tv Washington Journal Robert Woodson CSPAN December 31, 2021 11:17am-12:05pm EST
"washington journal" is continuing our author series. today we are joined by robert woodson, founder, and president emeritus of the woodson center, to discuss his book “red, white, and black: rescuing american history from revisionists & race hustlers.” thanks for being here this morning. why did you write this book? guest: well, because in 2019, a writer with the new york times released a series of essays written by black journalists called 1619, and they sought to reframe american history to feature slavery. they are saying that america's birthday is not 1776, but 1619, the date at the first 20 african slaves came on the shores of virginia and the conclusion was
therefore america should be defined by slavery. in their essays they claimed that america is guilty of systemic racism and that america should be punished for her sins and should be ever defined by slavery and that capitalism also is an extension of white supremacy and therefore all whites are victimizers and all blacks are victims. this gave rise to critical race theory and then they published these in that school curriculums. so we felt that since the blacks are being used under the legacy of the civil rights movement being hijacked, we felt that black leadership should be pushing against that, so we brought together a series of scholars and activists and we
published an alternative position and narratives called 1776. we believe the rightful birthday of america in 1776 and the signing of the declaration of independence. we do not want to author a point to point debate. we wanted to author an alternative narrative that challenges the assumptions in their books. they claim that the problems of 20% of the black america today that is out of wedlock birth and violent neighborhoods that these problems today are the legacy of slavery and jim crow and therefore the only solution with white america. we challenge that with information. we published a series of essays that challenges that notion and we get evidence that when whites were at their worst, blacks were at their best.
black america should never be defined by the crucifixion of racial oppression and slavery. we are not defined by slavery or discrimination but we are defined by our resistance to it. in our series of essays, we chronicle the rich legacy of black resistance to slavery and jim crow. we built socioeconomic structures promoting our own independence and self sufficiency. we felt that america is a place in our virtues need to be defended. our essays are offering -- our books will first two weeks because america is hungry for accurate information about the history of america. host: nicole hannah jones was a
guest on book tv's afterwards recently. i want to show our viewers what she said and have you respond. [video clip] >> we call this an origin story. >> an alternative. >> i think in a multiracial country we have to have many points of origin. you could certainly have a similar project looking at indigenous people and i actually hope there is something like that and how would we do differently about our country if we look at it from that lens. i think if we are going to engage in origin stories and the question is should we, maybe, maybe not, i think there is a usefulness to them and it is impossible not to have them. culturally as human beings -- >> we almost always do. >> you could academically argue that we shouldn't but i don't think we'll ever not have the stories that we tell ourselves about who we are as a people,
country, nation. we do have to say there could never be one. the idea of a single unifying narrative in a country like the united states is probably impossible. why can't we teach multiple versions of origins and say that it is bringing the course of the origin story that tells us who we are as americans? part of at the 1619 project is gotten caught up in is that this belief was the project was intended to replace something, but it wasn't. it is intended to add to the history that we have, at a different perspective and hopefully challenge our society, schoolchildren, to question and be more skeptical and to say, many other perspectives are we not getting? how do we better understand this country hearing it from a lens
from people who experienced it different ways. i don't the guy would get rid of origin stories. -- i don't think i would say get rid of origin stories. they can have a positive purpose but too often our origin stories have been manipulated to a degree that they just exclude, that they leave too many of us out, and that they are less honest because they are trying to tell a single version of who we are. i think more honest is telling a much larger, more inclusive version, because that is just more inclusive. host: what is your reaction to listening to the author? guest: i can't believe that is the same one i saw same just the opposite. she is not offering an alternative. schoolchildren today are embracing race grievance and
children are being divided, america is being portrayed in 1619 as a criminal organization. therefore, the curriculums they are developing are being implemented in schools where schoolchildren who are white are being told that they are victimizers and therefore they are to be shamed. you have lacked children being separated. some school systems are having separate faculty meetings. there is all kinds of training, walmart, nike, all these corporations are paying millions of dollars for race grievance counseling to come in and charge the employees with being racist. this country is being torn apart by this poisonous vitriol coming
from nicole hannah jones and the race grievance merchants. they are dividing this country at the expense of addressing real problems we are facing. the real problems facing america, we don't have a race problem. host: does racial discrimination exist? guest: it is but it is not the most important problem. the post -- most important problem we have is the destruction of our children. today, 100,000 children are dying from overdoses. the leading loss of black children is homicide. we have more killing in one year than 40 years. you have children in silicon valley from two parent households, wealthy parents, the suicide rate among teenagers is six times the national average.
the real crisis in america is not racial. by having to look at life through the prism of race, it prevents us from addressing the destruction of our children in this next generation. host: what is the solution? guest: that's the problem. the solution is what the woodson center is doing. first of all, we must give voice to the people that are suffering the problems. whenever you generalize a group, all women, all black, and you try to apply remedies, it only helps those that are elites. we talk about women, jeffrey epstein, about the terrible abuse of those women. five years ago, geraldo rivera did a two hour documentary on the plate of -- the plight of
black women in prison being raped regulate by guards. all of the victims were black and all of the victimizers were black guards and officials, yet it did not provoke any outcry. there were no demands for justice for these poor women, because it did not fit the nation of -- racial narrative. as long as a white police officer kills a black like freddie gray and george floyd, then there is outrage. then america is told our biggest problem is racial. it is not racial. race discrimination is a problem but not the most important problem. the most important issue is the martial and spiritual freefall that is consuming our children. in the inner cities, it is homicide, suicide, and drug
addiction. what we are doing at the woodson center is we brought together thousands of mothers and voices of black mothers united. the woman running it is giving voices to the 80% of black americans who are against the funding the police. they are working to improve communities from within those communities. we are giving support and voice to them. 60% of black people do not believe racial discrimination. no one is giving voice to those mothers, the blacks in prisons, these women. that is because it is being viewed through the prism of race. as long as we focus on race, when people was a black face, it
will go on addressed -- unad dressed. host: robert woodson, the author of the book “red, white, and black: rescuing american history from revisionists & race hustlers.” he says it is a response to the 1619 project offered by nicole hannah jones. in this book, there is this, prior to the 1960's, even in the face of jim crow laws, legalized discrimination and a lack of voting rights, the black community did not expense the widescale despair and destruction we witness today because of the strong christian moral code of conduct, and mutual assistance and strong families and communities. what did you find was happening in black communities across america at this time? guest: we had a strong moral and
spiritual infrastructure that protected us against it. i was born during segregation in a low income black neighborhood. i never heard of an elderly person being mugged or assaulted on the streets in a black town. i never heard of a black baby being shot to death in a crib in a drive-by. that never happened, even though we were poor. between 1930 and 1941 the unemployment rate was already present during the depression, we had the highest marriage rate of any group in society. elderly people could walk safely without fear of being mugged by their grandchildren. also at the turn of the century, there were five black high schools in five major cities, new your, baltimore,
they also had crumbling buildings. they had half the budgets of white schools, used text books. even with all of these disadvantages, most black high schools scored higher than any white school in those cities. under segregation. in some of those same schools that exist today, less than 10% of the students today are reading at even grade level. yet they have been under black control for the last 50 years. if race where the issue, tell me why at the turn-of-the-century the schools and students could function successfully in the presence of oppression and they are not today when most of the cities have been run by black democrats for the past 50 years. i really think they are using
race to deflect attention away from wide blacks are failing at institutions run by their own people. host: why is that? guest: that is the question that must be addressed. because what we are facing is not systemic racism, it is in many cases systemic incompetence . the very fact that those same officials got elected on the premise that if we replace white people we will do a better job. they also have $22 trillion of poverty money over the past 60 years that was spent with $.70 of every one of those dollars did not go directly to the poor. it went to those who served the poor. we developed a professional class of providers with a ask which problems are solvable but which are fundable. we created a commodity out of
poor people that resulted in the greatest decline in the black community in the last 50 years, when even after slavery, one of our scholars found that even looking at the records of six major plantations after slavery, we found that 75% of those families had a man and a woman raising children. for 100 years, the nuclear family and christian values served as a protection against a storm of racism. yet in the last 50 years, we are witnessing these tremendous declines at the very time when political power was achieved. it is important for us. host: i will ask of yours to start dialing in with questions and comments. the publicans (202) 748-8001.
dem dots -- democrats, (202) 748-8000. independents (202) 748-8002. what kind of outlook do we need? guest: we need to go back in history and look at how we achieved what we did. in 1929 in chicago, we had what we called black wall street, 731 black-owned businesses. there was hundred million dollars in assets and out of wedlock birth was 1%. in other places, we need to go back and ask ourselves how do we apply old values to a new vision. there are examples of moral and spiritual centers of excellence today.
we have a pastor in philadelphia taking those same values in the low income black neighborhood and purchased properly -- property and set up a life center. there are other senders who have created economic enclaves within low income communities and they are rebuilding from the inside out. we have had examples of violence being reduced in the programs at the woodson center. but we have got to do is apply old values to new vision. and this perhaps we need to have a moratorium in the black community about complaining about what white folks do. making white people less racist does not make like people more complete and prosperous.
we must seek prosperity from within by relying upon ourselves and relying on those values that helped us through the storm of segregation and racism. host: we are talking with robert woodson. carrie, republican, you are up first. caller: good morning. it is so nice to hear from you on the station. i am a great admirer. do you have a radio station, everyday radio station to help the black people understand that her with the democratic party is doing? -- understand what the democratic party is doing? guest: i want to politicize this. you can go to any urban low income lack or white community and you cannot tell which
political party -- black or white community and you cannot tell which political party is in power. the issue is not political. i think bill bennett said when liberals and democrats see poor people and black people, they see victims and people on the rights the aliens. it will not be found in politics. we've got to recognize that it will not be found by making white people less racist. we need to invest in grassroots entrepreneurs, small business development, and invest in the people suffering the problem. upward mobility for all people should be our goal and stop looking at life through the prism of race. america should come together and unite in addressing that moral and spiritual freefall that is consuming our children.
the woodson center is organizing moms across race and ethnic lines to address ways to prevent children from continuing to engage in self-destructive behavior. that is where we need to be trading our efforts. host: we are having some technical issues. we are going to keep taking your phone calls with this conversation. robert woodson will be back with us in a couple of minutes. he is the editor of the book “red, white, and black: rescuing american history from revisionists & race hustlers.” he edited this book. it is scholars that came together to talk about black history, a response he said earlier to the 6019 project, the author of that nicole hannah jones. we are getting questions and comments for robert woodson.
a democratic color, good morning. caller: -- a democratic caller, good morning. caller: i was wondering if you could get robert woodson to explain his opinion on what has happened to african brought over from africa. i have heard this line most of my life and i have seen the difference between the conservative line and the liberal line. i am a liberal and a democrat. i want to hear him explain and i think you will understand when he attempts to explain exactly what he thought of what happened to african-americans from 1619 in places like oklahoma and
things like the atrocities committed against african-americans. i would like to hear him explain that. host: i will have him respond to that. ronald in florida, independent. caller: i have a comments and then a question. or i want to make a statement. the question is, it seems to be a conflict did he edit the book or write the book? host: he edited it. caller: so he is not the author. host: 20 of scholars came together for this book. caller: the other thing i want to point out, i never hear when you talk about racism, and that is i believe that racism is much less in these days. what we are facing is
discrimination between the rich and poor. it is class termination and it is being confused many times with race termination. if you want to think further into that, you need to talk to the people about the word neoliberalism, which is a new and advanced portion of neocons we used to call them. host: this is one of the scholars wrote in the book. they prefer to talk about identity over capitalism and the inequities of capitalism. we have an atrocious wealth gap. it is not a white and black but if you keep rephrasing as blacks and white and shifted to a racial argument, you undermine the possibility of building a working-class coalition which by definition would be disproportionately black, female, latino, and still majority white. that's the kind of working-class
coalition that identity politics tends to erase page or reaction to hearing that. caller: i think they are saying the same thing i am. host: so you are saying that people need to just talk about capitalism rather than racial discrimination? caller: democracy in this country is a joke. as soon as the election is over, the power elite takes over the congress. they are the real runners of this country, not the american people. host: mary in northampton, massachusetts, republican. caller: i really am concerned about something that happen. the smith college is being sued in federal court. the woodson center, is he coming back online? host: he is with us. caller: he is phenomenal.
he spoke up when this first happened. alumni who worked at the college was discriminated against after a black student made false allegations and race baited and completely had three very long-term employees fired. and they started forcing classes on employees. the president did this, and it completely was false and has destroyed the college. he was one of the people who came forward, and i didn't know him and i was so proud that he spoke up about this divisive nonsense. the college is now getting sued in federal court. it was a disgrace. i have withdrawn contribution and i admire what he did.
i am excited about this book, but it has completely divided the campus. i wondered if he could comment on that. host: he is back with us. we will have him respond. guest: you are absolutely right. a bullock student -- a black student has gone to elite prep schools refused to leave a dining room and brought false charges and as a consequence, the school had her charged and investigated and found they were false, but they still punished the cafeteria worker, a longtime security agent, janitor was fired, a security person was fired, and now all of the cafeteria workers were required to go through race grievance
changes -- classes. the woodson center came to the defense of the white workers and made the point that injustice should be addressed whether it is being done in the name of social justice or not. we stood with those white workers and still do. that is the problem there is rachel tierney going on in the name of social justice. a white woman with a black lives matter t-shirt on beating a black mother, pushing her baby in a stroller because she was in a trump rally on penciling avenue. a white woman with black lives matter beating a black woman pushing a carriage and no outrage from the leadership and
no outcry in the public about that. this is the kind of divisiveness that 1619 is creating. your other caller is right, what we believe is upward mobility for everyone at the bottom and a working-class coalition is what we are trying to build. america does not have a race problem it has a grace problem. we need to take race off of the table so we can address the needs of those black women in prison, low income moms who are seeing their children destroyed by drive-by, and is a matter of elites versus the working poor. the woodson center stands with the working poor and trying to shift the emphasis more to class than race. host: the one call you missed was a caller asking to have you explain what happened to
africans that came to this country in 1619. guest: african came were enslaved, but let me say to you, slavery did not start with the united states. it has been a part of humankind since the very beginning. we are the only country in the world that fought a war to end slavery. there is no other country that fought a war to end slavery. when you talk about who owned slaves, when the five civilized tribes were on the trail of tears from georgia going to oklahoma, they carried with them 5000 african slaves, native american people, they were slaveowners as well. they also fought on the side of the confederacy against the
union to abolish slavery. there is no innocence. there were some free blacks who owned slaves as well. there was a regiment in new orleans, a black regiment, that was formed to fight on the side of the confederacy. the whole slave issue is not as simple as it is portrayed. it is complex. it is an evil constitution, but lacks should never be -- but blacks should never be defined by slavery or jim crow. when the man talked about the greenwood section of tulsa, oklahoma, about it being burned down, but we talked about why. it was burned down because the black section of tulsa was more prosperous than the white section and it was because of envy that it was burned down. it was also rebuilt in 10 years.
we don't talk about what it was like before it was burned down and destroyed nor do we talk about the restoration. that is what we need to emphasize, not just -- i call people who only emphasize the negative as crucifixionist rather than resurrectionists. host: let's talk to stephen in new york, democratic caller. caller: good morning. first, they burned down tulsa and built a million-dollar university and other million-dollar buildings on that property and never gave the descendants who still owe deeds to that land. you can't be upwardly mobile out of racial discrimination. educational, voting
discrimination. slavery became jim crow which became open cursor ration. -- open incarceration. also white people have vastly more single-parent families. the single-family issue does not explain the overwhelming child poverty in the communities of color. white kill whites at a higher rate than blacks. black people are not more vallas he -- more violent. if slavery is a crime, then enslavers are criminals like george washington and thomas jefferson. is this book a history or commentary on history? thank you. guest: first of all, someone once said, and i agree, either we are going to deal with truth based facts, otherwise lies
become normal. in our essays, we deal in facts. i hope you would look at the facts. we talk about incarceration rates. the question is, you heard me mention in the 1930's, 1940's, when we were in depression, elderly people could walk safely in our community without fear of being mugged. today, blacks in new york city, 32% of whites in new york commit about 3% of violent crimes. blacks are 21% and we commit 64% of violent crimes. incarceration rates at the turn of the century until 1955 or 1960's were fairly low. there was no so-called mass incarceration between the turn of the century up. we were not incarcerated during
the turn-of-the-century up to 1965 when racism was enshrined in law when our families were whole during that period, why are we seeing the destruction in the last 50 years? it is important for us to address the facts and look at the data that when whites were at their worst, we were at our best. every city had our own hotel. what we were denied access to hotels, we had one in atlanta and miami. we had the saint teresa in new york, the st. charles in chicago. how did we build these great institution, our old medical schools. we had 100 colleges and universities.
these were all black institutions that were developed during the time of segregation. so it is important for us to understand that our history of not oppression but how we resisted oppression by offering superior performance. host: let's go to joel and eagle, idaho, independent. go ahead. caller: thank god for bob woodson. i touch chemistry in a black high school before i was drafted into the u.s. army. i never saw any evidence of it racism and it certainly was not in my chemistry class. jason riley wrote a book that was called "please stop helping me," but it did not get much press. i think he hit on the same things you are highlighting.
the mainstream media has a narrative that if it doesn't fit, you will never get on it. there was a black flight crew during world war ii called the red tails, and the white be 25 pilots wouldn't have anybody guide their bombing missions over italy unless they were with the red tails. the blacks have a strong history . one thing i would like to ask is -- how much do you think the misguided social policies of our congress has contributed to the situation that we face right now? i will take my answer off air. guest: first of all, let me give you another example of one of the best anecdotes, it used to be the dominant crucible in the
black community. in 1943, there were no lack naval officers because they were prohibited from being naval officers. eleanor roosevelt pressured her husband to compel the navy to train them. they took 16 college-educated men and put them through officer candidate school. the navy was going to get these 16 cadets in eight weeks what they would give white cadets in 16 weeks in order to wash them out. when these 16 men found out what the game was, they covered the barracks windows with lank and stayed up all night and studied -- with black and stayed up all night and studied and when they were tested they were in the 90th percentile. the second time they were tested they scored in the 93rd percentile. eventually 13 of them were commissioned. today, that highest score ever
obtained still stands. so black america understood that one of the best defenses against disrespect his performance. you mentioned the red tails. they did the same thing. they never lost a bomber. lack america -- black america understood that the best defense against genocide was to be necessary and the best defense against disrespect his performance. if we were able to perform in the presence of these barriers, the question is why can't we do it again today? the woodson center has spent this last 40 years going around the country and looking for excellence and raising money to support restoration in low income communities by identifying these social
entrepreneurs and then taking the old values from the past and applying them to our grassroots leaders in these communities. we have i think an impressive record of seeing communities restored from the inside out. it has nothing to do with white people and they have no control over our destiny. it is in our own hands. when you invest in indigenous healing agents that they can collectively create an immune system and whole communities can be healed from the inside out if we just focus our attention on our strengths. if we can be solution oriented and promote resurrection and stop emphasizing fiction. host: let's go to bill in mobile, alabama, republican. caller: what a breath of fresh
air. good grief. i wanted to give you a little history of my experience. i grew up in an all-white world and never had anything to do with any black people until i was out of law school, at which time i agreed to go teach an all-black junior-college. it was a shock in many respects culturally for me. the biggest cultural shock was that so many of the girls who were 17, 18, 19 years old had multiple children and no husbands. i had never been around that. i think what has happened now is instead of educating those girls to wait and find a man to raise their children instead of just having them, we trained the white girls to do what the black girls were doing. we have broken families. 40% of children are being raised
are what is now being called single mom household. it is very cruel way to raise children. i can't tell you how impressed i am with mr. woodson. host: mr. woodson, your thoughts here. guest: i totally agree. but what you are describing is something that happened in the last 50 years. even those young women who are in situations, half of them recover and go on to live successful lives, but we do need to understand that 20% of lacks are poor -- blacks are poor, but only 7% that are married are poor. so marriage and raising children, if you are able to work and if you can wait until
you married to have children and work, that that is the best environment to raise children. even if you fail, recovery from those circumstances is still possible and we have one public housing development that we worked with in the 1980's and early 1990's and washington, d.c., typical public housing, 670 children graduated and went to college from one public housing element because of the leadership of ms. gray at the residence who came together. they just about wiped out teen pregnancy by offering hope and opportunity for children under these kind of circumstances. again, we've got to promote innovative approaches that helps to restore people's self-respect and provide them with the means
to be uplifted and to uplift themselves. host: robert woodson, the editor of the book “red, white, and black: rescuing american history from revisionists & race hustlers.” you can find his work at woodsoncenter dot org. we appreciate your time. happy new year. guest: happy new year to you and your listeners. host: when we come back to the topic, your top news stories from 2021. start dialing in. ♪ >> american history tv saturday on c-span 2, exploring the history and events that tell the american story.
at 2:00 p.m. eastern on the presidency, a look at presidential trains with bob withers who wrote the president traveled by train talking about the role that trains played in the presidencies of lincoln, or dates w bush, eisenhower, and at least one presidential spouse, lady bird johnson. on lectures in history a professor discusses the role of the fitness industry in 1980's american culture with models for group classes, the rise of fitness studios, and the sale of fitness tapes. exploring the american story. american history tv saturday on c-span 2 and find the full schedule in your program guide or watch anytime online. >> sunday on in-depth, a
historian joins us live to talk about the early intellectual history of the united states, the civil war, and the reconstruction era. his book titles include gettysburg and robert e. lee: a life, a biography of the confederate general. join with your facebook comments, calls, texts, and tweets sunday on in-depth on both tv. visit c-spanshop.org to get your copy of his books. >> washington journal continues. >> washington journal continues. host: welcome back. we will spend our last hour talking about your top news story of 2021. npr asked what they thought were the top stories of 2021. from the capitol riot to abortion rights, these the