The Future of Race: Where Do We Go and Who Leads the Way? | Talks at Google

The Future of Race: Where Do We Go and Who Leads the Way? | Talks at Google

[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER 1: We present to
you the final Decoding Race talk back here at
my home, New York City, and I will now introduce
Roland Martin who has been an amazing friend
to me for more than 10 years. He’s an award-winning
journalist, an all-around amazing
television-radio personality. He’s the current host of
“NewsOne Now” of TV One and just fantastic. He was the first moderator
for Decoding Race, and he’s going to give
us a grand closing. So join us, Roland. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] ROLAND MARTIN: All right, folks. What’s up? I’m on? I’m on? I’m on now? All right, cool. So how are we doing? OK. I break rules. I’m not going to
be sitting down. So let me move this over here. All right. So everybody’s good? AUDIENCE: Yes. ROLAND MARTIN: All right, then. So they gave me a list
of questions to ask. I don’t know why they did that. So whoever stayed up to
write those questions, cut somebody out, because
I’m not going to read them. You wasted your time. We’re going to have
a great conversation. So I’m going to bring up
our panelists right now. So let’s get this thing going. So you all are
like, he really did say he was going to do that. I tell you. Luvvie, come on out, Luvvie. Thank you for dressing
up for the panel. [APPLAUSE] Appreciate that. We appreciate that. Yes. Looking mighty
dressy, of course. “New York Times” best
selling author, speaker, digital strategies. Of course, she deals at
the intersection of comedy, technology, and activism. Of course, we just
call her Luvvie. You got a last name? Are you like Cher or Madonna? LUVVIE AJAYI: Ajayi. ROLAND MARTIN: OK. Gotcha. All right. Cool. Just checking. All right. Give it up for Luvvie Ajayi. [APPLAUSE] Vint Cerf. Vint, where are you, Vint? Come on up. VINT CERF: I’m right here. ROLAND MARTIN: He
dressed the hell up. [APPLAUSE] Vint with a three-piece. All right. Vice President, Chief Internet
Evangelist for Google. Of course, contributes to
global policy development and continued spread of
the internet as well. Give it up for Vint. [APPLAUSE] VINT CERF: Thank you. ROLAND MARTIN: Paola Mendoza,
the Chief Co-director of Partnerships and Artistic
Director for the Women’s March in Washington. She’s done documentaries
like “Free Like the Birds,” “Autumn’s Eyes,” “La
Toma,” “Still Standing.” Wow, that’s mighty
environmental of you. “Free Like the Birds,”
“Autumn’s Eyes,” What’s next? Winter Solstice? PAOLA MENDOZA: Yes. ROLAND MARTIN: All right, cool. All right. So give it up for Paola, please. [APPLAUSE] All right. Where’s Eddie Huang? Eddie, where are you? Eddie, come on up. All in the back, hanging out. He’s a lawyer turned clothing
designer, restaurateur, TV host, and author. [APPLAUSE] Guess you were bored
with the law, huh? EDDIE HUANG: How are you? ROLAND MARTIN: So of course,
he has a restaurant in New York City’s East Village. He also is the author
of the “New York Times” best selling memoir “Fresh
Off the Boat” and host of his own show on Viceland. That’s our panel. [APPLAUSE] So anytime we have
these conversations, folks always it’s a
conversation about race. And I never understood what– I don’t see what people
really mean by that. And so anybody can jump in. I’m not going to direct
it to anybody at all. What should folks get
out of these discussions, out of these conversations? What should they get? Don’t need raise your hand. VINT CERF: First thing I would
say is that what you want is to get comfortable
with candor. That’s probably the
most valuable lesson that you could
possibly take away is it’s OK to have candid
discussions about hard topics, not only here in Google
but outside as well. EDDIE HUANG: I think it’s
important with race discussion to acknowledge that
it’s a social construct. Do you know what I mean? Like race is a social
construct, and I think an excellent starting
point for any conversation about race is to acknowledge
that it’s a social construct, that we carry pretty much the
same genetic DNA amongst all of us and that a lot of the
things people have told us about race are
entirely fabricated. VINT CERF: That’s fair. LUVVIE AJAYI: So
social constructs are sometimes we want to use as
an excuse to not give something the weight that it should have. Money is also a
social construct. Language is a social construct. But it’s as real as the
fact that the sky is blue, because how we
behave around race means that social construct
has real-life consequences. So I don’t want people to be
thinking, just because it’s social in that we just created
it, we created most things. This chair, Christmas, but
we give each other gifts. Like, Santa is not real. VINT CERF: He’s not? EDDIE HUANG: But the
thing is with race is that so many people have
been promoting or perpetuating the idea that there is some
genetic foundation to race. I’m sure you remember that
“Sports Illustrated” article from 25 years ago saying
that black athletes had a different ligament or
a different hamstring and trying to give credence to
race with a genetic foundation. And I think it’s important
to kind of dispel a lot of those myths when
having those conversations. It’s a starting point. Of course, social
constructs have the value that you give it. Do you feel like
at times with race that people have tried to create
a narrative that it’s destiny or that sometimes the way
people act is predetermined by the universe
or somebody else. PAOLA MENDOZA: I think
also with regards to what people should be
talking about with regards to race today, I want people
to recognize where we are politically in this country
today is, in my mind, because of our lack of
ability to speak about race, to see where the president
is and the policies that he’s implementing now, in my mind,
are surrounded and based in the idea of white supremacy. And even that word, when
you start saying that word, people get very uncomfortable. And I think, as you
were saying, that we have to lean into that quote,
unquote “uncomfortability,” those courageous discussions,
those daring discussions to move forward in
order to get to a more honest and sincere place. ROLAND MARTIN: When we
talk about this issue, I think for so many
people, they’re wholly ignorant of
American history. And so that’s also
part of the problem. When you begin to confront
the issue of race, and you begin to understand
economically, understand socially and culturally, as
you begin to talk to folks, you start throwing out
things that happened. And two years from now
we’ll be commemorating the 400th anniversary of the
first folks of African descent to come to the United
States in 1619. You explain to people
244 years of slavery, almost 100 years of Jim Crow,
even mention reconstruction. And I’m not talking about the
low-information Trump voters. I was in an event after
the election in DC. So all these really
smart people there, probably about five
black people in the room, about four Latinos in the room. I think there were
a couple Asian. Everybody else was white. And I asked the
question, how many of you know about reconstruction? Literally three hands went up. Three. VINT CERF: Doesn’t that happen
after surgery or something? ROLAND MARTIN: Huh? VINT CERF: Sorry. ROLAND MARTIN: They
all had lobotomies. I don’t know what was going on. And so even when I threw out the
question of same-sex marriage, Equal Protection
Clause, 14th Amendment, I’m like, that was a
reconstruction amendment. They had no idea. And so when you try to even
have a conversation as to how we got to this point and folks
have no idea about history, I think that also is a
contributing factor as to why people are so scared
because, frankly, they don’t know jack even with
their wonderful degrees. VINT CERF: So can I just
make an observation? It’s something that you said
I think is very important. It’s this social construct
notion applies not only to race, but it applies to all
kinds of different groupings. You can group people
by all kinds of– I’m the token old fart,
for example, up here. So the point I want to
make is the same tensions can arise out of various
groupings, not just about race. The value of having the racial
discussion, today anyway, is that it will apply to all
those other groupings as well. So there is a depth
of knowledge which is missing, not only about
factual history with regard to race but about other
factual history with regard to other groupings, whether
it’s economic or, in my case, I’m hearing impaired,
for example, and so I fall into
a minority category in that particular grouping. So anyway, I just
think that the lessons that we can learn from
these conversations are broadly applicable to a
wide range of different kinds of prejudice. ROLAND MARTIN: One reason why
I think this is important is because– and I’ve been
saying this since 2009– that we are about to embark
on what I call a 30-year war. VINT CERF: Holy moly. ROLAND MARTIN: And it’s real. Not the next election for
30 years, because by 2044 no one group will be
the dominant majority in this country. And once you start peeling back
the layers of why people feel the way they feel today,
you cannot help but get to the defining issue of race. I’ll throw this out to you. So when the study was done last
year, the question was asked, are you optimistic
about the future of America for the next
10 years economically? African-Americans,
lowest wealth in America, highest optimism 58%. Latinos, second lowest wealth,
second highest optimism. VINT CERF: Interesting. ROLAND MARTIN:
Whites in America, highest wealth, lowest optimism. LUVVIE AJAYI: That’s
because they know they’re losing their power. So it makes sense. When you are the
person at the top, you’re the person that
everyone’s gunning for. So you know you have
nowhere to go but down. I’d be sad too. But it’s about time. That makes perfect sense. We have higher optimism because
we’re like, we can only go up. VINT CERF: It can’t
get any worse, right? LUVVIE AJAYI: It
can’t get any worse, so I’m like I have nothing
but good things coming, because if it got any worse,
jeez, I’d just not be here. ROLAND MARTIN:
But the reason I’m putting that out
there, because whenever there are these discussions on
television, radio, in print, they literally skip
right over that and don’t then ask a
second question, why? Because now the
why question then informs where we stand today. The reaction to Trump
running, the reaction to other candidates, what
buttons are being pushed. And so when the immigration
button is being pushed, they’re really pushing
a different button. When you have the whole
issue of globalism. That’s another
button being pushed. No one talks about how
technology has changed the game or how automation has wiped out
significant numbers of jobs. Oh, no no. Send those folks back to Mexico. That’s why we don’t
have our jobs. Those are buttons being pushed. I just think that we have
to go much deeper when we start talking
about why people are responding the way
they respond politically. EDDIE HUANG: And
also immigration is a boon to the economy. It always has, if you
study immigration patterns. Even Buffalo, New York did not
have an increase in population since I believe the 1950s. In the last few years,
it has the most– it’s like the fourth largest
growing city in America is Buffalo, New York. And a lot of it is
immigrants coming from Africa and the Middle
East, creating businesses. You look at– I believe it’s
Deerfield, Michigan– it’s a very strong
Middle Eastern community. Immigrants coming America,
they create businesses, they become customers,
they become landowners. And it’s a boon to the country. ROLAND MARTIN: But the
history, though, shows those. When you have
economic anxieties, there always is a tendency
I need to blame somebody. EDDIE HUANG: And that’s
a social construct. That is a narrative
that white people who are afraid of the
dispossession of their country, they create that narrative
that it’s Mexicans taking jobs. It’s immigrants taking jobs. Immigrants fill jobs that normal
second and third-generation Americans, they
don’t want to take. They don’t need to take. This is the new
workforce coming in, whether it’s building the
railroads, reconstruction, the Panama Canal, the gold rush. It was always immigrants coming
in and filling these jobs. VINT CERF: So could I just
make an observation about this? This entire country is
nothing but immigrants. ROLAND MARTIN: Vint, you’re
on the panel for observation. You don’t have to tell me. You’re saying you want
to make an observation. EDDIE HUANG: I agree with you. ROLAND MARTIN: Go ahead. Go ahead. VINT CERF: No, no. I just wanted to make
that observation, that this entire country
is nothing but immigrants. That’s where we all came from. In fact, we displaced the
folks who were here before, which is another big issue. EDDIE HUANG: Before they were
Mexicans, before there was– PAOLA MENDOZA: The Irish,
before it was Chinese, before it was Japanese. EDDIE HUANG: Italian,
Irish, or Jewish people were treated the
way that a lot of us are treated now,
maybe not as badly. But like there was
always another. There was always a
new immigration group. There was always another. PAOLA MENDOZA: So the reality
is, just off that point, I think that from the
2008 economic collapse, cities that had the
most immigration population were the ones
that actually responded– rebounded economically
better than other cities. And our reality here
is, where we are today, is to be an immigrant–
the existence of an immigrant really at this
moment in time is to resist. My existence as an immigrant
born in Colombia, here in the United States for
the majority of my life is one of resistance
because, again, the political structure,
power structure, power vacuum that we’re in. And on top of that, the idea
of undocumented immigrants is even– we see what was going on
yesterday in Texas with SB4 and the protests that
were there and that there were actual fights between state
representatives on the floor, and they were threatening–
one was threatening to shoot another one. He said that he called
ICE on protesters. And so that is the political
climate where we are. And I truly believe
that we’re there because actually we are
unable to communicate with one another. We are unable to reach
across the aisle, whatever that aisle is, and see what
is happening with someone that thinks differently. Now, having a conversation
obviously is not– I’m not saying to
have a conversation is allowing for oppression
and for oppressive thoughts to be legitimized but to
actually just sit down with someone and say let’s
break down the facts. Let’s break down the
history of this country and talk about immigration
and talk about race and see where we are and
see where we’ve been. And so where are we
going to go and how are we going to break the cycle? But we’re not doing
that at this moment. ROLAND MARTIN:
Except when you’re defining things by fake news. But you mentioned something
there when you said resist. So the question I have– OK, resist is one thing,
to get what is another. So I can look at Montgomery
Improvement Association taking place December 1st after
Emmett Till is killed. And then I see this move in
the Black Freedom Movement, this quest for freedom. But resist is one thing. To get what? See because that’s vital. PAOLA MENDOZA: Yes. ROLAND MARTIN: You can resist,
then it’s OK I’ve resisted. But what the hell am I trying
to get with my resistance? EDDIE HUANG: You know
I had a women’s studies professor in college break it
down for me, Dr. [INAUDIBLE].. She said, you know, what
I want in this world is the same opportunity for the
same job for the same pay for the same work. And I was like, that
makes some sense. And in terms of
resistance, the thing I always think
about resisting is Americans have to resist this
idea that the country belongs to one dominant cultural group. It doesn’t belong to one
dominant cultural group. The country belongs to
this idea that there can be a land in
this world founded on equality, freedom
of expression, and multiculturalism. ROLAND MARTIN: But
stop right there. EDDIE HUANG: That
is the idea that– ROLAND MARTIN: I got
something right there, though. You said a nation
founded on equality. LUVVIE AJAYI: The idea. EDDIE HUANG: The idea. ROLAND MARTIN: But– no, no. PAOLA MENDOZA: But what? ROLAND MARTIN: But even
that idea was a lie. PAOLA MENDOZA: It wasn’t, yeah. ROLAND MARTIN: Because if you
are not a white male landowner, the country was not
founded for you. EDDIE HUANG: That’s why I
say it’s an idea, not a fact. You know what I mean? It’s been sold around
the world as this idea. LUVVIE AJAYI: Right. EDDIE HUANG: But that’s
our cultural soft powers that we’ve exported this idea. VINT CERF: Actually, it’s
an aspiration and which it involved– EDDIE HUANG: It’s a lifestyle. LUVVIE AJAYI: I
don’t even think– that’s the thing, though. I don’t even think America
aspires for equality. That’s the thing. This country plays the
global captain save a planet, like runs through and be like
there’s no democracy here. We’re going to bomb your place. Meanwhile, in our own country,
what happens, I think America– back to one of your points– one of the reasons why
we can’t move forward is because America
does not do a good job of looking at itself in the
mirror and being like, oh, OK. I see what’s coming back at me. It’s playing this global leader
has this very high moral stance elsewhere. But what’s happening
in the country is just not– it’s the
same things we’re bombing people for is happening here. ROLAND MARTIN:
Well, you’re right. I think if you read Stephen
Kinzer’s book, “Overthrow,” if you want to look
at what Russia did to us in the last election– PAOLA MENDOZA: Right. You’ve done. ROLAND MARTIN: Hell,
we did that going back to [INAUDIBLE] in Iran in 1954. PAOLA MENDOZA: We did
that to all Latin America. ROLAND MARTIN: We pretty
perfected the art of jacking up a country– PAOLA MENDOZA: Yes. ROLAND MARTIN:
–with that group. No, seriously. PAOLA MENDOZA: Fact. It’s true. Fact. ROLAND MARTIN: But the reason I
want to stay on this whole idea in terms of this
ideal, because as we’re talking about moving
discussions forward, trying to figure it out, I think
we have to deal with that. Because if you look
at income inequality now, if you look
at how much wealth is being held in
so few hands, it is literally a 21st
century version of when this
country was created. PAOLA MENDOZA: Yeah. LUVVIE AJAYI: Yeah. ROLAND MARTIN: You’re literally
in the exact same spot in terms of a handful of
people with wealth determining the future
direction of the country. And so I go back to
this notion of resist. We are resisting to do what? VINT CERF: Well, presume– ROLAND MARTIN: To get what? VINT CERF: Presumably more
equal treatment for everyone. More equal opportunity
for everyone. PAOLA MENDOZA: Yeah. I think we’re resisting
for two things. In this immediate
moment, we’re resisting to protect our communities,
and all of our communities are under attack
in various forms. And then I would
also say that we are resisting for freedom,
like we’re resisting for freedom of everything. And it’s something
to strive for. Will we get there? Not in my lifetime. I don’t know when
we’ll get there. LUVVIE AJAYI: [INAUDIBLE] PAOLA MENDOZA: I know, right? Sorry to break it to you. EDDIE HUANG: I
think it’s the two things is that equal protection
of the laws that has never been present. And then the equal opportunity,
because I don’t think anybody here or listening or on
the stage wants anything given to them. I just want the
same opportunity. ROLAND MARTIN: Like James
Brown said, open the door. I’ll get it myself. LUVVIE AJAYI: You know– PAOLA MENDOZA: Exactly. LUVVIE AJAYI: You know, I would
want something given to me. Yes. Because this country
has been people of color who have been
doing all the work. So things have been
given to white people. It’s time for us to be
given some things too. And I think the lack of– the guilt that comes with us, we
work so hard that sometimes we do get something given to us,
we’re like did I deserve it? Yes. They’ve been getting this
for free for 400 years. It’s time for us to get some
things for free too and not feel the guilt. ROLAND MARTIN: I’ll
go back to equality and equal– equal
protection, equal protection clause, equality. A lot of people love
Dr. King and one of the things they don’t realize
is that he rarely ever used the word equality. VINT CERF: That’s interesting. ROLAND MARTIN: He
typically said freedom. He wanted freedom. You said that earlier and that
is the moment a child is born, even before that, you
want the mother to have the same prenatal
care as somebody else. PAOLA MENDOZA: Yeah. LUVVIE AJAYI: Yeah. ROLAND MARTIN: But you
want freedom, freedom to drive down the street
and not get pulled over, freedom to not have somebody
call ICE because you look Latino and they
think you’re also an illegal immigrant. That to me, I , think,
as we’re moving forward, I look at word usage. I think that’s a more
powerful word, because when you hear the so-called patriots,
oh, the founding fathers, they believed in freedom. See, I don’t want equality. Equality means you’ve
got to pass another law to give it to me. No. I want what you’ve
got without a law. That’s freedom. VINT CERF: So could I
make a suggestion to you? When we look at
the Constitution, and we look at the
Bill of Rights, and you see the First Amendment
that speaks about freedom of expression,
freedom to assemble, freedom of [INAUDIBLE]– ROLAND MARTIN: Not equality
of expression, freedom. VINT CERF: No, no. Yes. I agree with you. But I wanted to
emphasize something that you didn’t mention. And that’s another
notion of freedom from harm, which is not
in our Bill of Rights but it should be. That’s the one thing that
we are willing to give up a certain amount of freedom
in exchange for safety. And that’s part of
the social contract. It’s a very tricky
concept, but it’s one that we have to embrace
because without that– in theory, my freedom of
action should stop about 1 cm from your nose. ROLAND MARTIN: Actually it
should stop in that chair. [LAUGHTER] That’s where it should stop. You get your ass out that chair,
it’s going to be a problem. EDDIE HUANG: That’s actually
the more conservative interpretation of Locke. He has the more liberal
interpretation of Locke in the social contract,
which is that it’s up to the centimeter
of your nose. It’s that you can express
your freedom to the extent that it does not impose
on someone else’s unlimited freedom. And so I think as a
society it’s like boxing. It’s about mastering
your distance. ROLAND MARTIN: So
I’ll throw this out. So here we have
massive changes when I look at what young
folks are doing today, which is not unlike any
other areas of history. I can think back to SNCC– Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee– 1960s, meeting at Shaw
University and what they did and how they drove the
Black Freedom Movement. VINT CERF: SDS. ROLAND MARTIN: But here’s
what’s very interesting to me, is that when you begin to look
at polling data, when you look at white millennials
who believe today that racism against whites is
just as significant as it is against African-Americans–
to your point about it being a construct–
we have, I believe, sold ourselves this
false notion that, oh, but kids they all
listen to hip hop. It’s all good. LUVVIE AJAYI: It’s the
least racist generation. ROLAND MARTIN: You find
that hilarious, I can tell. EDDIE HUANG: I find it hilarious
because I remember growing up, I actually felt a
lot of solidarity. I found a lot of connectivity
to hip hop music. It was the music that made me
feel less alone and less alien because I was the only
Chinese kid in school. But I knew that a
lot of the other kids listening to it, that
it was a phase for them. It was a costume, like
they come back from summer and it’s like, oh, I’m wearing
FUBU and Phat Farm now, but then I knew next summer
they’d be wearing Abercrombie & Fitch, you know? LUVVIE AJAYI: Yeah. EDDIE HUANG: And by the
time people went to college, they just dropped it. A lot of people dropped it. But then hip hop became
a mainstream culture. But I think that says
more about this art form that black communities
created, the power of hip hop and how undeniable it is. It’s the most powerful
movement of the last 30 years. ROLAND MARTIN: What
I’m trying to say is that we can’t
live on this idea that just because there are
folks today who are 24, 25, 26, that somehow everything
is going to change because they live in a
much more diverse world than their parents. We actually still
take on the identity and the views of our parents. How– EDDIE HUANG: It
becomes more insidious when you don’t think
there is an actual threat. PAOLA MENDOZA: Right. EDDIE HUANG: Right? And so I think the ABC show,
that “Fresh Off The Boat” is a real good example of
they’ll use your yellow faces and tell white stories. You know? ROLAND MARTIN: So
moving forward, how do we be mindful
of that to ensure we don’t fall into the
trap of just assuming, oh, it’s all good? EDDIE HUANG: I’m probably
the wrong person to ask. LUVVIE AJAYI: Well,
we shouldn’t assume. So part of the
thing is we always assume people are at the same
place we are in understanding, in knowledge and
wherever our beliefs are. And that’s completely wrong. Everyone got shocked
November 9 being like, oh god, I thought
everybody I knew was voting this way. No. That assumption
is wrong, which is why the conversation
needs to happen in rooms that are difficult or not. We need to talk about white
privilege and the fact that most people don’t even
know what white privilege means. They just think it
means that I got things handed to me all my life. These kids who are 24, 25
still doing blackface parties. And then we want to
sit and be like they’re the least racist generation. No, they’re not. They’re being raised
by racists, so they’re going to be racist too. It doesn’t matter if they’re
around black people all day. If their mom and your dad
has beaten in your head that this is exactly how–
white supremacy and the idea of genetic supremacy. And that is going to be
what they carry with them. So we have to bring it to them. ROLAND MARTIN: Does it
behoove us to quickly call someone or something racist? Here’s is why I’m putting that
out there– before you answer– so here’s what happens. We have these
conversations today. An event happens,
let’s say blackface. All of a sudden it
goes, that’s racist. No, it’s not. The conversation then is
no longer about blackface. The conversation is now you’re
racist, you’re not a racist. EDDIE HUANG: Yeah,
self-preservation. ROLAND MARTIN: The
argument that I make is there is a whole lot
of stuff in between racist and non-racist. I’ve rarely called
someone a racist, because I want to stay focused
on exactly what happened as opposed to that conversation,
because it will quickly shift. EDDIE HUANG: Yeah. For me, if I’m talking
to somebody about race or I feel like maybe
something is racist, I try to establish with
them in the conversation, I don’t want anything from you. I want this for you. Do you know what I mean? I want you to have
this understanding so everything I’m telling you
is not for me to report you or to complain about
you or ruin your career. I’m here for you to get
closer to the truth. You know what I mean? ROLAND MARTIN: Paola,
I’m going to go to you. So for instance, same
thing happened when it came to the Women’s March. I’ve been highly critical of the
National Organization for Women for a long time because it
should have been the National Organization for White Women. PAOLA MENDOZA: Agreed. ROLAND MARTIN: So when a
14-year-old girl in McKinney had her face slammed into
the ground, now said nothing. And I put them on blast and
ever since then, every time something happens
with a black girl, they put that statement
out in about 20 minutes. But the point being, if you
say it now you’re racist, the reaction from these
white liberal women, oh my god, I’m not racist? No, but you’re silent. MENDOZA: Yeah. So this is exactly what I
was going to talk about, is the idea and the power of
language or lack of language. So I work in the immigration
space, specifically in the undocumented space,
and this is a new territory for most people. So people don’t necessarily
know the language. So you will hear
people say “illegal” as opposed to “undocumented.” And I’ve kind of
perfected the way in which to correct someone in a
non-confrontational, productive way so that they actually
understand why they shouldn’t use that language. I don’t call people out
publicly, or if I do, it’s a very safe space
in which to do it in. And I think that goes
to your question, because at the end
of the day, what’s important to me in that
circumstance in particular is to educate, empower,
and create a conversation. And when we are attacking
people right away, then that ability to have a
conversation is unattainable. But also keeping in mind that
there are just some people that I will not engage
in conversation with, and those are just
the outliers that we don’t talk to or engage with. And with regards to
the Women’s March, I think one of the
things that we’re most proud of is that we were
able to push the needle forward within the women’s
movement to talk about this idea of feminism
being for white women and really having white
women in particular understand why feminism had
become so selectively white. And within the organization,
we had numerous conversations where we were crying,
upset, laughing. And these were strangers. These were 25
women, 30 women that came together, didn’t
really know one another, to have these discussions. And the people that were really
having the most emotionally difficult discussions
were the white women because they were being
confronted in a space where they were actually equal
in numbers of women of color and white women. They were not the majority. And so I always– ROLAND MARTIN: And they
thought everything was good. PAOLA MENDOZA: Oh, yeah. They did know. They honestly didn’t know. And so you don’t know
what you don’t know. So that’s where you
start the conversation. And it’s exhausting and tiring
and emotionally draining, but it’s one conversation
that each individual can choose to take on. So my point is that
again, it goes back to this idea of conversations,
of how do you call someone out in a way that’s
productive and where they don’t get defensive. LUVVIE AJAYI: Call in. PAOLA MENDOZA: Exactly. You call them in. ROLAND MARTIN: Let
me do this here. So how many folks in the
room have heard of Title IX? VINT CERF: Oh yeah. ROLAND MARTIN: How
many of you believe that Title IX was about sports? VINT CERF: No. It was about gender. ROLAND MARTIN: No, no. It was about– the way that
it’s been positioned that it’s about sports and gender. But if you actually
go back, Title IX was created to
specifically open up the professional schools
for women, doctors, lawyers, dentists. Now let me ask this question. Who knows where Title
IX even comes from? Precisely. The 1964 Civil Rights Act. So Title IX gets passed, ’72. Gets passed. You see an explosion of women
become doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, in
professional schools. Largely white women, because
still the opportunities were being closed
for black women. So all these women– talking about a lot
of women in the room– who then go into
corporate America, who get all these
particular jobs. Guess what? They were able to advance
because black folks marched to get the ’64 Civil
Rights Act passed. PAOLA MENDOZA: Exactly. ROLAND MARTIN: Now when
you throw that out, and I’ve done this in speeches,
white women in the room look at me like,
oh, my god, what the hell is he talking about? To Eddie’s point, you’re
talking about if you are Chinese or
Korean or Japanese and you appreciate voting
with your native tongue in the ballot,
thank black people and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. I go back to the reconstruction
amendment, the Equal Protection Clause, 14th Amendment,
that came out after slavery. The point I’m making is– also if you’re disabled. Remember the disabilities act? Provision of the ’64
Civil Rights Act. All of these laws
that have been changed were a result of the
black freedom movement. And when you throw
that out there, people then go, oh,
where you going? Which allows me to go
into the next part. That is when you look at
Black Lives Matter and then these efforts that
are happening today, these laws that are being–
these changes are being forced not to just benefit black folks,
but again, like everything else that I just said, to benefit
every other American. How do we get that
through folks’ heads that it just ain’t
a black thing? A body camera can
save your ass, too. VINT CERF: Good point. EDDIE HUANG: As a kid, like, I
didn’t see Asian politicians. I didn’t see that
many Asian leaders. There was not any
representation of us culturally besides Bruce Lee. You know? And I read Hank
Aaron’s autobiography. I would read “Thank
You, Jackie Robinson.” I listened to Charles Barkley. You know, like, as much he
didn’t want to be a role model, he was my role model, you know? And I read about the march. I read about Malcolm
X, Martin Luther King. And I read, “I Have A Dream”
and compared it to “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” And I started to realize– I was like, black people
have paved the way for anyone of difference in America. And I think for me, I grew up
just always wanting solidarity, because I could see
strength in solidarity and I could see how
I was benefiting from the work of
black Americans. And going to the Women’s March– you know, I went to
the Women’s March. It was one of the most
incredible things I’ve seen. And once I saw Trump
going at women, I was like, we’re actually going
to make some progress here, because everybody has a mother. Everybody has been kind of
slandered by this man now. And this is now
everybody’s fight and everybody has to join in. ROLAND MARTIN: Yes. EDDIE HUANG: And then– I’m sorry. I haven’t finished the point. Then the Women’s March became
this platform and this canvas that everyone could bring their
issues and their stories to. And I saw tons of
Black Lives posters. And you know, it
was a place where everyone had a place
to come have a voice and stand up for something. And the women at
the march really, I think, carried the
torch and carried a lot of people’s issues
for them that day. ROLAND MARTIN: Yet 53% of
white women voted for Trump. Yet people then, after
the election, said whoa, I was voting for this,
I totally ignored this. Like all the people right
now who are now crying, please don’t take
my health care. Now you’re trying to wake up. So as we’re moving forward, all
these different movements that are going on– EDDIE HUANG: I’ll
take them whenever they want to wake up, though. You know what I mean? LUVVIE AJAYI: I sat
out the Women’s March, and it was a persons
decision to do that. Because I was like,
you know what? Yes, black people are
always showing up. Honestly, on this
day, I don’t want to. So I actually sat
home, and I didn’t go. But I was like, props
to everybody who went, and I really respected the
significance of the event and how massive it was. I mean, biggest protest ever. OK, so that was epic. But the fatigue that comes
from always showing up for people who never show
up for you, on that day, I was not feeling the need
to be uniting with anybody. I was like, I
[INAUDIBLE] afterwards. But today, what happens
when black women do decide to all sit out one day? If we don’t show up. Like, how far would we be– how far would women be? Even though we usually get
the brunt of, oh, my god, the Black Lives Matter
people are protesting. They should like,
stop stopping traffic. Meanwhile not
realizing that, like, your kids are
benefiting from the fact that these people
are stopping traffic. So I mean, I think it’s
really important for people to acknowledge that. It’s the fact that
black Americans do not get enough credit for the amount
of work that they’ve put on– I was born in
Nigeria, so I’m also an immigrant in that I didn’t
come here until I was nine. And Africans come here
and get really successful, but we also have to
acknowledge the reason we’re able to do that is
because when we come here, all the work that black
Americans have done allow us to come here and
then become doctors in three years and four years, and
then be able to be, like, in the 10%, which is amazing. So I just wanted to take
this moment to say, like, black Americans, y’all
are super heroes. You don’t get told that enough. And history doesn’t give you
enough credit, but it should. PAOLA MENDOZA: And
to that point– and this is something that I’d
like to say publicly as often as I can– that the Women’s March
was as successful as it was because we were
literally on the backs of Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter had been
training the American people for two, three years previous
to the women’s movement to go out to the streets, to
protest, to shut things down. And it was when
the perfect event of Donald Trump and
everything that he had done to women and an
event was posted on Facebook that we had just the
perfect energy, synergy, whatever you want to call
it, to get millions of people out to the street. But I don’t think that we would
have had that had Black Lives Matter not been happening for
three years previous to that. And also what you’re
talking about I think at the end of
the day is something that is organizing 101. When we put the most
marginalized people at the center of the movement,
and we work towards them, and we realize that our freedom
is bound to their freedom, that’s the work that
needs to get done. So when we’re here
in this space, and we’re talking about race,
the reason race is important and the reason why we
need to be uncomfortable and the reason why we need to
have these daring discussions is because when we have them, we
will all start to become free. We will all get closer to that
place that we’re striving for. And so I think that’s why Google
is having this conversation, because they are
obviously– you all are obviously at the forefront
of where we need to go. And that is why
it’s important to, whether if you’re white, if
you’re black, if you’re Latino, if you’re undocumented, if
you’re gay, if you’re straight, if you’re disabled,
whatever it is– that is the importance and
the power of the conversation. ROLAND MARTIN: So but how are we
dealing with intersectionality? EDDIE HUANG: I’m sorry. I really want to respond to
what she said, because I really understand your frustration. And you don’t need
me to say it, but I think it’s very, very fair
that some people sat out the Women’s March. Because it’s like the
sword in the stone, do you know what I mean? It’s like, you know,
Black Lives Matter have been pulling on
this sword in the stone, doing all the work
pushing it forward, trying to open America’s eyes. And a lot of people
are just like, why are you saying– why are we
talking about Black Lives Matter? Treating it almost
like a nuisance, do you know what I mean? Treating Colin
Kaepernick like he was a nuisance, when
in fact that man sacrificed his career to make
a statement and awaken America. And it has to be frustrating
from a black perspective to see that when white
women were attacked, that then the sword was
taken out of the stone. ROLAND MARTIN: That’s called
being black in America. No, I mean, that’s the reality. EDDIE HUANG: Even a China man
can understand that, though. ROLAND MARTIN: We’re
just like, you know. EDDIE HUANG: I’d like
to say this, too– ROLAND MARTIN: You got
the New York Giants owner in today’s newspaper talking
about we got all these letters from Giants fans saying we’re
going to boycott if you sign Kaepernick, but they
didn’t say a damn thing when they had a
kicker who was beating the hell out of his wife. EDDIE HUANG: Yeah. And the other thing, too, is I
would say, is, like, I totally get the frustration,
but sometimes I feel like, as a minority
or a person of color, however everyone’s supposed
to be identified these days, it’s like unfortunately,
we may not have the privilege of sitting out. ROLAND MARTIN: No, no, no. EDDIE HUANG: [INAUDIBLE],,
you know what I mean? ROLAND MARTIN: Here’s how
I see her sitting out. It’s sort of like if we’re
in a tug of war, it’s like– EDDIE HUANG: You and Rick
Mahorn pull the chair out. ROLAND MARTIN: No, it’s like– I’m going to take a rest. [INAUDIBLE] LUVVIE AJAYI: That’s it. That’s it. ROLAND MARTIN: No. Basically, we’re
like, in a tug of war, I’m going to take a breather. [INAUDIBLE] LUVVIE AJAYI: That’s it. ROLAND MARTIN: I’m
going to step out. And I’m going to get back in. LUVVIE AJAYI: I’m gonna get back
in, but give me five minutes. ROLAND MARTIN: [INAUDIBLE] LUVVIE AJAYI: Your turn. ROLAND MARTIN: But I want
to go to Vint, though, because I want to do this
intersectionality piece, because it’s
interesting when you talk about this intersection
of different issues. I think about– and again,
I brought the 14th Amendment again, equal protection clause. The Supreme Court, when they
decided same sex marriage was based upon that, what was
interesting is BYP100 had done a shout out where
they said, look, OK, y’all get same sex marriage. That ain’t what we
concerned about. And it was interesting
because I had black gay folks who
were saying, that ain’t number one on our list. And I’ve had to deal with
African-Americans, same you’re talking Jose
Antonio Vargas, Asians, Latinos, who are gay, who are in
this movement saying, hold it. How we all gay, but then we’re
still fighting marginalization in the LGBT movement– in
the equality movement that practices inequality? So as we begin to
move forward, I think we’re going to see
even more of those battles where all of a
sudden it’s not as clear as black,
Asian, Latino, women. Now it’s going to
be things crossing. VINT CERF: Look, there are
dozens, if not more, categories in which everyone fits. And a lot of those categories
will put you into minority. And so it seems to
me absolutely clear that everything that you were
saying with regard to people of color and your sense of
oppression and unfairness will show up in all of those
other instances as well. The net result of all
that is that if we’ve got to get Americans to
understand and believe that no one is free
until we all are. EDDIE HUANG: Yes. LUVVIE AJAYI: That’s actually– EDDIE HUANG: The man
invented the internet. LUVVIE AJAYI: That’s a
mantra the BYP100 says. Like, none of us are free
until we’re all free. And understanding what you
said, like our freedom is bound to somebody else’s
freedom, is what will make you get out
of bed in the morning when it doesn’t have
anything to do with you. Right? But the thing is, like, most
Americans don’t get out of bed until it has something
to do with them. They’re not getting out to march
until, oh, he said something about white women. Now I have to– where were you for
the last two years? So it’s a matter of
us seeing ourselves in other people’s
struggles and understand that if that person has a
harder time living a free life, I will, too, in some way. It’s going to show up
in some way in my life. And that means their
struggle is my struggle. That means their fight
has to be my fight. Until we do that,
nothing’s going to happen. VINT CERF: That’s right. ROLAND MARTIN: About five
to eight more minutes until our panel is going to go
to questions from the audience, and so please let me know– VINT CERF: Mr. Moderator? ROLAND MARTIN:
Hold on one second. Doing some housekeeping. So let me know when the
questions are up here. OK? Go right ahead. VINT CERF: So I
was going to make one other psychological
observation. People see behaviors
that they don’t like. And they’ll say,
I don’t like them, you know, for whatever reason. But what they don’t do is what
you were suggesting earlier, which is to dig deeper
to find out what is the reason for that behavior? What are the incentives
that drive that behavior? And until we understand
what the incentives are, we won’t be able to
change the behavior. Because just complaining
about it doesn’t work. You have to figure out how
to change the incentives. And that’s probably the
most fundamental question that we have to wrestle with. How do we change the
incentives for the behaviors that we don’t like? ROLAND MARTIN: And
when we say incentives, that means, look, how many
folks have been to Washington DC in a visit or been
by the White House? LUVVIE AJAYI: Lately? VINT CERF: Well,
I live there, so– ROLAND MARTIN: In
your whole life. In your whole life. Yes. Thank you. VINT CERF: Thank you. Right. Yes. ROLAND MARTIN: Now I’m
gonna ask this question. There’s only one federal
agency that shares a lawn with the White House. They can literally play
flag football on the lawn. Which agency? LUVVIE AJAYI: Treasury. VINT CERF: No, it’s– ROLAND MARTIN: Treasury. VINT CERF: Treasury. Oh, that’s right. Yeah. ROLAND MARTIN: To understand
America, power, money. Money, power. That’s the only one that shares
a lawn with the White House. You could literally go 100 steps
out the side of the Treasury Department, you’ll be in the
East Wing of the White House. So we talk about
incentives, Vint. I think about Al Newhart, when
he was the CEO of Gannett, the founder of USA Today. He said, here’s a guy,
grew up in South Dakota. Didn’t see many black people. But he said, we’re going
to be the leading company when it comes to diversity. And he then said, I’m going
to attach our diversity goal to your bonuses. And then he said, if
you don’t like it, you can leave the company. And there were people who left. And he said, see ya,
because they wouldn’t do it. And so when Gannett became
the leader in the industry for diversity, it caused
[INAUDIBLE] to go, then we better get
our act together. It literally caused
a ripple effect. The entire media industry
said, we’d better go start recruiting some folks,
because Gannett’s going to get all of the
great minority talent. That changed the game. VINT CERF: Interesting. ROLAND MARTIN: The
president of FX, same thing. They did a study in
FX network, and he said, how is it that
88%, or whatever, of our movies, our show
runners, are white males? And he sent a single
email out saying this should not be the case. Six months later, it was
flipped to nearly half of their shows were
people of color. LUVVIE AJAYI: I mean, look at– ROLAND MARTIN: But
that was a leader. LUVVIE AJAYI: Look what
“Scandal” did for television. ROLAND MARTIN: That
was leadership. LUVVIE AJAYI: I mean,
when “Scandal” started, the last black lead for a
prime time show or drama was Diahann Caroll in 1974. So when “Scandal” became
successful, literally all the TV networks was
like, oh, it can be profitable for a black
woman to lead a show. Then it actually became a
thing that all the networks were doing. It is the money that’s tied to
it and chained to incentives. So like now, in publishing. For a long time, they were
like, oh, black people don’t read books, so we’re not
going to really give you guys a lot of book deals. And they started
giving us book deals, and they realized
we can hit “New York Times” best seller list. Oh, somebody else can
get a book deal now. It’s always tied to the money. Always. ROLAND MARTIN: Questions. Y’all ready? LUVVIE AJAYI: Was
that a mic drop? Was that a mic drop? ROLAND MARTIN: I said, power
and money, money and power. All right. Let’s role. Really? Really, you don’t
have questions? All right. Who got a question? VINT CERF: Here we go. We can see it here. ROLAND MARTIN: OK,
we’ve got a microphone. Man, come on. Who got a question? Really? Nobody here has a question? VINT CERF: Wait, no. It’s right– hey. ROLAND MARTIN: I’ve got him. VINT CERF: We’ve got
the question here. ROLAND MARTIN: Here we go. Microphone works. Step on up in light. Come on. It’s going to be like the
old Phil Donahue show. EDDIE HUANG: No, Roland, we
got a– we got a question– ROLAND MARTIN: Let me explain
to you who Phil Donahue is. OK. You know who Phil Donahue is. I see the grey hair. Yes, indeed. What’s your name? What’s your question? AUDIENCE: My name
is Jason, and you said that it’s hard
to challenge someone, just call them a racist. So having these conversations
maybe more around, as Eddie suggested, around a
specific reaction somebody had or a thing they said. What are some good ideas
for how to do that? I’ve got a big family. I need to do a lot of education. ROLAND MARTIN: Oh. He’s trying to survive
Thanksgiving and Christmas. All right. Who wants to take that? LUVVIE AJAYI: I’ve had
that question sent to me a lot of times, because I’ve
challenged my white readers to not be silent in the face
of just problematic things happening in their–
like, if you’re silent as it’s happening,
you’re giving it air. So my suggestion is to
just really point it out. So you’re at dinner,
and let’s say your uncle makes
that racist joke. You should be like, hey,
yeah, that’s not OK. Simply even saying, that’s
not OK is better than you just being like,
oh, here he goes. Because you let him know
that when you’re in the room, he has less space for that. He will do it less in your
presence at the minimum, if nothing else. Start there. ROLAND MARTIN: True. Eddie? EDDIE HUANG: Yeah, you
know, when I was younger, I used to turn in these essays. They were like fiery,
angry, analytical essays. And my teacher– I had a
professor, Doctor Jones, ask me– she said, why is it
that you use this language? Why is it that you just beat
the reader over the head over and over? And I said, because I’m right. And she said, OK, fair. I agree with you. ROLAND MARTIN: Damn. You too, huh? EDDIE HUANG: Yeah. And she said, I agree with
you that you’re right. You have proven it over the
course of these paragraphs. But the purpose of writing is
to communicate and to persuade. And she says, you should be
a more results-based writer. And at first, I was upset. I didn’t accept it. But over time, I
realized, just being right does not give you license
to attack people with language. Also being right, you
don’t get a medal for that. You need the results. You need people to
open their eyes. The purpose is to
convey your feelings and for them to understand you. And I’ve noticed, at least
in my own personal life, the more patient and
generous and humble I am in front of someone
that may have said something that I consider racist,
I get more when I give. And it’s such a
hard thing to do. It’s really hard. LUVVIE AJAYI: That
is labor intensive. ROLAND MARTIN: But
it’s also based– it’s also based upon
really the situation. Here is the way you are. EDDIE HUANG: I mean,
I interviewed a guy from the alt right, like, in a
DC episode of “Huang’s World.” ROLAND MARTIN:
White nationalists. That’s what I call them. I don’t call it the alt right. EDDIE HUANG: He was the
director founder of AmRen. And you know, from the
beginning, I could have got hot and argued with him. I probably should have
choked him, you know? But I just kept, at
least in my mind, giving. ROLAND MARTIN: Right. EDDIE HUANG: And giving. And then you know what? That fool walked
himself into a hole. ROLAND MARTIN: Oh, every time. EDDIE HUANG: Yeah. ROLAND MARTIN: So
they’re not smart. No, they’re not. EDDIE HUANG: They’re
also hateful. ROLAND MARTIN: I
had Richard Spencer for 32 minutes on my show. It was supposed to
be eight minutes. LUVVIE AJAYI: You didn’t
punch him in the face, like everybody else? ROLAND MARTIN: I said, I won’t
beat his ass for about 10 more minutes. Then another 10 minutes. And again, he looked
crazy at the end. But I do believe
the moment matters. Like, I don’t like it
when I’m in a first class, like I’ve got
Texas A&M stuff on. They say, you play football? Hell no. Did you? No. Because really, I
want you to ask first, is that your– is that
where you went to school? Don’t assume I played
ball or I coach there. And so depending on how I
feel, I might be nice about it, and say, no. Or I might be very dismissive. Hell, no. All depends on the mood I’m in. What’s your question? AUDIENCE: So I was– ROLAND MARTIN: I’ve got the mic. We’re good. Put your hands in your pocket. AUDIENCE: I’m Christina,
and I recently– well, first of all, thanks
for being here and thanks for this
discussion and everything. I’m really glad that I work at
a company where this is valued. I recently read a book
called “Homegoing,” and it’s one of the best
books I’ve read ever, so if you haven’t
read it, you should. And it talks about, for
anybody who hasn’t read it, the story of two
different family– one family, two sisters. One follows, like, her lineage
for the last 400 years, going from the
Gold Coast in Ghana to the United States
and everything. You know, basically
living in slavery and then after slavery,
blah, blah, blah, blah. And it was just a
heartbreaking book to read. And while reading
it, it was just, like, there’s black people
just don’t even have a– you know, they didn’t
have a chance ever. You know, like, with
that kind of history, they’re so far behind. There was so much
institutional baggage. It just felt very heartbreaking. Fast forward to– well, not
fast forward, but the same time, I lived in Clinton
Hill, Brooklyn. You know, 90% voted
against Trump, and very democratic, very
open liberal community. And yet you look at your
schools in my neighborhood, and they are, frankly, they’re
sort of segregated, you know? PAOLA MENDOZA: They
are segregated. New York City has the
most segregated schools in the country, and more so
than the Civil Rights Movement during the ’60s. AUDIENCE: And the rates of
incarceration, you know. So you have this
sort of dissonance that I’m so uncomfortable
with, and I don’t really know what to do with it. But I just thought– I don’t really have a question. I’m just like– ROLAND MARTIN: Oh, no. We got it. We got it. AUDIENCE: –and schools, and
where are we and is there hope? VINT CERF: Pointing
out the dissonance is exactly the
right thing to do. I think it’s an extremely
helpful thing to do. And now we all have homework
to go read that book. ROLAND MARTIN: But it’s also
not accepting the silly notion that it’s a Democratic
or Republican thing. And that’s the problem. So when– what’s
the fool on CNN? LUVVIE AJAYI: Which one? ROLAND MARTIN: I know. There’s a lot of them. Jeffrey Lord. So when Jeffrey Lord’s
running his mouth, and he’s talking about, oh,
the Democrats carry the KKK. And the problem I have is
that too many people on CNN have no understanding
of history, because it’s very easy to
shut Jeffrey Lord down. You simply say, Jeffrey
Lord, which president left the white lily
movement in the 1930s? And he will look at
you like you’re crazy. He will say Herbert Hoover. He was a Republican. See? So what happens is
a long it becomes, oh, if you’re Republican,
you hate minorities, and if you’re a Democrat,
you love minorities, you lose sight of the fact that
our schools come down to money. Democrats like money. Republicans like money. They like money in their
own school districts. And so that’s, I
think, where we fail. This is not to
change these systems. It’s not a Democrat
or Republican thing. It’s a human thing. Democrats can be just
as idiotic and stupid when it comes to allocation
of resources as Republicans. In many cases, Republicans
have been actually more supportive of historically
black colleges and universities in the White House
than the Democrats. So again, don’t fault
for the political trap. The question is where do
you stand on the issue, regardless of your party? PAOLA MENDOZA: And
also, I think, just to take it a step further
with regards to liberal, and I’ll be fast since
we have someone else. There’s a school. I also live in that
area, in Fort Greene. A friend of mine, she sent
her child to a charter school from all Fort Greene,
Clinton Hill area. And the parents actually
advocated for the principal to take away African-American
These are liberals. EDDIE HUANG: What
school is this? PAOLA MENDOZA: It’s
somewhere downtown. I don’t know where. It’s an elementary school. ROLAND MARTIN: Eddie’s
looking for it. PAOLA MENDOZA: Exactly. That was my reaction. ROLAND MARTIN:
Eddie’s like, what? Show me the school. He going right now. PAOLA MENDOZA: It’s liberals,
educated, predominantly white community, and they talk to
a black principal to say, please take away
African-American History Month, because that’s just
saying to our children that we’re different. And we’re not all different. We’re equal. Right? So that is also– not understanding the
importance and the purpose and the point of
saying, actually, we’re not all the same. We are different, and there’s
beauty in differences, and that is the important thing. Not to make us all one. So I think to your point
and to Roland’s point, it doesn’t matter
if you’re a Democrat or Republican or a
liberal, it’s really how you’re analyzing
and seeing the world and checking inside to say,
I don’t understand this, and I don’t understand this,
like you’re saying, and why? What can I do? Who do I talk to? Who do I expose myself
to and my children to to actually understand why
African-American history is important. LUVVIE AJAYI: Also, it’s
important for white liberals not to feel like just
because they’re liberal, they’re doing the work. Like the fact that a whole
neighborhood community that considers themselves liberal
can tell a principal take Black History Month away,
it comes to the idea that, first of all, people
always think bad guy, good guy, right? I’m liberal. I’m good. No. You’re not good. You’re part of this
amazing system that is just– you’re embedded in it. And you just being like, I’m
liberal, is not the solution. you have to do more
than just be liberal. ROLAND MARTIN: If you read
Dr. King’s book, “Chaos or Community? Where do We Go From Here,”
which is his worst selling book, written in ’67, he
said in the book, it didn’t cost America much
to allow us to go in a hotel, it didn’t cost America much to
allow us to go in the parks, didn’t cost America
much to allow us to eat in the restaurants. He said, the real
question now is what will America write that
big check to fix the problem. And he said even our
white allies will not be with us because they
believe you’ve gotten enough. LUVVIE AJAYI: Yup. ROLAND MARTIN: So there’s
point is, that’s why– just like there are
some black people I am not riding with,
because they’re crazy. LUVVIE AJAYI: Yes. ROLAND MARTIN: So
the issues goes to where do you stand
on stuff, as opposed to what do you look like and
what’s your party affiliation. LUVVIE AJAYI: Right. ROLAND MARTIN:
What’s your question? Put your hand down. I got you. AUDIENCE: Hi, I’m Samera,
an Iranian-American woman. So I think it’s a follow
up to your question, is, what is that next? I think it’s a cultural thing,
being born and raised here, and being a terrorist growing
up until the current day, and the immigration
law and all that. I think it was always
like, don’t say anything, from your parents. It’s something culturally
ingrained, like don’t push, don’t push the boundaries. Don’t get yourself in trouble. Now being a mother
of two kids, I’m like, no, we need to
push the boundary. I just don’t know what that is. Because I’ve always
been told to step back. ROLAND MARTIN: Good one. Who wants it? LUVVIE AJAYI: You’ve
always been told to step back because you
were not in the best position to push forward. So the people who are in the
good position to push forward should be the ones
pushing forward for you. Because you, right
now, pushing forward is a threat to you
and your livelihood. Meanwhile, white men are sitting
up here not doing anything. They should be pushing
forward for you. So I mean, your
existence is resistance, basically at this point. EDDIE HUANG: I
understand what you’re saying, that people
in power should be doing their jobs
as our representatives and pushing things forward. But at least, in
my experience, I’ve noticed that no one’s going
to do anything for you but yourself, you know. And I come from my a community,
Taiwanese, Chinese-Americans, we’re also told just be
quiet, look at your feet when you’re walking down the
street, don’t cause no trouble. I mean, every single
movie has an Asian person with the same line, I
don’t want no trouble. You know what I mean? That’s been our
community’s standard line for, like, 30 years. I don’t want no trouble. Or you break you buy. We got a few lines,
that’s really it. But you know– VINT CERF: What
about that other one. Go ahead, make my day. EDDIE HUANG: I feel
sorry for your mother. But no, like, those
are our three lines, very known for delivering
those, in all manner of cultural product. ROLAND MARTIN: Hey,
we used to get killed before the credits finished. I understand that. I mean, the credits
weren’t done. Damn, the brother’s
already dead. OK. EDDIE HUANG: We’re like,
we don’t want no trouble. LUVVIE AJAYI: But you made
it through a movie though. EDDIE HUANG: We made
it through the movie. ROLAND MARTIN: At
least y’all made it. VINT CERF: I
actually wanted want to counter your observation
that no one will do anything unless you do it for yourself. EDDIE HUANG: OK, sure. VINT CERF: That’s not true. EDDIE HUANG: OK. I’m gonna finish this point. VINT CERF: All right. EDDIE HUANG: You
invented the internet, so you can shut me
down whenever you want. I would just say,
though, that I actually– VINT CERF: If you want your
email to continue working. EDDIE HUANG: So
I was just saying that I didn’t see anyone else
in my community speaking up, and I was like, I’m
going to try to do this at least for myself, for my
family, and for my brothers, and it goes on, and on, and on. And it’s incredible the power
that one person has if you just set your mind to it. I feel like you should
engage in and do something. ROLAND MARTIN: Question. “There have been
reports today–” VINT CERF: Wait a
minute, Mr. Moderator– ROLAND MARTIN: I know. I’ve got five minutes. I got to get to this question
before they cuss me out, these tweets. “There have been
reports today, Google thinks is too expensive
and labor intensive to investigate the DOJ
claims that we systematically underpay women. If this is true,
how can we advocate that, at least
within the company, to ensure that we do pay our
women and minorities equally?” VINT CERF: Point of order. EDDIE HUANG: I don’t
think that’s too expensive for Google. ROLAND MARTIN: Oh,
that’s for Vint. That was for Vint. VINT CERF: Point of order. It’s not the DOJ. It’s the Department
of Labor that is asking for the statistics. And apparently, we have
given them an enormous amount of statistical information. We even have data that shows
that when we hire women, they get higher pay raises
than the men do in order to adjust for the
fact that they’ve been historically underpaid. So there’s a lot of
evidence that Google has done a great deal to
even out these things. It’s built in now to our
algorithms for raises and things like that. It’s now algorithmically built. EDDIE HUANG: You’ve got a
snitch in your company, though. [LAUGHING] ROLAND MARTIN: Paola, go ahead. [INAUDIBLE] out here snitching. PAOLA MENDOZA: I think– this
is what I like to advocate, and this is what I do
on my own personal life. I think we just need to
share how much we make. LUVVIE AJAYI: Word. PAOLA MENDOZA: Women,
you just need to go up, and you need to
ask your coworker, hey, how much do you make? This is what I make. I’m just saying. I’m just saying. We as women and as
people of color, need to share
information because when we have information, we
can then empower ourselves from a place of knowledge. And it’s as simple as that. Break down that barrier
and ask the question. And men, be up front
with your coworker. And you can go up to her,
him, too, and say, hey, I make this amount of money. How much do you make? EDDIE HUANG: I would pull up
to the club with my tax return, if that was socially acceptable. You feel me? ROLAND MARTIN: Next question. “I recently had a
conversation with a friend who insisted racism, sexism is no
longer a problem in America, that America is the least
racist country in the world.” Parentheses, “It was a baffling
and frustrating conversation, no doubt. Does the panel have
suggestions for how to get people to rethink
this misconception?” One person, who
wants to take it? LUVVIE AJAYI: I’d probably
stop being friends with them, because I’m like you just so
out of– just out of touch. Just, I can’t. I mean, where do you go? So when you’re having a
discussion with somebody, the point is to have
this middle ground. But when you’re over here,
and the person’s over here, how do you come to
the middle with that? VINT CERF: That’s what
you’ve been trying to do. And both of you have said
that you’re trying to find– the trick was to get away
from the racist discussion and get to something
more specific. Because, in fact,
whatever it was might not actually have
been a racist issue at all, it might have been
something else. But finding something concrete. LUVVIE AJAYI: But this person
said it’s no longer a problem. This person said racism
and sexism is no longer a problem in America,
and that America is the least racist country. How do you talk to that person? EDDIE HUANG: When someone is
like that out to lunch, out to sea, I’m just like, please
tell me how you got here. Just tell me more. Like we said, I just
want to hear more. VINT CERF: Just ask– ROLAND MARTIN: I think
in that situation, no matter how stupid
or crazy they are, you still force them to
say, OK, well, let’s talk about the study that
showed that if you have a black sounding name, you have
50% less likelihood of getting a return phone call for a
job than if you were white, when it is the
exact same resume. LUVVIE AJAYI: They
will find excuses. ROLAND MARTIN: No, but
here’s the deal though. In my experience, in
hitting people every day with questions, you begin to hit
folks with specific questions and data, it’s hard to ignore. The problem, I
think, in that case, is when you have
general conversation. When you hit them
with specifics, it’s a little harder
for them to wiggle out because they have to justify how
that forms with their opinion. Question. AUDIENCE: On the
panel there, they talked about how there’s like
two ends of the spectrum, right? You have one person that
could be called a racist, and then another
person who disagrees. And then the meat of
the issue gets lost. When I think about a
lot of these things, there’s a lot of facts
that are hitting history. And as you stood on the stage,
and you were reading out lots of facts, I
was just like, wow, because not a lot
of people know that. ROLAND MARTIN: Because
they didn’t read. AUDIENCE: They
didn’t read, and I didn’t grow up in this country. LUVVIE AJAYI: Nigeria? AUDIENCE: Like Luvvie– LUVVIE AJAYI: I knew you
were a Nigeria man, yes. VINT CERF: You recognized that. LUVVIE AJAYI: I saw my people. AUDIENCE: I came to the USA. I took an African-American
culture class, and I was just amazed at a lot
of things that are in history, but again, are lost
to a lot of people. ROLAND MARTIN: There’s
history, and there’s his-story. Two different meanings. True. And I know the writer
Ta-Nesisi Coates, and he wrote that
magnificent essay. And again, so much facts in
there that not a lot of people know. So how do you get those
facts out there to people? Because at the end of the
day, we’re all human beings. And that’s what
we’re trying to do. Because you can’t
force people to love. VINT CERF: I have an
unfortunate observation to make about the
American culture. ROLAND MARTIN: Thank you. Go, go. We got two minutes. VINT CERF: The American
culture tends to have amnesia. If you visit in Europe, there
will be casual conversation in which the years 1400
and 1066 and 1622 and 1648 are regularly mentioned
as if they were yesterday. In America, you can’t remember
what happened two weeks ago. And so we have cultural, really
serious cultural problems remembering facts and history. And I don’t know
how to fix that. ROLAND MARTIN: Well,
part of the problem is that we have not actually
had real American history in our schools. That’s why I say history
and his-story, that’s real. And so there’s so
many things that are actually being left out. And so for me, I use my
media platforms to do it, every single day, in terms
of I got #rolandbookclub. So people ask me, dude, how
you know all this other stuff? These are all the
books that I’ve read. Then they’re like, OK,
man, I understand now. And so, we also have to
make history accessible and explain it in a way–
you got to remember, newspapers, historically,
have taught us write on a fifth grade level. It may sound crazy. But you write on a
fifth grade level. And so to understand, and
literally, I was on the radio today, and they were trying
to talk about economics, and I said, OK, let me
just walk you through. 1619 to 1863, 244
years of slavery. Two years of the war,
then you had, of course, end of the war, 1865 to 1877,
12 years of Reconstruction. Great Compromises of
1877 starts Jim Crow. That goes through almost 1970. If you use the death of
King, April 4th, ’68, then let’s say
another two years, so if you say 1970
is the marker where black folks were technically
fully free Americans, that’s only 47. Only 47 years. When people hear that,
they go, whoa, hold on. That’s it? Then you say yes, the first
wave of black and blue corporate America happened
in the early ’70s. The first African-Americans
on Wall Street, in terms of Morgan
Stanley, those companies. Then the first African-Americans
in major Ivy League institutions. Now all of the sudden– then I say, I’ll
be 49 in November. LUVVIE AJAYI: Wow. ROLAND MARTIN: Which means
I was born into an America where I was not fully free. Which means– I
don’t have any kids– my nieces and nephews
are the first generation of African-Americans born
technically fully free. Now people go, damn. Because they think
slavery, 1863, and totally ignore the fact
that we literally were frozen out of
economic systems through the 1960s to 1970. But again, it’s getting people
to break it down that way. Then they go, whoa,
as opposed to just, oh, slavery ended at this time. Because people really,
they just don’t know. Even a whole lot of black
people have no idea, no clue. EDDIE HUANG: You
mentioned Dr. King. You asked the question about– you asked the question about
we have all these facts, yet it seems like people don’t
want to listen or give credence to these facts. And I think Dr. King’s works,
it really tells you the most and gives you the blueprint. “Letter from Birmingham
Jail” is probably the most analytical essay
that Dr. King wrote. It breaks things down
systematically with facts, and it’s written
to intellectuals. But his most powerful– ROLAND MARTIN:
Actually, it was written to white pastors in Birmingham. EDDIE HUANG: Yes,
intellectuals, yes. So his most powerful
speech, though, and the most persuasive speech,
undeniably, is I Have a Dream. And that is a persuasive speech. And I think that all of
us have to acknowledge, it’s not just enough
to be right if we want the result that we desire. We have to be persuasive. ROLAND MARTIN: But don’t
just read the bottom one third of the speech. First all, it was never even
called “I Have a Dream” speech. It was called
“Normalcy No More.” EDDIE HUANG: I understand this. But you’re talking to me
like I don’t know the facts– ROLAND MARTIN: No, no, no. I’m saying it to other
folks in the room. Here’s why. LUVVIE AJAYI: Come
on, knowledge. ROLAND MARTIN:
Because every year, we replay the King’s speech, and
we replay the “I Have a Dream” part. We don’t talk about
the top two thirds, where he talked about police
brutality, economic inequality, bank of injustice, because
“I Have a Dream” part is all nice and feely. EDDIE HUANG: What does
that tell you, Roland? LUVVIE AJAYI: It makes him
the patron saint of good times and nonviolence. ROLAND MARTIN: Right. LUVVIE AJAYI: That’s
what that makes him. ROLAND MARTIN: We turned
King into a bobblehead– LUVVIE AJAYI: Yes. ROLAND MARTIN: As opposed
to a radical revolutionary that he was. LUVVIE AJAYI: Exactly. ROLAND MARTIN: So the
challenge to anybody in the room is, don’t leave here
just reading the bottom part, start from the
beginning, and then go, whoa, dude was slaying
folks, and not holding hands. EDDIE HUANG: Of course, but
do you think that he would be as productive and persuasive– LUVVIE AJAYI: And assassinated– EDDIE HUANG: –and
create all the progress that he did if he
was not smart enough to be persuasive as well? ROLAND MARTIN: No,
he was persuasive. EDDIE HUANG: He was a genius. ROLAND MARTIN: He was a
radical revolutionary. EDDIE HUANG: He did it all. He was a five tool player,
like persuasive and analytical. And you can’t just keep
telling people read the facts, read this, read this. They’re not– a lot of
people aren’t going to. You have to persuade them. They need sugar
with the medicine. ROLAND MARTIN: But what
we’ve done, though, is– this is why I disagree
with you, Eddie. What we’ve done is,
we’ve only given America the I Have a Dream part, because
that’s the hand-holding part. LUVVIE AJAYI: Yes. ROLAND MARTIN: See,
the top, that’s the equivalent of
listening to a sermon, and you cheering, but you
skipped the scripture. EDDIE HUANG: I’m not telling
you to skip the rest, I’m telling you to
Trojan horse people. ROLAND MARTIN: But I want
them to read the whole thing. EDDIE HUANG: You
ever gone fishing without something on the hook? ROLAND MARTIN: I hate fishing. Damn it, I’m going
to the supermarket to buy some catfish. Blend, what’s up? AUDIENCE: My name is Tsvi,
and I was curious what the– ROLAND MARTIN: Spell that. AUDIENCE: T-S-V-I. ROLAND MARTIN: I would
have never got that. EDDIE HUANG: I’ve seen
your graffiti around town. AUDIENCE: Oh, yeah,
that’s my tag. So my question is about protests
on college campuses being shut down. Sorry, speakers being shut
down because of protests. Not just like people asking
good questions at the end, or making a little
noise at the beginning, but then letting
the person speak. I’m talking about fully
shutting down speakers like at Middlebury or Berkeley. And I was just curious
what, you know– I understand it’s a very
nuanced, complicated issue. But I was curious– VINT CERF: It’s not
complicated at all. AUDIENCE: Thanks a lot. VINT CERF: This is not
complicated at all. This is an incredible
erosion of what should be a serious freedom
of speech on the campuses. I think it’s outrageous
that students do that, because the whole key
here, and the thing we’ve been talking
about all this session is about the conversations that
we have to have on tough topics where there’s real
serious disagreement. And hearing the other side is
an important part of all that. So I think it’s outrageous
that the campuses have been forced to do this. ROLAND MARTIN: Stupid and
asinine, that’s what it is. No, it is. Because what happens when
someone wants to shut down a speaker you like? PAOLA MENDOZA: Which
is happening right now with Linda Sarsour. So Linda Sarsour is the
commencement speaker at CUNY, and the right wing has
taken it up to try and shut her down because
she’s a Muslim woman, and they claim a lot of things. And I know Linda
personally very well, that are completely not true. So there are protests. There’s an online
campaign against her. And that is someone
that we want speaking. And that is someone that I
believe in what she’s saying. So I agree that it’s not
a difficult question. Speakers should be
allowed to speak. ROLAND MARTIN: Final comment. The one thing you want
people leaving here with, moving forward. 30 seconds, go. LUVVIE AJAYI: Just
challenge your own ideas, and also read beyond the
“I Have a Dream” speech. I’m really glad you
actually brought that up. Because MLK Day comes
and everyone share’s the exact same quotes, of
him being this pacifist, like yeah, we just
all need to unite. No, like, before he
even got to that dude, and even as his
politics went further, he got even more radical. So for all the
historical figures, you hear about Rosa Parks
sitting on the bus, read deeper about these same bobbleheads
that you keep seeing in social media as buttons. And realize what they
were saying back then, because I feel like
there’s something we need to learn from them. There’s a lot of things. PAOLA MENDOZA: I
want to challenge everyone here and listening
to have a conversation that makes your heart pound, that
makes your palms sweaty. And do that and be OK in that
feeling of uncomfortability and knowing that when you get
to the other side, whatever that conversation is about,
that you’re going to be OK. And during that conversation–
and this is the most important thing– is that you have to
listen to understand, not listen to be right. And so, do that. Do that this week. Go have that conversation. ROLAND MARTIN: Eddie? EDDIE HUANG: Despite
all the stupidity I see on an everyday basis,
I’m bullish on humanity, and I do think that it’s
going to get better. ROLAND MARTIN: Vint? VINT CERF: For the
Google people that are here, take the
unconscious bias test if you haven’t already. You will be just shocked to
discover that you have them. You just don’t know that yet. ROLAND MARTIN: I created this
hashtag just playing around called #teamwhipdatass. LUVVIE AJAYI: Why? Why is Roland like this? ROLAND MARTIN: Well,
I did, team, whip– W-H-I-P, dat– D-A-T, A-S-S.
Y’all think I’m lying, look it up. Every day I wake up
ready to do battle. Every day I have
breath, I believe that I could flip
somebody on a given issue. I don’t why from a fight. I don’t back down from a battle. I’ll debate you. It might be rough,
it might be soft. It might easy. It might be hand-holding. Or I might have
to whoop your ass. But that really is the
attitude that I have because if people of conscience
take a day off and run from the fight, then
ignorance always wins. And the last thing
is, I’m never going to let somebody else know
more information than I do, so I’m going to read as much
as I can, so when they lie, I can bust them
every single time. Thanks a bunch, y’all. Give it up for our panel. EDDIE HUANG: Thanks, Roland. [APPLAUSE]

29 thoughts on “The Future of Race: Where Do We Go and Who Leads the Way? | Talks at Google

  1. Brave decision to ask this question…even though I have no illusion this will be lefty/feminist/progressist echo chamber..

    My verdict will be in reply to this comment.

  2. So…no surprise, the panel is comprised on NON-SCIENTISTS, and people who obviously have never been in front of somebody who expressed the counter-argument, who are CLUELESS about what they are talking about and DELUSIONAL about effects of immigration..

    I would have loved to ask them about the IQ problem for example. They would probably say all people on earth have equal average etc… Anyway, this is literally a worthless "conversation".

    Next time, try to bring people who know that they're talking about, you know, scientists, people on both sides etc..

  3. At this point, I don't' give a shit. Unless I can write a book about it and get paid to bullshit in front of people.

  4. Of course, no mention of LEGAL VERSUS ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION… It's all "immigration". What, there is no crime and drug problem caused by these criminals you say??? No terrorism (rofl look at europe and say yes to immigration!)?? Really??? Or is it you have a vested interest in this game since you want/do all the drugs these criminals bring in? Oh it's not "all immigrants", just 99.9%. K! Criminals flee the shitholes they create and won't fix. You think crooks don''t have kids and families like everyone else?? So we just let drug runners and terrorists into our nation because they knocked some bitch up?? GTFO!

  5. "That which the Lord hathj ordained as the sovereign remedy and the mightiest intsrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all of its peoples one universal Cause, one common Faith" Baha' 'u' llah (The Glory of God) 1817-1892. Baba'

  6. If you're thinking about watching this video, be prepared for a 70 minute circle-jerk of identity politics and white-bashing.

  7. For a Chinese guy to claim minority-oppressed-victim status is about the richest thing I've ever heard. He so obviously wishes he was black. Yet the great irony is it's race-baiting talks like this that will ensure a second term for Trump.

  8. When I saw this thumbnail clip for the vid, my first thought was "Is that Vint Cerf?!, creator of the TCP/IP stack and father of the modern internet as we know it?! What the hell is he doing on such a panel?!"

  9. There is a genetic foundation for race… this is antiscientific nonsense. If you are Ashkenazi Jewish, for instance, you are at a higher risk for Tay-Sachs disease. Please bring on some scientists next time, i mean real ones, not Bill Nye.

  10. God they start off saying "people don't know history" then proceed to be incredibly oblivious to history. Absolutely painful to listen to.

  11. There's only two races of people — Black and White. Jew isn't a race, but a religion. Hispanic/Latin are not races! Oriental/Asian/Mongoloid are not races! Arab/Middle Eastern are not races! Islam isn't a race, but a religion. Native American isn't a race! Pacific Islander isn't a race! European isn't a race. African isn't a race.

    All people on Earth descend from Adam, thus, in reality making all of humanity one single race, but, as far as race goes specifically to phenotype, there are only two — Black and White! Anyhody who appears to not quite be exclusively one or the other is obviously Mixed (i.e. Brown). Argue this point if you choose, but, my factual statements cannot be broken!

  12. A honest conversation about race would include White people being able to discuss what's in their best interest without being called a racist.

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