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tv   The Bottom Line 2020 Ep 18  Al Jazeera  July 5, 2020 2:33am-3:01am +03

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but. in india identity politics on the right is what we're seeing is the construction of budget issues in coats and loads of millions of people across the country and there's a dark sun in detroit is we do see the grid from his off the majesty of the human figure into something more like the team i didn't see of the british today i meet with victims of violence and discover what life is like for minorities in the country join me on my journey in search of india's soul on al-jazeera. zeroes here to report on the people often ignored but who must be heard how many other channels can you say will take the time and put extensive thought into reporting from under reported areas of course we cover major global events about our past lives and making sure that you're hearing the stories from people in places like palestine libya the sahara legion and so many others go to them to make after we care we stay. hi i'm steve clements
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and i have a question what is racism and is there really any way to get rid of it in any society let's get to the bottom line. we have a special guest with us today at a young age he's turned black american academic studies on their head arguing that racism is about bad policies not about bad people not about bad ideas he says that the only way to beat racism is for each and every one of us whether white black or brown to look into our hearts and confess our personal bigotry and prejudice and actively become anti racist he is even x. can be one of the nation's foremost scholars on racism and he's just been tasked with building the center for anti-racist research that boston university. even thank you so much for joining us i know you have a new book coming out and it is called and he races baby i'd love to understand based on you know what you've done and how to be an anti-racist you're reaching
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further what are you trying to do with this new book that you're releasing think it's a tour for for parents and guardians in caretakers and teachers to begin nurturing and raising the youngest of people to to to be anti-racist to record. human equality to see conditions as problems not necessarily people to value all the different skin colors and you know the young people may not be able to fully understand race and racism especially if they're 6 months or or one years old but we oftentimes teach 3 months old a 9 month old in one and a half euro children about sophisticated concepts like love and and kindness and the older they grow the more they understand it and i think that we should be doing the same thing with with racism and we should know that our kids are not colorblind
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we're not deliberately raising them to be racist and therefore not deliberately i should say raising them to be anti-racist in society is raising them to be races. well that's what i found is so powerful about the notion of reaching children because you're also reaching their parents in the process and you and i have talked about this before that we come back and i came back in with a certain you know assumptions from my parents in the community and i now look back at and i see oh my god that that was entirely just in cairo the racist frame at the time i didn't know it so i want to applaud you for doing it but i'd like you to tell our audience a little bit about the frame of racism that has been baked into us and what you believe we need to proactively do to undo those frames there's so many aspects of the frame i mean 1st and foremost people who believe that a racist is essential to who a person is in a racist is an essentially
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a bad person and that it it is a pejorative attack term when indeed the term racist is a descriptive term it describes when a person is saying a racist idea when they when they're doing so they're being races in the very next moment they're supporting an anti-racist policy that being anti-racist so it's a descriptive term describes what a person is or what have i should say what a person is doing and then i think people are also taught to deny their own racism in the way they deny their racism is when they're challenged for being racist they typically say i'm not racist and so the term the construct of i'm not racist has always been the sort of sound of this denial and i've been encouraging americans to realize we that being recent story and terrorists. well when you hear hear about cases that we see now in the news before us you know george floyd being
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murdered briana taylor rashard brooks recently in atlanta this is now in front of us in video over and over and over again people of color that have been killed and while i know your book is about so much more than that i would love to know what you think we need to do as a society to at least begin moving the needle when it comes to the way we think about security and policing well i mean in how to be an anti-racist in particular sort of examine the fact that ok what are our policies what are the outcomes of our policies or our policies leading to racial equity and justice or they leading to racial inequality or injustice the current policing policies what effect are they having what outcome or are they having and we know that the outcome they are having not only from from the data but also from the videos the outcomes
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are injustice and any even inequities in which you take a city like minneapolis where black people are about 20 percent of the city's population the more than 60 percent of the people subjected to police shootings that's woods barren that's a problem there policing policies that are leading to that that need to be changed and i think that the way we go about doing that is realizing that the people aren't the problem that the policies of the problem and we can change policy if we recognize them as the problem. do you think though i mean i'm just want to challenge you a little bit at that on that that you know if we change policy i talk to al deming's the other day about creating an office of law enforcement standards do you think that will kill stop that officer from killing toward floyd or sticking his you know. his knee and his neck i mean i i get the notion about policies i just
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you know i and i and i've read much of what you've written about this really isn't a bad people problem but i see bad people out there and i'm just want to challenge you a little bit to help me understand what you are what you're meaning whoa and again i don't think that changing policies are going to necessarily result in this necessarily result in no police officer you know ever using lethal force you know ever again but when they do there could be a reaction or that they can think twice because they know black arar's are just as protected is is as white lies so they will resist or choose not to do something that maybe they would have done in a different policy environment and so their inclination is to continue needing
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george florey on the neck but there's a conscious recognition that something will happen to them that is bad if they continue to do so so they may stop not necessarily because they are anti-racist not necessarily because they value his life but they value their own job they value their own career in a mine is that we have to say now that our youth our lives. you know i when you and i have spoken in the past i talked about growing up in the military in the air force and my parents were supporters of a guy named george wallace lot of folks won't know torvald he's one of the worst racists in american history and it's something i hadn't realized until i got off. as an adult that that deeply disturbed me that went through and it created my own process of being introspective about what that meant and how it had been you know it hijacked some of my views i'm interested in you you also look the fact that the
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we all walk around with these racist frames what is a process that you recommend for people to get into their their frames and into their souls like you know i did in the conversation about this horrible politician and my past. so i think to the fine terms 1st and foremost and so we should be able we should define what a racist idea is and what a racist policy is and then we have to be willing to admit our own racist ideas based on this clear and consistent definition in the way we interrogate whether we have any racist views is very simply to take any racial disparity whether it's black people disproportionately dying of cold in 19 or black people disappointingly incarcerated or that the next immigrants disproportionately deported and ask ourselves why is this the case and we're only going to really come to 2 types of answers one answer is going to say there's
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a problem with society there's a problem with racist policy there's a problem with the conditions in the other answer will say there's a problem with the people that but the next people are being distant fortunately the ported because they're animals and rapists black people are disproportionately dying of coke in one team because they don't take it seriously or there's something wrong with the way in which they take care of their health black people are disappointingly incarcerated people say because they're they are more criminal like almost violent these are racist ideas and so i think it's critical for us to interrogate our own ideas in even you know by asking us questions of wind disparities exist in person. now it. our white people 'd or those their power in the power structure the only ones that are part of this racist equation 10 you have victims in this equation that they to themselves carry racist frames overthrown without question i mean to give an
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example i mean i think. for instance if you look at the history of poor whites poor whites have been simultaneously the victims of racist policies that disenfranchise them based on this idea that black and brown people were being disenfranchised or that prevented them from unionizing and organizing with black workers based on sort of white supremacist ideas so then affected their economic livelihood their political livelihood just as you can have black or leads who were magine that they're being held back not by racist policies but by black poor people and they are trafficking in ideas that there is something wrong with with black poor people in and so you know i think that it's critically important for us to for all of us no matter their race or or even class or gender to ensure that we're
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seeing the problem as not racial groups of people book but power and policy from your book how to be an anti-racist has shot up to the top of the new york times bestseller charts and a lot of other books my former colleague at the atlantic tommy seacoast between the world and me there's been a lot of these books that have focused on racism racial identity do you think that the people buying the books are deeply interested or do you think this is a moment where they're checking off boxes about how they feel about this. i suspect it's both i certainly think there are people who see it as a fad and certainly see it as a thing to do but but i know that there are other people who who are serious there are other people who realize now that racism is a fundamental problem that can no longer be ignored that they have to learn about it the same about police violence and those are the people who are going to join
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with us to really create a different type of country. now you have in the past well in your book you have said we need a department of it he raises i'm in the government we need a constitutional amendment against bigotry tell us more about that and what you have in mind i mean those sound to me like interesting and big ideas that become hard to enforce so what you have in mind there i think the spirit of those types of you know what. publication asked me will give them a sort of an idea completely out of left field and but really the spirit of of those oh you hate that when they do that you know exactly. and in the spirit of those proposals was that 1st and foremost i mean if we were to create a nation where we defined a policy as racist based on its outcome in other words of any policy was leading to
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racial in equity or injustice it was defined as racists and it was seen as a policy that needed to change then i think that would make a tremendous difference because there are a lot of policies currently that are leading to racial in equity or injustice that are framed as not racist or race neutral or people don't really want to acknowledge that those are problematic policies then we also need to be regularly looking into and studying policies and there are facts and we need people within government and other perfective organizations protecting people against racist policies protecting people against the harm that comes through racist ideas . you've become hugely popular here in the in the communities that you're speaking to and you used to know go and speak before
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audiences all around the country and there are mainly white audiences today you're on soon doing exams me but what would those folks when you interact with them tell any of the stories that stand out in that you feel the revelations that people shared with you or the attacks came from so i think 2 things that stand out i think what seems to always stand out to me is when extremely young people you know like a 15 year old. student who is black who had read my book and heard me speak in and came up to me afterwards in said so basically you're saying there's nothing wrong with black people. and and that all of the people who think this something all black people they're the problem not black people and that we basically need to change the conditions and then things will be will be fine and you know for me to be like yeah you broke it on down certainly sort of stuck with
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me or you know 82 year old woman who said that she had no idea that she had been had that she had held racist ideas for as long as she could remember and but she didn't want to die that way you know she wanted to transform herself you know obviously those are the things that that stick with me or you know is someone who is a conservative who comes to one of my talks and just assumes by not reading my book that my work is just challenging conservatives when if anything it's challenging liberals just as harshly. so that's always funny. when you when you are confronted like that you know one of the things again coming back to this time george floyd an argument are brewing you know so many of the injustice we've seen people want to do something and they may not know what they what they can do and with all due respect you're saying hey look inside yourself
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and look at your own stereotype look at your own racism but i think a lot of people want an app or they want to checklist or they want some way to be told if they do x.y.z. that they will be better and they have done something that is improve the world and i know that's a simplistic take but i think a lot of people are there is there anything you think that can be done to help those kind of people who want to be well meaning but they need something a little bit less i don't know fuzzy so if you want to sort of check off a box each year one of the ways in which a person could check off a box every year is give a tremendous amount of money every year to racial justice organizations that are challenging racist power and policy and i think that's absolutely sort of critical i do think that people should be involved in the process of changing themselves
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directly involved in the process of changing their society but if they want to be removed they can certainly donate money to these organizations that are certainly on the front lines. when you when you were thinking about setting up an academic institution on antiracism and i know you've been at american university now you're moving to boston university what are the key pillars that you're going to put in place that make that that will give this resilience in these times that will help people understand what the pathways are to anti-racism. well i think on the research and we want to be able to build teams of scholars and researchers who have sort of been organized to solve a seemingly intractable intractable racial problem and so we really start from the
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problem and then build skilled people from multiforme many different sort of sectors and research areas to essentially go about researching that problem and that then that research wouldn't just stay there it would then lead to evidence based policy solutions and so we're not only sort of building these research teams but we also want to build teams and we want to build connections to advocates and policymakers that can allow for the production again of evidence based anti-racist policies that have the capacity to reduce inequities and injustice and and there are many researchers who who want their research to make that type of impact and certainly there are many researchers like that you know i'd be you in and throughout this country. even was her incident that happened in your life that helped you to understand that inverting this question of racism or whether
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people said they were racist or to thinking about it in a more proactive way of reaching out saying every day or i'm going to reach into myself and become the opposite of that what what got you there what was the experience if if there was one that got you into that into that frame i think it was the experience of writing stamp them beginning my 2nd book which was a history of racists ideas anti-black racist ideas and as i began to study the people who were producing these racist ideas i saw a person after person denying that their ideas were racist so it wasn't that wasn't just the production of racist ideas there was the production of the nile and the sound of that denial was in our terms that they were not races and so you know the more i heard that and saw that and read that the more i realized that the people who also were fighting racism were also claiming that they were not races
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that that didn't really make sense that and then there were people who believed that there was this sort of neutrality that that you can just do nothing and if you're doing nothing you're not supporting racism when in fact to do nothing in the face of racial inequity is to allow it to persist. i think finally in light of that that answer that you just shared with us i'm going to be interviewing angela davis next week for this t.v. show and i'm fascinated by her life and by her commitment and by her sacrifice at a time when you know i think candidly it was even tougher back then for folks to stand out than it is today that's my perspective you've been someone who has written a lot of great things about actual labor so one question is what should be my 1st question to her but tell me about your own relationship with angela davis. so i mean you know i've gotten to know her personally you know over the last few years
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and she's so gracious and and. and spirited and such a you know beautiful intelligent person. but i think my relationship largely but then joe davis is came from and meiring her work and in meiring her her her her sort of life or life time of struggle and oftentimes you know people now are talking about the problem of police violence and problem of mass incarceration but she was talking about in advocating against that problem you know since the early 1970 s. and so you know talk about someone who was ahead of their time talk about somebody who was challenging the size of the number of people being arrested long before there was mass incarceration you know it's certainly you know angela davis and she was also defending black single mothers when nobody wanted to defend them she
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was also defending. black obviously poor people when no one wanted to defend them and so she's really put throughout her public career been been defending those those people that really no one wanted to defend but she was willing to do so and i think in terms of a question. you know what does it sort of feel like to to to literally be fighting literally be ahead of your time you know and in so many ways. you know what does that feel like . and that finally potentially the country is catching up to where you were 40 years ago well even x. can be congratulations on your book about to come out about children and anti-racism but i want to thank you for all the contributions you have made to those of us who need to think about this every day thank you very much for joining
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us you're welcome thank you so what's the bottom line i spent a long time thinking about the family i grew up in and how racist stereotypes get passed on i have to be deliberate to make sure i don't perpetuate them further and i have to be deliberate to make sure that i have a world of friends and colleagues that include people from every stripe but nobody's perfect we all still have a lot to do doing something to be anti-racist can move society to a better place beyond tolerance for one another but to actual empathy and understanding and as my guest today says that requires work on all sides of the race equation and that's the bottom line.
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frank assessments tourism income stream is dead in the water what's been the result . significantly informed opinions there has been a very aggressive political rhetoric that has become very normal and it really is society in depth analysis of the day's global headlines it's time for new policy say on the street i think not all the disintegrating but he's written in this the leading to all continues inside story on al-jazeera. boldin untold stories from asia and the pacific on al-jazeera on counting the cost the pandemic decimates jobs pushing variants rick stream told us we could have
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