites, typically most americans think of a racist idea as an idea that states that the
racial groups are biologically distinct and black people are genetically distinct and inferior. typically people people do not acknowledge all of the other ways in which people have consider black people to br inferior. throughout history you have had a group i call assimilationist to constantly stated that racial groups are biologically equal but when it comes to culture they say black people are culturally inferior. but they say since they werecull biologically equal -- so they're trying to develop black people. of course they were inferior but since her biologically equal they can be developed in blackck civilized and improve. what i show in the book is that is a racist idea too. >> thank you.
professor watkins in reference of your book what would you like the reader to take away. >> three things. one, i would like every reader to think more critically about race in society after reading the book. the book doesn't challenge you to change it your perspectives but to think about these things, the traditions and information given to verses your own thoughts and opinions on how the systems come about. and how you can interpret them.u two, we are humans. people who people who die in go throughnd these things or people. you can be a ku klux klan member from mississippi or gangbanger from california but to those guys in a room with free ice cream and they're both going to take it. who's to racist or gangster for ice cream.
were taught that we are so different, but we have so much in common. the third thing to take away from the book is something i live by, is the ethiopian proverb that reads when they unite you can take down the line. so i don't think about the government or what's gonna trickle down into thee co i thunities.mmunit i think of how we as individuals can use our power to make realss change. my thing is literacy. i work with reading part programs. i help other writers get book deals and i've helped a lot ofis other writers get some of their work publish in different thates. that's my job and what i do. i have another friend who does the same thing with financial literacy and another does the same with nutrition. were figuring out what our passion is in working really hard to achieve mastery and ensuring the skills with others. one people to read the book and understand how strong we are as individuals and the things we can do.
all of us have been what if her politicians forever. so they ask about what he think about the election or this president of this candidate. not jaded and i understand the importance of all these things but i know any and every change i want to see came from grassroots work. so i put my time and energy there. i don't need to donate campaigns or teacher was somebody's name on it. i don't need to wait for you to come to my city and call it a third world country and leave. or send your circuits there to offer the free bumper stickers you can carry. that's not going to help people make money, so i can keep people out of prison or do any of these things. so i want people to read this book to understand how powerful we are as individuals and how we can do more for our communities the merchant and protesting.
marching and protesting is great, we, we need those but we need lawyers, we need teachers and educators who believe in the issues. when he people who run for office who believe in the issues to keep them once they actually get elected. we need people to do other things too. i was on a television show not too long ago when we talk about some of the issues i said it's very simple. we need the guy with a -- to work with the guy in the nikes to work with the white guy in the birkenstocks. we need all the different people to get together and work if we want to get to the issues. hopefully the book gives enoughn examples on how we can unite ase one to get to some of the issues that plague the country today. >> doctor kinde, we see the history and how do we move
forward and are we able to move forward with this history of the scars that have been inflicted on the african-american community? >> how take your second question first. in the the answer is yes. i think black people have suffered a bit of trauma as a result of many things we contact about. at the same time, i don't think history of oppression has made the black people inferior. it is reduce their opportunities but the people themselves just like any other group of people throughout world history who suffered oppression, the people stri able to strike through. so i think we should first recognize that black people come
all racial groups are equal despite their differences. i think that is the first major thing i'm hoping people recognize. clearly on pretty clear that i take an antiracist position which is that racial groups are equal. when you believe racial groupss are equal and antiracist ideas and you look out at racial disparities in equities, you're going to see dissertation. so when you truly believe the racial groups are equal and you look at disparity you're not going to see the black unemployment rate is twice as high as the black because black people are lazy don't want to work, or qualify, you're going to see discrimination. because again you believe racial groups are equal. so i am hoping that people
really understand theve differences between antiracist and racist ideas. it's a simple difference. antiracist. antiracist believe racial groups are equal. racist ideas note that in some ways ofou certain groups is inferior or superior. and then i'll say also that as i stated with my opening talk,he when we are trying to confront these producers of racist ideas, again differentiating them from uni, the consumers what we're trying to confront them and their ideas education and persuasion is not going to work so it could work with us but if you are creating ideas to justify existing policy see are not creating those ideas because your some how ignorant hateful. you recognize the ways in which
those ideas benefit, enrich you, manipulate others you recognize that. when we go to those people and persuade them otherwise that will not work, slick select trying to convince an executive of a company that sells harmful products but its products are harmful. its they already know, and don't care. they already know and don't care. we need to recognize the difference between producers of these ideas and consumers. those producers are simply manipulating the ideas and producing those ideas to enrichi toh r policy. to rationalize and normalize the disparity. and from the beginning you see that over and over again. we understand that in slavery. we understand how slaveholders would create ideas that black people were stupid. and then turn around and when they are still workers would run
away they were put outwould advertisements saying my smart black worker needs to be recovered but we know these contradictions. but that's one of those things i hope. our strategies have to change. to undermine racist ideas we have done in mind the policies that gave birth to them. >> professor watkins, we understand where we have been, wher change?e make the let's look at the education ofdu baltimore city and then look at it here at the q school. you bring your children here, phenomenal education. the children are already on the path to success. how do we get our children in baltimore cityd to be on that path of success? what are the things we need to do? >> there's a lot of things we can do what we talk about? w resources and funding qualified teachers and giving them what they need.eed to sta
all of these things that would work at a perfect world but we don't live in a perfect world. in all fairness all give a fair disclaimer. the type of work i participated participated in what i believe in is not a 30 year battle or 45 year battle.t when i die will not see the change i want to see in the schools this country or general. these issues took hundreds of years to create. they'll not be affected by policy and a few good teachers are not going to change it. were fighting against a culture. culture people have been forced to go to school when there is nothing on the other side of success for them. 95% of the people are in poverty. pulling your pants up and getting a good great does not guarantee that you will get a bullet in your head. guarant so, i'm not fighting against
some simple ideas, these are old ideas. the other day like a few months ago i was watching the television show when it came out back in the 90s called a different world. it's it's about the kids in college. like a black college there is a woman and her name was whitley. she was a substitute teacher and she was really frustrated. she had a long day and she had a husband name to wayne and he said what's wrong and she said they want these kids to fail. these textbooks are old. my classes crowded, missing these kids have a learning disability but their only behavioral issues. it's a system set up for these kids to fail. and these kids to fail. look at id well, this is crazy. when you look at the quality ofw the show i remember when it was
outcome wasn't anything new but the issues were the same. so i hit the button on the television to check the year to make sure i wasn't hallucinating. and it was like 91. it's 2016, the same thing. i teach and i attend conferences where they have people in from all over the globe and they said the data says this and that.eavm give me my honorarium check and leave me alone. that's it. if everybody so smart we have all this research, how come it's not making it into the classrooms. that's why i put so much of these things on community-based work. every every change i seem has been from the ground up. strong neighborhood, it's the cliché and all but it work, "it takes a village". so my job and my commitment and focus is literacy. i try my best to continuously create the younp
content that gets young people excited about reading or excited about telling their own story. so so mine doesn't resonate maybe somebody else's will. trying to create a culture of thinkers on a culture of readers and communicators and you cannot create a culture in one lifetime. not the way that i want to see it in the ideas that i would like to see go viral. these things take time. allies have much love and respect all the dynamic administrators and great teachers and all these people who want to change these things. the this is capitalism. to know what social reproduction is? to sustain capitalism to sustain capitalism you must create a permanent underclass. you do that food deserts and run police forces, you do it through education and it's right in front of her face. when i say they say this guy is a conspiracy theory guy. : crazy.
it's the same issue has been going on urine in your and what point do we stop saying it's a mistake. and start saying these things are put in place for recent the subtest to change it because the system is looking really great for the people that created it. [applause]like t >> i guess the last question i would like to ask is a hot button issue that we see right now the country. it deals with criminal justice system. my question to you doctor kinde is, how has racism impacted the criminal justice system and do touch that in your book. and to to you professor watkins, how has the criminal justice system impacted the life of the african-american male and east baltimore?
>> i will first go ahead and ask doctor kinde to talk about that and then you professor watkins. >> we have spoken a lot about many different things. i want to give a brief history lesson on the relationship between black missing crime. whicf anybody reads shakespeare? i don't know how many of his plays you have read, but there certain plays in which the black characters are noted as devils are demons. i see some people shaking their heads.th this literature came about as a result of these connections that were made between blackness and the devil.
these connections were being made in the early 16 hundreds. those connections settled into america, we first saw those connections made in a dramatic way during the salem witch trials. those of you familiar with the salem witch trials, the people werewi constantly say tht the devil black man was speaking to the witch and then the witch was bringing harm to me. that was a constant refrain during the salem witch trial. the notion of devil i'm blackness blackness and thes devil's ultimate criminal in our christian nations. so that emerged very early on in american history. we also note that when black people resisted enslavement in maryland and florida, that, that was illegal. they were considered criminals. when they resisted enslavement.l when they fled to the north there considered what? fugitives of the law.
and so, when black people of course black people were enslaved in this country for roughly over 200 years. over 200 years when they're resisting slavery and doing whav many people were doing that led to their classification isis criminal. and then by the 1890 you have more and more reports of crime data, specifically from from the census data. d that census data started showing black people were more likely to be arrested. black people were more likely to be in prison. in. and those racial disparities have continued to this day. and scholars in the 1890s took that data and stated, this means that black people are by nature criminals. now of course, most scholars
then took this crime data asa fact, meaning meaning they took it as actual crime rate. meaning they said says blackck people are more likely to be arrested in prison, they're more likely to commit crimes. so in being more likely to commit crimes they are more there more criminal like. and that criminality emerges from their nature or culture. those are the theories thather e scholars put forth over the course of the 20th century. those are the theories that put forth by police officers and prosecutors, politicians, and many politicians, and many others today to justify why 40% of the incarcerated pipe leash and in this country is black even though black people represent about 13% of the prison population. we talked about the reasons why black people are 22 times more likely to be killed by police from 2010 till 2012, they say
black people are recklessly violent and criminal. again, these racist ideas, racist ideas, blaming black people to justify racial disparities which is the history of racist ideas. so when you see the shootings,ee there's typically threesponse responses, response that states that the individual, whether trayvon martin or jordan davis in florida was acting recklessly , or you have people who say that the police officer was acting recklessly and then you have people who state both. those three positions have been the three positions people have utilized to explain racial disparities over the course of american history. there's something wrong withe black people or racial profiling or both. we see that plane out. like even though the racial groups are equal which means that there some black people whp
act recklessly before the people in some black people don't come for some white people who act recklessly before the police and some that do not. in that the racial groups of are equal or they're not. and when they're not there so many people who believe they're not that black people actually commit more crimes when the statistics say otherwise.racial we know the racial groups, where talk about this earlier, we know why people are much more likely to sell and consume drugs in this country. we know there's a direct link between unemployment and violence. meaning mean there's no such thing as a violent black neighborhood but there is a violent unemployed neighborhood but we won't think about it that way because i'll call for a war against unemployment as to a war against drugs and criminals.rimina >> professor watkins, before we
turn it opened will ask a couple of questions to mine answeringet that in terms of the role that you see in terms of incarceration in east baltimore. >> so i studied theory at trump university, i was making sure but is still awake. i. i know we have to leave littlele time for questions and i think doctor kinde summed it up but i like to that it's the biggestts employer of the united states of america, it works, at&t employs more black people imprisoned an outsider prison. we don't really produce any products in the country unless their common out country lester, and out of jails. everything is gone. where outsourcing all these things to different countries and they were wondering why things are the way they are.utg if the biggest employer other sucking young people up used to
be there is a joke going on amongst the elite that you're not really -- unless your on a prison. and and then you have the guys and judges who one guyt i think he got convicted and he was selling young people to his friend. the prison if you think about it is better than slavery. if you have a plantation in the old slaves, you have to make sure they're healthy, you have to feed and house and clothe them and make sure you make money. prison is just like slavery except the taxpayers are paying for the taxpayer, housing, clothing. how do you take a system and make of poor people pay for. i'm just a mitt romney doesn't pay any tax. >> thank you. at this point would like to open the floor for questions.
>> sumac if you like sassy question just line up behind the microphone. >> thank you for being here,p this is an enlightening panel and i'm happy to be here, one of the questions i have have is about the power of social media. in race relations and broadening what we are generally situations that occur in neighborhoods and taking it national. and the power of a # like black lives matter. how do you see that shaping the movement?
>> i would asked professor watkins because he talks about social media in his book. >> social media is like a gun. who somebody comes in hand threatens the group and you take that gun and shoot that person and savor everybody your hero. if you take it and you just start aiming at people who might be by my book and your horrible person. it can go both ways. when you get qualities like people have built their reputation they do great on the ground reporting to help spread the issues but a lot of times people think they're really making a difference just by retreating something and you get caught up in the solution of you doing excellent work when you'ro not. there's some great communities that have gone on to accomplish great things but at the same time you have a lot of chosen people who don't care who want to infiltrate the movement. i think it can go both ways. what i would like to see social
media to see it be used as a tool to mass educate our children on these issues they need to know about. this this is the one time in history where we know everybody will be in the same place at the same time. we have access to everybody so how can we use it in a positive way. >> thank you. >> thank you all for your work. i work as a surgeon in baltimore city and whether i am at home right grew up in rural north carolina or whether i'm in baltimore seen the folks, what i was wondering is, where have you seen in your research the racist ideas with regard to health have been implanted so that the evidence of it i don't read much
about it.about it >> sure. i'm sure you probably saw the recent study of medical students that found that you have wide medical students who believe that black people are more susceptible to or less susceptible to pain? actually, that theory was a theory that was used by benjamin rush. benjamin rush was one of the founders in medical school he was a famous doctor philadelphia. during the late 1700s and earlyr 1800s. and one of his books he cited another dr. who stated that this dr. was able to amputate a blaca person's like while that black
person held their leg because that black person did not feel pain. later, the father of gynecology last name is simmons. >> j marion soon, of course has a statue of this man in front of new york city in front of the american medical academy. >> so this guy who is a practicing dr. in the south decided there is a major chronological problem affectingw women and he decided that he was going to experiment on the vaginae seven slave black women and the irony of this and this speaks to my point that i was making earlier is, is he a slave
jerk he experimented on these women and did not give them anesthesia. and argued that they did not need anesthesia because they were black. but in other writings he talked about how these women were writhing in pain. so he clearly saw the woman writhing in pain but in his literature when he was trying to justify he said what, there black. so demonstrates that he probably knew, he knew that black people are equal in the sense that we feel pain too. but he had to figure out a ways to justify why he did not use anesthesia. i will also say that the first scholars in the united states were typically medical doctors. the phd really did not emerge as a degree until the latter partrt
of the 19th century. in these medical doctors were the very people who are creating these racist ideas.id not only about medicine but about different things. and these were the very people creating notions that the races are biologically distinct.themse >> thank you so much. >> real quick. i don't know if you read this book, but medical apartheid? they do a great job. he had this brilliant idea there is african babies being born in their catch in something from the filth that they were born. he had the bright idea of taking
like a nail and driving a nail into the skull of these babies to get rid of their sickness. had a hundred% infant mortality right. so medical apartheid is a great book to talk about. it's funny said that. i was just just reading that book andnd making myself upset. >> there's an instrument that we use in surgery called the sims retractor. and i will call by the name. >> yes we only have time for a few more questions. >> when dick gregory one-time said that four houses were desegregated before churches, when jimmy carter was governoro of georgia he went to church one sunday morning and took several african-americans with him and they were admitted but had he not been there they would not of been admitted to the church which is also known as a house
of god. e question to the panelists, does a history of racism in the united states represent a failure of christianity. the failure of the message of christianity has described in the new testament, in the gospels? over a billion people in the world consider themselves christians. and yet, we have this history that the panel has been talking about occurring in a christian country. so my question to you is, do you agree that the history of racism in the united states which you have documented represents a chilure of the ethics of christianity? >> yes, i agree. [laughter]
>> this is less question. >> thank you tour speakers. i just retired after 25 years as a library in prince george's county and the public library's. most of the times i worked in district tights. it's my privilege to work at district heights, temple hills, places like that. and professor watkins, i wanted to add one thing to what you said about the guy in the suit, there are a lot of women who are out there and doing that kind of thing too. from the library is often a lot of predominantly women there. we also work work with sororities and church groups. men, but also the women there with the ministries and alli al
sorts of things. they're doing a lot to pray also.so also want to say there is to annapolis is but the one place they come together is the annapolis senior center where most of the people seem to have gone beyond a lot of stuff. thank you. >> thank you. i was acknowledge all the woman i work with for all of these. i of these. i should've been more clear my language but if it weren't for the woman in my life i would not even be here. i can even do myr' own anything, so thank you for that. >> and i like it echoed that. >> first of all that will conclude our panel. we want to say -- i know. of course we have time constraints but i wish to thank the panelists, we want to thank her