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tv   Washington Journal Dr. Jonathan Metzl  CSPAN  March 30, 2019 2:25pm-3:25pm EDT

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of rand corporation discusses nato, the future of the organization, and recent comments by president trump regarding other countries contributions. we will discuss the 40th anniversary of the three-mile island nuclear power plant accident in pennsylvania, considered the most serious nuclear power accident in united states. joining us to look at the event is eric epstein, founder and chair of the three-mile island alert. and actinger, director of the nuclear safety project for the union of concerned scientists and when lyman. watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 a.m. eastern sunday morning. join the discussion. york isng us from new dr. jonathan that soul, author of this new book "dying of whiteness." what prompted you to write this book? guest: good morning and thank
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you for having me. midwesterner. a when i grew up the town had a long history of people working together across political divides. some people were pro-gun, somewhere anti-gun. we all figured out a way to make it work. what i saw over the course of my experience was ever particular politics that ended up fracturing people and setting them against each other. neighbors who used to work together on things ended up being divided in particular ways. the story i tell a book is basically how places like kansas, missouri, tennessee were fractured because of racializing messages. essential argument of the book is the politics that claim to make white america great again in making the lives, even of working-class white supporters
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harder and in many cases shorter. host: what do you mean by whiteness/ -- whiteness? guest: i am not talking about it as a biological category or as an identity. what i track in the book is the ways particular policies that are based on antigovernment, pro-gun, anti-affordable care act in that kind of ideology and of working into the health policies of particular states. i tell the story of how the origins of many of his policies are based and concerns that immigrants or minorities are taking away benefits that should go to white americans. i am trying to tell the story of how the policies, the health policies that come to power in these states are based in these concerns about racial change. host: how prevalent do you think this racial resentment is in the country? guest: i interviewed hundreds of
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people over eight years of research for my book. there is a tremendous variety of opinion. i'm not saying there is one thing called whiteness and everyone who is white describes to it. i show that positions that were once friends positions politically speaking, the idea we would have massive tax cuts that would undermine roads, bridges and schools in kansas, for the way we would overturn even the most basic gun legislation in missouri, these were once french positions. they worked their way into statehouses. the story is the ways these fringe positions worked their way into power and the become frameworks for the trump administration's approach to national politics. while i don't think this is a prevalent position for everybody in the country, it's important because these politics of racial resentment are setting policies
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that impact people's health. host: "racism matters most to help when it is underlying resentment and anxiety shape larger politics and policies and that affect public health. i say this because many of the middle and lower income white americans i met in my research were not expressly or even implicitly racist. race does not come up in many of our conversations. " are you saying or not saying this is racism? what is it when people are talking to you and they disagree with the policy by explaining they don't like it because it could go to others? how is that not racism? guest: what you just described is racist. i have no problem with that. i did talk to a number of people who voiced opinions exactly like the ones you just said. i was doing a focus group in tennessee. i was speaking with a medically
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ill working-class white men. they had the potential when the affordable care at came out of benefiting greatly from the policies about to come down the pipe. it would help them pay for, prescriptions office visits, get better medical care. people told me i don't want my tax dollars going to pay for what they said were mexicans and welfare queens. even if his policies might benefit me. in the book i recount some of those conversations. , but i also i also say that there were many people who did not have those opinions but they also suffered from the consequences, not because of their own racism, but because they lived in a state where politics that were based in this racial resentment ended up impacting health policy and the data i show is alarming. declines in white life expectancy in states that adopt particular policies that are
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based in this dynamic. host: explain some of those. guest: sure. well, i will start with tennessee. so if you live in tennessee, tennessee is a state that really needed help with health insurance, so what i do is i track the story of what were the consequences of the state of tennessee basically rejecting the affordable care act? they didn't create a health care marketplace. they blocked the medicare expansion that was going to be related to that, and i just asked the question, what were the consequences? it turned out there is a state right next door to tennessee, kentucky, that did adopt the affordable care act, and so i just tracked the different health trajectories in the two states and it turned out not expanding and not creating marketplaces cost every white citizen of the state about three weeks of life when we crunched the data. so a pretty remarkable exchange for a particular political
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position in relation to people in kentucky. i did the same thing with missouri and i did the same thing with tennessee. really what i am showing is that when our public policies are based in not just concerns for public health but also concerns about, as i call it, racial resentment, that ultimately everybody's health suffers, including working-class white supporters. host: you write on this, the african-american men largely supported the a.c.a. because the legislation potentially helped everybody and because they felt that anything would be an improvement over tennessee's crumbling health care system, but many white men, like trevor mentioned in the introduction of the book, was the willingness to die rather than embrace a law that gave minority or immigrant persons access to care even if it helped them as well. you also looked at gun sledge slayings. what did you find? guest: i looked at missouri's gun legislation, a before and
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after story about what happened when missouri started significantly relaxing its regulations on how easy it was to buy a gun and carry a gun in public. this started happening around 2007 with a series of pieces of legislation, and really what i track in the book are on one hand many -- particularly working class white americans who are strug gun owners celebrated what they found to be their new found liberties, but if you look at the health perspective, what you see are rising rates of morbidity and mortality, as doctors call it, injury and death, that resulted because there were so many guns in people's homes and in their cars. it turned out that people who were suffering the most from these injuries weren't gangbangers, as the n.r.a. would call it, it was actually the highest rates of gun death were white men in rural areas, who were seeing increased rates of gun suicide. so here again is a story about politics that was supposed to create liberation and greatness
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and it did probably for some people, but the facts were ultimately damaging to the health of the very people who they claim to support. host: let me get statistics from your book on this. between 2008 and 20124, the missouri gun homicide rate rose to 47% higher than the national average. rates of gun death by suicide, partner violences, and accidental shooting soared as well. deaths gun deaths topped by motor vehicle accidents for the first time in history. let's get the call. charlotte from north carolina, good morning to you. caller: good morning. you talk about welfare queens -- everybody in
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america food stamps and checks in america because they can't be engaged. what would you do if you couldn't feed your children? him, all white people living day by day -- host: caller, you a little difficult to understand because there is an echo there. dr. metzl, i think she was talking about this misnomer that the composition of welfare recipients is the majority african-american and the numbers say otherwise. guest: that's right. i am in complete sympathy with the caller and forgive me if i wasn't more clear about that. what i was doing was replaying what people were telling me, which was this common myth that if they bought into a health care system that all of their money would be drained away by these stereotypes of lazy people
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and welfare queens was one of those stereotypes. i can't tell you enough how false i find that depiction. health insurance works when the most people possible buy into a particular system, and what we see from the data and the data i show in the book is that everybody's health improves. so in a way, the argument i make in the book was that these particular stereotypes on one hand were what let many working-class people who i spoke with reject health care, that probably would have benefited them. this fantasy that there were people at the bottom below them who were draining away resources, but it wasn't true and in part also in the states that i was interviewing people, these were majority white states very often, so it really was mostly white americans who were going to be the beneficiaries of health care. so just again i apologize if i didn't state that clearly. i agree, it's a dangerous stereotype. but sadly a very effective one. host: newport, tennessee,
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anthony. caller: good morning. host: good morning. caller: i was in the military. i lived in long island, opened up my own business in north carolina. i was the very first one to open up a spanish video. i was even in tv. if you are from new york, puerto rico, if you go to florida, there are cubans. if you go to north carolina, the people that were running my store were from peru. -- about 1/4 of the earth speaks spanish. was need to start -- when i in the service, i was in the vietnam war. everybody was known by his last name. it wasn't, hey, black jim.
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it wasn't black tony. it wasn't white tony. it was just, hey, tony. host: anthony, what is your point? caller: the point is that -- they quit using to describe people the color of their skin or the language they use. host: ok, dr. metzl. guest: this country is great because of its complexity and diversity, and in the book i use a lot of research to show that actually societies where the most number of people have the best opportunities to improve their lot in life end up being the healthiest societies, societies where there is not just multiple people at every income level who can rise up, the promise of that, but also society is where there are multiple histories, multiple points of view in conversations. and so i think i understand the
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caller in saying that diversity is an important thing but if not that's the point i make in the book. in a way there is a fantasy that we can build a bunch of walls, walls everywhere seemingly now, and change the ways that diversity happens and certainly immigration policy is not something i talk about a great deal in the book, but this idea that basically we can preserve something in this country and really what i think we should be preserving in this country is the idea that we have really made many people from many different parts of the world and many different backgrounds realize the american dream and that's what made us great in the first place. host: dr. metzl, who or what is to blame for this racial resentment? guest: part of the story i tell is that there are long histories and i think liberal people like myself -- i am more of a centrist, but we are kind of slow to realize, when donald
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trump for example started talking about guns and anti-immigration and anti-government, those issues were not invented yesterday. so part of the story i tell in the book is about the 200-year history of guns and health care and tax reform in the country, just to provide a little bit of context and tell people that gosh, there is a long history. there is a very long history here, and the other part of the book is that i feel like these historical tensions and stereotypes are being quite consciously manipulated by advertisers, politicians, twitter, etc., and the reason i say that is because i met so many good people over the course of my research who i just wanted to say if we put everybody in a room, we can figure out some of these hard problems. but i came to appreciate the power of these polarizing factors that end up dividing us in this country and make us think that there is no way we will ever be able to agree about such important existential issues. host: rachel in texas, good
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morning to you. caller: hello. trump has this thing about saying that he has created more jobs, and i fact checked that several times and they give credit to obama. but when he says that he has done more for black people than any other president, that means that everybody job that was created was given to blacks. about guns, they want to tell you that liberals are against guns, but that means that only republicans shoot people. they go about religion and tell people that do not vote republican do not believe in god. hat's just as crazy as the others. crazy.-- that's just i am tired of hearing this crazy talk that they think the american people out there divide us and cause more hate than i've ever seen in my life.
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we need somebody in there and i don't care what party it's from, this country needs to be healed from all this b.s. that's been put out there. i just hope and pray that they get someone in there that can rule this country instead of divide us like this man has done. host: ok, rachel. what do you think? guest: i think i agree actually. i don't want to say who or who shouldn't be president, but i would agree that the undercurrents of racial resentment that were stirring beneath the surface for a long time really seem to have been blown into full view right now, and those are -- i think we have seen an example in new zealand of a very strong response to basically say not just here is what we may or may not do about gun policy, but here is how we as a nation respond to militant white supremacist aggression, and so in that sense i feel like there always will be a diversity
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of opinions in a particular country, but right now i agree with the caller that these positions are being blown into full view and in a way what that feels like is as i was saying before, this then becomes impossible, right, it feels like it's impossible to ever heal these racial wounds. i don't know -- i could argue many sides of that, but i would also say it's important to note that beneath the tension and the passion and the ideology, there also are particular policies, so all the policies i talk about in the book end up creating much more racial division. so i think part of this issue isn't just healing what is in people's hearts. that needs to happen. it's also creating more equitable policies that level the playing field for everyone. host: john in tampa, florida. your question or comment for dr. metzl. guest: yes, sir, as a physician you should understand the differential diagnostic conditions to what you think with respect to management
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algorithms, this resentment, racism, is a spinoff of a major pathology of the fact that trillions and trillions of dollars have been shifted from the middle class and poor over time into the hands of china and a few very wealthy people in this country, relatively few, of course, trillions. that's like a thousand billion because of the supreme court ruling that equated the big money in political campaigns to freedom of speech, the reagan tax cuts, 70% to 30%, the top marginal rates with no strings attached. of course, nafta signed by bill clinton. he signed off on giving china most favored nation status. bill clinton signing off in 1999 of the repeal of the post-great depression era, remedial act of glass-steagall being taken away
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which caused the great recession. all of this has drained trillions of dollars from the middle class and the poor, and of course racial resentment is morbidities, the ruination of this country. that's the physiology. hank you, sir. guest: i would love to talk history with you sometime. it was so interesting for for example, i would talk to people in kansas and they would complain that the kansas i grew up in, we had always top 10 public schools, roads, bridges, parks, infrastructure, and then there were massive tax cuts across the state that drained that kind of money, drained money from every -- highway safety funds, the public school system which was so great. it took all that money and it gave it to the top 1% of
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families and wage earners in the state. people i talked to who were working class people said gosh, kansas was so awesome, look things are falling apart, and their complaints were always -- this is really the problem i am trying to address. they would say too much money is going to minority districts or one story i heard was minorities are using all our tax dollars to buy party buses. i called the district, and they laughed at me, but what i kept wanting to say is actually no, the money was taken and it's being put up the economic hierarchy. people are benefiting but it's not the people below you, it's the people above you. this has been an issue for a long time. i think possibly this is where progressivism tries to intervene, to say there are financial interests that join people across socioeconomic class and if people ever united, we could address it. i agree with you that money is being drained away from the
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middle and lower working class. that's part of what i am trying to address in the book. but i also make the point -- i can't say this clearly enough -- that when you tie this to racial ideology or racial resentment that what happens is it becomes harder for people to see what is really happening, which is that they're being financially and biologically manipulated in ways that benefit particular people but they're being told that the people below them are the problem. host: your book and what you are talking about reminds me of this piece written in 2014 by a billionaire. he wrote that the pitch forks are coming for us plutocrats, warping that the wealthier -- warning that the wailtier americans nieded to do -- wealthier americans needed to do something or america would come together against them. thinking about that what you just said, why doesn't that happen that americans across
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different races, different political ideologies, come together? guest: this has been a debate in our country for about a century. there was a black philosopher who wrote a famous book about reconstruction after the civil war, and he basically said why is it that white working class people and newly freed black slaves don't join together to demand more concessions from the elite? the answer i come up with was there was a tricky system where ite working people were told that they had this wage they were paid because they were white and that made them better than black people at the same economic level. so that debate about how can people align together across socioeconomic class is one that has flummoxed people, even du bois said i don't understand why we are clinging to this outdated
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idea of race when people's economic interests could be so better served by joining together. certainly we have seen that kind of history come and go, so part of the answer is that these racial scripts that people are told end up making them feel in some ways better or worse based on ideology but in terms of economics they're completely counterintuitive and disruptive in many ways. so partially there is a very long history of this. i think it's just been inflamed recently and the other point is that i personally feel, having done research for this book, that conservative voters who are working class really don't demand enough of their politicians in terms of creating policies that might better their own lives, in other words, i think they can surely say we are republican and we support whoever, but we want better roads, bridges and schools and health care. host: let's go to rusty who has
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been waiting in colorado. good morning to you. guest: good morning. doctor, do you know the path of less resistance is? guest: do you want to put it in context? of course, please. caller: it can be used in many ways. i want to change my comment that i was previously going to mention and i want to refer back to your statement about kansas and the roads and bridges and the departments there. doctor, i don't understand how you can attribute the moneys from the local and state departments being taken and given to the federal departments as a -- connecting that to a elitism. filing or an
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if you can, please, can you tell me how you make these or toations to the racial an elite status or white privilege. i think all those connections are reaching more and not using the path of least resistance. you are yourself inflaming those divisions. guest: i take that comment seriously and i appreciate it. the reason i wrote this book was i have seen us do better as a country and i have seen us do better as white americans in terms of creating more equitable societies that aren't inflamed by this fear of other people. now, i do think there are several very important points in that question that i think i would be happy to address.
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in terms of kansas, the tax cuts in kansas, part of the revolt against the tax cuts in kansas was because kansas basically was doing what the g.o.p. tax bill did in 2016, which was to cut moneys from the higher income wage earners, and i don't have it time to go into all the finance now except i would urge people to read the book to say that the claims i make about kansas really are the same claims that people in support of the tax cuts were making at the time, but i do think the caller makes a very important point that not every issue i talk about here is overtly about race. like guns, for example, people own guns for many reasons that have nothing to do with race whatsoever. they have to do with history and hunting and family tradition, feelings of security. the same thing with schools. people want schools for a bunch of different reasons. so part of the story i tell in the book are the surprising and often invisible ways that american history tells us about
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how particular issues become racialized even if it's not exactly obvious. i will give you one example, which is that guns, for example, in the states that i track them, have a long history of rights only being afforded to white americans, so for about 200 years in many of these states, african-american people were not allowed to carry guns in public and so this idea of who gets to carry a gun, even if we have changed the laws right now, there are long hifts that tap into that. -- histories that tap into that. i agree with the caller that the racial histories are very different in each state and in each issue and i try to take that seriously but i also think you expect really discount the centrality of race that i tell. host: on kansas and tax laws i will read one part from your book. brownback signed -- referring to the former governor -- signed a controversial school finance bill, which created tax breaks for corporations that donated to
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private scholarship funds, allowed public school districts to hire unlicensed teachers for science and math classes, cut support for at-risk students, and made it easier for schools to fire experienced tichers. h.b. 25006 further defunded government by supplementing these changes with significant cuts to property taxes. what was the result of this, dr. metzl? guest: the result was really an evisceration of what had been a shining star in kansas. kansas had a remarkable public school system. people in the state were very proud of not just the public schools but the -- what those public schools afforded people, the children were graduating and leading these terrific careers because they were coming out as highly educated members of the work force. the kansas that i grew up in was always in the top 10 in public schools. what you see over time are two important dynamics even in the
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four or five years after these tax cuts take place. number one, you see rapidly declining fourth and eighth grade reading and science proficiencies. students' performance on national tests starts to fall considerably from its high perch down to the middle 40's, and that also goes hand in hand with increasing high school dropout rates. the minute you start cutting teachers and increasing classrooms and cutting support systems, what happens is that students in kansas start to drop out of school in really record numbers. unfortunately, there is a lot of data that correlates dropping out of high school with a shortened life expectancy, poor health outcomes later in life. i am not inventing that. i am referencing it. so in that sense what i argue is that so many students dropping out of high school as a result of these tax cuts end up influencing people's health and the health of the state more broadly. i should also add about kansas, the reason i talk about kansas,
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we were talking about race before. there is the long history of the brown versus board of education case in kansas. a lot of people i talked with supported the tax cuts in schools because they thought they were going to go to minority districts and they were surprised when their own kids' schools were getting cut. the other important point is kansas is in an important state because centrist republicans and democrats decided to get together to say enough is enough and they actually over the course of my research banded together to pass a tax increase that would help money go back to the schools. so i see kansas as quite a hopeful story about what might happen. host: let's go to alaska. sarah is watching there. thanks for calling in. go ahead with your question. caller: it's been a real education listening to your callers. i wanted to ask you, dr. metzl, are you aware of some of the laws that didn't get into your
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state until mashe about the mid 1950's and that this all goes back to ancient egypt as well. it's called eugene icks. what eugenics was. indiana leading the way in 1907 for with 30 states following suit and there were 48 states at that point, let alone alaska and hawaii, but what it was was a group of very wealthy doctors and lawyers who wanted to create, just like hitler did in world war ii, the great white race, but it's not one-sided. the dark side, where people of color long before we did, because it was done in ancient egypt. but the problem is, there are a lot of medical problems today that the government is expected
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to pay for in the way of medicare, medicaid and stuff like that, for poor people, that are the direct result of those one. enics, i being i was born smack-dab in the -- didn't hityday your state until later on. host: sarah, what is your point? guest: my point is, my uncle put it very well. there are enough pieces of the pie game blame for everybody to have a whole pie. the interest being what it is today in compounding daily interest, everybody gets 100 pies. they need to quit looking at the pretty little package and look inside the box and see what is really inside that box. you can't judge by color. you can't -- that's what civil
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rights was all about. that's what our constitution is all about. i hear a lot of people arguing, but they don't know the constitution as they fought and died for it. host: dr. metzl. guest: i actually -- the last book i wrote goes deeply into the history of eugenics and the ways in which the arguments lay the foundation for a lot of arguments that ended up showing up later in nazi germany. i think there is an important history of eugenics in this country. the bigger question i might glean from that comment -- there were many important moving parts -- was this question of not just about -- eugenics is this racial science but i think there is a bigger question of whose life is expendable? in other words, whose life is worthy of our protecting and whose life is seen as just grist for the mill that we can kind of throw away? what i found so surprising in
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doing my research was that, again, i -- because i am a midwesterner and because i was doing research over the course of this book, i understand why people have profound emotional resonances towards politics that say that they're going to make their lives better. i watched the appeal of president trump across the midwest and in many ways he was speaking to many people's concerns and lived experiences, but the point i want to make again is that if you look at the actual policies that dictate about where government spends its money, about what health care system there is, things like that, that the actual policies are based in the assumption that working-class people's lives are expendable. that's why the data in the book that i have tracks actually worsening health outcomes and shortened life expectancies as a result of the policies that were supposed to make people's lives great. so i can't for the life of me understand why people can't be
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republican or democrat or whatever and still demand that the structures that surround their lives and the money that they pay into the system improves their lives and their communities. that's kind of the conflicted point right now and something that makes as little sense to me now as probably eugenics did to people at the time. host: what are the solutions? guest: well, i think one important solution i get asked a lot because i wrote this book, what is it going to take to change trump voters' minds? i don't like that question, because i don't think it's my job to change anybody's mind and i think it's an illusion for people to think like gosh, when people see these policies, they're going to wake up. i think a big part of the solution has to be that working class people, conservative people, start to demand more material benefits from the politicians and the policies that they're supporting. in other words, people who should be able to say yeah, i am
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republican, but i also want policies that give me better health care or give me better schools or give me better roads. so part of this is organic. it's not about somebody from the outside changing somebody's mind. it's to tell people you have the right to ask more from the system that you are living in and buying into, and the other big point of the research i did shows, i think, that there are particular ways that we need to be talking to white working class people and thinking about listening to them, listening to their concerns. i learned a great deal by going into gun country and asking people what guns meant in their lives. so not just to jump in at the policy level but actually -- i think there is an important lesson here for many of the democratic candidates, to really pay attention to people's language and think about ways we might offer solutions to people's problems rather than dictating. host: we will go to tampa, florida. good morning to you.
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guest: good morning. how are you? i just wanted to make a comment. the very wealthy for a very long time have been using race or anything else to keep the masses from uniting, whether it's to give them a bigger wage or whatever, but the question is hy is it so easy for them to have -- especially the white working class, give away their -- i am not articulating this the way i want to, but trump is a symptom of a vast bigger problem that i don't think it should be about, you no he -- you know, how they don't benefit from racism. it's the morality. it's the soul of our country that's as issue here. i think if we could talk more to that and that people should not ve that up, your values, and
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turn to hate. that's really what i think would solve the problem and why we do that in the country and we have been doing it for centuries. i don't understand that. guest: it's a lovely question. thank you so much for that. i wondered the same thing -- i wonder that all the time, and i wondered it over the course of the eight years that i wrote this book. there is so much greatness in this country. there are so many ways in which tie into of whiteness whiteness can also be incredibly generous, incriddably caring and brave. there are white working class people who i know and grew up with and not just working class, who are incredibly communal and powerful and think that the position that we hold as the majority population in this
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country right now forces us to take better care of people who are in need or forces us to be more equitable and fair. part of my frustration in writing this book is that this particular moment in our history is the worst angels of whiteness that have seemed to have co-opted the narrative. i personally agree and feel frustrated because i want to say we need to have a reckoning about what whiteness may or may not mean in this country but to do so we need to wrestle away this narrative that we define whiteness by the fear that minorities and immigrants are going to take stuff that's ours. instead i think we can be much more generous and caring and i really do agree with you that that's the way forward. so in the conclusion of the book, i show some examples of the ways in which there are many models of what it means to be white in this country and there are ones that are not being elected to office in many cases in many of these states right now, but that i think offer us a
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guide forward if we are willing to take it. i just want to say one other point about that which is again to say that diverse and equitable societies end up being better for everybody. they rise everybody's boats. people have better health outcomes, better education outcols, so the things we are doing right now are could it so destructive and i hope we can change course. host: denise in olympia, washington. guest: hello. host: good morning. guest: good morning. the chairman: good morning. i am here in washington. -- caller: good morning. i am here in washington. i was so shocked with my relatives. they live about 20 miles away from me, and one time at a reunion, one of my relatives told me about the mexican immigrants that he didn't want any more of them. it just shocked me so much because we all grew up the same
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way. respecting up everybody. and the laws. and one of these days they're this was alize that always coming, that they were going to have to change their ways and i would like to see them change their ways, and they're not doing it. ost: denise, what do you think made this person feel that way? was there something in his life or her life? what happened that you think formed that opinion? caller: what happened was in the state of washington in their area, they grew up with logging. then it was all everybody white, everybody this and that. then when i realized that things were going to change and they didn't realize that, and i think
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people just need to realize that things are changing and you need to accommodate yourself to that. host: dr. metzl? guest: i can't emphasize enough the power of the narrative that create the kind of anxieties that the caller was describing. i interviewed people in missouri, 400 miles away from ferguson, who were rushing out to buy guns because they wanted to defend themselves from protesters. this narrative that people are going to come and take what's yours, they're going to take your jobs, unfortunately i feel like it's something that's being whipped up and being are being in some ways manipulated about those fears. i don't discount the fact that people are worried about their jobs. they're worried about protecting themselves and their families. but i think without responsible leadership that tries to say, look, we are all going to be fine or maybe we are not, but we
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will take charge, that i think what is happening is these particular kinds of anxieties are being fomented so much, this idea that somebody will rush across the border and take your job or take your big screen tv or take whatever, and so in a way it plays to people's worst concerns and fears. the other issue, as we were saying before, is that we just haven't had many open conversations about whiteness in this country, and so it turns out a lot of people felt differently about it than maybe we expected. host: james, kansas city, missouri. hi, james. caller: good morning. good morning, dr. metzl. i think my contribution here is to offer maybe we need race neutral language. i think this station is perpetuating a difference. when we use the terms as we use it's t seems to be --
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perpetuating the problem. but we did this with gender neutral language. it was 50 years, but it helped bridge the divide between male and female, the way we perceive that. so as far as racial goes, i think we need to watch our language a little more carefully. thank you. guest: hi, kansas city. hi, everybody back home. i would definitely say that language is very important. i think the issue that comes up a lot of times is that i think a lot of times people assume that when we talk about race or culture or diversity, we are talking about minority and immigrants. but we are not talking about white americans, and so there is a kind of long history in academia, for example, that looks at this notion that whiteness -- whiteness as invisible. when we talk about race, we are usually -- the assumption very often is that we are not talking
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about white america. we are talking about everybody else, so it's an interesting concept, but i would say that part of what we might need also is a more developed language to talk about what it means to be white in this country, talk more about it, not less about it. part of the story i tell in the book is that, again, everybody wasn't talking about race that i spoke with, so race plays out in issues. ce underlies anxieties about race, underlie stories about guns, about government, all these factors, urban versus rural divide. i think part of the issue is we need better language, i agree with that, but we also need to think a little bit about how race influences politics and public policy in ways we can address more head on. host: alan in indiana. you are on with dr. metzl. caller: thank you, good morning.
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happy birthday to c-span. i have been watching you for 39 years. never change your hairstyle, love it. at i want to bring up i am a minority. i know what it's like to be not in total control. i went to a very diverse high school, but we had first and second generation europeans which are different whites. across the city, you had whites from the south, different people. understand how whites felt they were in control. laura ingram on the show was very upset she thought the changing demographics where you see all white people on the farms. i understand that. i get that, but i would like to think there are people like this oung man named christian piccolini. he helps young white men
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transition from being neo-nazis into mainstream culture. i know he had his funds cut by trump. i am a fan of trump as waking up america. people are reading the constitution. they're voting, getting involved, becoming aware. i think he is going to make america great, not like he thought he did, but i would -- i am not -- forgive me, i am not being facetious. we have a lot of programs that help people rise up to improve their life, be educated. but we don't have a department that would help the 1% of whites who feel threatened to educate them, the realization that it's good for all america if we all rise up and pay more in taxes for the 1%. you have better roads, infrastructure, your schools, less crime.
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it helps us all. you won't make $100 million. you just make $10 million. host: alan, let's take your point. guest: i love this point. so i love this point actually. i think that people are waking up. i agree with that. i myself am a second generation american. high dad is a holocaust survivor from europe. people come to this country from many different ways. i agree that's important to note. i also agree that many of the programs that help us deal with these issues are being underfunded and undercut right now. so again i think that there is a moment right now where we can look forward and say, gosh, is this the particular country that we want or what can we do to take it back? in that sense, i think there was a lot in that call that i agree with. the other point i want to make one more time is that we did these focus groups around the affordable care act. we did focus groups with
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african-american and white men in different configurations and basically asked them what do you feel about health care reform? the really interesting we found when we talked to african-american men across the board is they kept saying we are for health care reform because it will improve everybody's health. everybody will benefit. society benefits. they would make arguments again and again that if we invest in everybody's health care, it's better for society because there are fewer drains on emergency rooms, there is fewer communicable diseases. so there was a sense in the african-american respondents that we talked to, it wasn't just about them or their group. it was basically saying investing here will help everybody's health. unfortunately the flip side was in certain of the white groups that we did, it was much more about what is somebody going to take from me? so these tensions are so deep and part of the point i am
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trying to make is that they're so deep they affect people's decisions about their own health and well-being. host: brian in virginia, hi, brian. caller: hi, good morning. just a couple comments. first, there seems to be this growing narrative that white americans seem to be the enemy today, that they're racist. look at how many media outlets are reporting articles about this growing number of white supremacists supporting the president. it's very discouraging. to your point about issues related to health care, guns and welfare, many people that i talk to really kind of come down and see these as fiscal issues but they're being politicized as issues white versus black and that 40% of the working population ultimately aren't paying into the tax system. look at our schools. they're terrible. our infrastructure is falling apart. so what is the solution?
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pay more taxes to improve those things. so the middle class, the working class, the people who 25% of my paycheck goes to taxes, are seeing the big picture in that the ultimate solution is for somebody to pay more and it's not going to be the 40% plus that aren't paying already. my last comment is -- host: brian, who should it be, then, that pays more? guest: that was going to be my question also. caller: personally, i believe everybody should pay something. if you have no stake in the game, then the game is rigged. there should be something that everybody pays. again, not a black and white issue, but you know, the lower class receives more benefits. look at public schools. for example, e.s.l. type programs and so forth. but my last comment was you cannot have a welfare state and
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open borders. so when i hear comments about mexicans or this or that, the reality is we pay people to sit at home to collect a check and the people that don't want to work, they get money. but we have people coming across the border that want to work, that are willing to work to better their lives and better their families. again, you cannot pay for both. the american tax dollars can't afford it and it will bankrupt this country. that's all. thank you very much. guest: this is basically the argument that i wrestle with in the book. this is kind of why i wrote the book. let me just say to the caller's first point, i am in no way making the claim that everybody is racist. i don't think that whiteness is under attack. i think whiteness is doing pretty well right now, and so i am very clear to say that i do not know what is in anybody's heart. i am not trying to make an argument that people are racist,
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but the logic really is where i think we would disagree. for example, my research took me to kansas where the state was doing pretty well in terms of many indicators of health, education, infrastructure, and then this huge tax cut, it didn't cut away what the lower income people were paying into the system. it cut away what people who at the top 1% of wage earners were paying into the system and the entire infrastructure fell apart and the benefits to that were really being seen at the top end of the economic structure, not at the bottom end. really it's an open question. do you want to look up? do you want to look down? i think there is an open debate right now about investment, and there was one part of that call that i agree with, which is i think when people buy into the system, we are better off. i don't think i would agree about who the ultimate beneficiaries are right now in terms of
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>> let's hear from chris, in massachusetts. it sounds like you're calling the people of tennessee essentially racist. why not go to baltimore, chicago and detroit, which have been run by democrats for decades and look at the abysmal state of affairs in those cities? greta: we are running out of time. so let's make that point. talk about urban policy. believe me, i am under no illusion that, even if you take the urban policy out of it that led to dire conditions in many cities, even the problems that many white populations are facing that i talk about are the
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result of prior democratic administrations. so in the way am i trying to say this is just a republican issue. i do not think that. what i think is that the way we are addressing these problems are making the problems worse we are making health care and health policy worse. we are making infrastructure worse. part of my point is not the origin story. i give you a very long list of policies that were made worse by democrats, but the point is we are taking these historical faultlines and we are exploiting them and making them worse rather than coming up with solutions that will make them better. people agreed or disagreed with you, your book has made a good
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announcer: considered the most serious power accident in the united states. joining us to look at the event, eric capstone, founder and chair of the three-mile island alert. historian and author samuel walker, and acting director of the nuclear safety project for the union of concerned scientists, edwin lyman. watch c-span's washington atrnal live sunday morning 7:00 a.m. eastern. join the discussion. on human day, joan ," joanbic -- on "q&a
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discusses her book on the chief. he votes now, he will determine the law of the land, so the liberals won to come over, inch over a little bit, but the conservatives are trying to hold him back where he always was. meanwhile, you have this chief justice declaring there is no such thing as an obama judge, a trump judge, a bush judge, he wants to project events that are not political, when they all have their agendas of sorts. announcer: sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." week, the hill next house will consider reauthorization of the violence against women act, it's expired in february. it aims to prevent abuse and provide resources for victims and include the provision on domestic violence and firearms.
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it is also possible that members will take up a senate passed resolution and the u.s. military involvement in yemen's civil war. continues on, work a bill that would provide nearly $13 billion in aid for areas affected by natural disasters. also, a resolution that would shorten the amount of time the senate considers certain nominations. watch the house live on c-span and the senate live on c-span 2. next, a testimony on russian interference in the 2016 presidential election with testimony from a former u.s. ambassador to russia, and former cia russian operations chief. at the beginning, mike conaway submitted a letter from republicans, calling for adam schiff to resign in the committee for his actions involving the investigation and russian interference in 2016. the hearing is three hours.


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