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tv   Understanding Ferguson Protests  CSPAN  January 19, 2015 8:00pm-10:12pm EST

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life. our contemporary public is absolutely, absolutely mesmerized by those who are glamorous and rich and famous and beautiful.vs and most of the materials innn this gallery were owned by4i78 individuals who everybody emulated in their day. so from our perspective, we in our ego sen trach manner think that we've invented the cult of celebrity and the cult of glamor. i think it's important to know, au contraire, we didn't do it there was an echelon of socialf"x! figures and theatrical figures who were constantly in the press, who were constantly interviewed, and whose clothes and jewels were described in great detail in the latter part of the 19th century. and the public followed them
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just as feverishly as our public follows our contemporary celebrities. >> and it was given as a gift by a wealthy industrialist to an orthopedic surgeon. so you see the handle -- >> you've been watching a preview of our weekly)j alf hour "american artifacts" program. visit cspan.org/history for schedule information and to view entire programs online. the deadline for the c-span student cam video competition is tuesday. so get your entries completed now. produce a five to seven-minute documentary on the theme "the three branches and you" for your chance to win the grand prize of $5,000. for a list of rules go to studentcam.org. up next on american history tv, a panel of his torials talk about race relations in ferguson and develops methods about protest. they also examine how policing pe=? and the criminal justice has
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historically related to racial conflict. this session about the association's annual meeting is about two hours.,úq?)zw >> good morning, everyone. my name is khalil mohammed. i am going to be filling in thomas já
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so there are many people who couldn't be here for any number of reasons travel, other panels, who have an interest and have asked that all of you be active participants in tweeting. jxñ"sb so in tom's place hereáqks let me say something i think he might have wanted to say about the importance of race spacer@hí and the importance of the ways in which policing have defined the spaces propriety and citizenship in the united states ferguson brings us here and yet ferguson is just a metaphor for an ongoing history that sees eq< state forces, that sees white citizens and sees class as the defining marker for the ways in : which race continues to be made in the united states of america.
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that said, i want to also thank jim grossman, the executive director of the american historical association,7rx encouraging panels like this that link the past, present, and future. and we all know as members of american historical association has not always been responsive to contemporary moments and sometimes has been on the wrong side of history. so we want to applaud the leadership in this moment for these allowing us to come together and think seriously=?zl about how the past informs this moment. the format of today's panel, each speaker will spend about 10 minutes speaking. they've been asked to prepare opening statements, which will range, i assume, from very formal to informal. all of whom will be important for shaping the conversation we will have with you. they will speak in the following order. colin gordon, colin is a professor of history at the university of iowa.
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he writes on the history of american public policy and political economy. he is the author of "a grog apart: a political history of american inequality" published in 2013. as well as 3qtsñ"dead on arrival: the politics of health in 20th>fsqx century america," 2003. and "new deals: business, labor, and politics 1920-1935." he has written for "the nation," "in these types," "z" magazine, "atlantic city" and "descent" where he is a regular contributor and author of the book "mapping decline and st. louis and the declining city." he will speak on segregation an”ç the development of inner suburbs. colin will be followed by myself. i'm the director of the schaumburg center and the author of "the condemnation of blackness: race, crime, and the making of modern urban america."b] i run my mouth a lot of different places and we'll keep it moving.
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i will speak on the history of race and policing in a particular context. i will be followed by heather thompson. she is an associate professor of african-american studies and history at temple university, soon to be moving to the university of michigan. she writes about race;lyajp'd social movements and the cultural state in 20th century america. she is the author of "whose detroit: politics labor and race in modern america." and in a modern american city. she is the editor of "speaking out: protest and activism in the 1960s and '70s." and she's just finished a book which you've all been waiting for, "blood in the water: the on the tick ka prison uprising of wq5% 1971" which will be published next year. tom man recently served in the national academy of sciences blue ribbon panel that studied the caused and consequences of mass incarceration in the united states.sw[zy she will be discussing whiteness and reaction to ferguson.
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following heather thompson is jallany cobb associate professor of history and director of the after studies institute at university of connecticut. he is a specialist in african-american history and 20th century american politics and is the author of "the substance of hope: barack obama and the paradox of progress," as well as "to the break of dawn: a freestylfbx#árr(-hop aesthetic" which was a finalist for the national award ofóad+áh @r(t&háhp &hc% writing.amgtñ his collection "the devil and dave chappelle and -- " i didn't write these. but i am reading tom's introduction. he is editor of "the essential herald his forthcoming book is titled "antidote to revolution: the struggle for civil rights 1931 to '57."
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he's a regular contributory the new yorker which public hers reports on the ground in ferguson which will be hislm))l contribution to today's panel. his work has also appeared in "the beast," "washington post," "essence vibe," "new york times" and many other publications to be sure. and our panel will be rounded%a out by marsha chatling, an assistant professor of history at georgetown university and writes about african-american
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at the beginning of the 2014-15 academic year she launched an collaborative online project #fergusonsyllabus, to grapple with the ways to talk -- to talkyúñbr(t&háhp &hc% to students from elementary school to college on the ferguson crisis. that work has been featured on national public radio, in the pages of "the atlantic" and descent," and is part of a collaborative online teaching resource.@gcsñ%; y dr. chatling will be discussing on the teaching of ferguson. and with that, i bring to the mike, colin gordon. >> i want to set the background by looking a little bit at the demographic and developmental history of st. louis and its inner suburbs. this is in many respects a sort of familiar story of sustained segregation in american
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metropolises, sustained by instruments like restricted deed covenants and racial zoning and %uu the infamous fha security ratings and other private and public policies. and i think if i were to fit ferguson into this story i would underscore three things. first of all, st. louis is a fraurkbly and starkly segregated setting. marked by a north-south divide you can see clearly here on the map.fqg running out from the city which the locals call the del mar divide. and it's a very stark division between white and black st. louis.lr@ there's also what was commonly termed as sort of berlin wall between the city and the county. pu and what's interesting about this, and i'm get into it in a moment, is what we see in greater st. louis is boast the spectacular success and in many respects the spectacular failure of local segregation. ferguson sits at the int-,ár(urjrju$at.
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the second point that i would make in fitting ferguson into this story is that st. louis, like a lot of midwestern cities, particularly is a remarkably fragmented metropolitan setting in terms of its politics. and this fragmentation is first and foremost designed to sustain that segregation over time. and in terms of the sort of development patterns and the number of local governments there are in greater st. louis, a metro area of only -- of under 2 million people, 214 municipalities. 100 of them in st. louis county alone.zxse5 and the third point i would makø is that the -- the consequence of this in greater st. louis and elsewhere is most starkly the sustained gap between black and white welt. so here from the survey of consumer financesh difference between black and white income. the difference between wealth is of course much starker.
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and in fact, through the civil rights era we've made some gains on wages and income. but the in fact, the wealth gap is growing. and that's all about housing. and when you combine these elements of stark segregation of sort ofilfy an uneven and;a fragmented governance and the stark wealth gap, you generate the story i think of an inner suburb like ferguson. what i show here is a pattern of this uneven development and annexation and the development and so the red here are -- i've just mapped single family homes as they're built in greater shoes. the yellow are the areas as they are incorporated. and here's ferguson up here, which is incorporated in 1894. but you can see we get a pattern of private development, really out in the corn fields, that precedes incorporation. so that what incorporation is
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doing is really just sealin[yñ the decisions made by private developers. and what that yields, among other things, in st. louis # county and here5q;ferguson is outlined in black, the city is there next to the mississippi -- is a pattern by which the older residential footprint in inner suburbs li k] much smaller residential footpri5sr(t&háhp &hc% so there's ferguson and the square footage again is much smaller9ñut than the sort of conventional suburban development. ferguson again incorporated in 1894, is an inner suburb. it's not a suburb in this sort of conventional sense of the word. and what this yields in greater st. louis, again combining these patterns of uneven metropolitan development and sustained segregation, is a successive pattern of first white flight and then black flight out of the city. so then this serieseóoñ of maps which go from one decennial
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census to the next, black dots indicate anb=/ñ increase in black f#ñd persons, white dott]r increase in white persons and corresponding decline in red and orange. what we can see as we scroll through here is the city emptyingm%bc out largely of its white population. so in 1950 the city of st. louisgg had a population approaching 900,000. today its population is approaching 300,000. and what's remarkab here in the orange you can see the footprint of the first sort of urban renewal projects. the building of the first busch stadium, the clearanceáof millcreek valley, which expel much of black population into the north side of the city. and then by the time we get into vs&ò.k across the county line into inner suburbs like ferguson. residential footprint.v8éw so what happens in effect, the ábé& delmar divide, which runs
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roughly in this direction is a pretty hard and fó;cñ lineo23ve of segregation in greater st. louis, even today.wrd@ñ but the county line is more fragile. and here's -- here the instruments of segregation break down. so as people move out of the city, black and white, they tend to move locally.i5y#w so african-americans move out of nort0s suburbs of north county. whites move into central and south county for the most part. what does this yield? it brings with it a movement of concentrated poverty out of the city and into the near north side. tracks where income is less than two-thirds of the metro average. and you can see concentrated poverty in the city in q":rñ but as we scroll ahead in time this moves out into the inner suburbs. so the larger outline there is the ferguson fluorescent school district, the smaller one is the city of ferguson itself.zbsmñ8wñ
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we can see this as well in the poverty rate, which is now as stark in north county as it is in the city itself. we can see it in the patterns of unemployment, especially of course youth unemployment. and we caniçrá in the sustained fiscal crisis in these inner suburbs. so here i've mapped the ability of local school districts to generate revenue per student. and you can see in central county, you have a combination of high revenues per student on a very low tax rate. whereasap in north county and in the city, you not only hap"e low revenues per student but you have very high tax rates. it's actually more expensive to live in ferguson in terms of taxes than it is in much of central county. and what this fiscal crisis yields in part, which the rest of the panel can fill in the consequences of, is this pattern of what i would characterize as cabx
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revenue policing in st. louis county. so this from a recent report by better together a local group in[tqañlouis, shows in northom-ñ county the degree tohkk÷ which municipalities rely on court revenue. court fines is a bigger source of local revenue in ferguson fluorescent than is the property tax, by a large margin. and i'll leave it there. >> he was just heating up.a ( just getting good. all right. i'm getting over bronchitis so the longer i talk, the more i cough. i'm going to take a slightly more traditional tack here and mostly read from some things i've written about policing historically, mostly because i think at times we needép to really appreciate how rounded a lot of the themes that emerge out of ferguson are.
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and just as a very quick aside to what colin just ended on, which i think would be a 1wc" wonderful discussion point later to talk about what3e emerge in thegzdsjñ 'm post-bell post-bellum south of slavery with regard to$ rofit-driven policingh and a correction systemkjll designed to save the new south from its debts, from civil war debts. it goes without saying that this is a long practice of seeing policing as part of a larger political economy. police in urban black relations out of the south is the most underexplored theme in labor relations in uq&#h"evelopment before the 1970s.u'! polici=ho áh'ature to labor and class biases and anti-poor and anti-ism grant biases have many authors more than a generation ago.alx until 2009 with callie grosses,
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colored amazon, cheryl hix's 2011 talk with you like a woman layne's 1986 work the roots of violence in black philadelphia was the only work of nonsouthern ñ crime criminal justice historians to explicitly focus on%vr#ñ african-americans outside of the south or what i will refer to here as the urban north, although missouri is inlfn limbnal space. remains the best general history of northernée;v÷ policing. given the limited work of$a historians, and i want to emphasize here historians, on the topic, the u.s. riot commission report, or the kernor commission report study, released in 1968, is often the starting point in public and political discourse for unraveling the deeply tangled web of race poverty crime, and criminal justice in recent the kernor commission made@yo@uz recommendations for reforming police practices in plaque urban
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communities. better treatment of citizens to ensure proper individual conduct, two more police location of residents, three, independent citizen review$obñx boards, four citizen input on new guidelines for aggressive patrol to minimize the harm of stop and frisk practices,9í[ five, develop community policing. based on mountains of testimony before the commissioners the police quote surprised much deeper problems and represented all d( the prejudices of the criminal justice system. across the cities surveyed the commission heard complaints of harassment of interracial couples, dispersal of social street gatherings, the stop ofny grows on food or in2 z cars without basis. police6z;b acted as repression. yet 1968 was hardly the first time liberal policy advisers, particularly african-americans, 5$ raised such criticisms. with the exception of the recommendation for independent other reforms had been advocated by black liberal reformers since thee
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then in the wake of the harlem riot the call for harlem citizens review -- police review board was issued. the parallels between mayor laguardia's commission findings and the kernor commission's recommendations are striking. among its many findings and recommendations, note the similarity in tone and substance with the kernor report. one, the police of harlem show too little regard for human rights and constantly violate blacks' fundamental rights as citizens. two, police aggressions and brutalities more than any other factor weld the people together for mass action against those responsible for their ills. three, it is clearly the responsibility of the police to act in such a way as to win the harlem and to prove themselves the guardians of the rights and safety of the community rather than its enemies and n''3oppressors. farr, private prejudices are no warrant for3#(j interfering with the association of whites and negroes. five officers of the law who violate the law should not only be subject to investigation and
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punishment by the bleep but action should be taken just as vigorously as where any other person is charged with a crime. i read all of those literally as direct quotes f uz the harlem riot report. despite such keen and prospetic observations in the lead author e. franklin frasier the leading black sociologist of his day, frasier is most well known for his black family studies. not his anti-racist critiques of policing. mainstream liberalism as judged by mayor laguardia's=kyv behavior is one clue as to why it there was little political will to challenge racist police practices and policies in the k s. according to5]ñ anthony platt frasier's first research report1xj @r(t&háhp &hc% was undermined by local politics and his innovative and liberal 5pqjt&háhp &hc% contribution to the literature and riots gathered dust on a shelf in city hall. by contrast frasier chicago school mentors robert park$%xñ burgess, clifford shaw henry mckay, widelywd ñ promoted his
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research on black poverty.l÷d "social0w"ñ disorganization is accompanied by demoralization among knowing row adult and children" wrotemqíz in a 1930 report. the first federal study of the n] nation's entire criminal justiceql) system. in a footnote "the point of view is quite fully developed by e. franklin frasier."8 by then akñmáájjz practice of using the voice of african-american experts to let me legitimate common idio localn perspectives on black pathology. frolling frasier's "negro family of the united states"óok published in '39 "blackq9f family research" in then daniel patrick moynihan. so on and so forth elevated frasier's research to a whole new level two decades later. frasier played a major part in the silence around his work on crime and policing. neither the footnotes for
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bibliography did he citewzbç the laguardia report. police racism never enters intoú'( the analysis. major indicators in this analysis of class and culture;gl2ñ differentiation. this is striking because in addition to leaving out the laguardia study, frasier's 1935 field notes and investigative reports have numerous examples of police corruption, misconduct, and violence. also telling is the fact that in his sdert nation on chicago from the shaw'x[v and mckay, that shaw and mckay later pair phras from, he cited only once the most important study of race relations in thec9d 1920s. the chicago commission on racemé! relations report entitled "the negro in chicago." at the heart of that study is a searing critique of discriminatory policing and its role in chicago's 1919 race riot. the ideas that erupted to the surfaces the 1968 kernor report not only reflected ideas buried in the laguardia study but were increasingly expressed amongst a laxy= number of black researchers in the wake of the
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great migration. during the interwar period african-american liberal social scientists and reformists for the first time made lastingx contributions to race relationsñr2 policy especially on the topic of policing. a new cohort of academically trained black performers and local.w-ñ activists began to take a greater role in the policing of white racism within black communities. moving to the center of this work the criminal justice system, particularly its most explicit forms of discriminatory policing. no other publication hadímim much significance on the rewriting of what was thenbísb?hp commonufrfuut black criminality that had been defined in the wake of the end ]x of the civil war than this 1922 report entitled "the negro in chicago." it was thertamñ result of the stoning to delts of a black child on a public beach in chicago wñ leading 38 people dead 537 injured of whom 356 were black. to investigate the riot of 1919, the governor of illinois appointed a 12-member commission led by charlesçrç s. johnson a
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black sociology graduate student at the university of chicago. johnson announced in the fihpqñ sentence of the report and i lp negroes so is largely controlled by a tangle of /0h7xpredisposing circumstances that it is" possible to isolate or measure its factors. discrediting at the outset the use of statisticslfhé johnson argued race was unimportant relative to the level of general lawlessness of crime and vice in the population. perhaps the mostz íñ significant problems with black crimeç9láa was revealed by the testimony of judges and other authorities that criminal justice officials negroes more freely than whites to book them on more serious charges, to convict them more readily, and to give them longer sentences." for example, one municipal court judge stated that he personally knew about certain police who were going into negro clubs andkxp@ arresting black people they found there, bringing them into court without a bit of any evidence. another judge discussed why
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large numbers of blacks weren8-w arrested for suspicion contributing to a lesser regard for the rights compared to white men. i think they hesitate a little long where a white man is involved. i am certain that it is so." a former chief of police agreed noting the southern migrants "naturl[ attract a suspicion than would attach to the white man who would live for a greater length of time in the same district and who also would be more easilvñkp identified and rather than arrest the white man, general leroy seward stated the police would simply observe him. whereas would no doubt feel if they permitted the colored man to pass they would lose him completely." such startling testimony coming from within chicago's white" criminal justice community was strong evidence of the subjective nature of racial crime statistics deeplykmy2 influenced by the social cultu rlj and political context in which they were created. these situations presented such obvious dangers, johnson qvg surmised, that the chicago commission considered its best to avoid giving currency to figures whichv4 evidence ofpt)j own inaccuracy
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and o2oañmisrepresentation. consequently, the commission abandoned its attempt to work out comparative race crime tables. now, i've given you this long setup to set you up for a quote åp]á someone gave recently. because the stakes of what's happened in fergusonñ are themselves evidence of this history, one/l0vñ not sticking over÷562 cf1 o just about 100 years ago. but also the ways in which the problem identified has actually grown worse.jc?
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officers are not racist the main problem is crime in the black community." the mayor,@úç president and attorney general are perpetuating a myth that there is systemic police brutality. there is systemic crime. there isñ"r"ñ occal brutality. if they93'uá spend as much time improving education, did they would start talking about more work in the black community the responsibilities of fatherhood, maybe ramos and liul z(0@qñ should be made heroes of the black community. and tçr some ellipse cease here that i did not identify. the children of black parents in this city are being saved by oury police officers. and during the time i was mayor and i don't mind saying this i saved more black lives than other mayor in the history of this city. [ 6ijfylaughter ] because i was not afraid to police according to statistics. if i was a black father and i had a son, there is less than a 1% chance that my son is going to be zqj-ñ by the #fr>ypolice.t!%ñ there's a 92% chance that my son is going to be harmed by anotherrkr black.
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giuliani is reading from a centuries-old racial script, long called out by earlier critics, going back to the 1922 chicago commission report. let me move in the interests of my colleagues who are waiting patiently for me toéw in the late 1940s the new york and brooklyn naacp chapters made police brutality "their&o!dop od(hz priority" and organized vigorous campaigns. in detroit ithn found survey data from the 1950s showing "the come inability state of police community relevances is!o what most encouraged detroitersúwó:s participate in the civil rights movement." she argues9va in theá!÷ 1960s detroit police actions lit theézc+ powder keg of racial conflict that exploded into a wz!.r"full-blown urban crisis." ultimately the interwar"q evidence leaves little doubt african-americans had clearly demonstrated how much police reform lay at the heart of transforming race relations in before the 1960s. silence and denial among politicians, the white public,
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and policymakers remained as much a problem in the late 1960s as it had been forsbysñ decades. gallupt])$ reported in 1965 that +w of black menxx: in harlem believed police brutality existed ino$#wñ their communities compared to 7% of white men. researchers in washington, d.c. found that the black population "thought that the police neeltdsly pushed people around by comparison to 25% of white district residents." the stark differences in black versus white perceptions of police racism and misconduct white urban residents in the 1960s according to political scientist robert vogelsong, were not subjected topii÷@race-based prejudice. class profiling shaped police discretion in white ñ by contrast "most policembv are prejudiced against6[lf zz negroes" 1968. police officersqru cannot differentiate between ordinary negroes and negro criminals. to them few negroes areuarz worthy of respect and>y even fewer are
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free of suspicion, echoing whatxw/" generalkócnz leroy seward had said in the negro in chicago report of 1922. 95 iu,h s/% promising start with two of the nation's premier criminologists, edward sutherland and celene corroborating his findings as late as 1935. they remained the exceptions. the near universal embrace of frasier's resex in a post-war research silencednçwc them and black liberal critics. as theyvh '60s gave way
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police departments particularly." thank you.y28jtr >> good morning.bi thank you for -- yes r. thank you for making it out here this early. i want to echo what khalil said, thanking the aha for giving us y8)xáhis? about history as we do in the moment in which history is clearly being made. both in ferguson but!aj.gp new york city and boston wañécç/÷ chicago andux philadelphia and every place else that right now is reallyó;vñ erupting because of8i z all of the fallout#úape from the history that bothn. colin and khalil gave us really vital background in. and because i knew we were going to get this deep historical context in which to understand
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ferguson, i decided that i was going ÷o ÷ take my)r); remarks in a slightly different direction, the perspective of where does this kind of leave us today or what are the implications of zwusd this for us as historians.kú.c and in part that's because one of the things that has been i think really exciting about this moment of being ajc9r historian is we i think areg=7ñ finally being asked to weigh in on some of these contemporary events. to make sense of")iñ why they're happening. to explain to2y"vcder public audiences whggsdy matter. and so i'm going to bring my dú0÷ remarks to you from that context, having written a lot of policing in new york city and also having spent some time in ferguson. so i want to make a few remarks >ç@/qis about why it is that i think ferguson matters to us both astl5&eìáhp
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&hc% citizens but also as historians.cq; and the first thing i want to say is that i think one of the really crucial things that m ferguson did, was it brought to the public discussion something that has been oddly missing from all discussions that we've been having about mass incarceration-v which is policing and 3e@÷ overcriminalization.l: xá[] in this very strange turn of events, we have started to talk about the prison crisis and the need to decarcerate, but we have not talked at all about the h[#eeder to that crisis whichñá;x is 4qug overcriminalization and excessive policing. there's been a disconnect between those discussions.g and i think that one of the most important things that has happened as a resultmhrm of ferguson ferguson but then also events in new york city and cleveland, is that we are now finally beginning to have this discussion and the national dialogue, have a national dialogue about the need tovl,3 rein in excessive overzealous, and
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unnecessary police practices about the problem of overcriminalization of poor black and brown communities that in fact, again, are the feeders for mass incarceration.÷v5 so i think because it-zó changesde the national dialogue. but i alsogj;c think it9]zñmatters because it has %qtmñ+ b we always knew this as historians, but i think it's reminded usçv&ú as citizens of the really important lessons that we must pay attention to from?n past. if we have any hope whatsoever?6ñ of understanding where we are today or what we might do differently in the future.axw so it isn't just about changing the national dialogue about today, it's also aboutl'% understanding how things unfolded recently in ferguson. why they unfolded the way they did. 1aa9 we've gotten a lot of that here from both colin and .sb5÷khalil. but what is really interesting to me is how little of those
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stories,pw khalil made this point, have made it into the tp events.i politicians,#1u!ñ pundits major media outlets haveñuru really think triednañ =neát)rpá's happened in ferguson or tried to explain what's happened in new york city. but they're woefully historically in doing so. it's always about bringing up these same old tropes as khalilq% points out. giuliani is an easy target but giuliani is in some respects-fl less alarming listening to regular msnbc reporting or regular cnn reporting or regular abc reporting about what has happened, which is that we see the same old parroting of old0jáéìáhp &hc% tropes about protests and thej@#,s bewilderment regarding why black folks in communities like ferguson are so fed up, why they're so grief-stricken, why
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they're so angry,3vx8 why they're so1v1c÷ filled with anguish, an absolute kind of d.quehead-scratching bewilderment. what is going 3/ton? and far worse i think countless stories that have now -- thatk5'ñ ferguson has been couched within that assume the criminal justiceo#sz system the grand jury process, the criminal justice system in general, is in fact ?spoimpartial. in fact unbiased. so that if something went wrong at ferguson or if something went wrong in new york it really was exceptional. something went wrong. there was the wrong people on the grand jury maybe the prosecutor did something wrong, maybe there was some kind of ineptitude, or maybe even something worse, maybe something more diabolical. but again the narrative is that there's something weird about this, something exceptional about this. and so i think that this is a moment, particularly for people in the aha, to really kind of
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feel the importance, the weight wq hat it iszf
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does not happen in a vacuum, that eric garner -- the grand a vacuum. that we've not only been here before, but that in some respects we're here worse and i want to talk about that in a moment.î there is nothing new about the anguish, there is nothing new about the rebellion and there is the criminalization and the excessive policing that has caused it.pója even these recent events in new1çìáhp &hc% york city, thiskqru incredible0sc mayor makes even rather benignly critical remarks about policing in new york.>on át) át c jt#ñm l we've;oj)ráhr' detroit in the 1960s we've seen this in many cities. so ferguson made it clear why we need to insist on telling history in all of its unvarnished and uncomfortable ugliness.ypx g@ew a=dejur)j important -- i want to with two final
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points about why i think this is important. thinking about ferguson 9f historically not only allows us t+u to understand why the past 41 happened or to help other people!;éf3 @r(t&háhp &hc% understand why the past happened or why ferguson went down the aqg way it did, but it makes crystalxo5d clear what the stakes are now if we seek to make something zb different of history. something -- to finally turn this kind of historical trajectory around.úo yes, we need to reckon with the fact that we have come full circle in so many respects.yyug back to the 1960s, back to the 19-teens. but what it really reminds us of how much work still needs to be done to undo the ugliness and injustices of white supremacy in this country.ep and i want to be more specific j tá$u$at. one of the things that ferguson ;xp5tççl)tájtáhuáhp!out is that racism is not only dead, but this is 7fpkj@ something that khalil was hinting 0
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overtly, butd %q than ever in this era, this age of alleged postl3 and so one of the things ibísfm want to leave us thinking about is not just that ferguson is important because it shows us the importance of history, not just 6idgreminds us we have a job to do in public discourse,iq57 but tl also, this is an opportunity to8zp really reckon with the damage done by the myth of;t post racialism. it isn't just that we don't have a color blind society. i think what ferguson and recent events in new york have shown sjdv us is that there has been
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it's not just the myth that racist, but. butfnj it's also the whammy. the whammy that's been done by 40 years of war on crime and mass(@y incarceration and overcriminalization. this cementing of the relation between blackness that vitely important work shows us the ojd$@os of. but 40 years of war and crime has definitely ç.nc÷recemented doubly cemented. and i was really struck by this. in all the recent work i've done in public discourse on ferguson and policing. the virulence of white hostility to the critique of policing to the critique'iiz of our criminal justice system, is really kind of shocking. you :tñknow, the social media virulence that i know i personally have experienced for even daring to write about this stuff really jv@qreminds:çé+p us of --
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spot than we might have been had we not had many years of this kind of mytv añ sv0,púveñ x4&oracialism. and so i just want to end by saying, i thinka (÷ ferguson not only uzkúreminds us of all the things i've just said, but it also.'% i think reminds us that this next -- in next moment of history, theli battle ground that -- the battles that need to be had against overcriminalization, excessive policing, and really at bottom against white privilege and white power white supremacy are going to need to be wagedr everywhere. one of the most!ñ(gy striking things about being in ferguson, and i will just share this with you 1960s. you know, the 1960s we thought about -- you would fight racism in the rural south;mñ because that's where the klan was. or, you had to fight racism in inner city detroit because that's where police brutety was. but the thing about this era of post racialism -- of course it always was everywhere but we everywhere. because when you go to ferguson
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the most striking thing about it is it's somózéq suburban-feeling. you're in ferguson andu1m;ñ you realize that where the national guard was doing its staging was neck to the payless shoes and the6m$+÷ target. and it's this kind bfv of startling revelation of realization that the next sort of history that we're going to be writing and living and experiencing is about tackling that kind ofñij white supremacy and real white privilege everywhere. you know, in front of the target. in front of the payless.÷s bp zxsrivc and at msnbc and at cnn. and not just with the kind of overt, overtly racist messages ofé"hc someone like rudy giuliani. so anyway. food for thought. thank you.ú.wmd >> good morning. d:q5ñ
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i'm happy to be able to participate in this discussion > this morning. hb÷.sb5÷ there are lots of insightful people have said already. i'm also very happy to see a ,5 good number of my cohorts from rutgers university as well. i td+c/ frican-american history at the university of connecticut and a contributing writer at "the new yorker." and so in that capacity i think of myself as someone who has one foot in the past and also who is chronicling things in the present. and for me personally, i appreciate the way these two things interact. i'm able to understand the past e'+ better via the work i'm doing in the present and then understand the present better as historians must via the work we do in the past.d1yéñatai i spent -- an editor sent me to plp
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fergwéóje)q- i think the five days after the shooting on cantfield drive at the heart of the conflict that has gone on n,wx now and emerged from that and i made three subsequent trips. i was in ferguson four times in total.?sxuçhñ and i just want to read a little bit of what i wrote from the ñbgñ dispatches i wrote from there. but before i do that, i want to give you a little bit of context. so what you gain, what you understood or i understood from being in ferguson was an % experience in which it appeared ÷x to me that my syllabus had jumped off the page. because very many of the dynamics that i've been teaching about in my 20th [6qce54 africa.b
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two-thirds of white st. louis area residents believed that the police officer acted justly and correctly in firing upon michael.] brown. about two-thirds of the black community there thought just the opposite. and the conversation that emerged from this was about whatw÷kvó÷ happened between darren wilson and michael brown on canfield ÷< drive on the afternoon of august 9th, 2014.oqe@ñ but when you talk to people in that community, that was not how they understood it. they understood -- and we think of ourselves as historians as essential to provide context. it's easy to sometimes forget people enter a community or enter a circumstantial context of their own. so they were much lesstj likely to talk about what happened between those two individuals and much more likely to talk about the context in which it occurred. and this came up again and again. when uvejj_ujr(psq o rlñ talk that first week to talk to the community members in it&a cf1 o canfield drive, it was shocking
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at first to see the number of questions they posed to him that had nothing to do with this incident. people were raising questions about why schools were being closed. they were raising questions q÷ about why the tax revenue was -- or why municipal revenue was wiuw being generated through parking t enforcement or through traffic oiwt fine enforcement and so on. and so they understood the "r dynamics here as being much broadly based and much deeper historically.d=3g so the community there, the conversation was people explaining to me the importance of the dred scott decision in -kt%5%mm=ui%erju$at connected to what happened in ferguson.:zrnñ the other thing that people talked about was the destruction of the pruitt i-go housing ;;"lq@ project,gí3@ which was one of the first housing projects in the country, also one of the first example came out of concentrated poverty in housing projectsgñép which
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occurred in st. louis at the same time thatwjwe the talking about here took place. :e/ri# so in addition to that, there 8cl uhñ was another dynamic in which it xllxce was ano&útu d wrote about this because?cb it seemed in some ways to resound in the same sort of things that we encounteredg mavella in which everyone knowsyú3 that a storyxníc going to turn out in a particular way, the death of the protagonist has been foretold at the very beginning of the story, yeå!c one act in(s ?pá will prevent this story from playing itself out in the way that4xp) it did: and so finally,tq"ñ justpz w contextually, one of the firstc4#ñ things that was said to me when i began talking to residents on thep[z#uz side of town, there's fluorescent.&
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south fluorescent sat) is the commercial district is.knb!zta@ so when i began talking to people, a man explained to me that there was no need for the media to be thereál0> to stir up trouble because, 1 here are happy." and i thought that this waskk: important outside of the con cussive fact of someone using a possessive referring to african americans. it went to a kind of con7bq%y reality between the difference of whatu:cn people on understand.bkf%y!3j+++g%+6ññe%
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thoroughfare was filled with massive clouds of tear gas. they would gather there to demand answers and, at times, just propelled them down the street. that they ordered the crowd to dispurse was not noteworthy. what transpired in the streets appeared to be an initial shock of awe.
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the first shot of grenades and tear gas has played as a prelude to the armored vehicles carrying military style rifles mounted on tripods on top. the message of all of this was beyond the mere may notintenance of law and order. it revealed itself quite simply as a matter of raw public intimidation. from the night in november when the grand jury decided not to indict darren wilson, for 108 days.
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through the suffocating heat driven by the need to drive in a simple principle. black lives matter. those who wield power here. less than the cynics might have suspected. last night the streets of ferguson were congested again with smoke and anger and disillusionment and disbelief and batons and malevolent percussion of gunfire as hundreds of uniformed men brought here to marshall and display force.
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just after 8:00 on monday evening after a rambling dissertation by prosecutor robert mcculloch has placed blames on social media and 24 hour news cycle and ended with the indictment would not be i should for the officer that shot michael brown six times. the crowd at fluorescent road began to swell. the mood was somber at first. but some other sentiment came to the fore and their restraint came unmoored. a handful of men began chanting [ bleep ] the police. officers in riot gear gathered in front of the headquarters. gunshots, the first i heard that night, cut through the air. 100 people began drifting in the direction of the bullets. one man ripped down a small camera that had been mounted on the telephone pole. a quarter mile a crowd encountered an empty police car
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and within moments it was aflame. a line of police officers in military fatigues and gas masks turned a quarter and began moving toward the police building. there were 400 protesters and nearly that many police officers filling an american street, one side demanding justice. one side demanding order. both recognizing that neither of those things was in the offing that night. the final part i'm going to read is just contextual. when people talk about michael brown, the immediate reference that people had in that community when i came there, the immediate reference they had was to trayvon martin. it was a kind of tragic irony implicit because trayvon martin was from this community. he grew up in east st. louis. he was coming to st. louis proper about a week after michael problem was shot as part of a community peace festival, a festival held every year to
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discourage gun violence and encourage peace and have kind of a functioning community. so he was there to recognize this. people saw these immediate kinds of connections between them. but also to the things happening outside of just ferguson missouri. coming two weeks after nonindictment of officer darren wilson in the death of michael brown, the nonindictment of daniel pantaleo in the death of eric garner has a feel of a grim serial filled with redundant plot lines, a production few of us wish to watch but none of us can avoid and a great many of us are complicit in creating. this is not imaginary. here is the man who aspired to become the first black president counseling calm following the acquittal of five officers who shot and killed sean bell, an unarmed black man on the eve of bell's wedding in new york in 2006. obama says obviously there was a tragedy in new york. i said at the time without
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benefit of all the facts before me that it looked like a possible case of excessive force. the judge has made his ruling. we're a nation of laws so we respect the verdict that came down. here is that same man, having now attained that office, counseling calm in the wake of george zimmerman who killed a 17-year-old trayvon martin, another unarmed black man in sanford, florida, in 2012. the death of trayvon martin was a tragedy, not just for his family but for any one community in america. i know this case has elicited strong passions. in the wake of a verdict, i know those passions are running even higher. but we are a nation of laws.
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and a jury has spoken. i now ask that every american respect the call to calm reflection from the two parents who lost their young son. two weeks ago we saw the president now in the last years of his second term urge patience following nonindictment of darren wilson who shot and killed the 18-year-old michael brown, who was also unarmed. first and foremost -- this is obama. first and foremost, we're a nation built on the rule of law. we so -- so we need to accept this decision that we -- excuse me. we need to accept that the decision was the grand jury's to make. there are americans who agree with it and there are americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry. it's an understandable reaction, but i join michael's parents in asking everyone to protest peacefully. so i just want to raise one point of there's a kind of imaginary contradiction in this conversation where we believe the rule of law applies to how people respond to the official handling of a death of an unarmed individual. however, the protesters
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themselves making a statement that there is a rule of law. we are a nation of laws and that no one is above the law, including those who are empowered to enforce it. so we've seen this theme play itself out consistently. the final point i will make here beyond issue of vote patterns in ferguson, beyond accreditation and ouster of the only black superintendent in the region art mccoy in ferguson just about eight months before this shooting happened, beyond the discriminatory housing patterns, beyond the fundraising via traffic tickets, what i took away from ferguson was a profound sense that the people in that community, rightfully so, believed there's a great difficulty on the part of many americans recognizing their humanity. to the extent that they are correct and to the extent that remains the case, we're almost destined to see more circumstances in which some
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future president will counsel we remain calm in the face of injustice because we are a nation of laws. thank you. [ applause ] good morning and thank you for coming to this panel so early in the morning. i appreciate and i'm really moved by the excitement about this conversation. just a few things before i talk about my experiences teaching
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ferguson and engaging people on twitter with ferguson syllabus is that one of the things in my biography i'm most proud of, i'm a graduate of the university of missouri. i think my education and desire to enter the profession started there. it targeted there because i was acutely aware that as an african-american student in the the early 1990s and 2000s, i was among a small group of students on the campus. i was reflective of a trend that as i grew more politically aware i realized was a problem. i was one of many out of state students who went to the university of missouri on a series of minority scholarships that were available at the time. i always thought it was interesting i let more people educated and raised outside of the state than in the state among students of color and i started to about that. the reason i bring this up, after i graduated university of missouri and went on to graduate school, i thought it was really important to try to make a difference. so i taught high school in the summers at the university of missouri campus. during this time is when i got my education in missouri vocabulary. city versus county. i go to a magnet school. i go to a school that had deseg money. i'm from kansas city and my school got closed and then it
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got opened again. this was a very early model of the charter system, pepsi challenge those from missouri. google it. it's interesting. so i think my experience in missouri heightened me to these dynamics that would not only shape my research but shape my teaching. the second thing that happened in the summer that i think is important in my decision to teach ferguson the way i did, i had a conversation with jim grossman. any time jim grossman asks me to do something i do it. i don't ask any questions. he said he's really concerned about the way historians were explaining to students why we study history. so there's that annoying thing we say, we study history so we don't repeat it, but no one has ever done that so it's not true. how are students going to think historically in the working world. i went home and changed my syllabus to be more active helping students connect, why we know something and how we solve problems.
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the third thing to give context, i finished my manuscript, so i spend way too much time on twitter. one of the things that i think is interesting as twitter, as we talk about it as an organizing tool. i think for us in the impression it's an incredible networking tool for junior scholars like myself. i wanted to think of it as a teaching school. some scholars have used it to
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have students talk to each other and do different projects. all of these things were swirling in the back of my mind as i watched ferguson unfold. as i heard from friends on the ground as organizers, as attorneys, people from missouri really grappling with what's happening. so when i asked educators to devote first day of class about teaching about ferguson, it was kind of a way to in a sense bully people into talking about this because i was so concerned about what my students were feeling as they were coming into the school year. the other thing that happened, i did the math and i thought, oh, i'm going to talk about ferguson in the context of los angeles in 1992, and then i realized most of them were not born yet. for many of us who have this moment, oh, they don't have could not text for this, of watching unrest unfold on television all day and all
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night, so i wanted other people to do it. what happened was other people got really interested in it. so at first i thought i was just talking to the other people who i know on twitter, then people were contacting me directly and saying i teach at a school in utah. we don't have many students of color but i know that this is important, what do you think i talk about. so i started tweeting suggestion for books. most of them were history books. that's what i know. when i didn't know something i was asking people to tweet out different ideas. the second thing that happened, people said, okay, i have this information. i don't know what to say. i don't know how to start this kind of conversation. one of the things i think is very difficult for me is that i feel like i'm always having this conversation. who is not talking about race all the time, at home, at the supermarket, at the gym, at work. this is the world i live in as a scholar of color. i realize everyone lives in a different world. instead of getting combative or upset about that, i say, okay, what down you have to offer and how do we work from that place?
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what started as a suggestion about things to read turned into how to talk about this turned into scholars talking to each other about talking about ferguson. just kind of four quick takeaways i've had from that experience. the first one was it's an opportunity for those of us constantly talking about race to remove ourselves out of the isolation of that experience. due to the makeup of a lot of faculties and a lot of institutions across this country, there are very few places where there's a critical mass of scholars of color. as a result as a scholar of color, sometimes you feel you're the only person doing this, and it was nice over this great kind of digital landscape to talk to other people who did this and talk about how it went. the second thing i got from this experience is the amount of time i don't spend in the k through
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12 world. i've had experience teaching high school. i've had great experience teaching programs with girl scouts, people their programs for girls who were incarcerated but i don't know a lot of third grade teachers. i don't know a lot about fourth grade teachers. this experience about teaching around ferguson brought me into contact with all these people who their challenges for teaching this stuff is very real. i know we often talk about academic freedom being suppressed and there a lot of pressure. when you're a sixth grade teacher and you're saying my kids are crying about ferguson, michael brown, i want to talk to them but my principal says under no circumstances will do you this. how do i work around this. this is really a civics lesson. how can i talk about ferguson.
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new cast of characters who are having this conversation of the people who are looking at the strength of their own field and also moved by interdisciplinary ways of teaching. i think we should also pat ourselves on the back. there's a lot to critique about the way ferguson has been talked about in popular media, but i think that some people have done a really good job. i think they have done a really good job because they have got an great education from a number
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of people in this room who i know have written great books and do great teaching. these young people go out and they are producers on television. they are reporters and they are writing really inciteful things. there are a lot of things that get done poorly. i think the way that the conversation around gender has come up, the way young people are talking about intersectionality and movements, the way the organizers around ferguson are thinking about these things, i think this is the long-term impact of the ideas in the academy. i think there's something to celebrate about the sophistication of some of the conversations. and finally i'm so excited that we have an opportunity to share
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what we do with each other. i was contacted a few weeks ago by someone who has purchased the domain name for fergusonsyllabus.org, so we'll have an opportunity for people to just read about different things that have worked and not worked in the classroom, talking about ferguson and the larger conversation about historical context, interdisciplinary and things that make a difference. i'm excited about this moment. i think there's a lot of things to be hopeful for and i can't wait to hear the conversation we're going to have. thank you. [ applause ] >> so believe it or not, we are actually right on time. tom did have a little time for himself to engage. but since he's not here and some of the papers went a little longer, which was useful, we're right on time. we have 45 mince remaining for a q&a with the audience. c-span has asked everyone use the microphone to make sure your comments or questions are picked
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up by television audience. so the floor is open. i'm also going to say that the panelists don't have to answer every question. but if you have something you can contribute, by all means. >> tony from borough of manhattan community college where i'm elected faculty adviser to student government. we have 100% rating of every president of student government in the 10 years i've been there has been stopped and frisked numerous times. one of the issues that has not been raised is that -- i'm including the females, i should add. one of the issues that hasn't been raised in the discussion, at least as i've seen it, is the deleterious or destructive effects of this practice upon black students but not upon white students in my school. this issue was never addressed by the people involved in education that i've seen. the other thing that i want to point out that the grand jury's system that we have in this
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country is unique to the english speaking world. it is unfortunately embedded in the constitution. and aside from the fact that it's white policemen murdering black men in most cases, the fact is also that it is those two grand juries that really accelerated especially the second one with the youtube millions of hits, accelerated this violence that led, unfortunately to the death of police officers. but we can see from the ceremonies it's all white, a few asians because one of the officers was asian, it has
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really created an apartheid system in the education system. lastly, what is celubrius. i'm going to be on the staff, come the elections in april. the marriage of white occupy with black and latino youth in the streets combatting state terrorism, the first level of the cry, new cry, this is necessary after 200 or 300 years of this, shut this system down. being in the streets is important. that's why i always wear sneakers. okay? >> student impact i thought was a useful question to have our panelists respond to, since everyone here teaches. anyone? >> the experience of criminalization of police on african-american students. >> it's real. >> so i guess a larger question for the audience, then, if
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someone wants to respond at some point, is there something for administrations to recognize in terms of retention of our students to make sure the tax, let's call it the tax they pay to attend this is schools is not acknowledged. someone else may chime in on that at some point. any response to the grand jury system with regard to its uniqueness and calls for reform? >> well, very briefly, one thing that was contextual -- i'm sorry. one thing that was contextual also in ferguson is the long history of antagonism that african-americans have had with the county prosecutor bob mcculloch. this was apparent the first week
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i was there. people were saying these things, that they did not trust him to gain an indictment against the officer. it should also be noted that in about -- it was less than two weeks prior to the shooting mr. mcculloch had won a primary against a black female challenger. and you know, the small turnout vote but he won the primary because the county is solidly democratic, winning the primary is effectively winning re-election, these were all dynamics that were at play. so even more than the system itself. there's a protean nature to these things. we can pass laws that say behaviors are forbidden. like the choke hold was forbidden in new york but if people don't fundamentally recognize one person's is equal to someone else's, it doesn't matter. we have a jury nullification
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that can happen throughout the system. the system and laws i think we learned from this circumstance are only as just as the citizenship, citizenry and those who were empowered to uphold the law. >> it's a great point. next question. >> yes, i'm rick pearlstein. i'm a historian and political journalist. i've written about ferguson in the context of history for "in these times" magazine. the question i found myself asking and unable to answer is how the structural dispossession of ferguson's black population works in the meanest of whole system. people talk about the low voting turnout. although i understand black public there voted like 70% turnout when they had something to vote for and thought their vote counted in 2012 for barack
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obama. there's one african-american councilmember hop seems to be conspicuous in his absence from these discussions. i thought about historically what went on in chicago in the 50s where there were six black aldermen and known as the silent six. one white liberal alderman known as the only black alderman in chicago. he was the only one who really supported civil rights. how are black fergusonians kept out of the system? is there some sort of at large system? what are the processes and what are the functions? >> the aclu is just following a lawsuit ferguson for school board on the basis of the fact
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they do use at large system of election, which aclu hopes to demonstrate. it systematically does represent african-americans, particularly in school board elections. there are pockets of african-american leadership through the inner suburbs of north county, normandy, wellstone. but in a sense it's a microcosm of the situation we saw with first black mayor in 1970s. in '80s that is you achieve power at a moment when fiscal incapacity makes it impact to do anything. i've i'm reminded of the comment of the mayor of rochester, william johnson, i think, upon his election who was congratulated. he said congratulations for what? i'm mayor of nothing. >> i think a couple of other things in play here as well. one is at large system. the other is, and you're correct, in 2012, 71% of black voters in ferguson, eligible black voters voted and 72% of eligible white voters voted. so there was a low turnout. a low turnout election across
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the board in municipal elections. only about 6% voted but 12% of the white population voted. when i talked to elected officials there about what made that disparity, they said that the larger numbers of poor people meant that you have -- when you have a national election, you have lots of resources to get out the vote, lots of resources for registering people who may have moved during, you know, the period in between elections. but on the municipal elections, they don't have resources. very often the election takes place without people knowing the election had been held. so there's really no interest for people who are -- then the other thing about the small remaining white population in ferguson that is disproportionately empowered, some of these people are people of good conscious. so there were street signs you may have seen on television that said i love ferguson. there was almost one to one correlation between i love ferguson and i support darren wilson.
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that's kind of what that was code for. there were people who would kind of alter the signs to say i love all of ferguson. it was kind of subversive to see people doing that. there were large numbers of people in that community who have remained contingent -- remaining in the community contingent on holding disproportionate political influence and power in that municipality. >> i'm from princeton, humanities program. i noticed as a newcomer to campus how much real interest there was among student body about issues we're discussing today. perhaps students not really knowing how to sort of focus this energy in a productive way, so i wondered if the panel had thoughts of how to engage
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interest about these issues particularly at this moment where you might have a student population who cares about issues of race and space that maybe weren't focused on them before. i know changing syllabi is something we'll work to do. maybe architecture studios or chemistry laws that don't have the opportunity to talk about it in class. >> this is great. a lot of people contacted me to say my field does not lend itself to a conversation about race. actually we're always in a conversation about race. sometimes we just don't know we're talking. one of the thing i thought was really creative is that there has been a group of architects for social justice talk about this idea, what does a suburb like ferguson look like. i think one of the things that was really confusing for a lot of people is to understand suburb as having poverty and having this type of unrest. for a number of students that travel to ferguson, they had never traveled to the northwest,
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which is criminal to me. they can't contextualize places with payless, target, residential houses. i think there's great things about space, spatial learning. for chemistry, a lot of chemistry professors, stuff about tear gas and white it has been banned. what students have to do is fumbled through this process. i think that our roll is to provide them resources so we say how do we stand in solidarity. i think that is also part of it. students do have energies. some might have unproductive. as long as it's not harmful, this is part of them developing their political consciousness. >> i just wanted to add to that that one of the things i think students often -- my students -- everyone wanted to get on a bus and go to ferguson.
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everybody wanted to go to the center of where this all was happening. but of course we all live in cities where this is happening. we all live in campuses where this is happening. what i would say to my students, let's start with our own university. do we need to ban the box at our own university? do we need to deal with policing practices on our own campus? do we need to deal with policing practices in our own city? one of the useful things is to direct our students to literally where they are and first of all do a little research what's going on but also take on those much more immediate issues because that is the greatest sense of solid artie happening in ferguson to take on -- so this is not ferguson in ann arbor or wherever. one thing, i want to quickly go back to that other thing about voting. leaving aside ferguson, per se, one of the things that's been striking to me about discussion of voting since ferguson is, again, coming back on the black community.
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look, if you don't like your police practices, don't like your school board, don't like your mayor, don't like your prosecutor, why isn't there more voter participation, more voting. i again want to make a pitch for why, then, historians are very important for drawing out this broader context. the fact of the matter is a 40-year war on crime has disenfranchised -- both through disenfranchisement and gerrymandering has undermined voting. we pass the voting act as we start war on crime. the latter undermines the former. i would encourage us with these discussions of voting both to celebrate the fact that voting participation is as high as it is and, in fact, comparable to other communities but also point out that it would be very, very difficult to vote our way out of this problem both because of the sheer dismantling of black voting power and also because of the point unless we're dealing with an even playing field with understandings of humanity, then it doesn't matter where the law
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says we need body cameras. again, back to eric garner, we effectively had body cameras on eric garner. what people saw was not what happened. so anyway, thank you. >> thank you. >> hi. my name is jim dingman. i'm a historian but also a broadcaster. i chair the local community advisory board at wbi radio. we put on forums on this event. we're committed to doing this on a monthly basis. what i discovered in doing these forums. i'm talking about bringing in academics. i'm partly an academics, i wear several hats. we're not talking, conducting a brown bag lunch here. we have people coming in. it was extraordinary to me to see people come up and testify about what happened with police in the last years. i want to bring up troubling and interesting comments i heard in these events. first of all, recently there was the person who did black power mix tape did a new film. in that discussion after the film, there was a whole question of, you know, the argument of
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the use of violence for cleansing and cleansing one's self of the oppressor and raised the question of this -- i have no doubt, i'm 65, we're going to see unfortunately what happened in brooklyn happen again, i think, before we get to a better place. so i want to ask that question, the question of the problem acts of the counterattack against police violence. secondly, the question of, you know, police relations with the community. i'm also trained as a political scientist. i want to know what we're going to do now to change this situation. what examples do we have in the past that give us sort of models to look at. let's create and look at what have been good examples of police community relations in the past that we can use. finally the issue the supreme court decisions that give police justification to have -- use force in these situations. the case down in north carolina. what comments or thoughts do you have on the history of that. what can we use that as.
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i listened to a law professor at columbia law school say, well, the people who killed emmett till got off. on the other hand, that doesn't deal with the question we have today. maybe someone else can ask a question. i want to throw these things out. these are things i've heard people say in public forums. >> retaliatory violence as catharsis and re- illusion, police community relations and police force use of force doctrines. >> i'd like to say something
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about the second, community review boards. what structural things happened before that might be useful we could go to again. i want to preface what i'm about ready to say by again reiterating the point about all the laws in the world and commissions and cities at some level aren't going to be effective if we don't deal with this broader question about the value of black life versus white life or including white life. it is true that again history matters very much. we had in the wake of the rebellions of the 60s some pretty dramatic checks placed on police but facility and on
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police in general. these range from things like implementation of miranda but also things like civilian police review boards, residents requirements making sure police officers actually lived in the cities they policed. we could go on. one of the really important historical things that happens is in the wake of those reforms was that then they were undone. so you no longer had to live in many cities across america. you no longer had to live in the city you policed. if you were a private police officer, you don't necessarily have to use miranda law but yet can still use fatal force. we've really kind of been asleep
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at the wheel in terms of not -- protests really mattered in the '60s. it generated a lot of checks and balances on police. then it got all rolled back. i would both encourage that means we could do it again. we could put important brakes on some of this. the fact it rolled back again is really the historical lesson we have to reckon with. why did it happen, how did it happen and how does it go to the fundamental questions of humanity. >> i'll make an observation about the second point about community relations. one of the things i'm interested in is the use of african-americans to buttress claims for repressive state governments be they in the form of policing prisons or schools that are essentially confinement spaces. and if you just think back to the decades long debate about stop and frisk in the city but echoed nationally and has been amplified in the wake of the recent ferguson and garner cases is essentially that black people support these kinds of policies. so the idea there is a kind of silent black majority that at the end of the day is not only responsible for supporting punitive policies of criminal justice but actually sees them as the first line resort to the problems of poverty and crime
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and violence in their community was essentially the underlying argument of the bloomberg administration for a decade. we cannot underestimate the significance of that over 40 years. much of the edifice we call it was predicated on, one, they would be beneficiaries and they themselves were calling for this form of law and order. there are scholars, particularly a few who are producing knowledge around us and they are not entirely wrong. it's only really in the wake of trayvon martin, i would argue, perhaps troy davis before, that you could begin to see some of the polling data trend in a more critical way. for example, quinnipiac polled annually african-americans. right up to the end you had a tale of two responses. on one hand african-americans in new york city generally did not support stop and frisk but overwhelmingly supported bloomberg and ray kelly. so how do you split the difference? partly it's because once stop and frisk had been identified after decades of activism around, aclu, civil liberty unions and activist communities as a new kind of jim crow, rhetorically as a form of systemic racial profiling it was
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hard for african-americans to go and say stop and frisk was okay. and yet they still didn't have a problem with the leadership of the city. so for kelly defending stop and frisk, i will note that as much -- even a year ago -- again, prior to ferguson, a year ago and he's become a national spokesperson on these issues as a sunday news commentator was essentially saying i could go to any black neighborhood in new york city and stop somebody on the street and they would say that the policies of the bloomberg administration made this city safer, made our community safer. so we have to think about the question of community relations an this idea of what hasn't happened. not just repudiation of white citizenry who stands in judgment of the experiences of black people whether in courts or grand juries but also the way in which the political currency of a kind of black community that believes in and supports these repressive policies, president obama may be the most articulate spokesperson for this point of view, articulation of the
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justification for "my brother's keeper" strictly lives right between trayvon martin and so for kelly defending stop and frisk, i will note that as much -- even a year ago -- again, prior to ferguson, a year ago and he's become a national spokesperson on these issues as a sunday news commentator was essentially saying i could go to any black neighborhood in new york city and stop somebody on the street and they would say that the policies of the bloomberg administration made this city safer, made our community safer. so we have to think about the question of community relations an this idea of what hasn't happened. not just repudiation of white citizenry who stands in judgment of the experiences of black people whether in courts or grand juries but also the way in which the political currency of a kind of black community that believes in and supports these repressive policies, president obama may be the most articulate spokesperson for this point of
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view, articulation of the justification for "my brother's keeper" strictly lives right between trayvon martin and zimmerman acquittal and ferguson. it's interesting because he has staked his political future beyond the presidency on making that signature initiative of the contributions he's going to make. at the core a fundamental responsibility essentially saying it's not about policing but about the people. so my two cents on the context of that. >> we have just a little time, so very concise, referencing this appoint, just to add something small to khalil's point about how this operates in new york city prior to the death of officers ramos and liu, their deaths overshadowed something that happened the night before that, which was a really in which about 100 nypd officers gathered in downtown new york
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wearing t-shirts that say i can breathe. so for people who pay attention to these matters, they echoed a protest heard 22 years ago during the administration which some people are familiar with in which nypd officers en masse marched in downtown new york holding signs that said that the mayor is a bathroom attendant, the first black mayor of new york is a washroom attendant. they had signs referring to him as the n word. and people carrying watermelons in reference to the mayor. this was the police department. when we talk about this, it's not just a matter of people perceive there are police who view them in these kinds of ways
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but this is actually kind of verifiably true. now, the false dichotomy they have they have, people whose lives saved, they are too indignant to be appreciative about it. were it not for the matter of race, we would recognize immediately what's been told to us by the national security apparatus of the united states saying we need to comb through your e-mails, listen to your phone calls, have access to the inner elements of your personal life in order to keep you safe from terrorism. i think the nuance of it is simply people saying, yes. when i've done media around this, it got to be frustrating. people would call, as if a revelation, lots of black people killed by other black people. i'd say, you're talking to a black person. you're acting as if we don't
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know this. what we're rejecting is the idea saying we know there are terrorists who want to kill americans but that does not give you cart blanche to behave any way you see fit under the guise of keeping us safe. it this is democratic faith there is some balance between these two dynamics. >> i would just add very briefly there's a particular dynamic in north st. louis county to these police community relations. there's remarkably evocative testimony in 1970 u.s. commission on civil rights hearings in st. louis where the first african-american family to move to ferguson, the father is one of the lead witnesses. he says, you know, i moved onto that street, and the streetlights went out one by one. they weren't going to get fixed. stopped picking up my garbage but there were more police. i don't think the police were there to protect me. this is really from the very first instances of black flight into north county. there's a sense that all that's
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really left of public goods in those communities is the policing of the black citizens because of the impoverished nature of other services. >> second year graduate student at rutgers university. my question is about teaching ferguson. i ask this question, as a grad student, as a father of a 13-year-old, as former teacher, also once t.a. and taught. how do we hold intention, darren michael scott basically about humanity is on the chopping block. i'm thinking about james baldwin arguing we owe a reference to history. how do we hold attention students not taking survey courses, that stem is where the money is and administrations are, from what i understand, moving further and further away from what's going on in the humanities classrooms. how do we hold that attention
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with that. these are the students that are in elementary and middle schools and college classrooms. i read some papers over the last two semesters that make me say wtf. that serve on grand juries. how do we hold intention saying at the same time there's a need for teaching ferguson not in the college classroom but everywhere else, the fact that the work that we do is disrespected and that the guy who wrote the great book, the strange career of jim crow and sat on a committee to, from what i understand begin what's happening in texas and begin what's happening in arizona right now in terms of ethnic studies and basically whitewashing and taking out black contributions or latino contributions to this american area. >> a more distopic view of what's going on in our classrooms. >> all of this is difficult. for me personally, the only thing i can offer is that i was fortunate to see really great teaching when i was a graduate student.
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college classroom but everywhere else, the fact that the work that we do is disrespected and that the guy who wrote the great book, the strange career of jim crow and sat on a committee to, from what i understand begin what's happening in texas and begin what's happening in arizona right now in terms of ethnic studies and basically whitewashing and taking out black contributions or latino contributions to this american area. >> a more distopic view of what's going on in our classrooms. >> all of this is difficult. for me personally, the only thing i can offer is that i was fortunate to see really great teaching when i was a graduate student. i think the thing that helped me
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the most is kind of feminist principles of teaching. so we talk. we are community. we work together. the reason i bring that up is one of the things people ask is how do you have this conversation. well, we're always talking about something. that we don't ignore contemporary social issues and its connection to history until
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ferguson. a white student asked me once, how do i show my support of communities of color. don't just show up when bad things happen. where were you when people are laughing and happy? i say this, for us as >> this very quickly, i talked for many years at spellman college. to their great shame but later credit they fired howard for encouraging -- maybe another story, for encouraging his students allison walker and marion wright, now marion wright edelman to participate in the
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civil rights movement. he was pushed out for that. we should be mindful this is not the first time as historians we know this. this is the not the first time we stood for these questions or raised these questions in climates hostile and people believed -- sometimes people who would benefit directly, like the people who ran spellman college, who believed it was better to not go along and get along. >> i just want to say i was at indiana for six years. a gigantic his department with a lot of smart people, but i think as kind of a statement of the ways in which the profession has closed ranks around what is -- it's hard to put a precise finger on it. i don't want to call it legitimate history. twenty years ago when we started high school, we were -- it was maybe the culmination of a period when campuses were democratized. in some ways what i experienced at graduate school and fulltime faculty member was a step in the wrong direction. so just a quick anecdote, two weeks on campus coming out of a rest room and an african-american student passing by and literally stopped dead in his tracks and said, who are
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you? i said new to campus. i teach in the history department. he said i didn't know black people taught in the history department. i think part of what that says, this is 10 years ago, consolidation of african-american studies, which has happened on many campuses under the cover of building intellectual community, rallying resources in a time of austerity, entrenchment, state legislatures is not just about the money. it has also been about removing from core teaching what is -- what we should be teaching in the classroom and what those people will do in spaces less
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legitimate, delegitimized. i think this problem goes to the top. it's not just our elected officials. i think in a much more cynical way, there is a level of ignorance about race and how it operates. not just cynicism of post racialism, not just yahoo!'s who write on comment boxes and hate meal -- mail many of us receiver because we write publicly. there's a legitimate sense of been there done that, only in the spaces of people who make a living, speaking and talking in these ways that people can sort of get away with it. so when you say something like that, what those people hear, this is exactly why we took
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people like you out of the history department. >> i get e-mails. >> so political challenge around knowledge production i think is even more problematic and difficult today than it was, again, 20 years ago when i started graduate school. >> thanks. laura westhoff, university of missouri, st. louis. my campus is a mile from ferguson. so my comments and observations are -- come from being part of that north county st. louis community and native st. louisan who grew up far away physically from this kind of recent experience. i was especially appreciative of our last question and your response because i do spend a lot of time working with teachers, working in schools. in my context, in my history classes on campus, we couldn't
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begin a real conversation about this until the very end of the semester. when my students finally opened this up, i said, i've been wondering all semester when it was going to be safe to have a real conversation. and it's in the context of having built a community and sense of trust that we can really talk about these things, not from an intellectual perspective. i don't want to discount anything we're talking about here in terms of the structural problems around this but rather what my students for whom this experience was really just popping the bottle off of the issue. i don't know how to talk about this. i don't know how to feel. i know i live in a segregated city. i know my racial identity is crucial to my experience but i don't know how to talk across those experiences in any meaningful way. i think the hope for my students, they do want to do this. i think the challenge professionally does go back to what happened in the profession. it's difficult to i think accept emotionality and presentism
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students bring and marry that with intellectual historical context we want to teach them. my engagement stayed at the level of here is some context. dred scott really does matter in our community. that would have lost a very important moment. i think my challenge is -- i think challenge for k-12 teachers is understanding the way we can move into that scary space of talking about emotional issues that affect us and that bring history to the surface but our students don't yet have a historical language to talk about and help them understand that context and understand what they feel viscerally as part of a larger history, then we arm them with an intellectual framework to start to address structural problems. thank you for the work you're doing. i hope that as a profession we really engage with those teachers to the last gentleman's point. i was teaching freshmen and they came from schools where they didn't feel they could talk about this. who knows if they will have a space in their college
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classrooms but they absolutely framework to start to address structural problems. thank you for the work you're doing. i hope that as a profession we really engage with those teachers to the last gentleman's point. i was teaching freshmen and they came from schools where they didn't feel they could talk about this. who knows if they will have a space in their college classrooms but they absolutely have a space in their k-12 classrooms to deal with this, so we have to work with those teachers. so we're down to our last five
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speakers. some of them just joined so i'm going to try to get your voice in. i'm going to try to get your voice in, but some have waited patiently. so just to be mindful for all of us. jenny? >> hi, i'm jenny breyer, the director of general and women's studies at uic. and we'll have our last shoutout to rutgers about rutgers alum. but there is something about what happened at that moment at rutgers. and i wanted to say it was a moment when the history of students who were interested in studying the history of sexuality, the history of gender and african-american history all got in at the same time. and we were -- we were forced and delighted, and we had many difficult conversations in those rooms. but they shaped the way we respond to one another and the respect that we have for each other's work. and it meant something. and that's something about what the historical profession needs
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to be thinking about. because, you know, this panel is being really beautifully tweeted and then someone pointed out it wasn't going to go in the aha 2015 tweet, you know, stream, unless it got connected. and i think that it just suggests something about how far the historical professional has to go to fully embrace intersectionalty and/or any sort of model for thinking through these really critical intersections and to that point. i wanted to ask really to hear more folks respond on the question of gender and how the politics of gender function here. i was so struck by the example of freier's report on pathology being the thing that becomes what he's known for in part because it has such a gendered analysis. i don't know about the police report, as well as you do. but i'm wondering how gender functions in that earlier document and in the stinging critique of the police. and i'm so struck by the way that, you know, your work on ferguson syllabus, but jessica johnson's work on ferguson
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fridays has really been about insisting that politics and feminist politics have to be central to the way we understand what's going on. and to our historian colleagues who aren't in gender and women study departments to know that is the work we do in the classroom. and it doesn't make us like history light. it makes us really able to teach students how to think through critical questions historically. >> should we take that few more? >> let's take jenny's question since she waited patiently. you're absolutely right. in my own work, the question of what women are not doing with their children is fundamental to constructions of african-american what is referred to as de-moralization. but fill in the gap. delinquency, criminalization, and this is precisely the history and the this discourse
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around what black women aren't doing with their children that frames the politics of my brother's keeper, which we've heard a continue to reinforce this idea that ultimately black women are the cause of the chaos that goes on in too many black homes. so when giuliani is talking about parents and education, it's not just absentee fathers, because the discourse on one hand explicitly puts black men on the hook for what they aren't doing. but at the same time, presumes that black women are, one, delinquent or incapable of raising their own children. so without belaboring the point, i think you're absolutely right to lift that up. and i think the larger point that in some ways, the clinical
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detachment that is essentially the gold standard for the historical profession is and has always been a form of reinforcing positions of privilege. and i don't want to -- seems almost cliche to say the status quo. but there is no -- not a lot of production that stands separate and apart from some response to power. and the idea that people who are doing intersectionalty somehow are monopolizing a space of emotionalism. that they're not -- that their investment in the contemporary or the present makes them somehow doing something that is less historical, less clinically attached is ridiculous. i mean, so i'll stop. >> very quickly. i think that one of the things i saw in being in ferguson, i got to see the first week i was there, people lamenting the lack of grass roots organization
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there. and the lack of kind of local structures to respond to what was happening. then when i came back maybe two weeks later, you start seeing kind of a development of that. and then, you know, in october, there were organizations that you could not tell hadn't been in existence, you know, for three or four or five years. and one of the things that was heartening to see. from the outset. organizations founded or organized by women, you know, in ferguson, and from the outset, there was a kind of implicit recognition that they would not have a kind of stereotypical male led community, community organization. and even when people came up with, you know, kind of the critique of how michael brown
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lost his life, it was tied to other aspects. other problems. we're also opposed to domestic violence opposed to violence against people in the trans community. and people articulating that in a way that sounded atypical if you could be cynical about these things. and even to the point that one point i did an interview right before, the day before the grand jury findings came down. and they said, and i was like, who can i talk to from the organization? oh, there's a rapper who we can talk to who's been very knowledgeable. and then said, but you can talk to ashley yates, too. and i was like, wow. and for people my age, i can say quite simply that would not have happened. you know, when i was the age
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that they are. and so it was heartening to see that people were beginning to articulate this idea about this. and finally, just to underscore the point about my brother's keeper, the regressive ideas and the kind of moynihan-esque ideas at the root of "my brother's keeper," one painfully -- which should be an obvious truth, which is that both trayvon martin and michael brown had fathers active in their lives. and that did not save them from, you know, the fates that befell them. and so the idea this being this pathology and matriarchy. >> i want to say the young people talk like that because of the work we do. and i don't think we can ignore that. it's amazing. >> hi, i'm matt garcia. i teach at arizona state university. and i'm really happy to be entering this conversation right at this moment. because what was on my mind was
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the critical work that kimberly crenshaw and kristi dotson are doing in terms of critiquing my brother's keeper. it's not simply that there's the black father is present. and that's important, right? but part of the critique is the way that our focus, fetishization. once we realize that black men are brutalized, are killed, right? that it makes more invisible black women's similar experiences. so we're talking about all of these men that have suffered this. but we're not talking about marlene pinnic who was beat on the side of the road by the california highway patrol. we're not talking about ursula orr, a black colleague of mine who was beat by the campus police at asu. right?
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so what happens the way kimberly and christy and other black feminists are telling it is that the coverage and the lessons of ferguson is that we make more invisible black women's plight and black women's struggles with these kinds of brutal acts of state violence. if we don't, if we're not cognizant of the gendered ways in which we're telling these stories and talking about it. >> great point. >> hi, i'm courtney, i teach at baylor university in waco, texas. and in my student constituency, there's a lot of resistance to this conversation. but i decided to take advantage of the fact that i'm the professor and they're not to force the conversation to the foreground. so i teach in the religion department. and so in our scriptures class, we did the whole bible in six weeks to get the foundation for the conversation. >> wow. >> i know. i know. but then we went back and looked
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at texts according to race, environment, homophobia. and it was amazing to see their eyes open and then the first week of class, i just did a poll, how many of you have ever felt nervous to walk back to your car from the library? how many of you have ever felt like someone singled you out or people were staring at you because of something about yourself? and the people who raised their hand for every single question were the women and the african-american students. and for them to see themselves proclaim that dynamic was really powerful teaching moment. so i just took advantage of the fact that we're in this together for the semester. so i created a culture of safe space and almost an expectation to raise those kinds of questions in class, part of their grade was their participation and willingness to be vulnerable with people. i found that a powerful teaching exercise. and i think that connection between gender and race is really important, particularly for people who are resistant to talking about race. it gives them a point of relation. they can understand it.
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and you say, yes, that same thing, but let's go farther and start to see how whether you're going to be an engineer, business person, whatever you're going to be. how can you raise these conversations in your spheres of influence? and one of the things i thought was helpful was bringing in comedy. jon stewart and stephen colbert. they let themselves be vulnerable. certain news networks they shut down. but if i played that, they would listen to it. and then their eyes would start to open. and they're having conversations with people in their dorm. it's powerful how that happened. i'm excited to hear, we're not going to be afraid to talk about this. and if most of us, why we study what we study is autobiographical in a sense. i think our students are drawn. even if they don't want to take our history classes, they're drawn to it. and another thing i wanted to say that will help you all look good with your chairs. a lot of universities are putting in first year courses to help students transition. these are powerful opportunities to engage students on these issues.
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most universities will let you organize a topic on whatever you want. you can bring your research into the conversation. you can get them involved in learning how to research these issues. it's a wonderful opportunity for us to put this conversation before first year students from the get go and let those questions be part of their intellectual formation throughout the college experience. >> thank you. >> wow. >> thank you. so i want to take the last two statements or questions together. >> together. >> first. >> while i was waiting online, someone handed me another question. would it be possible -- >> depends on how short yours is. >> mine will be very short. >> okay. >> first of all, for the university of gent in belgium. and speaking as a historian, i wondered what tactically speaking is the best way to combat this post racial narrative, which is to me the
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most insidious and problematic thing we have to face. because when it's fair enough to say we have to talk about black history, but when most people talk about it, they refer to this very recognizable narrative of racial progress. and i would like to ask, we've seen recent reports that the nypd has tamped down arrests for minor crimes. over the comments on how he has warned his son about how to interact with police. i wonder if any of you can make predictions about stop and frisk policies, broken windows and municipal fund raisings. >> go. >> i'm russell, i teach african-american studies in honolulu, hawaii. and i began the semester by walking into my colleague's classroom and said, hey, man, i don't know about opening up the ferguson question. what do you think? he looked at me and said, are you crazy? you have to. and the reason why i was reluctant to do it is because i didn't trust myself and i didn't want to violate one of my own teaching principles, which is i don't want to tell students what to think. i want to teach them how to
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think. so i opened the discussion. presented them with material and asked them to talk about it with their families and stuff. and it's been a remarkable semester. frederick douglass' 1892 speech on the negro problem took on new meaning. the poetry took on new meaning. i knew the beginning of the semester that it was going to die in invisible man for selling, and he was going to be shot by the police. so i let the kids roll and i remembered my role to ask questions and presented them with provocative material. the semester, again, has been very rewarding and very enriching and i'm glad i did it.
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i'm glad i did it. >> there's post-racial narrative how to end it, and the nypd predictions about the demise of stop and frisk broken windows and the fund raising, the revenue generated from such police activity. >> well, i just wanted to say as to post racialism, both said at the same time, evidence. you know, tell the history. the history makes clear this is a method, makes clear it's not accurate, not true. so without leading anyone to any conclusions, one simply needs to teach the history of the last 40 years. but i would take it a step further and say, again, it's not just the -- it's not just that post racialism isn't true or the color blindness isn't true. it's that itself has had an effect on the way our students understand race and the way our students understand the news we see. so we might also make that point by even having them read contemporary news stories. and i want to, first of all, also shout out to stacy patton's amazing work on this. and this is a great opportunity, i think.
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i don't know what's going to happen with stop and frisk, but i think this is an incredible opportunity for us to really -- i mean, this may be the worst decision the nypd ever made to engage in this slow down. because the fact of the matter is, it gives us an opportunity to really think about what policing looks like on the ground and what's unnecessary about it. so it'll be fascinating to see what is made of this slow down. again, i kind of chuckled when i first saw this as a strategy. i thought, well, you couldn't have done a protest strategy that people would've welcomed more if you tried. >> just to add one thing about kind of structural issues about post racialism. if your students don't want to join you on that train, you can just ask them questions about their communities. is anyone from a community where a school closed? what was that like?
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have you? were there any foreclosure signs in the community where you're from? did your friends move because their family couldn't afford their house anymore? those simple questions. and they don't have to self-identify. are the ways they start to say, oh, wait, we're in an african-american history class, why are we talking about foreclosure? and then you say, well, the funny thing is we've seen this before. so i think that there's a way that -- there are things out there that are supposed to be de-racialized because of a post racial that when we infuse them within the context of the history of people of color, i think our students then become really attuned to say, oh, wait a second. this is a different place as it plays out and these are the structures i noticed in the world i inhabit. so i think i found that very effective. >> very quickly, i think we should point out the implicit irony of the way this post racial discussion got started. which is in 2008 with the election of barack obama. in an election which the minority of white minority voted for a black presidential candidate. and so, in recognizing that white people were prepared to
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vote for a president, some, were prepared to vote for a president who did not share their racial background, this was heralded as a great moment of racial achievement. in short, white people managed to do the very thing black people have been doing since the 15th amendment. and so, no one, no one heralded that, like, wow, the negros have no problem voting for someone who doesn't look like them for president. this is a marker of great racial progress in the united states. and so, that's the beginning. that's where this narrative begins. and secondarily, i think the thing that fills me with forboding, not so much about policing, but the context with which the policing occurs is the percentage of white people, which is a significant plurality who on polls say that whites are the primary victims of racial discrimination in the united states. that's something we should keep
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an eye on, especially as whites become a diminishing part of the population here because we know, you know, based on the history in mississippi in south carolina, populations where white people are smaller proportion have far more liberal history tendency than populations where they are a larger proportion of the society at large. currently, 63% of the population, hold 90% of the elected offices. and so for the other 30%, 37% of the population, which categorizes people of color broadly construed, actually it's 90.1. 37% of the population shares 9.9% of the elected political offices. and unless we have actual kind of intentionality around that, but we will have is a gradual demographic south africanization of the american society. and that's something that we should be very mindful of. and the policing attendant with it. >> my experience, and this is most direct from speaking to st. louis audiences about this is that, you know, the post racial
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notion, i think, is in part, as you say, superficial, it's based on this -- the election of obama, which is obviously evidence of nothing. in some respects. it's in part generational. students are anxious to say they think differently than their parents did. but it's in large part institutional. and i think that it's important to point out to people that if you're looking at something like housing and wealth in northern cities that it actually runs counter to the civil rights movement. things get worse. >> yeah. >> over most of the period that we're talking about. things got worse in terms of segregation, from 1940 to 1980. it moderated a little bit. but since the great recession, you know, the collapse, foreclosure crisis, the collapse in black wealth. that's a very powerful piece of evidence that, you know, in fact, if you're thinking of sort of institutional story in which,

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