TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

A special edition on this Martin Luther King Jr. day as we focus on race in America. A new survey says six in ten Americans think the president has made race relations even worse than they’d predicted. To his unpredictable response that jobs will ease racial tension: what does he mean? We’ll explain. As the president approaches the first anniversary of his inauguration, we’ll examine his record on race. We’ve assembled a panel from academia to the political to examine how we can get everyone to be part of the discussion. Can we solve the racial divide by agreeing to disagree? That’s just one of the issues we tackle in this episode of MetroFocus.

Aired on January 15, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, ON 'METROFOCUS.'

A SPECIAL EDITION ON THIS MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY AS WE FOCUS ON RACISM IN AMERICA.

SIX IN TEN PEOPLE THINK PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS MADE RACE RELATIONS WORSE.

AS THE PRESIDENT APPROACHES THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF HIS INAUGURATION, WE'LL EXAMINE HIS RECORD ON RACE.

WE'VE ASSEMBLED A PANEL TO DISCOVER HOW WE CAN GET EVERYONE PART OF THE DISCUSSION.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY CORPORATE FUNDING PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

> GOOD EVEN AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

NEARLY A YEAR INTO DONALD TRUMP'S PRESIDENCY, AND ACCORDING TO A NEW PUGH REPORT, ALREADY 60% OF AMERICANS SAY HIS PRESIDENCY HAS LED TO WORSE RACE RELATIONS.

THEY BELIEVE THERE ARE VERY STRONG OR STRONG CONFLICTS BETWEEN BLACKS AND WHITES.

WHILE THERE IS NO DENYING THAT THE PRESIDENT'S FIRST YEAR GOT OFF TO A ROUGH START, COULD HE BE DRIVING OUR NATION IN REVERSE?

THE PRESIDENT'S RESPONSE TO RACIAL ISSUES HAS LEFT OUR COUNTRY IN TURMOIL.

NOW, AS TRUMP APPROACHES THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF HIS INAUGURATION, AMERICANS ARE EXAMINING WHAT HAS HE DONE REGARDING AN ISSUE MANY CONSIDER ONE OF THE COUNTRY'S MOST PRESSING.

JOINING ME NOW IS AUTHOR OF 'RESURRECTING SLAVERY', DR.

CRYSTAL FLEMING.

CONSERVATIVE COLOR COALITION CHAIR, JOSEPH PINION AND JOURNALIST, KINSEY NAVEDA.

I WANT TO START AT THE LOCAL LEVEL, BECAUSE WE JUST HAVE A NEW CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER WHO IS A WHITE MALE, AND THAT CAUSED A LOT OF CONCERN FOR A LOT OF GROUPS WITHIN THE CITY.

SO FIRST, I WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON THE FACT THAT WE NOW HAVE THREE WHITE MEN IN INCREDIBLY POWERFUL POSITIONS IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

I THINK THAT SAYS A LOT ABOUT THE PIPELINES, AND I KNOW WE TALK ABOUT THIS A LOT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY IN ANY INDUSTRY, BUT THERE OBVIOUSLY -- NOT TAKING AWAY ANYTHING FROM THE PEOPLE IN THESE POSITIONS RIGHT NOW -- BUT WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT A CITY LIKE NEW YORK, THE MOST DIVERSE PLACE IN THIS COUNTRY, ESSENTIALLY.

AND WE OUR GOVERNMENT DOESN'T SEEM TO REFLECT THAT AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL.

WE NEED TO LOOK THE A PIPELINE ISSUES, WHO'S BEING TRAINED AND/OR SUPPORTED TO GET INTO THESE BIGGER ROLES BECAUSE YEAH, THIS IS A CITY THAT OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT, ITS GOVERNMENT IS NOT REFLECTIVE OF ITS CONSTITUENTS.

THE MAJORITY OF THE CANDIDATES WERE PEOPLE OF COLOR.

THE FIELD WINNOWED TO THE TWO LEADING CANDIDATES WHO WERE WHITE MEN, SO I THINK WHAT WE'VE SEEN, ESPECIALLY IN THE WAKE OF THE SELECTION HAS BEEN, YOU KNOW, A NUMBER OF PROMINENT DEMOCRATS, DEMOCRATS SAID WELL, YOU KNOW, THE BLACK DEMOCRATS, THE PARTY DOESN'T SUPPORT US.

THERE'S A LOT OF RESENTMENT.

.

MM-HM.

SO I DON'T THINK THAT'S ANYTHING NEW.

WHY YEAR AFTER YEAR WE HAVE BLACK DEMOCRAT OFFICIALS IN NEW YORK SAYING THE PARTY DOESN'T REALLY SUPPORT BLACK PEOPLE, WHY DO YOU KEEP SUPPORTING THE DEMOCRAT PARTY?

I MEAN, I'M NOT SAYING SUPPORT THE OTHER MAJOR PARTY WHICH ALSO DOESN'T SUPPORT BLACK PEOPLE OR PEOPLE OF COLOR OR THE POOR, BUT AT A CERTAIN POINT, IT STARTS TO SOUND LIKE AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.

YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT THE DEMOCRATS NOT SUPPORTING BLACK PEOPLE BUT YOU KEEP AFFILIATING WITH THE PARTY.

IT COMES IN FITS AND STARTS.

WE HAVE ONE PERSON AT THE HELM WHO HAPPENS TO BE OF COLOR OR WOMAN OR BOTH.

AND THEN WE SORT OF RETRACT.

AND THAT WOULD BE A REFERENCE TO THE PREVIOUS SPEAKER.

CORRECT.

IF YOU REALLY SIT DOWN AND LOOK AT IT, SOMETHING GOOD DID HAPPEN.

YOU START TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU DO HAVE SOMEBODY WHO IS OPENLY GAY, SOMEONE WHO IS OPENLY HIV POSITIVE, LIVING THEIR TRUTH.

THAT IS A POSITIVE THING.

WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO CELEBRATE THAT UNREPENTANTLY.

TO BE ABLE TO SIT HERE AND SAY SOMEHOW THIS IS A BAD THING, SIMILAR TO THE PEOPLE WHO MIGHT HAVE SAID IT WAS A BAD THING WE HAD AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT BEFORE WE HAD A WHITE PRESIDENT.

HAVING SAID THAT, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PAUSE AND RECOGNIZE THAT TO THIS DAY, THE STATE HAS NOT ELECTED A GOVERNOR OF COLOR.

NEW YORK CITY HAS HAD ONE BLACK MAYOR.

SO I THINK POLITICS ASIDE, IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO TAKE A STEP BACK, TO PAUSE AND SAY THAT IF THERE IS TO BE SOME TYPE OF ETHNIC LITMUS TEST FOR WHAT LEADERSHIP IS GOING TO HAVE OR IF THAT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT, IT HAS TO BE A CONCERTED EFFORT FOR US TO COME TOGETHER AS A PEOPLE, TO COALESCE AROUND ONE CANDIDATE.

THERE WAS TALK OF SPLITTING THE VOTE OF COURSE.

IF WE COULD AGREE ON ONE OR TWO CANDIDATES, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SOLIDIFY SUPPORT.

SO YES, SOMETHING GOOD HAS HAPPENED.

WE SHOULD CELEBRATE THAT, BUT ALSO I THINK IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US, AS A COMMUNITY, PEOPLE OF COLOR TO SAY, IF THIS IS SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE TRULY PASSIONATE ABOUT, YOU HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER TO HAVE THAT HAPPEN.

IS THERE ANY RESPONSIBILITY OR ONUS ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR TO SORT OF EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOMETHING THAT WE FIND CONCERNING AS OPPOSED TO SOMETHING THAT WE FIND PROBLEMATIC, LIKE THAT THERE WAS A LOT OF CONCERN OVER THE FACT THAT WE HAVE THREE WHITE MEN LEADING THE CITY, NOT THAT WE DON'T THINK CORY JOHNSON CAN DO THE JOB, BUT THERE IS CONCERN.

IS THERE RESPONSIBILITY ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR TO MAKE THAT CLEAR?

I THINK MORE RESPONSIBILITY NEEDS TO BE PLACED ON WHITE MEN AND WHITE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK TO ADMIT THAT HAVING DIVERSITY IN OUR LEADERSHIP IS IMPORTANT.

I WANT TO PUSH BACK A LITTLE.

I AM A, BOTH BLACK AND SOMEONE WHO IS A MEMBER OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY, I AM BISEXUAL.

SO I ALSO THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THAT YES, WE HAVE THE FIRST OPENLY GAY AND HIV-POSITIVE COUNCIL SPEAKER AT THE SAME TIME, THERE ARE QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR, QUEER BLACK NEW YORKERS, AND I DON'T THINK ON THE ONE HAND YOU SHOULDN'T SAY WE SHOULD BE SIMPLISTIC AND COMPLAIN ABOUT THE FACT THAT THREE FOURTHS OF THE CITY LEADERSHIP ARE WHITE MEN AND THE OTHER HAND CELEBRATE THE FACT THAT HE'S GAY.

PICK A SIDE.

EITHER THE DEMOGRAPHIC MATTERS OR IT DOESN'T.

WE CAN HAVE NUANCE IN THE CONVERSATION, WE CAN RECOGNIZE, YES, THAT THIS IS A PROBLEMATIC SITUATION.

WE CAN ADMIT THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE MULTIPLE AXISES OF DIVERSITY.

EVEN IN A MAJORITY MINORITY CITY YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE WHITE LEADERSHIP.

I THINK THAT IS NOT NEW.

WE NEED TO BE MORE HONEST ABOUT THAT.

IT'S NOT JUST AN ISSUE IN THE DEMOCRAT PARTY, IT'S AN ISSUE IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

IT'S AN ISSUE IN THE NATION AND WE NEVER STOPPED BEING A NATION THAT'S SYSTEMICALLY RACIST.

ALL DAY, WHEN WE'RE THINKING ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER KING, THIS IS A MOMENT TO STEP BACK AND REALIZE, YOU KNOW, WE NEVER GOT TO THAT MOUNTAINTOP, NO MATTER WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE ELECTION OF THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT.

IF THERE IS YET AGAIN ANOTHER WHITE MALE INNER LEADERSHIP POSITION, I THINK WE SHOULD BE UNAPOLOGETIC IN SAYING THAT THAT'S A PROBLEM, AND IT'S A PROBLEM THAT WHITE NEW YORKERS NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT.

IT SHOULDN'T JUST BE PEOPLE OF COLOR SAYING HEY, RAISING THE ALARM.

THAT'S A PROBLEM, BECAUSE THE ONUS TO EXPLAIN DIVERSITY IS OFTEN ON PEOPLE OF COLOR OR WELL OF COLOR OR WELL OR WHO EVER THE MARGINALIZED GROUP TENDS TO BE.

WE CAN'T KEEP HAVING THE SAME CONVERSATION.

THIS CONVERSATION HAS TO EVOLVE.

AND THERE ARE CERTAIN BASIC, HISTORICAL FACTS THAT HAPPENED IN OUR COUNTRY THAT WE HAVE TO ALL AGREE ESSENTIALLY, THIS IS WHERE WE ARE, AND THIS IS WHERE WE NEED TO MOVE FORWARD.

WE CAN'T EXPECT PEOPLE OF COLOR TO BE THE ONES PUSHING FOR CHANGE.

WHETHER YOU CALL THAT WHITE ALLISHIP OR WHITE PEOPLE BECOMING MORE AWARE.

REGARDLESS OF THAT, IT'S NOT GOING TO CHANGE IF IT'S JUST COMING FROM US.

THE IMPETUS FOR CHANGE ALWAYS HAS TO START WITH PEOPLE OF COLOR.

IT STARTS WITH AND ENDS WITH PEOPLE OF COLOR.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE POPULATION OF THE CITY COUNCIL THERE ARE ENOUGH PEOPLE OF COLOR WHERE IF THEY BELIEVED THIS WAS A NON-STARTER FOR THEM THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO WITHHOLD VOTES, YOU START TALKING ABOUT THINGS LIKE THE BUDGET AND OFFICIATING THE CITY, THAT WE ARE CONCERNED ENOUGH TO START ACTING IN A DIFFERENT CAPACITY.

I DO UNDERSTAND YOUR POINT ABOUT HAVING A NUANCED CONVERSATION.

ALL PROGRESS HAPPENS WHEN WE HAVE THE HELP OF OTHER PEOPLE, WHEN PEOPLE OF CONSCIENCE STAND UP AND STAND SIDE BY SIDE.

WE START TALKING ABOUT DR. KING DAY, GOOD MEN WHO DIED SIDE BY SIDE WITH INDIVIDUALS IN THE FREEDOM SUMMER.

WE NEED TO HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT OF COLOR TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE NEED DIVERSITY IN OUR LEADERSHIP.

BUT AGAIN, NOTHING HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T DEMAND IT.

SPEAKING OF CHANGE THAT IS DEMANDED.

AND I WANT TO PIVOT TO POP CULTURE.

THERE WAS AN AD THAT WAS PUT OUT ON A POPULAR CLOTHING WEBSITE, H&M.

A LITTLE BOY WAS PICTURED IN A GREEN HOODIE WITH A SLOGAN THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE CONSIDERED TO BE RACIST, STEREOTYPICAL AND HEARKENS BACK TO A VERY DARK PERIOD IN AMERICA.

HOWEVER, WE'VE RECENTLY FOUND OUT THAT THIS LITTLE BOY'S MOTHER WHO LIVES IN SWEDEN TWHR COMPANY IS BASED, DOESN'T SEE THE PROBLEM.

SO THIS BRINGS UP AN ISSUE THAT I SEE COMING UP IN RACE OVER AND OVER AGAIN, WHICH IS LIKE, I KNOW A BLACK PERSON, THEY'RE NOT BOTHERED BY IT, SO WHY ARE YOU SO UPSET?

PERSONALLY, I'M NOT ACTUALLY CONCERNED WHAT THE MOTHER FEELS OR DOESN'T FEEL.

THE LITMUS TEST FOR WHAT IS OFFENSIVE IS NOT IF I CAN CERTAINLY FIND ONE INDIVIDUAL OF THAT GROUP WHO IS UNOFFENDED THEREFORE WE NOW NO LONGER HAVE AN ISSUE.

I DON'T CARE IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE, JEWISH PEOPLE, EVEN WHITE PEOPLE.

IF THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE GROUP SECT FEEL OFFENDED, SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED WHETHER INTENDED OR NOT WAS INAPPROPRIATE.

THE SO YES, I THINK WE CAN ADD THAT TO THE CONVERSATION, THE FACT THAT MAYBE WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT THIS IN A CULTURAL CONTEXT RATHER THAN A RACIAL CONTEXT.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOME LEVEL OF SENSITIVITY.

NOT TO BEAT A DEAD HORSE, BUT WE AS A COMMUNITY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SAY IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TREAT US WITH RESPECT THE YOU DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO HAVE SGLIEFRMTSD LIKE TO SEE LESS EMPHASIS PUT ON WHY SOMETHING ISN'T RACIST, WHICH THE MEDIA DOES A LOT, TRY TO MOVE THAT SOMETHING ISN'T RACIST AS OPPOSED TO CALLING IT OUT WHEN IT IS.

THERE SEEMS TO BE THIS REAL RELUCTANCE.

AND TO KBROIRNTS, WHAT THE MOTHER SAID.

WE NEED TO EXAMINE WHY WE'RE DOING THAT.

I WANT TO JUMP IN.

CERTAINLY, FLEERM LIKE THE DMOERNTS SEE A PLIERPED A HUGE ROLE IN SPREADING MOD RACISM.

WE HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE FLEERM OF KOL FOOIRTING AGAINST.

WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE DIVERSE VOICES IN THAT ROOM TO SIT THERE AND LOOK IT AT THE FINAL CUT OF THAT AD AND SAY WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

HAVE YOU THOUGHT THAT YOU COULD DO A FOCUS GROUP?

THIS IS A PROBLEM WHEN YOU HAVE RETAILERS THAT ARE OUTSOURCING THEIR CORE CAMPAIGNS TO SPEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO HAVE THIRD PARTIES COME UP WITH AD CAMPAIGNS AND THE FINAL CUT COMES IN, AND YOU SAY WE SPENT THE MONEY ON IT, IT'S CLEAN, IT'S CRISP, SO, AGAIN, THIS ULTIMATELY COMES DOWN TO THE FACT THAT WE DON'T HAVE DIVERSE LEADERS IN POSITIONS TO SAY THIS IS NOT SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE DOING AS A CORPORATION.

SPEAKING OF DIVERSE LEADERS, I DO WANT TO TAKE IT BACK TO OUR COUNTRY AND OF COURSE OUR LEADER AT THE MOMENT, PRESIDENT TRUMP, SO THERE'S BEEN NUMEROUS INSTANCES.

I MENTIONED CHARLOTTESVILLE IN THE INTRO, THERE HAVE BEEN OTHER CRITICISMS IN THE WAY HE'S HANDLED THE REACTION TO THE HURRICANE IN PUERTO RICO, THE WAY HE'S CALLED OUT NFL PLAYERS WHO SAY THEY'RE PROTESTING RACISM AND THAT'S WHY THEY'RE TAKING A KNEE, SEVERAL INSTANCES, TOO MANY TO NAME.

WOULD MORE DIVERSITY IN THE CABINET, IN THE WHITE HOUSE, FIX THIS PROBLEM?

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE OF COLOR WHO ARE THERE?

THIS IS CONNECTING BOTH OF YOUR LAST POINT AND WHAT YOU'RE ASKING US RIGHT NOW IS THAT THE ONUS, AGAIN, IS OFTEN PUT ON THAT ONE PERSON OF COLOR TO FIX IT.

IN THE CASE OF H&M THE OR RACISM, OFTEN PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE BROUGHT IN TO BE THE GUT CHECK, TO BE THE PERSON TO MAKE SURE THIS IS OKAY.

PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE NOT SAVIORS.

THEY CANNOT SAVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, THEY CANNOT SAVE H&M.

IF YOU SAY LET ME BRING IN MY ONE EMPLOYEE OF COLOR.

I'VE BEEN IN THAT POSITION.

I'VE HAD TO DO THE BACK READS AND MAKE SURE SOMETHING ISN'T OFFENSIVE.

WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS MAKE SURE WE CREATE THIS LEADERSHIP, PUT THAT PERSON IN A POSITION OF POWER.

IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY BEYOND BEING SAVED?

I DON'T THINK IT'S THE JOB OF A PERSON OF COLOR TO SAVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

AND TO BE FAIR, THE ADMINISTRATION DID HAVE A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE OF COLOR IN ITS ADMINISTRATION.

BUT THOSE POLICIES, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE POLICIES AND WHO THEY'RE GOING TO BE IMPACTING, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY'RE PEOPLE OF COLOR OR NOT, THESE POLICIES COMING OUT OF THIS ADMINISTRATION ARE HAVING AN ADVERSE AND DISPAIRTIVE EFFECT ON PEOPLE OF COLOR.

WE HAVE SEEN WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT, RIGHT?

YOU CAN HAVE THE ELECTION OF A BLACK PRESIDENT WHO DOESN'T SUPPORT BLACK PROTESTS.

YOU CAN HAVE THE ELECTION OF A BLACK PRESIDENT WHO HONORS THE CONFEDERACY EVERY DAY OF HIS PRESIDENCY LIKE PRESIDENTS BEFORE HIM, THAT'S WHAT OBAMA DID.

PART OF WHAT WE ALSO NEED TO HAVE IN OUR CONVERSATION IS A LEVEL OF SOPHISTICATION OF WHAT ARE THE POLITICS, THE RACIAL POLITICS OF THE FOLKS OF COLOR AS WELL AS WHITE FOLKS IN WHATEVER POSITION OF LEADERSHIP THAT THEY HAVE, RIGHT, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT, YOU KNOW, ALL SKIN FOLK AREN'T KINFOLK.

THAT'S ABOUT POLITICS, RIGHT?

JUST BECAUSE YOU LOOK LIKE ME OR WE SHARE A SIMILAR DEMOGRAPHIC DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE HAVE COLLECTIVE -- WE MAY HAVE INTERESTS IN COMMON BUT WE MAY NOT SHARE POLITICS IN PURSUING THOSE INTERESTS.

WE NEED TO BE CLEAR IT'S NOT JUST THE COLOR OF SOMEONE OR THE GENDER OF SOMEONE, EVEN THOUGH IMPORTANT, WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT DO THEY SUPPORT, WHAT ARE THE POLICIES THAT THEY SUPPORT.

WE CAN'T BE SATISFIED THAT THERE IS A PERSON OF COLOR IN THE ROOM.

ALSO I WANT TO POINT OUT SOMETHING ELSE.

THERE'S UNFAIR LABOR PLACED ON PEOPLE OF COLOR IN WHITE-DOMINATED ORGANIZATIONS TO SORT OF BRING THE DIVERSITY SOLUTION.

WHEN THERE IS A PERSON OF COLOR AROUND, ALSO REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY'RE BEING GIVEN THE LABOR OF DOING THE DIVERSITY WORK, IT'S ALSO AN EXCUSE FOR WHITE PEOPLE IN ORGANIZATIONS TO THINK THAT WHAT HAVE THEY'RE DOING IS PROBABLY FINE, BECAUSE THERE IS SO-AND-SO, THIS BLACK PERSON OR ASIAN-AMERICAN OR WHOEVER IN THE ROOM, SO IT FEEDS INTO THIS CULTURE OF NOT WANTING TO TALK ABOUT OR ACKNOWLEDGE RACISM.

AND RIGHT WHERE WE WERE, RIGHT WHERE WE LIVE AND SORT OF TREATING IT AS SOMETHING THAT AFFECTS OTHER PEOPLE OR SOMETHING THAT OTHER PEOPLE DO, RIGHT, AS OPPOSED TO SOMETHING THAT STRUCTURELY AND SYSTEMATICALLY AFFECTS OUR WORK CONTEXT, OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, OUR PRISON SYSTEM.

POLICIES THROUGHOUT EVERY SPHERE OF LIFE.

TO YOUR POINT, WE HAVE THIS, I THINK MISGUIDED CONVERSATION AROUND RACE OFTEN.

AND NOT UNDERSTANDING THAT WHEN YOU TALK TO PEOPLE, THE AVERAGE AMERICAN MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND THAT YOU DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO BE RACIST TO BE A PARTY TO RACISM.

YOU DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO BE HOMOPHOBIC TO BE A PARTY TO HOMOPHOBIA.

SO WE HAVE THESE INSTANCES WHERE PEOPLE DON'T RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT IF YOU'RE NOT THROWING STONES AT A GAY PERSON LIKE MATTHEW SHEPHERD, YOU'RE NOT ACTUALLY BASHING GAY PEOPLE.

IF YOU'RE NOT HURLING RACIST EPITHETS YOU'RE NOT RACIST.

THE REALITY IS, UNFORTUNATELY, WITH THIS ADMINISTRATION, THE ISSUES THAT PERTAIN TO PEOPLE OF COLOR HAVE NOT BEEN PRIORITIZED.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE LEFT THE ADMINISTRATION, THEY ARE INDIVIDUALS ACROSS THE STREET.

THE COMMUNITIES OF COLOR ARE LITERALLY OUT OF SIGHT AND OUT OF MIND WHEN IT COMES TO THIS ADMINISTRATION.

THAT IS THE UNAVOIDABLE REALITY.

AGAIN, WE MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO HAVE THE PERTINENT CONVERSATION THAT WE NEED TO HAVE ON RACE, BECAUSE WHEN WE START LABELING THINGS AS INHERENTLY RACIST, WHEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU DON'T ACTUALLY HARBOR RACIAL ANIMIST IT TOWARD SOMEONE, DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE MANNER IN WHICH YOU ARE CONDUCTING YOURSELF OR THE WAY WE ARE CONDUCTING GOVERNING CANNOT HAVE A DISPARATE IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES OF COLORS.

THAT'S WHY WE WANTED TO HAVE A SOCIOLOGIST HERE.

WE'VE SEEN TITLE IX THE LAWS CHANGE.

PEOPLE TEND TO ACT IN A TRIBAL NATURE.

AS OPPOSED TO I NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT MY FAMILY IS GOOD AND YOU COME NEXT BECAUSE YOU'RE DIFFERENT.

IT'S CERTAINLY TRUE IT THAT THE HISTORY OF HUMAN OPPRESSION, WE HAVE THE HISTORY OF MODERN RACISM WHICH STRETCHES BACK SEVERAL CENTURIES.

THE HISTORY OF OPPRESSION STRETCHES BACK THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

THERE'S NOTHING NEW ABOUT GROUPS TRYING TO HOARD POWER.

BUT WE NEED TO BE VERY SPECIFIC ABOUT THE FORM OF THE POWER STRUCTURE IN OUR COUNTRY, RIGHT, AND IT WAS FOUNDED ON AMONG OTHER THINGS, RACIAL INEQUALITY, FINANCIAL CAPITALISM.

THE FACT THAT WE CAN HAVE A KUMBAYA, THAT HAS NEVER EXISTED IN HUMAN HISTORY.

BUT DOES THAT MEAN WE ARE CONDEMNED TO ALWAYS REPRODUCE A RACIST SOCIETY?

WHAT WE'VE SEEN THROUGHOUT RECENT HISTORY IS THAT WHEN YOU DO HAVE CHANGE, IT DOESN'T HAPPEN BY HAPPENSTANCE, IT HAPPENS BECAUSE PEOPLE ORGANIZE.

IT HAPPENS BECAUSE POWER STRUCTURES ARE CHALLENGED AND TRANSFORMED AND DISRUPTED.

AND SO I THINK HEARTS AND MINDS DON'T CHANGE BY MISTAKE.

WE ARE SOCIALIZED IN PARTICULAR WAYS THAT SHAPE HOW WE SEE THE WORLD, NEWS MEDIA CONTRIBUTE TO THE STEREOTYPES THAT WE HAVE ABOUT WHICH GROUPS ARE WORTHY AND WHICH GROUPS ARE NOT, WHICH GROUPS ARE TYPICALLY CRIMINALIZED AND WHICH GROUPS ARE THE NO.

THOSE THINGS CAN CHANGE.

WE HAVE CIVIL RIGHTS ON PAPER EVEN IF THEY'RE NOT ENFORCED.

WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO LOOK WHEREVER WE ARE IN OUR WORK LIVES, IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS AND SAY WHAT IS THE HISTORY AND THE ONGOING PRACTICE OF HISTORIC RACISM RIGHT WHERE I AM INSTEAD OF DENYING IT, ACTING AS THOUGH IT DOESN'T EXIST AND WHAT CAN I DO TO NOT JUST SAY I DON'T HAVE RACIAL ANIMUS AGAINST SOMEONE BUT TO ACTUALLY BE ANTI-RACIST.

IS THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND MOVING FORWARD?

.

I THINK IT'S ALSO A QUESTION OF UNDERSTANDING THE NARRATIVES.

AROUND THE ELECTION WE SAW THE WHITE WORKING CLASS WAS A NARRATIVE THAT EMERGED AROUND THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

WHITE PEOPLE WHO WERE UNEMPLOYED, DYING OF OPIOID ADDICTIONS.

EVEN IN RESEARCH, IT WAS COMING OUT FROM BROOKINGS AND OTHER PLACES, SORT OF POSITIONING THIS GROUP WHO RIGHTFULLY NEEDED THAT EMPATHY.

BUT THERE'S ALSO A BLACK AND BROWN.

I WROTE A COUPLE OF PIECES ABOUT WHAT ABOUT THE BLACK WORKING CLASS?

WHERE IS THE EMPATHY FOR BLACK POVERTY AND PAIN, THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS I WAS ASKING, NOT TO TAKE AWAY FROM WHITE POVERTY AND PAIN, BUT WE NEVER SEEM TO HAVE THAT SAME NARRATIVE FOR BLACK AND BROWN AMERICANS.

IF WE START LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS AND LOOKING AT THINGS LIKE WEALTH, WHITE AMERICANS HAVE 10 TO 13 TIMES MORE WEALTH THAN BLACK AND BROWN AMERICANS.

AND BLACK AMERICANS HAVE THE LEAST AMOUNT OF WEALTH, LOWER THAN LATINO AMERICANS.

I'VE HAD PEOPLE SAY, IS THERE A ZERO MISSING THERE?

ARE THOSE REAL NUMBERS?

NO, THOSE ARE REAL NUMBERS.

THAT IS A STRUCTURAL ISSUE THAT CANNOT BE IGNORED.

YET WE CONTINUE TO DO IT IN THE MEDIA, IN THE NARRATIVES THAT WE PRODUCE.

SO THE MEDIA HAS TO GET BETTER AT EXPLAINING AND UNPACKING THESE NARRATIVES.

WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

DR. KING SAID IT BEST.

ALL WE ASK OF AMERICA IS TO BE TRUE TO WHAT YOU SAY ON PAPER.

YES, YOU MAY HAVE THINGS ON PAPER THAT MAKE THINGS EQUAL, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE HAVE TO HAVE A COMMITMENT TO MAKING SURE THAT WE ARE ACTUALLY LIVING OUT WHAT WE ACTUALLY SAY ON PAPER AND ACTUALLY DEMAND IT OF SOCIETY.

.

ALL RIGHT, WELL, LISTEN.

I WANT TO THANK ALL THREE OF YOU FOR BEING ON THE PROGRAM.

I THINK WE SHOULD HAVE MORE CONVERSATION AND I'D LIKE TO HAVE YOU ALL BACK.

THANK YOU.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WATCHING AT HOME TODAY, MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY IS MORE THAN JUST A DAY OFF OF WORK.

THE HEAD TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE AND LET US KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU.

> BEFORE WE LET YOU GO, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT A WONDERFUL EXTENSION TO 'METROFOCUS,' OUR NEW TWICE-WEEKLY POD CAST WITH ME AS YOUR HOST.

ON IT WE'LL GET TO EXPLORE IN-DEPTH CONVERSATIONS THAT ARE A LITTLE LESS FILTERED.

ON THE POD CAST, I'LL TALK TO AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SET OF GUESTS WITH AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ATTITUDE.

THE PRICE OF JOINING THIS POD CAST COMPLETE WITH NEW YORKERS FROM THE STREETS TO CITY HALL AND FROM WALL STREET TO BROADWAY, ABSOLUTELY FRY.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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