Race in America Part II | Black America

Race in America Part II | Black America


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>HELLO, AND THANKS FOR JOINING US. I’M CAROL JENKINS, THE PROGRAM IS “BLACK AMERICA.” TODAY, WE’RE TAKING A LOOK AT RACE IN AMERICA. IT SEEMS TO HAVE BECOME TOPIC NUMBER ONE LATELY, WITH RACIAL INCIDENTS, SO MUCH A PART, SO MANY OF OUR LIVES, OUR NEWS AND OUR POLITICS TODAY. THIS IS THE SECOND PART OF A TWO-PART SERIES. WITH US, ONCE AGAIN, TINABETH PIÑA, HOST OF “CUNY TV’S URBAN U.” DR. KEVIN NADAL, A PROFESSOR AT JOHN JAY COLLEGE AND CUNY GRAD CENTER AND AUTHOR OF “MICROAGRESSIONS & TRAUMATIC STRESS”. LAURA FLANDERS, HOST OF “THE LAURA FLANDERS SHOW” AND HOST OF THE WEEKLY PODCAST, “THE F WORD,” AS WE EXPLAINED BEFORE, THE F STANDS FOR FEMINISTS. THAT’S MY STORY AND I AM STICKING TO IT. WE’RE ALL A PART OF CUNY FAMILY, WHICH IS HUGE, 250,000 STUDENTS, MAYBE HALF A MILLION PEOPLE ALL TOGETHER — DIVERSE. I WANTED TO ASK OUR GROUP TODAY ABOUT THE MIDTERMS, WHICH WE HAVE ALL JUST BEEN THROUGH, STILL GOING THROUGH IT AS THEY CONTINUE TO CALL, A VERY LONG RACE WITH SO MANY VOTERS COMING OUT. IT WAS THE YOUNG PEOPLE, THE MILLENNIALS THAT EVERYBODY BADMOUTHS, SAYING THEY NEVER SHOW UP. IT WAS THE LATINA POPULATION, A HUGE AFRICAN-AMERICAN POPULATION. WOMEN, WHO NOT ONLY SHOWED UP TO VOTE, BUT RUNNING. WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS MIDTERM MEANT FOR THIS COUNTRY?>>I THINK PEOPLE ARE FINALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON. THEY SEE SO MANY ISSUES IN OUR COUNTRY AND PRESIDENCY THAT THEY’VE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. PEOPLE WHO WEREN’T SHOWING UP ARE SHOWING UP AND THEY WILL CONTINUE IN 2020.>>THERE WERE A COUPLE OF BIG RACES THAT BLACK CANDIDATES LOST, IN GEORGIA AND FLORIDA, WITH OPPORTUNITIES IN GOVERNORSHIPS. THEY WERE SQUEAKY CLOSE, STATES WHERE THEY WEREN’T REALLY EXPECTED TO WIN. THE FACT THAT THEY CAME SO CLOSE WAS SHOCKING, BUT SO DISAPPOINTING. LAURA, YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW 76%, 75% OF WHITE WOMEN IN GEORGIA ACTUALLY DID NOT VOTE FOR STACEY ABRAMS.>>51% OF WHITE WOMEN VOTED AGAINST ANDREW GILLUM AS WELL. THE STACEY ABRAMS RACE WAS FASCINATING IN THE SENSE THAT SHE NEVER ACTUALLY CONCEDED. SHE SAID, LOOK, HE’S CLAIMING VICTORY. I’M GOING TO WITHDRAW, BUT I’M NOT CONCEDING. WHAT HAPPENED WAS VOTE SUPPRESSION, VOTE THEFT, RACIST MANIPULATION. SHE WENT DOWN THE LIST. SHE IS ANGRY, FIRED UP WITH AN AMAZING GROUP OF PEOPLE BEHIND HER.>>TWO YEARS, I THINK THERE IS A SENATE RACE.>>THIS WAS AN AMAZING THING, THAT SHE COULD PULL SO CLOSE TO THE GUY WHO RAN IN THE ELECTION AND STRUCK 1.5 MILLION VOTERS OFF THE ROLLS, DISPROPORTIONATELY HER VOTERS. SO, WHITE WOMEN, IT IS A SERIOUS SUBJECT. WE CAN’T ESCAPE IT. PEOPLE LIKE ME CAN’T ESCAPE IT BY SAYING, WELL, I’M QUEER. NO, I’VE TO DEAL WITH THIS. THERE ARE GROUPS OUT THERE, SURJ SHOWING UP FOR RACIAL JUSTICE. ALSO, RACE FORWARD. BOTH OF THOSE ARE MAJOR ORGANIZATIONS. SURJ GREW OFF OF THE OBAMA ELECTION WITH THE RISE OF ANTI-BLACK HATE, TOOK UP THE MISSION OF ORGANIZING WHITE PEOPLE. THEY HAD 14 CHAPTERS IN 14 STATES, NOW WITH 280 CHAPTERS IN 34 STATES. THEY DO SOMETHING CALLED DEEP CANVASSING. WHEN PEOPLE STOP KNOCKING ON DOORS, THEY DON’T STOP. THEY AREN’T ABOUT PERSUADING THE ON PERSUADABLE. MAYBE IT WON’T GET BELOW 60%, BUT THEY BELIEVE THAT A PORTION OF THOSE WOMEN WHO CAN BE REACHED, WHO CAN BE REACHED OUT TO AND BROUGHT IN, THEY TALK ABOUT NOT CALLING PEOPLE OUT. “YOU’RE A RACIST.” BUT CALLING PEOPLE IN, HOW THEY BENEFIT AND DON’T.>>KEVIN, YOU DO A LOT OF TEACHING ABOUT THIS WORK. WHAT ARE YOUR SOLUTIONS? I KNOW YOU’VE BEEN WORKING IN SCHOOLS AS WELL AS THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.>>WHEN IT COMES TO SOLUTIONS, THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO APPROACH IT. ONE IS TO LOOK AT DIFFERENT SYSTEMS AND TRY TO CHANGE THE SYSTEMS IN SOME WAYS, PARTICULARLY THROUGH TRAINING. WE SEE THIS A LOT, IN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS AND EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT, TO TRY TO TRAIN EMPLOYEES TO BE MORE AWARE ABOUT ISSUES RELATED TO RACE, PARTICULARLY FOCUSED ON IMPLICIT BIAS. UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU MIGHT NOT THINK YOU ARE RACIST OR SEXIST OR HOMOPHOBIC, BUT PERHAPS THERE ARE WAYS YOU’VE BEEN SOCIALIZED THAT SEEPED THROUGH AND MIGHT INFLUENCE THE WAY YOU BEHAVE OR THINK. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NAME SOME OF THOSE THINGS. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT SOME OF THESE VOTERS, TO NAME THAT, IF WE ONLY HAD PEOPLE OF COLOR VOTE IN THIS ELECTION, THE COUNTRY WOULD LOOK COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. SO, WHAT IS IT ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE THAT AREN’T VOTING FOR CANDIDATES OF COLOR, ONLY FOR WHITE PEOPLE, EVEN AGAINST THEIR OWN INTERESTS? FOR WHITE WOMEN TO VOTE FOR WHITE, MALE CANDIDATES, WHO ARE AGAINST WOMEN’S RIGHTS, WHO ARE AGAINST WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH –>>EXPLAIN THAT TO US.>>THE BENEFITS OF WHITE PRIVILEGE, WHITE DOMINANCE, SUPERIORITY. THAT EVEN IF YOU ARE TO BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST OR HAVE SOME OF YOUR RIGHTS TAKEN AWAY AS A WOMAN, THAT YOUR WHITENESS WILL PROTECT YOU, OR THAT YOU THINK IT WILL.>>AND THE INTERSECTION WITH PATRIARCHY. IT SHOWS, WHEN THERE’S AFFIRMATIVE ACTION UP AND DOWN THE WEST COAST, SHE WAS ABLE TO SHOW THE WAY PATRIARCHY INTERSECTED WITH RACE IN SUCH A WAY THAT EVEN THOUGH WHITE WOMEN WERE THE PRIMARY BENEFICIARIES OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, I WISH IT WERE REPORTED THAT WAY, THEY WOULD VOTE TO DO AWAY WITH AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BECAUSE OF THEIR PRIMARY AFFILIATION WITH THEIR MEN, FATHERS AND BROTHERS AND SONS, AND THEY ACCEPTED THE STORIES THAT THOSE PEOPLE WOULD BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, BEFORE THEY IDENTIFY THEIR OWN INTERESTS.>>WASN’T THAT SO MUCH THE CAVANAUGH STORY. I LOVE THE EXPRESSION ON YOUR FACE. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?>>I’M ALWAYS THINKING, I’M ALWAYS OPINIONATED IN MY MIND. THE FIRST THING THAT YOU GUYS ARE TALKING ABOUT, WITH THE PATRIARCHY AND THE STUDIES AND SO ON AND SO FORTH, AND I MEAN NO DISRESPECT WHATSOEVER, BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND THAT STUDIES ARE DONE FOR A REASON. SOMETIMES THINGS ARE WHAT THEY ARE. MAYBE THESE WHITE WOMEN ARE VOTING AGAINST THEIR INTEREST BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT READING WHAT THESE CANDIDATES ARE ABOUT. THEY DON’T KNOW. THEY ARE JUST VOTING BECAUSE I’VE GOT TO GO OUT AND VOTE. THIS PERSON SEEMS GOOD. AND I’M NOT GOING TO GENERALIZE EVERYONE. I THINK SOMETIMES IT IS JUST AS SIMPLE AS THAT. YOU CAN DO ALL THE STUDIES IN THE WORLD AND SOMETIMES IT’S JUST AS SIMPLE.>>IN THE COMMENTARY RECENTLY, I SAID WHITE WOMEN ARE EITHER SPOILED OR STUPID. I THINK IT IS SPOILED.>>I WOULDN’T GO THAT FAR. BUT IN THE CAVANAUGH EXAMPLE, THERE WERE SO MANY WOMEN, AND IT WAS PRESENTED BY OUR PRESIDENT THAT THEY HAD TO SAVE THEIR HUSBANDS AND SONS FROM FALSE ACCUSATIONS, AND THEY SEEM TO HAVE BOUGHT INTO THAT. THE DISCREDITING OF A WOMAN WHO CAME FORWARD WITH HER STORY. AND WE KNOW THAT SO FAR, THE ME TOO MOVEMENT IS STILL FOCUSED ON THE WEALTHY, PRIVILEGED MEN AND PRIVILEGED WHITE WOMEN. IT REALLY HASN’T REACHED THAT HUGE SECTION OF PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY AFFECTED BY THIS, WOMEN OF COLOR.>>I THINK THAT IS A BIG PART OF THE PROBLEM, WHOSE STORIES GET TO BE TOLD, WHOSE NARRATIVES ARE BEING CENTERED, IN GENERAL, AND IN THIS PARTICULAR MOVEMENT. THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT WILLING OR ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE PERSPECTIVES OF THE OPPRESSED. THAT WE ARE LOOKING AT IT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE DOMINANT GROUP AND WORRIED ABOUT WHAT THEIR EXPERIENCES MIGHT BE. THAT PEOPLE, FOR YEARS, HAVE HAD THIS FACTOR, THIS KNOWLEDGE THAT ONE IN EVERY FOUR WOMEN WILL BE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN HER LIFETIME. THAT CONTINUES TO BE CHALLENGED BY MAINSTREAM, MALE-DOMINANT NARRATIVES. THIS IS PART OF WHAT I WAS TRYING TO GET TO EARLIER, HOW WE CHANGE THAT IS WE DO TRAINING THAT TRIES TO DO SOME RETROACTIVE TYPES OF CHANGE, BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO INTEGRATE THIS SORT OF THING INTO OUR PRIMARY EDUCATION FROM THE START. SO THE CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE FROM A VERY EARLY AGE KNOW HOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS STUFF. NOT THAT THEY ARE ALL OF A SUDDEN IN COLLEGE OR ADULTHOOD, STILL NOT BEING ABLE TO HAVE THESE CONVERSATIONS, BUT THAT FROM AGE-APPROPRIATE LEVELS, FROM THE TIME THEY ARE ABLE TO SPEAK, THEY ARE AWARE OF THINGS LIKE DIFFERENCE, OPPRESSION AND DISCRIMINATION AND BIAS, AND THEY ARE ABLE TO FEEL COMFORTABLE HAVING THESE CONVERSATIONS. TO NAME IT IS IMPORTANT.>>WE ARE GOING TO GO TO PRIMARY SCHOOLS. DOES THAT MEAN THAT WE WAIT ANOTHER 20 OR 30 YEARS BEFORE WE ARE AT A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY TREATING EACH OTHER? I LOVED WHEN STARBUCKS WAS DOING ITS TRAINING. WE HEARD PEOPLE SAYING, CAN YOU COME BACK AND DO THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES? CAN EVERYBODY BE REQUIRED?>>WHY NOT COME BACK TO HOME AND PARENTING BEFORE GOING TO SCHOOLS? TRAINING THE PARENTS? I THINK EVERYTHING STARTS AT HOME. CAVANAUGH AND HIS MOM AND DAD, I DON’T KNOW HOW HE WAS RAISED, BUT I’M SURE HE WAS RAISED BETTER THAN THAT.>>I GET YOUR POINT.>>THAT GOES BACK TO PRIVATIZING THE SITUATION. GOING BACK TO GROUPS WHO I THINK ARE DOING SOME INTERESTING STUFF, INCLUDING FOLKS LIKE RACE FORWARD. THERE IS AN ORGANIZATION THAT THIS YEAR HAS TALKED ABOUT OPERATIONALIZING RACIAL JUSTICE, AND IT IS HEADED BY A GUY NAMED GLENN HARRIS, WHO CAME UP WITH THE RACIAL INCLUSION, EQUITY AND INCLUSIVITY AGENDA THAT WAS IMPLEMENTED ACROSS THE BOARD IN EVERY DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT. EVERYBODY HAD TO SIGN ON TO THE WAYS IN WHICH THEIR DEPARTMENT, WHETHER IT WAS SANITATION OR EDUCATION, ROAD DESIGN OR LIGHTING OR ENERGY SUPPLY, WAS OR WAS NOT WORKING TOWARD RACIAL EQUITY.>>THE RETRAINING OF AMERICA AND THE ENTIRE POPULATION.>>THE THING THAT IS FASCINATING, I WAS PART OF A PANEL ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, VIOLENCE IN THE WORK PLACE, SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE. THEY WERE LOOKING AT EVERY POSSIBLE RESPONSE. — TRAINING WASN’T WORKING, NOT PROSECUTING, NOT VILIFYING CORPORATIONS, WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS PREVENT. WHEN WE SIMPLY INCLUDE SEXUAL ASSAULT AS PART OF A HEALTH AND SAFETY PROBLEM IN THE WORKPLACE, AND IT IS JUST INCLUDED UNDER HEALTH AND SAFETY REGULATIONS, WE SEE ACCEPTANCE OF THE IDEA. EMPLOYERS IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY HAVE FOUGHT LIKE MAD AGAINST INCLUDING SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY RULES. THEY WANT TO KEEP IT AS SOME SEPARATE THING THAT ONLY WOMEN HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT. I THINK THAT WE HAVE TO, IN A WAY, RE-NORMALIZE SEXUAL ASSAULT, MICROAGGRESSIONS, HOMOPHOBIA, MISOGYNY. SAYING THIS IS ABOUT HEALTH AND SAFETY. WE HAVE TO GET INTO THE DETAILS, BECAUSE WE NEED HEALTHY AND SAFE WORKPLACES AND CORPORATIONS’ EMPLOYERS HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE.>>IT MAY EVEN HAPPEN IN CONGRESS, WHERE THEY ARE STILL WORKING ON PASSING THEIR RULES SO THAT SEXUAL AGGRESSION AND ASSAULT –>>DO I HEAR YOU MENTION EQUAL RIGHTS? [LAUGHTER]>>THAT IT WOULD CURE EVERYTHING — MANY THINGS. CONGRESS RECENTLY HAD TO REPAY $40,000, $50,000. TO PAY OFF THE WOMEN THAT HE HAD — I DON’T WANT TO GO SO FAR AS TO SAY ASSAULTED, BUT ANYWAY, INAPPROPRIATE ACTIVITY. AGAIN, FROM THE TOP DOWN, IF WE ELECT A PRESIDENT WHO IS ALSO ACCUSED, WE HAVE CONGRESSIONAL PEOPLE THAT STILL HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO PASS RULES THAT RESTRICT IT. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT IN TERMS OF, IT STILL COMES BACK TO US AS VOTERS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.>>I AGREE AND I THINK THAT IS PART OF THE REASON IT IS IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO RUN FOR OFFICE THEMSELVES. IF WE HAVE THE SAME TYPES OF PEOPLE PASSING LAWS OR ADVOCATING FOR POLICY THAT DON’T REFLECT WHAT THE PEOPLE LOOK LIKE, THEN THE SYSTEM CONTINUES. TO YOUR POINT, I THINK THIS IS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED, THE IDEA OF INTERSECTIONALITY. YOU MENTIONED THAT WOMEN OF COLOR ARE OFTEN NOT SEEN AS THE VOICES BEHIND THE ME TOO MOVEMENT, WHEN IN FACT IT WAS STARTED BY A WOMAN OF COLOR.>>TARANA BURKE.>>WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT FEMINISM WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT WOMEN OF COLOR, WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT RACISM, WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT SEXISM, TO REALLY FOCUS ON ALL OF THOSE “-ISMS,” AND THE INTERSECTIONALITIES OF THEM ALL.>>TINABETH, ARE YOU BUYING INTO THE SYSTEMIC PROBLEM, OR DO YOU SEE IT AS INDIVIDUAL?>>I STILL THINK THINGS START AT HOME. EVERYTHING EVERYONE LEARNS, YOU LEARN AT HOME FIRST. WHAT YOU DO WITH IT IS A DIFFERENT STORY, WHETHER IT IS SOMETHING YOU DECIDE TO DO BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT AT WORK OR IF YOU LEARN IT OUTSIDE OF WORK, WHEN YOU THINK IT IS OK, WHEN IN FACT IT IS NOT.>>WE ALL KNOW THAT OUR CHILDREN HAVE COME HOME WITH SCANDALOUS STORIES AND STATEMENTS THAT THEY DID NOT LEARN AT HOME. SO, THE AT-HOME PROBLEM IS CORRECTING THAT. BUT WHEN YOU ARE A FOUR-YEAR-OLD OR FIVE-YEAR-OLD, WHO ALREADY HAS THE LANGUAGE OF RACIAL SUPPRESSION AND INSULT.>>I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE WORKPLACE. THE TYPE OF ASSAULT AND ABUSE THAT WOMEN, PARTICULARLY WOMEN OF COLOR GO THROUGH, ENDURE IN THE WORKPLACE, — NOT TO DISMISS MICROAGGRESSIONS. THEY GO THROUGH THEM AND THEY CUMULATIVELY CREATE TRAUMA, BUT THEY ALSO GO THROUGH BRUTAL VIOLENCE. TALK TO PEOPLE FROM THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY, FROM MANUFACTURING. THIS IS NOT, WE HAVE TO GET CLEAR WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HERE. THERE NEEDS TO BE A CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HAPPENS IN THE WORKPLACE. WE’VE SEEN ALL THE RESEARCH AROUND WHAT HAPPENS AT FORD MOTOR VEHICLES, MOST RECENTLY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE WOMEN PRISON CORRECTION OFFICERS, AND WHAT THEY WERE FORCED TO ENDURE AT THE HANDS OF BOTH INMATES AND COWORKERS. AND SEEING THE PEOPLE WHO ABUSE THEM, OR WHO BURIED THEIR ALLEGATIONS, COMPLAINTS, PROMOTED, WHILE THEY FOUND THEMSELVES DEMOTED. I THINK WE CAN’T DO CHEST BEATING AND AS WHITE WOMEN AND WHITE PEOPLE WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH OUR OWN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP TO WHITE SUPREMACY, WHITE NATIONALISM, AND WHITENESS, BUT I THINK IT IS A STRUCTURAL PROBLEM AS WELL. IT IS AN INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY. WE CAN’T UNDO THIS PERSON BY PERSON, BUT WE HAVE TO PLAY A PART.>>ANY PERSONAL STORIES OF MICROAGGRESSION OR MACROAGGRESSION? WE’VE TALKED ABOUT THE ABSTRACT, AND YOU TALKED ABOUT YOUR INCIDENT AS A CHILD, BUT NOT SINCE THEN.>>ABSOLUTELY, I’VE HAD IT, BUT IT IS HOW I DEAL WITH IT THAT MAKES YOU A STRONGER PERSON, I THINK. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION HAS BEEN VERY GOOD TO ME. THE REASON I GOT THE JOB THAT I DID AT THE BEGINNING OF MY CAREER, WAS IN FACT DUE TO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION. THE REASON I WAS LOOKED OUT FOR IN COLLEGE WAS DUE TO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, OUTSIDE THE FACT THAT I HAD A SCHOLARSHIP THERE. A LOT OF THOSE THINGS WERE GOOD FOR ME. BUT WHEN I WAS IN THE WORKPLACE, DID PEOPLE SEE ME DIFFERENTLY? DID PEOPLE SEE ME AS LESS THAN? MAYBE. I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT IT. I DID THE BEST I COULD TO STAND OUT. OF COURSE I DEAL WITH MALE AGGRESSION. THAT IS PAR FOR THE COURSE IN THE NEWSROOM.>>IT USED TO BE PAR FOR THE COURSE IN THE NEWSROOM. IT’S NOT ANYMORE.>>BUT I’M OLDER THAN I LOOK, SO BACK IN THE DAY. THAT WAS VERY NORMAL. AGAIN, IT IS HOW YOU TREAT IT, HOW YOU LET IT AFFECT YOU AND HOW YOU ENGAGE OR CHOOSE NOT TO ENGAGE.>>SHE IS A STRONG PERSON, YOU KNOW? BUT NOT EVERYBODY IS EQUIPPED THAT WAY.>>THAT’S THE PROBLEM. I FEEL BY SAYING THAT, IT PATHOLOGIZES PEOPLE WHO AREN’T STRONG ENOUGH. EVEN IF THEY ARE THE STRONGEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, IT JUST BUILDS UP AND BECOMES A TRAUMATIC SITUATION. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO VIEW MICROAGGRESSION AND OVERT DISCRIMINATION AS BEING A TRAUMA IN ITSELF. MUCH LIKE WHEN PEOPLE EXPERIENCE TRAUMA LIKE WAR OR RAPE OR CHILD ABUSE, WE DON’T SAY TO THEM, YOU ARE NOT STRONG ENOUGH FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO HANDLE THIS. WE SAY TO YOU, THIS IS A NORMAL AND EXPECTED REACTION, BECAUSE THIS WAS A TRAUMA THAT WAS BEYOND YOUR CONTROL, THAT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. AND YOUR REACTIONS TO THIS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON AND WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE STRONG.>>AND YOU FOUGHT ON SEVERAL FRONTS. ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT HAS DEFINED YOU AS A PERSON?>>IT DEPENDS ON MY AGE AND LEVEL AND WHERE I’VE BEEN IN LIFE. THE CURRENT MICROAGGRESSION I EXPERIENCE OFTEN IS BEING THE ONLY ONE, A PROFESSOR OF COLOR EVEN IN THIS DIVERSE CUNY SYSTEM. WE HAVE A FEW PROFESSORS OF COLOR, WOMEN OF COLOR OR QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR. IT IS ONE OF THOSE TYPES OF MICROAGGRESSIONS WHERE IT MIGHT NOT BE SO OVERT AS SOMEONE SAYING SOMETHING TO ME THAT I COULD IDENTIFY AS RACIST OR HOMOPHOBIC, OR HAVING THOSE CONNOTATIONS, BUT THE SYSTEM IN WHICH WE ARE IN BECOMES A MICROAGGRESSION IN ITSELF. IT IS AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE ONE FEELS THEY DON’T BELONG.>>YOU HAVE, HERE, OR AT THE UNIVERSITIES YOU’VE BEEN AT, THE FILIPINO GROUP, THE GAY GROUP, STRENGTHEN IN NUMBERS.>>DEALING WITH ISOLATION, DEALING WITH OFTEN TIMES BEING THE ONLY ONE, MEANS FINDING OTHERS WHO ARE LIKE YOU. YOU HAVE TO BRING YOUR OWN SEAT TO THE TABLE. I LIKE TO ADD MY OWN TWIST, SAYING WE HAVE TO BRING OUR OWN TABLE, BUILD OUR OWN TABLE AND EXPAND OUR OWN TABLE.>>LISTENING TO YOU BUILD YOUR OWN TABLE, I FEEL LIKE THAT IS WHAT I’VE BEEN ABLE TO DO IN THE MEDIA. BUILD MY OWN TABLE AND CONVERSATION I WANT TO HAVE. I’VE NEVER FELT THERE WAS A COMFORTABLE PLACE FOR ME IN THE MEDIA DISCOURSE, BECAUSE IN PART, THE EXPECTATION OF WHAT A WHITE WOMAN WHO LOOKS LIKE ME WOULD DRESS LIKE AND BE LIKE, WHAT MY OPINIONS WOULD BE, I THINK AS A LESBIAN, AND THE OTHER ASPECTS OF WHO I AM. I NEVER FELT REALLY COMFORTABLE. AND I THINK THAT HAS PLAYED A ROLE IN THE DECISIONS I’VE MADE, MAKING MY OWN MEDIA TABLE HAS BEEN BOTH INCREDIBLY LIBERATING AND FRUSTRATING. SURELY, THERE WAS A CHANNEL THAT WE CAN BE CREATING FOR PEOPLE LIKE US. DOES EVERYBODY HAVE TO CREATE THEIR OWN TABLE? THAT IS ONE OF THE QUESTIONS I THINK WE STRUGGLE WITH. I THINK THAT COMING AROUND, WHEN WE STARTED IN THE FIRST SECTION OF THE PROGRAM I MENTIONED, GROWING UP IN ENGLAND, LOOKING AT THE UNITED STATES, SORT OF A MELANGE. I THINK THAT PART OF THE U.K. SYSTEM IS A VERY OSSIFIED RACIAL STRUCTURE. WHERE YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR PROBLEMS ARE STRUCTURAL, NOT YOUR PERSONAL PROBLEMS. HERE, I THINK THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE. IN AMERICA, THEY ARE YOUR OWN PROBLEMS BECAUSE IN AMERICA, YOU HAVE YOUR OWN BOOTSTRAPS. I THINK WE NEED A MIX OF THE TWO. I THINK ONE INTERESTING ASPECT OF IDENTITY. MY FATHER WAS IN A WHEELCHAIR. A SUCCESSFUL PERFORMER, BUT A GUY IN A CHAIR HIS WHOLE LIFE FROM HAVING POLIO IN WORLD WAR II. AND I WENT TO A CONFERENCE FOR PEOPLE FIGHTING FOR DISABILITY JUSTICE. SUDDENLY, IN THAT COMMUNITY, I THOUGHT, THIS IS ALSO PART OF MY IDENTITY THAT I NEVER CLAIMED. BUT THEY SAID, YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND AS A PERSON WHO IS A CHILD OF A PERSON WITH DISABILITY. AND I GUESS I AM. I THINK IF WE CAN RETAIN SOME OPENNESS TO OUR MULTIPLE IDENTITIES, THAT IS WHERE LIFE GETS JUICY AND INTERESTING.>>ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC THAT AMERICA CAN BE THAT SO-CALLED MELTING POT?>>ABSOLUTELY. I HAVE AN OPTIMISTIC PERSONALITY BY NATURE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT. [LAUGHTER]>>BUT NO, I’D HATE TO — NO, I WON’T SAY THAT.>>NO, SAY THAT.>>WHEN IT COMES TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, AMERICA IS GREAT. YOU CAN DO AND BE ANYTHING YOU WANTED BUT YOU NEED THE STRUCTURE THERE AND KNOW HOW TO FIGURE OUT THE WAY TO GET FROM POINT A TO POINT Z. THERE ARE THOSE WHO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, THOSE WHO WATCH THINGS HAPPEN, AND THOSE WHO SAY, OH MY GOD, WHAT HAPPENED? I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE THE PERSON WHO MAKES THINGS HAPPEN. I THINK THAT BECAUSE I WAS BORN IN THE UNITED STATES, I’VE BEEN ABLE TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE CAN DO THAT, THEY JUST DON’T REALIZE IT.>>HORATIO ALGER WAS A STRAIGHT WHITE GUY AND HE GOT A LOT OF HELP FROM THE PEOPLE WHO BUILT THE RAILROADS. SO I THINK WE HAVE TO BE REALISTIC. I DON’T THINK AMERICA IS GREAT YET. I THINK IT IS DEFINED AND ON A MISSION OF GREATNESS, AND THAT MISSION IS OF A VISION OF POSSIBILITY THAT HASN’T BEEN MADE REAL YET. BUT I’LL TAKE A VISION OVER NO POSSIBILITY, FOR SURE.>>I THINK THAT ONE THING THAT STICKS OUT TO ME IS THIS IDEA THAT AMERICA IS SUPPOSED TO BE A MELTING POT. I NEVER AGREED WITH THAT. I THOUGHT AMERICA SHOULD BE MORE LIKE A MIXED SALAD. MELTING POT ALLUDES TO THE FACT THAT YOU ARE ALL ASSIMILATING INTO ONE THING VERSUS AMERICA BEING WHAT IT HAS BEEN, THIS RICH COUNTRY OF DIVERSITY AND DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. THAT WAY, YOU CAN REMAIN WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON WHILE STILL INTEGRATING WITH OTHERS AND MAKING THIS AMAZING SALAD. AND IN TERMS OF NEXT STEPS, I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO FIGHT AGAINST NOT JUST SYSTEMIC OPPRESSION, BUT EVEN INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION. I’VE BEEN HEARING ABOUT THE WAYS THIS HAS BEEN ALLUDED TO, BUT SO MANY OF US HAVE LEARNED, IMPLICITLY OR EXPLICITY A LOT OF NEGATIVE MESSAGES THAT YOU DON’T BELONG OR YOU CAN’T DO SOMETHING, OR YOU MAY NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY BECAUSE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN SOMEONE WHO LOOKS LIKE YOU IN THAT OPPORTUNITY. I DON’T THINK AMERICA IS GREAT. I DEFINITELY DON’T THINK WE ARE MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN RIGHT NOW, BUT I DO THINK THAT WITH ADDRESSING ALL OF THESE ISSUES, THAT WE ARE DOING WHATEVER WE CAN TO MAKE AMERICA JUST A LITTLE BIT FINE.>>YOU HAVE ALL MADE IT A LOT BETTER BY HAVING THIS CONVERSATION, THANK YOU SO MUCH. THANKS TO LAURA FLANDERS, TINABETH PIÑA, DR. KEVIN NADAL. THANKS TO YOU FOR JOINING US. WE WILL HAVE TO DO PART THREE. THANKS FOR BEING WITH US. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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