tv Politics Race Relations CSPAN March 8, 2018 12:44pm-2:05pm EST
amendment, i thought, tyler, we have to do this. we have to get in contact with this person. so we sent some e-mails, started filming, we sent even more e-mails after that, and everything kind of fell into place. >> the process for picking the amendment was pretty difficult. 26 different amendments we kind of looked at, evaluated. there's lots of controversy going on right now in the public. so we kind of sat down and found something that related to us at our age and what really affected us is we're heading into college next year. the 26th amendment, we were able to get in contact with some important people here in iowa and around the country. it really clicked for us. we got working as soon as we could. >> the top 22 winning entries will air on c-span in april, and you can watch every student cam documentary online at studentcam.org. up next, public policy and its impact on race relations in the u.s. four college professors share
their thoughts. new america hosted this event recently. >> all right. i think we'll get started. good afternoon. thank you all for coming. thanks, c-span, for coming. my name is mark schmidt, director of the political reform program here at new america. all i want to do is welcome you to this discussion on race and solidarity in the united states and the future of solidarity as a way of thinking about race. this discussion was organized by ted johnson, who's been a fellow in our national fellows program and also a fellow in the political reform program. his work on the complexity of black voting behavior and political attitudes has been eye
opening to me and, you know, tremendously important. he's now a fellow at the brep nan center for justice, which is an organization that, as you can see, we -- the sign i's here. it's often here. it's a wonderful organization. ted is bringing a bit of a beyond legal, i guess you'd say, scope of analysis to their work and continuing hopefully to work in partnership with us. i thank you again for coming. turn it over to ted, who will introduce the panel and get us started. thank you, all. [ applause ] >> okay. so thank you, all, for coming. this is a topic that sort of originated in my book project that i started here at new america that i'm continuing at brennan. around the question -- it started, really, about whether the solidarity we see in black america that expresses itself
most noticeably in presidential elections in the uniform way that black americans vote, i wondered if there was something in the solidarity that we see in black america that the nation could take a lesson from and try to create a solidarity that can bridge the gap that we see when it comes to race. so the panel here today stems from a basic question that i asked myself early on and a question i've come to learn many have asked before me, naturally. it's, is solidarity the thing that can save us? is it the thing that can help the u.s. address its race problem? i don't know the answer to that. i hope that there is such a thing as a national solidarity that can bind us, one to another. when you hear most presidents speak, they sort of call on the american civil religion, this idea that there are ideas and principles that bind us together and there are rituals we go through together to solidify
this bond, and as president obama has said, like many presidents before him, america's the only country founded on an idea. you know, so if we are all americans who subscribe to this larger idea, certainly there must be some way for us to identify some measure of solidarity that we can all get behind. so the question we'll tackle a little bit today is a multiracial version of the black solidarity that sort of piqued my interest. is that possible? and what we do know is that race is proven to be an instrument that's been put to use to divide us. is it possible that we can create, establish a solidarity that can unify us, despite the racial issues the country has faced. so one thing is certain that we need some solution. i was looking at a few polls before coming on the stage, and
in 2009, i saw this poll from nbc and "the wall street journal" that said in 2009, the month obama took office, 77% of americans thought that race relations were good in this country. this was the post-racial obama era that we all welcomed and soon learned was not a real thing. just last summer, this poll was taken again. 74 pr 74% of americans think race relations in this country are bad. so we've done a 180 on our view of race relations. lots of reasons for that. we'll talk a little bit about that. but the question of solidarity, national solidarity, political solidarity, can it get us back to a place where americans feel a bond of kinship, one to another, based on the idea alone. if you look at the state of race relations today, there's no
shortage of cause for concern. if you look at the debate around immigration, the muslim travel ban, if you look around conversations about black nations in the caribbean or afr relations are not getting better. and the rhetoric around race relations seem to be more pitched over the last year or so. and so, at the heart of my question is without solidarity, is it possible for us to close the gap when it comes to racial disparities? is it possible to improve race relations? my sense is if we did everything possible, for example, let's say we pass a huge federation reparation bill, if we don't feel a of kinship to another, the money sent to descendants of slave will be a krcreative
incentive for banking industries to find a way to get the money out of peoples hands. it would be creative toen find out how to transfer that money out of black america to other places. this is not a question of policy but how we view one another. who gets to be american and do we see the americanness in each other despite, class, race and gender, et cetera. that's what we'll talk about today. to push this conversation forward, i've got three experts on the panel who i'm lucky said yes to the invitation. we have juliet hooker on my left. shus a political theorist specializing in racial justice, black political thought and after row descendant and indigenous politics in latin america. a book that is becoming a good
friend on my night stand and theorizing race in the americas, douglas due bois and -- and her current research -- appeared in a couple of journal articles discussing black protest and white grievance and the paradox of u.s. black politics. we have tehama lopez bunyasi -- breaking the contract and racial renegades and the racial of whitenesses and perception of white privilege and political performances of white americans.
coauthoring a second book called "stay woke" teaches a teachable moment about the politics of resistance. we'll hopefully be out by years end and carole bell, an assistant professor at northeastern. the relationship between nontraditional news sources and entertainment media and public opinion. she's interested in the role of communication and social change related to group identities including race, gender and sexuality and focussing on these areas her goal to -- to eliminate traditional social provision. her experience expands media and marketing. she worked for eight years in direct marketing and interactive media development and working with fortune 100 clients and new business development. so what we'll do is start with
professor hooker and then move to professor lopez and professor bell and then we'll go into a moderated discussion about race and america and we'll open it to up the audience for questions before wrapping it up. thank you. >> good afternoon. thank you, ted, for the invitation for organizing that panel and for new america for hosting us and thank you for taking time from your afternoon for coming in and being part of this event. so i want to say a little bit about how in my work i understand the relationship between race and solidarity and also what i mean when i talk about solidarity and how we should understand what this has to do with democracy and why
it's so important to cultivate. so one of the premises, for people writing about democracy for good reason, is that political solidarity is necessary for democracy to function. and the reason for this is because democracy are diverse. right? citizens need to be able to come together to see themselves in mesh relations with strangers. we might not know people face-to-face but we see ourselves aspect part of the same political community we can understand that we have relations of mutual obligation with them. so the premise of -- or the idea that i grapple with in my book which came out in 2009 that ted was referring to, "race and the
politics of solidarity" we have written about or in political science we have analyzing political solidarity as if it were something that's exists or it is something that we are working towards. without thinking enough about the ways in which that solidarity is shaped by race. fundamentally. and so, i'm going to say a little bit now about what i mean by solidarity and talk about why i think it is shaped by race. what do i mean when i talk about solidarity? so often when you think about it, you think about it as a concept that emerges from labor unions and the left and the idea of right relations and you may think about solidarity, often people think about empathy or sympathy, feeling the pain of
others. in my view and i think in the view of people who write about solidarity in the context of politics, we can't -- solidarity can't just be empathy or sympathy, it's not just an emotion it's an ethical orientation that moves us to action. and one example of this is think about the recent tragic events in parkland and the shooting there, right? it is one thing to say, you know, thoughts and prayers are with those people and it's another to say i may not have been in that situation but i understand that this is a problem and i am moved by what happened and i'm going to organize to make sure it doesn't happen again, right? so for me, solidarity is not simply feeling the pain of others or saympathy or empathy but rather being moved to action
as a result of identifying with -- with the pain and suffering of others even if it is something that's not happening to me. so another way of thinking about this is right, is in a -- in the united states people who support, for example, single people who don't have children but support education policy because they think education is important to the well being as o whole even though they themselves may not have school children or a sort of direct stake in that particular policy area. so that's what i mean when i talk about solidarity and the way i think ted is thinking about it when he brought us together for this discussion. one of the core arguments in my work and in this book was that political solidarity is
continues even in -- in an era which we no longer have legally mandated discrimination or race continues so that political solidarity even in this moment continues to be shaped by race. so that decisions about who merits, care and concern as a fellow citizen are mediated by whether we see those persons as like us and race is key to whether we see them aspect like us, right? so it is more difficult for us to see the pain and suffering of those we see as racial others. and so one way to think about this, right? is to think about for example, many people have pointed out, right, that the response to the devastating hurricane in puerto rico where citizens have been left without power, and without food for months and months, if
they had been happening in let's say, you know, new york city, or some place that was closer in the imagination in whatever way, that it would not have been able to happen. and there's a reason why when people say how can this be happening to american citizens, they're not invoking a larger human community but the obligations that the citizens of the same political community are supposed to have towards each other even though they are separated by vast distance. by the fact that we are part of the same community, we have relations of obligations towards them and have care and concern for what is happening to them. so in the book, i developed this concept of racialized solidarity to talk about the way in which i think race shaped solidarity.
so instead of functioning in this ideal way that i just described, instead i think that of because of racism, the pain and suffering and its legacy, the pain and suffering of nonwhites is rendered invisible or when it is visible, it is seemed as less deserving of empathy and redress of that of whites. i'm using them as the dominant case in the united states. so racialized so dir -- when wet other people or see someone who is different or we hear them speak and they have a accent, or we see something that makes them not like us. results in different care and concern towards their pain and suffering. and this leads then to differences in policy, right? because if we are able to say in some way, these people aren't american or less or foreign in
some way or they're somehow undeserving, then we're not moved to support policies that take their needs into account. and so this is the way in which i argue this racialized solidarity shapes our political preferences and the kinds of policies that we enact as a community. and what i want to say -- i want to end by my remarks, introductory remarks by reflecting a little bit on where we are today versus where we were when i published this book. so this is the case with you know, academics, you know spend a lot of years working on a book and it comes out and you don't control the historical context in which it comes out. my book was published in january, 2009, barack obama was elected president and we were in
this moment that we thought the legacy of racism was over come and we were in this post-racial moment and there was a sense in which the argument didn't make sense to a lot of people, right? the argument that race continued to shape whether we saw each other as fellow citizens and to the extent that we thought that we had mutual obligations towards to each other. didn't seem to make sense during a moment that we thought the racial lines from the past were being bridged by the election of the first and only non-white president. now, i don't think -- it is not koe wince dental that in 2018 that the argument of the book seems much more relevant. and that of course, is because the backlash that followed obama's election, of course, which was you know, heavily
shaped by race in many ways and deeply racist. i think uncovered the fact that we haven't transcended the racial lines of the past. this was followed by the resurgence of out spoken white nationalism in the past year and incidents such as the charlottesville and other acts of you know, white terror. the bombing in -- or the murder of nine church goeers in south carolina. so these expressions of resurgence white national lichl and nativism and attacks on foreigners, i think make it no longer possible to deny that race remains a major factor
shaping contemporary politics and policy in the united statess and in particular, the way in which we think about who are the people to whom we have relations of mutual obligation to. so i'm going to leave it at that. thank you. [ applause ] good afternoon, everybody. i'd like to thank ted johnson for organizing this panel and inviting me to participate. thank you to new america for hosting this event and thank you for coming on a really warm washington, d.c. day. to help kick off the discussion i'd like to get us thinking about the opportunity for white americans to help bridge the racial divide. we've seen important changes in our society since the civil rights movement but still we continue to fall short in
realizing our potential. a multitude of studies indicate that white people have better chances relative to people of color. even when we compare white individuals to those similarly situated on the other side of the color line. homeownership or attainen meant, white lands tend to land higher paying jobs and accrue more wealth -- being white -- it is sever as a valuable asset. when it comes to bridging gapping in life chances a crucial question to ask is how do white americans see the society they live? do they understand themselves to be advantage? or think they are living in a country that everybody has a fair shake regardless of color and do white see themes as a new under dog where being white is a liability? the will of white americans to close the racial gap has something to do if whether they
believe there is a gap or which side they fall on. just weeks ago, in 2016 i conducted a national study of color blindness and race consciousness , including over 900 whites and p hundred black participates, 300. and the worth of whiteness, jobs, education, ones interaction with the law enforcement and the kinds of treatment that one receives when participating in our economy as consumers of goods and services. the what i learn sd that whites evaluate their status differently depending on the context. i also found that whites who believed they are advantaged relative to black support policies aimed at reducing racial -- employment. i asked who do you think has a better chance of getting a job or promotion, whites, blacks or is it an equal chance?
what we see is that the majority of whites, believe there's an equal chance of landing this job. a third of whites think that their racial group is advantaged and 10% of white people believe that blacks have an edge when it comes to the world of the job market. okay? i want to see whether ones understanding of white life chances relative to blacks had anything to do with their attitudes regarding work-related policies. indeed, it does. whites who believe that their group has an advantage support laws against racial discrimination and affirmative action. what we see here to read the graph, is when whites think their group is privileged in some way, they have a 91% probability of supporting a policy such as one that would
protect minorities from discrimination in the workplace. i asked two different types of questions about affirmative action and in either case, we see that the majority, slight, a slight majority of whites believe their group is advantaged is more likely to support affirmative action compared to the level playing field. affirmative action has -- in dproet support among whites. when they see white privilege, they get behind the policy. when it is framed as past discrimination, we find more support from whites that believe their group -- so maybe we can keep that in mind and come back to it later. let's look at the question of education. a similar question. in general, who do you think as
more access to good schools? whites, blacks or do you think they have equal access? again, what we see that there's a fair majority of whites that think that whites are -- have an edge here. it is different from the last question. again, comparing white to give a race conscious answer when in which they believe their group is privileged. those who answered, they seem to be more, those who answered that question that way rather than color blind, they seem to give more support of increase of funds for schools in black and latino neighborhoods, preschool and disseminating scholarships to sblak latino youths. to round out a look, when whites are asked who they think has a better chance of being treated
fairly by the police. we see the highest percentage of whites who are reporting a privilege. this has got to be on what we see in the news. the black lives matter movement brought attention in the streaming videos over and over again of police brutality. which is not new, but the advent of social media, the smart phone is disseminating the information in a way that for most people, we can't deny something is going on even though in courts, not everybody is being brought to justice and for that we should be upset. when we look at the realm of experiencing good customer service which is something in one way or another engage in. it is not as how we interact with the police or a job. most whites seem to think we are doing good. 65% believe that there's an equal chance of treated well and getting good service. when one goes out to a dining
restaurant or going to a store. each one of these four measures predicts support formulative and a galtarian racial policies. all of the proportion of whites who report racial privilege fluctuates over ton connect and when taken together about 20% of white americans believe it is beneficial to be be white in all four domains of american life. that are racialized, not just the way that it is perceived what is going on but studies showing that there's a difference in the way that people are treated. i'd like to think of this fifth of the white population aspect wokish, okay? they will report the groups racial benefits and favor policies to work to bring about greater quality and undermine their racial privilege.
they have important foundational components to help america. solidarity requires more than belief and preferences. it requires commitment and will. i believe we are seeing evidence of this spirit and progressive amounting in the trump presidency. based on what i have seen in studies, i believe there's room of ideological movement among the 80% of white americans. in order to access our to accomplish such a shift, we need a full throated and accessible challenge to the dominate color blind narrative. one will racial dominance will be treated with ernest and nuance, thank you. i look forward to the next panelist's comments. [ applause ] thank you. that was great. i would like to thank ted
johnson and also the brennan center and the new american foundation for the invitation to speak to you and i appreciate you're coming. it is a high of 73 today, i know you have that choice. so i'd like to address the connections between political communication, socialite, and political psychology. and by that, i mean that how american elites and american citizens talk about politics, reflect how they think and feel about society and the place of different groups within that. including both the social groups to which they belong and those that they see as the other and the outsiders. that largely symbolic discourse and thinking shapes political behavior. the policies and politicians that we support and those that we oppose. media discourse and media
framing should be seen as one component of that. although, an important component. so i see two themes related to national identity as dominating our political discourse right now and therefore, also the american psyche in this moment. so first,as we've heard many times. we have america's changing demographics. the much discussed idea that america is changing rapidly and that white americans will soon be out numbered. so that is framed first of all, as a problem. the second theme is closely related to that. and it's that white americans sense that they are under threat. that they will lose dominance and status. and their place in american society. the way that the media frame certain public policy issues associating both societal problems and the potential solutions, with particular
racial groups reflects and contributes to that sense of threat. it puts different groups against one another in competition. this media framing certainly helps to exacerbate divisions but not create in a vacuum. if you look at the 1990s, bill clinton talked about how progress, and every single advancement that has been made has been made on the backs of white men. so politicians play upon and exploit existing divisions and fears to mobileize specific groups of voters and they define what it means to be american implicitly and explicit terms as we well. so i'll .2 examples of the racialization of political issues. so from gillan's work that the
racialization of poverty in which it is visualize the and personify in the media as black and brown. this suppresses support for programs like welfare. recent research by catherine kramer supports this finding. the study with whites in wisconsin show that white residents in that state felt deep resentment toward the government. because the governmenten spending didn't go to people like them and it instead benefitted other people undeserving people. people who do not work hard and live in cities. and these people are again, envisioned aspect black, largely. so the economic anxiety that was discussed in 2016, is not in competition with the thesis that it was largely about race but rather it is intertwined with
racial resentment. many white americans really do feel as though they are forgotten people. and that of course, made them -- for a figure like donald trump who promised them redemption and restore ration of their identity. racialization affecting public policy preferences as research that is shown that communicating the idea that blacks are disproportionately involved in and incarcerated for crime. reinforced existing prejudice does and can actually encourage support amongst whites for more punitive sentencing laws like the three strike law. so media representations matter because they spread and reinforce these -- beliefs about who is affected by important issues that should matter to
everyone. and these assumptions have serious consequences. to the extent that the problems are seen as affects others, they will not be seen as relevant by the dominate group. so images matter because they shape public opinion. they shape public policy preferences and election outcomes. beyond specific policies, the media add to the perception amongst white that is minority groups comprise a larger percentage of the american population than they actually do. so in reality, for example, african americans are 12% of the american population. in research whites are estimated that it is more than 30% or double that. they get the idea from the other representation of african americans in the media, in particular in news about crime and sports, actually. so this further exacerbates the
sense of threat that whites already feel. at the same time, i think it is important to contextualize the current racialization of political discourse as an ever present and longstanding element in american socialite. so that's been true even though it is arguably more visceral is and visible in the political rhetoric right now. socialite theory, it is closely connected to group identification. meaning a strong psychological connection, an attachment to a group and a sense that your fate and success are connected to the fate of the group as a whole. this can be activated by political context, by particular een vents, by the media and by that growing sense of threat. so how can we have political cohesion when americans have not thought of themselves as having a shared fate and values when
most americans self concept, their image of themselves does not and of the country does not and has not included large chunks. one of the reason puerto rico becomes less relevant is because so many people don't realize that puerto ricans are american. it is a lack of knowledge. so issues like poverty, social welfare, immigration and crime, works within the constraints of america's existing political psychology and a sense of or historical lack of an inclusive collective identity. political rhetoric, verbal and visual are vehicles that media, candidates and public officials use in the social construction or framing of societal problems in keeping with their own world views but i don't think that is
create in a vacuum. thinking about our ideas, what does the phrase, all american conjure up? how has it been historically been visualized. how would the president or first lady be conceptualized t. is not just in mass media but in how individuals think about and speak about their leaders and themselves through social media atriallies and how people speak to each other in their own homes. for the conflict between american ideals and the realities of race have always posed a problem for unifying national identity and social cohesion, the election of donald trump someone manifesting racial conflict and resentment in much more explicit terms than we were
used to revealed that the struggle over american identity as come to a head in reaction to change. it's in reaction to the changing demographics and symbolically as juliet said, a reaction to and a backlash to the presidency of barack obama which accelerated these divisions and we know this. not just from our own sense, but from research. an article for example, and books that have shown there's a return of what is called old fashion racism during the obama presidency. so we have two presidents, barack obama and donald trump who shown a light on the competition that exists between two narratives about america. one narrative america, or as bill rile lee call it is traditional america. heterosexual, christian and white. in this version of america,
unity can only flow from cultural uniformity and multiculturalism as a threat and a impediment identity. outsiders or aliens not inher tors of the american dream and citizens must be protected from outsiders. and all those who challenge and be protected from those who challenge that traditional national identity. this is the america that screams i want my country back and we need to make america great again. in the other narrative, the one referenced in almost every one of barack obama's speeches starting with his 2004 keynote, the one that there was not a black american, or red, or white but just the united states of america. that vision is inclusive with regard to race, gender, religion and sexuality.
diversity can be a strength. and that now, later in the presidency, he said that those born in other countries and came here as children or adults can be legit inhere tors of the american dream. as bill's version of america gave way to barack obama's vision in the media and political rhetoric, the people privileged within the existing system felt increasingly undersieged and felt their version of america was slipping away. so in closing, i want to say that i don't think, of course that cohesion is impossible, actually. i don't think it is impossible and in a multiracial democracy. but it is very challenging given the struggle betweens groups reflected in these two competing narratives. nonetheless both contain paths to national solidarity. the first, the one supported by
bill and con sertive writer david brooks and given lip service by donald trump, reject multiculturalism and that all cultures should be embraced. identity politics and says america doesn't need to change and so dare requires submission to many groups to the dominant culture. so some outside of that paradigm are invited to participate in this america as long as they uphold instead of challenging norms. ted cruz, and fox news would lead us down that path. barack obama, and hillary clinton are considered public enemy number one and football player who is calais tension to inequality. the other narrative, the one sim baa li -- first black president, tell us that it is -- it says that we
must make change in order to realize the promise of america. so which we choose, that's the billion dollar question, i don't know the answer to that one. thank you. [ applause ] >> all right. so i do want to leave time for questions but i have to follow up a little bit with some of what was said. and some of the work you've done. one of the things that struck me, juliet about your recent piece is how you contrasted the way people experience loss and what that communicates to sort of the world at large. if we think about what happened after, if ferguson after the killing of michael brown and how protests and riots and sort of these confrontations with armed police force, that played out on the screens and we saw how
charleston reacted to the killing of nine church members which is more prayerful and forgiving. and the reaction to the nation to those different reactions to loss tells us something. it seems to me about how -- how solidarity is racialized and how the experience of loss contributes to the larger discussion about how we feel empathy and solidarity with other cultures. can you talk about that phenomenon of loss and the display tells us about who we are and identify with? >> sure. i think one of the things that is at stake there is that and it has to do with a point that carole made in her remarks about the terms of inclusion. the famous line about the price of the ticket and he's talking about the ways in which white
identities distorted racism rather than what is required of nonwhite people to become full citizens, but the interesting thing about this question is i think, that there's certain reactions to loss that are acceptable and others that are not. so ferguson, the reaction was rage and anger. and of course, we know, in some ways, of course, anger at you know, a horrible event at an injustice is a totally understandable reaction. there isn't, i think in our current understanding of you know, of who gets to display anger and who gets to react to loss by being angry. that is not an option that will generate sympathy, right? so one of the critiques of ferguson, the anger was justified but counterproductive. you're never going to generate
white empathy but reacting in that way. you should react in the way that people in the civil rights movement did in the 60s and the folks in charl ston. the day after the relatives were murdered were being asked dow forgive the shooter. in what context does that make sense, right? even if your particular religious convictions say this is what you should do, it's somehow an interesting expectation that you would simply forgive this really terrible act. so i think part of what is going on there is that we need to think about the differential public sympathy that is generated by different kinds of losses, right? so think about all of the think pieces that came out about the trump voters and how we need to understand them and think about how they're suffering loss and
economic anxiety and this is why they're voting for trump. or think about you know, the sort of try and understand the folks who are drawn to kind of, these neonazi organizations or whatnot, that's a particular type of reaction to this perceived loss that is different from the reaction to the people in ferguson saying this terrible thing happened and i'm angry about it. so i think we have, you know, we have different standards for whose loss we can understand and what range of reactions we think are permissible to those losses. >> right. that's a really interesting point that after trump was elected we endeavor to understand the people that elected him. but after obama was elected it wasn't like people were scouring
black communities asking why did you vote for the black guy. you voted because you were black and a democrat. the amount of interest that moved people is different in the two elections. tehama, you talked about core blindness and color consciousness so to follow up on juliet's point, is it required -- is policy required to be coloren blind in order for it to be acceptable or is color-conscious policy the only hope to close gaps. even barack obama said you know, it was policy where the rising tide lifts all boats and politicians on both sides are quick to quote martin luther king, we don't care about the color of your skin but the connen tent of your character. it seems to speak to color blindness, i would like to hear
your thoughts? >> so what we saw in the johnson administration and the nixon, at least for part of it was real support for race-conscious policy. nixon at some point in time an advocate of affirmative action and we saw the supreme court back it up strongly for a period. and i think this was also in the idea that these policies do lift numerous boats not just the boats of people of color. and then there's a significant attrition in support around these matters as i think whites start to -- aggrieved whites, not all articulate the satisfaction with this and the loss of status and privilege and the idea that their children are being forced to integrate in schools and that's not what they
signed up for when they moved to these neighborhoods. so i think that -- race-conscious policies are rather important. they used to be an articulation of race when drafting policies. certainly, color blind policies had all kind of affects such as the new deal, right? that when you allow -- when you write into legislation that funds are supposed to be an opportunity to disseminate the local level and you give that instruction to the local level to do, they will carry out the will of the local level which is a host still politics. so you can't find anywhere in the new deal policies words like blacks or whites, but the impact or the g.i. bill, same thing. there's an impact. whether you want to put actually racial labels into policies or
not, i think what's most important is how it's drafted and carried out and if we're going to do it right we need to take race into consideration. and let's be honest with ourselves and let's talk about poor white people. let's do that. they need to be talked about in various ways, we're not all the same. the idea that i agree with juliet when she talks about this let's shine some light on the forgotten whites, well, certainly, but they haven't been articulated as white and poor. they possibly been articulated as poor so people are fascinated with the idea they are white and poor s that a different type of poverty. let's talk about that. we should. but let's talk about the way that poverty is racialized and gendered and all kinds of number
of things. >> right. so carole, this rolls into your area. racializing policy determines if policy sees the light of day or not. >> yes. >> we can look at obamacare and when people are asked when the polls are shown the different elements in obamacare, they liked them and when the policy talked as a whole as the affordable care act they liked it but they hate obamacare. there's a study, showing one group of people, a picture of a portuguese water dog and john f. kennedy had thing to and president obama had the dog depending on who he told who the dog belonged to, the level of cuteness of that dog to them differed. even if it was the same picture of the same dog, obama's dog was less cute than kennedys. nothing to do with policy or dogs, but once you stick a race
onto something t is devalued. politicians known this for some time. is it possible to talk about color-conscious policy and racialized policy and get it passed? or is the only way to get good policy passed, is to talk about it in a color blind fashion? >> i think i agree with what you said. we have to be conscious about the different ims of policy. but perhaps, not focus on so much on the labels and on you know, who it benefits and as much of a public sort of elevated way. because that does tend to invoke and activate that racial resentment. so i also referenced the michael test ler research that was talked about the return of old fashion racism. not just peoples attitudes but
also to their voting behavior. right? so i sometimes think of it assort of having a reverse mit us touch. anything that barack obama touched would suffer in the eyes of some people. so i never refer to anything as obamacare. never. and i tell my students, put the benefit in the name. don't put the person. when you put the person in the name, you are asking people how they feel about that person. so don't personalize it. and debrooifs them of the opportunity on understanding why they should support this bill. so i would say that i think you know, unless we have some way of radically changing these underlying beliefs and attitudes and feelings, then i think we have to work within the existing context and do things to defuse
and not necessarily sort of activate and exacerbate existing resentments. and i think we've seen you know, as soon as we sort of got wit of barack obama, we've seen that affordable care act and because it was being threatened. we've seen the popularity of the affordable care act increase substantially. so i think that we have to stop associating policy so much with race. i do think that that's a really important component and to your point about poverty. i often thought that i can't imagine what it would be like to be a poor white person in america in which you are invisible, you know, the media pretends you truly do not exist both in terms of the news media and in terms of entertainment immediate yachlt the only whites on television in entertainment
predominantly are upper middle class at minimum. and i could list on one hand sh the shows that now attempt to depict working-class. white working-class americans. they are few and far between. that helps exacerbate the resentments. >> okay. i do want to move to questions a little bit but i would like each of your takes on really the fundamental question, is it possible a multiracial, multiethnic democratic republican to exist? have we seen it in the world, in places where it failed and what's the cause of it? i'm a retired military guy so i think that america is big enough for all of us and the principals are good enough for us to get behind and want to create the country our founders produced. we have fallen short and how do
we close the gap? is it possible? and are there examples that we can learn from either from the positive or negative on what could we possible do to sort of bridge the gap, the racial gap between americans? >> can i speak to that for a second? because you mentioned the military. and when we look, again at the social psychology literature. one of the ways that prejudice is reduced is when you can really create that sense that is missing of that shared fate. so when people come together around a common goal, right? and when that cohesion is sanctioned by the authorities, right? when they are in corking in concert rather than competition, that does tend to reduce prejudice. so intergroup contact doesn't always reduce prejudice. sometimes it can make it worse. if it is accompanied with equal
status or working towards a common goal or having it endorsed by authority you see all of these requirements in the military at certain stages and you do see people working together and seem to have a common kinship than we do in the general population. >> so i think -- do you want to go ahead? >> go ahead. >> we have to be really careful about preproposing people in one way than in other contexts. in latin america, you have in many countries the ideologies of racial democracy and argue there is no racism, even though there are existing racial disparities and that people are all equal citizens. those ideologies are used in multiple ways. on the one hand functioning as
color blind racism. so you don't acknowledge it and then the people accused of being racist say look, there's racial disparities and then those are the people threatening national unity by bringing race in a discussion where it doesn't belong. on the other hand, those ideologies have been used by people to say hey, this is your official claim, but this area shows that there's discrimination or racism happening. you need to live up to your ideals. so we have to be aware that this discourse is functioning in multiple ways and i would say about the u.s. right now is i think you know, as tehama mentioned there is cause for hope. many whites have been activated to oppose what they see as the resurgence in the support for white supreme si.
think about the people who joined protest, like people like heather in charlottesville. people who came out and said this is not my vision for what the country should be. at the same time, i think, there's still a lot of reluctance in some quarters to recognize that -- that racism is the major problem. and i think we see this in the people involved in some of the debates that it is economic anxiety, or tribalism or these other things and it is not racism. i think it is wrong to think about it as an either/or question, right? and as long as we don't recognize that racism is bound up in this other explanation that you're putting forward, we're not going to be able to solve the problem. >> i think -- i'm agreeing with both of you actually.
i'm also thinking that we need to have a real reckoning about how we got to where we are. we need a reckoning about exploitation of people on the basis of their race and gender, class. there needs to be a reckoning about who did build this country and on who's backs that was. and that was on forced child slavery and black labor and immigrants and people who became white at some point. that's a whole other discussion. we should have that discussion. if we are going to be in solidarity with one another, we need to know what we are coming together around. we need to be in concert, we do, we have quite a bit to gain from working together rather than
against one another. we have seen peaks and valleys around solidarity. i have been reading more about the reconstruction period which is fascinating. oh my gosh, we could have and then -- it slips away because really, there's a lack of real on the part of white americas who were at the time republican and democrats. and in the 1930s a resurgence of unit articulated around a socialist/communist language. there are people who are functioning in a capital society who are like we can get done with a little bit of this equal pay, let's recognize people as workers. i think we need to have a reckoning if we're going to have longstanding solidarity. it could be very scary, but we're not going anywhere. we've got to deal with this.
i think that's where i stand with that, yeah. >> okay. we'll go to questions. we'll go here first and here second. up front. the mic is coming for you there. keep questions direct and same for the responses. >> i'm kevin mulchin, that really leads to the question is it too late to have a truth and reconciliation commission kind of convening so that these things get out on the table and where you have descendants of the victims of a system of slavery and descendants of you know, even if you're talking about immigrants. my ancestors were bricklayers and the irish were treated a certain way, but the scope of it
the truth and reconciliation commission just maybe makes it just completely burdensome and you couldn't see a light at the end of the tunnel of putting all of this suffering out on the table. >> what do you think, truth and reckon silluation is that a viable step? >> it's been done in one place, in greens borrow, north carolina, fairly recently. and it seems to have been a good thing. a hard thing, but a good thing and that there was a compassion and forgiveness in places i don't think people anticipated. but, i think that's something that would be done on local levels if they are going to be successful. and not just reckoning our past but what are we doing right now that replicates more deeply in trenches these inequalities?
is it possible for people of color to also, right? to make things difficult for other people of color and colorism. the idea that maybe darker skin, people of color are treated differently than lighter skin people. that's been shown to be the case. so i think to have some kind of truth and reconciliation doesn't need to be historical, but i don't know -- on going. i believe that's possible, sure. >> right here in the front. >> thank you, very much. i'm from cornel university, thank you for great conversation. i'd be curious and some of the comments are taking us in this direction. i would be curious to know what the panel believes the potential of using explicit class identity and seeking class solidarity as
an approach to begin to see the shared humanity between the -- and shared interest between the trump-white voters and people o color, so to speak, and to achieve some solidarity on that level and not racialize it. and through that approach devaluing some of the racial identity that is polarizing the country. >> and so my take on that if you are wondering is that we can't separate class from race. i think that we, part of what we need to grapple with, and i think that -- absolutely as a strategy, i think that the ideal
is to get for example poor and working class and barely middle-class non-white working people to have shared interests, absolute absolutely, and what we also have to reckon with is the fact that for many working class whites the way that they have experienced, you know, economic quote, unquote success is by measuring the distance from non-white people and to the extent that both poor whites and poor and working class nonwhites are suffering in, you know, current economic configuration, the problem is, is who are they ascribing as that, the cause of that suffering, too, and as long as it is, you know, this other, and the foreigner and the
immigrant who is coming to take your jobs or the fact that you are suffering economic anxiety and therefore you need to reclaim some kind of the lost dominance is incompatible with the notion of the shared interests, and so i think that simply arguing for the kind of the focusing only on class is not going to get at that feeling, right? at those, at the ways in which class is experienced in some ways through race. right? so we need to do both is my answer. >> i would definitely ingagree h that. i think that it is really important to recognize that class solidarity is important, and it can be achieved, but we can also have racial denial and it should not be a requirement for achieving the class solidarity, right? so the awareness of how classes intersected with the race needs to, i think, to be a part of that, right. it is not going to be helpful if
we have subscribed to, you know, what john roberts says, and in the supreme court that, you know, the way to stop discriminating and to stop talking about race is not going to work, and this is part of the argument for not needing the voting rights for protections, and the approval for southern states to not have approval when they change some of those voting laws. that is what has been disastrous, and this is why we are in the midst of so many legal fights in places like north carolina, right now sh, a so we have seen what happens when we sort of retreat to color blindness and come together across class, and i do think that part of the definition of sort of the threat rather than being each other can be exploited through capitalism and you don't have to believe in socialism to believe that the way that capitalism is expressed
now and tax reform, if you want to call it that is functioning, and really disadvantages working class people. so focusing on that is can bring class solidarity, but i don't want to do that at the expense of racial denial. >> if i could really quickly, and i think that robin kelly's work speaks well to the potential to be, you know, in the socialist communist lane s that we are talking about in the solidarity and the work and the class identity that, that race and class were being articulated rather well in certain parts of the united states in the 1930s, and that black communist s s ine south were articulating this axes, at the axes of racism and classism, and that they were with also going to help r articulate the belief in god so that not necessarily being a
communist and atheist and that perhaps, that kind of the brand or the strand of socialism or the perhaps communism is both native born or indigenous to the united states, and it does not necessarily have to look like something that we have seenov overseas, but can be around our own particular jeities, and don around that time. >> and at the time, with ith w. dubois was looking at ways to n enforce inequality in a different one, and so we have looked towards other system ss do so.
if racism and with we have not dealt with that problem, no matter the system that you are putting in, it begins to infect everything. so democracies tend to be a good thing, and capitalism when properly regulated can be a good thing, but if we don't account for the racial divisions in the country, no matter which system we implement, we will will end up recreating something that is undesirable. and we have just a two or three minutes. so any sort of the parting words, and i am a hopeless optimis optimist, and i do actually believe that the nation can find a way towards the national and political solidairity, and i don't know what the path looks like, but i believe it is within the capacity of being an american for us to achieve it, and that is, the nation that does figure it out will leave a legacy for posterity and for humanity of a system of government that is inclusive and the world has never seen before.
and so any final thoughts before we wrap up here? all heads nod that it will happen. yes. >> and i'm also an eternal optimist, and i have seen in my own life people whose lives are to bind one another will go to distance for each other. and we are further from that because we live segregated lifestyles, and at times more and more further for that apart, and to the extent that people are, you know, greeting one another and knowing one another and loving one another and really testing the capacity for compassion, i think that we can get is somewhere. i know it sounds a little bit hokey for some people, but i think that compassion is hard
work. if we want to do the hard work, we need the to love one another and be interested in each other's lives and be in a similar kind of boat. >> right. >> and so, yeah, i believe it is possible. i know people who do this and i have seen people's lives change, and because they care enough to do hard work to say, gosh, am i benefiting from some kind of systemic privilege and am i benefiting from something that is wrong and should i be doing that? that is something that gives me hope. >> and so one thing that i have been thinking about is the role of education in this. right now the educational system is at odds with achieving s solidarity, because in the summer we saw this fight of how the confederacy should be thought of, and, you know, if we
are not teaching, you know, and so if high school students don't have any sense of america e's slavery or reconstruction or why the civil war happened and if we are revising the narrative to really leave out important components, and if they don't even learn about the civil rights movement, and we know that from research all of these things, right, they are in flux, and really problematic, and there is an entrenchment, and right, and specific effort to pull back on this idea to knowledge of the slavery and civil rigthts and so on, and there is such an effort from textbooks to the ap exams to say that we have been concentrating too much on what america did wrong in the past. so, you know, i don't want to see more questions about genocide or slavery.
those changes have been implemented. rig right? so we are going backwards in terms of the people having an awareness of our history and why inequality exists. so i think that more attention to the educational system, and right, not just to media, but also to what we are teaching, and how we are socializing children. i think that is a really important component of it. >> so, i'm going to take your question in a different direction and just say that the thing that gives me hope is that i think that we had the are resources to think about these questions, and so i think that, and this is very appropriate in the context of black history month, but if we are looking for example at these traditions of thought, and black political thought where you have these thinkers who have wrestled with the question of the problem of the white working class, and
dubois does that in black reconstruction and so we have the sources for thinking about how do we grapple with the united states in the sort of the realistic way as, you know, this country that on the one hand has the ideals that are living up to, and how do we think about it, and think about it, and thank god, many african-american thinkers have this interesting relationship where some of them are very critical of it and want to hold on to the idea of it, and others are more pessimistic about the possibilities, so what gives me hope is that they have the resources in terms of we have, you know, thinkers and texts and traditions that can help us to think through the current moment, and you know, as carol said to turn to those and rather than marginalizing them, that is one way forward. >> very good. >> all right. so thank you very much. and to all of you for coming
out, and i appreciate you, and it was a great conversation. and thank you for your questions and interests. more live coverage on the span's live coverage today. today, the senate armed service committee will hold a hearing on domestic violence and child abuse in the military. that is at 2:00 p.m., and also on c-span3 and cspan.org and c-span radio app. susan rice will also discuss global security. and that is t is at 4:30 p.m. eastern. and christine lagarde is going to be on c-span tonight with a discussion. sunday night, u.s. border
patrol agent francisco cantu talks about his book and his experiences and what he has learned about our immigration system since leaving the border patrol. >> the woman was pregnant, and that is why they were locked for three days after the group left them and they were drinking filthy water from cattle tanks, and they made it to the village and the border control got called and the border agent who is supposed to take them in, and so i started talking with them, and it turned out that this pregnant woman had grown up in iowa, and she is speaking perfect english. and you know, i think that her husband saw that we were talking, and we had a lot spilling over, and so, man, can we skip the whole, you know, the whole r arrest and deportation thing, and can we go back to the border, and cross over into mexico, and be a brother.
and, i didn't hesitate. and no, it is my job. and i can't, but what i remember about the encounter is that i remember asking their names and introducing myself to them, and i remember wanting to remember them and hold them in my mind and i wanted that woman to be safe. and the child to be safe. and a couple of hours later, i went back out on patrol, and i was sitting in my car and i had completely forgotten their names. it is because i think that's the first step in dehumanization is forgetting what is looking at an individual as human. that is tonight on q and a. and a hearing on