tv 2018 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books CSPAN April 22, 2018 3:29pm-5:30pm EDT
>> was that a motivating factor for you to show empathy, to get people towns, i mean, i could make the argument why should western democracies be accepting all of the immigrants, why is it western western's democracies to care for the poor positive -- and president poverish and can't empathy change anything? >> certainly a motivating factor for me, i wanted to show the lives of the young people who had been -- in my life i'm in a reporter and also educator and the story of the book that i had been reporting on unaccompanied minors and all of a sudden a dozen showed up at school and it
was -- i feel like i had a clear understanding of what was and wasn't happening from the privilege of my work and research and felt responsibility but i will say to the question of sort of like why is this our problem, well, a couple of things, wasn't, it doesn't have to be our problem, right, but we al don't get to have it both ways, oh, united states is this wonderful, you know, sort of ben -- benevolent and why is it our problem, you are trying to play it both ways, in the context of el salvador, it's interesting in doing research for an article a couple of months ago, i came across ronald reagan speech from the 80's where he's saying, he's basically calling for, i think, it was the speech to congress i believe, he was calling for support for u.s. intervention in central america and by intervention it was -- turns out, funding and sending
guns to and training the troops of horrific definitely on the wrong side of history of civil war who perpetrated and murdered many civilians and ronald reagan was saying what happens to el salvador matters to us, el salvador is america, we have a responsibility, what's happening down there is important and we need to intervene there which is interesting because on the right right now we are saying, whoa, whoa, not our problem, so -- so we decide as a country to intervene in places based on what is politically expedient to us and at the time we were afraid communism, the idea of socialist government of el salvador, that was way too close to us, that was horrifying, but now we are sort of saying, no, no, not our problem, what's happening in el salvador, they need to solve their own problems, this isn't our job and
yet we helped cause, you know, a crisis that is several decades down the road caused the migration crisis down the border. short-sided to sort of say, history is long and the seeds that we sown down come back. >> when i first started researching the book i had in mind something different, i was in southern turkey and greece the week that hundreds of thousands of syrians really start today move in large numbers, votes that were designed and i followed some of the refugees from syria, they moved through greece and they make an appearance in the book but i sort of shifted gears. i wanted to build empathy for those characters but as this political mood shifted in europe, i decided that i wanted to focus more on politicians and so i spent a lot of time with
marine lapenn and new party in germany because i think it's important for any of us who want to fight against these ideas to really understand where they come from and where also what underlying strategies of the politicians is and what their end game is, and as i was saying earlier, it's dangerous and not consistent with liberal democratic values, so i sort of shifted in that direction but one of the things i found as i was researching and this goes to your point of empathy, it's become a strategy for a lot of governments to move this problem out of sight so that the public has no empathy and so one of the countries i focused on which is off the radar and i imagined many people here haven't followed in terms of the immigration debate is australia and one of the things that australia does and it's now becoming a model for a lot of european countries is they stopped people from ever arriving on australia shore, they intercept the boats at sea,
turn them back toward wherever they came from or divert them to remote pacific islands where they warehouse refugees for years sometimes and say you can seek asylum on the island of naru but you're never going to get it in australia and what's happened is it takes it out of the the public eye, if these people were arriving in sidney harbor there would be empathy, people would see them and welcome them, they might have different political views but they would be there and when they are up in remote pacific island, 5-hour flight away, no one knows what's going on and the condition that is the place have been horrendous and rye rots an some are shutting down now and you may have read about the deal between australia and the u.s. that trump was so upset about -- >> we got the transcript of it. >> but what australia did effectively is they kept them out of sight and out of mind. what's interesting now is that a lot of european governments are trying to copy this model and it's not just far-right
politicians, you know, the lapenn ice and danish people have been talking about this for a while, they mentioned before i could ask the question. australia, we love the australian model, we want to do it here. i was in denmark a few months ago, the day i arrived, the center left party actually made it explicitly part of her party's platform to build danish run detention camps in morocco and tanasia and other places in north africa and it was -- directly modeled on this australian program. it hasn't come to pass yet because it's still a political proposal but what's alarming about it it's coming from the left now. it's not the far right. a lot of the parties don't have the win, they have to shift the debate to the right, if their ideas win they won on some levels. >> speaks to the question but trump's policies aren't succeeding, right, but there's a risk of the sort of ideology sort of becoming of the
mainstream. >> yeah, it's amazing. i think, you know, everyone is trying to sweep this problem away but at some point you can't deny it any longer. you have -- i'm sure you have many suggestions, what do you think the world should be doing, you know, a million new immigrants in europe that's a lot, 4 million left in the middle east, u.s. is cutting back the number of immigrants that it's allowing in the country or at least trump is trying to do that and stepping up arrests and just yesterday i read i'm sure some of you saw this as disturbing story in "the new york times", one of trump's mechanism to sort of discourage people from immigrating is to separate young children from their families and apparently in the last six months immigration authorities have taken away about 700 children under the age
of 4 from their parents and put them in their own foster-living situation and sent their parents to -- to a detention center and, you know, it's not an explicit policy and they, in fact, apparently ice denies it officially but it is very disturbing and i think that would make people think twice about coming to the united states, but you -- do you have any ideas about how, i guess, both trust and the world should be approaching the ideas differently? big question, i know. >> yeah. that's been the toughest cartoon to do. [laughter] >> but at the very least have congress engage debate in a responsible way and the fact that you avoid even having the conversation there, i think already suggests that, you know, you have to be ready for the conversation and, you know, comprehensive immigration reform
is something supposedly that a lot of congressman and senators have been thinking about and yet don't have the opportunity to come to the floor and speak their position and my sense is that at the very least that's the dialogue that we need just so that we begin to work through the challenge. you know, for me this idea of keeping policy in the back room where you are developing it and not really letting a process, you know, of debate be engaged with it, i think that that's the dangerous part and i certainly hope that we can get to the point where that happens, where we have a healthy debate. beyond that in terms of policy, you know, i pay attention to the news and now and then i would do cartoons and focus on how it's
being felt at the ground level but, you know, in terms of the structure itself, the view of it i will leave that, you know, to the politicians. >> i can just say that it is just true that desperate people and this is would be true and maybe has been true for every single one of us that if we are desperate and if we feel that our lives or children's lives or loved ones lives are at risk that we will leave where we are and seek something better even if that -- if leaving is full of risks which we say it is on the mediterranean and desert in texas, it is on the río grande, it is coming to méxico and very risky journey and people take it knowingly every single day because they're fleeing unlivable, parulis conditions at home. it's something that now pretty well known and unknown to me when i first started reporting on unaccompanied minors, young women, it's element always, you have to pack water, you to pack
a layer and change of clothes and memorize the phone numbers and if you're a young women you get on birth control or shot because it's sort of almost assumed that you -- that you will be raped and that -- and yet people are taking because the conditions are so bad at home or for some people it's bad at home, know while we build and no deterrence through detention strategies, laws and laws do not, are not, have not, will not stop people from coming that are desperate. people find ways, over walls, around walls, when i say walls, the lit real physical wall and the sort of more symbolic walls of policy and deterrence, no walls have worked throughout time, you know, great wall of china.
until conditions are better, people will still keep coming. that's just how it is. >> it's been framed as the crisis, if you look at the numbers in country, even germany, they took a million people, if you compare that, for example, to lebanon or jordan or turkey -- >> the central african republic which has been doing this for years. >> right, the numbers pail in comparison to the neighboring countries and so it came on to the western news agenda because people were alarmed in europe and people were alarmed in the united states but the actually huge refugee populations are in the neighboring countries, so for me the policy question is down the road. it's what happens when there's actually a real crisis, when the numbers are far beyond what they are now and that could take place if there's a map of drought in the large country like egypt or pakistan, it could happen in bangladesh goes half under water, if a very large populist country has a huge number of people who can no longer survive, they are going
to move. this is on the horizon. it's going to happen somewhere, some of these people might come to the u.s., australia, europe, that is when the political backlash that i've been talking about could grow much, much worse, that's what i really worry about, the things that have been set in motion in the last few years that are disturbing enough could really take off and really quickly if we were talking about 50 million people and not 5 million people and so that's what i worry about down the road and one other thing i would like to say about the debate as i see it, in some of the european countries, you have a divide among conservatives. there are people who say, the muslims are coming to take us over and outbreed us and replace us and we must fight them. as far as i'm concerned there's not much dialogue that can happen with those people, that's an idea that you have to fight against because it is essentially heartening back to not see ideas but there's another strand of conservatism in europe where people are actually committed to making a
multiethic, multiracial society work. they believe in pluralism, maybe we need to talk about numbers, maybe we need to talk about the rate that people are arriving because we actually care about integration and if we want schools to work and we want everybody to learn german, for example, maybe 1 million people in a single year is too much and so i think that those two categories politicians are completely different and it is worth having a debate with the second category because they believe in the pluralist society and they're not hostile to the idea of a multiethic society and we may disagree and you have that debate but ultimately the goal is to have this diverse society where people are well integrated and equal citizens and i think it's a debate worth having but you need to push back very hard against the other category because they have no interest in the other kind of society. >> can i underscore what sasha was saying, the global south has been taking on the refugee
crisis for years and years and we haven't -- we in the global north have not batted an eye about that, oh, central africa republic, kenya, we will send aid money, and we've done a lot in sending aid money, but it is of note and we should all keep in mind that compared to like sasha said some of the other countries in the global south that have taken on refugees in the current crisis, the current, you know, international migration crisis and who have been doing this for decades, this is kind of like nothing, right, in comparison. >> and if it flairs up in those countries, it could get ugly there too, no one is thinking about that right now. one of the other countries i looked at is south africa which is my parents come from and my grandparents fled as refugees in 1930's, right now the refugees are coming from the democratic republic of congo from you are wanda urganda and there's
hostility from black africans who do not like it and are making same argument that is you hear from trump voters and lapenn voters, it doesn't facility the mold of how we think about the problem, there's been violence against somalians, the same kinds of ideas and arguments are being made there and it's very, very scary and i think that politicians need to take the lead in pushing back against the ideas wherever they arise and say, this is a society that welcomes people up to a point from other countries and we don't solve problems with violence and that isn't really heard often from politicians. there are a few but i wish there were more. >> yeah, i mean, some of the conversations are making me feel depressed. [laughter] >> however, that we are having the conversation at the la times
book fair makes me feel inspired because i think it's learning about each other's story that is has done to a lot of the isolation that is prerequisite of this kind of really difficult vision that we are having. to me when the movie coco came out, i thought the movie did more for really helping immigration policy than, you know, a lot of other political initiatives and that's because it took a story that was very cultural and showed how it translated a little bit and so i have faith that i think we will be able to share our stories in a way that we can understand how we share humanity and that all humans have the right to a dig -- dignified experience and hopefully we can come up with policies that can maximize that.
>> well said. >> i think it's ultimately what we have to do, if you look at what's happening in the republican party in the united states, which is the party in power, and this goes back to your point, sasha, the moderate democrat -- moderate republicans have been squeezed out and no longer have any sway in the party at all and the only -- the people who have the power are the ones who are the furthest to the right and are the extremist and who are using this very ugly messaging to rally the troops. so there's always recycles in government and hopefully that will change, but i wanted to just, sasha, elaborate a little bit more about what your fear is if it's the immigration situation really turns into a crisis, i mean, what democratic institutions do you see and please for the rest of you to answer this too really at risk because i don't think people fully -- not enough people are
thinking about the fact that in the united states and elsewhere are democratic institutions are frailer than we think. >> can i just jump, unauthorized immigration in the united states is at historic lows, we talk about a crisis and that's a complete pr invention, so i wanted to put that out there. >> absolutely. so i think in the long term, we are talk -- we've already seen attacks on independent judges, for instance, trump has attacked multiple judges before the travel ban, he attacked a judge for being mexican american, but the idea that head of state can go after an independent judiciary, that's a corner stone of any liberal democracy. in france, for instance, we saw secular laws which are central to -- to the way that france defines itself used in a way that explicitly targets a single group, you will probably recall in august 2016 they ban berkinis, any modest swim wear that religious muslim we wanted
to wear to cover up, if you look at who was targeted that month it wasn't nuns wearing or orthodox jewish, it was muslims and they were fined and the state sent representatives on to the beaches, that was an attack on a fundamental civil right to simply go to the beach, so we are already starting to see these things, it hasn't got on out of control yet but disturbing, once there's actually a real massive number of people coming in, these kinds of idea will catch on much more easily. fortunately there's been resistance to them and that's reason for optimism, we a mobilization at airports after travel ban, we saw the courts strike down the bans on berkinis at baichs. the independent institutions of the state have reacted and citizens have reacted in a lot of cases and that's great but if there are 10 million, 20 million people coming in a short amount of time in societies that's going to strain the social
fabric and that's when the ideas from populist demagogues start to catch on and seem logical and i think what we see now is a warning signal and it's coming in the form of attacks on judges, basic civil rights, but it could get a lot worse and what i was trying to say earlier, when you drill down and talk to politicians u they don't care about these ideas, they care about what they think the massive voters wants at any given time. as we have seen throughout history, there are moments in all societies when a majority favors expulsion of an entire group. it's happening right now where the ethic cleansing is popular, these politicians can come along and say we are channeling the anger of the people and we have a democratic mandate for it. and so i think we really have to think about what democracy means and what makes a liberal democracy different from an ill
liberal democracy and that's the kind of institutions and safeguards that stop these things from going off the rails when population is angry and politician comes along and takes advantage of that anger. >> and it's distressing that this is happening in a time of economic prosperity relatively, much better than after 2008 crash. so we are going to open up the floor for questions. before i do that, i want to tell everyone that these authors are going to be available to sign their fantastic books in signing area number one and i encourage you to come and buy all their books, authors need our support obviously and that's signing area number one and we are going to ask everyone to speak into a microphone because this is being filmed, the gentleman down here, who has the microphone? okay. here they come. thank you.
>> i have a question about empathy, i don't know if you read a book by paul bloom called against empathy where he argued that when you're thinking about public policy, maybe what you need is something like empathic, rational compassion rather than emotional connection, and if you're concerned at all about the fact that fear trumps any other emotion? as we think about empathy, have you thought about whether you want to sort of invoke at the compassion concern versus emotional connection? >> yeah, i think both are important. i think we can lean sometimes too heavily i just want to create empathy and that's it. part of the -- i feel like our projects must be more complicated than that because part of what i wanted to show
was, you know, i started this book before -- before trump was elected and i started this book, in fact, at a moment when i was so sure that the book would be irrelevant by the time it came out, little did i know, what i wanted to share -- there was certainly fear, fear of the migrant fear of the other, fear of the brown children storming, flooding across our border, i'm saying that kind of ingest and i wanted to show the fear that they had, you know, the fears that were motivating them because i think -- i think that that's really important, right, to kind of access the fears, the kind of cultural fears that are happening in this country and to show the fears inherent in the kind of profile of the person that we are being told that we should fear to some extent. >> i guess my response to that,
i like the distinction, very powerful and something that i have to think about and how to also build it into any work and to me the fear is importance because it's a manifestation of a phenomena and a lot of things that are going on and also when you're working particularly with young people, it's visceral and that, you know, i think that if you're an adult and you're seeing, you know, someone who is manifesting fear, then the concern has to be there, a sense of responsibility, right, to me understanding really is the goal and dialogue, you know, that's -- the fact that we assume that we have no core responsibility in the current situation right now particularly with immigrant communities is a source of concern and so i want to present kinds of stories that will open up some kind of window or door for us to engage in addressing, you know, whatever is producing that fear.
>> just quickly, i think it's an excellent question and i'll just address it as a question of political strategy, i think that fear is by far the most powerful mobilizing force in politics. it's more powerful than compassion, it's unfortunate but that's the case as i've seen it and all of these politicians that i interviewed from la penn to lower-level people, they are very aware of this and it's driving their strategy and so i think that those who want to push back against their gains need to realize that and part of the solution maybe what you're suggesting which is rather than going for the heart-rounding stories, save, look at the syrian engineer who has come and he is now helping the small german town, look at the doctor who is treating the children who didn't have a doctor in the community before and paint these people as equals who are helping society and i think part of this is political pr, really, and so i think that to push back against it you really need to
make some rational arguments and it won't appeal to everyone. some people will still be overcome by fear but i think that the beginning of that process politically is to realize what is causing them to win and fear is a big part of that. >> yes. >> this is a question for lauren specifically if i may, toweled your two brothers, the two brothers consider the option of the temporary program for protected status given the conditions in el salvador? i know there are pending bills in congress to extend protective status from people like countries like el salvador and to give the recipients a path to permanent residency, is that a possibility for them? >> it's not because -- it's a great question, so temporary
protective status was something that was offered to about 200,000 salvadorians and other nationalities as well but el salvadorans have by far kind of the most number of temporary protective -- the most number of temporary protective status holders and that's a status that's very much under the gun right now. but because when they crossed, they crossed in 2013 they were not eligible for that status. similarly i get questions about daca, if daca continue could they be dreamers no because -- unless that program was significantly extended which, you know, right now they are trying to keep it as is, they would not have qualified for that either, thanks for the question, though. >> yes, sir. hold on for the mic, please. >> well, first of all, thank you and congratulations for doing
this. i have been maybe influenced by the american, i was 7 plus in '44. i forgot about it, but something happened, brought me back to the usa long time ago and my question maybe for you francis or actually all of you, is there an organization where immigrants can get together and be the force that we want to be instead of being pushed around? for example, i was -- i am talking about '44. i was in an orphanage in south of france and suddenly the sky was full of airplanes. i didn't know what an airplane was, but the end of the sun and
early morning, the plane, we could see like those lights, like stars, i thought god had sent us angels to help us, but that's -- but there is something , i'm writing the book, immigrants, later because of the planes probably i became a test flight in french air force. in the 80's when the first boeing 47 was hijacked, i wanted and i did get a patent from the u.s. pto, i was then u.s. citizen, and people said, oh, yeah, don't worry, it's only -- they didn't took me seriously.
then after 9/11, then giuliani sent me a letter to thank me for what i was doing but it was too late. i had for 60 years. >> can i ask -- >> how can we get together and find the power to make sure they understand that? .. .. >> come to signing area number one. if you have more questions for alberto, lauren or sasha, you can ask them there. thank you. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> host: and booktv's live coverage of the los angeles times festival of books on the campus of the university of southern california continues. several more author panels coming up this afternoon. a couple of call-in programs as well. full schedule available at booktv.org. well, joining us now on our set
on the campus is patrisse khan-cullors, co-author of this book, "when they call you a terrorist: a black lives matter memoir." patrice congress cull losser, where did the term black lives matter come from? >> guest: well, it came from alicia garza in 2013. i added the hashtag, and a few days later we started black lives matter as a global movement that would eventually become an organization. >> host: what was the impetus and how long in the planning was it? >> guest: well, we in 2012 witnessed the killing of trayvon martin, and is george zimmerman -- his murderer -- went to trial, and many of us believed, i know i did, that he would receive some sort of jail time, some sort of sentence, but he didn't.
in fact, he got to go home. he was not convicted, he was acquitted. and in that moment, i was upset, disturbed, confused. i felt betrayed. and i knew that i didn't want that to be the end of the story, that george zimmerman got to go home. and so i went to the internet. i went looking to go see what people were doing, what i could do, and i found alicia forward sa's facebook post that essentially told black folks in particular we have to do something, and she closed it with black lives matter, and i put a hashtag right underneath that post. >> host: what were you doing at that time? >> guest: i was 11 hours north of here -- >> host: in california? >> guest: in california. visiting one of my mentees who had been convicted of a crime, and he was spending ten years, 85% of those ten years, inside a
prison inside of california. >> host: what kind of work were you doing? >> >> guest: i was a, i've always been a community organizer. i've been a community organizer since i was 17 years old. i'm 34 now. and i was mentoring young people at the time, and i was also trying to reform the daytime curfew laws here in los angeles so that young people were not getting $200 tickets when they were going to school. >> host: patrice congress cull losser -- patrisse khan-cullors, what does the phrase mean to you? >> guest: it's a copout phrase when i hear all lives matter. i'm hearing them say they would rather try to fight against the conversation about racism, that they would rather be complicit in a conversation about why we need to be talking about racial injustice in this country. and i hear people that are afraid of being honest and transparent about what this country has done for decades and
centuries. >> host: patrice khan cull larceny is one of the co-founders of the black lives matter movement, she's the author of this book, "when they call you a terrorist." if you want to participate in the conversation, 202-748-8200 in the east and central time zones, 202-748-8201 if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones. are you regularly called a terrorist? >> guest: lately, not as much. but, yes, it comes up often. and the first time we were called terrorist was in 2016 after the shootings of the dallas police during the peaceful protests that the dallas community came out to do in support of philando castile and alton sterling. sometimes i get trolls calling me a terrorist. i know that this president, 45, thinks that black lives matter is a terrorist organization, and i know that many people inside
that administration does. >> host: one of the subthemes of your book that hasn't been discussed as much is what you call the war on drugs or the drug war. i want to read a quote from your book. we are a generation that has been written off. we've been written off by the drug war. we've been written off by the war on gangs. we've been written off by mass incarceration and criminalization, we've been written off by broken public schools, and we've been written off by gentrification that keeps us out of the very neighborhoods we've helped build. let's start with the drug war. how is that a black lives matter movement? >> guest: well, i think what's important for people to understand is the war on drugs was positioned against mostly poor black and brown communities. and so what we've witnessed over the last 40 years is the ratcheting up of criminalizing our communities which has
resulted in millions of people, including black women and men being the predominant group of people, ending up in jails and prisons across the country. and so when we talk about the war on drugs, we're talking about real human beings. and in my book, i talk about the impact the war on drugs had on my own family. we lived in a tiny suburb called van nuys, and our entire community was under siege for years until we were eventually pushed out. so many people don't realize that they get to go back to their own communities, go back to the places where they grew up, they get to see their friends and families, but poor folks don't. we end up getting pushed out of our communities because of gentrification, and the war on drugs is part of that larger platform to challenge people from living in their neighborhoods. >> host: patrisse khan-cullors, it was your brother, wasn't it? what was his story? >> guest: yes, my brother, monty, also my power, my uncle, rodney, and the impact that has
on black women like my mother who had to deal with what it meant to have her children, her child end up in prison and take care of him and also try to take care of all of us. my brother, who suffers from skits so effective disorder was incarcerated inside l.a. county jails when he was 19 years old, and he was brutally beaten by the sheriff's department. instead of giving the care that he deserved, instead of receiving dignity, he was brutalizedded. he was humiliated. and he was never given care. he was never given a way out of the cycle of incarceration. >> host: in your view, is this a class issue? is this a race issue? >> guest: it's both. it's both because we think about trayvon martin who was in his own little class community, right? when he was killed. we think about my brother who wasn't in a middle class community, he was in a poor community, but he was
overcriminallizedded. so black folks both poor and middle class end up getting the brunt of racism in this country. >> host: what's been the reaction to your book? >> guest: well, it was a new york times bestseller the first weekend, which i was grateful for, amazed. it means that so many people have been looking for a story like this. i have finish all types of folks have congratulated me, have been grateful for the story. so many people have said they had no idea that black women started black lives matter, so having this book really helped them see the real origin story of black lives matter. and surprisingly, i have not received many trolls. [laughter] that have responded to the book. because i think trolls are not going to try to read my book. >> host: you grew up here in the l.a. area. where'd you go to school? is. >> guest: for college or for high schoolsome. >> host: for college. >> guest: i went to ucla for undergrad, and i'm now actually
here at usc as a master in fine arts student in the rossi school of design. and i graduate next year. >> host: patrisse khan-cullors is our guest, "when they call you a terrorist" is the name of the book, "a black lives matter memoir." first call is from lori in palm coast, florida. lori, you're on booktv. >> caller: hi. thank you for taking my question. in your response that you felt that all lives matter is a copout, and i certainly can understand. i am a white female in her 50s, and coming up i through the civil rights era as a young child and seeing the, you know, abundance of, you know, racial divide and hatred that took place that dr. king and others worked so very, very hard to try to, you know, stop, you know, going through all that and
looking at today do you feel -- because i feel like, you know, that through the course of time that there's good and bad in all people. and certainly, not trying to minimalize the black lives matter movement at all, but understanding maybe there's such deep-rooted hurt and pain that maybe there's still that need to try to get back at somebody? and that even though there's bad things that are always going to happen, that when we make excuses or we try to hurt somebody back, that we only wind up hurting ourselves. >> guest: yeah. i mean, i think that's a great point. i think what you've seen with black lives matter over the last five years is a nonviolent movement that has used civil disobedience and direct action just like king used to try to talk about the issues of racism in this country. what we've tried to do is
intervene in a long cycle of ignoring what's happened to black folks. and so and what you've seen from black lives matter over the last five years is young folks and old folks showing up on behalf of our communities, making sure or that it's not business as usual. >> host: next call is bob in nina, wisconsin. go ahead, bob. >> caller: my question is whether ms. patrisse khan-cullors was able to watch the entire george zimmerman/trayvon martin call on television? >> host: and why do you ask that question, bob? >> caller: because i was able to watch it, and i came to the conclusion that they were not able to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that george zimmerman had committed murder. >> host: all right. that's bob in nina, wisconsin. your response? >> guest: yes, i watched a lot of george zimmerman videos. i think the bigger question is
how is it possible that a young 17-year-old could be in his own neighborhood and end up dead. george zimmerman wasn't dead, and we don't know what happened that night. but what we do know is that someone lost their life, and so while there is the legal term murder, we can't call him that legally, he did kill somebody. and the fact that there were no consequences for him, i think, is deeply unfortunate not just for trayvon martin's family, but the rest of this country. we should be able to know that if someone kills someone, no matter their race and no matter the person's race who they kill canned, that they can be held accountable just like everybody else is held accountable. >> host: what's the status of the philando castile situation? >> guest: well, there's no indictment for the police officer who killed philando castile. and we've seen this time and time again, no indictment, no indictment. and this is a blow to families, you know? the families who not only lose
their loved ones, but their loved ones are often tarnished in the media. it's a blow to the community that that person comes from. think about philando worked at a school. he had children who loved him, cared for him. and it's a blow to our, to the culture that you live in. if you don't see people held accountable for harms they commit against an entire community. >> host: next call for our guest comes from paul in new york city. hi, paul. >> caller: hi, how are ya? so i wanted to basically bring up an issue here with respect to the drug war and historically african-american politicians, whether it be charlie rangel who were very pro, extremely harsh drug penalties. >> guest: yeah. >> caller: and, you know, if you've been watching this for a period of time, it seems that the narrative has sort of changed. there's a book, i think, called "the new jim crow" which seems
to -- >> guest: uh-huh, michelle alexander. >> caller: -- and there's no question it wasn't just african-americans as poll constitutions who were -- and not all of them were, by the way finish supportive of this sort of thing. but clearly there was, you know, very prominent african-american politicians who were for unusually tough drug laws. and it seems like people don't want to talk about that as being a contributor to, in fact, these really harsh drug laws that got passed in both the federal and state governments. and i was wondering if you could comment on that, because i think it's kind of problematic if you have any history to this, if you follow me. >> guest: i think that's a great point. and there's actually an author who i'm not remembering the name right now, hopefully i can get it and pass it on to c-span so they can share it who called out elected officials, black elected officials in particular, who were harsh on drug laws and who
contributed the mass incarceration. i think there was an entire generation of people who ignored mostly or poor black folks and the impact the war on drugs had on uses and our families. and not just ignore, but perpetuated the war on drugs. it came from black politicians, and it came from a group of people who were supposed to be protecting families and instead left us vulnerable. >> host: was that james foreman? >> guest: i don't think it was -- >> host: you don't think it was james foreman, all right. "when they call you a terrorist," is the name of the book. terry is in oakville, washington. terry, you're on booktv. >> caller: hi, thank you for what you doing. i think as a viable landowner, i'm a black, african-american man, i'd like to know how i could be of financial help to black lives matter. we know a problem's going on, i'm a real optimistic person so i want to see how i could be a financial help to your
organization. >> guest: well, that's a great question. [laughter] so you can go directly to blacklivesmatter.com. and as you've known and seen in the media, there has been some fake black lives matter accounts, fraudulent accounts that stole money from people. that was not us. so the correct address is blacklivesmatter.com. there's a donate button, you can go directly to our web site and donate there. on social media we are @blklivesmatter.com, and we're verified on twitter and facebook. we do have into gram, and you can -- instagram. to donate, it's blacklivesmatter.com, and thank you for bringing that up. >> host: you talk about an organization called dignity and power now. what is that? >> guest: that's my local organization here in los angeles county that i actually started before black lives matter.
and i started dignity and power now in response to the very serious scandals inside of the los angeles sheriff's department. we live many a county that has -- in a county that has had a of sheriff's department torture people inside those county jails. my brother was one of those people they tortured, and i started this organization because the american civil liberties union of southern california had sued the sheriff's department. and i wanted to have families come out and talk about our stories. so i started it in 2012, and for a year we rallied and met with elected officials, and we called for civilian oversight of the sheriff's department, and we won that civilian oversight body in 2016 officially. took us four years to win, and we are still working with families who have lost loved ones inside the jails, families who have had loved ones brutalized but also families who have had loved ones die inside
those jails. >> host: maggie, panitas, texas. hi, maggie, you're on booktv with patrisse khan-cullors. >> caller: hello, it's an honor to be able to speak to you. i don't know anything about you, i was just switching through the channels and listening for a little while, and i am so grateful i was inspired to call and let you know that. i'm a mother, and what you say happened to your brother, unfortunately, is going on with my son. and, you know, i'm glad that you're a voice for us. i really appreciate you more than words can say. and the reason i actually tuned in was because my son's written some stuff that he, you know, he's always written over the years incarcerated, and i'm sitting on his books now, and i started reading them. i couldn't even continue. i've had them for a long time, i'm fixing to get ready and thought i'd tune in to this and,
wow, what an inspiration you are. i'm so grateful -- you know, i don't feel like we have any control over the color we're born or the town we were born in or any of those scenarios. i'm actually a mexican, and my son is just half black, and i have a half-breed daughter. i was disowned by my -- anyway and moved on and, you know, tried to run away, and, you know, i liked the part about where you don't even have a town. and my son didn't get that opportunity. you know, he tried to have his home and, you know, ended up back incarcerated. needless to say, every situation's different. i understand that. i am not prejudiced by any means, i just don't understand ignorance. but i'm glad that you're solid in your foundation and that god, you know, gives us a voice in
any color. thank you. >> host: that was maggie in panitas, texas. >> guest: thank you, maggie, so much. i'm sending a lot of love to you and your family. i know how hard it is to have someone inside a jail or prison, and i hope you're getting the support that you need. >> host: from "when they call you a terrorist," in the state of california a human being is killed by a police officer roughly every 72 hours. 63% of those people killed by police are black or latino. next call for patrisse khan-cullors is mary ann in michigan. mary ann, you're on booktv and we're listening. >> caller: hello. i'm a 72-year-old retired english teacher, and i've noticed that some old classics are only found in the older anthologies or the older textbooks. the first one is --
[inaudible] you cannot find that in a modern textbook. you have to go to an older anthology. the second one is uncle tom's cabin was originally complimented by abraham lincoln when he shook the lady's hand and said so i meet the lady who has revolutionized the country. and the other classic that is no longer in modern textbooks is classics like "my antonio," and i'm just saying that our old classics are not found inned
modern textbooks -- found in modern textbooks, and i'm wondering if that is contributing to our narrow and terrible situation that you're talking about -- >> host: all right, mary ann in michigan. any response for her, patrisse khan-cullors? >> guest: well, i think that it's so important that we have access to literature. my earliest memories of me learning how the read and being really grateful for words and books, and so i think it's a good point that we have of to make sure that literature from all different time periods are available to us. >> host: do you agree with mary ann that "uncle tom's cabin" is a classic? >> guest: i think it is a classic. is it a necessary classic, i don't know. i think there's -- i definitely read it when i was growing up. i don't know if they're teaching it anymore. but i think that we have to be able to evolve with the times, and we have to be able to bring
in new literature for people to read. and i'm not sure that "uncle tom's cabin" is a necessary read anymore. >> host: what at age 17, was there a certain incident that caused you to become an activist? >> guest: well, i was in a social justice high school called cleveland high school in the san fernando valley in reseda, and i was reading audrey lord and belle hooks, i was reading beverly tatum, all the black kids sitting in a cafeteria, and i started to have my own awakening about how i was living and the conditions i was living in. the first time where i didn't feel like it was my fault or my family's fault that we were poor and that there was an actual system in place that perpetuated the type of humiliation and harm and violence that we experienced. and so i think that's what was happening for me. >> host: back to the book, where we could see that other laws were race-based and aimed at
disrupting black life, we had -- we still have a hard time accepting drug policy as race policy and the war on drugs as the legal response to the gains of the civil rights and black power movements. explain. >> guest: well, so much of the civil rights movement and the black power movement was about survival until revolution. that's what the black panthers' slogan was. it was taking care of our community until we had transformed the system, and the state was now taking care of us. but what happened rather quickly was the demise and the tearing apart of a really powerful movement that impacted people in the '80s and the '90s, that impacted the ways in which i would understand even that time period. and i think now what we're seeing is a resurgence of a movement that is trying to take care of what the movement was
trying to take care of 30, 40 years ago. >> host: kate's calling in from st. paul, minnesota. hi, kate. >> caller: hi. i have basically two questions. one of them, well, a statement and a question. as far as philando castile and situations like that, i question if it's the way -- if police are trained so much to dominate that sometimes they need to be listening a little bit more and working with the actual situation. i realize they're very high pressure, etc., but i think we need to move towards that model. the other thing is i saw the civil rights marches live on tv when i was a kid. and i've looked at the black lives matter marches, and the ones that don't go onto the freeway and block traffic, etc., i have sometimes thought of joining them.
but as a white woman, i'm really not sure if i would be welcome and safe and all that kind of stuff. because i'm a little timid. so i'd like an answer on that if i could, please. >> guest: yes. i think you're right. i think part of what happens the way police forces are trained are to dominate. i think it's incredibly patriarchal, and it's about fear and punishment, and it's about seeing groups of people and believing that they're suspicious before anything else. as far as joining a black lives matter march, yes, of course, everyone's welcome. black lives matter isn't just for black people. black lives matter is a fight for all of us. we should all want to make sure that our fellow human beings are living full, healthy, strong lives, and so we see black lives matter as an opportunity for the country, for americans across the country and for people across the world to change their
attitudes towards black people. >> host: mary's in oakland, california, and you're on with author patrisse khan-cullors. >> caller: ing hello, and it's -- i'm really happy to be able to talk to you. i was noticing that they were all males calling in, and now there are many women calling in. but what i wanted to ask you, have you thought about developing some kind of curriculum where you can work cohesively with schools and local police departments especially in oakland? >> guest: yes. and a lot of our chapters have actually developed curriculum. we're a chapter-based, member-led organization, so we have chapters across the country, and a lot of our chapters have developed a curriculum for their own local jurisdiction. and we have thought about what it would look like to have that
hard, challenging conversation with different government officials. >> host: patrisse khan-cullors, that caller was from oakland. the forward of your book is by angela davis who now lives in oakland, you told me. >> guest: yes. >> host: how did you get to know dr. davis? >> guest: i met dr. davis multiple times. the first time i met her she was actually doing a speech for an event that i was being honored at, one of my first honors when i was 24 years old. i got the mario savio young activist award, and so she was doing a speech there, and i got to have dinner afterwards with her. and then i met her again a couple years later when she was a judge on a panel that i was also being honored. and we built a relationship and have built a mentor/mentee relationship. i appreciate her work a lot, obviously. i have so much gratitude for her, and i asked her to do the forward for my book, and she said she'd do it gladly.
i thought it was amazing of her. >> host: again, the web site for black lives matter? >> guest: it's blacklivesmatter.com. >> host: social media sites? >> guest: @blk lives matter.com on facebook, twitter and instagram. >> host: and here is the book, "when they call you a terrorist: a black lives matter memoir" by one of the co-founders of the movement, patrisse khan-cullors. >> guest: thank you. >> host: a couple more hours of live coverage here from los angeles at the los angeles times festival of books. coming up next, you're going to hear authors talking about history, and one of the authors featured is howard blum. after that we're going to have david corn out here on the russia investigation. couple more call-ins, couple more panels. go to become tv.org -- booktv.org to get the whole schedule. and now we're going back inside to the panel on history.
>> good afternoon. can you hear me? great. well, it's terrific to have such a large crowd here, very gratifying for the authors. my name is bill, i'm a l.a. times alum. i now write for a web site called truth dig and another one called l.a. observed, and i also have started writing for a very fine magazine put out by the public affairs school of public administration and affairs at ucla call blueprint. it's just starting, it's about a year old, so it deserves a plug. if you're interested in public affairs, look up blueprint.
so our authors today are delawarean stillman -- dee ann stillman who wrote blood brothers, the story of buffalo bill and sitting bull, the author of inseparable, the story of the siamese twins, and steven j. ross who wrote "hitler in los angeles." the authors tell their stories through great characters or who were little known at the time or were famous but have slipped off the pages of history. through them, the authors tell much about american culture, society and politics of their era. and tell us lessons -- teach us things that will be of value and enlighten us even today in the
era of donald trump. "hitler in los angeles" by usc professor steven ross was a finalist for the pulitzer prize in the history category. in tracking the surprisingly effective -- right. [applause] that's an honor. attracting the surprisingly effective nazi campaign in los angeles before world war ii. steven, you tell much about l.a. and about the hidden story of the effort to capitalize on the depression and create a nazi state as hitler did. nazis parading around hindenburg park in the san gabriel valley, training with guns up in the
santa monica mountains, infiltrating the movie industry. you tell it by telling the story of people who were unknown then pretty much and are now unknown. in her book, former secretary of state madeleine albright is warning of the book of fascism in the u.s. under trump. to you see a parallel -- do you see a parallel between those per illous times you wrote about and our times today? >> well, one of the lead lines of the book that we've used in advertising that i thought captured the spirit is it's the story of what do americans do when hate groups move from the margins to the mainstream and when government authorities seem either complacent or complicit? and so it's a story that's as true and important in the 1930s and early '40s as it
is today. and i think there is a parallel, because the ultimate take-home is what do you do? what do you do when you have -- and just remember, in charlottesville neo-nazis and white supremacists were chanting "the jews will not replace us." in los angeles from 1933 not just til pearl harbor, but til the end of world war ii, virtually every month there was somebody openly calling for death to jews. not just jews won't replace us, death to jews. there were sermons being preached, shall we kill the jew. so as bad as things -- i guess you're going to take solace in as bad as things are today, they were worse. but the point is what leon lewis and the courageous men and women who went undercover and joined every nazi and fascist group in l.a. understood is that democracy requires constant
vigilance. and it's not enough to sit back and treat american politics as though it was a game show. that this is for real, and these men and women risk their lives to stand up against hate. and to me, the lesson, the parallel between the past and the present is not that any of you should go undercover and become spies because three of leon lewis' spies died under highly suspicious circumstances. i'm convinced at least two of the three were murdered. but what everyone, the lesson is everyone can stand up to hate. because here's where the president and i disagree, there are no good people on both sides. [applause] >> thank you. "blood brothers" by deanne stillman. your history was of people not
hidden. in fact, they were two of the most famous people in america in their day, in the frontier days, buffalo bill cody and the great indian chieftain sitting bull. let's talk about, a little bit about the history of these two men, but particularly what's the book's connection to standing rock? the last great confrontation in not too long ago between the indian tribes and the white establishment that had taken away their land? sitting bull lived and with us asaws -- and was assassinated at standing rock, and that resonates today in the same place by what happened there in 2016, the unresolved indian
wars. what lessons can we learn from the story of these two men as it influences our lives today? >> well, when cody started the wild west show in 1883, the indian wars were winding down. sitting bull and his people had fled america and gone to canada into the arms of the grandmother, that's what the lakota, that's how the lakota described our giant neighbor to the north. and he was considered a hostile. he and the lakota had had this great victory at the little bighorn. custer had been killed. sitting bull was blamed for it and kind of had become public enemy number one, although he
didn't really pull the trigger. and when he returned in i think it was, well, it was the early 1880s when he and his people returned because canada too was, the buffalo had been killed off, and canadians were under pressure by americans to send native americans back here to their homeland, he was this huge celebrity just like buffalo bill. i mean, they were two major icons of that era, and they're still huge icons around the world. and a lot of people were courting sitting bull for their traveling spanish -- traveling circuses, including buffalo bill who had cooked up his plan for the wild west show in a bar in brook lynx of all places. [laughter] he was the original rip from the headlines kind of guy. not kind of guy, just ripped from the headlines guy. i mean, he had had all these
adventures on the plains, you know, killing buffalo and wrestling bears and skirmishes with native americans, and then he would head back east and reenact all these episodes on stage. and so he was sitting in a bar in brooklyn one day with some partners, and they cooked up this idea, and then at some point cody thought, hey, let's get sitting bull, he's huge. and he was. and, you know, a negotiation began, and sitting bull by then was living at standing rock, and he was under the supervision of an army major who became a them nemesis of his. and he had to get permission to leave the reservation, as all the natives living there did. they had to get permission if they wanted to join a a wild west show. and the thing that tipped it over -- the thing that convinced mclaughlin, this army major, to give permission, one of the things and something that really appealed to sitting bull, was that annie oakley was in, had
joined up with buffalo bill. and he, annie oakley and sitting bull had met at a shooting exhibition a few months prior to his hooking up with cody, and he was impressed with her shooting skills and sent her a note backstage saying he wanted to meet her, and they became fast friends. he soon gave her the nickname of little miss sureshot which actually was a mistranslation. but when you think about it, he essentially branded her, to use today's parlance. okay, so she was in cody's show when he decided -- he felt comfortable that she was a member of the show, and cody offered him a very good deal. he became a -- the highest paid performer in the wild west, and they agreed to, you know, that sitting bull would travel, and he brought his entourage along. during his four months with the show, he would often get top
billing along with cody and sometimes over cody as they traversed the country. at the end of this four month period, sitting bull became homesick and wanted to return to standing rock. one of the things he had wanted to do in the show was meet the grandfather, aka the president, and confront him face to face and ask him how come you betray my people, and that meeting never happened although the lakota did get to d.c. and have meetings with other officials. so he ended up returning to standing rock, and when he departed, buffalo gave him a horse that he rode in the show as a gift. and this was a big deal because horses had been stripped from the tribes. they weren't really allowed to have horses. horses were a means of escape and freedom. and five years later in 1890 when sitting bull was at his cabin in standing rock, there had been a plan afoot to arrest
him which really essentially translated into assassinating him, and that's what happened at his cabin on december 15th of 1890. and this horse that cody had given sitting bull was outside the cabin as the bullets were flying. and during this killing, the horse started to dance because it had been trained to do so, to dance at the sound of gunfire while he was in the wild west. and i found that, i found out about that while i was writing a previous book of mine called "mustang." and the image haunted me for years, this horse from buffalo bill, you know, that sitting bull rode in the show, and the two became partners under this weird show business alliance, dancing as sitting bull was being killed at the height of a ghost dance frenzy which was
this apocalyptic movement on the reservations to return to the old ways. and i wanted to go inside that image and understand it and find out what forces brought the two men together, what head to that moment at sitting bull's cabin. and then cut to 2016 and here were the protests at standing rock. and during that time, descendants of cavalry veterans whod had served at the little bighorn and fought sitting bull's ancestors came to apologize to lakota elders for their, for the government role in the wipeout, in the betrayal of native americans. and that's something that happened during the protests two years ago that didn't get much coverage. but to me, that spoke and still speaks volumes. you know, i think we're at the point in this country where it's time to reconcile our original
sin, this ongoing war against native americans, and we see it playing out every day with trump's policies towards the land, sea and air which, to me, is kind of the engame, his attempted end game of the indian wars. >> your heroes are not hidden heroes like -- they're very well known, the siamese twins. siamese twins who are american legends. they're part of our languaged today, used all over. but you dug deep and found out the true stories about these brothers. your writing has demolishedster wrote types -- stereotypes as it
did with another character who i grew up with and who certainly shaped my view of asian-americans, the detective charlie chan. i'm not alone. are there lessons in your research and in your study of these two men, and you'll tell us a little bit about them, that provides lessons for us in a nation struggling to deal with race? >> well, thank you. certainly, yes. i think, i can think of at least two ways in which i think the topic of my book will be related to some of the ongoing, current issues. one is, you know, how to look at
the other, you know, the way some people look at the other as less than human or how to deal with immigrants or illegal immigrants, etc. and the other way is about freak show and how, you know, freak show in 19th century is basically the equivalent of reality tv today many some ways. [laughter] and there's a direct connection between p.t. barnum, who actually didn't get along with the twins, and i can explain why. and from the age of p.t. barnum to today, what's going on today. and there's a direct link to them. so a few days before my book was officially published a few weeks ago, i wrote an op-ed piece in "the wall street journal" telling the story of chang and ang. but i begin with some comments on trump's -- i teach at
usc-santa barbara. every time i mention trump i usually just say the orange menace. [laughter] so when the orange menace came to california remember just last month and he toured, you know, the invisible wall, and he said something -- compared immigrants who tried to climb over to professional mountain climbers. and that was in my opening kind of remark in the op-ed piece. and, of course, that was very nasty for him to continue to use as, you know, he meant it in a very sarcastic way. but i actually took it literally because there is a grain of truth in that, that immigrants --, you know, legal or illegal, really had to overcome tremendous odds. they have to be, whether professional or not, they would have to be mountain climbers. and that kind of gave me the segway into the chang and ang
story because just imagined the odds stacked existence them, the mountain they -- against them, the mountain they literally had to climb. for those not familiar with the story, they were born in siam, now known as thailand. they were joined together by a band of flesh about four inches in length. and they eventually were discovered by a traveling scottish businessman who, along are with an american ship captain, brought the twins to the united states and england for, as freak show. but somehow they, you know, they slaved for them, you know, worked like slaves for their owners for a few years, but they were very savvy, intelligent human beings. they managed to break free from their owners and managed a show for themselves, by themselves, for themselves and eventually made a lot of money and settled down in a very, you know, remote area in north carolina,
wilkesboro. and they -- we're talking about 1839, and they acquire american citizenship despite the fact federal laws, you know, were clearly against non-white persons getting citizenship. and that law passed in 1790, oddly enough, was not repealed until 1952. just imagine that. not until 1952, you know? non-- if you're not a white free person, you're actually not eligible for citizenship. so that's a mountain they had to climb. well, to make it even worse, they managed to marry two white sisters. so they're joined together, and they managed to convince two white sisters from a well-to-do family, and what does it take them to convince the sisters and the parents and everything and
to the whole nation at the time. [inaudible] they were able to produce 21 kids, children altogether, you know? big clan. [laughter] and so for those who hard my interview on fresh air with teri gross, she kept on pestering me with that question, how did they do it? is. [laughter] so, you know, the panel is called hidden stories, i hope you're not here for that. [laughter] i'm not going to share the spoiler, because you need to get the book to get it in detail. [laughter] but i'm really trying to keep a good balance between because, you know, this kind of unbuttoned discussion of their sex act really flew in the face of we're also talking about victorian america, probably the most kind of morally earnest period so-called. but as historians will tell you,
you know, victorian era known for its moral earnestness and also, of course, we are human beings. monkey business always, it's always there. so that's, you know, that kind of hidden aspect of that, how they overcome all these impossible odds. and, of course, later on they became slave other thans. and that really -- slave owners. and that really speaks of race and immigration. and the fact they used to be treated like slaves and now, given the chance, the table is turned. and this is really what, you know, the gray zone of humanity when the persecuted suddenly, you know, became the persecutor, the victim become the victimizer. so that's kind of a strange turn, twist. how to look at others as less human and suddenly the table is turned. and they also, when the civil war broke out, they were staunch confederate supporters because they were in south -- north carolina. they owned slaves at the peak of
their wealth, they owned 32 slaves. and they send their sons to the battlefield. one of their sons, christopher, went to the battle because the twins were found fond -- fond of horses. they learned to ride horses together. and their son went to the battlefield, and he was shot out of the saddle in one of the battles but at least, you know, he didn't die. he was wounded and captured by the union troops. but the horse came back alone, and the parents thought, you know, their son must have died. so in speaking of hidden stories, in this civil war period i was very interested in exploring the asian story in the civil war, you know? you guys may not know there were asian soldiers fighting in the civil war on both sides. and what made my research even more difficult is that a lot of them changed, anglicized their last names and make it almost
impossible to track down, to identify. huang is easy the identify, but if you change your last name -- yeah. and some of the soldiers went through, again, impossible odds. after the war some of them were not able to get, you know, pensions they deserved. and one guy who, you know, his eyesight grew, kind of had a problem with his eye, and the v.a. there who examined him just to verify whether or not he was eligible for a pension, the doctor said your poor vision actually has to do with your race because you have chinky eyes, things like that. so there's a lot of twists and turns. and it's not a black and white story at all. so that's something i want to emphasize, yeah. >> steve, what was los angeles like in the '30s and '40s? i mean, in reading your book i get this picture of a, not a
small town, but certainly a small city. these nazis are always meeting in neighborhood bars or cafeterias. their park where they had their rallies is, it's still up in the san gabriel valley, isn't it? >> yeah, it's now called yes, sir seven that park. it's 17 miles northeast of downtown l.a. it was then known as hindenburg park. it's where the nazis every september held german day which would attract, there were 150,000 german and german-americans in l.a. in the 1930s. they were the largest ethnic group in the city. and the nazis, through various kind of corrupt deals, took control of the german-american alliance which was the umbrella group for all german groups. if you controlled the alliance, you controlled hindenburg park
and its very substantial treasury. and by 1938 we had nazi summer camps 17 miles down, 17 miles northeast of here where young boys and girls would be taught the principles of national socialism every summer. we were also, you know, now it's -- as mark town said, history doesn't re-- mark twain said history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme. [laughter] you know, we know certain politicians see us as the great liberal city and wish that the earthquake would happen and we'd fall into the pacific. but in the '30s and '40s, we were the most important city for nazis in america. not new york that they called jew york, but l.a. and l.a. was the most important city for two reasons; we had the most powerful propaganda machine in the world, hollywood -- and, in fact, hitler and his
chancellor of enlightenment in propaganda, that's something i think the trump administration could do now. [laughter] enlightenment in propaganda. both going bells and hitler both believes -- believed one of the reasons they lost world world wi was because of the propaganda coming out of hollywood and the british film industry. so they sent george kissling in 1933 to stop hollywood from making any anti-nazi films because he felt that would keep america neutral for as long as possible. the second reason the nazis felt l.a. was so important was we were a city of hate. this is, southern california is where a lot of these hate groups really sprung up. and i believe that outside of the south, long beach had one of the largest collections of ku klux klan activists in the entire country.
the nazis, as i know from the spy reports because my book is based on the actual spy reports that, as i mentioned, leon lewis, the spymaster, recruited all these people to go underground. and only one jew, everyone else was a christian. and it was husbands and their wives. not just men. they reported back to him on a daily basis. and those reports are all typed up and at cal state-north ridge in the library special collections. and the spies talk about going down to the docks, driving the head of the bund in l.a. down to the docks even in san pedro or l.a., and he had an open port city. even though there were laws, no one bothered to enforce them. the nazis did not try bringing in secret agents, propaganda, money and orders very much in new york because the mayor of new york -- laguardia, yes,
he's italian, but he's also half jewish, his mother was jewish -- he was an ardent anti-nazi, and he made sure the ports of new york were closely guarded. the pouters of l.a -- the ports of l.a. were not. so the spies talk about going onboard the ship and seeing ship captains giving him packets of money, secret orders, seeing spies coming in from the ship. and we know that later we knew the gestapo was sending in spies on these vessels and also propaganda that was illegal to send in was coming in through l.a., and from l.a. it would go throughout the country. >> steve, yet at the same period los angeles was the home and the birthplace of such liberal movements as end poverty in california, ran a candidate for governor, it was the home of the townsend campaign which promised
presences for all and really was the inspiration for social security, and it was where the german, well-known and not so well known, german refugees fled. and so there was a strong liberal tradition of welcoming immigrants. how does that square with these nazis? .. >> these hate groups were more powerful than the other groups and one of the biggest battles
is to shut down hollywood liberalism so you have to ask yourself how does it start the hearing after the war? first of all starting with the congressman from the lower east side who had been to germany in the late 20s and to see them coming into new york he wanted the house committee on un-american activities to investigate fascism and nazi in america of course it eventually became the anti-communist crusade and with the war just ending with the atomic bomb we know the soviets are trying to get the atomic bomb. so where do they hold their first hearings? los alamos or new york with
the physicist to come out of colombia? no they come to hollywood to interrogate and terrorize actors and producers and directors by the way most of whom that were anti- somatic as well as the anti- left and that is why i say in the end looking at the 30s in los angeles conservativism and right-wing overpowers the left. >> that is very interesting. by the way if any of the panelists want to chime in with their thoughts, feel free but standing rock amid everything that was happening while this was going on, and
i'm being excessive media freak and a cable news watcher actually i turn it on first thing in the morning for tromp. but standing rock amid all of this got some play but was it really at the center of what should have been an important debate where was that lost in the crowd? >> you mean the coverage? >> the public outrage. >> it was a media story. >> it was and rightly so but as i said before the really big story that came out of standing rock was that
spiritual shift that seems to be going on in the country and that is a number of descendents of army veterans who fought at an old bighorn and now the descendents are returning to standing rock 100 years later to apologize for the indian wars and the american betrayal of native americans. and that is a very significant thing to me in my opinion but didn't get much coverage. there was an apology they accepted that made a statement in return and pointed out the land belongs to no one and nobody can possess the land and that is the focus of my book the role it plays in america and what it means to
the various tribes to live here including whites and red men and women alike. i think that is what we should stay focused on the spiritual underpinning of what happened there and how that shapes out over time. in the old days when the calvary showed up there was big trouble for native americans and that isn't happening anymore but to your question or comments for the other panelist but i have a question we are both writing about brothers and also use stephen a certain way my title is blood brothers and i made that metaphorical and historical sense and with the
related dna. to forge a strange business partnership and in spite of that there was a very unexpected friendship that unfolded and both had crossed those vast chasms to make that happen in the picture on the cover of my book was taken where they are posing together into the future and that became a very iconic photo to suggest any number of things you want to read into it but as i examine this metaphorical brotherhood that went on inside the wild west show of cowboys and indians working together to re-create this thing that was vanishing as they were staging it and of
course the native americans were not there by choice but basically were only appearing to get off the reservation but they did have that same kind of brotherhood with a shared history with all the bloodshed on the great plains with the bloodied battles that they participated in and in your case obviously two brothers literally joined at the hip and could never get away from each other is a whole different situation that brings up a whole set of concerns that you explore in your book then steve talks about the gray areas inside under the banner of war so
these are things that we are dealing with today or what divides us. >> they were joined together for god sake and to call the holy grail of medicine the doctors were so fascinated and eventually there was an autopsy after their death but one thing about their story for me is really about speaking of brotherhood and sisterhood, really what is it mean to be a human being? because it always means more than one. so those that did everything together even going to the
bathroom to sleep or nap one is a heavy drinker the other is not. [laughter] so there is a great line about these two brothers when one brother drinks that get the other brother drunk physically but not morally. [laughter] but on the other hand the one who is a heavy drinker died first and when he realized his brother just passed away those last four hours was an existential crisis for him so without his shadow when you realize you know something funny is happening.
so literally but also metaphorically because not many people know this but north carolina where eventually they lived and settled down to have 21 children was also the birthplace of andy griffith so mayberry actually. with that freakish abnormal lung -- abnormality is also why i watch the show because of those racial tensions that were raging on in that town when the show premiered in the
1960s so this is whitewashed american normalcy in the same town like i would camp out because the farm is still there and has turned into a campground so i rented a car and tried to spend the night and the manager asked me how big is it and i only have a rental car. [laughter] but i'm chinese i spend the night although the stories from 150 years ago i get a sense of how it settled when the temperature was like and everything and walking around in the back of my head is the story but all the time and thinking mayberry.
and there was a great book written that says something about the tyranny of the normal or the american normal is built on top of something so in that sense with blood brothers and culture. >> i will pick up on two things one is the importance of race and how do we overcome these divisions? on the importance of place that goes to those questions.
i told my son this is where your tuition dollars go to work for you. [laughter] my son and daughter were good editors. he said you need a math because we need to visualize all of this so once i started to create a map it when you open the book you have to open two or three pages you will see a two-page spread of the knots he and fascist l.a. in the 30s and 40s and once i started to map the routes all of a sudden the story was more frightening because you can see you have swastikas for the not the associations and then all the fascist groups in america all of whom had very patriotic sounding names like the american nationalist party
but if you look at downtown i could not fit in all the fascist groups one that is completely surrounded in the color version it is a blue symbol at the roosevelt building surrounded by a cf read completely that is how many fascist coming all the way down to the border of this camp and in fact if you go up you will see now the union theater which was part of the continental movie where not tease could go very comfortably into the theater to give the owner a salute it was only german movies because those anti-somatic statements they they couldn't do in any other theater in los angeles
so how do we overcome hate? whether race or ethnicity or religion? one of the questions i am asked when i am on the road is you tell us the major spy books were christian but how did they feel about working for aid you in a jewish campaign? my answer was they never saw it as a jewish campaign they sought as an american campaign virtually were world war i veterans and they knew a foreign group had come to american soil to los angeles and were preaching hate against jewish americans and black americans and catholic americans. and what they understood is everything that came before
them was an adjective and anything that matters in this country is the noun. american i don't have to love every jew or black or catholic but they are my countrymen and i will not allow another group to come into our city or country and threatened them with the death. and that we are all fellow americans in this country. [applause] >> we will ask the questions and the audience i didn't mention this but i will at the end our authors will be available for signing their books in signing area number one that will give you a chance to buy their book and ask more questions.
do we have any questions from the audience? step up and they will bring the microphone to you. >> did you explore something in your book? of course at the time of this not the incursion in los angeles you had tens of thousands of innocent japanese-americans being incarcerated for no other reason than their race so basically they were interested on -- innocent but white germans were actually guilty of perhaps trying to usurp the government of the amended states so do you try to explain this bizarre situation in your book? >> not really because the both of the book describes one
--dash is pearl harbor and what you describe happens after pearl harbor but the truth is the nazis were rounded up at the very beginning the leaders of the nazi movement and the italian fascist and the suspected japanese spies learned that all were rounded up by the fbi but the difference is almost all of them like the germans and the italians with the exception of the major leaders were let go the two major nazi leaders were kept in jail one intel around 45 and the other through 47 but then the rest of the germans were let go and the japanese not just the leadership detained but everybody else and i will say that i know that my story ends in 45 in the group that started the spy ring calls itself the community committee
renamed itself the community relations committee the associate spymaster made it his mission after the war to turn what was once a spy operation to protect jews into a multiethnic multi religious tolerance group and he is one of the founders of the human rights religious diversity tolerance movements in the names that it goes under in the united states because he was very upset by the persecution of the japanese. it had nothing to do with how dangerous his work with they were japanese and therefore they were inherently dangerous. >> i wanted to ask whether in the late 30s there was
enormous immigration of the composers from germany but then even along sunset boulevard we established that a long time ago but were there any other factions between these groups between the germans and the jews? of the high class in these horrible people? >> no. there were two groups of germans coming in the germans and austrians from the motion picture industry they did integrate into hollywood thomas that went into the palace day days -- palisades they stayed to themselves and had nothing to do with the others. they were high germans and i come from a polish jewish family married into a german
jewish family and there is a difference. [laughter] i will tell you that. [laughter] >> i think it is interesting that everything is turned into show business can you comment on that. >> i think if you take out the wild west show from american history there is no show business. buffalo bill invented that in a way. there were other traveling circuses but he made it into something he made american history into something spectacular. he mythologized our story
inside of his traveling show that he cooked up and was re-creating some of the great milestones in american history of course from the white man's point of view. i do get into the dark side of this that we still live in the wild west that dreamscape we are that kind of country where freedom appears in our founding documents and we pursue happiness were free country and we can do what we want and from this country's founding. and that is where america
lives you can almost pay ginny argument taking place now whether it is about the first amendment or the second amendment or the upcoming proposed amendment, equal rights, they all get back to the concept of personal rights and we are a free country and can do what we want. that is what cody was re-creating in his show with the good guys in the bad guys shoot them up if it is mine i will take it you can have it. you one. we revere the outlaws we worship killers these are american icons some of them were great somewhere evil. this scenario plays out in every tragic story coming out of high schools today or any number of places and we are stranded in this dreamscape
and i think that is the conversation that needs to be had and then to address your comment more specifically hollywood would not exist without buffalo bill because western came right after his shows no buffalo bill or no western but still we figure out how to tell those stories today. and we see a lot of different versions coming down the pike in recent years and they are more common. >> there was an ugly freak show quality to america in those days as they began thereto or through new england and into the south, you refer
to it briefly but doesn't that really characterize what we see on television today? >> very much so in some sense to be there before the big caravans with pt barnum they were the trailblazers of america's entertainment until the rise of pt barnum and barnum came along so in a sense it was the rise of democracy because that is how democracy among -- americans doctor sense of democracy. one time in arizona he actually called we need to win. in pt barnum is about
celebrating because he is very good so he would say something and then talk and try to sell the story and when people would flock to his museum a few days later turning to another newspaper so then they write an article debating the other one. [laughter] and it was a media fight people thought really? it wasn't real? so they went back to take another look and paid again. [laughter] so this is the assumption that i teach in my class that it is true that of perception to realize that on game leading to democracy of how you imagine the other way.
so with that game with a sense of politician to win your confidence and trust that that is very much alive because pt barnum started the competition like the beauty contest. [laughter] so just like the earlier freak show. >> and was thinking of response of what you said but all three of you are basing your work on sources so what about the role of media as a source? is it accurate is it now wasn't then?
is there a continuum of how much to trust the media and which do you trust? >> i have an extensive bibliography at the end of my book as i do with all of them and when you say medium i am guessing you are referring to newspaper coverage? yes. certainly i would use newspaper coverage in the 19th century and prior to that to tell my story. but i also went back and read a number of accounts of that period of time, buffalo bills book, native american accounts of that era come i have dozens of references in all of my books i did interview contemporary figures that were involved one way or another and a number of museums that had very deep archives in
american history colluding the huntington museum that is in l.a. and they have been a great source for me with all of my great work over the years and i consulted various online archives so all of our books i'm sure are deeply rooted in pretty serious research. >> there is a difference between media and research the newspapers only tell you what we don't know without newspapers i would have no book what you need to know was what don't you know? that is where the history comes in will you find stories buried in the archives and people's memories that i read the newspaper so i get a sense of what is going on but