Skip to main content

tv   NAACP CEO Discusses Race Justice  CSPAN  December 31, 2021 7:51pm-8:05pm EST

7:51 pm
key congressional hearings, supreme court oral arguments. where we hear your voices everyday. cspan now has you covered your it download the app for free today. announcer: next, a discussion on race and justice with derek johnson, president and ceo of the naacp. he spoke at an event hosted by axios. >> joining me now is derek johnson, the president and ceo of the naacp. mr. johnson, welcome to our
7:52 pm
segment. >> thank you for having me. >> thank you for coming back. it is so great to reunite with you and talk with you again. axios has spent the last 18 months unpacking systemic racism topic by topic, institution by institution. and so, i want to know, in some ways, it feels like there has been some progress. in other ways, it feels like we are moving backwards. and from where you sit, the naacp is involved in so many different areas. from voting rights, to criminal justice, to health care -- and i want to know, where do you feel like our country has made the most progress, when it comes to racial justice, when you think about the last 18 months? >> i think we have had improvement, in terms of having the conversation. the structural barriers based in race must be addressed in public policy. and that is what we have been lacking. whether is the george floyd policing act, it was unable to muster support in the senate. whether it is the legislation to reauthorize the john lewis voting rights act. and the freedom to vote act.
7:53 pm
there are a lot of individual in support of it. we have had -- yet to have the legislation passed. and in health care, there has been even more progress, in the conversation around underlying conditions. we have seen advancement with the cdc to reach out to african american communities, and more individuals received the vaccine. so, as we move in the right direction, in our language and our conversation, we must actually adopt public policy to cement in the efforts, to alleviate or turn around structural barriers based on race. >> you make some really good points there. 18 months later, there is no law passed on voting rights, police reform, some of those big issues that some activists really want to see move ahead. and so, there actually seems to be, in some ways, politically, a backlash.
7:54 pm
even the word "systemic racism" seems like it has a heavier overtone to it than when people were protesting in the streets in the summer of 2020. so, in the health care area, where we have made progress, do you think it's the politics, where we have slipped backwards? >> i think the politics are as toxic as i can recall in my lifetime. it is very similar to what i read about in the 1950's and 1960's, where the level of tribalism has escalated and anything that you can wrap the question of race around -- we have reactions from certain individuals across the country. that is due, in large part, by the administration that allowed for white supremacy to exist in the white house and emboldened individuals to display their tribalism. whether it is against the black
7:55 pm
community, latino community, the jewish community, against women, against lgbt communities. we went through four years of otherness, being tolerated in a very negative way. and has dominated our political discourse. we must turn that around. we must allow individuals to see each other as human beings first, and respect each other as citizens, so that we can address some of the systemic issues that have plagued this nation for centuries. >> you mentioned the former president, trump, and now we have a democrat in office, president biden. i was looking at the calendar, and i noted that about a year ago to the day, you called on then president-elect biden to create a special envoy on civil rights. and he has not done so. so, do you think there is going to be any progress there? do you see a big difference under this president?
7:56 pm
>> the president assigned the portfolio to susan rice. she has done well in the position, considering the limitations. this president can operate from the executive office. can only operate on certain things until congress lines up in support. there is no reason why we cannot get the george floyd police reform act through the senate. there is no reason we have not extended voting protections across his country. those are two major things that we are pursuing. can we exist in communities with a level of expectation, that we can be safe and not be preyed upon by law enforcement agencies or officers? and can we fully engage in this democracy and cast our ballots, considering many of us have seen our children serve to further democracy abroad, can we really
7:57 pm
appreciate democracy right here? those are fundamental questions that must be resolved. this administration has done a great job in responding to covid. in terms of giving resources out. the infrastructure bill is a historic opportunity for us to really fix our roads, bridges, and many other of our infrastructure that are in dire need of support. but at the core of all of this is how one another feels about themselves and the future prospect of the neighbors and there is a lot to be desired. >> i want to dig in a little bit on a couple of issues. first, you mentioned criminal justice. and the nation, over 18 months, has watched some pretty high profile violence, related to racial justice. the nation watched high profile criminal trials, as a result of that violence. we saw former police officer derek chauvin, convicted for killing george floyd. we also saw kyle rittenhouse was
7:58 pm
acquitted. you said that verdict in wisconsin was an example of "the treacherous role of white supremacy and privilege play out in our system. we saw the mcdaniels father and son convicted in the killing of ahmaud arbery. from the criminal justice perspective, what do you make of these trials that america's just watched? does it reflect change? >> all of it is convoluted, quite honestly. we have over 3000 law enforcement agencies across the country, from my understanding, and 3000 different standards of review and accountability. we have district attorneys across the country who are elected who think about ahmaud arbery's scenario. a district attorney who colluded with those who murdered ahmaud arbery, as opposed to representing her district. there are reforms that can be
7:59 pm
made, that look at individual cases, isolated incidents. what i am more concerned about, what are the systems in place to ensure that justice is blind and that all of us are afforded equal protection under the law? this is by no means saying i dislike police officers. we like police officers, who are accountable to the community, they are protecting and serving, and not preying upon their citizens. we have advanced the conversation in a good direction. but we will continue to see the outcome of these trials. we have seen which has been a , mixed bag, until we get comprehensive police reform, so there is a forced standard for every jurisdiction and not 3000 or so standards based on the jurisdiction and proximity to the next community. >> got it.
8:00 pm
sounds like there's work to be done at the national level. but with all these different systems of accountability, some local level work to be done, as well. i want to ask you about one other part that we've seen some promises from, on the corporate side, the business side of america. millions have paid some of it out already to support racial justice. big companies, some have given the naacp money. has that money from corporate america begun to make a difference? may be at least you could speak to your organization, in terms of the issues you are able to take on. >> sure. let's understand that we have had structural systemic racism for decades, mind you centuries, in the naacp, we have positioned ourselves well, a single check isn't going to solve the
8:01 pm
problems of the country. it has to be a joined sustained effort to ensure that all citizens are looked on and treated fairly. and that's where we are. many in corporate america make great statements. but we are now beginning to do an analysis of what happens beyond the check. or does the check even make it to a racial justice organization? and in some cases, it has not. there were billion dollars in commitments. but there has not been billion dollars of checks written or followed through from those commitments from many companies across the country. >> well, thank you so much, mr. johnson. we will continue to follow this and continue our coverage of hard truth. it's been great to have this conversation with you and to look back at the last 18 months. thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you for the opportunity once again.
8:02 pm
announcer: c-span's washington journal every day discussing policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning, we're looking back at your calls and comments on "washington journal" programs during 2021 including the u.s. military drawdown in afghanistan, your views on state marijuana laws, why you chose your party affiliation, and whether or not our nation's best days lie ahead. watch "washington journal" at 7:00 a.m. eastern saturday morning on c-span or on c-span now our new mobile app. announcer: c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we're funded by these television companies and more. including midco. ♪ announcer: midco supports c-span
8:03 pm
as a public service along with these other television providers giving you a frobt front row seat to democracy. announcer: sunday on q&a "washington post" syndicated finance columnist michelle singletary on her book "what to do with your money when crisis hits." >> it's not a matter of if there's going to be another economic crisis but when. and so we want to set you up actually for the next crisis. is actually not all about covid. but what recession is going to come down the road. it may be long. it may be short. but life is going to happen. and i need you to prepare now. you know, i do a lot of financial seminars in my community. and it's so hard to get people to save and prepare when they're doing well. because they're doing well. they don't think that tomorrow is going to have an issue. and so as -- if you need to do
8:04 pm
that and oh, yeah, i'm going to get to it, i'm going to get to it and when a crisis hits everybody is in frugal mode and ready to do it but that's too late. the time to do that is when you have the resources, when you have the ability to cut. it's easy to cut when you can't pay for anything or things are shut down. and so i wanted to say let's prepare. let's be like that fireman or that firewoman who's ready for that next fire. they don't -- they hope it won't happen. but they're going to be prepared for that. announcer: "the washington post" sibd indicated finance columnist mi tale singletary on her book what to do with your money when crisis hits. sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. you can also listen to q&a and all of our podcasts op our new c-span now app. >> up next a house energy and commerce subcommittee on holding big tech companies accountable for user-created content. witnesses addresqu


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on