tv After Words Robert Woodson Red White and Black - Rescuing American... CSPAN August 18, 2021 3:10pm-4:06pm EDT
woodson up next on book tv, afterwards programs, mr. robert woodson discusses his critique of the 16th 19 project with harvard law professor and author, randall kennedy and afterwards a weekly program interviewing top nonfiction authors about the latest work. >> i look forward to our discussion of your book "red, white, and black - rescuing american history from revisionists and race hustle". and when we began by your telling the audience what you are offering in this book and why they should wanted. >> this was in response to the new york times publication of a series of essays 1619 by black journalists and others goodbye nicole where in essence, every
defined americans from 1776 - 6019 as at the time when slaves they first arrived on the shores of virginia and goes on to say that the revolutionary war was to defend slavery and it also made other false claims but it also tries to redefine america asen systemically racist and tht all whites are villains. and that allll blacks are victi. and it offers a very dire picture of the country and also makes false claims that the current challenges facing many in the black community today are a direct legacy of the shadows of soleil break and jim crow.
and so since the messenger here was black, people telling the narrative should also offered by black's and so we did not want to operate point by point rebuttal, we wanted to offer inspirational and aspirational alternative narrative that acknowledges the 1619 to slavery has been underreported and poorly examined. but the conclusions that we reach were very different than that is articulated in 1619 and so we. brought together a group of scholars, journalists and activists. different ideological stripes and so we offered these essays to establish the fact that 1776, is the birthday of america and
the values of our founders and are house has been the salvation upon which the foundation the blacks were able to survive slavery discrimination in the foundation of families, and an attitude of self-determination fread so we felt that it was important for this book to be written to give an alternative vision itt to amera about blacks and we should never be defined by slavery or jim crow, we were more than that. >> tell us about your title. let me read the title again. "red, white, and black - rescuing american history from revisionists and race hustle". now there is a lot there list began with red white and black. what is that supposed to signify
iread. robert: it signifies the black americans are a part of this nation. that we are not some species set apart. and therefore, we claim this heritage black's pot in every war in the country. my father was a veteran of the first world war and so is signifies america, the black americans are integral part of this nation and deserve to be so. but we also know that there have been people who have profited off of racial agreements in effect i left the civil rights movement in the 60s because i believe that a lot of those suffered, did not benefit from the change. and then i remember
demonstrating outside of the laboratories and when they desegregated, they hired nine black chemists. in they said you have a qualified not because of the sacrifices of people here addresses and taxi workers did not benefit pretty and i realized that there were two or three in campers than i was in the long struggle. in fact, have a headline in my office that was written by the late bill rasberry, and line in 1965 on october 29th, did not benefit from the gains of the civil rights movement and he goes on to list the other recent. i believe there has been black communities that have existed since then andy continues toda.
>> okay, i still want to stay in this title for a bit. rescuing american history. robert: american history as it was told as it unfolds with 1619, does not really talk about the true authentic picture of blacks. it never defined by slavery, so some of our ancestors for instance top of the directors the six major plantations at the end of slavery to look at what was happening in the family. there, 70 percent of slave families had a man and woman raising children. in this tradition of two-parent households continued for a century afterwards. also when flights were out there with worse, blacks were at their best. and when during that period, the box was like 75 percent in less
than 50 years, never reduced to 25 percent to a point where when the government set workers to aid the black community, they found it was very little they could do because institutions had been established in the beblack, was already attacking e problem newfound nowhere in history the world the people moving from the 75 percent illiteracy rate down to the 25 percent in such a short period of time. and so again, we also talk about how we achieved against the odds under very difficult circumstances. for instance in 1929, in chicago section, we were denied access to financing from banks, venture
capitol, lack established 731 for black-owned businesses in 1929 with $100 million in real estate assets. in almost every major city, there's kind of a black wall street the stories of triumph in the face of our position, not shared with the public. so these essays were sharing new insight. i spoke at the university in louisiana what i shared with the students was in history of the rights to achieve against the audit. and some the students commend to me in tears and said robert woodson none of art leaders ever tell us of triumph in the face of oppression. wyatt haven't the others told us. >> just to finish it out, rescuing american history.
and then from revisionists and race hustlers. pretty and complementary and pretty derogatory frankly, tell us what you mean by that. robert: what, i mean, by that is there are people who profit from the suffering of people. those today toward him great think the least. and they do not as a consequence, we seen rising violence in these communities with the violence is not occurring in the communities where a lot of these advocates were defunding thee police. so i spent 80 percent of the people that we served at the center, they live in is at risk
communities freight if they are the month, 80 percent of maximum they're not supportive of defund the police. a lot of the so-called show social warriors, campaign on attacking the police they made generous incomes providing the services to the school systems and corporations in the name of equity training, racial artist and hundreds of millions of dollars are being poured into what i call the race grievance industry. in fact if you look at the programs of the best 50 years, i did a lot of speeches on what many would predict $22 trillion, 76 of every dollar spent on poverty programs. did not go to the poor, went to those who serve the poor and
they are the professional service provider so we created a commodity and poor people. the question is, which problems comfortable, with not which ones are solvable. so that is why after $22 trillion, blacks running these major urban centers and running these programs, why who have generation of the 70s of poverty and race for the solution, and life in face of 22 trillion-dollar spent in blacks running most of the systems that are failing, and arguably constraining and race, is not the answer. >> just a moment ago, and in the book, you talk about race
grievance and the perpetrators of race grievance. are there circumstances in which voicing a racial grievance is the right thing to do. robert: absolutely read i found in the civil rights movement whenever legitimate racial issues printed i have been to jl and what that's like and i live in a segregated self i was in the military. i have 12 credits from the university of miami but i could not walk onto the campus. because of segregation. and what we then and also i know that if a black committed a crime against another black in this tough and often they weren't even punished for it and we said that diminished the black life. but if it was a against wipers and they were treated severely so we wanted to even the playing field and we said that we should be judged by a single standard
of justice. that's what we fought for. but now this is changing to the point where when 8000 blacks are killing other blacks, there's no outreach. no wind 18 blacks killed by like in george floyd's case, we treated as if there's an epidemic and outrage about it. as a consequence, the means that we say the police department are an extension of racist or white supremacy and now we vilify them and as a cosmos, this back. but a lot of the so-called, they live in secure communities. in building square their security gated community so many of the people advocating defund the police vilifying them, they don't to live with the consequences of them.
>> now you indicated in your last answer, you are person who lived a substantial part of your life, under jim crow segregation. if you're the deep south, noticing a close racial oppression. okay, in your book, your opening essay, there are places that you say i will read. you say, slavery and discrimination are undeniably are pretty part of her nations history. in another places you say that.
do you think that part of the story, the part of the american chronicle, do you think that part of the story is under played. robert: absolutely, absolutely. >> elaborate. tell me was circumstances today reflect that pretty soon we need to tell the complete story of the slavery and cards of the discrimination. we need to tell the story. but i believe that positions that existed then are nothing conditions that exist now. i give you the example. but a farmer coming to a stream with a meal intact. to get to the strength is 3 feet high, when you 20 miles an hour enabled them and they get washed no stream. think of the same place in your later and it 6 inches the mule refuses to go in because meal
has the judgment and many of us had good memories and we act as if the conditions have not improved since the 60s and so we engage strategies where we are acting as if the conditions have not improved. in our strategic position should adjust to our strategic circumstance and that is not happening. >> okay i can imagine somebody saying, listen, we need to distinguish between what one thinks would be useful productive policy today, race policy and social policy in general. i can imagine somebody saying that is one conversation, conversation about history that they overlap, still independent issue.
i can imagine someone saying from respected, making history the case that to me americans generally white americans are not sufficiently educated about some of the aspects you just talked about predict we don't need to go back to slavery, we can we don'twe have to go back that far. we go back a subject in your lifetime. what would you say the person this ist listen, our beef is wh too many people do not know that in 1941, black people did not have the right to fight for democracy and what we want is for our educational system to more fully educate everybody about american history and is good sides visibly sides as well, what would you say the
person pretty. robert: absolutely, i would say yes but we also need to say to ourselves that we are not defined solely by external barriers. thatat is dangerous and i would stadium people do day, and if you are dropping out of school, it is not your fault. if you're carrying clinton destroying, it's not your faulte having children out of wedlock, it's not your fault. there's nothing more lethal thah telling a person that they are exempt from personal responsibility. and many of people are supposed to be just social advocates and progressives, continue this drumbeat saying to the young black, they are not responsible until white people came and said you can expect your life to improve predict the puts it on my people to determine the agency a black people. and that's a dangerous
self-defeating message for people to save you some help my destiny is determined by what others do. let me give you an example. peopleth are motivated when you give them victories that are possible, not constantly ctreminding them avoids. and so what we do is talk about the gap. in 1920, in the south educationp between white and black to three years, a great for whites and fifth-grade for blacks. for as response pretty hard enough with booker t. washington. and they built 5000 booker t schools. 4 million blacks regular 4 million men participated in as a consequence to the residence
cool, 9040, education gap rose in six months. we were able to their classrooms were crowded, and have the effect of now with white school. you are able to accomplish this closing of the education gap, in the midst of derelict racism when racism was enshrined in law, the question is why can't we do it today in institutions run by our own people for the past 40 years with expenditures is high it is it is education. though we deserve right to have these questions at least discussed. >> it seems me there's a paradox and what you just said because on the one hand you very much in the school of black history and
socialized and i associated with people like carmine woodson and people who focused on will be done. ebony magazine every month and asked, the first this the first that in telling people about what we've been able to accomplish and think there's a lot of good to that. here's a question i have for you though, isn't it true that in past, the past century, there's also been a lot of firsts. was under a lot of achievement in every phase of the civil rights movement. phases you embrace and frankly ones that you were critical up.
black people teams may have been coming on, making ways and making investments including in the last several decades and including people who have ideas that you criticize wouldn't you agree to that pretty. >> short. it's important to recognize that the biggest issuesth i have is that when you generalize about any group of people need tie it to something, the benefit goes to those at the top. instead of at the bottom. you can generalize about black people for more than you can white people and hispanic and when you do, i'll give you an example right now, coca-cola in the gestures toward responding to a charge of institutional racism, one of the remedies of coca-cola the company'sca propod
read making certain that a third of all of the attorneys who served becoming a black, twitter, all of these other companies, telling how the heck that help some black woman on public assistance in public housing. how does it do that. the same withh women. the me to movement god animated by black woman speaking to help other black women in new york reviews come together as mutual support. so the wealthy middle-class white women came in and made it the me too movement and now the concentration is on some white woman getting her views on the casting couch inh hollywood sot of the remedies for that. in california, women will be required to be serving aboard as directors and women incorporate
positions. tell me now how that helps the thousands black and hispanic women that are in her presence. were in our communities but we have just have an agenda to help women. so long as we focus on groups, will not help people that i care about the most of the lease of god's children near the problem with focusing on race, and when evil, does not get challenged. it will give you an example. several years ago, it was a two hour documentary on abuse of women in prison and every one of the victims were black every one of the victims were black. it didn't even provoke a single day of discussion.
single day. because evil last went on before attract attention. and as long as that continues, so is going to be detrimental so that is why i think that we had to be emphasizing it upward mobility of low income people instead of looking at life through the prism of race. because it's people like you and me will benefit. people look like us these high crime drug infested neighborhoods, they will not benefit but we can walk around and look at what we have accomplished. that is coming after the stench of others in the community. >> one of the things interesting about what you just said, excess weight very much at the end of the introduction to the book, you quote adolph reed.
and you quote adolph reed and he says, identity is very much the ideology of professional management class and they prefer to talk about identity over capitalism and inequities of capitalism and we have atrocious wealth gap in this country. summa black and white wealth gap, is a wealth gap and he said some more. interesting is on people i think call you and if you call yourself, a conservative. many of the people sort of this entrepreneurial, this much about your profile and i think that many people would type as conservative.
yeah you quote in all freed and he calls himself, a socialist. and he and his dimensions anyway, was very much agree with you and actually say part of his criticism of the civil rights movement would be that it opened doors for people like you and me but it didn't do as much as he would like for william julius wilson calls the truly disadvantaged rated it as a say about the label in sort of an interesting thing, on the one hd you're viewed as a conservative and on the other hand, you are embracing the truly disadvantaged in your criticizing of people for not helping out enough which would be a disadvantage. how irrational of that. robert: iraqi accusations is an
awesome i don't look myself as a conservative. i makedi cardiac christian who s a radical. [inaudible]. and i believe in and all of us, someone said it doesn't matter what people call you, it is what you respond to that it's important and we all have reference groups. my reference groups are low income people that i have served all my life, 80 percent of my letters in front of their names. not in back of their names such as x this and ask that. and for the past few years, we have convened people at this all over the country and not once, the black or white, they are red. i want the issue of racial
antagonism, because most of the people in need in these communities are more concerned about their brokenness and strategies for redemption thanne they are political theories. so i will support anybody that puts in place policies and practices that elevates the lease of god's children that will never be done as long as we try to do this by looking at people racial categories. the issue in america today is more class than it is race and brought together jd and clarence, and clarence will be considered conservative, and bernard anderson, my friend who is part of my under this moment and i deliberately stay out of politics because if you got anything in the union and go into a low income community, you cannot tell which political party there.
bill bennett said that when they look upon the black lacy a victim, and conservatives see. [background sounds]. and so the issue is that all i want toti know is whether or not the policies and practices you promote, have a consequence of improving the lives of the least of these. what are you doing like people in prison. don't tell me that a woman in prison somehow as part of the woman who was a phd who worked for a company and promoting remedies that helps one at the expense of the other read but as long as we look at critical race, we will always have the inequities. and so we have got to be able to
have the goal of d racialized race. because long as we are compelled to look at each other through the prism of race, the more deeper or troublesome problems that weep are facing. >> okay, i think there are a lot of folks who actually would agree with what you say. but he would also agree with large parts of the people they criticize pretty harshly. i've a question for you, why do you for instance use this term in your title, race hustler read talk about the purveyors of racial grievance.
i mean, you know, the black community and people who think different things, you agree with some of themyo and you disagree with some of them. there's but within the black community, what would you say someone who said in reaction to your book, will agree with a lot of what mr. woodson said but i think that he does himself a disservice by putting down in a quite personal way people with whom he disagrees and how would you respond to that. robert: i would say the try to approach people in a way that, i'm not interested in demeaning anybody. i don't think that is the way forward. there is no one that i try to demean, but have to be candidate i have to be truthful. and that is somebody's doing something that's responsible for
somebody, i have to speak out about this. i have been involved in five institutions where millions of dollars have been given to help the poor and i personally witnessed it time and time again how bait and switch game of course. i guess this is what bothers me is when you have blacks who betray poor blacks, there's never any outcry about this. the mayor of detroit. and for years had stealing money from poor people in that city and he was able to run successfully for reelection. using the race defense. and there are thousands of low income tension who have their pension funds sure because of
the 40 people and is part of his criminal empire who went to prison. there is no outcry in the back community as far as i'm concerned, someone i can others who use their positions of trust when they themselves have a defensive poor people, they are worse than bigots. to me they are traitors. trainer is somebody you trust and they violate that trust in violation of you so as far as i am concerned, don't tell me that some bigots who is it my enemy, i would say the greater enemy is people you trust to violate that trust. if that offends people, so be it. >> the examples you just use was the example of a person who you know, he committed crimes, he
was a person who was defected and spewing in the second corrupt. that is not the sort of thing that i am thinking about. when i was thinking about, let me tell you well so i'm going to go biographical here. my father henry h kennedy senior man from louisiana, born in 1917, he saw the horrors of racial oppression in the deep south. he was a man who believed very much in personal responsibility. in the responsibilities of people to make it regardless. and he did. he married my mother in south carolina they were part of the great migration, they came
north. they raised three children, all three children college graduates, and fully employed. my folks more you know, churchgoing folks. i think they're both people, a bit if you met them you would like them. and at the same time let me say this about my father. my father never forgave the united states of america for whatat he viewed as its betrayal the black people and for him, i think the sort of place, the soldier. during world war ii. an eight sawed the united states of america betrayed black people in uniform anyny never got overt read and i'm not saying that it
was right, i am not saying that is wrong absently saying that this what he thought. i'm saying that there's elements and what you're saying in which you also would be high-fiving but also elements and what he believed that is very much in sync with the 1619 project and the people you are criticizing pretty so black americans. so when we do. robert: okay let's spend the rest of the time talking, we didn'tou do it out of enter as a confrontational instrument, we did it to say to people, using a movie hidden triggers. yes. there is a moment in there when johnson said were looking for
orbit and she said maybe working in the the wrong place and she would back and applied her geometry so maybe we need to go back and look under the worst conditions for a clue as to how we can apply some of those values to a new reality. so with the center is proposing is that call moratorium on learning about white folk. wlet's come together and learn from how we were able to build hotels are 100 universities and schools back then read how 20 blacks died millionaires. purchasing plantation on which he waswh a slave entered in the family of the slave master. of radical grace. then your dad, clearly of the
principles but despite his feelings, that's what were talking about. so we wrote these essays to inspire people to use it as foundation to rebuild our communities. that's what we want. and what we had to be coming together and talk about how we can rebuild. the leading cause of death among kids, in the inner city is homicide departed the leading secause of death and prescriptin drugs and in silicon valley, the teenage suicide rates six times the national average. so what we are going to be during 2500 block voices of black mothers who lost their children to urban violence and their supporters. their supporters of police in the coming together for mutual aid is part of we want to bring them together with the other mothers and also others from
silicon valley. so that we can discuss filling the empty hole that are causing the children to devalue life to the point where they want to take their own life or somebody else's life. so these are the more critical problems that we are facing but we can't it do that if were constantly divided by race rated so that's why the center in 1776, was two d ratio lies race so we can use our energies and resources in our best thinking about how to rearrest the marlins marital freefall that's been destroying our children. >> is very happy to hear you mention this. as more in south carolina so you're talking about a person from their pride like that.
in your book for certain figures in yours, discussion, you have mentionedme certain figures ando really stand out. one is very intricate douglas and you quote douglas and number of times and douglas talked about it but from slavery in the other person talk about that you mention with tremendous respect is booker t. t washington who of course wrote up from slavery. however others let's say in the post world war ii era, since 1945. how would you say it mostly came
empty inside listen, i hear what you're saying, is resonating with me. who are people that could either be journalists, they could be historians, they could be political scientists, they could be whatever.e thinkers, who are the people they you would urge people to read or really pay attention to. robert: some arm contemporaries and some like in somerset, new ijersey, and another from baltimore. i have a whole list of leaders. most of c the leaders are not national figures, local. there are thousands, one woman in bertha, she was on 60 minutes. she went into a public housing development and turned into a round to the point where the drug dealers were driven out and
housing was built right across the street. another in washington dc, another deceased local leader. and so, there are hundreds of inspiring grassroots leaders and pastors who are doing phenomenal work rebuilding and also for e-books in chicago there are thousands of indigenous leadersa who are what i call joseph's. my book, the joseph's, joseph was w important because even though he was treated unjustly like your father, he never came to bitterness. and he ended up saving conley's brothers who betrayed him but also the egyptians who enslaved him read there's an example of radical grace. this was party for people not to get caught up in recent months.
because of hatred and hatred and animosity it consumes you. like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. so were trying to emphasize in this book, we wanted to inspire people to come together to look beyond race and focus more on the upward mobility of those at the bottom. and yes use hes our talents insd of always fighting each other or i want to engage in the tribal warfare. but there are people of antagonism and they are legitimate people who know better but don't tactic that her in fact call the racial, and anger but is a discussion that are to come to something. >> so i ask you names and it seems to me the issue working is
the whole question of what do we leadership.sider because i asked you the question and you went to, local people, frankly i bet most of the people that you mentioned many people in our audience will not heard of mess they were in that locale read and so use the term indigenous people you talk about people who are in a locale, local people. and i think there's a sort of did disconnect because often times, frankly in my mind, when people ask about leaders and thinking about national leaders. in their thinking about people are universities like mine
thinking of people are in the big newspapers, the columnist. and so the whole question and seems to be that one of the things you getting at is you actually want to nurture and also shine light on and lift up a different type of leader. his others people. find it handy that there is another type of leader who seems to meee that you are saying, thy don't get enough player support. this reacted to that. robert: you are absolutely right, that is what i want to do. we really need to study in other words, only 3 percent of the people in the economy are entrepreneurs they generate 70 percent of everything so innovation comes from within and
make - a student collected the universities and see students come back to it out. because more people have all of the answers so when they have the opportunity and so i look at the same paradigm and i say that if somebody was able to print since we ran into an area of washington dc when an area, i trained five social entrepreneurs in washington called the alliance, they have the trust and confidence of the community and 12 -year-old boy was killed. and they brought in 16 young men to myro office downtown and they worked on a truce and they took the same young men who were paralyzed in the community and they turned them into investors a piece.
as a consequence we didn't have dea single gang murder and 12 years read we harvested these principles that we learned from this and have now applied to other cities. so that's what, i mean, by leadership local and it occurs for instance steve jobs created an instrument and now 60 percent of apples income but it didn't exist eight years ago. because that is how local innovation can occur. and i am hoping that if the local grassroots leaders are able to stop 53 murders that they can provide a testbed, model throughout thefo nation. >> patties go something like that. united states of america is so cute. talking 300 million people over
this gigantic landmass, all of these cities and also rural areas and problems everywhere how do we mobilize the social financial, all of the different sortsso of resources would be needed to effectively address the source of problems than most on your mind. suet that is the best question because that is where were at this point where we are seeking that kind of help from corporate american others who know how to and have a group in washington dc. for three - four months, they went into one of the most violent areas of washington dc and for three or four months, there is not a single violent
incident because of their interventions. we ought to have been racing there with resources and technical assistance to answer that question to say this point what you did and how you did it read this provide you all the resources you need and the technical skills that it takes for the people of no how to market to a larger audience. we want to partner with them so that the we had to be mobilizing around smarter innovation that occurs in a local community so that is one of the challenges that we are facing party to where the point now, where we are seeking out to people with the resources not just money, but the wherewithal to partner with us because we are social entrepreneurs we need to join together for business entrepreneurs of the weekend
answer thoseo questions. >> you mentioned business, youos mentioned companies. what about the government predict. robert: government is far as i'm concerned, got us in this mess. but the government does not have a leading goal because in order for us entrepreneurs to function, you need the maximum amount of flex o ability. so that you can address that and in fact, you can wear your listeners were to go on youtube and put on violence in milwaukee you will see an example of how one is able to go into it also commercial for my of the book, lessons on the least of these, it is a book that published that us ten principles and answers to questions that you just race, how to identify the grassroots
and provide assistance to them and then how can we rebuild our culture from the bottom up in the inside out read. >> mr. robert woodson, we only have time for one last question prayed is so is there anything that you would've liked to me to have asked you anything that sort of you know, in your mind by the subject and that you would like to convey to our audience before we have to wrap it up and go. robert: yeah, i want to say there's a real urgency for as two-handed as racial strife and tribalism because blacks are able and soe can white people. by the race and i think that unless we were able to push back against racial innovation and
pushing these limits, it is not going to be long for the lights begin to respond in kind. and i think we can face violence in america on a level that we have never seen before. >> so there's a certain urgency that we have to move beyond race. and i think there's an urgency to what we are about. >> and for some people would jump in and say that we what we need is whites my start using race and they have been using race and they are using race. robert: you know, it's interesting and this is where we are not truthful. when every here about the nation getting racially assaulted in california summer and they don't mention the race of the perpetrator, i know it's a black person. eighty - 90 percent of the attack on asians are being done
by blacks but they won't reported because it does not fit that racial narrative read and is a shame that we are being mid because there is an incentive not to be truthful about what is happening in the country but whites are not tracking blacks. we are killing our children come there are coming in your communities shooting our children. 94 percent of the martyrs are black on black. >> on the nose, and course we could go on for hours is the huge subject but thank you very much for his conversation. i look forward to being able to meet you face-to-face sometime predict. robert: hope so too, you are a good interviewer. >> figure very much and be well.
>> afterwards is available as a podcast, to listen visit c-letter - man .org/podcast or search cspan afterwards under podcast app. watch this and all previous afterwards interviews and booktv.org. just click the afterwards button near the top of the page. ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ >> it is my great please