tv The Color of Law CSPAN June 4, 2017 7:30pm-8:46pm EDT
with richard for two reasons i originalist and what that means is my work is deeply dependent on talking to people but it is based of those who have the time and inclination to do the deep research that richard demonstrates in his book try to make that clear over and over with that research some of the things here not so interested in talking about so i just paid back the favor to be here. but the second part is there is a notion i'm doing whatever i can with this country for a long time we
saw ourselves as a country with a racial problem underneath that that there are pure races that exist in this country a white race from europe for a black race from africa and in asian race from asia and the latino race i don't know where or even muslim but that is done. that the actual name comes after the attempt to take somebody -- something from somebody happens so define problem but really it is the things about we continue to do to this very day. but the way that racism is a
figure into the idea of race we will talk about a particular power it was created through the housing policies sold talked-about the place and also in our daily lives. >> guest. let me say the fact that we live separately every metropolitan area has a nervous implications for those that we face i spent a lot of time writing about
the achievement gap but a good part of that that if you concentrate children with economic disadvantages they cannot possibly achieve at that level even if they were not predominant like african-american children so they are absent more often said to pay special attention so with every time they are in poor health as middle-class children there is no way to give every child special help because
curriculum at home needs to be more remedial. every child comes to school distressed then they have to be spent on the behavioral issues so the fact that children are concentrated a fax that education and problem that we face to focus on the confrontations between african-american men that is a function of residential segregation to serve and protect and young men would not be hopeless
with note transportation so overcoming those problems that they face we're concerned about growing inequality. in part by residential segregation so low income children are much more likely than those who grow up in segregated neighborhood. sova it is important for what we might do about that. >> so why is it segregation leads to those that -- outcomes.
so what comes with that?. >> guest: it is primarily because those that are concentrated in single classrooms prevent the teachers from being able to address those individual problems to every child has those problems and it has become more difficult to deal with if you integrate low income african-american children and in the neighborhoods he would not have these problems but it is lower in part because of the history of segregation
if that isn't a policy alternative i don't suggest black children have to sit next to white children to learn but to be disproportionately african to be next to middle-class children with a learning environment. >> those that come from lower income households. >> they come from the of weld households and i can talk about that now or later >> is going to be a long answer. >> but most people think of
residential segregation today something the supreme court coined the term that happened by accident because of prejudice or real-estate agents steering people to different places under those constitutional theories although it may not to have one side of the time but under that theory something happens through private action if it happens by state action that only is there a constitutional remedy but an obligation so
how does this wealth gap that you talk about i rise with the state-sponsored segregation it is not a hidden history but there are two main aspects and how they react with each other as a place with the high rises unemployed single parents that is a fairly recent development public housing began with the new deal during the depression
with a of middle-class families ever homeless during the depression some were built for african-americans that is what made them so progressive others bought public housing only for whites. so those segregated projects were built so that started us a new deal so in the ear of the 20th century in the north and south with of aetna's it ethnicities they did not have transportation
so those neighborhoods who were integrated we don't have that anymore today. you could write that i never feet in which she describes his best friend was polish dated a jewish friend in a school the federal government came into the neighborhood demolish them in bill segregated public housing with a separate project for whites and blacks now skipping ahead this with don through world war ii for those who migrated in seoul many of
these had no african-american population in california there were very few african-americans with the shipbuilding with the federal government but they were all white before the war so in 1949, getting closer, that was a massive expansion because that was us housing shortage even than. and all of those returning to the country so president
truman proposes this option but to emphasize the point in the early years of public housing cities had social workers visit the homes of the white applicants to make sure the children were well behaved, a good enough furniture to put into public housing and had to show a marriage certificate. so president truman proposed this bill not for race reasons but because because they were opposed to any private sector involvement so they defeat this was the
poison-pill amendment and hopes it will pass within congress put said in a housing bill that from now wanted us to be integrated but before that to be segregated but the amendment that had to be integrated so liberals supported the integration and then it was passed and then they would abandon the bill so the liberals said congress fought against this led by hubert humphrey said the integration amendment before that was passed to continue
that policy of segregation of what followed so that is how we have these giant towers in chicago or perhaps the most well-known of these. they give that these are segregated but there for black people but to leave that towers are for african-american the other is for the whites not because they did not apply but that after a few years the white tower was vacant and the other one had a long waiting list why is it that after all these years that
whites public housing that has happened all over the country had a long waiting list? the program run by 80 fha with the movement of white families into single-family homes and to the suburbs so the federal government a wooded guarantee loans but they never could have assembled the capital of selling 17,000 homes with no buyers. guaranteed by the federal government on the explicit condition no homes be sold to african-americans and every home in the neighborhood and ask to have a deed to prohibit the resale to african-americans so the whites were moved out of the city's african
americans had to remain into the city's at the same time that the rights were part of the country but those homes sold for seven or $8,000 and is about $100,000 in today's money african americans are equally capable to pay that money for a house especially with the fha mortgage with no down payment policy in fact, they paid less of a monthly carrying charges they and public housing. but to hold -- showed a home so today they sell for three different a thousand dollars
to read your question the african-american families that were prohibited in rented apartments did not gain $300,000 in equity over couple generations of white families gain that equity that those homes -- homes are unaffordable so now if 1947 that was the national median income so today they sell seven times that working-class families that moved to the suburbs from the '40's and 50's. so to a nationwide we have a ratio of income african
american wealth is 5 or 7% of world most families been their way it --- eight their wealth. there is an enormous difference between a 5% wealth ratio almost entirely attributable to unconstitutional federal housing policy into the fifties saw it think that wealth gap is a charitable. >> edits a wonderful history that you have african-americans with one track of housing and giving to another track of housing and the state subsidized opportunity and another one
in which african-americans vince were excluded from but that begs the question why? why was this done?. >> guest: added say difficult question to answer that is not in the archives of regionally speculate but that is for the journalist to speculate. [laughter] billet-doux take their several reasons but remember the roosevelt administration was an expression of it anglo-saxon ruling class with their refusal to it met refugees from nazi germany with anti-semitism so that is not surprising so also
with many cases the administration reluctantly made compromises with senate democrats to include african-americans the benefits of the new deal so they were excluded from social security, minimum-wage but that doesn't affect housing because other democrats were content to have integrated housing in the north some were perfectly willing to have integration and the wingback to the time of slavery. we did have some other problems as long as the self could preserve integration that would explain the housing issue but the other
issue is i guess that really isn't an answer to your question in but to desegregate formally every other area of american life but then they considered anywhere on the bus but then they could sit down but the lunch counter that they could go to the neighborhood school but to desegregate neighborhoods what happens? the next day they cannot move to the affluent suburb so it is very difficult to think about this problem and as a result we have avoided that end we come up with the myth to protect us from
thinking about it that it all happens by private action therefore it happens by accident we don't have to worry about it. >> but the state that actually enacted?. >> but there is a common idea where racism is basically linked to a conservative south what does that mean you have a situation that when they went to have that critique of president barack obama so that means that was the exact point of the policies
so what does that tell us about the possibilities for those ago to white supremacy or racism?. >> i don't know if i would go that far. the new deal was the first administration actively involved so it isn't the previous administrations that were racist all those summer and some were not. with the harding and coolidge administration so first it was involved in
housing and a note of the roosevelt administration was worried but relatively progressive on race because of the african-americans. were having the only housing for white families. >> i will push you a little bit. but much of that inequality can be traced to this. so it can only be created by i am awful economy. so with is the opportunity to be involved so that is
the ability to segregate. >> i gave a lot of lecturer's and people always ask me that question i did not want to answer that the fine a in a book about remedies in tell the disabuse ourselves of private causation because as long as we have this consensus conservatives and liberals alike those that think that as is the fact there was segregation that we cannot think free the so i will give you a radical
answer because there is no political consensus that gave you the example before from levittown. with the history was state-sponsored as a violation of the 14th amendment so we might do the following the 15 percent of the metropolitan areas or where they buy at the 15% of homes that would be a constitutional justifiable remedy in light of the history that i just described although i've never said that of public but i just did.
to be understanding the history before we can begin seriously to talk about remedying it. >> we are ready to take questions from the audience. now i don't have a mic. that's okay. >> we can share. >> all right. >> if you could comment on housing segregation being a result of partially due to the fact that when many g.i.s returning from the war, they got the g.i. bill, and i think they also got money for a mortgage, bit understood that while african-americans also received the g.i. bill, they usually, a., couldn't find other bang that would give -- couldn't find a bank that would give them a loan or couldn't find a school that
would take them. how does that compare to the disparity in asset accumulation versus what you just laid out? >> well, in the book i talk about -- i've been writing about this as -- i've said for a number of years, and i got an e-mail from somebody who told me her family story, and the told the story in the book. an african-american veteran of world war ii, very ambitious and talented. he bought a truck, a surplus army trucks and reconditioned them to haul sheet rock and other construction material. he got a contract with levitt. he was a veteran. got a contract with levitt to help build levitttown. but wasn't permitted to buy a home there. he was better off nationally
than many of the people who purchased homes in levitttown, the white people. they were working class men returning from the war. so the g.i. bill was available in theory to african-americans but if the subdivisions that the federal government was creating wouldn't sell homes to them, the availability of the g.i. bill didn't do much good. >> thank you. i love your book. i've bought so many copies. i live locally in this neighborhood, and i'm increasing -- i grew up in washington, dc on dupont circle and one side of the circle was mixed and the side was mixed. by the time i graduated from college that changed and all dupont circle has gentrified. i couldn't afford to live
there mat is the impact of zoning? i have a ground floor flat i could afford to rent to a family. they go to the merch school or -- they could live downstairs in a one-bedroom with a big living room, dining room, kitchen, a beautiful garden, but i can't do it because of zoning. i would like to do that and encourage my neighbors to do that instead of building this god awful, pardon me my french, homeless shelter with cubicles for people to live in without access to food and jobs. they can go to giant. they have to schlep their kids across town. the amount eye money they could buy and help people in this neighborhood and other neighborhoods to redo their basements to provide inclusive housing and get people on the
right track to independence instead of continuing slavery by putting people in boxes in the police parking lot. >> all right. let me -- i'm going to talk about -- let me talk about zoning more generally. the term i'll use is exclusionary zoning, zoning that prohibit dirk don't know the particulars of your neighborhood and won't try to find out in the next two second, but many, many white neighborhoods, white suburbs in this country, have exclusionary zoning ordinances that prohibit -- i'm not talking .poor people that prohibit the construction of
townhouses or attractive apartment units. those zones ordinances -- goes to your question. i'm finish with your neighborhood now and will talk about generally zoning. those zoning ordinances date back to the pre new deal era and they were specially racially motivate, which is something that another part of the history that we forgotten. in 1917 the supreme court ruled that cities could not establish racial zones and cooperate say that african-american can live here and whites can live here or there. actually, the way in which these ordinances were written, that the supreme court prohibited in 1917, indicated how integrated the neighborhood friday in the urban areas were. the typical ordinances prohibited froms knock moving on to a block which was majority white. an integrated block but it if
was majority white, blacked couldn't move on and majority black, the whites cooperate move on there the city of baltimore has enormous difficulty enforcing it because one block there was an african-american church, mary the reverse -- an african-american church, and the minister moved out of his par parsonage in order to have repairs done and he couldn't move back in because the majority white nature of the block made it illegal for him to live in his own church parsonage. the supreme court ruled that unconstitutional, not because they that are integrationists but the supreme court, those who know some american history -- in that time for the 19 -- beginning of the 20th century through the mid-1930s the supreme court throughout its main role in life was to protect property rights, and the zoning ordinances interfered with the property rights of the home owner to sell to whomever he
wanted. that was the basis of the supreme court decision. city leaders who wanted to segue degree gait their communities were panicked by the decision. how were they going to do it without the ordinances? and in 1920, warren harding was elected president. his secretary of commerce was a fellow named herbert hoover. and herbert hoover established the committee on zoning, and it was made up of prominent segregationists, planners, who in other -- who in the cities they came from had designed racially designated zones but understooding the supreme court now prohibited it, came up with the idea of economic zones as a way of keeping out african-americans. and they published a pamphlet on zoning district stowed eve jurisdiction in the country, telling hem how to zone to exclude low income families.
they say they wanted to -- didn't say they wanted to exclude african-americans and they were also concerned about the irish. we have had a recent discussion in this country about the president trump's muslim ban where the courts said that the ban itself may on its face seem nondiscriminatoriy but donald trump and his campaign made so minstrel naker to statements we understand what that is about. the same being the zoning pamphlets and zoning laws. in 1926 the supreme court upheld the right of cities and suburbs to impose this kind of zoning. the only time in 40 years, 35 years, of the supreme court, in the beginning of the 20th 20th century, that they upheld a policy that interfered with property rights, interfered with the right of a homeowner to do what you're talking about, or
interfere with the right of a developer to build a single family home on a small lot size. the only time. is when they upheld the right of cities to zone out low-income families. the low court judge said it's vows this is designed to exclude colored and immigrant families, and that is unconstitutional according to the 1917 decision, but the supreme court ignored the lower court's finding of fact that this was the purpose of the zoning laws and it upheld zoning. since then we have had economic zoning across the country. racially motivate initially. i'm not saying every suburb who deposit a zoning law was not racially discriminatoriy but that's a big aspect of racial zoning in the laws and it's done a great deal to maintaining the segregation in suburbs around
the country. >> so, my husband and i moved back here, thought about remedies. i know philadelphia has a policy -- i'm not sure if it's still active today but where they're tearing down the big human being housing units and then they're public housing authority is buying dilapidated properties and building duplexes and or single family homes in the heart, in the core of the city. and then i guess it's like a lease to buy program where low-income families can by the housing. is that a valid and replicatable model for other cities? >> me again? when do you get a chance?
>> i didn't write a book. >> well, these policies going on around the country, and typically what happens in them is some families do get to participate in these rent to loan programs. rent-to-own programs but the vast majority of family who are are displaced don't because the density is much lower and so they wind up going somewhere else. where do? well they good to the only places that will accept them and these are new segregated communities in suburbs. many people wondered, when we first started being aware of this as a country again, after michael brun brown was killed bay policeman in ferguson, missouri, how did a 'city like ferguson become a majority black not because of that particular rent-to-own program because a lot of programs like that, where
neighborhoods get either gentrified in the case of st. louis, they demolished the large swath of the african-american community that had been created in the central city by the policies described before. so they demolished this areas to build the gateway arch like half the mcdonald's sign to introduce you to the west. where do people go? they got voucher. instead of public housing they got vouchers typically known at section 8 voucher, and the section 8 voucher program is one in which the housing authority, with federal money, gives families a subsidy so they can spend no more than 30% of their income on a market rental at the average rent in the community.
well, that's a fine system except that there's a curious exception for the fair housing act, and that is that landlords are permitted to discriminate against section 8 housing. in st. louis, when all of these african-american neighborhoods in downtown st. louis were demolished and sometimes for housing, middle class housing, sometimes for universities, sometimes for big highway exchanges, african-americans had to go to the only places where their vouchers were accepted, and turned out in st. louis, the town of ferguson, another one next to jennings, a couple of towns that would accept the voucher and these became new segregated communities in a ring -- this is happening everywhere in the country, everywhere in the country you get gentrification and historically we got the urban
renewals and in the '60s was called negro removal. it simply displaced the minority population to new segregated communities. people talk very well of that gentrification because it creates diverse communities. it's only transitional diversity, transplantation signaturessal integrate, because gradually those communities become unaffordable to the people who used to live there they can't pay property taxes there anymore, and so that forced them to move to new segregated communities. so the program is final -- fine except it's not part of a broad bland of integration. it helps a few people who get the rent-to-own homes but it's not part of the a broader plan to desegregate metropolitan areas which is required if we're going to deal with this problem
successfully. >> with your article -- but what struck me when i read it is that blackness creates whiteness. discrimination against black people is required for white people to have white privilege, and the fact that democrats did so much with desegregation and affirmative action, et cetera, has made it impossible for poor whites to have a white home and a white school at their low income, which means they definitely need donald trump, and that is what they were voting for. am i wrong? is there some hope for this country other than right now, i'm assuming that in ten years, hispanics will be white because
white people are not fools. so, is it true that it is essential that black people be the negative outparty so there is white consistency in this country? >> well, it's certainly two sides of the same coin. you can't have superiority without inferiority and vice versa, so, yes, white privilege depends on black subjugation. the reality is that poor whites are much more likely to be integrated into middle class white communities than poor blacks are likely to be integrated into any kind of middle class community. we don't have -- we have lots of poor whites in the country, and in metropolitan areas, increasingly. don't have white get to get to -
get ghetto. >> i think it's to important to disabuse people you of the notion that donald trump was elected by white paper. the average income of the'm donald trump voter was $72,000. that is way above any middle class black person. that would be a relatively high income for middle class so it's important we not dump this at the feet of poor white people. donald trump swept white people regardless of demographic across the board, gender, clarks education, et cetera. the just won. >> [inaudible] -- m-rothstein, i agree with the premise that the law has bussed us through
government programs to second degree gaited neighborhoods. my question is how does that reinforce our de facto segregation, the choices we make and our laws are based on personal choices as a society, that we want things to be a certain way so we engage our government to make the laws we have. so an example of this is the seattle public schools case, parents involved in 2002. the seattle aren'ts wanted to integrate schools volunteer tearily and they had a program would where they applause students to achieve racial balance as an expression how they wanted the law to be but the defact to preferences of a group of parents who want segregations remade sued, and the supreme court issued -- saying it's unconstitutional. so how does this cycle of de facto do and racism perpetrate
itself and how do we stop it? >> that case you're talking about, the supreme court decision was based on exactly this myth, and it's one of the thing that set me on this book, when i raid that decision would was shocked -- i wasn't surprised that chief justice roberts wrote the plural opinion saying that set was segregated de facto and there was nothing to do about that. i was surprised steven briar, the associate justice, wrote the dissenting opinion where the appearedded the de facto segregation and his argument was if you have de facto segregation you should be per midsted -- per midsted to integrate but shouldn't be compelled to. i was upset when i read this dissent. wasn't surprised by roberts' opinion. for example i remember reading about a case in 1955 when in
louisville, kentucky, one of the cities involved in this, a black family bought a home -- this is not poor people. these are middle class people. a black war veteran, navy war veteran. not an infantry moan. bought a home in a white suburb and the state of kentucky prosecuted, convicted and jailed the white seller for sedition. that didn't seem to me like de facto segregation. and that kind of thing -- so that set me off on this. i also know, for example in seattle, that william boeing, william and bertha boeing, who also owned an airplane company, were developers of suburbs all around the city of seattle that were racially exclusive using these fha guarantees. that doesn't seem to me like de
facto segregation. so, that parents involved decision is a good example. unless we disabuse ourself of the myself of de facto segregation we can't even make the most nominal progress that the louisville and seattle school districts were trying to make in desegregating. so challenging the myth is the first step we need to talk, and done a great job and i'm trying to help him, and you need to do it as well. every one of you lives in a school district that is using textbooks that are lying being this history and every one of you can do something about that. [applause] >> honestly, this is why it's so important to support richard's work. supreme court justices are products of some of the fine ised of indicational systems in the world. and yet they literal lie --
literally do not understand significant episode or significant portion of american history. if that's the supreme court level, god knows that is true -- the myth is deep. the power legal about is when john roberts -- i can't which case -- the way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race, but -- not discriminated on the basis of race. it discriminates on the basis of racism and racism doesn't require accurate representation of a race anymore a hate crime in the wake of 9/11 person operates a hate crime. be don't understand this was a created thing.
that's the idea that is implies sis in the notion that is this is de facto and people are wandering around and doing stuff and government can't address it. until you get to that myth, almost become actions and solutions are way behind. >> assuming we still live in a world where we do have a government agency, and i was going to ask if you were ben carson what you wrote do but i won't do that to you. if today i was the president and i put grow charge of hud, what would you do? >> well, i hate to sound like a broken record but i was in charge of hud, i would appoint a secretary who would go around the country making speeches about the history of residential segregation. nothing else would fly.
in 1968, richard nixon whereas elected president, and i've written about this. maybe some of you have read it. he appoint as the secretary of housing and urban development a fellow named george romney, the father of somebody that you may be familiar with, and as i said this history is once well known. nothing that i've talked about today was a secret, and we forgotten about it because, as i said before, it's too hard to deal with but once well known. george romney new it. he said, the republican housing secretary, said that the federal government is created a white noose around urban centers where african-americans level and it's the federal government's obligation to untie the noose. he started a program called open communities which the federal got withheld federal funds from suburbs, the things that juris
ricks get, like, grown space and sidewalks and sewers and water projects, all the things the federal government gives out money to -- with held money from suburb evidence they didn't repeal exclusionary zones ordinances, didn't accept a fair share of the metropolitan area's moderate income housing, explore moderate income housing, and actually with held funds from three suburbs. one was baltimore county and was supported in this action by spiro agnew who had been county executive in baltimore county and had fought segregationists in an attempt to solve problems of baltimore because he said problems are baltimore are nor created in baltimore. they're created in suburbs. the werehold funds from baltimore, and from warren, michigan, where he had a background of fighting local officials and withheld funds
from an area in ohio. there was a political reaction. we call it's backlash, and president nixon reined him in, made him cancel the project, forced him out of hud and we have had nothing as decent since. but that's because george romney was able to say things we have all forgotten. it's a forgotten history. i'm not saying if a new republican secretary of housing and urban development would say the thing that george romney said would get away with is because there's much less understanding about the problems and how they arose than back then. when ben -- before ben carson was appointed secretary the obama administration had adopted a rule which was a bear shadow of what george romney tried to do but it was shadow, and ben carson said -- he wrote an
article in which he said this is social engineering, trying to integrate the suburbs, and social engineering always has a negative consequence, unintended consequence bus the rate reality it's a attempt to undo social engineering. if we don't like social engineering we should undo it. [applause] >> [inaudible] -- winston salem, north carolina. >> host: i'm from houston, texas. >> we go to school for ethics and global leadership here in washington, dc, which is a september metster program notice. first hand even as a 17-year-old the reality of racial segregation in neighborhoods in my city. and now my state, north
carolina, has a long history of racial discrimination through neighborhoods, and especially through voter laws, and so i was wondering what you think the role of state governments especially in north carolina in restricting voting rights for african-americans has had in perpetuating the problems with neighborhood segregation, and naomi had an addition to that. >> i also wanted to know how would you describe the current issues of white flight in suburbia and near city communities and what role do white families play in the continue of segregated suburbia. >> i thought we were going to do this together. >> jump in when i feel like it. >> oh. the.
>> i did not read the book. >> but you have. >> well, white flight. this is a typical excuse for segregation. this is a private action. but white flight was possible only because there were all-white places to flee too. if we had not imposed racial selling degree gages in metropolitan area there couldn't have been white flight because every neighborhood would have had a diverse population. so, a lot of of these thing we think of as being purely private, rest on government policy, and let me take a minute to go into one other, if i may, one other example of this. it's a big explanation for defact of the segregation, private real estate agents who were steering families to same-race neighborhoods. wasn't the government. well, real estate agents are all
licensed by the state. now, i'm not suggesting -- never suggest that just because somebody is licensed by a state they become a state actor. if that were the case everybody in the country would be a state actor because we all have some go involvement and that would completely blur the distinction between public and private. about real estates are a different kind of state involvement. since 1924, the national association of real estate boards had a code of ethics which stated explicitly that a real estate agent could not sell a home in a white neighborhood to an african-american. now, so this is not a rogue real estate agent happening to steer people. this is the official policy of every real estate -- not anymore but the official policy of every real estate broker in the country and their agents, and state licensing agencies were fully aware of this. so i'm not suggesting they should have been monitoring
individual real estate agents but they had -- there was a violation hoff the 14th 14th amendment to license a real estate agent who belonged to an organization whose official policy was you would be expelled and denied the multiple listing services and no longer able to follow your profession if you sold a home to an african-american in a white neighborhood. that's state action. a violation of the 14th 14th amendment. in grosse pointe, michigan, the real estate board had a point system. if they were going to sell a home to somebody they had to rate them in a number of points before they -- african-americans got no points, jews got a couple, italians got not many more, and irish and white got more they can buy a home in grosse pointe michigan. the real estate commission said they had to end the statement
because it was violation of the constitution. the state legislature in michigan then passed a law overruling the real estate commission's policy. the governor of michigan then vetoed the state legislature's overruling of the real estate commission, and then the supreme court got the d -- the state supreme court in michigan got into the act and said the real estate commission had no authority over racial discrimination. this real estate commission, they can lift the license of a real estate agent if he is plate alimony to his ex-wife but the supreme court of michigan says racial discrimination was not unethical and the commission had no juris rick over it. that's not de facto segregation. that not private activity. this is a whole industry which was structured by government, by state government, and all it would have taken is lifting the licenses of a couple of real estate agents for discriminatory
behavior and the real estate industry would have had to change. not just a couple in one stated but if states around the country lift licenses occasionally that would have been enough to prevent this from happening. so, this notion that we have de facto segregation because private real estate agents were acting outside of government to steer people to other neighborhoods, it was nonsense. >> [inaudible] >> oh, voting. >> here. >> one thing that has probably come out of literature and the dialogue around to the civil rights movement is voting as a kind after symbolic act, pretty thing you do.
you vote, you honor your ancestors who died, and i think what is disguised by that is voting is how you have a say in how your tax dollars are actually spent. actually an expression of power. there was a long history, since the civil war and before the civil war, definitely in the north, of depriving black people of the right to vote, which is the right to have some sort of stay in how the country is run, how their tax dollars are actually spent. obviously if you can't vote or can't exercise that at the same level that other ground can, you can't hope to have influence over policy. richard, i think his point -- i wouldn't say exonerating the south but pointing out it was not just the south. when we start talking about housing policy and i would expend thats' the new deal policy period.
talking about social security, unemployment, et cetera. nevertheless it is true that the inability of african-americans to actually vote during that period made it very easy to exclude -- african-americans in the south to exclude african-americans from brad swaths of new deal programs inch north carolina there's a large demographic change. people from the north moving in and growing latinos, and people attempts to hold on to the old order. it's not a mistake see the draconian voting laws to allow people to do the same thing they would have been able to do 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago. i think the fight is important. it's inextricably tied together so you're on the right path. [inaudible question] >> couldn't jerrymander everything.
>> true. >> i think that the history is not particularly mysterious for black people. there are -- most black people are aware of this history because our grants grandparents who are still alive endured it. would like to just ask a question. the policies were nefarious and intentional and segregating housing because, as you point out in your book, housing is sort of the gateway to all the other disenfranchisement, and so i guess the question i have is about what that -- you said one way we resolve this is by fixing the text books and having people acknowledge what the history is so we can have that as a starting point for fixing it. i think the question i have is how do you get to that acknowledgment when the effort was intentional because it upholds so many other myths.
so, if black people aren't poor because they're just not working hard enough, then maybe they are working as hard as everybody else and you, the other, you're not rich because you're so smarter than everybody else. you're wealthy because of these policies. how do you start -- i mean, you have to undo a whole bunch of myths that take down a whole bunch of structures in the minds of even good and liberal and honest white people in this country, that folks aren't really -- i don't know that folks are ready to do that. i'm curious about how we start having this conversation. it's not about blame at all. it's about acknowledgment so that we can grow to be the country we intended to be, not just be pretending to be that country. [applause]
>> that's such a beautiful question. i think it gets right at the heart of thing -- the thing about this, a kind of weak, soft, moist hope. not all hope but a kind of weak, moist hope. if we -- why want can he just educate everybody and everything will be okay. white did we forget in the place? why do we keep forgetting. some 150 years plus removed from the civil war and still have to deal with that. why take a terrorist atook take down the confederate flag? what you realize is these lies, thing myths, are not side course courses, they're central to the american idea and to acknowledge
them assaults in some really, really profound way, the narrative that i think a lot of americans have. how can you have these theories of american exceptionalism when you understand that, just to speak broadly. all of that exceptionalism is built on the torture and plunder and destruction of human beings. how do you maintain that? i don't know that you do. here's what i know african-american progress in the country. never come through sheer moral appeal. it just hasn't. it's not like suddenly in 1860, 1861. 62, folks realize that enslave. was wrong. at that it point froms had been making the case since they got here so over 200 years at that point. it's not as though all operates the toe martin luther king and the activists but not as though they were that much more dynamic then the activists that came
gov. i don't mean any disrespect. i dime honor all the folks that came before them. you have and extort of exterior interest and the case of enslavement the country was threatened with destruction, the country allows the southeast to leave, who knows who can leave next? don't have an america. it became true that in order to maintain union you had to destroy enslavement. the civil rights move the same thing. this exterior threat of the cold war and so american racism becomes an international embarrassment to this country. i don't know you could have had the civil rights movement without the cold war. i'm not sure it would have happened. it's the honest of those who know, those who -- the responsibility of those who know, those who push, who want this country to move away from this to actual history, not sit at home and be -- say it will never happen.
you have the be there, pushing, when that exterior event happens so that you can publish through thank you window. the window is not always open. but if nobody is pushing, on the window opens there will be no chance to go through. that's a big discon -- disconcerting because it's not totally up to us. that is the situation we're in. what that allows for is action. doing something but arealistic action. when people get into this place of weak hope, when things don't go the way they thing go into despair. so donald trump is eelected and people say, i'm giving up. moving to canada. donald trump is nothing compared to the long things african-americans in the country have had to endure and keep
enduring. you can have a long-term vision. it's your responsibility to struggle -- perhaps even more so when it looks like there's no solution or the horizon. then you can -- the expectation has to be beyond your lifetime, actually. >> not going to answer, richard? >> this point. i feel so strongly about this. we're all in this together. you have in idea the number of audiences i've spoken to where african-americans didn't understand this history and were shocked by it. it's not the case that -- african-americaned certainly know that they are second class citizens in this country. they don't understand the history that i've been describing and that -- anymore than whites do, and that robs them of a weapon as it does all
people. the other thing i think -- i agree, it's both. its takes external forces and a movement that is ready to take advantage of those forces. thesive rights victories might not have happened without the cold war but the cold war wouldn't have done it without a civil rights movement. so both are necessary, and that is why this -- the other thing is we have made some progress, i would say. we can't forget that. we have made racial progress in many areas, and so i hold out hope that there's a possibility for more progress. even something of a attempted scholar, i happen to believe that knowledge is power, and so it's -- i think that understanding the history does give us an additional weapon that we can use, but i agree it's not the only weapon, simply if we understand the history of
things aren't going to just fall interest place. -- just fall into place. >> thank you all for coming, please give a huge round of applause. [applause] >> our visit to ueugene oregon coins with local author mark whalen as he discussed the culture and lives of from photos in world war i in this book the great war and the culture of the new negro. >> the name of my book is the great they're culture of the new negro. i decided to write about thaws i was very interested in world war i and -- i'm from england
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