tv Author Discussion on Race and Caste in America CSPAN December 13, 2020 9:00am-9:56am EST
the link for "livewired" is in the chat and you can find it on our website. so hankie. thank you so much. >> great to be back at politics and prose. take care. thank you, guys. >> tonight on booktv in prime time mit professor and tech investor explores the impact of social media algorithms have on public discourse on elections, public health and more. that all starts tonight at 6:25 p.m. eastern and you can find more schedule information at booktv.org or your program guide.
>> welcome everyone to the brooklyn book festival. tonight is the seventh day of an eight-day festival where we have presented over 100 programs and almost 300 authors. it has been a tremendous week of literary celebration as were very grateful to have his of the wilkerson and michael eric dyson with us tonight. i would like to say one thing, show the love by purchasing their books in the link below. they are authors with books after all and going to turn over now to both of them to continue the conversation. thank you very much. >> thank you very kindly. i'm honored to be here today with a woman who is among the 304 greatest writers in america, arguably the finest writer in america today. i am going to make that
argument. so it is an extraordinary honor to be with you, ms. isabel wilkerson, and to have this opportunity to chat with you. they're calling it a a conversation but i'm just going to fan boy out and as as a sayn the hood, ask you some questions. and see if we can stimulate the conversation. a remarkable book to be certain. i want to begin with a kind of the conceptual inquiry, if you will. so in the warmth of other sons, you take the massive movement and mobilization of like people from the south out, i kind of intra-american diaspora, if you will. and the way with black people say my mom is in alabama come my daddy from georgia come i live
in chicago. they ain't nothing but a suburb of mississippi. negroes in louisiana went over to california and from texas over to los angeles. that's why snoop dogg talks with fake gangster link. the imprint of the great migration in the total patterns of the verbal tics and the rhetorical habits of black people, but you imagine in that book the mass mobilization in migration, both the push and pull of those instances black people fanned out, right? it seems in this book your taken it a step or two back, right, so that what lies behind that great migration, the warmth of other signs a magisterial tone that i would recommend all of you get your hands on as soon as you can and read it posthaste.
but in that book you imagine against the canvas of american possibility, political and economic and social factors what is best black people do exist, but here are kind of back stop it. to back and say let me go way back. let it go back to the beginning, right, on the extract come the extraction of african souls from the resting place on on the nae soil brought here in the mass migration of black people in the middle passage, but in here in north america now you've taken on something even larger, the notion of caste. i want people to understand this is a conceptual acuity and the philosophical argument that we don't want to miss because some people have talked about race and ethnicity and caste in class and the like. tell us philosophically and
conceptually why it is that you wanted to caste -- pun intended -- caste for your site across the intellectual horizon and give for us a kind of philosophical depth to a notion that for some people is rather interesting and offers a kind of purchase that initially they think, well, but when you read the book you go my god, how ingenious. so help us understand how you grasped hold of the notion of caste. >> first, let me say i'm honored to be your with you, and i can tell already we are going to have an interesting time, and a good time i think, i hope. i will start with that. so it really goes back to "the warmth of other suns" because in that book i had to look at what it was like to live in the jim
crow south. what does that really mean? we all get exposed to the imagery of the black and white water fountain, the colored only restroom, white on the restrooms. we all know about that but in doing the research for the book and talking to the hundreds and hundreds, actually 1200 people i talked talked to in order to narrow it down to the three people who i would tell the story of, i came to realize that a lot of the language we are used to using did not really fully encompass all that they were dealing with. they were living in a world in which he was against the law for black person and a white person to merely play checkers in birmingham, state we ancestors come from. they were living in a world where courtrooms at the south the was a black bible and an altogether separate white bible to square tell the truth in the corporate that means the same sacred object could not be
touched by hands of different races, the very word of god segregated at the jim crow south. so that said to me that it was a tremendous, there was a huge investment and not just this idea that they did not -- that they felt hatred for another group, but they had an investment in the degradation and subjugation of the group. they had an investment in keeping the boundaries fixed in their view minute in order to maintain the hierarchy that thy created. in doing the research i came across the work of anthropologists studied the jim crow south in the depth of the jim crow south and they came out of the research using the word caste. the use of this ancient language that described essentially this artificial, arbitrary ranking of human value, in which a society in which a person, an individual
was granted standing, respect, benefit of the doubt, access to resources or lack there of, intelligence, beauty, the basis of the category that they been assigned to. that was essentially the caste system and that was language of the anthropologists emerged out of, those who would studied the jim crow south, that is the term i begin to use in "the warmth of other suns." so people who read "the warmth of other suns" may not have realized come may be they are reading closer they would know the word racism persist procest really in the book. the word caste is in the book and people read through it and they begin to understand and absorb the meaning of that word as the experience with the people what they're going to come what they can do it come what they suffered and ultimately what they were escaping. in the great migration. that's how i came to the word.
you dig deeper and it takes time. you take your time by going to different countries, by studying and anything different people, and then using the kinds of narrative impetus of a lived experience to articulate philosophical depth that are hard to understand with their esoteric and abstract to make it real plane. you put it where the ghost can get it, right? where the folk can eat.
i think that six in the morn because elegance of this construction and eloquence of the language, there is such power and such, , you know, not only rhetorical force but philosophical depth to what you are saying. having said that, so when you think about the fact that look, in the book racial formation come to talk about consciousness and this is a big difference between ethnicity and race in people get them mixed up. you could talk about a shared language and culture on one income talking about a biologically determined of existence, that you masterfully deconstruct year, is something that's artificial anyway. when you think about it and then i think about orlando patterson in his book slavery, we does a comparative analysis. he said we can look at these 16 slave societies and we will find out what makes the experience in our culture so different.
i'm bringing it down to what you do in your comparative analysis. you look at nazi germany, you look at india, with the intangibles and the caste system, the rigid regimentation and restrictions and rules and some would say ruin of life under the oppressive society, and then you look at the caste system in america. southern apartheid, the homegrown terror that was introduced there. some people be trip and, oh, my god, how can you dare compare what was going on here to what was going on in nazi germany and was going on in india? i defy anybody to read this tall and that instead of which way we did together but you know philosophical and even theoretical dogmatic to some people if not attend if not intellectual. explain to us the beauty of the power of bringing a comparative analysis of looking at past through the lens of three
different societies but that have core belief of a dehumanization and stigmatization, and as you speak about that characterize what caste is. >> well, one of the reasons why the idea of caste is so eliminating for us, because we are accustomed to seeing ourselves in certain language and you can see yourself in a certain way. you can look at something for so long that you stop being able to see it. this is the way of learning from our other societies have been formed and how they operate, and see what we can learn about ourselves by saying the points of intersection with the other societies. one to societies i was looking at most particularly because isi was using the word caste was of course the hierarchies in india which are ancient, thousands and thousands of years old,
extremely regimented, regulated, deep and complicated system four main and there's the outcast of what were formally known as untouchables are now known as -- which is what i'm saying is an analog to african-americans in this country defense of enslavement in this country. that was one of the first places i was looking to be able to see what with the points of intersection. one of the things i found to be true across these three systems, india and the 12 year concentrated years of terror, and germany, without obsession with purity and pollution. purity of the domination group at all cost or separation, boundaries from the need to the feeling of impulse to protect the dominant group from
intrusion by or contamination by those seen as subordinate. so, for example, in india, , and each one of different ways of enforcing it come different ways of metrics for how they're going to do it, but in india for example, there were lower caste, would have to be 96 -- one way they interpreted it. there were many different ways put in the united states or many other ways but one of the things that was very similar among them all was this idea of water. essential life-giving element on our planet that has to it all cost be protected and controlled by the dominant caste so of course in india, indians who were subordinate caste could not draw from the same well as dominant caste people and, of course, not drink from the same -- in nazi germany there were
restrictions that said that jewish citizens could not use the pool and the beaches, the water in germany because they would be viewed as polluting. and then and the united states of course we know that the race riot what would end up being called a race riot of 1919 in chicago had begun after a black boy in chicago was swimming in lake michigan, and he waded into what was called the whitewater. how to make the distinction between come how to draw the line in water what is white and what is black looks he was swimming and he happened to wait into what was viewed as whitewater and he was stoned to death for having done so. the idea of water as an intersection of protecting and policing and creating boundaries to the point of death, in other words, it could be a matter of life and death if you breached
these berries pillars of caste. that was one of them. i found it was stunning to me that across time, across oceans come across continents these three hierarchies, these are three out of me in the world, but of these three hierarchies, turn to and relied on the same metric, the same mechanism of maintaining power, maintaining difference, maintaining the boundary to protect and preserve the purity of the dominant groups. i found that to be one of the many stunning ways that there were intersections. >> and the provisions of the spiritual intensity that would signify within water, cleansing, baptism, renewal, and the perverse inversion of those meanings so that the imposition on bodies, of both water and its human body, these perverted
meanings showed the essential artifice of race of caste as you constructed here, and so very powerfully. that's why to me metaphor is so important, , right, of the comparative analysis that you do and the kind of analogical investigation. you are making all of these analogies between what's going on, like for instance, i love -- so that caste is the bone, the bones, and raise is the skin and got me to thinking, what's the blood? right? if race, if caste is the bones and race is the skin come in what is the flow, the life-giving impetus of i-5 ideology, right? racial mythology in the way in which you kind of help us understand, you know, in this
book outcast operates. it's not just simply the imposition of an arbitrary physical distinction among people, a kind of anthropological assessment of them. it's also a kind of argument, a kind of mythological, almost mystical worth or dehumanization to other people generated out of something that people just essentially made up. of course understand why even though it gets settled in bodies, caste systems, regimentation and rigidity, that is essentially a kind of formal ideal and it's a mythical magical invention that is as arbitrary as anything we might imagine. help us understand. >> one of the things i mentioned is race is a social construct. we know it's a creation, that color is a fact that race is a social construct.
any number of metrics could've been used in having used to create hierarchy in any society. religion, ethnicity, birthplace, geography, any number of things can be used and then in our case in america happened to be seen at every have to to be what you look like to create hierarchy. -- seen a type. these are neutral characteristics that people have and in this case you taking a a neutral characteristic and converting them into value and who should be position where in hierarchy. as i sit in a number things could have been used. in this case they use this arbitrary description. when we say race is, the caste is the bones and race is the skin we need to bring in that third which would be last, class would be the bearing and the a closing, the things we put on top of ourselves, education in
order to help position ourselves differently perhaps how we were resumed to be born to. that is why i say if you can act your way out of it, its clasp it if you cannot act your way out of it, it's caste if this is a reminder of the rigidity, the enduring, sadly the enduring power of this creation of caste, which is in my description here. it is the infrastructure of these other divisions. in other words, the impulse, the impulse to control, the impulse to regulate another group and to keep them in the fixed place so that you as a dominant group can stay on topic that is what i'm describing as caste. any number of things can be used to assert that, gender, all kinds of other aspects of human
identity can be used to control and to create a metric. i wanted sick little bit about the word caste because used the word caste in in a different rm and said that's an interesting how to link can be used. i want to call our attention to the idea that caste is something that is about boundaries and policing of the boundaries. what is the difference between this and racism as we know it? this is an obsession with policing boundaries. that's one of the things we've been saying in these videos, how this is resurging up at how was it made so much progress in our current era, you can have to make people at a starbucks waiting for a friend and someone calls the police on been? that you can have a family barbecue in oakland in the park, public park and some calls the police how is it a man of marketing executive to be trying to unlock the door in his condo building lobby and it was one
block his path, follow them all the way to the elevator, holding up the elevator, not afraid cannot afraid to follow him up the elevator onto the floor and to make sure it actually belongs in that building? that's about the policing boundaries. that's about this autonomic recognition impulse to control in to believe the people belong in in a certain place and that they should be returned to and kept in that certain place. they think about a caste on and are picky think about that mechanism that holds the fractured bones in place that they were used instead place. that's one way the word cast issues in a language. think about the cast into play in which there's a stage and the stage left, stage right come for a, background anybody knows where this post to be in that play. each person knows their line. they know their line. if they really invested in that
play, they will know the entire script they will know everybody's line. if you make a change in that script and you have someone who's been in the background into the foreground, everybody has to forget what does it mean for them. it can be viewed as threatening to have a change in in a script when i going has know what the script is. these are some of the metaphors and you mention metaphor in the book. these are some of the metaphors to be able to think about how this works in our society. i think it's quite interesting that the word caste applies to all of these things about keeping people in the fixed place. >> wow. citing that can she's preaching over her. she's giving you black preaching over. that's what she is doing. she's preaching the word to you. talk about caste and caste,
beautiful, you know totality of it, right. or a philosopher say, multi-evidential. oh bunch of stuff at the same time it counts as evidence in a bunch of arenas in ways. i love the autonomic system because they think about the nervous system and then a think about how it spreads, the messages are communicated. help us understand the following. what purchase do you get intellectually and was the honest even culturally by having a kind of terminological shift in the midst of one of the greatest ethics of racial malaise in america to shift the term to caste? what do we gain come what do we lose, , what are we afraid of losing the intimacy and familiarity, , terminological he of race versus caste? and does that separate us from historical legacies of philosophical argument that we might appeal to in order to make
our claims, or do we lose something in the process, or do we gain something, resource that we heretofore ignored that attaches us to cultures around the world? nazi germany, india, and in your book what happens in south africa. tell us what that is, what do we get from it, what do we lose with it. >> this is not to say racism is not real. this is not to say race is not real. race is a social construct but it has been made real because of the consequences that kerry and attached to the meaning that been added to this defining aspect of human categorization. this is to say that there's something underneath what we think we see. that is, this not to say racism is not a factor in our lives. to say that the something underneath it that is even more
deeply embedded and even in some ways more powerful because we do that seek him because would not recognize it, because we've not named it, because we do not see the way it operates. and some what you think is they work in tandem. they reinforce each other in ways that make each even more powerful. they make each more powerful. this is not to say one is -- it is think we have not been able to see. we've not named. we've not often seen the connections, , part a whole idea of american conceptualism or any countries exceptional as we think about that we as human beings have far more in common with each other than we often recognize. and that any country could possibly have a lot they could see points of connection with other countries in history that might have otherwise realized. this is to say we can learn something from the weight of the countries have operated.
we can see the connection between ourselves and them and then we can maybe see how actual all these things are operating if we're to have any chance of really getting underneath them. and really resolving them. >> that's a hell of a point, and to support because you can't exist in a silo. you think the intersection is world making a definitive and in many ways it is but is not exhaustive. a may be specific, maybe particular but is not exhaustive in the sense that about the world that our hierarchy, the are dehumanizing impulses pacifica specific manifestations in particular cultures and they manifest themselves with the kind of lethal intensity predicated upon what goes on on the local scene. let me ask you this. so what one notices as an informal ethnographer, spanning the globe, that when i'm in san
diego, when i look at what happens across europe, right, certainly even african let's talk about these other places we ain't got no racism. we are beyond this ideology. but the darker people get dissed, and epidermal fetish for the way in which the skin becomes the resident authority to invite in i kind of dehumanizing practice. so tell us about that come explain that to us in terms of caste, of all over the world it seems the darker you are, the worse you are treated. that goes with brothers and sisters. there's a difference if you are from washington heights and you're a black dominican versus being a white cuban from miami, right? or even within our own, the intramural we practice among
ourselves. like almost white versus brown and dark and talk about if -- how did you put it? if you can explain your way out, buy your way of configuring outcome and it is classed look at the class division even among black people. if you look all the world and see the darker people's of the world are dissed and what is a civic class? at the undergirding reality that at that level even more universal than race that unites us that gets rid of that american exceptionalism, what about class even within say black culture? >> how i i would put it from a caste perspective is caste within caste. caste within caste. in other words, the impulse to have hierarchy, to rank within even say the subordinated caste and the dominating caste, that there's an impulse to make distinctions even within caste.
so there is sub caste within caste. one examples of that in the united states, for example, is what happens with those people were in the middle caste. in the united states the caste, it was a bipolar caste system in which you had the english colonists at the very top arriving on these shows decimating the numbers of indigenous people, driving them off the land, that's one. ..
and upon arrival it turned out that the earliest ones, the germans and the irish actually did not have a choice. they arrived here with ontarians and were assigned to this new category that did not exist in europe since 700 years ago. it was a new category called white people so that's where race comes in. race is a social construct but it's also a new construct in human history so that's where you had the gradations there and as youwell know , people were coming in from other parts of the world, they became what would be considered the middle past . people who do not fit the category of a dominant cast and enslaved africans and they go, they have to figure out where they fit in. there there's ways to meet
the standards set by the dominant castbecause the dominant cast is where the power resides . the dominant cast is wherethe resources reside . setting the terms of one's citizenship . so this is what was creating this latter of hierarchy withinthis country . the transatlantic slave trade in the colonization of the sub-saharan africa then set the terms of essentially subjugation of anyone from that part ofour planet . there you have this ranking that became global one might say on the basis of what one looked like and the closer was one was to the dominating people meeting the people of european descent. it's not the creation of anyone alive today but this is what we've inherited . just in a kind of cast within
castes that became low global, not just in one country >> there is a symbolic universe of signifying that goes on that no matter where you are across theworld , the darker you are, the more hesitant the truth. the humanity of the people, you all workwith me, i'm just trying to preach out here, didn't get achance to preach today . the thing is , that you have that kind of universal hierarchy that is different. it's not like you go to some places where you see oic the darker people are onthe top and the lighter people are on the bottom . so that's the exportation globally, the global exportation of darkness as demonization, of stigmatization is connected then to your rather brilliant
argument about how cast operates and cast withina cast . how many caste you got, how many do you want so you generated and you carry the dynamics of a caste system rests on the intent of the colonizer, the dominant figure as well as the subordination of those that we can coerce into a rather submissive position. and i think within cultures themselves we see the same thing operating . the police, the people who can believe those who are beneath them so that there is a kind of totemic force for that dominance that you expressed there in terms of caste so talk to us to thinking about when orlando patterson and his book slavery and social staff speaks about black people in these comparative slave societies that in this north americanversion , once we get
involved got funky. when you bring god in, the lord told us to rescue you savages from your interminable if you will engagement with inferiority to be brought here so to be made superior so you've got all this evangelical christianity, the pile city of red religious traditions brought to bear to reinforce the subordination of people so when religion gets involved is real funky but he talked about black people being genealogical isolates and we're experiencing social death so that's within the context of a racialized dominance of white over black . and you have a notion of cast , it's not that you get rid of those issues, it's not that race disappeared but you have an undergirding explanatory power that helps us understand what's at stake here. let me put this forth and you
respond to it . one of the things is it might be more accessible for white people and others trying to grapple with this not just to feel personally pointed to so to speak, singled out , even though we know white supremacy is profound both in white supremacy and caste but is it also a rhetorical and ideological but especially terminological regulation that allows the heat to be taken off of the term racist. we're all racist, nowhere not . of course that's not the way, caste is a more neutral argument that allows people who have been benefited from it, advantaged by it and also victimizing in it to be able to take a less heated approach to analyzing the issue of difference in that context. i'm saying this, i think your caste might do that.
>> what do you do if people before you can even begin talking say they arenot something ? if they have in their own imagination decided to redefine language in a way that makes people feel better about themselves and have essentially made verbal language that we have come to be, to use ? what do you do? before you even say something one says i'm not, you are. >> exactly. >> i know you're not butwhat am i . >> it means having to be minimal and i think flexible and wise in making use of an
entire universe of language to communicate what needs to be communicated . >> that's brilliant, and is beautifully said. avoiding all the unnecessary vitriol that might be occasioned by saying it more plainly. >> what folks are thinking your racist to begin with, you've got no conversation but there's some new terms that are really old and then it purchased for the whole universe of thought that we feel neglected because we bought into the very exceptionalism that weclaim we hope . >> brilliantly done professor wilkerson. >> and yourself. >> so when i think about these comparative analysis and you talk about, people read your book and be tripped out. are you telling me that german folks, i noticed the
insertion of verboten, very nicely done. so when you've got the fact that you've got people folks saying wait a minute, the aryan people or the religious right wing, the racist people came to apartheid south from germany to study? what was going on here they could figure out what they would do in nazi germany? that gives paul to those who would in a knee-jerk way go you're making comparisons but there's nothing to be compared to the uniqueness, the evil and you're not doing that. the late great christian barbara christiansen we don't participate in a refreshing or dirty. but when your oppression happens in the 20th century where is different than what happened in 18th-century, frederick douglass may have been the most photographed
and pictured person of the 19th century but you've got no film. you've got no video camera about what was going on. you got no george floyd capture of what was happening . so tell us about the study of american apartheid as an inspiration for the caste and racial hierarchy and the dominance over the subordinates. he, i think about mary douglas, tell us about that that might surprise a lot of people. >> first i have to preface it by saying i ended up look at germany only because after charlottesville. there in charlottesville, the protesters themselves made the connection. they made the connection for the country and for the world there in the symbology. and their regalia, they symbols of confederacy and of
the nazis there before our eyes and after that, realizing that episode, that situation was a reminder that our history, we are not on the same page about the basic facts of american history, we are not that it reminded us that it really was about memory. knowledge of the history and memory of that history so that made me, that drew me to germany to see how was it that they were dealing with their history and the memory of that history? how are their reckoning with, how are they dealing with it and that's what i went to begin with and the more i looked into the history of nazi germany, i came to discover that it turned out that german new genesis were in dialogue with any consulting with american eugenicists in the 1930s leading up to the third reich
. that actually the nazis admired the 1924 immigration law that restricted immigration to the united states on the basis of eugenicists beliefs. that american eugenicists that were writing the bestsellers in germany, very popular among the nazis . this was stunning to me and of course we know the nazis had no one to keep them how to hate, they did not need anyone to teach them but they sent researchers and study researchers to the united states and study the jim crow laws . laws against miscegenation, anti-miscegenation laws prohibiting marriage across racial lines. a study desegregation laws that again. he and pollution keeping african-americans separate from apart from and below white americans in the south.
a study these laws. they studied the american definition of race and american definition that in many states that a single drop of blood made a person black. they look at these things and examined these laws and debated these laws. they were constructed what ultimately would become the nuremberg law. this was wrenching to realize and these are the kinds of things that are a reminder of these connections that a lot of people, we would not have normally known and i want to make sure that there are many people who do research on this. many many people who have done research and have done the translations of these things and i want to be sure to mention james whitman from yale , just did tremendous research into this area. so many people have done research into this area and it was wrenching to discover that these were aspects of interconnectedness between
these two cultures and i should also emphasize that the subtitle of this book is the origins of our discontent . the origins of our discontent . this is to emphasize that these were the early years, very early years of the right and we know toward the end of the war later in their reign of terror, they did the unthinkable and in murdering 6 million jews far beyond anything that any person with any conscience could even begin to imagine so this is an emphasis on the origins of the hierarchies in each of these places, the origins of them. >> they are giving us the hook over here. we're at the apollo and they're trying to pull loss offstage but before we go , where not going to get to the questions, god bless them.
you will be able to answer each of them individually and maybe you can reach out but let me end by saying this . what's your process of writing? you are one of thegreatest writers this nation has ever seen and i'm willing to stand by that . withthese wonderful books . you're out your collecting notes on a note card, reading stuff . then assembling it and then organizing it. you have an outline, tell us what you do. there are a lot of writers going out in the world is she able to talk about atmospheric environmentalism and put that into quoting lebron james speaking about the fact i don't care how rich you are you're still african-american at the end of the day . that's how relevant she is so when you watch the game tonight think about isabel wilkerson. >> don't forget the matrix. the matrix, the movie. >> your range and pop culture
iscrazy . so tell us about your writing style, your writing skills, yourwriting methodologies and how you put all this together . >> first of all, i'm always listening for and aware of inspiration wherever it may be and that's what i'm on alert for, where some moment or fragment of something in the news, something i might read. something i might hear. whatever, and ideas and i'm constantly making notes atall times about things that may occur to me . i'm constantly engaging with whatever is around me. my environment wherever i happen to be so i'm always taking notes. i'm a congenital notetaker, constantly taking notes. i never even know where it's going to lead. a lot of the ideas i have come from those notes that i
gather along the way. strains you might say in journalism . i end up doing as much research as i possibly can. i over research, i'm constantlylooking . i love the footnotes of other people's books. i love the endnotes. i get very excited by the idea of going down these rabbit holes wherever it may be whether it's on the internet, the radical holes you can go into just to get to the matrix was a long rabbit hole that i ended up writing, how did that start? how did i get to that space? so i'm constantly on alert for points of inspiration and i never know where they're going to come from so in a way it's kind of like you're cooking and you're making this stew and you have to have the ingredients for the stew and you don't know what is going to end up being in
the stew. you end up and you may go into a garden and you see what's in season and you see what's sprouting and you see what's in bloom, you pull that and you don't even know what you're using. you don't know if it will make it in the stew or not but your gathering all that up and in the end it's like fragments of fabric or a quilt. your gathering all these things up and then you hold them and it will come to be something. so then i create, that's what i'm doing. everything is a fragment of that. and then i sift together the quilt and i don't have an outline, i keep trying to trying to have anoutline . i have a general idea of where it's going to go but a lot of this is going with the flow and i kind of put those pieces of the quilt together. and i hope that it will end up being something that people will see and want to look at and explore.
>> that's isabel wilkerson. you need to read this book. the book is entitled the origins of our discontent from the pulitzer prize winner and the national humanities medal. new york times bestseller, oprah interviewed her for her's show so what else can you say? it's been our honor to chat with her tonight with this deficit author and remarkable intellectual and great writer . god bless you miss wilkerson and thank you somuch for writing this book . >> thank you. >> i don't know if they're going to give us more time but i don't know if ms. cox is on here or how weare supposed to end . i don't know if in the cast
of characters that somebody will come on. otherwise we can keep going. i just thought we were supposed to end at 8:50 but if we haven't got to stop, i think we do, they just gave me theshut up . thank you so much again, such an honor to you. this has been great. you all take good care now. go watch lebron james with new eyes. >> during the virtual norwich university military writers in podium, adam higginbotham was awarded the 2020 william e colby award for his book on the share noble nuclear disaster. is a portion of that program. >> the roof was gone and the
right side wall was completely demolished by the force of the explosion. but the cooling circuit and simply disappeared. on the left the water tanks that had once spent the main circulation pumps dangled in midair. look an knew at that moment that angstrom was certainly dead. the floor lay beneath the steaming pile of rubble from the severed ends of six titles as pick as a mangrove swaying on everything they touched. showering the wreckage with sparks . from somewhere in the heart of the tangled mess of rebar and shattered concrete, from deep inside the ruins where the reactor wassupposed to be , alexander yuchenko could see something more terrible still.
a pillar of blue light raising up into the sky disappearing into infinity . and circled by that flickering spectrum by frames within the burning building of superheated chunks ofmetal and machinery , transfixed yuchenko for a few seconds then yanked him back around the corner and out of immediate danger. a phenomenon that had entranced the engineer was created by the radioactive ionization of air and was in almost certain sign of an unshielded nuclear reactor open to the atmosphere. yuchenko described the scene to me when i visited his home in moscow in 2006 . i was outstanding to witness such a spectacle whowas a lot to talk about it 20 years later . i then alexander no longer like to report what had
happened and agreed to meet me only reluctantly. even his immediate neighbors in his apartment building knew nothing of his involvement in the accident and he remained anxious to make sure they didn't find out which is why this photograph was taken in his living room instead of outside. others i would meet over the years still stand by they had taken to an empire which in ceased to exist. some like the campaign for a soviet staffer suggested that hours of bullying and invective over the terms of our conversation before finally agreeing to talk without restriction. but many including former kb tv officers, scientists and politburo were happy to discuss the experience . maria pacheco having remained in fear of the consequences of spelling the dark secrets of the soviet state was keen
to arrive at our meeting springing photographs, documents , notebooks and metals . >> to watch the rest of this program visit our website booktv.org and search foradam higginbotham or the title of his book midnight in share noble using the search box at the top of the page . the tv on c-span2 has taught nonfiction books and authors every weekend. today at 1 pm eastern coverage of the texas book festival continues with authors telescope and kimberly hamlin on the aclu and 19th amendment and then sportswriters jessica luther and dimitri davidson on the political economic and social issues facing sports today. at 6:20 5 pm eastern mit professor and tech investor sin on article with his book the height machine, how social media disrupts our economy and our health and how we must adapt and at 9 pm eastern on "after words" virginia university professor and writer krista parra money
author of loved and wanted, a member of choice children and womanhood on how she was denied reproductive choice and health care forher children. she's interviewed by kaiser family foundation senior vice president and women's policy professor . watch book tv onc-span2 today . >> my name is tony petty and i'm the chief learning officer at the ronald reagan presidential foundation institute . today it is my honor to have judge douglas ginsburg with us. he was the, he served as chief judge of the us court of appeals for the dc circuit from 2001 2008 and has been on that court 1986. he worked in the reagan administration and university of chicago columbia and others. we're really excited to have you on today and excited to talk about this project that you have been working on