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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  June 11, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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06/11/18 06/11/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! the u.s. suicide rate has risen 25% over the past decades. in some places, as high as 59% according to a new report of the centers for disease control and prevention. the findings come as two high profile suicides occurred within days of each other last week will stop celebrity chef and television host and can ordain and designer kate spade.
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mann.speak to dr. john then it has been 50 years since the assassination of robert f kennedy. negr r will be e free to voteo,o,es to leaearn, and to en their way into sure the cision government which in turn shaped their lives. amy: we will speak with michael eric dyson about his new book "what truth sounds like: roberet f.f. kennedy, james baldwin, and our unfinished conversation about race in america." all of that a more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. presidenent trump and north korn leader kim jong-un have arrived in singapore ahead of tuesday's
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planned summit, slated to be the first-ever meeting between an american president and a north korean leader. the summit will be held at the capella resort on sentosa island. trump is slated to meet alone with kim jong-un, along with just there to translators. moments ago secretary of state , mike pompeo held a news conference in which he said korea unedented securityer north assurances, although he did not specify what these guarantees would be. the official north korean news agency said sunday kim is prepared to talk about denuclearization and a durable peace. meanwhile, president trump told reporters saturday he would know within the first minute of their meeting whether kim is serious about making peace. pres. trump: good question. how long will it take. i think within the first minute i will know. just my touch, my field. that is what i do. how long will it take to figure
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out whether or not their serious? i said maybe in the first minutete. the way y they say, you know if you're going to like somebody in the first five seconds -- do you hear that one? well, i think very quickly i will know whether or not something gogo is going g to happen. amy: that was president trump speaking to reporters saturday at a news conference at the g-7 summit in quebec. he was eating surely before leaving the summit early, avding a meeting with other world leaders about climate change. trump was isolated throughout the two-day summit, a position that was captured in a now viral photo of german chancellor angela merkel, flanked by other world leaders, standing over trump, who stares back at her defiantly with national security adviser john bolton by his side. after trump departed the summit early, he attacked canadian prime minister justin trudeau in a series of tweets, in which he called trudeau meek and mild and
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dishonest and weak. on sunday, white house trade adviser peter navarro further attacked trudeau over his resistance to u.s. tariffs. this is navarro speaking to chris s wallace on foxox news. >> chris, there's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith, diplomacy with donald j. trump, and then tries to step him in the back on the way out the door. and that is what bad faith justinin trudeau d did with that stunt press conference. that is what weak, dishonest justin trudeau did. that comes from air force one. i will tell you this. to my friends in canada, that was s one of the worst political miscalculations of the canadian leader in modern canadian history. amy: in gaza, israeli soldiers killed four palestinians and wounded 600 more during g the palestinians' nonviolent protests friday along the separation fence with israel. among those the israeli soldiers killed was a 15-year-old boy named haitham al-jamal. photos also went viral of
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another palestinian protester being shot in the face with a tear gas canister. he remains in critical condition. the israeli military has killed at least 124 palestinians and wounded over 14,000 others since the palestinians nonviolent great march of return prototests began o on march 30. the pepentagon s says u.s. specl operations soldier alexander conrad of chandler, arizona, was killed in southwestern somalia on friday. the pentagon says he and fellow troops were attacked by the militant group of shabab. -- al-shababab. four other u.s. soldieiers were wounded. the are reportedly about 500 u.s. troops stationed in somalia. the united nations is warning of escalated fighting in the syrian province of idlib where 2.5 mimillion civilians are trapped. the idlib media center says 44 civilians were killed by russian airstrikes on the village of zardana thursday.
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the white helmets say at least 16 more people were killed by syrian government airstrikes over the weekend. the red cross has evacuated 71 staff members from yemen amidst rising threats and security risks to its aid workers. hundreds more red cross workers remain inside yemen. "the wall street journal" reported last week the united states is weighing expanding its role in the ongoing war in yemen, which has killed 15,000 civilians, sparked the world's shed the country to the brink of famine. back in the united states, media reports have revealed that a honduran asylum seeker who was separated from his w wife and three-year-old childld after crossing the border died by suicide in mid-may after strangling himself in a jail in starr county, texas. a border patrol agent told "the washington post" that marco antonio muñoz lost it after agents told him he'd be
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separated from his child, and that the agents then "use physical force to take the child out of his hands." when muñoz continued to protest the physical removal of his son, the agency transferred him to a nearby jail where a guard found him dead in his cell the following morning. the news of muñoz death comes as resistance is mounting to the trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents at the border. washington compass member pramila jayapal blasted the administration after visiting women asylum-seekers detained at the federal detention center near seattle-tacoma international airport. >> half are more of these women havehildren that were forcibly separated from them. they were never given a chance to say goodbye to their children. the vast majority of these mothers do not even know where their children are. what i saw was absolutely horrific. what i saw and heard.
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anand we have always had probles with the criminalization of immigrants, but this is [indisiscernible] throw them into facility, not provide them with any y access o basic huhuman rights. from theire mothers children. amy: a federal judge in manhattan has temporarily halted the deportation of a delivery worker who was arrested by ice last week after dropping off a pizza at the fort hamilton army base. his deportation to ecuador has been stayed until july 20. pope francisis appealed direrecy to top oil company executives to help avert the global catastrophe of climate change during a two-day conference at the vatican. i encourage you, having demonstrated aptitude for innovation and for improving the
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lives of many people by your creativeness and professional expertise, to use those skills in the service of two great needs in today's world -- the care of the poor and care for the environment. i invite you to be the core of a group of leaders who envision a global energy transition in a way that will take into account all the peoples of the eararth s well as future generations and all species and all ecosystems. amy:y: among thosese in attendae was the heads of bp, exxon mobil, and t the italian e enery giant eni.i. in more environmental news, the indian government has vowed to elelinate singngle-use plastic items by 2022, making it the latest of at least 60 countries that have introduced bans fines aimed at reducinplplastics pollution. the company y ikea also anannoud ththursday it wowould elimininat single-use plastic i items by 2020. ththousands of women i in engla, hern iland, scscotland and wales poured into the streets sunday to celebrate the
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suffragette movement. this year marks the 100-year anniversary of the british 1918 "representation of the people act," which granted property-ownwning british women over age 30 the right to vote. in the philippines, press freedom m groups are condemningg the murder of jojournalist denns denora, who was shot dead thursday in the southern region of mindanao. he was the editor and publisher of the weekly community newspaper trends and times. the philippines is one of the most dangerous countntries in te world for journalists. award-winning actor robert deniro slammed president trump during the tony awards sunday night here in new york. >> i'm going to say one thing --[blee] trump. it is no longer down with trump, it is [bleep] trump. this will get to introduction.
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amy: students who survived the valentine's day massacre at marjory stoneman douglas high school alslso performed duririne tony awards, singing "seasons of love" " from the hit musical "rent." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a new report by the centers for disease control and prevention has found the u.s. suicide rate rose by 25% over the past two decades. topping the list was north dakota, where suicides have risen by 57% from 1999 levels. suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the united states. the report found that neararly 45,000 suicides occurred in the united states in 2016, more thtn twice the number of homicides. firearms accounted 51% o all suicides in the same year. among people ages 15 to 3434, suicide was the second-leading cause of death.
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while suicide rates have risen in a all but onene state, researchers have states with strict gun laws have some of the lowest suicide rates. this includes new jersey, new york, massachusetts, maryland, and connecticut. the findings come as two high profile suicides occurred within days of each other. celebrity chef and television host anthony bourdain died by suicide on friday. the 61-year-old was found dead in his hotel room near strasbourg, france, where he was filming an episode of his cnn program "parts unknown." he was found hanging do that. -- to death. bourdain's death came just days after fashion designer kate spade was found dead in her manhattan apartment in an of your suicide as well. hung to death in the bathroom. and asylum seeker died in
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stranglinger string wome himself. he lusted afafter agents told hm he would be e separated from his child in thes used physical force to take the child out of his hands. to talk more abouthis public health crisis, we are joined by dr. john mann, professor of psychiatry at columbia university and a division director at the new york state psychiatric institute. he is a past president of the international academy of suicide research and the american foundation for suicide prevention. dr. john mann, welcome to democracy now! it is good to have you with us. can you talk about this rising rate of suicide? >> well, it is extremely alarming, especially because suicide is such a major cause of death, particularly in young people. some people are cut short in the
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prime of their lives. is not thatof this the united states is sharing this problem with the rest of the world. itit is quite different. the united states has had a steadily rising suicide rate for two decades. much of the rest of the world has had a declining suicide rate. so we're going for a much in the wrong direction. amy: what do you think a accouns for this? >> several things. you mentioned north dakota. there is a clue. north dakota has very few psychiatrists, very little like ethics services. it is a fairly rural state as muchmuch medical -- medical infrastructure, for example, as the other states you mentioned like on the east coast -- new york, connecticut, etc. massachusetts. some people don't have access to health care. what is that matter for suicide? it matters because suicide in the majority of cases is a
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complication of an untreated psychiatric illness. that means nobody made the diagnosis and most of these people, over 70%, die untreated. amy: you talked about there being fewer psychiatric and psychological services in these places, also stricter gun control laws. >> there are a number of factors thatontribute to suicide. first of all, if you don't have a diagnosable psychiatric illness, your chances of dying cide are very tiny. first of all, yet have a diagnosable psychiatric illness. when you have that come all caps of social factors become much more important. even within individuals who have a psychiatric illness, it is at to subgroup that are get at risk. we try to focus on who that subgroup is in order to focus our main prevention efforts on the people who need the most help. it is not that easy to find that
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subgroup, and that is what research is all about. amy: so white males account for seven of 10 suicides. that was in 2016. why is this demographic the greatest risk? white young men? male suicide e rates are 3.5 times s higher than females in e united states, but it is not quite that simple. the patent is different. we don't need understand why males commit suicide more than females. the patent in the sense that male suicide rates are pretty constantfter aate teenagehood intos. the 6 mal into theires 60's, is different in women. women have a gradual rise in suicide rates in midlife, then it begins to decline. it is going in a very different
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direction. understand the differences. there are biological differences in the brain and women compared to men, and they reflected in behavioral differences. men are more prone to violence against others. as well as against themselves. but another big factor we think is health -- health sticking. women are more prepared to seek help. to say "i've a problem and i need help with this." men find it more difficult step to take. men are poorer a getting help for themselves. amy: we have seen, for years now, this phenomenon in the united states that is unusual in the world, and this is mass killings. must usually perpetrated by young white men. young white men who, by the way, before that have more often than not inflicted pain on a woman in their life, maybe their mother or girlfriend or in his high ahool shootings, stalking
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girlfriend or some of the perceived they wanted to be their partner. do you see a connection between suicide and these mass shootings? >> yes. there is an important connection. for many years, there was a phenomenon that was very uncommon called homicide-suicide. where individuals would die by suicide, but before they died, they killed other people. usually multiple people. usually people they had some connection with or knew, meaning family, girlfriend, fellow employees. but there's been a new phenomenon that has emerged strikingly, which are these mass killings, using automatic weapons and high-capacity cartridges which allow people to kill a lot of others in a very short period of time. this has now become an copycat thing. many, but not all, of these
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individuals and of dying by suicide, by their own hand. this is what you might regard as an extreme form of homicide-suicide. these individuals who are filled with a lot of anger and depression. so the first thing they do is express their anger by killing other innocent people around them. the second step is killing themselves. it is a rare form of suicide. unfortunately, a lot of innocent people dieie as well so it garns a lot of attention. that is appropririate, of cours. but in the bigger picture of preventing suicide, if one prevented all of these events from happening, one would only prevent a tiny, tiny, tiny pele in the u.s. who die every year. amy: this is an absolutely shocking number. 45,000 people die a year. more than twice the number of homicides. >> yes. worldwide.e
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worldwide, it is estimated about 600,000 people died in wars of all sorts, but it is estimated between 800000 and one million e to suicide.ery yearorld w those of us who live in working in this field have been kind of a voice in the wilderness try to help the public understand that suicide is such a terrible a loss of causes such life. amy: what about the racial disparities? we're talking about mainly young die by suicide. in a moment i want to ask why the language has changed and what you don't say " "commit suicide" but "die by suicide." what about raciall disparities? >> race seems to make a differ. we're not entirely sure the reason is. for example, the community most imperiled, north american indians in the united states.
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, our allies to the north, the community most imperiled is the inner wits -- inuits. groups arese particularly at risk. it is proof they also have greater problems with things like substance abuse and alcohol abuse disorders, etctc., etc. amy: and does poverty way and? >> poverty has an effect, for sure. we know one of the reasons why -- there's a big difference across united states and you look at suicide by zip code or county level. part of the reason for those differences of the quality of medical care and availability of medical care. even if you have medical care available, part of the reason for the difference in suicide rate is related to per capita income. if people can't afford to pay for health care, then you're
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going to have the best health care neighborhood but it doesn't do you any good. the united states is distinguished from much of the western world by not having universal health care coverage. suicide,"ords "die by "committing suicide." why do people refrain from saying "committing"? >> ts is part of the stigma. for many years, to relatively recently, suicide was regarded ofa crime, l listed as a crime the statute, so you cmit murder and you commit suicide. suicide was regarded as self murder. there is a long theological background to this kind of thinking. so this was a terrible problem in terms of reaching out to these people and offering them help.
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we know now in many religions, the theological view of suicide has changed. it is now regarded as the act of an ill person, therefore not a sin thus people and a families should be treated just as the same as people who died of any other cause. amy: opioid addiction. >> this is a huge problem in the u.s. probably has contributed to the rise in suicide rates more recently. our rise in suicide rates has been going on for two decades, steadily. "the" addiction is not excavation, it is one country reading factor. just as the economic recession in 2008, which occurred after the suicide rate was clearly rising, is one digital factor but not "the" explanation. the opioid epidemic is a medical
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disaster. it contributes to suicide rates, but it is not the sole driver. amy: dr. mann, i would ask about suicide prevention, the most important question. what are the most effective ways to prevent suicide? >> the critical thing to o knows suicide is highly preventable. ,hat when we have organized targeted programs, we can produce a significant decrease in suicide rates. we have shown this in a number of ways in differentommunities and countries, depending on the causal factors. the causal factors vary from place to place. shownample, we have now at county levels and even at improveels that if you positions capacity for diagnosing and treating major depression, which is the psychiatric causal factor in 60% of the suicides with psychiatric
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disorders and 90% of all suicide occur -- if you just traiain physicians to betterer recognize depression and treated more thectively, you will lower suicidide rate. we know this for a fact. it is been demonstrated in multiple studies in multiple countries. it is not a matter of training the psychiatrist. most adults are treated by their /byn's.nternists, or ob aboute to remember that 40% of all suicides see their doctor within 30 days of dying by suicide. and about 80% see their doctor within 12 months. so what is the suicidal patient saying to the doctor? they're p probably talking about physical symptoms. when this physical symptoms
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actually present a depression with physical symptoms. they don't mention they are depressed. the doctoror does not ask and te patient does nothingng to tell them. so that is one very important thing. but what else can we do in the united states? well, the obvious thing our guns. people need to know the more is,s, the moreun likely it is to be used in a suicide. homes with more guns have more firearm suicides. homes with guns have more firearm suicides and homes without guns. your chance of getting killed with a gun or family member dying with a gun in a suicide is much greater than any chance of an intruder r getting killed wih that gun. guns don't make people say. they have a two-edged sword. they place everyone in the youehold at risk. amy: comparative did suicide with suicide. we don't usually see those numbers. you'd be less likely to die if
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you attempted it in other ways. >> if you attempt suicide and survive, more than 80% of those individuals never died by suicide which makes it very important to come if you like, shift people from the most lethal methods to the least lethal methods because you can lot of life that way. the chance of surviving a self-inflicted gunshot wound is very low. these people don't get a second chance. in countries, which is most of the western world, where guns are much less available, they are much safer. commonest method is hanging or drug overdose and the survival rates are higher. amy: family members, friends, teachers -- what is recommended when you see someone in pain? families andxpect
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employeess and fellow and students to be able to guide who is going to be a risk for suicide. that is unrealistic. however, expression of suicidal thoughts or life isn't work living are giving away valued possssessions were examining thr will or insurance -- these are signs that people are thinking of closure in their life, which is a bad thing. it is like a fever. a person has a bit of a fever, you don't know as their family member or best friend is that pneumonia or overwhelming affection or is that just a viral infection which is of no consequence? what do people do? they go and ask somebody who does know, go into the nurse, go into the doctor, nurse
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practitioner, somebody, and get checked out. it is the same. if someone says that suicidal thoughts, this could be lethal. might not be, but you don't have to tell. they should go talk to somebody who knows. suicidehot lanes, helpline's available throughout the united states 24/7. we have emergency rooms with experts who can tell the difference with a reasonable degree of certainty 24/7. and ask and get help. amy: is there suicide hotline you get out? >> suicide hotline, you can find that everywhere. on google, facebook. when you use a search engine to look about or ask about suicide, it ierywhere. amy: we're talking about 123 suicides a day in the united states, the average, 45,000 a
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year. we talked about anthony bourdain and kate spade. high profile so suicide gets more attention. then y you have the case of this my grandfather -- migrant father who has this child ripped from his armrms, does not knknow if u will see his child again. and he takes his own life in a texas jail. close yes. the pattern with these kinds of suicides is that at first th think inexplicable or to the socicial causes. but in reality, when we begin to learn more about these individuals, we find out these kinds of social stressors affect vulnerable people particularly. suicide is a very extreme response to stress. it doesn't occur in well-integrated healthy people.
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people are resilient. like kateividuals spade. issued aow her husband press release that she suffered from depression and anxiety and was seeking treatment, but we also know she was living alone, separated from her spouse. we know that anthony bourdain, from the news reports and the statements of his friends, had a serious problem with substance use disorder when he was younger and m more -- and had been suffering from depression. we don't know much more than that. but we know nothing about this individual who was treated in this horrible way. of course people should not be treated like that. that goes without question. it doesn't matter if you are resilient or vulnerable. a segment of the population is vulnerable, already suffering from a depression. we know life events, bad life events, happen more frequently to people who have a psychiatric
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illness. if we ignore the psychiatric illness peace, we're colluding with the stigma that is harmed and prevented help from coming to people who are suicidal. we have to recognize they often have an illness and their mostly untreated. that is a terrible state of affairs will stop and in this country, with all of its wealth and resources, it should not continue. amy: marker in 20 ohmunoz was the name of the texas man who took his own life and we know anthony bourdainin and kate spae just in the space of a few days and yet every day between them, well met between these people altogether, hundreds of people took their own lives and the national suicide prevention lifeline says calls have spiked since the apparent suicides that became so public last week. final words, dr. mann? calls have spiked.
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i hope that means people who need help our reaching out for it. .hat would be good news amy: i want to thank you for being with us. dr. j. john mann is a psychiatry professor at columbia university and a division director at the new york state psychiatric institute. reside of the international academy of suicide research and the american foundation for suicide prevention. this is democracy now! when we come back, we will be joined by michael eric dyson. "what a new book out truth sounds like: rfk, james baldwin and our unfinished conversation about race in america." back in n a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: students from stoneman douglas high school performing last night during the tony awards "seasons of l love" from the hit broadway musical "rent." there teacher also won an award, one of the teachers at stoneman douglalas, the drama and art
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teacher who protected so many students as theunman rampageged through their school on valentine's day. this is democracy now! i am amy goodman. this month marks 50 years since the assassination of robert f. kennedy. on june 5, 1968, kennedy was shot dead shortly after winning the california democratic primimary, a major boost in his campaign for the democratic presidential nomination. his death came just two months after the assassination of the reverend martin luther king, jr. and five years after the assassination of his own brother, president john f. kennedy. robert kennedy's record as a political figure is a complicacated one. to many americans, he came to embody the hopes of the civil rights and antiwar movements. but while serving in government, he played a major role in actions these movements fought against. as a young lawyer, robert kennedy was a key aide to republican joe mccarthy on the notorious senate permanent subcommittee on investigations. as attorney general under his
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brother, president john f. kennedy, robert kennedy signed the wiretap order authorizing the fbi's spying on martin luther king, jr. on foreign policy, robert kennedy played a key role in u.s. efforts to overthrow cuban president fidel castro and was part of the inner circle of advisers that backed president kennedy's escalation of the bombing and destruction of vietnam. but in his final years, robert f. kennedy became a vocal advocate for civil rights. this is kennedy speaking in mississippi in 1966. willciety in which megores be as free as other americans, free to vote and to learn and to earn their way and to share the decisions of government, which in turn shape their lives. we know to college this and will mean great tensions and difficulty and strife for all of us in the north and in the south.
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but we know that we must make progress, not because it is economically advantageous, not bebecause the law says we should do so, but bececause of thee fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do. amy: that was robert f. kennedy speaking in mississippi in 1966. well, we turn now to a new book by michael eric dyson that looks at kennedy's evolution on civil rights. it is titled "what truth sounds like: rfk, james baldwin and our unfinished conversation about race in america." the book centers on a 1963 meeting kennedy -- then the attotorney general -- had d with james baldwin as well as other leading figures in the black community, including lorraine hansberry, actor and activist harry belafonte, singer and actor lena horne, and pspsychologistst kenneth clarkrk this is james baldwin reflecting on the meeting. shock to me.
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i want to say this on the air. geneneral did not know -- >> the attorney general of the united states. >> mr. robert kennedy did not troublet i would have visiting my nephew to go to cuba, for example, to liberate the cubans in defense of a government which now sayays it s doing evererything i it can, whh cannot liberatee. there are 20 million people in this count. and you can't put them all in jail. i know how my nephew feels. i know how i feel. to washington, d.c., to speak with michael eric dyson, the author of "what truth
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sounds like: rfk, james baldwin and our unfinished conversation about race in america." michael l eric don is aa professor of sociology at georgetown university and thee author of many books. welcome back to democracy now! it igreat to havthe u s. >> always great to be here, amy. amy: talk about were you begin the book with the martyrs and you place it at dr. king's funeral. >> that's right. i begin they're talking about soaking the soil of reality. and from that soil of brutality, of death and of tragic and traumatic separation from these figures, these icons, who informed our values, our visions, our virtue of american democracy. i wanted to talk about how their deaths, martin is looking junior, john kennedy, before his, robert kennedy's after his, was a kind of traumatic trilogy, transformative deaths that made american the use and ideals and
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struggles for justice that much morere plain, that much more time,le and at the same it seems that much more distant because if we were willing to kill these men for various reasons in defense of bigotry and hate and blindness to american inclusion and diversity and j justice, then we were further apart from those ideals. but i wanted to start there to suggest the meeting i subsequently explore has to be seen in relationship to what they were willing to sacrifice for what they found out. bobby kennedy evolved. a once fearless advocate for joseph mccarthy, he ends up becoming a serious and considered in principled defender of an advocate for racial justitice, but not withot consternation, not without contradiction, not without complication.
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his relationship to martin luther king junior, for instance, is quite interesting because after that death that i begin with, after the funeral i begin with the we remember that bobby kennedy spoke in indianapolis bravely about the death of king. he announced to those black people in the hood what had gone on against the advice of his advisers who said it is going to be tough. at are going to the ghetto this particular moment at the death of their foremost figure, it could be really treacherous for you and very careless. he went on anyhow. he gave april you speech - -- he gave a brilliant speech. later that n night he said privately, this is not the worst thing, that is the death of king, to happen to the american republic. he was a very complicated figure. amy: i want to go to that moment in indian out was when robert kennedy has learned of the death of dr. king and he breaks the news to supporters as he tells them about king's assassination. >> for those of you who are
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black and are attended to be he injusce o such an actistrust against all white people, i would only say that i can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. i had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. wroteorite poet once "e"even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until in our own despair against our will comes wisdom through the awful grace of god." what we need in the united states is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another.
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feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black. amy: that was robert kennedy, the night of king's assassination, breaking the news to his own supporters and indianapolis. michael eric d dyson, you were saying about that night? >> later on after that remarkable oration, after that are killed t to the greek classics, after that appeal to his own personal suffering, his existential trauma, the remembrance of his brother's death whichch lingered above him like an angry cloud of grief, he said in a kind of dispassionate and nearly corrosive and some would say very callous manner, look, this death of king's death the worst thing g to happen to e republic host of of course, remembering his own grief aboutt his brother and knowing these kinds of traumas could be visited upon the nation from time to time. but he is right with martin
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luther king jr. is that even though after the meeting that i write about he said, look, you can talk to jimmy baldwin and belafonte or lena horne were jejerome smith, the most decorad freedom rider perhaps along with john lewis, they suffered both the most, physically beaten within an inch of their lives, so to speak. but after that meeting, he said, look, you can talk to them like you talk to king. yet when you the ability to talk to king, there often verbal exchanges that were sometimes brbrutal and sometimes honest ad difficult for me yet he ultimately committed to the very principles that motivated dr. king. dr. king accepted that as the price to be paid in order to link arms to fight for justice. amy: so let's go to that moment of the meeting. talk about where it took place, who was there, and why you centered your whole book around it. >> well, the meeting took place in new york on central park at
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the kennedy penthouse that family, hiss father. it is were martin luther king jr. had his first meeting within 10 it for president jack kennedy, john f kennedy. so it was there that they met. they, being bobby kennedy and james baldwin, met the morning before when baldwin flew out to hickory hill after landing and d.c. and then got driven out to hickory hill by mr. kennedy's chauffeur to meet with them in the suburbs of d.c. at his home because he was attorney general. they had a pleasant enough meeting step very interested in each other. they expressed interest in each other. the plane for baldwin had been late, so kennedy said as they went off to the city, to go to another meeting, he said, look, i'm going to be in new york. why do you bring some of those people we talked about that black people listen to? he did not want to talk to king or whitney young or any of the
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established leaders. he wanted to speak to people that had the ears of the people, so to speak. is that he said, look, i've got someepl they listen to, harry belafonte, lena horne, lorraine hansberry. they happen to be available. he got them together. he said i will meet you tomorrow. they went to the penthouse. bobby kennedy, expected to be treated with great deference and ceainly greeted with gratitude for the enormous contribution that he made -- especially his brother -- to civil rights, but it was a checkered record. on the one hand, they were committed in word to the civil rights movement and some things that bobby kennedy dead as attorney general trying to force j edgar hoover to get a few more like people in the b building, talking about voting as a linchpin to arguing for justice but at the same time, they put on to the federal bench curl cox
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who called black people the "n" word from the bench. promised -- may the will time called to marley the kings jailers, he placed the call to the governor because king was in jail in georgia and said, let him out. it is something that is harsh and unnecessary. he was let out in a few days before he was let out -- he was let out a few days before the ofction for the president united states of america. that boosted kennedy's numbers among black people who could vote. he promised the governor, i will not use federal legislation to enforce immigration and desegregation in your state. he is playing both ends against the middle. when bobby kennedy shows up, these very smart black peoeople are aware of that. jimmy baldwin fired off an
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electrifying telegram -- i know young people don't even know what that is. ortap there more's codode and communicated message to the attorney general we are outdone by the ghoulish behavior of the buffoonish and yet brutal -- my words -- who is down in birmingham doing horrible things to black people, unleashing powerful fire hoses, washing them against the wall, police dogs are snarling at the flash of black men and women and children. he said, we've had enough. you fire that often kennedy responded. they have the meeting. kennedy, expecting deference that g got jerome smith who sai, i'm tired of the pity patter. part of the meeting was to figure out why was that black anger is rising, why is it that rage is on the rise of a why is it that black people listening to the black muslims and not martin luther king jr. or roy wilkins or whitney young from
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the urban league and naacp respectively, why are they being -- from these voices beneath? id,ome smith, who was 'don'worry about the black muslims. they are not going to do anything that will bother you ultimately, politically. what you have to worry about is a guy like the cusa deveney deputy of these principles and i'm ready to take up and go into the streets because i am tired of the injustice that we are enduring. that was astonishing to mr. kennedy and electrified the room. he tried to pivot away from jerome smith to the respectable knee grows-negroes. was lorraine, it hansberry doucette, mr. attorney general, they're fair number of prominent people in this room but the only man you should be listening to is over there, pointing right back to jerome smith.
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therefore, even though he was angry, bobby kennedy said that we have got to find a way to work together. he said, look, i know you are in despair. but i'm an irish person and two generations inwe have a president he united states of america -- speaking about his brother jack kennedy. to which baldwin responded, is the problem. we have been here for five and six generations and there's nothing to show forr it in terms of political advance. then it went downhill forr thei. for three hours, iv kennedy was virtually nailed to his chair, seeping silently gives the vicious s and little expressions from honest emotions. the reason i want to begin with this meeting is it is rid of why people have to listen to the agony, rage and pain of black people. don't say, don't speak back, don't type of, just listen. me.en to figure out where i am, what i'm doing, what i'm struggling with.
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understand the rage, the pain, anxiety, that, we endure. he sat there and listen, but he was very angry. siccedrds, he went and the fbi. for the most part he got j edgar hoo ch tk out who these people were. ironically enough, the liberal zion an iconic figure was the the fbison who sicced on his people. when he calmed down he said, if i was black, i might be full of rage, too. i might have some of the same agony, too. i have done understand that. was,f the major messages see race not as a political issue but a moral problemem. use the bully pulled it to speak up and amplify the best interests, the best angels of american democracy and then talk about that. he did encourage his brother jack kennedy to give such a
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speech in june of that year. an amazing speech that talked about the moral accent and underscores of race, but especially morality in regards to race. bobby kennedy himself begin to change his own outlook, begin to talk to many more black communities -- sometimes getting brutally assaulted verbally, sometimes with direct passion and rage. he sat there and understood it and begin to work with people and begin to change his mind to become much more empathetic and understanding of the condititios and the predicament of not only black people, but poor people acrossss this country. i wy:t to go back to the great writer and civil rights activist james baldwin speaking in 1960 through before the assassination of mallm x and dr. king and robert f kennedy himself. this is 1963, right after that meeting he had w with harry belafonte and lena horne and robert f kennedy. th i is baldn. , , hed d on televisioion
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said, i'i've got no couountry, f got no flalak. he was o only 16 yearsrs old. icould nonot say, you do is t o don't haveny evidence to prove that he does. ere were tearing down n his i is becausean francisco engagingng as most othther citis are, and somome gro urbanan renewal, w which means m moving groes. out. it means negegro removalal. were talking about humuman bein. not t such a tng as a monolithic wall or obstrtrtion, these are negr wasasn girls who at 16 and 17 stitill fl they havave any place here. based on the performance of the entire country. amy: james baldwin in 1963.
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we will be back with michael eric dyson, authoror of "what truth sounds like: rfk, james baldwin and our unfinished coconversation about race in america." ♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we turn now with michael eric dyson, georgetown university
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professor, author of "what truth sounds like: rfk, james baldwin, and our unfinished conversation about race in america." we turn to the issue that took place last week, the ongoing racial justice protest by professional sports players, particularly black nfl players. lastly donald trump abruptly called off a planned visit by the super bowl-winning philadelphia eagles -- tweeting -- one not a single eagles player knelt during the national anthem in the 2017 season. malcolm jenkins to protest by raising a fist gin the national anthem in what has become one of the most enduring images of the protest. last week malcolm jenkins silently held up a series of signs to reporters in a team locker room who asked about his response to trump canceling the white house visit the next day. among the signs that jake is displayed "you're not listening."
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in prison% of people are of color. michael eric dyson, your thoughts on what happened last an what these protests are about? reagan withhe pasast mr. jenkins. i was on book tour in philadelphia. i had dinner with him m and then he came to hear me preach philadelphia where the reverend dr. alan waller's pastor. there is a connection here between this young man, break them articulate, highly intelligent the willing to lay everything on the line that is his career, the fortunes he is been able to accumulate. peoplelf of vulnerable wh have no platform, n voice. there's a community behind him. dr. waller's church, thousands of members standing up to applaud and to praise him and to let him know you're not alone and we appreciate the
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amplification of our interest that you are doing. and by holdia ike miles davis at the end of his life, who refused anymore to speak mostly when he introduced corn players or people who are part of his they and. there's a kinind of black signifying going on. . jig is is a certified, this is not about the prototest them about an anthem, about a flag. it is about when you refuse to fly the interests of black and meghan people, thehe way you ignore anthe coming from hip-hop colterer that of told yu about police brutality and about the assault upon unarmed black people by policece people. holdlding up a sign, hopefefullu will read you arere not listing the same way bobby kennedy sat in that room refusing initially ton, wanting to speak, wanting to be the expert, wanting to be be found of wisdom and the source of insight. be quiet. listen to what you think you know so you can learn w what you
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don't know. mr. jenkins did not want this to be about whether you are upset about donald trump uninviting you, disinviting you to the white house. this is about putting the focus back where it belongs. ththis desk disproportionate numbers of people of color are cked up. nonviolent drug offenses are going on filling these jails and prisons with black and brown bodies. missresident may pardon johnson, that is an individual thing. that is anecdote versus data. that is individual story versus the stomach and justice. what mr. jenkins is asserting is the need to focus on the problem as a systematic reality. we must celebrate mr. jenkins, michael bennet, calling, and -- calling cap her neck who have decided that their fortunes as individual players is not worth protecting at the expense of their people who die in the
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streets, savages, dogs hunted down, maimed by the disregard from the justice system. amy: michael eric dyson we have to go to break but we will continue a web exclusive at michael eric dysonçç
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