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tv   2014 Brooklyn Book Festival  CSPAN  September 28, 2014 1:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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underserved population and providing new insights i think in some of our more difficult to solve problems that we face. but are the risks from big data as well? i think that's true. i think that you can take pieces of briefly kind of separate pieces of information and assemble them into a profile that may give sensitive insights into the consumer. the question for me is you have all these benefits, you have some risks. what do you do then? spent monday night at eight eastern on "the communicators" on c-span2. >> and now booktv presents coverage of the ninth annual oakland book festival in brooklyn, new york. for the next few hours you can watch as authors discuss politics, nelson mandela, voting rights and public education. but first a panel on city planning.
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>> hello, everyone. welcome to the early sunday morning to the brooklyn book festival being hosted here at brooklyn law school. our dean nick allard is here to welcome you. that dean has been a really wonder for bridge between the law school in brooklyn and the brooklyn book festival. it's on like to introduce nick allard to you all. [applause] >> thank you, professor. well, welcome to all of you. we're so proud to be able to host part of the largest free letter very festival in new york city in one of the largest in the united states. it certainly is the hippest and most diverse book festival. so we've got that working for us. also, welcome to the best law school in brooklyn. some of you know we're the only law school in brooklyn. [laughter] but, you know, we are the best
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law school in the largest and most vibrant borough in the greatest city in the leading state in the most wonderful country. so we have that working force. it's pretty good. yesterday, marla and i returned from a short trip to russia where i was speaking to scholars and students about why study law, why come to america to study law? and last night on the way to the festival gala i saw on the wall on 25 j street and description by alexander hamilton debt in just a few words captured everything i was trying to say. it read, the instruments by which government must act are the laws, or force but it's the first -- if the first is destroyed, then the latter must be used. and if the latter becomes ordinary, and that's the end of liberty. now, this is the borough of churches, but it's also very
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much the borough of books. and in true brooklyn style, we don't just read them. we think about them. we talked about them. we share them. we devour them like all the great brooklyn ferry. if we don't agree with them, or we don't like them, well, it won't surprise you to know that we are not shy about saying that. but here in the borough of brooklyn, even our walls, like 25 j street, speak volumes. and our places and our spaces and our buildings and our developments all are about the language of words, the limits of books and ideas. and that, my friends, is that public discourse over how a vibrant living city grows and changes over time to meet the diverse needs of its citizens, is what this very distinguished,
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wonderful panel is all about. i will just end by saying two things. one is that i toss off frequent that we have a world-class faculty. we are not a factory. we have a faculty. we have a world-class factory, and professor david reiss is a leading example or. that is no throwaway line. he's a very well known in the effective you in this committee. is a leader in the field, nationally and internationally. of real estate development, housing issues, all of the issues related to that including local politics. and he has been, so it has been instrument in helping us lower the drawbridges of this great law school and bringing the community in, and we get a lot by giving and we get a lot and get a lot in return. so it's a wonderful thing to have david reiss on our faculty. the last thing is that i will welcome you all to programs that we're going to be sponsoring this time next year in
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conjunction with the book festival as part of constitution day which happens every year on september 17. and in large part to celebrate the 800th birthday of the magna carta. so we are going to be hosting here traveling exhibit that the aba has sponsored relating to the magna carta, and we'll be hosting authors and books related to that incredible single piece of law that has had such an impact from runnymede to rumson street, from the pipe rolls of henry the first to the laws that are evolving in cyberspace. but that's for next year. are now let's talk about the evolution of discussions about public spaces. professor. >> thank you, dean. [applause] we have an exciting panel. what's amazing about this bill is that it reflects the topic and the fact that our last speaker is on his way finishing
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up posters for the climate change parched and he will join us. so don't gasp when he comes in the room. we will acknowledge him when he is here. the title as you all of today's panel is "planning and protesting: cities evolve!." there's that exclamation point at the end of the program title. i'm going to introduce our speakers briefly and hold up their book and then going to turn it over to them. i've asked each of them to speak for five minutes, and then we are going to maybe have a little crosstalk on the panel and then open it up to the audience. i ask if you have a question you come up to the mic. i've heard this one is better to try to come up to this one. i'm hoping we have engaged conversation until about 10:50. so our speakers in order our peter linebaugh. his book is "stop, thief!." our next speaker is daniel campo. his book is the accidental
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playground. and then finally we have the two co-authors of "the beach beneath the streets," ben shepard and greg smithsimon. so without further ado i turn it over to peter. >> okay, thank you very much. thanks, everybody, for coming here. thank you, dean, to the reference to magna carta. as well as the quotation from alexander hamilton. i'm here to talk about this book called "stop, thief!," and the fees are the enclosures of our lives, our lives, our cities. magna carta, professor, that big charter. there was a little charter, the charter of the forest covered on -- recovered on the 11th of september, 1217. this was the charter that introduced the principle that
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alexander hamilton ignored. we have learned from him here at the brooklyn law school that there are two principles of government, force and law. the charter before us of the 11th of september 1217 introduces a third principle that it is our duty and tasks to recover, and that is the principle of the commons. that is the principle of direct democracy, direct assembly, where principles neither of coercion nor law, that is neither the state nor the market or the military, is the principle by which we govern our affairs. this principle has fallen under the onslaught of neoliberalism, as our prisons become greater, as our cities become more
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walled, as the land, as the forests and indices have become sewers for the dumping of the trash of the 1%. the book "stop, thief!" is an attempt to show that we have common ground as we searched in our future for the recovery of this principle of the commons, the principle of commenting, where the eart earth and so-cald natural resources are not seen as commodities, but are means by which we form our communities. that's the alpha and omega of stop thief.
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thanks to the dean mention of alexander hamilton, magna carta, i wanted to introduce the subjects of the commons via them. and i think the principle of the commons in the past was one of custom rather than law. so the book recovers those customs, recovers those practices of self-management. of actual democracy come of direct democracy, whether it's our food our habitat, our clothing. these are part of the charter before us.
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remember, the big charter and the little charter. these are the two charters of english liberty that william blackstone wrote about and talk to alexander hamilton and the others. two charters of liberty. the big one, the little one. the little one consists of that. but you even look at the big one, magna carta, chapter seven. says that the widow she'll have her access to the commons. she shall have -- this is arcane language, doesn't take much to recover its meaning. it only meant that she could go to the forest to access fossil fuels for subsistence purposes. that belong to a different area. we now live not with oil, not
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with words, but with oil. how are we going to rebuild our planet? this book provides some background to that. that is hidden, that is unknown to us. we must as a people remembrance, we must recover that. >> peter come on that note, that's five and so let's continue that conversation but turned over to our next speaker. >> i so look forward to hearing them. >> that's greater our next speaker, up to the podium is daniel campo, the accidental playground. i just have to say i love the shape of this book. there's some great pictures in it as well. daniel. >> thanks, david. great to be here, the part of the brooklyn book festival and here at brooklyn law school. wonderful on a sunday morning to
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be up and awake and alert and ready for some discussion. my book is about comments, but it's kind of an inadvertent comments i will call it. my book looks at the williamsburg waterfront in the period before the condominiums, before the ferry, before shema richburg it before all of communist, all of the stuff that we read about in the new your times and new york magazine. it seems like every other day. and the story that i tell, actually several stories, but it's a story of reclamation. it's a reclamation of an arctic landscape, but it's a reclamation that was made without money, without professional assistance, the architects, no players, no designers, no politicians. a reclamation without permission, a reclamation
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without intent. it was a place, thinking about this waterfront, and you can just take the l. train or the ferry there today and walked down from bedford avenue to north seventh street where it meets the river, and you can see what is there now and you can think about what was there and what was there was in the way of comments come a place where people could do what they wanted with very few constraints, definitely and an arctic place. and people use that opportunity to do interesting things that they couldn't do elsewhere in the city, right? neighborhood kids got together and build a skate park, a skate park that was written up in all the skateboard magazines before it was destroyed. a punk rock marching band which is probably right now getting
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ready for the protest, the hungry march band fact is there every sunday afternoon. and created actually the soundtrack of this an arctic waterfront. fire performers, those performers getting ready to go to burning man at the end of august every year we practiced it on sunday night. ..
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>> residents could just go and pitch a blanket and have a picnic or could fish or could just get their feet wet in the river that everyone said was dirty beyond belief, but somehow it was this pleasing and beautiful place, and people went there and made it their own. i got to know many -- can, i work photographically in addition to my work as a city planner, i got to know lots of people, and i share some of their stories in the book. i befriended a bunch of blue collar guys from the neighborhood, many of them were vietnam veterans, and they would get together every day and make fires and drink beer and smoke pot in a little corner of this water front that nobody else seemed to want to colonize. there were also homeless immigrant laborers, many of them
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from mexico and from el salvador, who were working on construction sites in the late '90s and early 2000s in south williamsburg, and they lived there without -- you know, they lived near their work. they didn't have enough money, they didn't have enough documentation to have a regular apartment. the neighborhood is changing, and they're playing a role in that change as time goes on. anyway, i'm going to wrap it up, and i do invite your questions. thank you. [applause] >> so our first co-author is going to come and talk about the beach beneath the streets, and we're all ecstatic that his co-author, ben shepard, is here as well. >> good to have you, ben. so ben and i wrote this book, "the beach beneath the streets," and it's really two parts, repression and resistance. i do repression, he does resistance.
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[laughter] i think my job is more fun, but i know his is the part that everybody likes to read. so we talk about public space, and the way that i define public space is maybe a little bit unusual. to me, it's the location where we negotiate social conflicts with other people. it's not that conflicts happen to happen there, it's that's where public space is, right? this is where we work it out from the little sort of bump into, let's say i'm sorry and excuse me, to the big marchers and protest. and the type of public space i look at, in particular these privately-owned public spaces, and in some ways i think this is a modern example of the type of enclosure that peter was talking about where we substitute for publicly-owned public spaces spaces that are privately owned. and so in new york city for the past 50 years if you wanted to build a skyscraper, you could build a taller, bigger sky creper if -- say scraper.
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the kinds of public spaces that get built by these particular types of very successful, elite developers are what i call a leading indicator, right? if you look at public spaces closely, you get an advance look at what's going to happen. bonus plazas started getting built around the 1960s and what you see in 1959, 1960 for that first decade are horrible spaces, right? ones you might think of as barren, nobody's there, and it's not by coincidence, it was quite clearly from the interviews i did, by design. the owners wanted spaces nobody used. and what that's reflecting is a retreat from the city. the people thought the city was unpredictable and chaotic which is interesting because this is in the early 1960s, before you have a lot of the unrest we associate with the later 1960s. by 1975 new yorkers sort of wake
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up to the kinds of conflicts we have, right? you have the fiscal crisis in new york city. but strangely, by that point develop canners have changed their strategy -- developers have changed their strategy, and they build instead of what i was calling privatized spaces, they start building shopping malls. citibank triggers the financial crisis so that the city's no longer sustainable, and yet the very same year, in 1975, they open that slanted-topped tower, and on the ground floor there's a public shopping mall. they want it to be used. but the idea is that you can design spaces that are used and attractive to a select group of people, right? this is early gentrification. but, again, most of us aren't thinking about that happening in 1975, right? but people who develop these large buildings end up making these self-fulfilling prophesies, a sense of what it's going to look like. so then by 2000 we researchers
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start to figure out that there's a lot of gentrification and control and policing going op, and i remember looking at stuff in 2000 realizing there had been yet another shift and that what we saw were what i described as suburbanite spaces, didn't need to filter, didn't need walls, they were very open. and you can see some of these green, lush outdoor parks outside of office buildings. they're using distance to keep away people they didn't want in the space. and you start seeing really aggressive policing. stop and frisk around the fringes of the city and private security in the center of the city so that if you're welcome there, it feels like new york has opened up. but if you're in -- if you're the kind of person that's not wanted there, it seems like someone's built the city for someone else because you're not a part of it. what do we see today in terms of types of cities? you could ask that about the climate march. is anybody going to the climate march later today? a handful, right?
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so these are some things you may want to look at. the question, really, that i find, the two questions for understanding space is not who gets in, how inclusive it is, but who controls it and who's kept out. and when you look at it that way for something like a protest, what you're hoping for, i think, is a popular public space. publicly controlled and everybody has access. so ask yourself if it feels like everybody can get there and engage in the sorts of public activities they want to. there's also the possibility that a space like that becomes heavily policed, and a police space is one that's government controlled, but the users and activities start to be very restricted. one of the most interesting kinds of spaces you see happens in student building takeovers. sorry, dean. [laughter] and other sorts of places where people take over a space, and you see this in very large protests where the state is no longer in control, right? where the control is in the hands of the people who are using the state is, using the space. and we call that an autonomous
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zone, a temporary autonomous zone. and i can show you where on the map it fits, but you feel it in your gut because there's something very exciting about a space like that because you feel like something really neat might happen and very frightening because you're worried that the cops are going to come back and start cracking heads. so look for those, and i'll leave you then with a couple questions about the shape of the city beyond today. the last segment of the high line opens today, and i would ask what kind of space that represents. what are we seeing there? and i'll on observe, though this is not a frequent observation, that elevated spaces tend not to work very well. if you see the embarcadero in san francisco or minneapolis, paris has an elevated railway, 10 or 15 years later you get these white elephants. is new york a different case? an important question, one that we'll see soon. and then we can ask what kind of spaces we're going to see in response to some of the most important activities in space
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over the last couple of year. think about occupy wall street and all the signs that said no camping in office plazas which is sort of like banning sleeping bags outside of corporate -- it's strange, right? at the same time, we have more opportunities in those spaces as a result of occupy. we gave our talk, and somebody from the audience said we should do occupy to broadway -- occupy broadway. i said, great, you should do that, i'll show up. i didn't raise a finger, but they actually did it, and the cops showed up. i know the drill, you can use this thing without any permit for as long as you want to do crazy dances, right? that was not the case before occupy wall street. so we imagine that things got more restricted but, in fact, some doors got opened as well. i would also say that you want to think about ongoing gentrification in a city that still has a 20% poverty rate. what kind of public spaces do you get there? all these show you that new york is a dynamic place to observe and public spaces can be the great place to watch them.
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so i encourage you to keep your eyes out today and as you go forward. >> great. >> thanks a lot. >> we thank greg, and we will hear from ben shepard for "the beach beneath the streets." >> hi, thank you so much. such an honor to be here. thank you guys for coming. i apologize for the suit, i'm going to be later british petroleum representative doing some pr at the marsh all day long, so -- [laughter] >> in a bicycle -- >> in a bicycle suv/limo. what a great day to talk about public space. and i think as we look at it, greg and i had a good talk the other night, and we were talking about what's the state of public space, and i thought about a couple of events that have happened in new york the last few months. i was on the subway the other day, and some musicians started playing music, and they were arrested. we were on the world naked bike ride this summer, and a gentleman was arrested for public lewdness. now, i've done this ride every year, but he got arrested and went to jail for that.
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so another woman during a rally just summer was standing on sidewalk waiting for her son, and she was arrested. fortunately, she's a law professor, and she will litigate, and that's her right. that's a public space that we need to defend. so the march today, while it does go down sixth avenue, will end on eleventh avenue. is their public commons the javits center? is that's really what we have to think about with this conversation. i mean, greg and i have had so much fun with the conversation about the dialectic between resistance and repression which is part of this can conversation. but over and over and over again, the dance of the dialectic is one of one step up, two steps back. one ten toward freedom -- one step toward freedom, two steps back towards repression. that's part of what's fun about new york. it's high octane fun and good sometime times and it's joyous, but it's really highly contested.
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and in some ways we've created so much with our temporary autonomous zones, but we've also lost a little bit x. that's the thing to think about. this summer we had a great trip, we started off in paris, and i just remember the sun going down on the seine, and everybody was drinking wine, and there was a bunch of musicians playing salsa. and i was looking around, and i didn't see any cops saying this is an illegal performance of salsa musicians in public space. they were just playing and enjoying being together. and it wasn't for a big audience, it was for themselves. and i thought about the night before i was in new york. a group i work with called public space party, we'd finished a dance party, and we tried to sit in a park, and the security guard told us to move. we tried to sit in another plaza, and we were told we have to move. and i love new york, and i love the numbering. i think there's nothing -- the energy. i think there's nothing like it. but our access to public spaces increasingly, at least feels filtered, to me. and i think the question is i how do we push back?
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if you think about public space, there's a new old expression, questions about democracy basically go out the door. and i think that's really the thing. if we don't have a public commons for ideas and conversations or deliberation, then how do people get together and, i think, live democratically? solve problems together? build manager together? that -- build something together? those are the questions that i think we have to think about, but there's also a question about the imagination. and, i mean, the subway graffiti and terrorists in 1968 said all power to the imagination. i think if we lose access to the kinds of public spaces we're talking about, obviously, we win some and lose some, and in dan's case we disagree a little bit, but i still love the space. it may not be what it was -- >> i do too. >> -- yeah, 15 years ago. i still feel like we do have dynamic spaces, but the question is what kind of imagination do we have in these spaces, you know? where is the public imagination
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for art and for thought that grows in these spaces? i love the tension between exclusion and exclusion, the boogie wooinggy that we see in the streets of new york city, and i hope it will continue to be joyous. i think our book, the case studies, the movements from occupy to reclaim the streets to fierce, these are joyous to movements. the battle over people having rights to public space is an important and joyous one, and i hope we can -- and i hope the regime that as we move from the last time there was a big march in new york city when i think it was bloomberg or giuliani as mayor and then governor fact key and then bush as president to de blasio to cuomo to obama, hopefully there's more room for public space. but i think really the question is still out. anyway, let's -- i'd love to the hear from you about this too. thank you very much for having me. appreciate it. >> thank you so much. >> yep. [applause] >> the irony of a panel on protests where the speakers each
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speak five minutes is great. it leaves cross-talk amongst the panel as well as a discussion with the audience. i'm going to start out to warm things up with a question. two minutes in an elevator, you and mayor de blasio. what do you tell him? let's go down the line. >> what floor are you going to? >> you're going to -- you're in the freedom tower, you're at the bottom floor, you're going to the top. his security detail, unfortunately, was left on the first floor. >> i'd tend to mind my own business in an elevator and expect others to do the same. i think the purport of this question is to speak to power. to speak to sovereignty. for me, this panel raises the question of what is sovereignty and what is power? where does it reside? and i think it resides with us. it doesn't reside with representation. i think the we are present in
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our lives with our own imagination and building our own communities, we don't need to be represented by representatives of us. so i would mind my own business in the elevator. >> thanks, peter. >> well, it's funny, yes, i've already communicated my, some of this to the mayor, but he doesn't seem to have listened. [laughter] you know, i would use the opportunity to tell him that there is no way in hell that we will solve the affordable housing program by just building bigger and bigger, whether it's on water front or elsewhere. that are that any sensible big picture look at what the city is today and who's buying houses and apartments and where that money's coming from says that
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it's a global market where people, the normal middle class and lower middle class people, working class people of the city can't really compete with people who are paying 1.3 or $1.5 million for an apartment sight unseen from 5,000 miles away. so thinking about what this panel is, we need kind of a rethink around affordability and housing, and rather than have the private sector provide a set aside -- whether it's 20% or 30% or let's pull a few more units out and gentrify those neighborhoods as they do that, as they build more 40-story towers, again, i'm thinking about domino development in williamsburg amongst others -- let's, let's think about the public potential, the potential that we can actually expand our public housing, we can restart the mitchell lama program from
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the 1950s and '60s so we have 100% affordable housing rather than 20%, and let's unleash the public power to do something about a critical problem. >> thanks. i would, i would, if i was in the elevator or walking down the street, his son goes to my daughter's high school, i would ec eco, i think, dan's emphasis on the mayor's priority already in terms of affordable housing and high quality, good-paying employment. but i think about an assumption that's gotten widespread, that we can't build public space anymore. where will that money come from? well, you collect that money in taxes, and then you build the public spaces. if you don't do that, if you expect public spaces to pay for themselves like brooklyn bridge parenting which is beautiful, you're guaranteed to only get them in areas that are wealthy enough to afford their own $5 cappuccinos, and you're never
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going to have really public spaces. i would also on a design side, though -- and i think, well, i'll say i think the public space offers an interesting opportunity to think about the way that those differences we would see you would expect result in conflict, yet you see cooperation. there's a surprising potential for people with different positions to work out resolutions to these problems. but in terms of the planning and the shape of the city, i've also spent some time b looking at the communities affected by hurricane sandy, and i would point out to the mayor that we're facing a problem where we're sort of damned if we do, damned if we don't, and i'm talking about displacement. if the city does nothing in the face of climate change, then the storm comes, and hundreds of thousands of people get displaced. and we know from when the south bronx and brooklyn were burning in the 1970s and 'l80s that when you displace communities, all those carefully structured connections they have the childcare get torn up, right? kids do badly in school, life
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expectancy's shortened. so if we make no planning, then those displacements happen, and those effects occur. even if we do a good job of preparing, and right now if you're a dutch water engineer and you're unemployed, you're not trying very hard because they'll come to -- you'll come to new york, and they'll hire you. there's endless work to do. even if we do a good job preparing for storms, we're the still looking at displacement on a similar scale, and what those engineers don't think about is what happens to communities that get displaced even in preparation. i think in some ways that's our next challenge, and it's one that people have not been paying attention to, and i'm very worried how we will make the changes either before or later in a way that is protective of the people that are most vulnerable. >> i agree with everything. it's hard to follow that. three things. i would say, um, bike lanes -- get the cops from stopping teching in the bike -- texting in the bike lanes. i joke about that, but i'm also
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serious. i think new york could reel in itself to be a more sustainable city and making sure that there's more room for people-friendly uses on public spaces is really important. and getting cars out of bike lanes is really, really, really important. you need to have less cars in new york. to that extempt, rethink j street, rethink downtown brooklyn for people-friendly purposes, and finally, get rid of the open container law. i think there's a lot of racism that is used to push certain people out of -- you can have a boj lay in central park, but if you're drinking a 40-ouncer, you're going to get arrested. you know, bars are expensive. people have a cup of coffee or whatever else you wallet, and enjoy the public commons. if you're going to misbehave, that's a whole other conversation. but i think we just need to open up the quality of life assault on people being out in public. in new york 20 years ago, everybody was just out. you were just out because the
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apartments were hot, and so where else are you going to to ? i think there's a lot of life in that, and i think we can get back to that in new york. so thank you. >> so i welcome people to come up to the mic, and as people are making their way up, i would ask if the panel has any questions for each other or comments about each other's presentation. >> we only have ten minutes -- >> fair enough. if you could just give your name and ask your question -- and, please, questions, not statements if we can. thank you. >> i'm claude scales from brooklyn -- [inaudible] media. my question is, it's not directly about public space -- >> i'm sorry, we have a technical issue. >> oh, okay. >> we're ready. >> brooklyn beagle media. my question is, 30 years ago if you said where is bo hemoya in new york, somebody would say greenwich village, and it was there. then it moved, soho, lower east side, williamsburg, bushwick. it keeps getting pushed out. is there ever going to be a
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physical location of bo doe hemoya in new york city? and if so, where? >> the next neighborhood would be philadelphia or -- [laughter] or buffalo. so these are, you know, we laugh about it, but it's not a trivial concern, you know? and this connects back to the idea of can people actually live here, afford to live here, right? you know, in a way new york has become a much more interesting place because little bits of bohemia exist in every neighborhood whether you're in brooklyn or staten island or manhattan or queens. but this is not a trivial concern, and it's not going to be solved by building more 40 and 50-story towers. >> everywhere somebody's sitting
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out on a stoop hanging out, i've got to say they think the opportunity to recreate those conversations is always there, and that's such a dynamic place to live. >> if you could just give us your name. >> yeah. my name is margaret. my concern, i'd like to hear some discussion of the difference -- speaking of public creative anarchy using public spaces, how is it worked out when different groups want to use public spaces in different ways at the same time, especially when it has to do with different ethnicities and cultures? i'm thinking of people who like peace and quiet versus people who want to play salsa music, amplified salsa music in the park at night. and how does that get sorted out without, you know, without stormtroopers and, you know, intraethnic name calling? >> i think i can take a stab at this. i've always thought it's funny,
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you know, i'm enough of a marxist to assume that people are are in conflict with each other, but the big writer for public spaces, jacobs, are saying we're all going to be friends. and those are not really compatible books to have next to each other on your shelf. i got interested in public space when i was living out in san francisco be, and there was one park in particular. there was about two square blocks, and you had a playground, you had off-leash dogs, you had 24-hour drug dealing, soccer games, basketball games and political protests all going on in the -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah. and one of the ways it happens is you get these little micro negotiations, and you end up claiming space. if the dog run into the playground, right? chaos. if the soccer ball flies into the protest, everything goes wrong. but one of the things that's so interesting to me about studying public space is that there is this tension down to the individual level between
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integration and segregation. when you're in a public space, you're seeing in the whole show, but you're also sort of claiming a little bit of the space by yourself. you can't, i can't say that you want sort of access to everything and no boundaries. order, that's why -- on the other hand, that's why you're there. in practice, people do work this stuff out, right? there are disputes, and the disputes end up sometimes the longer the list of rules in the public space, the better the public space. you have a conflict, you figure it out, you write an extra rule on board for it. if that happens in a democratic way, that can really make the space more useful. so that's what happens, but i think you can make the space stronger. >> question from this mic. if you can give us your name please. >> [inaudible] how do we rally the public to tax themselves ford r in -- in order to build this public space, housing and parks and
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other things without this private partnership? instead of fining building by building or neighborhood or neighborhood a march like today saying it's time to tax ourselves, all of us depending on your income progressively to support this? >> i don't want to dominate the mic, but i'll mention a state assembly candidate pointed out there's a condo, there's a condo complex on the upper east side where one apartment recently sold for something like $8 million, it's got almost 100 units, and its property taxes are about the same as some single-family homes in brooklyn. i think you could address inequities in property taxes. >> yeah. send your letter to andrew cuomo, albany. [laughter] because he's blocking all of this, and we do need some more
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redistribution. it's as simple as that. i mean, again, no one can afford to live here, right? >> yeah. >> so it's time to tax some of those people who are coming in and buying these $2 million to $10 million to $50 million apartments and take a big chunk of that a back. >> and i think if you're talking about green sustainable programs, look no further than germany. i mean, this is an industrial economy that's doing just find, but houses use solar power. it's very feasible to build sustain blg cities. sustainable cities. and it's actually cost effective, i would argue. and i think cost effective to ride bikes, cost effective to make transportation people can use. so it's going to be better for the city in the long term. >> i think we have time for one last question. if you could just introduce yourself. >> my name's sam. i grew up in manhattan, current
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resident of brooklyn. i have a question for mr. campo. currently a big fan of the williamsburg water front in its current incarnation. i never had a chance to enjoy it prior to being formalized. but i'm curious about what you see as the trade-offs between having an informal public space where the people who choose to use it go to use it and get whatever benefit versus how it is now where people are welcomed during certain hours. what is lost when a space is formalized like that, and what maybe is an improvement about that? >> right. so this is great question, and i struggle with it through -- although at times it'll seem when you're reading some of the chapters that i'm not struggling at all. but when i get to the end of my book, i try to take some of this informal experience that i document and pull those stories into a way where we have some ideas going forward about how the informal can be incorporated
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into formal design and development practices. i mean, what's there now is there are many things there wouldn't there that we can say is wonderful, right? there's the ferry service. that's great, right? there's more people using it than ever. that's great, right? so spaces evolve, and we can't just try and hold on to something from 15 years ago about the landscape, but note that the things that are happening there now are quite different than what happened there 15 years ago. including the neighborhood guys drinking beer out in the open. land art, right? where can people without training in art or lots of training in art just go and shape the land? marching band practice, right? there's no skateboarding in
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those parks anymore, right in so there's been this ongoing negotiation through development, through the control of public space about what you and can't do there, and that continues to play out. by sometimes it's not the amount of people, it's not the volume, it's the variety and the juxtaposition of all these different people and all these different groups. and the homeless guys that were living there were a part of this i'll call it carnival for lack of a better term. that's goon. that's gone. and is we need to think about how we look at that experience and pull some of maybe -- i hate to use the word lessons, but lessons out and incorporate then in a more flexible system for building and governing public space. >> so we need to come to an end of the program because another program is coming in. on behalf of the brooklyn book festival and brooklyn law
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school, thanks, and thanks to our authors. >> thank you. [applause] >> and they will be downstairs taking questions and signing books, so you can continue the conversation there. >> good job, man. >> pleasure. >> my pleasure. >> david, nice job. >> gentlemen -- [inaudible conversations] >> next from the brooklyn book festival, a panel on politics. [inaudible conversations] >> all right, good morning, everyone. welcome to our panel entitled
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"america disillusioned." my name is scott, i'll be moderating the panel. i'm the author of several books, none of which we'll be talking about today, i'm just happy to be here. [laughter] so there's a bit of formal introduction that the brooklyn book festival would like for me to read, so i will. before we begin the program, i would like to let you know that books can be purchased from books on call nyc downstairs just outside the entrance to this building. you all passed it on the way in. immediately following this program, authors will be signing their books at that location. there they are. so my plan for the next 50 minutes or so will be to introduce our panelists, first, and then to pose some questions of them that i hope will generate a some conversation among the four of us but, again, mostly for them. immediately to my left is a
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cardiologist and the director of the heart failure program at long island jewish medical center. he writes regularly for "the new york times." his first book, "intern: a doctor's initiation," was published in 2008, was a national bestseller and has been reprinted in seven countries. his latest book, "doctor: the disillusionment of an american physician," was released in august. he lives with his wife and their son and daughter on long island. jen percy is the author of the nonfiction book "demon camp" which was a barnes & noble discover great new writers pick. she is the recipient of the national endowment for the arts grant, a pushcart prize, an iowa arts fellowship from the university of iowa's nonfiction writing program, truman capotety fellowship at the iowa writers' workshop. her work has appeared in the
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oxford american and new republic. next to her is anna holmes. anna holmes has written and edited for numerous publications including the atlantic, "newsweek," "time," in style and the new yorker online. she is the founder of the popular web site jezebel.com and the 2012 recipient of the muir award for best commentary for her columns in "the new york times" and the washington post. she is the editor of two books including the book of jezebel and now works as a columnist for "the new york times" sunday book review and is an editor at "fusion." i should also note there's going to be about ten minutes as we wrap up for q&a from you, so as those questions come, take note of them in some way. all right. so the announcement that may have drawn some of you here suggests that you would be given answers to this question; how did these writers experience and
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challenge their frustrations with the changing country? it's a massive question. and that's part of what i like to do, is get an answer to that question from them. but first, sort of to set the stage i'd like to ask each of these panelists to describe their most recent work, what brings them here, talk about a few minutes about what they're most focused on in terms of our cultural commentary. what are you thinking about, what are you writing about these days in light of what we've promised everyone here we'd try to deal with, american disillusionment? >> well, thank you very much for that introduction. so the book, "doctored," is about what i call the mid-life crisis of american medicine. so it's, it's about the total demoralization of the physician
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and patient community that has developed over the last couple of decades, but it's told through a personal story. i was, my participants always -- parents always wanted me to become a doctor when i was growing up. my mother would say i want you to become a doctor so that people will stand when you walk into a room. but i -- so i eventually sort of followed her advice. i went to medical school, and then i went to -- actually, before medical school i went to graduate school. obviously, i went to college. so by the time i was done with my medical training, it was 19 years after i graduated from high school. and that, this isn't totally unusual for doctors. many of us go through a very protracted training process. so by the time i was done, you
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know, i was looking forward to taking up my first job, my first real job. and so i joined an academic teaching hospital in queens, long island, and is what i found was that my physician colleagues were incredibly demoralized about the practice of medicine. and i also found that patients were really unhappy. i mean, you know, i'd be willing to bet if i ask anyone in this room are you happy with america's health care system, very few people would say yes. very few. and, you know, patients know it. they know when they're not being treated well. they know when the doctor's not listening to them. they know when they're being shunted back and forth between specialists or they're going for tests that don't make sense or are redundant.
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and doctors also know what they're doing. and i think that apart from the obvious stresses in medical practice like paperwork and dealing with insurance companies and so on, i think a major driver of the demoralization of physicians is that we know we're not taking care of our patients well. we feel it. and when you have that sense, it leads to crisis and disillusionment. so that's really what book is about -- what my book is about. but it's a personal story that starts with my first job and what i learned in the first few years of my first job as an attending physician. >> great. jen?
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>> thank you all for coming. i wrote a book called "demon camp," and it follows the story of a soldier's homecoming from afghanistan. and he returned to, you know, suffer from severe ptsd, is followed around by his dead friends and finds no sort of solace in the v.a. and his friends, feels that the world has abandoned him. and it follows his journey to make sense of the world now with sort of whatever language and sort of narrative are available to him. and i started the book after i read an article about a soldier named brian rand who was talking to apparition of an iraqi man he'd killed. and i was really interested in the fact that the the past could be so present, you know, literally in your room after the
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war and, you know, what that means to live now, in the present, if that's true. and so i was interested in sort of dialectic trauma green past and present -- between past and present, what is a traumatic memory, and how is our culture making sense of post-traumatic stress disorder which is a term we say, okay, now we know what this means. that means i can just go away from it now, the problem maybe is solved. but, you know, the experience -- if we individualize it -- is varied. and the soldier i wrote about, you know, kind of had an extreme situation. he ended up getting an exorcism to deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder. he tried many different means. and in the end, that became sort of a commentary in the book on, you know, that became sort of a metaphor x. this re-- and this religious world he slipped into became the vocabulary and the language we rely on to make
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sense of trauma and how it's always trying to cover up something, that there's sort of this linguistic subterfuge going on that, you know, we rely heavily on is symbolic meaning whereas practical meaning, you know, off wins. and looking at -- often wins. and looking at sort of the bush administration, the language they used was up relying on religious language as well to gape sentiment. trying to analyze sentimentality and how that language is sort of, you know, is breaking apart and failing us and sort of how we deal with that reality both as civilians and soldiers trying to deal with the reality of a futile war and what that means for us and how we can accept our capacity for violation and sort of unleashing violation and maybe an uncivilized manner. >> thanks for having me.
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the topic of disillusionment is, i don't know that i've ever thought that deeply about it until i was invited to be on the panel, and i read the kind of scripter of what we'd be talking about, and then i realized that most of my life has been one in which i've felt disillusioned. [laughter] it sounds depressing, but it's true. i mean, i think in some senses the normal ways that a child, especially a teenager, feels disillusioned. but more broadly, as a female in the united states and as a person of color in the united states, and i think that a lot of my earlier years were informed by a feeling of disillusionness not just -- disillusionment not just within myself, but as expressed by my parents. and i think a healthy one, because that's what i think motivates people to change or to try to change the world around them. with regards to books, because we're talking about books that we've worked on, the first book
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that i did was a cultural history of the female break-up letter. which had not been done before. there were collections of love letters, but not collections of letters written at or around the end of a relationship. and it was inspired by one that i had sent myself feeling disillusioned with a guy i dated. and then i found this was actually a very vibrant genre throughout history and there was a lot of catharsis to be found in putting, in, you know, putting down words on a keyboard or pen to paper to explain to an individual what he had meant. and this is very normative, by way, but what he'd meant to a woman and how he'd maybe, perhaps, hurt her. so the first thing i did that sort of came out of a sense of disillusionment that applied to my own life that i felt was very broad and shared by a lot of women -- i can't speak for
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mensch. ..
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>> >> there was an ongoing feeling and under current of thinker of the stuff that was being published. and other people had a
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problem with women zinder and that should be expressed matter of fact. so the book is called the book of jezebel is not the book is reprinting then on the site but according to the sensibility of the site and there is the solution that the book dna is what is about it. looking back seven years since i launched with that expression a banker and the disillusionment that we communicated, there are still many reasons to feel frustrated and exasperated. also more reasons to feel celebratory from gender politics in the united states. i don't feel as disillusioned as i did at
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first. but it will always be there. it is it my dna to be passed off. [laughter] >> so to prepare for today what anna was talking about for that energy of disillusionment can create create, it strikes me that is the lifeblood of what we do. and i wonder if the disillusionment is the backbone of this story. the disillusionment is that. if you read in demon camp you can read to enter the
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discussion of the language around the war. referring to the hallucination of a sterile or. the possibility that there is the illusion that it is not real but dissolution creates the book -- books. so anna holmes anticipated that question but never like to offer the opportunity for you to speak to that. has disillusionment that you have written about, to turn it on its head how has that inspired? have you produce work out of these? >> well, i think something that janice said that resonated with me to
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paraphrase and now what para normative means. [laughter] >> to only focus on male and female relationships. their acknowledgement of non homosexual relationships. >> okay. [laughter] said disillusionment is it such a bad thing? anna mentioned she has been disillusioned for much of her adult life. i have gone through periods of disillusionment. but when it is that bad or counter productive? it is when it leads to passivity or anchor that cannot be focused and does not lead to action. disillusionment is
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disgruntled, and happiness, depression. but it also means to be dilution in free to shed's ones fantasies about the way the world is. that is the process that i went through after i finish my medical training and a generation ago physicians had this idea they had a doctor the concept of my doctor. that dr. was there for you and knew everything about you and would advocate for you. some patients still have
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that illusionment that the medical system can create that relationship but it does not any more. so when you shed that illusion you are more apt to take action and create some type of reform. a lot of physicians are disillusioned but they also take action to realize this system is diseased and looking to reform the system to increase the time spent with patients to increase of humanism. so i think disillusionment disillusionment, i am not sure if i answered the question, but for me it is a central part of why i write to. because there is a problem.
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i want everyone to shed their illusions common their misconceptions about american medicine so we can reform the system. we but not reform it if people have illusion about it. the book in the end is a manifesto for reform. we cannot get that energy of less there is some disappointment in the current system. >> just following up, the actual act of writing the book, the process is an act of disillusionment. you should not approach writing something with the concrete theories about the world already in your head. but rather have questions and curiosity to approach moments of the bill their
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mid to figure things out to. to have the world breakdown in the process of writing, to question though world. what happened he will approach these moments of clarity where you thank you figured things out than to come across the different moment with you are reporting or researching but those ideas breakdown. we should be comfortable showing our thoughts for these ups and downs. i think it is good for readers to show them that struggle how to think about a problem that is complex and not come to a conclusion but a consistent movement between illusions and you
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really don't know moving from one to another you are just not sure yet. i think it is a constant need of curiosity. that is how right thing is to be comfortable with this stage of not knowing. that can be scary to some people but except that you will permit that gives me my energy. >> just to follow up on that point, let me ask you is it about the writing that you enter the world that no hue from jezebel and the block. in may and one of the top 140 twitter feeds. [laughter]
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and 51 dilution to another is there something about the regular update to capture that well? >> to be honest i did not write every day. i oversaw people who were doing that. i was very good at my job but i could not right with that sort of speed and accuracy and voice. seven hours straight every single day. but within the writers that ended it, i think that you saw them grappling with questions. there were inconsistencies within certain writers are
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between certain writers that i think was good and honest. the idea that everyone that i oversaw that they were to agree on everything would have been a lie. it may have been coherent for certain writers but i like the other stuff. i think one way disillusionment can be somewhat risky is to be completely mired in don't question it itself. that you don't attempt to have the objects how things moving and to change to shape shift. for example,, there are times when things animated me or made me frustrated or
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disillusioned.í5 with regard to this status in the united states and elsewhere andhw people of power. but i have the ability to see how things have changed over time. not just in the past five or 10 or 20 years or before i was born. it does give me a sense of optimism about the future. although nab disillusioned in the present. but the rating every day is not something i ever did. i don't use that even now. i write to emails but that does not count. [laughter] i will present i writing e-mail to of friend to explain the idea is it is
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much easier to get started but it is very important to do it and to question one's self and the conclusions. deal the way to do that is to cultivate a certain sense of curiosity. people are bored with it and i think i am looking at was bored with a certain amount but i cannot be complacent or become calcified in my idea is. with the attempt to break through with my preconceptions about the world. and adopted a surprise myself for when i began writing a piece that is the best feeling in the world. >> sandeep, not long ago discussing the time where it might be necessary to lie to a patient.
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you wrote about balancing various moral riches. sova to learn more about tensions and you were discussing autonomy purses the doctors obligation to do the best for his patient unit in debated a patient that ast never to do that but he said pinky when it saved his life. we have a choice is to go in many different directions. so this question is for all of you. can you say anything specific how you work as writers are critics or teachers to balance one
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moral virtue of for another? what strategies to use to tell of a reader that you try to work out this moral problem instead of positioning yourself as a moral authority? what happens when you do that? >> something that said that resonated with me was sometimes you think about something and it is complex don't necessarily come to the conclusion as a way to reorder your concept. i think that is especially true with madison.
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-- medicine. the other thing i want to say is the disillusionment is engendered by periods of change. and there are amazing changes of what in american medicine. but also with gender politics, sexual politics, i don't experience those things but i do read the paper and a lot of those changes are happening that we would not have expected five years ago. that is healthy. that changes lead to a healthy disillusionment that can be a spark for change. as far as morals or virtues, and edison is ripe
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with competing imperatives to listen to your patient and respect your patience autonomy but aotz to do the best you can for your patient and also imperatives that are equally important but we don't pay as much attention to like social justice, population health, how do we deliver good care to be responsible with our resources? that is very important.8paaç but autonomy and very often is in conflict. the patient does not want to do something that you know, will be helpful to them in the long run. they don't want to because they just don't know as much as you do about this
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particular probe -- problem. they know about themselves and what is important to choose them. you have a deficit in your knowledge. may be less personal knowledge but more categorical knowledge. how do you balanceo that? so that specific piece is a patient in the hospital said i know i don't want to a breathing tube and he said i don't want to be a vegetable my grandfather died on a ventilator. i don't want that. the overworked in turn hurt that to say check off the dien are. but it is not as simple as that. things can be more complex so in this particular case i was pretty certain he just
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did not understand what he was signing off on. most people if you ask will say i don't want to have the breathing tube but i don't mind if it will save my life in the short term then it can come out to. that was the situation. knowing how doctors are and how russia we are no doubt in my mind the quality of the conversation he had with whoever was probably not good quality. when he started to bleed into his lungs and was literally drowning in his own blood, i had to make a choice to watch him literally drown and die, a 50 something or to say i
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don't think this is what he wanted. i was aware of the rest died in not doing its slightly she could die on the breathing tube that would be horrific. but i did not think he would but there was the chance. i could get sued for not listening to my patient and patient autonomy is the preeminent in talking about changes was a big change. 30 your 40 years ago back then doctors wanted to do thexd right to things for patients it would sometimes overruled the patients but
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now we talk to them. so that peace was to balance the need to do the right thing so i advocated for soft paternalism. hard is why you have to do it? because i said so. i am your dad. too bad. soft paternalism is you make a bad choice. let's talk about this another time. sometimes the choices
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>> >> with the question is at hand. and i was interested working on my book have you represent someone else's suffering and how do i write about someone as a civilian not as a shock -- soldier without this experience and how do i pay imagine this? those situations are constantly bombarded to be
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engaged more honestly in this world. one of the sayings i did as a reporter i was a character that tried, basically, went through a process called deliverance lake is the exorcism. i ended up immersing myself and going through the process as well. that was the only way i could honest they write about him. it was a strange decision to exist as he did and it was a constant battle to stand in the back end witnessing for getting deep into it. doing what i do for the rating -- writing.
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but for me that was it because i was also making with self vulnerable and humiliating myself. and he scared me to death. with that situation that allowed me to give his world the eighth opportunity to exist fully. i think having myself breakdown to show my vulnerability allows me to represent what could be far away or be close to the situation. >> that is a tough question. i don't know if i have a good dancer i feel when i
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writing anymore the most important thing is to be truthful. the thing that gets me the most upset in life are people who were not truthful whether people i know personally or other writers or people in the media or social media i don't see as much anymore. [laughter] because. >> i read that also. >> because there was a lot of performance involved but it is of interest will ultimately indicted like being witness to it are people to think that i participate in its. so that is what i tried to do is to be truthful but sometimes being truthful can hurt somebody else and it is hard and for me to balance when it is important to be truthful.
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maybe not fledglings but omit. the most recent example was doing a magazine piece about an athlete it is not out yet so the mother said things to be on the record that were questionable. with regards to her feelings about native americans. in the town that she lives in. this story is not about native americans or the town that she lives in an. it was the thought i could just ruin you but it is not about that and i struggled because it did say something about her character and does reflect the inconsistency or incoherence because five years before she had been
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talking about the struggles that her family members. mother is caucasian but the daughter is aboriginal. but as a person of color. five minutes later she makes this generalization. but i had to decide it is truthful but that was not the point of the story. and i really grappled if i should keep it or omit. i knew if i put it in the peace briefly would cause a fire storm and affect her life and a negative way. i felt she was innocent but is not innocent. so i did not put it in and i talked about it endlessly with people and my editor. but i did not know it would serve the story and would
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distract from the larger story was about the daughter's success she will have in the future and the hard work she put together and i don't know of her mother's commentary about social services enjoyed by native americans were that important ultimately. but that was tough. but i am not always certain what is the truth is the truth. but i have to constantly remind myself. how do you get to that id their writing? the simplest way is to say i don't do this literally but when i write to say one hand this but the other hand this. hopefully any more artful way than i just stated. [laughter] i think a lot of writers i
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envy them. express a certain authority that's i don't always trust to talk about a doctor on madison but not a writer who is starting off her opinion and there is a lot of published stuff that is out there unfortunately. i hope i answered your question about what motivates me. and also when i and editing people. >> i think we talked about that question in a couple of different ways which i hope because inspiring and writers and student writers here understand that on the one hand we do have to do with these questions in the
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world as three have written about them but there are these questions that have been as internally or how to insert yourself into the story but then anna talks about behind-the-scenes that is a reminder that writing is not a solitary act with those moral questions can be worked out behind closed doors. you know, working it out with the editor you have done the hard work. so we only have about four minutes. can i get one question from you? if you would like to ask the question it is important to speak into the microphone. >> i just wondered something
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that your colleagues all share a certain diagnosis to the book i wonder does that affect your day-to-day relationships? >> i worried about that. but i think overall people have been very understanding. i went to a function last night. all the names were changed. but doctors know that the system is totally messed up. that is one thing.
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it engenders understanding and also no one likes a whistle-blower. does someone asked me in an interview on fox, are you a whistle-blower? i said i don't think so because a whistle-blower points the finger at other people. but a loss of the book is about me struggling with my own choices dealing with my own strains in my personal and professional life. people don't mind if you played yourself. they just don't want to be blamed. so it is mostly about me blaming myself. they have been pretty understanding to answer your question.
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>> would like to have an opportunity to have more questions i am sorry we're pushing up against time. in the last thoughts on the panel? >> one thing is the idea that people's disillusionment is how interconnected we are to the internet which is a good thing. if you can see social movements coalesce and build , and maybe they sign up quickly but perhaps more of a sense of community or a feeling connected to other people because of a shared
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interest and disillusionment is that that is tiring. that outrage fatigued that i get. i do have a lot of outrage and i cannot always take it is in but the aggregate it is a good thing. is a good thing. forq other day about "the new york times" critic, the construction of this piece was the angry black woman and it was the big mess. 20 years ago if she had written that peace, and there may have been a couple of letters to the editor but not understanding the
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problem the way the piece was written and perhaps not edited. [laughter] but because of social media and the internet, i think we all come to a greater understanding of literacy how to think about things and how to be disillusioned. so that is a good thing. >> i have to close now. so thanks for coming. please remember that the authors will be downstairs dining their books where you can also purchase them. they will not sign them if you don't purchase them. thanks. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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from the ninth annual brooklyn book festival. >> [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. it is highgy noon at the brooklyn literary festival at the law school and today we open with a discussion of nelson mandela that we will talk about and also to engage your ideas and thoughts& with one of the people that was referred to as one of the greatest man of his age and time. i am the dice sector and author of a book mandela a
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to z. i made six films including one that showcased his visit to brooklyn in 1990 when he came out of jfk into brooklyn to an incredible response from the streets from every kid in town and a mass will come of the kind he was unprepared for. i have been following this story for many, many years but first of all, before we begin the program, the books by authors in this program can be purchased downstairs just outside the entrance to the building and immediately following this program authors will be signing at that location as well.
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you are in for a treaty because you have with you people who have spent a great deal of time writing about this story. not just what they wroteb6 about academically budding gauged their lives and times. and changed and everybody that came close. to change the sense of possibility to humanity this since been way in which people can struggle for justice and prevail for a time. that everybody is achieved everything they fought for but certainly achieved so much more than they expected ito long time just marking the 100th anniversary the oldest liberation movement and all of africa. the fact this even have been
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we have the author of a biography and i still have to pinch myself to believe that this happened. so we are here to talk not just about mandela who has also been known as grandfather of his nation but somebody who has been active with him. this is remarkable. anybody interacted was so touched they brought expectations they looked up but at the same time to the surprise of many people, he would remember you. he actually remembered. i was at an event at the rainbow room he was coming to new york.
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he walked into the room there was security on top of security laced with security. cops. feds. anything you can imagine waiting for him. we were in the mideast -- media area and to he saw me and walked over to me and said to me you remember me? [laughter] which i said i think so. [laughter] kind of amazing that it was something that people later testified to. we only have 50 minutes to talk about a life that went on 95 years the mystique and the myth that continues to this moment. they said after coca-cola the best known brand in the world. he was known by everyone and
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loved by almost everyone and later when it became fashionable to love him at one point he was featured as a terrorist and worse and turned in as part of a history that does not get much play in "the new york times" or anywhere else but by the cia he was"o tracking his movements and turned him over to the south african police that brings the current issue of surveillance and to focus except the year was 1962. not today. this is a long story with lots of ups and downs but a story of triumph that really need to study and examine and understand. not only for south africa but for us.
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that is part of what we explore a two day. why this man in a ruralãarea of south africa had the fact he had for people all over the world that were driven and inspired by his example. that has not ended with his death that came about last december and because originally he contracted pneumonia in prison. he was a casualty of apartheid even as he was of a thick dark over apartheid. so we have an amazing panel. want to start with our living is in new york south african john jacobs on the
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faculty at the new school and native of cape town south africa and also from northwestern university and the doctorate from the college of hard knocks and the struggle of south africa. he is writing a book on the intersection of mass media in post-apartheid south africa. sean, you have written not only about mandela but how he was regarded and mythologize by the american and media including paua recent movie about long walk to freedom and i would just say as a parting shot the last court room i was it was built by the movie to be simple to every detail a courthouse that the trial took place that he was
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convicted and sentenced to prison for life. that is the story told in the movie. but by the way quickly i want to introduce a little competition from the masses. alan is your who wrote a brilliant biography about two of mandela's closest comrades to testify to the fact mandela did not do this alone and he was part of the movement and it never claimed credit as the liberator of south africa. to my immediate left a woman i have worked with and have learned so much from, the legendary charlemagne who grew up. [applause] i did not know this she was born into west south
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carolina. [laughter] and was one ofl! the students that segregated the university of georgia from which she graduated in 1963. a journalist among journalist and in the civil-rights movement but also at a point in her life decided to do with very few american journalist who are interested did, she moved to south africa to live there and work their for cnn and npr. someone he was one of the most knowledgeable journalist about south africa and her article end "the new yorker" was the piece of introduction we will move rapidly, she told him i was supposed to interview you but my son was graduating from school in
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atlanta and i really had to go there so i couldn't. he said very good. i would have done that to. you can always interview maybe you cannot always be to your son's graduation. he was the father of his nation but also the father among fathers. please take it from there. >> good morning. i am sorry. good afternoon. i thought i would tell a personal story to how i experienced nelson mandela's legacy. it is important for be win i was born nelson mandela was already in prison five years sentence for treason went to prison in 1962 but 64 hej( started to serve the treasons sentence. when he came out of prison i graduated from college.
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so with my a generation it is important to recognize my childhood not to be an adult but coming of age mandela was experienced absence not by the media or physical presence or censorship we barely saw him. the early consciousness that i developed was another movement that allen wrote a book about that was more like trotsky i come from a working-class background the schoolteachers, local activists come from that movement they rejected mandela and others like him for being more moderate. it sounds odd because your was mandela in prison for
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treason as long as others were also but although not as radical but by the early '80s, anc made a comeback primarily because the government instituted a number of reforms to split the black population and the response was a movement called the united democratic front. that movement took on the idea is the documentation of the a to z that was popular in the '50s so this was a much more inclusive document thinking about the future. it was not always specific but nelson mandela almost became a figurehead. i was in high school in dc
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on streets quarters freed mandela. but i always find it remarkable this is how i saw him in a state of emergency i remember a friend of mine brought an old photograph to school from the 1950's and said it was mandela and said this guy is mandela. it may sound strange but that is how the sense&+ to hear about black nationalist in fact, they would pose the separatist project of the state. so then he comes out of prison a very cathartic experience is important to
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recognize while it is seen as symbolic people forget by the late '80s that project had run aground and to then to come out of prison one year before mandela came out. is a major moment preceded by others. and to make two other quick points. when he came out of prison that moment it was not south africa any more.
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he was the head of the movement that was identified to be south african but people here know better. it became a global struggle with the sanctionstz movement. but we were not aware of that so when we see the media coming with ted koppel where everybody is surprised by his manner at that point we lose mandela to the world so there are many different kinds of ways and then our frustrations with the negotiations from the african state and beyond that of so to the natiotez script with the social
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democratic and liberal script. two other quick points as much as he is considered the father of the african nation this is a deliberate strategy from anc from the late '70s that if we win in the court of public opinion to recount the thousands of people to hone in on one personality yes he was a major leader there are other deletions from south africa that people know about and
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finally hauled mandela operates in south africa are the two levels and the inspiration. those that were disaffected or disillusioned with something they have lost that they would like that vision to be returned to find inspiration in that squatter movementp anc wearing uniforms to$!dl see that mandela inspiration but the shortcomings they see mandela that he may have
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given away too much. that they may have given away too much with the agreements of civil service not to do rationalize those committees with social engineering in the way affirmative action so it all these levels they do have those impressions but to invade - - obtain larger than life. >> we do have very little time but now charline?
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>> i am glad to be following shawn because he raised so many points that most of them i would have said myself. went to south africa the first time 1985 and at that point the regime had secret negotiations with mandela he would only say he is a loyal member of the anc would i would ask the very first interview after being released from prison did he see himself becoming president one day of south africa? he said i'm a loyal member of anc but he had started those negotiations and on his own. so then announcingc that anc never betty was surprised although they suspected sooner or later this would
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have been a whit to south africa the first time it was not a great consciousness in 85. the media was not particularly focused on south africa. and went for the news hour wednesday the was transferred because those negotiations have quietly begun at that time. someone told me mandela had taken up gardening and i could get us a glimpse of him watering his plants. i did this with two of my white south african colleagues. that i have been to look over to see this black person and i thought they were suspicious so they followed us.
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they said don't worry. they lost them temporarily then i looked over icy the garden then finally they told me those security copsi1 will catch up with us. . .
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>> if you could guarantee an interview with mandela. well, by this time every journalist in the world was going to be trying to -- and i don't know what possessed me, maybe it was danny's influence, i said to him very confidently, if anybody can, i can. [laughter] and i hung up the phone and said, oh, my god, what have i just promised? long story short, we got the interview, and ted koppel and i were the only ones to get extended interviews. he was giving ten-minute interviews to everybody else. and danny's right. i mean, after that whenever i would see him, he always knew me, he always recognized me, and that was very good because, as danny said, what danny didn't say was that the interview in which i told him my son would be graduating from emory university on the same day, it was the same day that he was being sworn in
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as president of a new south africa, and it was probably one of the most historic moments anybody would ever experience, except so was my son's graduation. [laughter] and then mandela became what he had been unable to be for more than 27 years he was in prisoner, because as you'll remember, he was on the run for many years. and neither of his families -- because he had two, one by his fist wife whom he -- first wife whom he divorced and two by winnie, so he had not been a father to his chirp. but all of a sudden -- to his children. but all of a sudden now he's trying to be the father not only of the nation, but of individuals. and so as the father he had not been able to be all those years, he leaned in to me and said very sweetly, well, of course you have to be at your son's graduation, and you can interview me any time, which was true. anytime i needed to interview
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him, i was able to. i was there when president clinton came to south africa, and that was a time when clinton was having some personal issues around his sexual behavior. and nelson mandela was very, he was advising him in a very positive way and did it very publicly. at the same time, and i think, sean, you probably will agree with this, you know, and i think this -- i think nelson mandel that's values are the things we try to continue to keep alive and embrace more than even his name, i would think. but his values sometimes conflicted with u.s. policy even when his good friend, bill clinton, was standing next to him because he was insisting on still being friends with fidel castro in cuba. we had our sanctions on and still do, regrettably for some strange reason -- i didn't say that on television, did i?
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[laughter] and gadhafi, which had supported the african national congress, iran. and i think that one of the lessons of mandela, if anybody is interested as -- they are, is that you have to sit down sometimes -- well, first of all, he said my enemies, your enemies are not my enemies. we said that in front of bill clinton. and he also said it to george bush. and he also said, and i think this is also important especially as we debate this isis, isil -- whatever they're going to decide to call it, i think it's really confusing that the media's calling it isis and the government's calling it isil. at any rate, he says you have to sit down with your enemies. sometimes your enemies can be your friends. and then there are other times when you're butting heads with them. so i think that as we look at theless szobs of mandela --less szobs of -- lessons of mandela,
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it's not just the reaching out to, and, of course, the south african apartheid regime were his enemies, and he sat down with them to avoid, many think, a firestorm in the country. but he was also talking about other kinds of enemies as well which at the time were friends of south africa, but not of the united states and the western world. and finally, let me say that -- i could talk about mandela all day, but i won't. i worry, sean. you say that the young people in south africa today are, you know, talking about mandela and his values and trying to get the anc to remember what they were, but there are people like those here in america, young people here in america today in high schools particularly but colleges as well have no memory of the u.s. civil rights movement. moreover as you go on, because
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the civil rights movement has sort of faded out when the free south african movement revived the diverse coalition that had been a part of the civil rights movement. so that helped bring about another national involvement in something that was important. but as here in south africa, there is a group called the born frees. and they have no memory of south africa. they know the name nelson mandela, but i'm not even sure they know his values. and you have this young firebrand in south africa now who is advocating all kinds of things that nelson mandela never would have advocated, and he's having a resonance among young people who are the vast majority are black, the vast majority are poorly educated thanks to the apartheid system which comets to reverberate -- continues to reverberate because the teachers who are teaching these kids were taught under that regime.
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and so they, they don't really, they listen to somebody like malema who's advocating nationalism of the minds which are, all kinds of things which are going to be detrimental to the south african community. so i guess my question as i conclude is, you know, how do you and we in america keep alive the memory not only of the individuals like martin luther king and nelson mandela, but what they stood for. and how do we get our young people to embrace those values. that, to me, is almost more important than the names of those icons, even though i hope they have will be venerated for. >> thank you. i know you weren't disappointed. [applause] alan wider is an oral historian who lives in portland, oregon, he's a distinguished professor
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emeritus at the university of south carolina and has taught at the university of western cape in south africa. he's published two books in the last three years. a nobel laureate wrote an introduction to his book about ruth first. just as a note of personal disclosure, i was very privileged when i was a student at the london school of economics to both know joe and ruth and to learn from them. and i think that experience is one of great enriching experiences of my time. and then another argument for why what charlayne says so important. it's only when we learn about other cultures other people that we ourselves can grow culturally
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and personally. having visited south africa many, many times but first in 1967, i've watched this history through my own eyes, not just through the eyes of the media of what -- of which i was later a part. pick up the story of ruth and joe and connect it to the story. if you would, you have about ten minutes, and then we have to open it up. >> okay. so i had planned to come and talk mostly about the word for nelson mandela was we usually rather than i. but in connecting it to south africa and the which was how the theme was written, i mean, we're pretty loose here how we talk about it, but it made me think about one other thing before i do that, and the word "collaboration" is not great word in south africa or hasn't been historically, but nelson
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mandela and the anc and the south african communist party were, as groups, worked with other people to make, end the struggle. and i think that's of great importance if we're going to continue to look at legacies. i think part of the problem whether nelson mandela is lionized or demonized is that it creates a person that never existed. it's not a real flesh and blood human being. i noticed about a month ago there was an article, not a very good article i thought, in the guardian which is the weekly newspaper in south africa, and it came from some academic conference. and a young, and a student had written that the problem with history textbooks in south africa today when they talk about mandela is that there was nobody else in the struggle, that he did everything. the problem with the article was that it was wrong. and it was wrong even what it said about mediba. because -- and it pointed out things that i knew well from
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doing my book that mediba was loved in, but he was involved in with joe or with ruth first. so one of the things that this writer brought up was, you know, everybody gives mediba credit for starting the arms struggle, and then he did -- you know, you do an explanation just like organizations in the united states when there was a decision made by a group of people to begin arms struggle, there was great care taken in terms of we do not kill people. we do not -- we bomb pylons and take on electrical places. there were mistakes made over the years. but this guy, the guy that wrote the article said, no, joe slovo did that, not nelson mandela, and he was totally wrong. it was mandela and slovo who, in a sense, would have been the authors. but there were many other people who then worked on getting that started. a second thing -- i won't give every example -- a second thing
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in terms of his notion of mandel that getting credit for everything was ending the arms struggle, okay? and that was, obviously, after 1990 and negotiations had begun, but things were very, very, very, very tough. and, again, he said, you know, mandela got the credit for doing that, but it wasn't mandela alone that did that. he again raised joe's name, and the reality was he was going to the extreme the other way. of course mediba was involved in the conversations, and of course he was involved in the conversations about some of the things that sean brought up. they were called the sunset clauses that kept certain things in place for politicians and others who had been in the apartheid regime. and it's an interesting kind of thing because he was going, if you give mediba credit for that, that's wrong, but he didn't take it to the other place where mediba was involved in collaborations with his come
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raids in doing that. comrades in doing that. the same thing was true in kind of an interesting way with the arms struggle with mediba and ruth first. ruth first and joe slovo were both students in johannesburg when mediba was a law student there also, and joe was a law student too. joe actually in 1961 and '2, '61 and '2 was part of mediba's legal team when mediba was sent to prison. and there was a connection also because they were all defendants in the treason trial in 1956. and, in fact, that might have been part of the beginning stages of the cia trying to track nelson mandela when most everybody was acquitted. there was a party at the slovo house, and mediba was smart
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enough not to go because he knew he had to get underground. and one of the guests was this guy called, i think it's called millford shirley who is the cia agent who eventually gave the word to the south african security forces of where they would find mediba a couple years later. but in terms of the arms struggle, yes, in a sense it was mediba who announced it. and, in fact, it was ruth first who facilitated it being announced. so you start to think of these connections. mediba's underground. ruth was a journalist, a radical journalist in south africa, and she set up an interview in the home of a professor -- because mandela was underground -- where he didn't announce that we're starting a war, but he announced that we had tried in a peaceful way for so long to make a difference. and every time we do something
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peacefully, the response is more harsh. and it's come to the point that arms struggle might be the only possible way to go. so then one last thing that i want to talk about to bring it to the topic of mandela in the united states. which i think is, i can't say it today, but i think it's, it's a schizophrenic story, okay? because here's the man that was so demonized, and charlayne mentioned that she had a long interview, and ted koppel had a long interview. and i think i'm talking about a different thing with ted, but here in new york there was a town hall meeting held with mediba the first time that he came to new york after he was released. and ted koppel was the host, and it was, it was at a, um, at a lecture hall at city college of new york where, actually, mediba had been given an honorary doctorate in 1983 when he was
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still in prison which is pretty amazing actually. the crowd was overwhelmingly thrilled to be able to see him. i mean, when he breathed, they clapped, you know? [laughter] but it was a strange persona for ted koppel or for whoever set the show up, because it was a total set up. except for two people -- people asked questions from the audience, and then they piped in questions from south africa on screens. and except for actually for one, maybe two questioners, the questions were i'm going to show that you're a marxist, i'm going to show that you hate israel, i'm going to show that you're friends with cat throe. and they were -- castro. and they were dreadful. and he was absolutely brilliant. it didn't matter what they said. so there was -- and they tried, they tried very hard to have
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conservative african-americans ask the questions, although they had to have a leader from the the american jewish congress too. but that's a whole other story. so, for example, this woman goes we're very worried about the journey of the economy. can you tell us how you think the economy will go? and finally, she couldn't help herself. she said, are you going to be marxist? are you going to be socialist? are you going to be capitalist? and he said i was thinking you would get to the real question. [laughter] you know? and then gave this prague mt.ic -- pragmatic answer. he also spent a lot of time really going hard at de klerk for creating and nurturing black-on-black violence between 1990 -- during that year. and they piped in, they piped in the head of, to ask a question.
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so what i'm saying, it was a total set up. and then at the end about 45 minutes in, ted koppel came back to wanting to talk about us -- talk about israel. and mediba in a very stern voice after he had talked about de klerk, he had used the quote your enemies are not our enemies, and he said -- i'm going to read paragraph, and then i will be dope. i think it's -- i will be done. i think it's him at his best. he goes: apparently, mr. koppel, you haven't listened to my argument. [laughter] if you had done so, you have not been serious in examining it. try to picture ted koppel, okay? [laughter] i have replied to one of our friends here that i have refused to be drawn into the differences that have existed between various communities in the united states. you have not commented that i'm going to offend anybody by refusing to inform myself in the
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interim affairs of the usa -- internal affairs of the usa. why are you so keen that i should inform myself in the -- i don't think he meant inform, but in the interim affairs of cuba -- internal affairs of cuba and libya? i expect you to be consistent. now, think about television, all right? and ten seconds, silence, okay? [laughter] >> alan, one of the amazing things about this was television came to south africa in 1976. so nelson mandela, you know, was already, had already been convicted, was already in prison, hadn't watched television. he didn't grow up the way we do in such a media bubble. in fact, the south south african government refused to allow any pictures of him to be taken or shown in the south african media. so nobody could actually see him. and for him to become, as they say, you know, an incredible
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pundit, if you will, in tv terms without ever experiencing the media just speaks in a way to his insight as someone who knew how to communicate with people and was able to master this medium even though he was completely unskilled and unprepared for it. and this is part of the reality of america which looks at the world through the bubble of tv and the images of tv and often misses the subtleties, misses the context and misses the background. and i think what mandela brought was a kind of honesty that we rarely see on television, a willingness to challenge his questioners, okay? and, you know, i'm thinking about that because even in south africa -- and i just have to tell this little story -- >> you know, let me do one sentence, okay? >> yeah. >> it's great, it brings us to the end. so he looks, ten seconds go by,
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and he goes, mr. koppel, have i paralyzed you? [laughter] and ted koppel goes, oh, i can't be paralyzed that easy, mr. mandela. let's go to a break. [laughter] and then, and then they come back, and he goes -- and he said something, i guess i was somewhat paralyzed, and i didn't speak what i meant to say, and mandela just takes his happened, and i'm done. [laughter] >> all right. let's go to -- [applause] you all and get any questions. there is a microphone on both sides here if you'd line up. try to keep your questions short. we're running out of time. and, you know, i made an appeal at the beginning of this, i said nelson mandela lived for 95 years, can't you give us 95 minutes, but they turned me down. [laughter] so we have to finish up quickly, so if there are questions, please, raise them and introduce yourself if you will. in the microphones right now.
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if not, we can continue this conversation. >> while people are making up their minds about standing up, i just wanted to quickly respond on the question of -- [inaudible] i don't know if people know who he is, he's a young former leader who broke away from anc and started his own political party and then did really well in the last election from something like a zero base, i think something like 5% maybe? and since the election he's changed the way people look at politics in south africa because he embarrasses the anc in parliament which then, you know, most people used to to watch soap operas apparently, now they watch parliament. now they watch congress. [laughter] i just want to say something, i think what we should recognize is we forget that the anc also used to be like that. they wore uniforms. mandela used to break up meetings, you know? the politics of the 1950s was also like kind of robust in the way that the politics is right now. and mandela, once upon a time he
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called for the nationalization of industry. he also called for corruption, and then finally he himself said if you don't, if this government does to you what the apartheid government did to you, you should get rid of government. so i'm not saying -- i know what you're saying about the born frees. they don't often know about that, it's true. their experience is only the anc is the government. they know nothing about apartheid, it's a faint memory. but what i was referring to was when he died when it was all on tv 24 hours a day, suddenly young kids were, oh, this is that history. that had something to do with the election result the next year. but in a way people were again confronted with this long history. >> yeah. except it isn't kilt. you'd have a moment -- consistent. you'd have a moment, and then it's forgotten. and i think the one thing we have to continue to remember is that this young democracy is
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only 20 years old. they will make mistakes as we made in ours here in the united states in 20 years and longer and now. [laughter] but i live part of the year in west virginia, and there's a vine that grows in my backyard. it has a yellow -- a red, it's like a tiger lily, but it's not. somebody in here might know what it is, but anyway, it's a vibe. and so you can pull it -- it's a vine. you can pull it out here, but in a few days it's over here. and so all i'm saying is i want us to appreciate that south africa is only 20 years old and its young democracy is taking what i call baby steps. but if they don't root out some of the corruption that comes from the top and if they don't get themselves somehow to hold politicians accountable, it's going to be like that vine in my backyard. despite the fact that they're only 20 years old.
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and to your point -- i see nobody standing up, so i'm going on. to your point about malema, i had this conversation just yesterday with someone who was very -- who actually you would say is part of the new black ruling class in south africa who shocked me in her positive descriptions of malema who still thinks he's a bit of a nut, but at the same time says that he is growing -- as mandela grew -- and as i said, at the end of the conversation i was just shocked because she said that he is really causing a big stir in parliament. and her expectation is that he may eventually take over this predominantly white party which is the only serious opposition party to the african national congress. he might take over democratic -- >> you're talking about the space? >> yeah, the space of the democratic alliance.
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>> well, you know, i would just add or i was trying to a moment ago was, you know, we're dealing with a story that's not just complex, but it's filled with contradictions. there's no one thing that is necessarily true. in my own book, mediba a-z, i see mandela as having many faces, that he played many roles, including the role of nelson mandela which he invented. you know, this man played -- it was in two plays. he played abraham lincoln in a prisoner performance. he was an actor on some levels. and he was able to bring those talents and those skills into politics without losing a beat and without losing support. >> but i also think that one of the things about mandel that is important, and i would call it a value, is that he was a human being with self-admitted weaknesses. i mean, we all now honor and
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adore him as we do a statue, and yet there were issues that he himself talked about. i mean, for example, in america today pablo mickey is widely reviled for his positions on hiv and aids. but he was deputy president when nelson mandela was president, and they did nothing about hiv and aids. which yet they had a policy which wasn't very well implemented. then, of course, later after mandela had, as he said retired, don't call me, i'll call you, he then became a very serious advocate for hiv and aids because he lost one of his children to -- can his son by his first wife to hiv and aids. so i think it's important to remember that nelson mandela was a human being, and he was more
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than just a statue. >> we have to wrap now. thank you very much for coming. my own story about my own involvement in south africa's coming out in the book "when south africa called, we answered." it's the story of solidarity, the solidarity movement. south africa now, programs like sun city, records like sun city and various actions. so thank, and please stay engaged with this issue and appreciate your coming and participating even if you didn't participate, you were here and paying attention. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> booktv's coverage of the brooklyn book festival continues now with a discussion about voting rights. [inaudible conversations] >> all right. we're going to get started. good afternoon, everybody. my name is erica wood. before we begin the program, i'd like to the let you know that books by the authors in this program can be purchased from books on call new york city, right downstairs, just outside the entrance to the building. and immediately following this program, authors will be signing their books at that location, so that is not to be missed right after the program. my name is erica wood, i'm an associate professor of law at new york law school, one of the other law schools in new york. i also direct the voting rights and civic participation project. i want to thank everybody for coming today and thank the brooklyn book festival for organizing this tremendous event and certainly thank my fellow
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panels here. so today's topic of voting rights from reconstruction to obama, while broad, is incredibly timely. i believe that we are at the most critical moment for voting rights in our country since the civil rights movement 50 years ago. and what has led us to this point? why are we here where everything seems to be happening all at once? why, i would propose there are three related events that bring us to this point. first is the 2008 election which renewed anticipation to the power of the vote -- attention to the power of the vote in our country. the second, related to that, is the result of that election which gave us the our first african-american president in the white house. and third is an enormously important supreme court opinion that came down last year called shelter county v. holder where the supreme court actually failed to protect the right to vote in our society, a right that the supreme court just 50 years ago had called preservative of all other basic political and civil rights.
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so these three related events just in the last few years have brought our country to a really critical moment about the right to vote and what it means in our society. what does that mean? so since 2010 new voting restrictions have been enacted in 22 states in our country. that means nearly half the country. voters in nearly half the country will face new voting restrictions this year for the first time. race is certainly a factor in this. of the 13 states with -- 11 states with the highest african-american turnout in 2008, seven have new restrictions. of the 12 states with the largest hispanic population votes, nine passed laws making it harder to vote. and nearly two-thirds of the states previously covered by voting rights act because of past voting discriminations have passed recent restrictions in the last couple of years on voting rights. in addition, six million americans are disenfranchised because of a criminal conviction in their past. black americans are four times more likely to lose their right to vote as a result of these
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laws. one out of thirteen african-americans have lost the right to vote as a result of a criminal conviction. in three states -- kentucky, florida, virginia -- they disenfranchise nearly a quarter of their african-american population. in total, 2.2 million african-american citizens have lost the right to vote because of a criminal conviction in their past. and, of course, this is not the first time that our country has experienced widespread efforts to deny citizens of color of their most fundamental rights. so today we are going to talk about the history of voting rights in our country, how what is happening today both reflects that history and signifies, perhaps, a new chapter and what the future might hold. and we're going to do all that in 50 minutes, so let's get started. i want to introduce my fabulous panelists here. joining us to my far left, professor michael higgingbotham from the university of baltimore, the author of "race law: cases, commentary and questions," and the book he'll be signing today, "ghosts of jim
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crow." to his right is ari burman, a contributing writer for the nation is and an investive journalism fellow at the -- [inaudible] institute. he's the author of "herding donkeys." and he's working on a new book about the history of voting rights since 1965 which i personally am waiting for with baited breath. okay. to my left is daryl pinkny, author of several books including "out there," "mavericks of black literature," and black history. so let's get to it. michael, in your book, "ghosts of jim crow," you reflect on the history that i mentioned earlier, and you identify what you call a complex racial paradigm and a, quote, vicious cycle of white superiority and black inferiority that comets to this day. could -- continues today. could you explain this reflected
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in the recent efforts to restrict voting rights in our country? >> sure. appreciate the question and thanks, everyone, for coming out today. the title of the panel here, "from reconstruction to obama," i think, is really a title that gives the appropriate focus. so often at panels like this and events like this we start with the civil rights movement. and i think that's a huge mistake because what's going on today in terms of the paradigm that i identify, the separation, the victimization and the discrimination, what's going on today is very reflective of what transpired to end reconstruction and what occurred to maintain, to create and maintain jim crow practices. so, for example, the very restrictive voter id laws, the limitations on early voting and same-day registration, the racial gerrymandering that
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occurs in voting districts, these are practices that are very reflective of things that went on to end reconstruction and to maintain jim crow. for example, grandfather clauses, literacy tests, poll taxes. while we can argue about whether the intent today is the same -- and that's arguable -- but clearly, the impact, the effect in terms of reducing the contribution and the participation in the voting process of elderly people, of young people but most significantly of racial minorities is there. it's real, and i don't think it can be disputed. clearly, president obama has an amazing personal story. i think, you know, 2008 we recognized the monumental development that that was. and i think his personal story, you know, being biracial, being raised by a single mother and then assisted in terms of being
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raised by his grandparents, it's an incredible story that he wasn't supposed to make it in america. you know? let alone to go to harvard, let alone to be president of the law review and, clearly, to make it to the white house. that was not supposed to happen. but personal story aside, it reflects progress that racial minorities have an opportunity, more opportunities to participate today. but make no mistake, progress does not mean postracial. progress does not mean that race is no longer significant in terms of opportunities afforded or hardships end doored in our society -- end doored in our society. and -- endured in our society. that's what my book talks about, the progress we've made but also how much further we need to go. >> thank you. ari, congress responded to the disenfranchisement of african-americans during the jim crow years with the voting rights act of 1965 which has
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been reauthorized, i think, five times by congress? [laughter] with overwhelming majorities in both houses. can you tell us a little bit about the voting rights act, how it came to be and what its impact has been and also about the supreme court decision can in shelby county that really gutted that legislation? >> sure, absolutely. can everyone hear me? great. so, basically, it's a fascinating story. the 15th amendment is passed in 1870. it's supposed to give people the right to vote free of racial discrimination. and then, basically, you know, after the end of reconstruction for 95 years there's this gap between the 15th amendment and the voting rights act which, essentially, is just a piece of legislation to enforce after almost a hundred years the 15th amendment. and so what the voting rights act did was it looked at the problem of racial discrimination in the southern states. and, basically, what you had is
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only about 30% of african-americans were rebelling thesterred to vote in the southern -- registered to vote in the southern states in 1964. there had been a civil rights act passed in 1957, 1960 and 1964. none of which came even close to solving the problem of widespread voter disenfranchisement in the south, in states like mississippi, for example, 7% of african-americans were registered to vote in 1964. so the voting rights act, the most important thing it did was it abolished the literacy tests and gave the attorney general the authority to file legislation to ban poll taxes as well. kind of two main things that had disenfranchised african-american voters and also other voters as well, hispanic voters, other language minorities in addition. and so one of the most ingenious things that was done in the voting rights act is the people that drafted the voting rights act, the people in the johnson administration, in the civil rights movement that were pushing it, they knew where the problem was. they knew the rob was in
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mississippi, alabama, georgia, but they couldn't just name those states in the legislation. that would have been unconstitutional. so they had to figure out a way to get rid of the literacy test overflight so they would -- overnight so they would be gone once and for all. they wrote a formula that basically said in states where there is lower than 50% voter turnout in the 1964 election and there's a literacy test or some sort of related device on the books, those states would have to submit their voting changes to the federal government to make sure that future discrimination did not occur. once you struck down one literacy test, another literacy test didn't res place that. that is a -- replace that. that is what the supreme court struck down in the shelby county decision. essentially, it was a formula that covered states under section five so that they had to approve their voting changes with the federal government. what that decision meant was that states with the worst history of voting discrimination -- texas,
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georgia, alabama, mississippi, all these states to the south and also parts of other states as well -- that they no longer have to approve their voting changes with the federal government. they now can adopt discriminatory voting laws like we're seeing in texas and north carolina, they can only be challenged once they go into effect, after costly litigation. so the burden of proof has shifted from the states that were discriminating onto the people that are being discriminated against. and that's really the biggest aspect of the shelby county v. holder case. >> um, gary, i want to bring it to your sort of personal story. i think that today with the 24-hour news cycle and the talking heads and the commentators that -- and the politicians and the supreme court talking about this -- we sort of lose, voting is kind of talked about as an abstract idea and not as a personal experience. and one of the things i think so important about your book is that you really talk about the personal experience of voting and what it's meant in your
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family and with your participants. parents. and you reflect on your parents' experience of voting during their 60 years of marriage, the role that voting played all the way through to filing absentee ballots for obama and watching his inauguration. i just wondered if you could tell us a little bit about why you wanted to them that story and what are some of the connections you've seen between this personal experience and the kind of progress of history that michael and ari have both talked about. [laughter] >> i really miss my participants. no matter -- parents. no matter what age you are, you're an orr to fan in your head for them, and i realize as much as i argued with or chose to ignore my parents that, actually, i depended on what i thought because i trusted them as sources of information. not only their own experience, but also their --
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[inaudible] really. i often think that i didn't grow up protestant or jewish or catholic, i grew up black as a kind of faith, a secular faith, and progress is, of course, the object or the goal of this faith; social justice. and voting in my family has always been a very important instrument of citizenship simply because of the history of being denied the vote. it is also an intimate one. black history reads as this or that, but actually every member of your family experienced these chapters that you're reading about or talking about. no matter the class and no matter the region, north or south. so easy to forget that history is a human drama, that as much
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as we're at the mercy of the forces of history, it's important to remember that they were made by or set in motion by people who made choices. because it's the only way we can think about how to modify or undo can some of these choices -- undo some of these choices, by remembering that we're participants in this ongoing process. i think one of the problems of holding up the civil rights era, as important as it is, i think it's the heroic battle for a certain generation because there was no world war ii, there was no world war i, and vietnam didn't work out way a sort of great victory is remembered. the substitute victory is the civil rights movement, is the civil rights legislation. and there was a tendency to think, okay, it was won, and it was over. but the forces against school
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desegregation or the expansion of the vote never rested. they kept on resisting. they kept on interfering with implementation. and they still are. everything that, as professor higgingbotham said as old hat, a lot of people say the vote doesn't matter, it won't change anything. were that true, they wouldn't expend so much money and effort not only to get you to vote from them, but to keep you from voting. and i think in a way, some ways they've given up the white house. as much as it sends a lot of white guys to the moon to think that a black man is in charge of all that money -- [laughter] they can read the demographic as much as we can. 50% of the united states' population under the age of 2
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belongs to a member of a minority. so 35% of the electorate are single mothers. you know, these statistics can't sort of be argued with. women voted as a bloc in 2012 to vote their own interest, though we don't call it that, but they certainly did. and so i think that instead of always thinking of our opposition as crisis management, we should think of electoral participation as, you know, something else we do along the way like getting a driver's license or, you know, anything so that it's normal to be included, it's normal to sort of show up. i think the greatest weapon against social change is this kind of intimidation that you don't belong, that you can't cross the threshold, that you can't participate. because we still live in a very isolated and civic-aided society for the most part.
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but the way to overcome these fears is to always keep it in some ways personal so that your stake is very clear to you that you're doing this for your children, you're doing this for people who aren't here anymore. you are sort of standing up for something larger than yourself. i don't have children, but i care about the future because children are the afterlife. and so -- and also i just can't stand to see them win. [laughter] /you know, they're so wrong, i just can't bear it. [laughter] so for that reason, because -- to give dick cheney bad day. [laughter] that smug, pompous, mean man -- [laughter] it's a noble ambition. [laughter] >> michael, in your opening remarks you talked about progress in the broader context
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or that we should consider that, and i wonder if you could talk a little bit about what you think has changed under the obama presidency for these issues and what has not and why. >> sure. >> big question. >> well, i think, you know, i think what has changed since the civil rights movement, i think, is very significant in the sense that, you know, clearly we've ended jim crow practices. we've ended a lot of violence that occurred against individuals to stop them from going to the polls. and i think those are significant things. we passed anti-discrimination legislation in housing and in voting, public accommodations. we've implemented affirmative action programs in education and employment. and, of course, we've elected and reelected our first black president. i think those are significant things in that they have created additional opportunities. they show us that, you know, no
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matter what color you are, you can achieve the highest status in this country whether it be in politics or business or other things. but, you know, what we see today -- and this is what, you know, causes me such great concern, because despite the fact that we can have a black person achieve the highest political office in the land, the way he is treated on occasion by some -- and dick cheney may be one of those individuals in that group -- but not by all republicans, but by some is extremely disrespectful and represents what i believe is another ghost of jim crow. and that is, you know, example of giving the state of the union address in 2009 and a congressman standing up and saying, "you lie." that's unprecedented in our history. that doesn't happen. and so when folks say to me, oh,
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well, that's just politics, you know, that's a republican looking at a democrat, that has nothing to do with race, i say to them i think, as president, former president jimmy carter suggested, some of those practices done against obama have a lot to do with race, how he's referred to as, you know, an affirmative action president, as a food stamp president. these are unprecedented acts in our political life. but there's more than that. i mean, book comes out in march of 2013, and people say, well, we're postracial, professor higgingbotham. i'm not sure, you know, i've got to read some of those examples. and what i say to them is, please do. if you have some doubts, i think if you see some of the examples mentioned in the book, you at least have to tell me why those have nothing to do with race. then the book comes out, and donald sterling, ferguson, trayvon martin, people start to
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say, wow, you know, professor, maybe you were right. maybe there are a whole lot of ghosts of jim crow going on today. and so, to me, it's very reflective of what transpired in the past. and we've got to be very, very careful because if we say we're post-racial, we're not going to continue some of the things like the voting rights act that ari was referring to and the shelby county case which nullified sections of that, we're not going to continue to make the progress that will get us to the point where we eliminate this paradigm i talk about in terms of separation, hierarchy and victimization. >> so pulling from that, ari, and what michael's referring to, what is the real impact of the shelby county case? what actually things have happened since that case came down? there have been real changes that have happened across the can country as a result of that decision, and maybe you can just tell us about some of those
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recent developments. professor higgingbotham talks, you know, has the sort of examples of how race continues to inform the obama presidency, but it's really informing things that are happening on the ground in the states as well, and i wondered if you could talk about that. >> well, absolutely. and the timing of the supreme court's decision in shelby county v. holder was so interesting, and i was at the debate over to it and the oral arguments. what was so strike was we -- striking was we had just come out of an election in 2012 where we saw the most aggressive widespread and correlated attempts to vote since before 1965. we'd never seen anything like that for essentially 50 years where states all across the country were implementing new voting transitions. not just states in the south, not just battleground states like florida and ohio, but places like wisconsin, pennsylvania, kansas, places with no history of doing this kind of thing all of a sudden started to do it after the 2010 elections. so i spent an entire election covering this issue, covering
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this issue of vote aring rights. voting rights. and it never came up once during the supreme court debate. wasn't brought up by the people that were for the voting rights act, wasn't brought up by the people that were against the voting rights act. and there was a love to the the article i -- a lot of the article i read, and basically that's what it felt like. it felt like there was no sense of history, certainly no sense of recent history during the discussions of that decision. and what we've seen is that restrictive voting laws have become even more restrictive. so i'll just give you one example that i'm writing about a lot in my book which is north carolina. north carolina's a state that didn't just pass the strictest voter id laws in the country, they also cut early voting, got rid of same-day voter registration during the early voting period, got rid of preregistration for 16 and 17-year-olds, got rid of financing for judicial elections. basically, everything north carolina had done since 2000 the make it easier to vote, north
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carolina was a state that ranked 48th in voter turnout in the late '90s after implement inning all these reforms -- implementing all these reforms. it went to 11th in voter turnout, marley for racial minorities and particularly for young people. and we saw that in 2008 when obama won the state narrowly and in 2012 when he almost won the state. okay, fast forward to 2013, north carolina introduces the strictest voter id law in the country. the house in north carolina passes it in april. the shelby county decision comes out in june. so right now the north carolina house has passed a voter id law, but they haven't passed anything else. one month after the supreme court decision, the north carolina legislature takes a 16-page bill dealing exclusively with voter id, and they make the voter id law a lot tougher. no student ids anymore, no public employee ids anymore, no county -- you can't vote with any of those things. they cut same-day registration, early voting.
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it's now a 57-page bill. it passes in three days. no debate, no public hearings. all of a sudden everything in north carolina to make it easier to vote has been repealed. now, why did they do that? they knew they didn't have to approve their voting changes anymore with the federal government. previously, the federal government would have been able to review these changes and would have said this is discriminatory. african-americans in north carolina are more likely to use early voting, they're more likely to use same-day registration, to not have id. we have these numbers. this isn't a theoretical discussion, we know the data. now this is a lengthy legislative and litigation process. i was just in north carolina covering this case. the federal government's trying to block it under a different section of the voting rights act, but it's a very lengthy process of litigation. so you have an example of a law that is clearly gym that toition -- discriminatory that would have been blocked by the voting rights act just a year ago that's now in effect, and that's the best case study i can
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give as to the impact of the shelby county decision. >> thanks. so, da,arryl, now what happens? what do we do? >> the same thing happened in texas is and a voter id law that had been tabled was sort of rushed through and, of course, a large concentration of the latino vote. it's always been that power has sought to kind of keep people out because they don't can trust them. benjamin franklin had to tell the constitutional convention if you're asking these people to die in founding the republic, you must give them the vote. throughout the 19th century state by state, there were different laws about who was excluded because of property, things like that. often people who weren't citizens were allowed to vote. if people wanted these votes to kind of keep them in power, the conservative politicians of the late 19th century said the exact same things about why european
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immigrants should not be allowed to vote, that they're saying sort of about immigrants now. it's always that they can't be trusted, that in some ways being poor and disaffected, their vote's not reliable. and even the reconstruction republicans who supported the vote for the formerly enslaved opposed the vote for the chinese in california. you know, they weren't allowed to vote in the 19th century. so, you know, it's sort of groups that don't want you in, and it's not just -- and it has a very class expression in the united states. a lot of the blacks who were arrested or forbidden from voting before the new deal in the south were always the middle class blacks. and you could even get lynched for voting in florida in 1920 when the women got the vote, so
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many black women tried to vote that the klan reemerged specifically because of this sort of threat. i think that while eric holder is to be complimented for his aggressive, i think, trying to do something about the voting rights act and looking at states like wisconsin and pennsylvania, we're under pressure in sort of two ways. on the one hand, as long as citizens united is on the books, there's all this sort of money flowing wildly. i see these ads now on youtube. youtube was where i went to sort of get away from all of that. [laughter] and now you have these kind of right-wing people from artheling me weird things -- arkansas telling me weird things on youtube. it's kind of posting these messages around and the unconscious of whom, i don't know. so i understand when cornel west
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and people like that are disappointed in obama and the administration, but i often think if it were, if we didn't have obama, who would we have, you know? that, we're in this position of trying to hold off the right ing with. the right wing. at the same time, the only way to get people interested in electoral politics is to offer something more. and so is i wish that there were kind of a new coalition coming, you know, of sort of greens and democrats and sort of people like that. i've been very impressed, though i don't understand entirely the role of social media in obama's victories. even he kind of plays it down somewhat. but he has a sort of great handle on that. and one thing about twitter and things like that, as much as i don't understand them, is they do sort of have this atmosphere of direct democracy. because when they were saying that polls were closed in ohio
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as was noted in the atlantic monthly, people got on sort of twitter and said, no, stay in line. they're still open. so there is a way to kind of get around all this money, but it is a question of sort of people meeting other people. and that's one of the hardest things to do in the united states now, is to meet someone unlike yourself and to have some kind of meaningful exchange. >> except for all the wonderful people here. >> can i follow up -- >> yes, i was going to ask you. >> -- on what darryl said because i think it's very important. he talked about the past in this country where if you didn't have property, you couldn't vote, and i think it's so significant for us to remember that and also to, of course, change. and that's why it's so problematic today with what many republican legislatures are doing in terms of these overly restrictive laws on voting. voting is the cornerstone of our
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democracy. we should learn from the past that it was wrong to deny those individuals the right to participate. and by learning from the past, we should be encouraging folks to participate. we should be making it easy, easier for them. i was in south africa in 1994 when they had the first democratic elections over there. three days of voting, over 80% of the eligible individuals participated. here, you know, we're lucky on a good day if we get 50% of folks to participate. and so i'm concerned that, you know, yes, we want to maintain the integrity of the voting process. but we also want to encourage and democratize our set-up. and i believe the balance, the proper balance is not being achieved by what's going on today. and so i'm very concerned that, you know, we're not having more people participate, but we have legislatures that are attempting to reduce that participation for
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very wrong reasons. ..
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>> we talk about the traditions that people go up in but people grow up in the tradition of not voting. the other person will take care of it or i don't want this confrontation with authority. i think we are in a period that
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is deeply embedded is federal and state and who is in charge of voting. since reconstruction, it has come the black population or any disinfranchised population looks to the federal government to readdress the wrong and the states are involved in whatever they are doing to stop this. we are in this again, i think because they gave up on the federal elections. but control of state legislatures and all of this is in their grasp. we have this obstructionist party that is growing and has been with us since brown versus board of education. it was an obstructionist party then. i don't know, not a secession move, that is wrong. it is really to prevent or interfere with change because it is a threat to what personal likeness boys called it or i am not sure what power or sort of
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things. i just think we know what they are doing. we know why they do it. it isn't interesting. what is more interesting is what are we doing or not doing. and why, say, liberalism is not the counter force to this terrible sort of blind reactionary stuff going on that imperils the future which is why we have the climate march going on right now. i think there is, i don't know, i struggle to not give into pessimism because it is easy. if you are pessimistic no one can make a fool out of you. but if you believe you are vulnerable and when i read about the civil rights period the thing that is most clear is how dangerous it was and how uncertain the outcome.
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no one knew if it would work. there was no precedent this would work. and somehow i feel that we are much more still in that era than we think because they are black officials and baldwin said there would be a black president when the country changed. we are changing. things are different. things are better. but it isn't that you reach a point and you can all go to the party and it will take care of itself. i think what we are missing is a sense of vigilance and why it matters to people who never thought they had a share before or had to care. so, i don't know. sorry. i meant to end on a stronger note. >> we think that is the perfect place to invite questions and discussions from the audience. we would love to hear from you. make sure you step up to the mike so the viewers at home can
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hear your questions. thank you. >> hi. we have been hearing a lot about civil rights movement and in terms of how it is often presented and viewed as the beginning and end. i am wondering if maybe we should look at the continuity and they ignored the stories of the struggle before the civil rights movement and the stories going on afterwards. i am wondering if we put the civil rights movement as a paradime and in a lot of ways it is like affecting the way in which we engage in like issues like voting.
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>> when the professor was talking about south africa, i remember the story, a guy told me in the '70s he had his eye taken out with an elephant whip because he was caught listening to books on tape by baldwin. i think if the civil rights movement was thought of as a human rights move. and we enlarge the term so everyone realizes they have a stake in the campaign and it isn't just for blacks, women or minorities. maybe people still don't want to be down there with victims. i understand why obama resisted the notion that he is treated the way he is because it is racism. the president of the united states can't come off as a victim. if we enlarge the categories and let very prosporus white people
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know you could be in danger one day or the survilance stuff could get you one day then maybe people would think about themselves differently in the culture. >> i think that is an important point. i don't think we as americans should look at the civil rights struggle as a black struggle. it is an american struggle. that is what disturbs me today. americans should be concerned that people are not able to participate fully in the democratic process. it should not be us saying it is black people that can't or latino people that can't or women that can't. we should not look at it that way. because it is harmful to america not to have all of its human resources involved. we are in a global market competing with other countries. if we keep wasting our valuable human resources we are not going to be as competitive and live
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out the real american dream. >> one quick thing on that. the poplar narrative of civil rights ends in 1965 with the passage of the voting rights or in 1968 with the assassination of dr. king. what happened after is never talked about and that is why i wrote the book i did that is going to be published. when you see the supreme court decision with people like john robert they refer to the progress made since 1965 but never refer to the struggle afterwards all the way through to get voting rights. i think post-65 is important to study and hasn't been told nearly well enough. >> felons who have completed
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their sentences are prohib itfrom voting. why are they being discriminated against? they owe nothing to the state anymore. >> i think i will take that question because this is something i have worked quite a bit on. thank you. you are absolutely right. so there are still a number of states where you lose your right to vote for life upon the conviction of a felony. in florida, there are over a million people who are disinfranchised for live until the governor decides whether he wants to restore that right. you ask why hasn't this been found a violation of equal
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protection. these laws have been challenged. there is an opinion from 1978, i believe, or somewhere around there called richardson versus ramirez. they found in the 14th amendment there is an exclusion against the voting bans. there has been momentum in the state. 20 states have changed their laws in the last decade which is tremendous. and there is a bill called the democracy federalization act. so there has been momentum but i think you are right. the fact 6.1 million americans don't have the right to vote because of something they did many years ago isn't true to our democracy. >> it is sort of interesting. i teach state government of the street and my students were
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fascinated to hear in new york state, what we see as a progressive state, and didn't get the right to vote until last, the two issues you mentioned in terms of early voting and same-day registration those rights don't exist in new york. we look at new york as this beacon of being progressive and achievi achieving. is there a movement in new york and where does it stand? >> i am not an exert on new york governme government. new york doesn't have early voting but they don't have the problems in elections that texas or north carolina have. all states are not equal. it was fascinating when this,
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not to keep beating a dead horse, but during a shelby county discussion, i think they were criticizing the act for targeting concern states and justice brier said of course they were targeting specific states what do you think the war was about? new york should have early voting but they have not trying to disenfranchise people either. >> i had a question about what you think is structural problems might be that drive down the participation rate? for instance, the electoral college. in elections, everything is decide by a couple swing states, so everybody, including minorities might think my vote doesn't count because i live in a state where it is majority republican or democrat so it doesn't matter if i vote or not.
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on the congressional level, the districts, where again, minorities are driven into a majority or minority district where, again, they feel my vote doesn't count because i am a minority. do you think changes in those areas might raise the participation rate? i mean the comparison to scotland for instance. that is a true democracy. one vote counted. every vote counted. that is not true in the electoral question. >> we can answer that question and continue the discussion downstairs. anyone want to chime in? >> i would love to see a lot of changes including eliminating the electoral college. i think one person/one vote is
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what we should have in this country. in many respects to the presidential races we don't. there is a lot of other changes like the early voting, the three-day voting that we could do to increase participation. i don't think changing certain aspects increase the participation. i think we have to change the hearts and mind of the american people to value that participation more but also to make sure there is one person/one vote. >> i am afraid we are out of time. we are on a tight schedule here at the book festival. but thank you for coming. please don't forget -- [applause] >> please don't forget the authors are signing their books downstairs and i am sure they will be happy to entertain questions folks didn't have a chance to answer. >> thank you so much. >> good job.
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you kept us on time, too. >> we conclude our coverage with a panel on public education. >> we have standing room only officially. thank you so, so much for coming out today. we know there is a lot going on in new york city today so we appreciate you being here. i think you did a good thing by getting in here. you are in the right place at the right time. it is gauche to be a fantastic discussion. we are lucky to have three, really really fantastic experts
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talking about such a critical issue. we are really happy you are all out here. we have a terrific moderator. just one note you have heard before. please turn off your cellphone. the room as good acoustics and it will three things off. we only have 50 minutes for discussion and these four people have so much to say we are not going to take questions from the audience. but afterwards they will be sitting out. i am pleased to introduce our moderator who is a teacher at ps9. >> good afternoon. thank you so much for joining us. as you can tell by the number of people in the room this is
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definitely a very critical issue facing our schools today. not just in new york city but across the nation. is that too quite? is this better? when it comes to public education in new york this is a very interesting time. in march of these year the civil rights project at ucla issueed a report entitled new york city states extreme segregation. this report revealed the nation's most segregated schools are not in the deep south but instead right here in new york state with new york city contributing largely to that ranking. according to the report, new york city has one of the most segregated public school systems in the nation. from 1989-2010 the city's porportion of black and latino
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students doubled but their exposure to white counterparts decreased during that time. moreover, black and latino students are sitting in intensely segregated public classrooms. more than half of the public schools have less than 10% populations that are white. new york public schools were not always this segregated. 40 years ago, sate measures and greater community control of the schools often led to intergration efforts. when i started at ps29 the school was 50% white and more than a third of the students qualified for the city's free lunch program. today the school is 73% white and only 11% qualify for free lunch. a mile down the street, 100% of
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the students qualify for free lunch and only 11% of them are white. today we are lucky to be able to explore the issues of race, class and segregation with three tremendous authors. dana goldstein has been reporting on public education since 2007 and she is the authrf of the teacher wars and serves as a staff writer at the marshal project. she writes about social science, criminal justice, women's issue and public health. her work appears in publications like the atlantic and slate. peter to my left was an
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appointee of the governor state university board of trusties and in 2014 he was elected to the national academy of education. his recent book is called schooling for resilience: improving the life trajectory of african-americans and latino. it was published by harvard press. david banks is at the end of the panel. he petitioned the new york mayor to allow an all-boys public school. the first of its kind in 30 years to open in one of the most troubled districts in the nation. the south bronx. we was determined to prove that when rituals that boys are drawn to are combined with mentorship and college prep even the most challenging students can
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survive. as a result the eagle academy fluouris flourished and has been replicated. he shares experiences from the academy, his journal and approaches to help the most challenging students in this newest book. thank you for being here. i thought we would begin by trying to understand new york city's segregation. what does it mean that we are so segregated? how does it affect the quality of education for the students? how did we get here? >> dive right in? good afternoon. i would say before i address what does as it mean i would first address the question of why did we allow it?
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when you consider this country went through such a heavy upheaval over the questions about intergration. troops were sent to little rock, arkansas. we had blood on the streets in places like boston and philadelphia over this question. how can it be by 2014 a non-issue and not mentioned by any policy maker? that includes the obama administration and the mayor even. not a word from the chancellor, governor or mayor after this report came out. and the silence speaks to the fact that we accept it. so now we find out we are not even at plussy. the promise of plusy was promise
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but equal. we have separate and profoundly unequal. the two most important issues facing education today are not addressed. they are racial segregation and inequality in funding for schools. and despite the campaign for fiscal equities that should be addressed is again a non-issue. why does it matter? we have known for year that not only are unequal resources keeping up the gaps in the achievement gap performance but when we allow the schools to be segregated the way they are it is difficult to generate public support for the school. i would guess that leah's school does well in garnering resources from its parents. >> absolutely. >> and i know of many schools across the city that can't because the parents have no resources. and those affect the quality of
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education they receive, the learning environment and they affect whether or not teachers will stay. we are kept up a system that is failing, not failing because the kids fail, and david's work shows us that, when you provide the right environment they can be successful put they care because the city doesn't care about their children. >> i will take the part about how we got here. i know it isn't going to be news to any of us in the room but brown education applied only to the states that segregated by law as opposed to the way the school districts were line. that is the de facto distinction. the court ruled that northern
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schools didn't have to desegregate. they didn't have to cooperate and swap student populations. and during the reagan year, we saw federal funds withdrawn from cities like chicago and the north that were attempting to desegregate schools. these policy choices and the way that brown v board was implemented in the south are the reasons why places like new york has the deep segregation today. i think it is important to realize housing policy is a really big part of this. with red lining and the cheap mortgages that were available in the suburbs to white families in the '60s and '70s you see white flight. there was no broad desegregation of schools in new york city. the white flight was driven by the red lining and cheap mortgages available.
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what we had under mayor john lindsy in the late '60s is a situation with fewer and fewer white students to spread around. it is becoming more and more difficult to achieve desegregation and busing would have been one way to do this. at the time it was the way it was discussed and today there is more choice-driven strategy i hope we can talk about. but the mayor was looking at boston and watching the protest and violence and he had presidential ambition and didn't want to be embroiled in that and through this you see sort of the death of the push for desegregation in new york. there is another factor here which is that the black power movement was also beginning to reject desegregation. and in the black community there was a strong critique of desegregation.
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when the forces come together, the courts, critique from black power, the reluctance of black politicians and we never regained that loss. >> i think what we have found in terms of the increased segregation is that we -- the fath we have a lesser amount of white students who are attending our schools in and of itself and on its face it isn't a bad thing. put the problem is we don't have enough people who are advocateing -- advocating -- to support the public schools. you have a system where we lost a lot of confidence in the public school system. i grew up in crown heights in brooklyn where the schools were
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very desegregated at the time and they were great schools. but over the years, the system has lost so much confidence and so many, i think, well-meaning white citizens have taken their children out of the schools. we had school chancellors who led the school system and didn't put their own children in the schools they lead. that signal from the very top troubling. pedro talked about the lack of resources and the fight to make sure the schools are funded in the way they need to be is an even bigger issue that has to be addressed and one i would like to follow up on as the decision goes along. >> i think we can talk about it now. if it comes to funding, what would you propose we do at a
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policy level to make people pay attention to the public schools and giving them the resources they need to be successful. >> i was a school teacher in the new york city school system for six years. here in brooklyn. district 17. worked in an elementary school. then went on to become an assistant principal for two years and then a founding principal of two high schools. so i have been in the system throughout my career and seen what has been happening with the young people first hand. but in creating the eagle academy for young men, which was the first all-boys public high school in new york city in 30 years, i want to stress that. this is a traditional public school working with the department of education and that was strategic. we are not going to charter our
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way out of this. charters play a role but at the end of the day more than 90% of kids are going through the traditional public model. pedro has written over the years that black and latino boys it re bottom of all indicators of success and that is why we wanted to focus on these young men as an educational lab, if you will, to try to figure out what it takes to move the needle. what i am doing now in my role is something that should be done by the city and the department of education. funding the opportunities that young people need. i have to raise money essentially and create an opportunity so young men can have an extensive day after the school day. getting off at 3:00 and sending the kids home isn't a recipe for
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success. we keep our young men in school until 5-6 and they come to school every saturday for 3-4 hours. it isn't all academic. it is sports, chess, and other activities that work to create the environment that young people are drawn to and want to be a part of. we have developed initiatives in how you create opportunities for parents to really be motivated to be involved. most schools say they want the parents to be involved but they don't mean it. it is a slogan they hang on the wall but the reality is the action they practice say to the parents we would prefer if you stay away. we know best. just make sure they get a good nights sleep and send them to school. without the parents you can teach kids. they will learn how to read, write and do math but if they don't grow up with a healthy
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respect for their families and community generally that means they take everything that has been invested in them, they take it and go away and never come or give back. part of the educational process is about developing the healthy spirit within our young people so they understand they are people who fought and sacrificed so they would have these opportunities and part of the educational experience is to give back to the community. if everybody takes what they get, leaves and never comes back, we will continue to have the conversations we have for many years. >> david, you spoke about extensive afterschool and saturday programs for students. how do you provide those and how might you suggest replicating it? >> i have to make appeals to individuals and help them understand investing in a
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population like this is an important investment. this isn't just a feel good story i tried to write about saying we have a young man in color and i feel good about the inve investment. we said this is an issue of national security. in a diverse country we cannot afford to have so much wasted capital sitting on the sidelines. we continue to invest in the prison population and incarcerate the young men. they are not giving back to the tax base, are not there to be fathers or husbands, so you are talking away the fabric of what any healthy community looks like, remove it, and wonder why we are having the problems. i have to raise the dollars that bridge that gap and provide hope and support for young people and their families.
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this is something they are trying to do to some degree. beginning to make investment and supports for extended day programs at the middle school level which is, i think, critically important. we do a pretty good job at the elementary school level throughout the city and around the country. but where the decline takes place is at the middle school level. and that is a place where we have to make an investment. the administration is beginning to recognize that and given indications they are looking to support the middle school process and that is just the beginning of the type of work that has to happen. >> i think it is important to talk about how our public school is funded. only 13% of the funding comes from washington/there federal government. the rest is 50-50 between local and state level taxes. outside of new york there are other states that do more to centralize the local taxes and redistribute them equally around the state.
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they do a better job in places like kansas, hawaii, and vermont than we do. so there are legal and political changes that could happen and make it more feasible to equalize resources between communities. >> let me also say this is the 60th anniversary of the brown decision and the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act. title one was put into a place at the time. the elementary secondary education act. it was framed as a way to compensate for what children didn't have. that is why it matters and we measure how many kids qualify for free and reduced lunch because schools with poor kids get additional resources. that is what the law required. it is never to be equal, though. that is even though it is extra resources that come with free
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lunch don't level the playing field. there is a huge imbalance on resources. the time when the greatest gains were being made in reducing disparity and achievement based on race and economic status was in the 1970s. since that time, we focus on education policy on academic standards and accountability. particularly since no child left behind that is all we focus on. and under mayor bloomberg we had a strategy of shutting down failing schools. which schools were those? almost all of the schools serving the poorest children. we have had no strategy to address the basic lack of opportunity in those schools. now, i think david is right that if we bring these extra services
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in, it will help but here is watt what we also know. services alone don't provide good academic instruction. you need more than that and unfortunately this administration hasn't developed a strategy for that. there is a no report called the forgotten force. 1/4 of the schools have 90% of children below efficiency. there was no discussion by the mayor or chancellor after the report was released. i keep calling them out because i was expecting something different from the mayor and chancellor and something more than preschool. preschool is important but they are responsible for 1.1 million children and all of the kids have to see improvement if we are going to address the growing inequality that the mayor said is his number one priority. >> pedro, you said extra services isn't enough to close the gap. what else do we need to do as a
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city in order to improve the issue? >> i will say briefly the other thing we have done -- we keep doing dumb things -- we deliberately assign the least experienced teacher to the neediest schools. show me the research to support that strategy, right? show we have this very high turnover in teachers in the south bronx and east new york. i had a meeting with principals from east new york and not one of them was over 40. they are in way over their heads because we have not thought strategically how do you create schools in high poverty communities where it is going to be hard to integrate brownsville. it isn't going to be gentrified any time soon.
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we have to bring in highly competent educators and find a way to get them to stay. that has to be on the agenda. >> this is a crucial point i made in my book. there was a study on 850,000 children and looking at the impact of teacher turnover on student achievement. and what they found, even if overall teacher quality at the school remains constant, no drop off in the quality of teachers, the churn and burn cycle of the teachers coming in and out impacts kids and lowers their achievement. even if my own teacher isn't new. if the teacher in the classroom next to mine leaves it impacts me and comes through the classroom walls. why does this happen? it is obvious. when a school is focused on
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rehiring, retraining and recruiting they are focused on this and not at the stuff in the classroom. that has to be the focus and i think we would all agree about that. so many schools in new york city have poor working conditions for adults and are tough places to build a career over the long haul that may never get to improve because of the constant cycle. i have looked at teachers who leave high poverty schools and why they did it and what would get them to stay. the number one thing seems to be a great principal who has the ability to create a positive working environment for the adults and a good environment for the kids. we need to look at who is leading the schools. that is very important. and why the eagle school is so
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successful. another thing teachers say is they don't have the opportunity to advance except going into the administration themselves. teachers have been flatlined for decade. in terms of pay, which is part, and the second is opportunities to lead among adults, not just kids. teachers are people. they have all of the same drives and desires for opportunities like what we doing here with us today; to talk about their work and be involved in adult conversations about what they do and we don't often provide the teachers with that opportunity especially in high poverty school. so we can do more to address the issue of teacher retention which is important >> i think how we are preparing to kids and holding the schools of education for some level of
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accountability. i graduated from st. john's law school and left the school system never thinking i was coming back. when i decided to come back to be an assistant principal i was starting in january and wanted to be in the school in september and that meant i had one semester to get my administrative certification. you needed 30 credit to get another masters. only 24 to get the certification. so i said how can i get 24 credits in one semester so i can be in a school. brooklyn college offered be 15 out of the gate. no one would offer 24. i went to sleep upset because i said i will have to do this over two semesters. i woke up in the middle of the night with a voice saying who
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said you had to go to the the same school. so i went to three schools at one time, got all 24 credits and was in a school as assistant principal that year. it gathers that kind of response but the real indictment is it was the easiest thing i did. we should not laugh, really. the enterance way to the system was just thati easy. when i became a teacher, i was a political science teacher and planned to take it while i wait for law school, but it was one of the easiest things in the world becoming a teacher. we not giving them rigorous course work and we don't prepare them for the realities of what
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you will face particularly in a tough urban neighborhood. the notion about working with a! full of boys. -- classrooms -- a lot of the teachers were good students, had good experience with their teachers and wanted to be ms. jackson. now they are the teacher in the class and they have a complete handful in the back of the room and they have no way of being prepared. they didn't know the handful existed because their experience was them and the child, they sat in the fropt front row and did well. they have to deal with this boy's energy bouncing off the wall. i tell the story of my brother phillip and me. i did good in school and phillip
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had problems and they said he was a bad boy and wanted to recommend him for special education andsaid he should be on medication because he was too hyper. he was just a boy with all of the energy in the world. they were not racist. they didn't know how to deal with it. phillip went to a small college in pennsylvania and graduated from college and followed my mother into the new york police department -- father -- fhe became a sergeant a rank below my dad. then a year later became a lieutenant. father and son, same name, both lieutenants on the police department. one year later my dad is promoted to captain, above my dad, and my dad said it is time to retire. phillip went on to be the four star chief of the department.
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highest ranking uniformed police officer in the state of new york. but if you think about him and the teachers that didn't understand the boy energy and were not prepared -- we have to look at how we are preparing the students for the most difficult students. >> we would love to hear more about what you would propose as far as teacher preparation. finland and sinapore has teachers spending time doing mentorships or learning from mentors. what do you think the united states need to do to prepare better? >> only half of teachers have teaching experience in the classroom. student teaching can be in front
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of 4-5 students in a circle. it is nothing like leading the class. i look closely at residency programs in my book. i think they are promising. they require the four year bachelor degree focused on math, history, biology just lick any other graduate, and then a year of course work and four day as week they are in the classroom, in a high poverty school, watching an expert mentor teachers who have the ability to mentor other adults as well. not all of them have the ability to mentor adults. we see good numbers coming from the residency problems. i look at the one in memphis. not only are they doing well
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with the kids they are staying 5-10 years in the program. it is different than teach for america. they are going out there looking for people that want to commit long term to teach but not just teaching anywhere but teaching in a specific place. so the memphis program is focused on memphis. they take classes on the history of race relations in memphis. it is very specific to the area. >> so, i am glad dana made reference to other countries that outperform us and the way teachers are trained. you find they are teaching high status professions. and i think that is what we want to immolate. there is a debate on getting rid of tenure for teachers. i would say if you want to further undermine public education let's go that way. because what we want to do is attract and make it very
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difficult to get into the profession. it should be much harder to get in. you should have to demonstrate you can teach whoever it is you are going to teach. we should make it a propossession that is going to stand and there are supports for teachers. it is easy to tax schools of education. i taught at berkeley, harvard and they trained in the content of what they teach and know instruction. they are not prepared to teach the kids, though. why? because they go into the under resourced schools and high need kids. we then take the least prepared people, whether it is tsa or teach for america, and put them in the most difficult
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circumstances. no other profession does this. we cannot just focus on one slice, like tenure or schools of education and think we will fix that. we have to do many things at the same time. we have to provide more support to teachers while they are there. we have to make sure there is a training opportunity because dana says it includes faculty coming into the schools, working with the people, and we also have to make sure the supports are there. what does that mean? social workers. school psychologist. many of the schools are overwhelmed because the kids have needs that beyond the learning context and if you ignore those the kids with the greatest needs continue to be the ones that fail and the teachers fail because they are working with the kids and are overwhelmed. we have to understand it is all
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interconnected and think in a way about how to create schools that have the support they need to do the challenging work of educating them. >> as someone who has been in the system so many years there is no one place you can go to within the system for curriculum. everybody is reinventing the wheel. the largest school system in the world and there is no one central repository you ask go and say we decided we wanted to teach a course in forensic science and that there is a place with a curriculum laid out and you can adapt it to your students. they don't have that. it is crazy. everybody is working in silence. and there is no incentives that have been built for people to share with each other. so you have this lack of connectedness. if you happen to be lucky and in a great school with a great principle and community that is supporting the schools you are
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one of the lucky ones. but we set-up the system of accountability and standard, which i don't disagree with per se, but to do that and not provide financial support, but the how tos. someone is coming out of college, you want to be a teacher, you are a teacher and you are on your own to figure it out. it makes no sense. that is why pedro said what is the plan? if you have been selected to be the chancellor what is your plan of action? we are talking about universal pre-k and the conversation revolves around that and somehow we think we have arrived. there are many pieces to this but you have to have people thinking outside of the box and trying to create a system.
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there were a number of good things done when joe cline was chancelar but the level of connectedmess is looking. it was supposed to feed back to the larger school system and say how can we adapt the things we learned in this setting where we don't have all of the restrictions and figure out how to make them stick. you can figure out how to implement them. there is no system that is actually bringing and taking that learning in a systematic way and making sure that everybody gets it. we have a system that we set-up of accountability that provides for winners and losers and everything you see in the press, these are the schools doing well and look at their scores. schools that have losers are the
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kids, families and communities. if we don't device a system where everybody is learning, everybody is moving -- if we don't do that, we are all loosing and that is the message i think is the most important. >> yeah, i think as we near the end of the panel, all three of you have now spoken about the many moving parts when it comes to school and the fact there are many things we need to address and move to needle. if you had to name one thing, one policy shift that would cause the greatest changing toward the positive rati, what you recommend? >> i think what i will say is the entire conversation has been driven by the idea of
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accountability. rewards and punishment. we created a lot of systems specifically the value added measureme measureme measurements used to test teachers. i think what gets lost when we put energy into measuring things is the actual stuff of education which is what is happening between the teacher and student in the classroom. we created a system of paperwork, all drive n by the accountability push and we stepped back asking what does the teaching look like. how can i move it from the place it is happening to the place where it isn't? one of the things that i try to do in the book is go into the classrooms including inner city newark where supposedly all of
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the schools are failing which isn't true. there are good ones. but i try to take a look at what the best teachers have doing with their students and create systems that are less about punishment and more about replication so that is my message for policymakers about the one most transforming thing. >> let me build on the accountability system point. there are two false assumptions built into the way we do it. one is that basically pressure will make schools better. right? there is absolutely no evidence. it is threatening schools and embarrassing the people who work there. that is a national strategy, though? under no child left behind. but secondally, -- secondly --
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we don't acknowledge there is no accountability on the parliament in charge. principal, teachers and children. if the children don't pass the test they are screwed. superinte superintendant, mayor, chancellor, legislature, no accountability. we need to reframe it. we need to do what they do in canada. in toronto, the city in north america that made the greatest stride improving schools is toronto, where despite the crack smoking mayor, they focus on capacity building in school. if a school is struggling they go in and say what is wrong? what does the school need? maybe a science curriculum, a social worker. they build the school up not threatening and pressuring it. that change in how we approach
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the work would change everything. new york state has had roosevelt public schools for 15 years. where is the accountability on the state of new york? in new jersey, every urban district with the exception of elizabeth, is under state control. why isn't the governor held accountable for the failures in camden? he runs it. the policy is skilling this system. when we go about reforming the schools the people we are least likely to talk to are educators. we are far more likely to talk to a ceo or hedgefund manager. >> this is in many ways a crisis of leadership and vision. we have been at this for far too
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long and still haven't really advanced the needle much. we have places that we can point to. places like eagle academy and so many others that are doing better than eagle academy even. but they are islands of success. the largest system still struggles and i see that as an issue of leadership. i agree with the notion of holding people accountability for that is really, really important. but i also think that when rudy was the chancellor here in the system he had an idea i thought worked well and that is the chancellor's district. that was the schools that did find themselves struggling the most got the most help, support and resources. it isn't like rocket science, right? i mean, so we would make sure that it was -- he had this plan and they would zero in and provide schools the support they needed to try to move it.
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i feel very strongly about this notion that schools operate way too much in isolation. part of the reason why joe cline was chancellor and dennis who was chancelar visited the eagle academy years apart and came to a meeting saying you need to write about how you get standing room only at your parent meetings. no one else is doing this. ...
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this works for us now we can be here and here everything that's going on in school. how do we provide support to you and when i shared this with others, they said how come we've never heard this before? it's because so many schools have great ideas but there is no communication. that's when i said it's an issue of leadership. who's helping to connect the dots to show the brilliant things happening at the school in manhattan and the wonderful innovations that are taking place so we are not growing and learning from those things so that leadership starts. >> dana, david and pedro i think i speak for everyone in the room. thank you for being here. [applause]
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>> the panelists will be signing books in a few minutes. get in line. thank you for coming.
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from the 2014 book festival held in fairfax virginia her book on a immunity amiability next on booktv. this debate could she was the recipient of the award presented each year at the festival to be one writer specializing in nonfiction. this is a little under an hour. one of the things we did is
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started for awards for encouraging poetry, the fairfax prize for the lifetime achievement in fiction and tonight we are giving away the mary reinhardt award to a woman who writes nonfiction. the goal creating the award is to try to focus attention on words that are important and writers whose work is important and to bring the writers and the leaders together so this is celebratory but it's also very much part and parcel of what the festival is about. she teaches at northwestern and has numerous other awards committee great wolf press nonfiction prize, the national book creating circle award. also a guggenheim fellow. so we thank you very much for coming in accepting what is a
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humble prize compared to some of the others that you've won. her previous books are a balloonist that came out in 2002 and notes from no man's land which came out in 2009 and tonight we will have for sale notes from no man's land and the newest on any entity -- on the planes as a writer what i know in her work are the juxtapositions, kind of self-contained irony that fills our lives. she just identifies these and focuses the bright lights that i'm looking at, focuses the bright light of her attention on them in ways that makes us aware of them and makes it impossible for us to ignore them. she's engaging and entertaining at the same time in her work.
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she's probably most noteworthy though because she tackles such vital issues. in reviewing the first book the balloonist she says in the beautiful blending of narrative style, dialogue, brief anecdotes, this merit that can could navigate through the complex relationships mapping the previously charted territory. however with one important distinction she offers no set of destinations and though he drawn conclusions. instead, the illusionist balloonist is a result of the arguments. be keen insight that we are all connected as she to she begins the notes from no man's land with the history of the little-known fight that was put out by city council members and other public officials over the first telephone poles that went on in this country.
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if you think today's battles about obamacare are kind of weird, imagine city and town officials cutting down telephone poles because they didn't want the phone coming into their community. the telephone company had to go to the rather extreme measure of putting guys on the top of the polls to sit there to keep them from being cut down on total lines actually got stretched and then they became protected by law. but until it was stretched you could cut the pulldown. fascinating. that's the thing about juxtaposition here we are how could you live without your cell phone. and when the phone first came out they couldn't sell it and people were opposed to it. it's that kind of juxtaposition that i find so compelling about
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her work. the essay in no man's land she points out the constructive nature of our lives and does this with her own life. she tells how a plumber helped her when she first moved to new york, getting the refrigerator when it was stolen. she does this joke answers before she could get get on stairs and get it into her apartment, someone has stolen it. but in the parenthetical she says the truth is she was painfully lonely in her first days in new york and she couldn't get the fridge up to her apartment because she didn't know anybody that could help her and she lives in a building so she couldn't move it. when she asked the landlord for a replacement they said take the place or find somewhere else to live but she had nowhere else to go. she is a truth teller in this
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way. she makes a truth with which we can make connections. her newest book starts with her own motherhood and desire to protect her son. on the broad impulse that we all have and to the fairy tales in which mothers and father's desire to protect their children and provide happy lives for them but instead leave them with an unprotected heel for example or unwittingly give them to the devil instead of protecting them. she writes of the consequences of our own knowing acts. she goes on to observe that quoting the belief that public health measures are not intended for people like us is widely held by many people like me. the fact that we need to enable the immune system to become coach and also we cultural solution and completely sanitize ourselves even if he could. she traces the way some people see the compelling immunizations
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as too much government authority that they don't trust but she also notes how the grows out of the state easily translating to the body of the state. so you can see how the body and the government sort of become mixed. we might imagine ourselves as a garden within a garden. it is a strange and various where we host from die and viruses and bacteria of good and bad dispositions. it is by the fruit and the thorns perhaps we should call it a wilderness or community. however we choose to think of the social body or each other's environment it is a shared space
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that that weekend together. with the best of my years writing for the newspaper i had a mentor whose criteria for calling someone a smart was if they could keep two thoughts in their head at one time. by charlie's measure, she's not only smart, she's a uniquely powerful writing person because through her work she not only puts forth more than two thoughts about three or four, she enables us to hold them all in our head at the same time. i'm very happy and pleased to present to you the mary roberts reinhart award for a woman working in nonfiction. [applause]
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thank you for that incredibly generous introduction. this is a tremendous honor for me one that is particularly meaningful because of who mary roberts reinhart was. she was a working mother, trained nurse and incredibly prolific author. the works that inspired batman and advocate who spoke publicly about having breast cancer when it was still unmentionable. so, i hope that something of her legacy might be reflected in the book that i'm about to talk about. this is on the community which is due out in two weeks and i'm going to read a few passages from the beginning since you know the end now. i'm going to start at the beginning and skip around a bit.
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the first story i ever heard of immunity was told to me by my father, a doctor when i was very young. his mother tried to make him a mortal. she burned away his mortality with fire and in one telling of the story he was left in pervious to injury everywhere except his heels where a poison arrow would eventually kill him. in another -- telling the incident was immersed in the sustainability. when rubin painted the life of achilles, the river styx is where he began to read that's why area that's why i crossed the sky with that painting. he dangles from his mother's hand with his hand and shoulders entirely underwater.
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this is clearly no ordinary bath. the three headed hound who guards the underworld's life curled at the base of the painting where the baby's body meets the river as if the baby is being plunged into the beast. conquering immunity, the painting suggests it is the cruelest task due to -- paralytic task. to prepare for the hazards of life my own rather read fairy tales to ask loud at night before bed. i don't remember the brutality for which they are famous as basically as i remember their magic. the golden hairs growing in the garden, 12 brothers who became 12 swans but it didn't escape my notice that the parents in the tales of a maddening habit of getting tricked into making bad gambles with their children's lives. a man agrees to trade with the
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devil whatever is standing beyond his note he thinks that he's giving away his apple tree but to his dismay he finds his daughter standing beyond the mill. in another story a woman who has been longing for a child becomes pregnant and increase the crazy plant called rapunzel that grows in the garden of a wicked enchantress. they won since her husband to steal the plant and he promises their future child to be enchantress who walked the girl away in a tower with no door. both meetings will let down their hair. and so it was my mother read to me later the king that heard an ominous prophecy couldn't keep his daughter childless by locking her in the tower. they visited her in a form of the shower of gold that left her pregnant with a child who later told the king. when the infants left on a mountainside to die was saved by a shepherd he wasn't saved from
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the prophecy that foretold he would kill his father and married his mother. the mother could neither birth nor drown the mortality. a child cannot be kept from his fate though this does not stop the gods themselves from trying. the mother that married a murder. the mortal herd of the prophecy that her son would die young and she made every effort to deny this including dressing him as a girl during the trojan war. after he took up a sword and was discovered to be a boy his mother asked god to make a shield for him and it was emblazoned with the sun and the moon, cities that war and peace, the universe with all of its dualities. the story my father told me when i was young was not the myth of the qb's but another injured
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story. as my father relates the plot i understand why i confused the two. the hero is made in the two injury plagued aging and the blood of a drug a dragon but the leaf clings onto his body leaving a small spot on his back where he is unprotected. after having been victorious in many battles he is killed by one blow to that spot. in the unity is a myth and no more old kid never be made invulnerable. the truth of this was much easier for me to grasp before he became a mother. my son's birth brought with it an exaggerated sense of both my own power and my own powerlessness. i found myself bargaining so frequently that my husband and i made a game of asking each other what disease would give for prevention against another. the parody of the impossible decisions of parenthood. when my son was an incident i would hear many variations of
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all that matters is that he's safe. i would wonder whether this was indeed all that mattered nearly as often as i would wonder if i could keep safe. i was certain that i didn't have the power to protect them from his fate, whatever it may be that i was determined on the list to avoid the bad gambles of the the tale and i wouldn't let my child seat cursed by my own carelessness. i wouldn't accidentally say you may have what is beyond the middle of me to discover that what is just standing beyond the mill. i'm going to skip ahead now so that we can get to the vampires a little faster. the bill titled vaccination vampire warns that the universal universal publishing delivered by the vaccinators known to feed on the blood of babies the vampires at that time became a ready metaphor for the
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vaccinators. bloodsucking monsters of the folklore were hideous victorian vampires could be seductive. the sexuality dramatized the fear that there was something sexual in the vaccination and anxiety that was only reinforced when sexually transmitted diseases were spread through arm to arm vaccination. victorian vampires like victorian doctors were associated just with the corruption of the blood but also economic corruption. having invented a paid profession and being almost exclusively available to the rich doctors were suspect to the working class. count dracula is of the bloodthirsty rouge law and he keeps gold coins in his castle and the poor from the cloak when he's stabbed but it's difficult to read him as a vaccinators.
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of all of the metaphors suggested within the pages of dracula, the disease is one of the most obvious. dracula arrives in england as a new disease might arrive on a boat. he summons his evil spread from the first woman to the children she feeds on unwittingly at night. what makes dracula particularly terrifying and what the plot of the story so wrong to result is that he is a monster whose monstrosity is contagious. the theory was wisely accepted when dracula was published but only after having been ridiculed earlier in the century. the suspicion that microorganisms of some sort cause disease had been around for so long that the theory was already considered outdated by the time that we demonstrated the presence of germs in the air with the cork and uncorked
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flasks. among the vampire hunters to pursue dracula sterilizing the coffin so that he cannot take refuge in them there are two doctors who initially disagreed on their diagnosis. the younger doctor can't bring themselves to believe in vampires despite the evidence to the older doctor delivers an impassioned speech on the intersection of science and faith. let me tell you, he says, there are things done today in electrical science that would have been deemed unholy by those that discovered electricity through with themselves not so long before have been burned as was. he then goes on to invoke mark twain. i heard once that an american whose these kind face that enables us to believe things we know to be untrue. he meant we shall have an open mind and not let a little bit of truth check that truth like a small rock on a railway truck.
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dracula is as much about this problem, the problem of evidence and truth as it is about empires. in proposing that one truth may derail another invites an enduring question do we leave the vaccination to be more monstrous fantasies there lies the dread of being alone in the world forgotten by god overlooked among the tremendous household of millions upon millions she wrote in his journal in 1847. that was the year he finished works of love in which he insists is known not through words but only by its fruits. i read the first 50 pages of the works of love and college before giving it up out of exhaustion. they unfolded the commandments commandment you shall love your neighbor as yourself parsing it almost word by word so that
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after exploring the nature he asks what is meant by as yourself and then as your neighbor and then what is meant by you shall. overwhelmed i stopped reading who then is one's neighbor which he answered in part with neighbor is what philosophers would call the other data by which the selflessness and self-love is to be tested. i had read enough at that point to be troubled with the idea that one must enact one's belief and perhaps even in the event. from somewhere deep in my childhood i could remember my father explaining with enthusiasm the principle behind the effect as an ambulance sped pastore card. when we watched the sunset over the river he described the wildlife scattering into the room full of the late because late late to leave links in the and the results in the reddish cloud that looks more intensely green at dusk.
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he dissected a pellet for me and reassembled from at the tiny skeleton of a mouse. my father marveled at the natural world far more often than he talked about the human body. but the blood types for a subject on which he thought with some passion. people with a blood type o. negative can only receive a transfusion but only they can give blood of any other type that's why a person with type o o. negative is known as a universal donor. my folder within reveal that his was a negative and he himself was a universal donor. he gave blood as often as he was allowed because it was always in demand for emergency transfusions. i suspect my father may have already known what i would only discover later that night also is a negative. i understood that universal
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donor long before i knew my own blood type that i didn't think of it as an ingenious filtering of my father's catholicism through his medical training. i wasn't raised in the church and they never took communion so i wasn't reminded of jesus offering his blood that we'll might live when my father spoke of the universal donor but i believe even then that we owed each other. every time my father went out on a boat for my entire childhood he took a life preserver with his name and organ donor printed largely. it was a joke that he believe quite sincerely. when he taught me to drive he gave me this advice from his own father. you're responsible not just for the car you're driving that the car the car ahead of you and the car behind you. learning to try all three cars was daunting and inspired an
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occasional poker ... but because my driving to this day but when i earned my license i signed my name under organ donor. at the very first decision i made for my son and acted within moments of his body coming free of mine was the donation of his umbilical cord blood type public bank. at 30 i had only donated blood ones back in college. i wanted my son to start his life with a credit to the bank and not the debt i already felt and this was before i a universal donor would become the recipient of two units of blood transfusion after my son's birth, blood of the most precious type drawn from a public bank. if we imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community it's fair to think of a vaccination as the banking of
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immunity to read contributions are donations to those that cannot or will not be protected by their own immunity. this is the principle that the vaccinations become far more effect if an individual vaccination. any given vaccine can fail to produce immunity in an individual and some vaccines with the influenza vaccine are less effective than others but when enough people are vaccinated with a relatively ineffective vaccine viruses have trouble moving from host to host and seems to spread sparing the vaccinated and those vaccination hasn't produced immunity. this is why the chances of contracting measles can be hired for a vaccinated person living in a largely unvaccinated communities and they are free and i'm vaccinated person living in a largely vaccinated
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community. the unvaccinated person is protected by the bodies around her through which disease is not circulating the vaccinated person surrounded by bodies that host disease is less vulnerable to vaccine failure or feeling immunity. we are protected not so much by our own skin by what is surrounded. they begin to dissolve and donations of blood and organs move between us exiting one and injuring another and so too with immunity which is a common trust as much as it is a private account. those of us to go on collective immunity on our hosts to our neighbors. i will do one more and then take some questions. the belief that public-health measures are not intended for people like us is wisely held by many people like me. public health we assume is for
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people with less, less education, less healthy habits, less access to quality health care, less time and money. i'd heard of others of my class just for instance the standard of childhood immunization schedule groups together multiple shots because poor mothers will not visit the doctor frequently enough to get the 26 recommended shots separately. no matter that any mother myself included quite find so many visits daunting that we seem to be saying is for people like them. in the article article for mothering magazine, the journalist expresses outrage that newborn infants are routinely vaccinated against the tigers titus b. and wonders why she was encouraged to vaccinate her daughter against a sexually transmitted disease she has no chance of catching. it's transmitted not only basics but through bodily fluids of the
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most common way that they can contract is from their mothers. bb is going bbs going to women infected with the isp and mothers can carry the virus without their knowledge would almost certainly be infected if they are not vaccinated within 12 hours of birth and it can also be passed through close contact between children and people of any age can carry it without symptoms. like human papilloma virus and a number of other viruses it is a carcinogen and it's most likely to cause cancer in people who contract it when they are young. one of the mysteries of the hepatitis b immunization is the vaccinated only high risk groups which was the original public-health strategy did not bring down the rates of infection. ..
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>> risk is a comp riliindicated assessment. there is risk in having sex with a part nur or travelling through the birth canal. the source of infession is never known in many cases. i decided i didn't want my son to be vaccinated against hep-b. by the time i put him to my breast i received a blood transfusion and my status changed. when the last nationwide small
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pox epidemic began in 1898, some people believed that whites were not susceptible it the disease. it was associated with immigrants and called a variety of names. when small pox broke out in new york city police officers were sent out to enforce the vaccination. and everybody who resisted was vaccinated at gunpoint. the campaigns limited the spread of disease, but the risks of vaccines were absorbed by the most vulnerable groups. debates over vaccination is as a
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all about going against science. the working class that resisted the free mandatory vaccines were concerned about their own freedom. faced with fines and cease area. it raises rights about the rights to one's body. anti-vaccinators were more interested in the liberty than the cause of the shared purpose. it wasn't in the reckless spirit of john brown who was hung with his sons that white workers resisted vaccines. they were quick to draw on the value of the slave or the c
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colonized african. they were quicker to claim the suffering of white residents took that over the oppressed elsewhere. their primary concern was with people like them. in her history of the movement, they return to the idea that vaccine resisters saw their body not as contagious. they were vulnerable but in a time and case where the poor were seen as a liability to public help it fell to the poor to talk about their vulnerability. they asserted they were not dangerous and i suspect it would be just as meaningful to accept
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this. the middle class is threatened but we are dangerous by having bodi bodies. even the bodies of children, which our time is vulnerable, are dangerous in the ability to spread disease. think of the unvaccinated boy in san diego who returned for a case of measles that infected his siblings, classmates and people in the waiting room. one of the children had to be hospitalized. they are more likely to be white, have an older mother with a college education and live in a household with a income of $75,000 or more.
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they tend to be clustered in the same area raising the probability they will contract an illness that can be passed to under vaccinated children. undervaccinated children, meaning children who have received some, but not all of the immunization are more likely to be black, have an unmarried mother, live in poverty and across state lines. vaccination works by enlisting the majority in the protection of a minority. the elderly in the case of the flu. newborns in the case of whooping cough. pregnant women in the case of rubella. but when white women vaccinate your children we maybe participating in the participation of poor black
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women who have moved and haven't fully vaccinated their children yet. this is a radical inversion of the application of vaccination which once abstracted from the poor for the privilege of higher up. it is through us, through our bodies, that certain public health measures are enacted. i am going to stop there. >> i am happy to answer questions. [inaudible question]
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>> how long did it take you to research your book and where did you find the major sources of information? >> it took about five years. i started shortly before my son was born and he is five and a half now. for the first several years, all i did was research. i didn't write much for the first two-three years. my sources of information came from all over. i started by talking with other parents and reading what others were recommending to me. i moved from there to articles and medical journals, reading history of vaccinations so you
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heard that evidence in there. reading anthopology work. a next book on immunology and talked to pediatricians and medical ethsis. that was the most gratifying part of the research was talking to people who hold expertise in areas. vaccination brushes up against a lot of other areas. i found myself thinking about environmental issues and chemical pollution and issues of governments and what it means to be a citizen so i was talking to
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philosophers and people who helped me think about congs conscious. the research was wide ranging for me. some was technical and based in medicine and required that i get a lot of help from people who had expertise enmidson -- in medicine -- and a lot was social and historical in nature. >> hi. that is my former student from northwestern all grown up now. >> i was wondering how did you, after writing the book, go through and make sure all of the
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research was still accurate after you went through all of the years? >> that is a great question and i expect nothing less from you. we did fact checking with students and flagged stuff. i went back myself and double checked all of my sources. i had two separate scientist read the book as well. one was a source of mine and i found a scientist who wasn't a source of mine to read the book for accuracy. and despite the effort not everything in the book is absolutely accurate and i know that because some of the things i was writing about changed so
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quickly so even though the book is coming out in two weeks, the situation with polio in the middle east has changed and most of what i said isn't true. it is a vast understatement of what is going on with polio because in the six months since the text was finalized a lot changed. i made a reference to ebola where i was talking about the last round that happened when i was in high school. not this round of ebola on which i am not sure will read the way i meant it to read now that the new crises emerged. but those are the things that are the fallout of writing about something that is still happening. i did everything i could do to make sure that the information i
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was using in here was accurate to my knowledge and to the knowledge of the people that i showed the book to. i don't for a minute doubt that i probably got something wrong. even just today i was going through a fact checking process with "the new york times" magazine that was revealing how much judgment is involved in fact checking and how they have to weigh and decide what is going to be the fact on the piece. there is a gray area that is difficult and challenging. thanks for that question, karen. >> so it is a huge topic. and it a lot of research as you said. so my thoughts are there is that
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personal aspect of it. your father was a physician and you talked about he feels strongly about immunnization as you do. so i am thinking how did you, in your writing process, did you kind of have a narrative story like my father was a physician and you believe in it and you have a son and believe in immunization or did the research inform the narrative? >> that is a great question. i am trying to think about what happened actually. i think the process for this book was that i was living a lot of questions and those questions drove both the inquiries and the
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storm and structure of the book. it was less i decided to work with a narrative than i decided to work with question and those questions drove me sometimes into narratives, yes. one of the questions i had in the research, at some point, my research wasn't complete yet. i did enough to see as far as i can tell there was no compelling reason i yet turned out not to vaccinate my son but there were still questions i had. and i vaccinated him and on schedule but a little part of me was still nervous. and one of the questions i had that continued to propel me through the research was why am i doing this? why am i doing it on schedule if i am not a hundred percent
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certain beyond a shadow of a doubt there is nothing bad that can happen from this? and that question gnawed at me and propelled me philosophy and talking to my sister who is a philosopher and teaches ethics at loyola baltimore and we had a discussion about a conscious and what a conscious is. and i realized at the end of the conversation the answer the question of why i am doing this even though i am not one hundred percent sure my son will not be harmed is that it is a matter of conscious for me. i think i would have trouble facing my father, not in life, but in my heart and mind facing him, if i hadn't turned up an extroidinarily compelling reason not to do this thing that i knew
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was important to him and also, i think it went beyond importance; it ranged into a territory that was in line with the morality i have been raised to understand and to act from. and so if i was going to step outside that kind of moral action i felt i needed a good reason to do it. that is a question that drove me into areas i didn't know i was going to go and some of the areas involved talking about my father. so where i am reflecting on him talking about blood types and learning to drive conversations were coming out of the question i had of what is it about my upbringing or the ethics i have
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been trained in that are making me uncomfortable about what i see as civic duty. and there is another question that is driven by the research base. there are narrative section and a section where i researched the anti-vaccination in vitoria and england and the people that resized called them self conscious objectives. so it came to be used in the context of war but the first widespread use of it was in the context of vaccination. so i was interested the term conscious appeared in the early vaccination movement. what i am feeling is calling conscious is what they are
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calling conscious but they are leading to two different decisions and what is going on? that was another question that drove me deeper into the research and information. does that answer your question? >> do you find questions, ethics and morality tend to drive a lot of choices were your topics? >> i seem to not be able to get away from them. i don't necessarily intend to go there. but i guess those questions find me or i find them. i was a little bit surprised when i started working on the book, i felt it would be a real departure from my last book. i was writing about race and
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racism and identity in my last book and that was an ex exhausting subject for work with and raised a lot of difficult questions and provoked a lot of difficult self-examination and i was under the delusion that because i was writing about science and medicine that i would somehow escape that kind of inquiry and questions or moral issues. but that delusion didn't last long and take me far into the writing of the book before these questions started emerging. in a similar context, there are
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issues of race and privilege coming up around vaccination and class as well. and the whole history of vaccination and anti-vaccination movement is steeped in issues of class. and not only did i not escape those questions but toward the end of the book, it was picking up on some of the issues my last book left off and taking them the way i see it a little bit further and sometimes into more specific territory. so i think one of the things my last book suggested to me as a thinker was the possibility that one can be born into privilege or acquire privilege but one can still chose to live that privilege in a redemptive way. but that was a kind of wide and vague knowledge that emerged out
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of that book. i think this book forced me to look at a specific instance where someone might be in a position of privilege where they could make a choice that could either help or hurt another person and these were the terms i was looking at vaccination in. and i don't think the book would be what it was without the book before it. i think a lot of thinking about morality and ethics was done in the first book and primed me for this one. at some point i would like to get away from it. it is tricky territory to be in. and i think it is the reason that no body every laughs at my readings. i don't get to be funny when i talk about how to be good. any other questions?
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>> did you get the issues that are not based on vaccination but like ebola when there is no vax seen or mersa where it is isolation and control? was that something you dealt with? >> i looked at some thof of the ways we contained diseases before we had certain vaccines. the disease i was interested in and did research on was malaria. it kills hundreds of thousands of kids in africa and leaves many others mentally disabled and we have no effective vaccine
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for it yet. there are a couple in the works but not one that is available for practical use. one of the things that is upsetting about looking at how malaria is dealt with is that in the absence of the vaccine we need to make a lot of the public health measure involved big compromises. one of the effective way of controlling the disease is using ddt to kill the mosquitos and when the ddt use fell off for a number of decades malaria resurged in some countries and now certain countries in africa, specially south africa, have put ddt back into use and seen really good results in terms of
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containing malaria and reducing the number of cases. but there is significant environmental fallout from using ddt and reasons why it is isn't a great solution. it is unfortunately one of the few effective things that we have to contain malaria with. i think one of the beauties of vaccination is that in many cases it doesn't involve the kind of massive compromise that something like widespread ddt use does. that doesn't mean it is perfect or no compromise and there are risks and children do have side effects but the good that is done in comparison to the harm
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is tremendous. >> thanks so much. [applause] >> c-span 2 providing public coverage of the senate and public policy. and booktv for 15 years the only television series devoted to non-fiction authors. brought to you as a local service by your local cable or satellite provider. >> i was young at that stage. and i looked forward to the
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hearing. i have had to be schooled in the notion that congressional investigation is about something other than trying to find out what is actually happening. guess what? i happen to believe the democrats were trying to figure out what would. it is in their interest to discover things that don't make the opposition look good. but if you go back and listen to the experience -- maybe not in this day and age, but back then it was stunning to see how much of their precious airtime was used up in undermining witnesses who were against reagan and looking up the president according to his policies and they had no interest in finding out what happened actually. the story of the habitants up north really put them into the department of broadcast. it was shocking at the time but to go back and look at it again
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maybe even more so to see the lead up to the north's testimony. after two months of clearance the democrats did a good job of constructing the image of how the administration wanted to appear. the proof of that was in the statement that several republicans and members of congress made in the lead up to the north both to the media the public themselves called on them to give a road that was exactly paved and how to get the job done. in comes the north and in the course of less than a week, completely spins the entire room around and picks up the caucus
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and house room, wins over millions of fans among american viewers. how fan clubs get started and hair cuts get started and the chief council for the senate is distraught to that members of the capital police force are there having their picture taken with ollie. and the same congressman afterwards turn around and it is like night and day. it is shameful. i don't how they look at themselves in the mirror. so much of this affair is typical of what you see under ordinary circumstances. this isn't an aberration. because of the same institutions being in place all

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