Being a White Student at a Historically Black College

I know College is really about getting
an education but here you can get like an education academically as well as
education through life also so much of it is that Brotherhood component that I
thought was it was rare and so when it came time to apply to schools did you
apply anywhere else or no more houses at the only school that I applied to walking down Brown Street and having
people acknowledging you and affirming you that’s something that if they do
here and I love that try to culture shock southern hospitality is a
beautiful thing students here they are extremely hardworking and creative we
produce more black attorneys we produce the most black doctors anybody around
you they’re black students they’re black artists this place is secret I think
this is a safe space for black students and this school was gonna challenge me
in ways that I probably would not have gotten at other institutions and if we
had white people just come in here I will feel disrespected I am as a result
of you know this school do you feel like you really belong here
I feel like I belong here if I’m putting in the word decibel we’re on the campus of Morehouse College
Morehouse is an historically black men’s college that was founded out of the
necessity to give a culturally safe space to black students who are being
excluded by predominantly white institutions in 2018 their existence
feels necessary for a lot of the same reasons in the past year alone hate
groups are openly marching on college campuses a white student admitted on
Instagram to tampering with her black roommates personal belongings
another black student had the police called on her while sleeping on a couch
in the common area of her dorm and others are still victims of racially
motivated attacks the thing is Morehouse like so many other HBCUs is navigating
one of the most difficult financial climates it’s seen since its
establishment and in order to keep their doors open they’ve turned to the
recruitment of non black students that we want to come together but for some of
you coming together means ignoring our experiences and while shows like dear
white people have dramatized the tension around white students entering black
spaces on college campuses that tension is very real at places like Morehouse so
we’re here to meet Thiago he’s a non-traditional freshman at Morehouse
and we’re gonna find out what it’s like being a non black student at an
all-black school Tiago what’s going on what’s up homie
are you doing what’s your name man Chris Chris so I got to actually put on my my
outfit before we start do you mind if I sit on your bed Oh respect to you I’m
sorry now I got you I got you always ask first I appreciate it I’m not trying to
violate so I was freshman year Ben it’s a little bit of a culture shock having
it be a new setting a new city you know when I first got here they told me you
know people are gonna always come up to you and ask you why’d you come to
Morehouse you know people looking at me like oh wow who is this person so that’s
something that was totally different but the cool thing is that it’s like
representative southern hospitality which I really appreciate so my middle
name is actually Jimmy because we share the same birthday that’s cool yeah my
dentist gave this to me that he’s been saving for decades you know growing up
in predominantly black kindergarten and elementary school and then transitioning
to a more white affluent community in my high school you know you get to see the
two different levels I think it was just psychologically just like you know put
me into this position where like I’m naturally more gravitated towards the
black community than the white community what made you want to come to this
school why Morehouse I think I just wanted something you know different how did your friends and peers and your
family how did they respond to this decision
my family was cool with it but I don’t think they really believed that you know
it was gonna end up happening and that’s no knock on them I love my family and
then you know peers they didn’t respond initially well to the idea of more house
so my kids they like ridiculed you yeah definitely first so it was a hard
process this was like my dream right if people were trashing it so I had a ton
of self-doubt and going through this like sort of like identity crisis kind
of realizing oh what am i doing you know am i doing what’s right because
everybody’s saying it’s wrong but every time I took a trip up here at morehouse
people told me oh man they’re gonna love you here I was like okay why am I being
treated better here more house by strangers then you know people back home Morehouse like many of the 101 HBCU
still operating in the United States was founded in the late 1800s to educate
freed slaves who were refused access to predominantly white institutions over
time they evolved in the culturally safe spaces where black students were
encouraged to be free thinking and could escape the oppression that lived outside
their campus gates and these environments help sculpt the great black
minds of America and Morehouse in particular has produced alumni like
Martin Luther King jr. Spike Lee and samuel l.jackson but this legacy is put
at risk with the active recruitment of non black students like we’ve seen at
West Virginia State or Bluefield state both HBCUs with black student
populations of less than 10% so I spoke with Damon Phillips from the school’s
Communications Office to find out why I mean ultimately it’s about finances
ultimately we need to find ways to fund our institutions differently than we
have in the past and so a lot of schools are now recruiting what we consider
non-traditional HBCU students but white students Asian students Hispanic
students there’s a big push has that been met with any criticism
from alumni or current students a lot of people have issue with it you know you
guys occur more how students how does that make you feel when you think about
the idea that there could be a growing number of white students on this campus
I’m on the fence about it because I feel like you know I should still accept
people who they are however at one point in time we weren’t allowed in high
school just because of the color of our skin now am i saying because of the
color their skin they’re not welcome here no but I am saying here at
Morehouse College they’re known for producing black what’s taught here is
not only how we fight for it for where we are but how we fight for who we are
outside of these gates if you grew up in an environment where you were mistreated
and abused and just you know belittled by white people you really don’t want to
see them when you come to a black space that bothers me because we
have to provide a safe haven for our children so there’s a frame of thought
that’s based in fear that if you let one person in then before you know it
everyone will come in in their schools that we’ve seen historically they’ve had
that where you’ve got Kentucky States and Tennessee States in West Virginia
States which is 95 percent white but still an HBCU so people are afraid of
that type of thing happening you’d be where kind of tipping if you
have 10 black student white students at Morehouse that’s not gonna affect the
culture 100 maybe if they made the decision to come to an HBCU you have to
expect that there is a level that they are at you know you have this fear that
they’re at a base level if they decide to come to an HBCU the white student
that conceivably would come here wouldn’t necessarily have the same
commitment because they don’t understand the struggle if they’re not coming in
with like a base level of knowledge you know this is the knowledge that you need
to have have you ever gotten a how to navigate white America Hamza I I miss my
papi I’m very comfortable with things not necessarily being integrated do you
feel like your presence here you’re infringing upon what’s supposed to be a
culturally safe space for people that don’t look like you I see how people
would like think of it from that perspective I know that like I come here
as a white person white male in this country we do have privilege now how can
we use our privilege for the betterment of society how do you feel like this experience is
changing you thus far the most fundamental change right out of
everything is turning me away from a self-absorbed experience is both
decentralizing the attitude of whiteness right the attitude that I’m smarter that
I deserve this opportunity more than you the attitude of supremacy understanding
that had I not come across Morehouse I probably would have never delved deep
into learning about you know the true history of this country all the you know
the things that the US government has done to keep people down
I wouldn’t think it’s fair for someone who characterize you as a person that is
seeking a black experience but how do you respond to people who think you’re
here because you want to be black um just just recognizing that that’s just
not my truth no I don’t want to change you know the color of my skin or act
like they stereotype of black people in society but there are elements to black
culture like the hospitality besides yeah they’re listening CIA’s monitoring
right now man I know they are losing wine that’s what the grilled chicken
yellow rice dish yellow right yeah I’m sure all of you had sort of like an
idea of what Moor house is gonna be by the time that you got here did you guys
think you were gonna have like a white friend when you got the moor house next
to me – so when I seen him on moving bed I hadn’t expected UTI though and even
after I did meet together I didn’t expect to talk to the ttio after all
right well at first I didn’t know his intentions so I didn’t I didn’t trust
the alcove too much everyone was a little bit skeptical of white person in
this black space just because an America weekend if you have a history of white
people coming into black spaces doing that’s okay then right but see how
that’s a great dude like he’s not doing this to be in some experiment he’s doing
this for the same reason that I’m here I was abandoned and when he explains to me
why I was like wow like that’s my loss you know he kind of has the same vision
that you know a more automation so their only reason that like I’m being able to
be cool everybody is because of these sort of interactions that godlike Kaleo
guys like Brandon Johnson Jackson Kip men and Morehouse and Morehouse men
throughout my life that have like helped me develop as a person so really I’m
just another person here ultimately I have to speak in Thiago for the first
time I knew the wrong thing to do was make her feel like she’s not loved she’s
a mute injured so in order for me to change his mind said I needed to be cool what is the thing that you love the most
about Morehouse is what do you value the most about this place what I pretty much
love the most is the mission or Morehouse that sort of unique mission of
having men become leaders that just changed the world practically and that’s
something that I wanted to be a part of have you taken any leadership positions
since you’ve arrived to you so I am the president of this dorm which is deemed
as a big deal right because of you know the obvious wait what’s the obvious
obviously you know a white student and by the most famous dorm
being the president of that mmmthat’s uh feel like very ironical right that’s the
right word so you’re being the president of graves rubbed some people the wrong
way oh definitely how did you become president I ran an election I remember
like I wanted to run for Vice President or treasurer because I didn’t think you
know president was possible I didn’t have that courage but people in this
hall encouraged me and then I ran what somebody taught me was that it’s never
about somebody voting for you it’s always about the message have you had to
confront your minority status here at this institution yeah um you know a
student earlier this semester you know stopped me and asked me why am I here
and we’re like a condescending undertone right anywhere you know people are not
gonna like you so I was a little bit you know anxious and whatnot not scared but
anxious you know I hope people will accept me people might say something or
look at me a certain way it’s fine it’s not personal especially because
like most of those people you know they don’t know me but it’s okay the history
of this country right and all the oppression has led people to feel this
way and I would say 99% of my experience
this year have been extremely amazing about 1% I don’t take it personally well
at the end of day everybody has their own individual judgment I judge you know
you judge we all judge but when people get to know me I think people will have
their own perspectives ok we’re gonna go talk to Professor Robin Marcus an HBCU
alumni and former professor to get her perspective on why historically black
colleges and universities are so important when you’re walking across a
campus and you’re reminded of who also walked on those on that lawn right who
said in those rooms the legacy is palpable to be able to step into that
space know that it was carved out for you when the rest of your life says
something very different about your value your intelligence your potential
at least for four years you’re not gonna have to think about racism and so when a
white student says you know I wanted to try something different or you know I
felt this calling to the mission of the school what is what are you here um well
that’s nice but you can’t you don’t understand what it meant for this grass
to be this this sod to be here you you don’t know that what does that mean
though that means that the shared the body the full weight of history what
that institution has stood for what it has meant for us us black people is it
reverse racism to have schools that are only for black students okay so I don’t
even understand that word that term for real and I get that is an argument it’s
a specious one it’s a dumb one racism has to do with structures with systems
with legislation all of that not it’s not fair because you’re black and you
can do it and I’m white and I should be able to do it that ain’t if that’s what
you call reverse racism I’m trying to conversation with you do you guys feel
like it is problematic that we’ve come here to showcase the experience of a
non-black student at an all-black school well I mean I genuinely want to know yes
why why do you say controversial because of course it’s already frowned upon that
how come they can get into where we want to be but we can’t get into where they
can this is a space where people that have been consistently marginalized for
the last 400 years have come to change that narrative yet when we get here when
the national media comes to have a conversation with us who do they want to
speak with the only perspective that’s relevant is the perspective of a young
person it doesn’t look like us I do like the fact that you’re here in order to in
order to allow us to drive our narrative but at the same time there is nothing
that a young non-traditional student can bring to the culture of Morehouse
Spellman o’clock it’s us culturing here so you asked about this question of
bringing I’m gonna just be blamed bringing a lot more white feeding into a
predominantly black space where Morehouse right now I’m slightly
uncomfortable that only because so many students came tomorrow specifically to
feel human and to not be the humanized be the most human that they could
possibly be in a society like this do you guys take issue with the fact that
there are a certain number of recruitment dollars that are reserved to
attract a non black student to Morehouse or Spelman or Clark is that a fact this place is sacred our ideas who we
are as people we feel safe here and if we had white people just coming in here
and taking over a 40% of the population I will feel disrespected I would love if
a white person with reddington’s came here and learned about us as black
people you have a lot to offer and I think it’s just a shame that we want to
keep that to ourselves come see what black people can do like I
don’t want to do that you can learn my history like in an African American
diaspora class I’m in pain because you all don’t see the bigger picture you see
what’s in front we just see the bigger picture here’s the bigger picture
Morehouse and Spelman recruit the best and the brightest girls and put them
next to the best and the brightest boys there’s always been white students here
always when I was a student here we called him white Mike that was his dad
any student that comes of this school regardless of their intent they’re gonna
be influenced by you all they have no choice
the reason why we don’t have everything is about money it’s about money it’s not
about anything else but money but look what we do what we have who do we have I
think that students have a right to be on concerns these schools have for a
long time been the only place where you can get an education but more
importantly a place you can get an experience because a lot of our students
are coming from environments where they’ve never seen a black instructor
that fear of oh my god they’re gonna take this from me too is rooted in a
really personal place for a lot of students and I understand that it is a
good thing to expand the applicant pool that you’re looking for people that
criticize that have to understand that the school is trying to figure out a way
to bring in more dollars couldn’t the introduction of the non traditional or
non black students of the HBCU campus uh sure in the gentrification of the HB
to you either we change and we adapt to what’s around us or we’re gonna struggle
a lot and some schools are gonna close because they didn’t want to embrace
what’s coming what is your response to someone that says you’re only here
because your wife essentially that you are an affirmative action admittance in
my case you know it’s not true like I genuinely care about this school and
this mission so I’ll just pass these around is that part of the reason why he
felt it so important to become a student ambassador that’s definitely the main
reason behind it so this is probably not you what you were expecting right a
white student and HBCU giving you the tour right when I was a freshman in high
school we had a Morehouse man and she really embodied that spirit of a leader
and regardless of the racial dynamics of this campus I saw that potential in
myself but I like to know a little bit more
about you so can anybody tell me where they’re from today
Indiana cool Philadelphia how about you okay okay are you guys happy about the
Superbowl and whatnot oh yeah I’m in the 76ers they just won last night right I’m
a Celtics fan just how to put that out there a lot of those first individuals
to gentrify a cultural space of some kind recognize the value or an
opportunity that exists and I’m curious what the difference between you and that
person is I guess the way I try to look at it is how can I contribute to the
campus how can I get involved how can I be engaged how can I make you no one
else a better place in the truest sense so we’re about to enter King’s chapel
this is a kind of a sacred space at Morehouse I think this is a safe space
for black students and other students and I think it should remain that way I
don’t want this to spark a lot of like white students come here I don’t
like that’s not what I want yes better pay more house I don’t know those
numbers I do know that there might be three white students in the entire
school me somebody that’s in the ROTC program and then a Japanese exchange
coming here meeting Thiago this is the first time I’ve ever seen a white male
as a minority why you would want to immerse yourself in a completely black
space I think there was a lot of people off in the beginning but meeting Thiago
and hearing his very honest desire to initiate change and acknowledge the
privilege that he was born with I think it’s a good thing you look this way
right this is century campus every year in May we graduate I think the most
african-american men in the entire world all in one place this used to be a civil
war site think about that from like a spiritual standpoint the most graduating
african-american men are on top of there like the remains of fallen Confederate
soldiers yeah you are going to diversify its students like Thiago that you want
to recruit here not people that want to come here and take something away and
feel no calling to give something back but it’s important to keep in mind that
there are only so many beds and so many desks and when you give one away to even
the most well-intentioned non-traditional student you could be
taking that opportunity from a young black student that may have needed it
more so do you have any feeling of regret or guilt that you took a position
away at this school from a young black man that needed it I will I would be in
a and I will be if I don’t

How lynching still affects American politics | The Economist

Many people know about the terror of lynchings But one of the reasons why blacks were lynched… …was to suppress the black vote… …which is still happening today I’m black. I’m from the South… …and so this means a lot to me… …because my ancestors were lynched My research examines the extent to which historical lynchings… …are correlated with voter registration rates of blacks today And what I find is that blacks who currently reside in counties… …that were exposed to a higher number of lynchings… …are less likely to register to vote… …and they are less likely to indicate that they voted in a recent election… …compared to their white counterparts Voting is a social norm Why are you voting? Because the people around you are voting But what happens if their parents didn’t vote? And their parents didn’t vote? All of this is rooted in historical racial animus What happens if you can walk outside… …and see a body hanging from a tree? Emmett Till’s lynching… …is very iconic in American history He was a 14-year-old boy from Chicago… …who supposedly whistled at a white woman… …and was kidnapped, tortured… …beaten, killed… …and body was dumped in a river When one of his killers was interviewed… …the first reason he gave for killing Emmett Till was voting That as long as he lived and as long as he could do anything about it… …“Niggers weren’t gonna vote in his area” Because if they did, they control the government Lynching sends the signal… …you vote, you die You have no protection, you have no rights We will kill you That’s the power of lynching The rise of lynching was after slavery Now African-Americans were no longer property… …and now they had to be put back in their subjugated place Oldest southern problem… …born 300 years ago with the introduction of slavery… …is that of the negro Today in Dixie there are almost nine million coloured Blacks were actually seen as a political threat In a lot of southern counties blacks were the majority And so when black men were given a right to vote… …if they voted a certain way… …they could actually change the political structure of the South This outraged many white southerners In particular, the KKK And the way that they responded to this was with lynchings From 1890 to 1920 we had a lynching on average… …one every other day Lynchings were a show They were a public spectacle You have this festival of violence You’ve got community involvement You’ve got the person being tortured before the crowd and dismembered They even sold people’s body parts as souvenirs… …for individuals to purchase And they would bring their children to these lynchings You had judges, police officers, politicians… …sometimes standing by or even participating The impact of lynching in black communities was profound You really do not trust local officials… …because in fact they were engaged in the… …domestic terrorism reigned down on your community This mistrust of local officials… …has been passed down culturally among blacks Lynching was a method for voter suppression Although we don’t have the bodies hanging in the trees… …the past is never the past I believe that empowering black people to vote… …is actually a way of saying that their ancestors died for a reason So that we could have the right to vote And we’re actually voting today

An Evening with Rev Jeremiah Wright

[ Applause ]>>Cameron Patterson: Well, first I’d like
to say good evening everyone. I love speaking in the front of audiences this loud. I haven’t
had this opportunity since graduation night. So, I like to thank you all for being here,
and I’m just glad to see so many bright faces tonight, like Professor Knight said my name
is Cameron Patterson and before I introduce one of the main most responsible for this
entire event, I’d like to take advantage of this platform to encourage every Fresno State
student and tenants to vote in the upcoming ASI student government election. It is extremely
vital to exercise our right to participate in the democratic process, as we elect a new
wave of representatives. We are fortunate enough to attend a university that allows
us to establish a government for us by us. I my self I’m running for the position of
student senator. I believe that leadership is not about the next selection. It’s about
the new generation. We are living tomorrow’s history today. And 20 years what impact would
we have made? Let us stand together to renew the age old promise of equal opportunity,
fair governing, and equal access to a great education. Let us take a stand and say no
more to turning our backs to uncalled for acts of domestic assault. Let us work together
to create new legislative policies that reflect our growing diversity here at Fresno State.
This is our election. This is our time. This is our year to show that we can work together
and put our ingenuity to a common good. Let’s make our voices heard, Fresno State, let’s
make a difference, let’s be great. Voting will commence Tuesday, March 24th at 9 a.m.
and end on March 26 at noon. Now that I’m off my cell box without further ado allow
me to introduce a man most known for his unmatched excellence in the classroom, but his contributions
outside the classrooms as well is what sets him apart for–from his colleagues in the
same fields. His been nominated by President Castro himself for the CSU Wang Family Excellence
Award, which is highly regarded as one of the most prestigious awards a CSU professor
can receive and that doesn’t deserve around of applause I don’t know what does. [ Applause ] And this award means that he is among the
top 13 Social Science Research Professor in the entire CSU system. He received his Master’s
of Arts Degree in Africana studies from Temple University with honors. He later received
his graduate certificate for Africana Studies as well as the university level teaching certificate
from Claremont University. This outstanding role model just never seems to get tired of
school as he received his Doctors of Philosophy in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate
University as well. To sum up his educational background, he’s a nerd–complimenting his
esteemed educational resume, he has a host of printed publications, most notably you
must learn a primer of study–for the study of hip-hop. He has won the provost award for
the most promising new faculty. I could go on for days listing the accomplishments. But
I would like to thank him personally. For working tirelessly to establish grants and
funding so that events like today are possible. I would like to thank you for having the audacity
to hope in a profession where you are accomplishing sometimes overshadows by stigmas that have
plagued our society for far too long. Finally, right before I introduce you, thank you for
teaching your students that life is about grasping the understanding that the obstacles
we encounter in life aren’t various to our success, but building blocks to a bright future.
It’s about making an impact as global citizens and maximizing our opportunities, it’s about
understands that it all starts with us. We are the inspiration we have been looking for,
you can be great if you work hard, you persevere and you understand that the possibilities
in life are limitless. Without further ado I like to introduce you to my Professor Dr.
T Hasan Johnson. [ Applause ]>>Dr. T Hasan Johnson: OK can you hear–are
we working? Good, we are. Welcome thank you for coming, all right you deserve a round
of applause. [ Applause ] Kind of the difficulty of doing events like
this with no RSBP is you don’t know 5 people are coming or 500 and I’ve had both kinds
of events in my seven years here. So I do appreciate you coming. For those that don’t
know, this is the second year of the Black Popular Culture Lecture Series an online research
archive. And the purpose of it is to bring out folk who have unique experiences that
are known globally. Well, this is the second year where I can say globally. And from that
and having an interview that is transcribed and video and put on the website on Fresno
State giving people an opportunity to use it for research purposes, right. Last year
was the first year we did it we brought out actor Delroy Lindo. We had a fabulous conversation.
If you haven’t had a chance to see it, visit the Africana Studies website, you get a chance
to take a look at it and tonight we’re following through on that endeavor with what I know
would be a wonderful conversation with our esteem guest. Now, before I introduce the
person who’s going to introduce our esteem guest, I do want to take a moment to thank
a number of people and hopefully embarrassed them in the process because they’ve been incredibly
instrumental. First and for most–and she disappears quickly. There she is. She’s in
the back with a cream jacket hugging someone. I want to thank Melissa Knight, professor
in Africana and Women’s Studies. You know, last time I think I couldn’t find her. I most
particularly would like to thank somebody who has been a fixture for not only excellence
at Fresno State but she has also stood for what’s right, what’s just, and has done so
consistently for a very long time. I wold like for us before I actually go into what
offices she runs to give an applause if we can get her to stand for Dr. France Oputa. [ Applause ] She runs the Cultural Valley Heritage Institute and Women’s
Resource Center and she is also presiding over Black Faculty and Staff Association and
she was one of the first to offer support when I just mention what was going on. As
a matter of fact, actually, I think it might have been before I actually had a formal conversation.
She has been consistently supportive not only, you know, just me but anything she’s run across
that stands for something right, stands for something just, and stands in the interest
of the students. So I really wanted to take this time to publically thank her for her
work, her sacrifice, and her consistency. Thank you. [ Applause ] I also want to take a moment to thank another
person of significance I want to make sure I cover everybody. This person actually is
a student and he is responsible for tonight in many ways because he has been a 46-year
friend of our guest tonight. And without him I don’t believe this evening would be happening.
He is an Africana Studies student, major. He’s one of the best students I’ve ever had
in my classes and has always–not only transformed the conversations that take place in the classes
but the work ethics. He embarrasses his classmates and then goes and meets with them outside
the class and then they all come back to class ready on a whole another level. So if we can
just quickly acknowledge Mr. Gary Willis. [ Applause ] I though I was go embarrass him, but it didn’t
work. He has taken classes from all of my colleagues in Africana Studies and if we could
very for a moment–if we can acknowledge, now this is a program the Black Popular Culture
Lecture Series Program comes out of Africana Studies. So if my colleagues in Africana can
stand up please. [ Applause ] Dr. Meta Schettler, Dr. De Anna Reese, Dr.
Malik Simba, Africana Studies here at Fresno State. OK. Number of other thank yous, I definitely
want to thank ASI, Associated Students made this event possible. I do want to say that
we had donors last year who invested in wanting to see event happen again and they were instrumental
in making this happen as well. So I’m not going to call them out by name. But I do want
to say thank you to those of you that did donate to make this event a consistent thing.
I want to also acknowledge the young men that were instrumental in the student component
of this event, The Onyx Black Male Collective. They actually were not only instrumental in
making sure the student component happen, but many of them are working the room even
tonight they help the event happen. So if you haven’t heard of The Onyx Black Male Collective,
download my app you may see the image for it, check them out. These are young men that
have gathered together here at Fresno State to focus on graduation because in our recent
reports we found that black students are performing at a fairly low level, 38% is about the graduation
rate, we have most listed and black males tend to fall at the very low ended spectrum.
So this young men have gathered together to transform their situation and motivate each
other towards graduation. OK, so please. [ Applause ] OK. And I would like to thank college of social
sciences and very particularly President Castro who is the definition of cool under fire,
he upon me introducing the idea this event last year to him, he didn’t even let me finish
the sentence before he said “I’ll fund it, I want to be there.” And last year he sat
in the first row and participated. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be here with us tonight. He had
a conflicting event. But he did get a chance to meet Reverend Wright earlier today and,
you know, so I just wanted to extend that. Now, I do also–I was going to offer this
to a student, but once I had a chance to look through CV, I selfishly took the honor for
myself. I wanted to introduce the faculty person that I wanted to come up and actually
introduce Reverend Wright, his name is Dr. Jerome E. Jackson, PhD, of course, right,
fully tenured in criminology and his a license ordained minister for the past 17 years, he’s
been Senior Pastor Christian Community Baptists Church, received his Bachelor of Arts in Political
Science at Southern University, Master’s in Public Administration from Texas Southern
University, Master’s in Theological Studies from Faith Evangelical Seminary, Doctor of
Philosophy in Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University, Doctor of Philosophy and
Theological Studies in Faith Evangelical Seminary. This brother is not planned, right. Professor
Jackson has more than 30 years of teaching at the university level, has more than 20
years of gospel ministry leading including 17 years of senior pastorship and serve as
the Executive Director of the Antioch Substance Abuse Program Incorporated. Please let us
give a round of applause to Dr. Jerome E. Jackson. [ Applause ] [ Inaudible Discussion ]>>Dr. Jerome E. Jackson: Good evening again.>>Good evening.>>We do want every minute we can to hear
from our guest tonight, I’ve been given five to six minutes to say what I need to say.
I won’t give you some change back. It is my privilege and honor to introduce a man who
in my opinion is one of the most outstanding religious leaders and educators of our day.
Dr. Jeremiah Wright is Pastor Emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago,
Illinois. Dr. Wright is a graduate of Howard University Washington, DC where he earned
a bachelors degree and master’s degree in English. He also earned a second master’s
degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Dr. Wright holds a Doctor of Ministry
Degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton Ohio. He studied for six years Islam
in West Africa. He studied Arabic, Hebrew, German, Latin, and French. He studied West
African religions and East African religions. He studied the religions of Nigeria and the
religions of Zaire. Professor Wright has received a Rockefeller Fellowship and several honorary
doctorate degrees including degrees from Colgate University, Lincoln University of the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, ,United Theological Seminary, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Star King
School of the Ministry–for the Ministry. Dr. Wright has been a professor at Chicago
Theological Seminary, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and other educational
institutions. Professor Wright has written and co-authored several books. Dr. Wright
was name one of Ebony Magazine’s top 15 preachers in this country. Professor Wright has served
on the board of trustees of Virginia Union University, Chicago Theological Seminary,
and City College of Chicago. He’s also served on the board of directors of Evangelical Health
Systems, the Black Theological Project, and the Center for New Horizons and the Malcolm
X School of Nursing, and on boards and committees of other religious and civic organizations.
Dr. Jeremiah Wright has been recognized as an outstanding individual whose life exemplifies
the commitment and vision of service of George Washington cover. Dr. Wright has been and
continues to be a national leader in promoting theological education and the preparation
of seminarians for the African-American church. So again, my brothers and sisters, my friends
and colleagues, I present to you with great pleasure, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. [ Applause ]>>Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.: OK. Couple
of things before we get started. First and foremost I wanted to say that the other thing
I didn’t mentioned earlier was that I was–that this years the goal of this discussion and
Q&A later in the evening is to among other things celebrate the richness and diversity
of what I’ve called in my classes the Black Sacred Worship Tradition. So in the audience
tonight, we’ve had a number of significant representatives from multiple series of religious
orientations. Can the pastors and the audience please stand? [ Applause ] I apologize for the sake of time that I didn’t
get a chance to go through each person because we will be here until tomorrow if we can.
Also we have representatives of Muslim community in particular I invited Imam Abdullah Sahib
Muhammad [assumed spelling]. Is Imam Muhammad here? There he is, thank you. [ Applause ] And also in representation of–now Imam Muhammad
represent the Muslim-American community. We have one member that I invited from the nation
of Islam representation–Darryl Mohammed [assumed spelling], Darryl you here? OK. He probably
would be walking in soon. So I wanted this as much as possible and for those that maybe
here in representation of other faiths, other traditions, I do want to welcome you. I wanted
this to be a celebration because there is a richness and a diversity to this black experience
that speaks to faith in a lot of different ways and a lot of different context. So hopefully
in the course of the evening and the discussion we’ll get a chance to tease some of that out.
Now, I wanted to start tonight by showing a short clip that gives us a little background
of not only our guest, but also the church that he built, helped build. I don’t want
to say–it was there before him but he–when you go from 87 to 8000 can you use the word
built? I’m just saying, that’s fairly significant. Now, these two lights here are going to have
to stay on because they’re recording. We haven’t had a chance to test this. So I don’t know
how it will play against the image on the screen. But we’re going to watch a few minutes
of this clip just to get a sense of the church community that our guest comes out of. So
if we can get the lights in the back, please. [ Music ]>>[Background Music] In 1972, Jeremiah Wright
became Pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He inherited a struggling
congregation of just 87 members.>>I have a friend who every time you greet
him, every time you ask him how you’re doing, he answers “Just trying to make it man, just
trying to make it.”>>But by the mid-1980, when PBS’ Frontline
shot this film about Wright, he’d grown the congregation to several thousands.>>In our homes! Help us to be your church!
In our private lives, help us to be your church! In our dealings one with another, help us
to be your church. Though our minds wander, our souls love only you. Let the church say
Amen. Say Amen again.>>Trinity Church is located in a largely
black neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, a mixture of working class people and the
poor.>>Unfortunately, most churches now are “status
quo.” And so that–you know, to the extent they’re not trying to feed the poor, they’re
not trying to hook up jobs and people, they’re not concerned about the lowest, the least,
the left out. They’re not concerned about the youth, they’re concerned about “Let me
come here on a Sunday, hear something that tells me I’m OK, and I’m going to back to
where I’ve been going. Don’t rock the boat.”>>How about the fact that we have pledged
to take what we’ve got as black people and put it back into the black community? That’s
what I want to ask you.>>He challenged his growing congregation
not to lose sight of the needs of their neighbors.>>I want to be a vehicle designer.>>That meant soup kitchens, day care, drug
and legal counseling, and mentoring for young people.>>I’ve watched TV and looked at lawyers in
past years and I’ve basically like, you know, the feel of being a lawyer. It’s like–is
really exciting.>>As a matter of fact, there are a couple
lawyers here in the church that maybe we can just hook you up with.>>Well, I’d like to be a doctor.>>You can’t be whatcha ain’t seen. And so
many of our young boys haven’t seen nothing but the gangs and the pimps and the brothers
on the corner. They’ve never sat and talked to lawyers. They’ve never sat and talked to
a man, a black man, with 2, 3 degrees! They’ve never had a chance. They’ve never had an option
in terms of thinking I could do this? I can be this? They see a doctor when they’re sick.
They don’t get to sit and talk–me go to med school? They don’t talk to somebody who writes
programs and analyzes systems and computers. A black guy? I can do this? I can–never have
their horizons lifted.>>[Simultaneous] The commitment to the black
community.>>Three.>>[Simultaneous] Commitment to the Black
family.>>Four.>>He spoke out about racism from segregation
in America’s cities to the racist apartheid regime of South Africa.>>What the word says about racism comes through
loud and clear! Botha is wrong! South Africa is wrong! Apartheid is wrong! Oppression is
wrong! Anybody who feels white skin is superior to black skin is wrong!>>Around that time a young Barack Obama came
to Chicago and went to work as a community organizer on the South Side. As he describes
in his book, Obama was a religious skeptic at first, and sought out Pastor Wright for
his knowledge of the neighborhood. But soon Obama began attending Sunday Services, and
in 1988 was baptized there as a Christian. [ Singing ] Twenty years later, Trinity has built a new
building for its burgeoning congregation, now over 6000 members. Its ministry has grown
as well, including tutoring for kids, women’s health programs, and a HIV/AIDS ministry.
Trinity has long had strong ties with the African roots of its faith. Parishoners are
asked to respect what they call “the black value system,” to rededicate themselves to
God, the black family and the black community. Reinforcing the motto that they are quote
“Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.” You see the connection to Africa in the stained
glass windows Wright installed in the new church. They depict many of the biblical stories
that took place there.>>We wanted our stained-glass windows to
tell the story of the centrality of Africans in the role of Christianity from its inception
up until the present day. We play some interesting games educationally with the kids to help
kids understand–can you name the seven continents? As a kid, you learn that in school. All right,
on what continent did everything in the Bible from Genesis to Malachi take place? And they’ll
give you an eighth continent, the Middle East. No, no, no, you just named seven continents.
So, what continent do these things take place on in your Bible? It’s that kind of biblical
truth put in stain glass so kids can understand this is not something somebody made up. This
is not something from black power “Oooh.” This is actual biblical, historical fact that
you have a central role in the Christian faith that is yours.>>–our focus today is on 127.>>Several years ago Jeremiah Wright and the
church began the search for his successor, and after 36 years as pastor, he will be retiring
at the end of next month.>>But in Genesis 2 it says God breathes into
the nostrils of what God had formed from the dust. God donated some divinity to some dirt
and we became living souls. That’s God breath you have in you, that’s God’s breath that
you just breathed. God is the giver of life. Let me tell you what that means. That means
we have no right to take a life whether as a gang banger living the thug life, or as
a President lying about leading a nation into war. We have no right to take a life! Whether
through the immorality of a slave trade, or the immorality of refusing HIV/AIDS money
to countries or agencies who do not tow your political line! We have no right to take a
life! Turn to your neighbors and say we have no right to take a life! [ Applause ]>>I’ve had a chance to spend some time within
them today and going to tell you the secret joy of being a professor is you get meet with
your heroes. So I’ve–anyway, OK, to get started can you tell us where and when, when you born.>>Born in Philadelphia-Pennsylvania, September
22nd, 1941.>>What was it like growing up in Philadelphia?>>It was interesting, because I grew up in
[inaudible] Philadelphia. My parents, mother and father met at Virginia Union University
in HVCU in Richmond, Virginia. They were both from the country not from Richmond. My mother
was from Surry County, Virginia, my father was from Caroline County, Virginia and they
met at Virginia Union. And of course, she graduate, undergraduate in 30–1938, he graduate
at seminary at 38. They got married. They graduated at May, got marriage in June. He
got called to church in Philly and they went to Philly. But every Holiday, every December
they’re back home which is back down south. So, I was going up in two worlds, the worlds
of Philadelphia and the world of Caroline Country and Surry County of Virginia. When
I say “county” please understand, we were talking with President Castro today at lunch,
a lot of young people in this room have ever, don’t even know what a slop jar is. My grandparents
had slop jars in the house. There was no indoor plumbing. There was a well for getting water.
But you went to the out house and at night you couldn’t go to that house because there’s
a snake who used the slop jar. So, that’s my world between that and the Philadelphia.
In Philadelphia what was really interesting and different for me was when we move into
a neighborhood, it was 50/50 black, white. By the time I got to high school there was
60/40 maybe 70/30 black, white. But my high school, I was just teasing one of the young
brother in Onyx over there waving at me. He’s from Philly, born and raised in Philly. That
at Central High School, when I got to Central High School in ’55 there were 2200 students,
2000 of whom were Jewish. So, I had all the Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah,
Hanukkah. They would send us 200 gentiles into the [inaudible] I’m going to spend the
whole day because no classes, you couldn’t hold classes with 2000 of your students missing.
And I got to learn a lot about–up close and personal about Jewish culture but the Jewish
religion, Jewish faith had some close Jewish friends. So there was that reality a black
church on Sunday, a white–become the white school Monday through Friday, a mix neighborhood
in Philly. But down in the south, it was all black. And going south by the time we were
kids was an experience and that my mother–our mother, my sister and I would make lunch in
a shoe box. Long before serine wrap and Reynold’s wrap there was wax paper of chicken cut and
potato salad and lemonade in a thermos, why? Because once we got south of the Mason, Dixon
mind, everything was segregated and my father refuse to lend us allowance to go into segregated
facility. And he would tell us that she got to go to the bathroom, let me know before
we get to DC. Once you get to DC, you’re going to have to go outside in the woods, because
he wouldn’t stop it at a place that was segregated. They had segregated. So, I grew up seeing
segregated signs. A lot of our kids never conceive of that unless they saw a movie or
saw “Roots” or saw something about “Keep Your Eye on the Prize.” I grew up seeing segregated
water fountains, segregated lunch counters, segregated classrooms, and when I got to college
segregated beaches. And I used to look at the line. There was a line, a big metal line
chain going out about 50 yards out into the water. And I was trying to see the difference
between the white water [laughter] and our water in the Chesapeake Bay segregated. So,
I knew segregation up close and personal and didn’t understand it. In Philly, I raised
this question with my dad. I was talking with some of my students this afternoon we engaged
each other about growing up while I was in school in Philly. We had a Young Men’s Christian
Association for the coloreds and the Young Men’s Christian Association for the whites.>>OK.>>And the Christian Association for the whites
had the pool in it, swimming pool, and we were allowed to go there one day a week. Tuesday
we could go, the blacks could go to the white while they have the pool, and then they would
empty the pool and drain the pool because, you know, anybody infecting whatever we have
on us. And I didn’t understand if this was a Christian Organization up north of why that
kind of segregation. And my father and one of his close friend, a white pastor, try to
explain it to me in terms of habits brought up north to German town, one of the poor Philadelphia
neighborhoods. It was German town, that’s where I was born and raised. So, it was interesting.
It was a lot of mixture and a lot of experiences. One very powerful and I try to get and did
not succeed while I was a pastor, and I’ll tell you about that in just a second. For
one that was instructional, the eye-opening for me, was one of my good buddies took me
home for lunch while we were in the 8th grade. We call it junior high school in Philly. They
call it middle school in other places in the country. When we walked in his house for lunch
his mother froze and says, “Get that swatcha [phonetic] out of here.” I didn’t know what
a swatch was. Stew started crying. “What’s wrong man? Let’s go to your house, let’s go
to your house.” I took to my house and we had lunch, went back to school in the afternoon.
At 3:00 o’clock, 3:15, we’ve got out of school, he came back to my house, and he stayed there.
We’re doing homework and laughing and talking. At dinner time, my father said, “Don’t you
have a house to go to for dinner? Won’t you going home?” And he started crying again.
My father said “What’s wrong?” And he told him what happened at lunch. Now my father
spoke German, in fact daddy had an old German script. We have–It looks like an F, there
was two Ss. He spoke old german stuff and read it. And when Stew told him what happened,
he put Stew and me in his car, and we drove to Stew’s house. When we got out and walk
in the house, he started speaking to her in Yiddish, which blew her mind. And said to
her, “Be very careful, the names you call people,” because kids, just like the movie
“South Pacific”, have to be taught to hate and they learn from their parents. I’m still
trying to figure out, “What’s swatcha? What–They knew some of the private conversation going
on. Of course, later on when I studied in Germany, I found what swatcha was. But the
positive thing I learned from the Jewish culture that I love and wanted to imitate in the Black
Church you in here in Fresno, all of my Jewish friends in high school, Monday, Wednesday
and Friday we’re given an early dismissal. Why? Because they had to go to synagogue school.
Because in synagogue they learn their own history and their own heritage. And I maintained
the whole time I was president, the black church needed to do the same thing. Why are
we sitting around waiting for the public schools system to start teaching black history, we’re
saying all do. We need to have our own schools and our own churches, like the synagogues
had for
the Jewish. [ Applause ] But that’s what it looks like. It was a mixed
bag, a lot of different experiences in Philly and in Virginia, both Caroline County and
Surry County. A private, personal pastoral [inaudible] of PK. I hated Christmas when
I was growing up as a kid. I hated Christmas. Why? Because with–First of all, we could
not open our presents until after sunrise service. When we opened our presents, as soon
as we open our present, we get in the car with that lunch packed up by mom and drive
down to Virginia so that she could and he could spend Christmas with their parents.
All my toys are in Philly. I’m down here in the country, oh, they go give you sweater
and socks. I used to hate Christmas. I hated Christmas. But it was very interesting. I
was sharing with the students and the guys from Onyx this afternoon the heavy emphasis
on education in the house in which my sister and I grew up where we had to read and had
to read and had to read and had to read and learn. Everyday you had to learn of something
new. And while were [inaudible] I didn’t get the chance to tell you kids this afternoon
you’re students [inaudible]. At dinner time he has have dinner with everyday, now my mother
finished–listen carefully–she finished undergraduate at 17 had her first master’s at 19.>>Get it.>>Second master’s by 21, she ended up with
a doctor from University of Pennsylvania, all right. Daddy had a best of theology, best
of arts, master of divinity and master of [inaudible]. So here’s our dinner [phonetic]
with.. All you parents here pick up on this. Not–how was school today? If you say how
was school today? The kids kind of easy out fine and no conversation. Well first of all
I know that at for some of you younger students at Fresno State I just used a fine word, conversation
at a dinner table. Not when you pass through the kitchen, get your plate and go to your
room with your flat screen and do what–no, we all sat down to eat as a family each night
and each night, they would do this. They would start with my sister, she was 16 months older
than I. They would start with her and they will say, not how was school today? What did
you do in English today? What did you do in history today? What did you do in algebra
today? They go subject by subject, by subject, first her because she’s older than me. And
you wouldn’t be [inaudible] they knew–I mean these are educators, right. One that I never
forget–I shouldn’t not tell this, especially because you’re taping it for prosperity sake.
As I said I got all the Jewish holidays. And some days I got tired of the seating in the
auditorium all day. So one of the things I mastered very early in life was how to write
your signature. I’ll write my daddy’s signature for early for early dismissal, go get my girlfriend
rather than seating in the auditorium all day long. In that day that I wrote my dad’s
signature, went on West Philly High School, see my girl. She went to Overbrook High School.
When I got–they acted like nothing had happen, nothing was wrong. We sat down the regular
routine at dinner time. When they got to me, they started with history and they went to
trigonometry, then daddy said in English, I say we’re doing Shakespeare. Oh, I like
Shakespeare, what are you do in prose, poetry, plays. I said it plays. He said which plays?
“Midsummer Night’s Dream”. He said, no, that was yesterday. Today was the Tempest. He was
my substitute in my English class. [ Laughter & Inaudible Remark ] But to have parents who not only had conversation
but knew what you were studying and knew what you should be learning in those classes. So
you had liberal arts dad and a scientific mom with a degree, advance masters and doctorate.
Her first master’s in the University of Chicago in mathematic. The second one UP in education
and the terminal degree from UP. They made sure you didn’t BS or try to BS about studying
and they keep you on target, on task and it was interesting that’s.>>Tell us about him?>>That’s me. Let’s say I was born in ’51
so I was ’41, so I was 10 years old, preacher’s kid growing up of course in the church, a
small church. It was not a mega church. Maybe we had to 200, 250 members and church was
all day long, Sunday school at 9:30, 11 o’clock worship service, 3 o’clock afternoon service,
5 o’clock BYPU, 6:30–7 o’clock evening service You could not take off your shirt and tie
on a Sunday, [inaudible] of the devil. We had to stay choked up and shared some [inaudible],
could not play ball, could not do anything. Now, my grandparents moved in–that was when
I was 10. When I was in the 7th grade, which when we were 12, 13, my grandparents–my parents
move our grandparents into our home with us from down the country. My grandmother had
early stages also–today called Alzheimer’s dementia back then and grandpa could not be
keg. And so, they moved and they did not believe in senior citizen homes. They did not believed
in nursing homes. They did not believe in senior assisted living quarter. They move
them in to our house with us and that meant moving an old–and my grandfather, her father
who moved into our house with us, he was–I was sharing with President Castro today. He
was phenomenon and that he was 20 years old when he was right off to plantation with no
education, whatsoever. And at 20, he went and got–the promo from elementary school,
finished high school, undergraduate at Virginia Union and finished seminary in 1902. I have
the diploma hanging on my wall today at the seminary, all right. But he’s old school,
Southern Virginia Baptist. That meant no doo-wops. I was talking to the ASL people they want
to know which doo-wops I was going to do from the stylistic. They’ve been practicing all
week on “You are Everything”. But we couldn’t have doo-wops in the house. We could not play
cards in the house. Grandpa didn’t play there. As central, you’re going straight to hell.
So we had to sneak out of the house to play [inaudible] in Philly, because grandpa didn’t–so
in my house there was no–there was–what normal teenage. In fact, I’ve often talked
to our teenagers, not only my youngest grandson but the teenagers at the church when I was
a pastor. My mother would rollover in her grave if she could hear what our teenagers
heard today. First–The first instance and then what happen to me with my dad and the
second is with my mother. When I was a paperboy, I was a paperboy, we used to deliver papers
to people’s house. I know that’s something strange too. Getting my little bicycle and
delivering papers to the houses. I took my paperboy money and went and bought a 45, 45,
young people are records. [ Laughter ] They look like big CDs, with a big whole in
middle of them. I went and bought a 45, “Oh, here’s one for you. Here’s one. I got one.”
“Cherry Pie” is the name of it. She kept asking me was I going to sing. It’s a very simple
song. [ Singing ] Yeah, I remember this. [ Singing ] [ Laughter & Applause ] The second verse–The second verse was– [ Singing ] When my mother–When my mother heard give
me some, she came into my room took my little 45 up off to turntable and pop, it broke in
two. This is a pastor’s house. You don’t have that kind of song. I knew what they’re talking
about when you say “Give me some.” [ Laughter ] If she could hear Wizzy, if she could hear
Nicki Minaj, oh, my God. If you look at her–my mother would be rolling over in her grave.
Rick Ross, whoop, somebody lied [inaudible]. Now, my parents died literally. They died.
They never had a cable, never. TV had–here’s another little flash for young people. TVs
used to go off at midnight, every night. United States flag be waving. That’s it. At 6 o’clock
where have “Doo!” They never had cable. In fact, when I started pastoring, I gave my
mother–I bought her a VCR so she could watch our services, right. That was the most expensive
clock I’ve ever purchased for my mom. I’ll be talking on the phone she said, “Boy, you
got to come fix this thing it’s flashing.” I said, “Did you unplug it?” “Yeah, I have
to plug the vacuum cleaner.” She never used it. But they never had–they had ABC, CBS,
NBC. So, I was the guest lecturer at the International Ministers Wives and Widows Association Conference.
That’s 2000 women every year. About 400 husbands come along to play golf and enjoy themselves.
And my father was there with my mother. She was an officer and then vice president, International
Ministers Wives and Widows Association, I’m the lecturer. So dad said to me, we’re going
to eat tonight–it was the third night of that. I say, yes sir, what time? Thursday
night. I said 8 o’clock. OK. I’ll meet you in the lobby. OK. Quarter to 8, man, there’s
a knock on my door. I thought it was turn down. This is Thursday night and those of
you who are little older might picture this in your head was getting ready to happen.
I open my door for turn down. It was my father Thursday night, quarter to 8, Def Comedy Jam
was on. I start looking for the remote. [Laughter] I’m trying to find the remote to find out
and kind of off quick, he had never seen that or heard anything like that.>>Oh goodness.>>And the guy who was coming on while I was
scrambling to find the remote. It started all sounding religious and my father smiled.
He walked– [ Laughter ] He walked over to the television and the man
said I had to thank praise the Lord that I’m alive. I thank, praise the Lord–you know,
some people got to wait for thanksgiving to give thanks to God. Some people got to wait
to New Year’s eve, they go to testify and they did–it’s glad to be–listen I’m glad
to be alive today because I know the whole bunch of you woke up this morning dead [inaudible].
Now, my father staring at the television and I go click. He said they allow this on [inaudible].
Yes, the Federal Communications Commission allowed it. I said yes sir, yes sir. We get
to them and he wouldn’t get up off. You ought to see what [inaudible] had on his television
screen. I said it wasn’t me daddy. That’s the name of the show. You know, but that’s
what–when no profanity, no card playing, no smoking, daddy when I say old school, no
drinking, no smoking, no running women, daddy was one of those straight by the bible kind
of preachers. And that’s how he raised us.>>I can share some with that but I messed
around. My father is a pastor as well and he came to visit me about four years ago and
I turned on Kevin Hart. I had not felt like a child in a long time until I was sitting
in front of my father trying to rationalize that that was on. But tell us does this Jeremiah
Wright dream about being a pastor?>>No, I dreamed about being a professor of
seminary. I grew up in a home with [inaudible] my dad’s degrees and my grandfather’s both
graduate of seminary. Samuel DeWitt Proctor who was the pastor well in Rhode Island PhD
from Boston, he was one of Dr. King’s teachers. He grew up in Bank Street Baptist Church in
Norfolk where my uncle, my mother’s brother was the pastor. So, every time they came to
Philly, he would come to our home. He was also the president of Virginia Union, Sam
Proctor when he died. Before he died said he was–the only reason he had gray hair on
his head was that he was the only human being alive who could say that he was a president
of the college where both Jeremiah Wright went to school and just Jessie Jackson. He
left Virginia Union and went to North Carolina A&T. But he used to come to our home. So I
knew the seminary community, her brother John Henderson [assumed spelling] did his Master
of Divinity at Oberlin School of Theology. And knowing the seminary community, I knew
the various professions and ministry that they were. Not just–you go to the ministry
or you can be a preacher, no, I’m going to be a teacher in seminary. That was when I
was heading forth. So that kid, yeah, I knew I wanted to be a teacher because when we had
to read I was in my father study reading his books and became fascinated with the field
of theological studies, biblical studies, ethics, history of religions, church history
and I wanted to teach seminary. So yeah, I knew I was headed for one of those disciplines
of the 11 different full-time professors that they are in ministry and that discipline was
to teach and as I ended up when I went to the University of Chicago in Divinity School,
it was for discipline, the history of religions not to be a pastor, all right. And as I mentioned
to President Castor today, God has got jokes. So I ended up doing–that’s what I swore,
I never do, I swore I never be a pastor and I swore I never be a pastor because I saw
how they treated my father with all his degrees.>>Yes.>>And I said not me, not the kid. Do you
not ever worry about me being a pastor, you know. Forty three years later, yesterday would
have been my 43rd anniversary as pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ.>>Wow. Wow. [ Applause ] I just had to show this one because I just
thought this was too cool and so this one. Tell us about–yeah.>>Well, again going back–>>In the [inaudible]–>>Going back to–>>To [inaudible].>>Going back to my senior year, everybody
thought I lost my mind, maybe I did. In my senior year of college, everybody kept saying
why are you going to seminary, where are you going to preach and you’re going–I kept saying
no, that’s not what I want to do. And no one will listen to me, no one. Senior year in
college, I was president of the senior class. I was president of the college choir at Virginia
Union University. I was [inaudible] as president of the fraternity, the chapter there at Virginia
Union and I quit school with good grades to go into the Marine Corps. Now, my best friend
at the time was stationed at Cherry Point in North Carolina. He had been to Lebanon
during the Lebanon crisis as a marine. So I wanted to be a marine. I came in just the
best way to take this vacation that John Henderson, the pastor of Sam Proctor’s church said it
was a divine interruption at–interrupting my career track when I went into the Marine
Corps and they thought me how to be a killer. What’s the name, I don’t know, Roosevelt used
to define marines as underpaid, over sex teenage killers. They taught you how to kill. No,
don’t ask questions, your job is to follow orders, all right. And it was while I was
in the marine corps–in fact as I explain to the President Castor, I applied for a school,
cardiopulmonary technology, and most people don’t know, you should know as close as you
are to the Air Force or to the Navy Base here that the Marine Corps is a part of the Navy,
it only has a four-star general, a commandant who was under the admiral of the Navy. So
when I applied for the school as a Navy school taught at–National Naval Medical Center,
I had to transfer from the Marine Corps into the Navy to get to school and the reason I
had to transfer the school is 52 weeks long. I had two years in the Marine Corps, 52 weeks
makes three years and they said if you think we’re going to let you out with only one year
to go and you got another thing coming. So, I had to extend to make it six years of military
service and transferred into the Navy and became a cardiopulmonary technician. But this
as marine was all–I mean like that you have one job–like the “American Sniper”, your
job is to kill. Don’t ask questions about who you’re killing just follow orders.>>Some of you may have seen this image. Can
you tell us what we’re looking at here?>>Yeah, after when I transferred, were you
there in [inaudible] when Thompson [assumed spelling] was there? When I transferred into
the Navy, I went–I graduated from cardiopulmonary school and became one of the teachers at cardiopulmonary
school. Your student, Gary Willis, is one of our students. And while I was at Bethesda,
President Johnson came in for two different times for surgery. Now, this was the minor
effect. If you see Dr. Fox [assumed spelling], you know, the other doctor [inaudible] holding
his hand, showing that little image. He is showing the president how big the scar is
for the gallbladder surgery. He had gallbladder surgery this time. Now gallbladder is not
a major surgery, however, where your normal heartbeat goes lab-dab, lab-dab, lab-dab if
you have a leach of valve you hear lab-dab-sh, lab-dab-sh, lab-dab-sh. His heart, Johnson’s
heart did not sound like lab-dab, lab-dab or lab-dab-sh. He sounded like a competition
between Florida A&M and Grambling at half time. He had a series of arrhythmias and all
kinds of problems so we had to monitor his surgery–surgeries and we’re monitoring them
being scrubbed in at 3 o’clock in the morning so that he could be out of surgery, fully
awake and talking by 9 a.m. when the stock market open. You don’t want the stock market
opening with the president unconscious, he’s semi-comatose, you want him having a logical
conversation with the president going to be there. So, we had to be there from 3 o’clock
until–and the OR suite, not in the hospital. We could not leave the OR suite and we will
go from the OR suite up to tower–in the tower 17th floor with the presidential suite, in
his presidential suite and we have to put all–we have to keep monitoring him even postoperatively
to check his heart rate and his blood pressure. And that’s a picture where you see the African-American
top left hand corner, that’s Chief Jones who was our boss. Willis’ boss, my boss, that’s
the machine, I’m hooking him up here to that machine so we can monitor his heart rate.
We monitor him throughout surgery, but then postoperatively, we had to keep monitoring
him until he was discharged because his heart was just that bad.>>Now, for soldiers like yourself in this
situation, how are black soldiers in this medical arena treated? What experiences did
you have?>>Well, in–Well, in cardiopulmonary school
and that’s the National Naval Medical Center.>>OK.>>It was the only school of all the military
units. The Air Force sent their personnel there to be taught how to be cardiopulmonary
technicians. The Army sent there personnel there. And the Navy, Marines don’t have corpsman
outside of the Navy Corpsman, so they would send their medical personnel there to learn
cardiopulmonary technology. The racism there was much more subtle. In fact I had to tell
Gary Willis, “Just because they don’t call you a Nigger don’t mean they don’t think you
as one.” When you privy to some private conversations and overhearing things, you find out where
people’s head really are. So it was very–it was not as–it–and we put it this way, it
was not as rabidly open as it was in the Marine Corps. In the Marine Corps, one of the things
I can’t–I can fix it up, I can just–I can’t tell you about that grin on my face. First
of all, those–anybody here who’s been in the Marine Corps, has loved ones who’s been
in the Marine Corps, those pictures of graduation from Parris Island, I went to Parris Island,
now out here you all got Hollywood Marines, you all go to San Diego. But we went to the
real Marine Corps boot camp, Parris Island. And I saw these guys. They were standing as
far as from here to about the fifth row back with the brother of my hair color, my color,
that’s how far you are from the photographer. We stand in that attention, you go one by
one. And they put on this uniform. It’s not a real uniform, it has what you call a Velcro
in the back, one size fits all, one hat fits all. And they–you adjust it, but it’s closed
back here and what looks like a uniform is closed back there. And every time he come
out from under that hood, these guys are laughing, I said, “I ain’t laughing.” I’ve been, first
of all, I was two classes behind at Parris Island. We have the gym instructor, march
those guys out into the swamp and killed them. So at Parris Island, South Carolina, Yemassee,
South Carolina, for 16 weeks, I have been called 43 Niggers, I counted them. I dare
you to say something Nigger. So I’m watching these guys, well I said, “I ain’t smiling.
I’m a hard marine. I graduated from Parris Island.” So I stood there thinking of all
the different time they have called me Nigger. So when they took my picture I was going to
be a mean marine. I’m just a sex machine. [ Laughter ]>>You know what? I didn’t know interpreters
with that deep into it. This is a lesson for me, boy.>>I had my mean lean marine look on my face.
Right. I went over there. They put the uniform on me. I thought about the times they talked
about my mama, the times they talked about my girlfriend. And he comes out from under
this hood, the photographer says, “Are you ready?” “Yeah.” I’m going to clean it up.
He said, “Punani.” And I did that, I’ve broken to a big brawn grin, he snapped. There’s another
word for punani that he used. And my mother said, “Why are you grinning so broadly in
this picture?” I said, “You really don’t want to know.” But the overt racism of Parris Island
or the Marine Corps was much, much, much, much different in the Navy. Now, where I was
stationed in the Navy as a hospital–at a hospital, ’71, right after I got out from
riots [phonetic], onto the USS Wilmington showed that the racism in the Navy was–USS
Wilmington the Navy ship, was just as rampant and guys would get into it physically with
weapons. But it was much–it was much more subtle and much more low key. But they–because
please remember, what year is that on there? You do remember the civil rights movement
is still going on. So when we sit in the squad they–the Navy has to have one-third of its
personnel aboard ship or aboard a land facility like this at all the times. So that meant
you had to stay overnight, depending on what rank you were ascertain–lower ranks, E1,
E2, E3, they have to stay almost every other night. E4, E5, we stayed four nights, five
nights. And when you’re off duty together and they show in television scenes of King
and water hoses, and Birmingham, and places, Montgomery, that guy from the Air Force and
the guy from the Army would sit there laughing, they’re talking and say, “Look at damn Niggers.”
Now, we’re off duty.>>Yeah.>>So what are you going to say? Are you going
to start a fight and get court marshall? No. So it was–the racism was there, yes, but
it was not as pronounced as it was either at Parris Island or Camp Lejeune in North
Carolina.>>So how did you transition from military
to this movement that’s happening? Right, the students you guys have recently I’m sure
watched Selma, right? Do you get a sense of the climate of the times? Others of you in
the audience may have been there. How did you–How did that transition in your life
take place?>>Well, before I went into the military,
I had been in the sit-ins. So I was a part of the civil rights movement in the sit-ins.
I had my painful awakening as to the Christians from what today is Virginia Commonwealth University.
It used to be called RPI, Richmond Polytechnic Institute. We had Christian groups. They did
things together, from Virginia Union, our church school, and the other white schools
in Richmond, Christian groups. Now, to see the Christians in one setting like this, where
we’re all loving the Lord Jesus Christ, and we’re reading scriptures together remember,
and then to see them at the sit-ins calling me Nigger, the same students.>>Wow.>>And calling my classmates and dragging
women by the ankles across the street and their dresses coming up, that taught me a
lot about Christianity also. So the transition was not–it was not–it was before I went
into the service, I knew about what was going on, and I knew the mood of the South Peace,
remember I grew up understanding segregation.>>Yeah.>>Segregated facility. So when we took part
in this desegregation of those facilities, I understood clearly what was going on during
those hours and during those times. And the black guys who was stationed both in Bethesda
and at Camp Lejeune, they understood clearly what it is. You’ve raised your hand to protect
and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic, a country that dishonors you. It
does not see you as a human being. They see you as less than human. Historically, has
commodified your body as something you can buy and sell. So that was all a part of the
ethos while I was stationed up to and when I got out of the service in ’67 it was still
the same.>>I’ve been asked about a hundred times in
the last few weeks about the sound bite, and I’m sure in the course and the discussion,
we’ll get to that, but the sound bite in regard to Reverend Wright. But what–what I find
interesting is how many people do you think know that he had that kind of history in the
military? Right. And if you connect that to the sound bite, most of you, I’m sure all
of you know what sound bite I’m talking about, does it give another angle to that? That 30-second
sound bite versus a history, particularly in the military that gives you that whole
another angle. Notice how much is left out of the conversation. But this gentleman here,
how do we go from military to that gentleman?>>I was still with Gary when it happened.
One of the things in terms of my own personal journey soldier is that the discrepancies
between the profession of Christianity as articulated in the black and white church
and the reality of that same Christianity with white racists and black charlatans and
BSers made me leave the church. I left the church. And the only time I go to church is
when I go home to Philadelphia, I ain’t stupid. But I didn’t go to church. I didn’t do church.
And 1966, the year before I got out, the summer before I got out, I was sitting on the steps
of a church and I think, I don’t know, PBS I think caught some of this and there–and
when they did a biopic on me, I was sitting on the steps of a church in Rockville, Maryland,
station at Bethesda. Me and my partners we’re sitting at on the steps. Solving the problems
of the world, drinking a fifth tailor poured wine. It was a Saturday afternoon, the church
was closed. All right? Now we’re sitting there me and my two partners drinking wine. This
is the year after Malcolm X has been killed. So we’re talking [inaudible], we’re talking
about what role did the nation have in this murder up in New York at the mosque, all right?
We’re talking about the differences between the nation and Sunni Islam. We’re talking
about the differences between Christianity historically and Christianity as made manifest
and the racism which justified slavery. We–I mean we’re solving problems of the problems
of the world, we’re talking about Vietnam, we’re talking about all these things and this
old dude came up. Now this is ’66 that mean I was 25. We were 24 going to be 25 that September.
This old dude came up and got into the conversation with us. I say, oh leave a 63, I found out.
And while talking he tried to interject and be apologetic for Christianity and I’d cut
him to shreds, you know. And offer–one of my partner something to drink almost called
his name. And he said, “No, no thank you.” No thank you? That’s more for me. And offered
him and he didn’t want to drink. You [inaudible]. They knew because they were from around there.
And this old dude was the pastor of this church which we were sitting on. [ Laughter ] Well, by this time we had this much wine [inaudible].
Hey, it’s all like neck ball, it’s going down like full flat tire, you think I’m going to
back out now? I’m free, black and 21. We got into it. They left us there. Those two guys
left the old dude. Rev. Dr. Houston Brooks as it turned out his son was Henry Brooks,
professor of ethics at Colgate Rochester Divinity School. I mean he wasn’t no dummy he wasn’t
no sloth [phonetic]. And we got into this long argument discussion and that three and
a half four hour market of our talking he said, “I have a question I want to ask you.”
Now I don’t want you to answer today. And he got nothing with the wine, the wine been
gone. I want you to think about this, you know, I hear you angry with what white racist
have done to Christianity, I hear you angry with what the Renaissance did with those false
pictures of Italian artist and Italian models, what they did, I hear you angry with Constantine
pulling Christianity out of Africa into Europe and making it a state religion, I hear you
angry with black preachers pimping folk, I hear you angry about–I don’t hear you angry
with the Lord Jesus. And I got a feeling that you love the church very much and have been
hurt by what the church has become. So here’s my question. Where do you think somebody who
loves the church as much as you do can do the most good? On the outside throwing stones
at it or in your case leveling ancient 8 inch howitzer shells at it. On the inside working
to make it become what you thank God having God’s mind. Think about that. Don’t answer
me today, think about–here’s my card and give me a call when you come up with an answer.
So I went home thinking about that question. I went home thinking about it. And I got up
Sunday morning–that was a Saturday afternoon. I got up Sunday morning getting ready for
church. My wife say, “Where are you going?” I said “To church.” Now I think she said,
“What’s the witch’s name?” [ Laughter ] That’s–it rhymed. That’s what it sounded
like. And I said, “No, no, no, no.” Let me [inaudible] in a conversation when it get
real on you. I showed her this card and I said I met this old dude yesterday, he had
a good rep. But I want to see what his worship services were like. Come on go in. No, no,
we don’t do church that’s your things. So I went critical. I went critical. I went with
pen and pad to criticize everything going in that service. And he preached for Matthew
16 that day. They came into the coast of Caesarea and Philippi and Jesus–we had talked about
Caesarea and Philippi, the day before. What are you doing with a country or a city, pardon
me, in North Africa named Caesar Philip because the Romans colonize North Africa. That we
have talked about that the next–the day before he. They came into the coast of Caesarea–yeah,
I said, yeah, we talked about that yesterday. Jesus said to his disciples who the man say
that I am. They said “I’m going to give you the good answers today.” Elijah, Jeremiah,
one of them prophets that’s what they say. And he says, “OK.” And he flipped the script,
who do you say that I am? And he stopped right there on that point. And said that is the
ultimate question in terms of a personal relationship in Christianity, not who did your mama said
Jesus says, not who did your pastor say Jesus is. Not who did he Elijah Muhammad say Jesus
is. Not who did Muhammad say Jesus is. Who do you say he is a person? And I think convicting
me and I went–I hangout after church to talk to him and ended being ordained by him and
assistant pastor. He took me from drinking wine on the steps of the church to serving
wine in communion inside the church.>>So that’s how you end up. [ Applause ] Tell us what is Black Liberation Theology
and where does this come in, in your experience.>>Well, as I was explaining two or three
times today starting at breakfast this morning with the ministers from Fresno. And I didn’t
say this and I should have. All theology is contextual. Because that’s number one, you
got to remember that. Because a lot of folks who are outside of the black church tradition
trying to make it sound like something is wrong with black theology. Your theology is
contextual and it’s done from the context of your Sitz im Leben, your place in life.
German theology, and by the way Dietrich Bonhoeffer got his theology from Abyssinian Baptist Church
in Harlem. He was a member there. It took that back and went up against Hitler kind
of put to death but he saw what Abyssinian was doing for the least, the poor, homeless.
And he took that theology is contextual. Now, black theology and black liberation theology
with the name black liberation theology became a systematic academic discipline in 1968 when
Cone came out with his books “Black Power and Black Theology”, “Theology of Black Liberation”
“God of the Oppressed”. His early books, he’s written 14 now. And you must pick up a copy
of “The Cross and the Lynching Tree”, one of his last books. But that’s when it became
an academic discipline with that name. Black liberation theology I was explaining to the
students this afternoon, again the name–the names attached to it because it is similar
from the ground up contextually not from academic chairs down from South America with liberation
theology. The South American Latino liberation theologians writing in that same period from
the ground up contextually. What do the people on the ground believed? What they’re experiencing?
Not formal doctrines of the church but what are they are saying. How do they see God at
work in a place? I did not mention [inaudible] place, the same thing operative in the Cairo’s
document which was produced in Soweto during the apartheid regime, theology from the folk
underneath the heel of Africana races Dutch reformed church theology responding to that
theology. Well, separate and distinct from not against, not contra, not diametrically
opposed to, that academic discipline believed theology from the bottoms up, from the grassroots
up has to do with Africans understanding of God. Black. Wanting them and creating them
to be free long before Cone wrote anything. And as I try to show today in couple of places,
the conversations going on today on campus. When the first African said or sang before
I’d be a slave I’d be buried in my grave and go home to my God and be free. That’s black
liberation theology. I’m no, no, no. I’m not buying into your definition of me. I’m not
going to let you define me. I’m not going to be a slave. I’m not going to be property.
I’m not going to be a piece. I’m not going to be commodify. I’m free. All God’s children
got shoes. And when I get to him I’m going to put on my shoes and walk all over God.
I can’t walk over any cliffs down here because I’m black but I’m going to walk all the way
because everybody is talking about heaven. Mr. Whiteman ain’t going there. That’s black
liberation theology and it has been existence since Europeans tried to dehumanize, demonize,
commodify black bodies. In the [inaudible] called the European slave trade he said I
wish you all stop saying in your discipline transatlantic slave trade. You’re blaming
the Atlantic on slavery, the ocean didn’t had nothing to do with the European slave
trade. But ever since, ever since Africans reacted negatively to that dehumanization
of white Christianity is how old Black liberation theology is and has been. And Jim and I talked,
we’re good friends. Somebody ask me was he a student of mine. Jim and I just are same
age. He may be two years older maybe 75, 74. We don’t disagree we just–his is an academic
discipline taught in the seminaries, all right. What I’m talking about is the religion of
the folk.>>Yeah.>>The same ones who produced the corpus of
our oral literature we know as the spirituals and the folk service. What is the folk theology?
What do the people believe in?>>Well, in that respect it would seem that
the rubber hit the surface as you were working in Chicago applying this, dealing with a community,
that whole transition of studying it and then dealing with your church, you becoming a pastor
in Chicago. Can you talk about that kind of engagement from the concept to the application
at Trinity?>>Yeah. The first thing I need to say about
Trinity publically, especially since it’s going for prosperity, I’ve said it across
the years talking to younger pastors. Our church–well, for many people because somebody
asked me today, “Where is the United Church of Christ out here?” Out church, the United
Church of Christ is made up of four different denominations, a congregational church of
New England which had a long sterling history in terms of its involvement with Africans.
The congregational church of New England paid for the defense of the Mende people aboard
the Amistad. Paid John Quincy Adams, all the way up to the Supreme Court. The congregational
church had active conductors on the Underground Railroad and many of its church buildings
were used as stations on the Underground Railroad. The congregational church have passed–what
do you call those things? At the annual meeting or biannual meetings resolutions against antislavery
resolutions going back to the 1600s, all right. Immediately following the civil war, the congregational
church sends hundreds literally thousands of missionaries into the South to set up schools
for the Freedmen, they were called back then, all right. Our denomination, the congregational
church set up 500 schools in the South. Eight of which still exist today. You know them
by the names of Fisk University, Tougaloo, Talladega, LeMoyne-Owen, Houston-Tillotson,
Clark-Atlanta, it used to be Atlanta University when Dubois taught there, it was a congregational
church, and Howard University. The general–for the Freedmen’s army, General Oliver O. Howard
is named–that’s what Howard University in the congregational–in the sanctuary of first
congregational church is where the seminary started at Howard University. OK. The congregational
church and the Christian church both are autonomous. We’re autonomous. The Christian church is
in the South. The congregational church was in New England. Those two merged in 1931 and
became the Congregational-Christian church. The other two denominations in our denominations
were the Evangelical and reformed, virtually no Blacks in those denominations. They were
German and Dutch. Some of them are older than the country. They came across the Atlantic
as a congregation. The Evangelical church had a strong tract record in terms of not
starting any Black congregations but in terms of health care and settlement houses during
the great migration. They merged in 1934 so now you got congregation of Christian, Evangelical
and Reformed. In ’57, they merged to become United Church of Christ, ’57. Back ’57, integration
really assimilation was big in all of the predominantly white denominations who hoped
for an integrated community. And in ’59 they began talking to the assistant pastor of the
Congregational Church of Park Manor because blacks were moving south into the far south
corridor of Chicago. And when they started moving south, listen carefully, the denomination
said, “We need a church for the home owners moving into this community.” Now Jesus can
talk all that who so, well, he want but we don’t want who so [inaudible] with. We want
home owning Negros who knew how to worship properly because the church was right next
to the project. We don’t want people in the–they didn’t try to start no church there. That
project’s been there since World War II, we don’t want them. We want home owning Negros
who knew how to worship properly and not only that they can speak the King’s English properly
but they’ll be shouting and falling down and waving their hands and howling [inaudible].
We have New English Worship. That’s how the church was started. And the founding pastor,
we got letters where he wrote to the denominations saying, “We’re still having trouble attracting
our kind of people.” When they built their first sanctuary, they would not put on the
signs [inaudible] ’61, 1961 is when Trinity was founded. That’s four years after the United
Church of Christ, right. They wouldn’t put United Church of Christ on the sign because
they didn’t want black folk in the black community think this was a church of God and Christ
or Church of Christ. So they put Trinity United Church (Congregational) to show you what kind
of worship we have. We have congregational worship.>>OK.>>So ’61 to ’65, we had this nice little
Negro church on the far south side of Chicago called Trinity United Church. The charter
reads Trinity United Church of Christ but we wouldn’t say that out loud because we don’t
want the wrong kind of people coming in to worship. Our pastor left us in ’66, our founding
pastor. Our second pastor walked into a buzzsaw. He walked into the same thing that Lyndon
Baines Johnson walked into and Ralph David Abernathy walked into. After Kennedy’s, “It’s
not what you can do for your county as [inaudible]. Anybody want to hear Lyndon Baines Johnson
[inaudible]. What’s wrong with–now, Johnson was the much more seasoned politician but
he would in Kennedy, he didn’t have the Camelot aura. Our second pastor, same thing, he would
our founding pastor. Dr. King behind, “Oh I have a dream.” Ralph David Abernathy had
a PhD before King finished college. They didn’t want–well, [inaudible] become. They didn’t
want him. Why? He wasn’t King that’s why. And our second pastor wasn’t our founding
pastor. He came in ’67. Guess what happened in ’68. We had a photojournalist–news journalist
who used to say, “It’s enough to make a Negro turned black.” In 1968, Negros turned black
by then. [Inaudible], say it loud.>>Yes.>>Carlos and Tommie at the Olympics. And
the neighborhood turned black. People would [inaudible] natural out here, Andrew Davis,
Fred Hampton. Please remember ’69, they murdered Fred Hampton and Clark. Murdered, the police
murdered blacks. We got super black, black, black. And there’s at this nice little Negro
church in the community that had turned black on them and the church started dying. We went
from 400 members down to 87. Why? ’68, how don’t know if you’re old enough to remember
this, but ’68 was also the year that Gospel music hit the black college campuses. Prior
to ’68, there was no gospel music allowed on a black college campus because the missionaries
had told us that’s not sacred music. We sang European anthems and Negroes spirituals. We
sang no black gospel, Richard Smallwood, Howard University gospel choir all those choirs in
’68 and they would not allow gospel music at Trinity. That’s beneath us. Gospel music
that’s for those Pentecostal, you sanctify people. And the church got down to 87 members.
Here’s what’s important. The church decided to change before they call anybody to be their
pastor. The church looked at–are we going to be a black church in a black community
because at that point, they had nothing related to the community at all. No programs related.
We sit next to the project.>>Yeah.>>Nothing for the project, nothing for reading
tutorial, lowest reading scores in the city. It was just us. My mother used to call theology–dear
Lord, bless me and my wife, my brother, John and his wife, us for no more. Amen. [ Laughter ] And the church said, “Are we going to continue
to be a white church in black face?” because that’s what we are. We had–We got out white
people doctor. You had 60 minutes worth of worships. You got 68 minutes of communion
on Sunday. You got–we’ll give you eight more minutes. Are we going to continue doing this,
are we going to be a black church? And they decided to be a black church before they called
me. In fact, the slogan, my predecessor coined that slogan, “we are unashamingly black and
unapologetically Christian.” Now, can you lead us in this direction? They ask everybody
who candidated for the church, can you lead us in this new direction? I said me? Be like
throwing a rabbit in the bright pants. Come on let’s take [inaudible]. So that they had
decided to change. So that you quiet because now we have ’72. We have ’72, 1972, blacks
were leaving the church. We have conservative reactionary, recalcitrant, conservative Uncle
Tom’s in the city of Chicago who preach sermons against the natural, all that African men
shirt you’re all wearing, Dashikis and young people were leaving the church, some joining
the nation, some joining black Hebrew, Israelite–>>Yes.>>–which is headquartered in Chicago. Others
joining that big Christian church that you all knew is Operation Bread Basket, operation
[inaudible] because they had worship all Saturday.>>Mm-hmm.>>And the members who called me to be their
pastor, I said, we need–we’re losing all our young people, why, nobody want to be a
part of that. In fact, when you teach a new member of the class, he’ll say, nobody–Have
you ever howled to you, don’t tell us because you’ll be on tape but at your age, have you
ever–just picked up the phone and invited one of your friends to go to a funeral with
you? That’s what our church services would look like. Come on, I want you to go to the
funeral. So they wanted a change in worship. They wanted a change in mission. And they
had to change mentality, why? Because a lot of churches that are upper income, upper income.
And let say upper middle class Karl Marx and not have you in mind when he came over [inaudible].
They have an attitude of doing a mission work with the poor people over here. We’ll have
a [inaudible] case then a close [inaudible]. We got a mission for you. How about a ministry
with the people in the project? How about if they make the people in the project our
members?>>Yes.>>But the conversation changes.>>Yes.>>You can’t be talking about them people,
when them people are sitting at the table with you. That kind of change the mentality,
is what happened in the early ’70s, they were ready for that kind of change and they said,
can you lead us in that direction and that’s what brought about a shift in evolution and
I’ve said that across the years because a lot of young pastors, man, they go in these
churches thinking they’re going to change. If they’re not ready to change, you’re talking
about the buzz-off [phonetic]. You’re wasting your time in there then they will quickly
get rid of you. So, they had made a decision to change and that decision was to be a black
church in the black community with programs and ministries that address the reality of
the blacks in that community. Welcome to the reality, let’s sit down to find out. Not only
the reading scores, child care back in ’72, ’73, ’74; $50 a week. You got poor fixed income.
They can’t afford that. So Title 20 programming addresses that because you’re sliding scales,
some parents pay no money. Others had to pay depending on the size of the family and income.
Programs like the programs from mentoring. You heard the segment to Bill Moyers, one
of our members George Pension [assumed spelling] said black boys can’t be what they can’t see.
If a black boy has never seen a black judge or a black lawyer except going to court, how
could he aspire to become a new [inaudible] how can you aspire to be what you’ve never
seen? I didn’t even know it was possible. I can actually write programs, having those
kind of ministries that address the needs of the community as what the church said it
wanted to do and that’s what we did, beginning in ’72 when they’ve changed and made a decision
to change before calling me to service as pastor.>>Wow. What are you–I know I’m skipping
but what are you seeing today after having had that experience in the 1970s. How would
you juxtapose that with what you’ve seen today?>>What I’m seeing today in churches many,
many African-American churches around the country is number one where I grew up in the
church and you grew up in the church and people in their 40s, 50s let’s say 50s and above
grew up in the church, the young people today particularly the millennials did not grow
up in the church. So, where you have a breakfast this morning, I’d lift it [inaudible] go sound
like a foreign language to many person because of the multicultural reality of Fresno state,
[inaudible] and Dr. Watts [assumed spelling]. There’s a genre of music called meter singing.
Common meter-long, meter-short reader. It’s a part of the African-American tradition religion
tradition has been a part since the 1800s. When the 1800s and blacks couldn’t read, it
was against the law to teach in Africa how to read. So they took the words of hymnodist,
many of whom were European and put them to African tunes. And the call and response to
the African way of singing, they would call out the line and the congregates would answer
the line. So that where we grew up knowing [inaudible], you can go and I know in the
library, well maybe not at Fresno State library but MoAD in San Francisco, the Museum of African
Diaspora, you can go to the library in that museum and see a meter hymn book. Meter hymn
books have no notations. They just have the verses that it says CM common metre, LM, long
metre, SM, short metre and the one leading the song knows how to line it out so that
the congregation can answer the–you try lining out today where young people, they look at
you and they wonder what is that, what that do?>>Anybody have time for that? They don’t
know what you’re talking about. So that that has changed that young people weren’t raised
in the church. Yesterday, I was preaching in Washington, DC and the organist doing communion
service thought of playing those old hymns of the church that hymn, her mother sing,
her father sing around the house softly and tenderly is Jesus is calling, calling for
you and for me. And the one who started, the one that I’m hearing sounds in their mother.
This kid’s mother they heard Nicki Minaj. They heard wheezy so then when you start talking
about the differences in generation, they did–were not raised in the church. I’m not
going to get real because you get nervous every time I get real.>>Oh.>>But–>>No.>>They have a whole different vocabulary.>>Take it there.>>They have a whole different vocabulary
and what I find different is that the church today has to relate to them where they are,
you know, you can’t correct if you can’t connect. If you haven’t connected with them, don’t
even try to correct them. They have not been taught code-switching. They haven’t been taught
for instance, you felt like a child in front of your daddy watching Kevin Hart. All of
us might–we loved what your prayer.>>Yeah.>>But you didn’t do that in front of your
mom and dad. These kids have not been taught. You don’t do that and they don’t understand
boundaries. They don’t understand. They don’t think they’re transgressing any boundaries.
Riggins–somebody mentioned Riggins is here but there was a Riggins Earl who teaches ethics
at the Interdenominational Theological Center at Atlanta. A classic illustration Riggins
Earl gave us when I quoted him Martin Marty, my church history professor says yeah “You
better stop quoting people because every time you quote people, you get in trouble.” But
Riggins Earl, I quoted him at the black church confronting the 21st century conference held
in Vanderbilt Trinity School, 1999, 2000, we’re going into the 21st century. And I quoted
Riggins Earl as an example of what the church needed to be aware of about this current generation.
And we all quote at him to serve this present age. All right. What is this present age like?
I quoted Riggins Earl was saying how the young people in this current age do not know the
difference between appropriate language and inappropriate language. And to illustrate
his point, he is a professor of ethics at ITC Interdenominational Theological Center.
For his ministry of his church, he volunteers to teach a GD–GED course, three times a year
in twelve weeks, three courses, 36 weeks of the year. He goes into the project and teaches
GED trying to get all his kids release a high school diploma. And he said after six, five
to six weeks, you get to know the kids each class. You know the names, and all that. And
he said, he was writing up on a chalkboard, getting ready for class to start one evening.
He said I’m a seminary professor I’m not GQ. Clean, I got it all and then he said I had
one I think a purple shirt, I had on blue corduroy trousers and some green socks. And
when I lift my hand to write on the chalkboard, you could see my green socks. Bobby and Johnny
came and sat down right behind me on the front row where they always sit and Bobby said to
Johnny “maybe that motherfucker’s in green socks.” And he turned around, he said “Hold
on young man. There’s a young lady sitting right behind you. Apologize to her. We do
not use language like that in front of a young lady.” He said, “I didn’t use no language.”
He said, “You cursed in front of that young woman. Apologize to her.” He said “Prof, I
didn’t curse.” He said, “Don’t make me put you out of class man, apologize to her.” He
turned to us and he said, “Will you tell this motherfucker I didn’t curse?” [ Laughter ] Because that ain’t cursing to do. Or you start
having, talking about bringing them into church, you know, he’d better get ready. Because also
people get ready because the change are coming. That today’s young people are very different
from the young people we knew. I don’t see nothing wrong with that. And when they’ll
be shaking your hand after church, they don’t say “Dr. Johnson, that was a powerful word
today.” No [inaudible]. They say something else. I’ve heard them say it. So, the difference
is we’re losing a lot of millennials who think the church is full of stuff. They think the
church is full of crap. But again, preachers of LA, preachers of Detroit, ain’t by talking
about getting rich, bling-bling. And they didn’t want them. Many millennials want nothing
to do with the church. I argue with my–our baby daughter and our granddaughter same–they’re
the same age all the time, because they–where they’re at is what’s the point?>>And did the young generation nearly reflect
the loss that’s happening in some of the cleargy you’re identifying. Is that a–>>Yeah.>>Is that a reciprocal relationship or is
it just the young people that is a problem?>>So, what’s the second part of your question?>>So is it reciprocal? I mean, you’re seeing
a loss of value. So what’s in the discriminate–clergy you’re talking about and the young people
at the same time, if there’s a synergistic relationship whereas [inaudible] or the other.>>I have a different response to that. And
I’ll explain what I mean momentarily with the young people. Their theology, contextual,
they get from hip-hop. I mean, corporate hip-hop. I’m talking about most definitely you’ve seen
[inaudible] KRS-One. Who you’re bringing next week, Kumodi [phonetic]? They get their theology
from Salt and Pepper. They get their theology from hip-hop where we got it from Sunday school,
BYPU and something like that. They’re getting the theology from a very different place.
And went to church, they’re saying is not speaking to their reality at all. And when
they’re speaking, it does not put it as I–I was stating earlier today, in any form that
they can recognize or connect with. The preacher thing, I don’t see this synergistic because
I–my–being my age, what I have seen in seven decades, the church today when it comes to
those shock and [inaudible] preachers, is the same today as it was when I was a kid.
The difference is the media, OK? So, one no television and one day, one no television
when I was growing up, there were no black churches on television. But the media puts
the attention. In fact, the media always tries to name for us who are [inaudible] some hero
should be.>>Right, right.>>So when they lift up TVs [inaudible], they
lift up [inaudible] dollar. They lift a bill once to–>>Yes.>>They’re ignoring first of all, every church
of every race. And this country has an average of 10 [inaudible] 200. Not megachurches. But
the media didn’t pay them any attention and all those faithful women of the gospel who
are pastoring 52 weeks a year, all those faithful men of the gospel who are pastoring 52 weeks
of the year who are burying, who go into jail and getting mama’s kid out. They don’t talk
about them. There is no media spotlight over them because there’s not glory. Is that then,
if he bleeds at least–>>Right.>>–it’s not important to them. So, we don’t
see them but I saw him growing up. I saw how they ignored, you know, you get somebody making
a fool of themselves by saying something crazy. That would put them on the spotlight. But
the church that I saw growing up and the church that I see today are the same in terms of
you have some very serious pastors who are very serious about what they’re doing. And
they take their calling serious, they take the ministry serious. And you got some other
folk who see how the quick bling-bling, how to get some money. Make it rain, make it rain.>>Talking about. Talking about media and
you talked about the change from then to now. What have you noticed especially in terms
of what you’ve experienced with media? How can I put this? What do you think about the
role of media in the church? And I’m also taking into account what–how media can be
used, right? Because you can also talk about broadcasting, a sermon across the world over
the internet and things to that nature. Media in and of itself, how do you see the relationship
between church and media and what can be done? And how do you see the problems that come
about, having experienced what you experienced?>>I’m talking about what can be done rather
than promised. That no one talk about the promises. I don’t want to speak in tongues.
Every time I speak in tongues, you get mad, upset, nervous about your job in 10 years
something like that>>No. The–>>The, well, just a quick word about the
problems and the egregious nature of faux pas news. Oh excuse me, it’s F-A-U-X news,
F-O-X then Fox, that’s right. [ Laughter & Applause ] Anybody trying to get rid of O’Reilly for
his lies, all right? But who take Fox News and what they did to my family, not me. What
they did to my family, it’s just egregious. That’s why I don’t want to talk about them
because if I mess with you, you have a nine-year old son. If I mess with your son, you ain’t
going to be too happy to talk to me about not knowing you. Well I mess with family to
Fox. The newscasters and the misreporting and the–see what most people didn’t know
was President Castro was shocked and the dean of the school of social sciences was shocked.
I was not at Trinity Church when the media started this mess. I was retired. I have been
gone and they came. The Fox News and MSNBC, CBS, and ABC came to the church and each of
them spent $4000 buying 20 years worth of tapes to see what Obama had been listening
to over 20 years. And then they took one sermon from 2001 on Sunday after 9-11-01 and once
in 2005 and took, snatches of it–out of context to try to scare voters away from the black.
They didn’t want a black man in the White House. That’s just egregious. They didn’t
play the whole sermon. They don’t want to play the whole sermon. Because if they play
the whole sermon, the whole argument is lost. That kind of vicious attack where you loop
it over and over and over again. Right now, you got jackasses out here in Fresno. Jackasses.
I’m calling you jackasses. Whoever was in the call to school talking about “Why are
you having him here?” You know no nothing about me. You know no nothing about me. All
you know is what the media say, that’s all you know. [ Applause ] Now, if you’re going to take that issue with
my name-calling, just remember Jesus called the Pharisee’s sons of asps. He say “you brutal
vipers.” He say, “your mama was an asp.” I’m quoting Jesus. So, we try to get off the negative
side. The positive side, I think that social media, especially is very important and can
be used by the church just as it was used in Ferguson. Social media and young people
are showing us what’s really going on and not what the media is saying are going on.>>Yes.>>And social media is unlimited in terms
of its positive effects and can be used by the church. I was sharing–when was that last
night? When was that last night. Sunday. Sunday. I was in Washington DC and I was sharing with
the pastor there in Washington something I’d never seen before. I was at the church and
who was that asking me about the Bay Area. I was in Harold Mayberry’s church in the Bay
Area. First half of the [inaudible]. They have a number that–a Tweet number that they
put up on the screen like the screen and it say, 11:15 in their service, they tell you
to dial whoever you want to have a prayer. And everybody gets their cellphones out and
they have prayer while you on the cellphone, Tweeted all over the world, you’re seeing
messages coming in from troops in Afghanistan and troops in Iraq.>>Wow.>>Thankful for the prayer. That’s–>>Wow.>>And I was like, “man, I’ve never seen this
before.” And so the evangelist come to the altar and bow and pray and go back to his
seat. Who you want prayer for? Where are they? Call them right now. Call them right now and
for five minutes in the service, the song–playing and prayerful that whomever you want on the
prayerline at that hour, instances like that make the sky the limit in the terms of the
positive things and positive effects that can be used by the church in terms of social
media.>>Let’s give Reverend Wright a round of applause
please. [ Applause ]>>One of the difficulties with getting a
chance to sit on the stage with the hero of yours is when you have to manage the evening.
I will still–had 100 other questions and there was a lot more that I wanted to hear
but for the sake of time, we’re going to transition at this point and allow for some Q&A. So if
you’re interested in asking a question, please come up here where Professor Night [assumed
spelling] is. We’re only–let’s see. We’re going to do about–we only have about 20 minutes
or so to do. So please be concise in your questions and I do hope you have a question
more so than a lecture of your own. OK. So you all know how we do. All right. We have–OK.>>Good evening, Dr. Wright. I really enjoyed
this session. I hope that I can be with you afterwards and we can extend this conversation.
But I really believe I learned a lot. My question is to the slogan of the church, where it says,
“Unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.” Considering how Christianity has been used
to dehumanize people in reference to the Natives, Aztecs, Asians so many different people. I
understand that you know, Jesus didn’t cause those actions but he–in a sense it was allowed.
You know, he saw it and–you know, went on with it.>>He saw it?>>Doesn’t there have to be–I’m sorry, go
ahead.>>Who saw it? You said Jesus–>>Jesus. Jesus, yes.>>Jesus saw it and allowed it to go on?>>Well, I said–I’m saying he didn’t cause
these things to happen, he didn’t–you know, say, “Do this.” But there has to be a level
of–because he is omnipotent as many Christians would argue. There has to be a level of allowance
that he–he saw what was going on and he allowed it. So keeping that in mind when we’re witnessing
as Christians, don’t we have to have a sense of sorrow or a sense of apology about our
history as Christians? The one we’re witnessing to those groups that in the past times were
subject to the doctrine?>>Thank you for your question. There’s a
difference between Christianity and Christendom.>>Mm-hmm.>>And Christendom is what’s caused when it
became a religion of the State as what caused what you’re talking about, not Christianity.
Christianity have nothing to do with precepts. It has to do with a person. Did Jesus allow
Katrina? Did Jesus allow Hiroshima? Nagasaki? Those are human actions and nature. S to put
that on Jesus is to move into discussions that have nothing to do with what Christianity
is. Go back to Mark–Matthew 16, who do you say he is? Not who do the client say he is.
Not who do the Lynch party say he is but who do you say that he is. Now, in terms of what
Christianity did is the same and again where I would have–where I would–well, disagree
without being disagreeable and I’ll be mad at you. I don’t hate, just a statement. I
don’t see our job as being as witnessing to the Aztecs or witnessing to the Greek or the
Seminal, that is not what Jesus intended either. When you say witness, what do you mean? I
want to change what you believe or do I want you to be fully human as God created you?
And what we do, well we witness. We try to make somebody Christian?>>Yes, sir.>>And that’s wrong.>>OK.>>Because I’m saying to you there’s something
wrong with your–I want to witness –your mom left? I want to witness to him. I want
him to live his faith to the fullest while I live my faith to the fullest. I don’t want
him to convert because that’s one step–our witnessing is one step away from ISIS and
ISIL.>>Yes.>>The crusades and the Jihadists. If you
don’t believe like I believe, I’m going to kill you. And that has nothing to do with
what Jesus taught, and what Jesus did with his life.>>Thank you.>>Thank you. [ Clapping ]>>Reverend Wright, thank you for being here.
Your presentation is beautiful but I had a question I wanted you to address about the
pre-Christian, pre-Islamic, pre-Western concept of religion and spirituality. I’d like to
have you say something about how a thousand–5000 year old history as an African people and
some of the concepts from our system of spirituality. It’s–I know you got lots of background in
it as I heard you talk.>>Well–>>Can you show us some thing that we don’t
know about our rich 5000 year old history as African people before Christianity and
slavery and all that mess. Thank you.>>L.H. Whelchel, W-H-E-L-C-H-E-L. In his
book “The History and Heritage of African American Churches: A Way Out of No Way”, he’s
the same guy that said, “Stop calling the transatlantic.” Has a powerful book in that
volume and that he shows how Christianity started in Kemet. And that from Kemet, you
get Judaism which grew out of Kemet. A lot of Christians freak out when they find out
that Moses’ 10 commandments are found in the book of [inaudible] and the Coffin texts.
But it came out of there. Well, the bible said they lived in Egypt for 400 years, what
do you think? And out of that comes Christianity. And the first four centuries of Christianity
were all African writers, all African theologians, Athanasius, Tertullian, Augustine, all of
them were African. Constantine took Christianity out of Africa into Europe and made it a State
religion. The Nicene Creed–The Council of Nicaea was not called by the bishops of the
church. It was called by the State. And they made it a State religion that [inaudible]
argues. From that point on, it had nothing–when you take it away from its foundation which
is African religion, so when you take it away from its founder who was the African, it ain’t
had nothing to do with Christianity ever since. It had nothing to do with Jesus. It had something
to do with the State and the State is what signs asientos that permit the enslaving of
the Mayan people and the Olmec civilization and the Taino and the Tunica and the Greek
and the Seminole and everybody else. The state religion, it had nothing to do with Jesus.
But yeah, what Moyers quickly talked about, stained glass windows in our church. We want
our kids for generations to come to see the stained glass. It starts in Kemet and that’s
the first stained glass window that they see. That’s where it starts. And then it comes
all the way around to the 20th century.>>So happy to have the [inaudible] program. [ Applause ] And you hear tonight, I do hope that the tape
of this will be played in both African studies, US history and religion classes. It’s very
educational. One of the things I happen to be–have been raised on Paul Robeson. I don’t
know how many people in this room–>>Do you even know him?>>–actually know who Paul Robeson was.>>Do you know who he is?>>And I was wondering if you might share
a few words about who Paul Robeson was, a man way ahead of his time.>>He was one of the great heroes of African-American
history. He was put on the blacklist by the McCarthy era. He was–His passport was revoked.
He was considered a communist. He was–My God, a renaissance man. He was an athlete.
He was a straight A student. He was a Rhode scholar.>>[inaudible] All American from Rutgers,
international singing and actor.>>And we’re busy watching The Scandal anyway.
You know, he was one of our tremendous heroes and he’s not taught in most schools because
there’s almost no teaching about him or even mention of his name. Hs wife–I was trying
to remember the book.>>It’s Mellinda. Mellinda? Or Eslanda?>>There’s a book out–Shawn Bergen has been
advertising about his–the real Esmeranda–is it Esmeranda?>>Esmeral–>>There’s a book out about his wife and she–in
the book, she tell us parts of his life and story that have gotten lost in the history
because of the media debunking him and trashing him and making him a persona non grata. But
you have to–Paul Robeson needs to be taught and studied and learned by this country, persons
of every race.>>Thank you.>>Thank you.>>Thank you for coming to Fresno State. My
question has to relate to Professor–I mean to President Obama. President Obama was in
your church for almost 20 years and technically by the rule of the media, well I’m wondering
if you might explain a little bit why is it that the same people who are accusing, are
spending 20 years in your church, they are the same people who believe he’s a Muslim.
So how do you reconcile that too?>>A combination of ignorance and arrogance.>>Straight [inaudible].>>Anything to debunk him if there’s anything
you hate worse than an African-centered Christian man is a Muslim. So make him a Muslim and
that’ll scare people away from him. Just like you saw American Sniper. Classic line in that
movie, you didn’t see it but most Americans saw it. When their planes went into the towers,
“Look at what they’re doing to us, let’s go fight in Iraq.” Iraq had nothing to do with
them planes, nothing to do with 9/11/01. But the Muslim, the tower [inaudible] and military
people will tell you, they call them sand Niggers. So there’s that smudging argument
on [inaudible] weekend getting because he left the church, well, he can’t leave me in
the Muslim. He was a Muslim, his daddy is from Kenya. He’s a Muslim. His sister is a
Muslim over there in Southeast Asia. So you say Muslim and what’s interesting, once you
put that label on him, ask the average Christian, “OK. What do Muslims believe? What is the
difference between Sunni, Shia, and Sufi?” And you will go get a blank stare, “All we
know they’re Muslim, we don’t like them.” A terrorist. Excuse me? Did they bomb, the
Unabomber that was here, was he a Muslim? Was Columbine High School something carried
out by Muslims? They’re terrorists, they are terrorists. OK. Are you from Africa? How many
persons were killed in 9/11/01 by the terrorists? Do you remember? Both–Both in World Trade
Center and the Pentagon.>>Three thousand.>>Three thousand. How many civilians, noncombatants,
that we killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Hundred and seventy-five thousand. But they’re
the terrorists. Now, I’m going to ask another question in different settings. Weren’t we
fighting Hitler in World War II? You do remember Hitler and the Jews, ovens and six million.
Why didn’t we bomb Hitler? Because he was yellow. People of color are expendable. So
once you [inaudible] somebody with a label like that, what if he not a black nationalist
Christian, anti-American self-hating, then he’s a Muslim. And we know the Muslims don’t
like us. That’s why the same people make that cognitive dissonance kind of pronouncement
on the president.>>Good evening.>>Good evening.>>Thanks for coming. I hope you come back.>>Thank you, man.>>Enjoyed you tremendously. I’ve had the
opportunity at [inaudible] to hear, but both of the [inaudible], my teacher, Roswell Jackson,
forced us to repeatedly listen to Mordecai Wyatt Johnson and running through all of the–those
ministers was a common theme in some of what they were speaking about and what he was trying
to get through to us, which was–which I don’t hear much being discussed today in general
in our community and in the church as well, which is a–and this isn’t related to the
younger generation. I’m talking about the older generation, which is being ashamed of
not being engaged and not taking part in the community.>>They–Because today we don’t see ourselves
as a part of the community, as a part of what so called integration or desegregation brought
about was us moving away from the community into enclaves and Xrbia or condos where we
have nothing to do with the community. Calvin Butts, Abyssinian in the heart of Harlem is
one thing, but we don’t–our church is out in the suburbs, mega churches. We have nothing
to do with the inner city because we moved up and out. In fact, I think there’s a TV
program that says we are moving on up. They moved away from that element. So don’t–that
a lot of churches don’t talk about because there is no investment or involvement or concern
about those who live in [inaudible] poverty. In fact, you can go back to King, go back
to King from Morehouse, Mordecai Wyatt Johnson. What was he starting when he died? The Resurrection
City and the Poor People’s Campaign, right, that got killed. So no–Now, you’re not talking
about the poor, you’re talking about how to get rich, bling, bling. [ Inaudible Remark ]>>Thank you very much for coming to Fresno.
I was at your retirement party in Chicago.>>OK.>>And my friend Shelvin Hoath [assumed spelling]
says to give you her greeting by the way.>>Yeah and Sheldon Hoath.>>My question is about something you may
have covered before I was able to arrive. I heard your tape of a talk about the black
response to the gay community and in there you mention Mary Borhees [assumed spelling]
I’ve been trying to kind of follow up on some of the things that you talked about and find
some of those references. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit more about that
work and also the theological basis for some of the things you were mentioning in your
discussion.>>I don’t remember–>>OK. This was a–let’s see. This was a talk
that you gave about you started out with–by talking about having a lunch or breakfast,
I can’t remember, having a meal in a public restaurant with another minister and how uncomfortable
he became when the subject was broached–how there was sort of an E.F. Hutton moment when
the two of you were–>>Got into–he turned over the water, he
turned over the tea on the table, he got very animatedly agitated in what I was saying and
I don’t remember–I was trying to remember the name Mary–>>Mary Vorhees, you talk about my son Eric–>>Oh, Borhek.>>I couldn’t catch it on the tape.>>Yeah. B-O-R-H-E-K. One of the–And you
want me to say some more about that?>>Yes, if you would.>>The 1975 is the year that I had all of
the mental furniture in my head rearranged in our denominational’s national biannual
meeting, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Dr. Charles Cobb who was Ben Chavis’s boss, sent a note around asking for all black delegates
at the General Synod to come to his room at lunch when we broke for lunch. Now, the General
Synod, 700 delegates about 30 black. So, we all made our way to Charles Cobb’s room. I
was the last one to get there. And when I got there, he started signifying, “Oh Dr.
Wright is here, we can begin. Now, let’s give Dr. Wright a hand. Let’s give him a–” So
I tipped across all the person, some seated on the bed, some seated on the pedenza, some
seated in the furniture, sofa chair, went to the far corner of the room and leaned up
against the wall and Charley closed the door, the only door out of the room and said, “I
invited you all here today because I want you to hear from the president of the gay
caucus.” I want to walk back across all those people and get out of the room because I was
homophobic and didn’t know I was homophobic. It was just how I was raised. And so, I put
on a poker face to look at this guy. And the guy blew my mind. He blew my mind so badly
that I couldn’t talk about it for four years. And four years later, I preached about it,
I just didn’t talk about it and that’s good news for homosexuals. And after preaching
that sermon, it opened up the doors in our church and in our congregation for not only
gay and lesbian, bisexual, transgender person to come talk to me about their parents and
family members who’ve been wrestling with what do we do about this? And one of the books
that we found was very helpful for families, for parents like Mary herself. Mary was a
woman who found out when her son was 22, 23 that he was gay. And when she went to talk
to her pastor about it, they put him out of church. Both of you are going to hell, him
and you. And so she began her own search for what does the bible really say about homosexuals.
I was talking this afternoon about what the difference between what the bible says and
what translations say. The word homosexual is nowhere in the bible. In English, the translators
took the word pederasty and pedophile and made that homosexual. They’re not the same
thing. And after she did her own investigation, she read the John Hopkins study. She read
what the association of psychologist–American Psychological Association is saying. She now
is an HIV activist person. She joined another church and that book was very helpful as is
Peter Gomes, G-O-M-E-S. His book called “The Good Book” which is about the bible. He has
a chapter on homosexuality that helps people to work through their understandings. The
most helpful thing that I have found in terms of literature was eight and a half by eleven
two-sheet printing on both sides put out by the denomination several years ago. 2001 is
when my dad died so it would be 2001, “Good News”. “Good News” was a publication of the
board for homeland ministries of the United Church of Christ. They printed “Good News”
once a quarter. And in this quarter edition, a father like Mary Borhek, a father found
out his son was gay and conducted a year-long bible study of what does the bible really
say about gays and lesbians. Same gender loving consensual relationship. What does the bible
say? And at the end of a year’s time he said, “The most eye opening lesson for him was how
intellectuals like people here at Fresno, people with advanced degrees never come to
grips with the homophobia.” Homo means what? Same. Phobia is what?>>Fear.>>Fear. What is fear? An emotion. And until
you deconstruct the emotional blockage as a person has when they come to the table and
talk about sexuality, heterosexuality or homosexuality, I can give you the entire World Book Encyclopedia,
I can give you the World Book Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica. I can give you the
whole internet, but you can’t hear a word I’m saying until we deconstruct whatever it
is that’s causing the blockage emotionally. And what causes that blockage? And that guy
in the restaurant had been in the joint–had been raped in the joint. That’s not a homosexual
relationship–that’s rape. But he couldn’t hear–he didn’t want to hear anything at all
about people born same gender loving, genetically wired, he didn’t want to hear–Because all
he had blocking him was what happened to him in prison. Same thing with someone who–one
of our members whose husband was on the DL and didn’t tell her. She’s got AIDS. She don’t
want to hear nothing about Peter Gomes, Mary Borhek. Nothing what the association of psychology
is saying. All she knows is that man gave her AIDS. And until you can deconstruct that
emotional blockage there can be no conversation between the individuals that makes any sense.
It’s just going to be generated into an argument, name calling and hard–and hurt feelings.
But that–When I was trying to talk to him, he had written that sermon Good News for Homosexuals.
And he wanted to challenge me on it. God is–There are some people who were born, they’re going
straight to hell, the way they’re born. That helped? Mary Borhek. B-O-R-H-E-K. My son Eric
is the name of the book.>>Now I want to say very quickly before we
continue. We have–We’ve actually gone over Rev. Wright has been good enough to stay but
he is–he started today very early this morning so I would ask the last few people to have
questions be very concise so that we can actually let him go on his way.>>Rev. Wright, I thought you presented a
lot interesting stories, analogies and ideas. The idea you presented about when you went
to school with the Jews leaving to go to school and you went over it very quickly you say,
“That’s what the black should do.” I totally–I think it’s your strongest idea presented all
evening. And in every discussion I’ve ever listened to on the radio dealing with blacks,
never once, you’re the first one ever to say that. I think it’s your most important idea.
Maybe you could talk somewhat about that idea. How hard do you think that would be to accomplish?
How do you think your colleagues, friends, pastors, ministers and ideal people believe
in ideals would help you in that idea?>>Well tried for 36 years as a pastor and
I had success in our church limited in an urban setting. What’s possible in an urban
setting is not as possible–well let me say this–reverse that. What happens in a small
town setting, in a black church is much easier than an urban setting, with after school programs
of kids coming straight from school, in Chicago you got to cross gang turf territories on
public transportation to get to the after school program and that’s what made it not
as successful in our church as it could have been, have we been in a smaller town. Other
pastors, I never could get any interest with other pastors in 36 years. One maybe in Texas,
one maybe in Oakland but no roof of black churches said, “OK our churches are going
to be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from three to five for an after school program.
If your kids live in this neighborhood, they can come.” I could not get–I could not generate
any interest because it wasn’t about the Lord in heaven and grace and gifts of the spirit.
But I saw it work, I saw my classmates learning their own story and that’s what we need to
be doing. But I didn’t have any much success. I didn’t have nationwide success like I would
have like. Or even citywide in Chicago because the Shelvin Halls Church on the West side,
you’re talking about Chiraq that’s what they call them. You know that’s a combination of
Chicago and Iraq with bullets flying. Nobody letting the kids go to no school–after school
program in that neighborhood. So we had those kinds of problems in a city like Chicago.
But I agree with you, I thought it was a perfect idea because, I mean, it’s what my parents
made us do, learn, go learn. Stop talking about what they’re not teaching in school
go in the library and learn it yourself, go read. And I saw it working with Andy Steiner
and [inaudible], my Jewish buddies but we wouldn’t do it. Not even in Philadelphia where
I was growing up did I see it happen on a wide–city-wide or nationwide basis. But I–we–totally,
I think that’s something that the church of today, the millennial church especially, should
be doing even using hip-hop to teach.>>Yes.>>By the way. In case anybody didn’t know
of and some people have left. Did you all know the only black Oscar winner?>>CJ, Common.>>Common is a member of Trinity United Church
of Christ. [ Applause ]>>Born and raised in our church.>>Walter Brooks: Dr. Wright, thank you. My
name is Walter Brooks [assumed spelling]. That’s a Brooks name. I’m a preacher’s kid
raised same like you have. Same common experiences, fraternities, college, military experiences
and all that kind of stuff. I had a question though about this Christian thing. This word
Jesus and you know I was raised Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, pray, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Don’t you
think that we are crucifying the man? Because–>>Get back.>>–we don’t use his Hebrew name [inaudible].>>But we don’t speak Hebrew there’s no J
in the Hebrew. My name is not Jeremiah.>>You took semantics in college.>>Yeah but my name is not Jeremiah. We speaking
English and that’s the anglicanization of the word. My name–there’s no such thing as
Jeremiah or Job or Joshua.>>You see no reason to go back to the original
languages that–>>Well if you’re going to speak–If you’re
going to Aramaic, yes. If you’re going to speak Hebrew, yes. But if you’re speaking
English, you use English. Do you say Florida?>>Say it again.>>Florida. That’s the state at the bottom
of the United States.>>Do I speak?>>Do you say Florida?>>No, no, no.>>What do you say?>>Florida.>>Florida. Is that what you’re saying Florida? [ Laughter ]>>The Spanish gave it a name for flower.
Florida.>>I–>>But we don’t say Florida we say Florida.>>There’s another aspect to this. And that
is that, the man was–and I think you would agree that he was an African. He was an African
[inaudible]. Moses came out of Africa. Every pitch that you see at this person you call
Jesus is a European–>>Not every.>>Almost? I bet some–I came out of Amy Church
[assumed spelling], I’ve seen Amy Churches.>>That’s different.>>You’re from Philadelphia so you know the
Amy has–>>That’s a monumental.>>–you know all that stuff. But this has
been an issue with that we need to–>>We don’t speak the languages anymore.>>But I’m talking about more than that. I’m
talking about characterization–>>Well the characterization starting in the
’60s. Starting with our plaque, the black messiah, the picture, the [inaudible] has
been trying to correct what the Renaissance did.>>We have to correct history–>>That’s true too but the point is. Can you
say that in Akan what you just said?>>This may lived in–>>I don’t want to make–speak in Akan, speak
in Sui [assumed spelling], speak in African language, speak in–>>I speak the language called [inaudible].>>But nobody here speaks that. That’s my
point. This is a country where English is spoken. Different dialects of English [ Inaudible Remark ]>>The kids after school learn Hebrew. We
as an African people need to have some connection to Africa and language is a part of that.
And I’m just saying in context of Christianity in the 345 child student council– I have
to [inaudible].>>Because we only have a minute, please.>>I’ll stop with this. I’ll stop with this.
Everything Jewish, everything Hebrew was to be exercised from the church and in that was
the word use of Greek language versus the Hebrew language. That’s all. I just want to
get your point of it.>>Well, the Greek language, 200 years before
that council became the Bible in Greek [foreign language] in translation. That’s what the
Ethiopian, the African, the [inaudible] was reading in Greek. So, that language, I understand
what you’re saying but all I’m saying is [foreign language].>>There you go.>>I understand what his name is but we don’t–we
speak English.>>That’s English with you.>>All right. That–>>What’s my name?>>Jeremiah.>>No. [ Laughter ] [ Inaudible Remark ] OK. Into the mic. Close to the mic.>>At one point in time, did the church ever
fulfill the need of its members? So, when you were growing up in the church, did–>>Closer to the mic [inaudible].>>When you were growing up in the church,
did it fulfill your needs? Because today, now, I don’t go–>>Yes.>>–church because–>>Smaller churches do. Smaller churches,
in my experience do. Megachurches can’t. That’s not what they’re designed to do. The smaller
churches yes do. Yes.>>OK. Thank you.>>I’ll be brief. Thanks for coming to Fresno
again, Dr. Wright. You mentioned the black theology and I was wondering in light of Ralph
Warnock’s [assumed spelling] new work “The Divided Mind of the Black Church” where he
talks about–>>We channel James Cone but we–no, he said,
we read James Cone and quote James Cone but we channel Billy Graham.>>Right, right. So, my–is that so. That’s
my question. The question is why, from your perspective, has black liberation theology
not made its way into the black church?>>Several reasons. Several reasons. Number
one, it depends on geographical location and pastoral leadership. Number one, 90% of African-American
churches do not have seminary-trained pastors. And as I said, James Cone’s black theology
was for the academy, it’s for the seminary. And most pastors in African-American dominations
are not seminary trained. Did you know that?>>Yeah.>>All right. That’s part of the problem right
there, number one. Number two, what Dale Andrews among others in the field of practical theology
have argued correctly–accurately argued is that nobody ever made–make sense to the person
in the pew because the pastor without seminary education didn’t know how to do that. So,
he just put [inaudible] it. And kept up with the fans of the white Jesus and Michelangelo,
Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”. He didn’t try to make black theology make sense for
the average worker. The person in the church and practical theology also dealt with how
do you take deep theological issues like the difference between equality as oppose to equity
and make them make sense for ordinary church folk. If you don’t, you’ll lose them. You
can tell them about equity, equity, equity. I’ve got some equity in my [inaudible], you
know? Anthony Reddie, one of the many practical theologians, he’s Afro-British shows how to
do that at the local church level for folks even though we’re near seminary. And one example
is musical chairs forget that that one takes too long, I’ll do it privately at dinner.
I haven’t eaten dinner anyway. The one he says equal footing where all in an even playing
field, right? Take me 50 years ago. I would have been 23, 5’10”, 200 pounds and put me
at the starting block in a 100 yard heat with another 5’10” African-American, male, 23 years
old as equal footing, it’s a equal playing field, isn’t it? We both got equal chance
of winning this race, don’t we? You can tell me that this brother here named [inaudible]. [ Laughter ] In order for there to be equity in this race,
give me a 50 yard head start and then fire the gun. And how that relates to you is in
your black community, you don’t have computers in your school like they have in the white
school. You don’t even have books. So you’re not on the equal playing field, we all have
a chance to succeed. No, no, those black kids need equity. They need the same things that
are in the white community, by zip codes, in black communities. It’s that kind of practical
application that church folk then begins. See, that’s what Colin [assumed spelling]
is talking about. That’s what the other survivors was talking about. But if you don’t break
it down for them in language they can understand, it never–yeah, you end up channeling Billy
Graham. So that’s why.>>Imanihas Muhammad: Thanks, Dr. Wright.
My pleasure to attend this event and obviously appreciate all your wonderful contribution
and remarks, et cetera. I am Imanihas Muhammad [assumed spelling]. My quick question to you
is in light of our contemporary issues like lives matter and all the progress we’ve made
hence civil right, civil rights. So now, what’s your view on this concept of iconoclasm or
taking a doctrine of pictures and other means of, I would say, language that is in concepts
and images have on continuing making progress as again one step forward and two step back
and i.e. getting to this issue as a root problem existing here with us, politics is always
going to be there, economics, but until we can deal with the psychological perspective
of let’s say Caucasians, in particular not all Caucasians, but those who would say a
[inaudible] races et cetera have an idea that they’re superior be perpetuated by their view
what we’re talking from [inaudible] and then also the view of images portraying God as
divine being them and we obviously not a part of that fabric of the divine being. Just your
comment on that.>>I understand. I understand both the Muslim
teaching about images of the divine and I understand ABPsi’s position, Association of
Black Psychologists, 45, 50 years ago talked about the damage that it does to black kids
to put a white Jesus on the fan or in your church when they sing, “Wash me whiter than
snow”, they mean literally, make me look like this image, which I can never be like, therefore,
I can never measure up, I’ll never be fully saved or fully human because I can’t be like
this white image. And I understand both ABPsi’s position and the Muslim position. I studied–He
knows, but two years with [inaudible]. So I’ve intimately connected with–in fact my
master’s paper was on the [inaudible], 19th century Sufi movement that swept into West
African and how it was accepted by the–or rejected by the Bambara, Fulbe and took a
lot of people in West Africa. Going back to the fact that we are an audio visual culture
in the west, we can’t change that. Well, I mean, I shouldn’t say it like that. The difficulty
of changing the reality of the audio visual culture that are kids grow up from the time
they rather watch something than read it, that the images need–that they’re going to
watch need to be changed so they have a more wholesome healthy understanding of what it
means to be an African, living in diaspora. But you have to–but you can’t–that’s even
in the bible when in terms of making images, you can’t–how can a human make an image of
something that’s nonhuman, that you’ve never seen and you can’t see God. So I mean, that’s
a scriptural teaching, that’s a quranic teaching, that’s psychological teaching, but since they’re
going to see, they’re going to be watching rather than having then watch Nicki Minaj,
“Oh my God, look at her butt.” Let show them something positive to look at is the response.
Theoretically, I understand exactly what you’re talking about in terms of–>>I got you.>>–how their minds, how our minds are controlled
by the images.>>Thank you, sir, beautiful answers.>>OK. [ Inaudible Remark ]>>He’s from Philly.>>Well, next time you come I’ll have a [inaudible].>>All right, there you go.>>I would like to ask, well, you didn’t make
a comment about how that you–well, you have paid attention to the issue with Ferguson
and now the social media aspect of combatting that with–combatting the police brutality
and everything and using social media to bring knowledge to everything that’s coming on,
well, what’s going on in our country. Would you say that that has been an effective form
of combatting racism as well and the systemic aspect of racism since you have been–since
you have lived through the civil rights era, would you say that what we’re doing today
is an effective way of combatting that?>>Is an effective way of bringing attention
to the problem and a first step towards addressing how we rearrange social structure, to eradicate
that what Jim Wallis calls America’s original sin. It’s a step. I don’t see it as end all
be all because you’re all going to have all the die-ins you want until we change the policies,
things will go right on like they’ve been going on, but I think it’s a very important
first step, yes.>>Please give a round of applause for Reverend
Jeremiah Wright. [ Applause ] Now, unfortunately Reverend Wright has to
go right away, so he won’t be able to stay for questions and whatnot, but we would like
to thank you for coming and just so you can kind of see the young man on the corner here
are all members of the ONYX Black Male Collective. So they would be acknowledged and thank you.
So everybody have a good night. Thank you for coming out. Keep checking the Black Popular
Culture website, connect to the Africana Studies, you’ll see the video soon.>>Please exit at the back of the room. Thank
you. [ Applause ] [ Silence ]

Stamped from the Beginning: Ibram X. Kendi on the History of Racist Ideas in U.S.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,,
The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re joined today by historian Ibram X.
Kendi, professor of history and international relations, founding director of the Anti-Racist
Research and Policy Center at American University. He just left the University of Florida at
Gainesville. He is the author of the National Book Award-winning
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. If you could take us through your thesis,
Professor Kendi, as you raise the profile of five figures through history, right through
today, Angela Davis, and talk about their role in our history? IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. And so, the thesis for the book actually came
about through researching for the book, which I think is a good thing. And that was, I ended up entering into this
history of racist ideas believing this common idea that, really, the sort of origins, the
cradle, of racist ideas is ignorance—are ignorance and hate, and that ignorance and
hate leads to racist ideas, and it’s these people who have these racist ideas who are
the people who institute racist policies, like slavery, segregation and even massive
incarceration. And so, the more I sort of studied this history,
the more I contextualized the development of these ideas in their historical moment,
and, more importantly, the more I distinguished between the producers of racist ideas and
the consumers, and decided to study the producers, the more I found that people were producing
racist ideas to justify existing racist policies. In other words, racist policies were becoming
before racist ideas. And those racist policies were emerging out
of self-interest. And so, you had economic, political and even
cultural self-interest driving the creation of racially discriminatory policies, and then
the need to justify those policies led to the development of racist ideas, and then
those racist ideas and their circulation—or, more so, consumption—led to our ignorance
and hate. And so I chronicle this history through five
major characters. And the first character is Cotton Mather,
who was a Boston theologian, who, at the time—he lived from the 1660s to the 1720s—race or
racial ideas were largely theological ideas, because theological ideas were largely scientific
ideas. And so, he was involved in popularizing many
of the early theological ideas justifying or making the case for black inferiority. By the emergence of the United States, the
racial discourse became more secular, and particularly through the role of Thomas Jefferson. And Thomas Jefferson died on the eve of the
abolitionist movement—Thomas Jefferson being the second major character in the text—and
that abolitionist movement was largely spearheaded by William Lloyd Garrison, who of course was
the third major character. And W.E.B. Du Bois was the fourth major character. He, of course, was one of the sort of fathers
of civil rights and black power. And the last major character, that covers
the last 50 years, where mass incarceration, in particular, became front and center, was
Angela Davis. AMY GOODMAN: And so, talk about, from Cotton
Mather to Angela Davis, how they embodied your idea of how racist policies and ideas
develop. IBRAM X. KENDI: So, in the case of Cotton
Mather, Cotton Mather was involved in probably the first great American debate over race,
which was whether black people could become Christians. And slaveholders who were also Christian made
the case that black people were too barbaric. Cotton Mather, being a major Boston theologian,
being a major minister wanting to have a new group of people to proselytize to, made the
case that they can be Christianized, because their souls have the capacity to be white,
even though their bodies are black and inferior and worthy of enslavement. And so, this debate, he made this case for
this debate because he wanted to open up the sort of reins on the church to be able—particularly
the Puritan church, to be able to proselytize to black people. So he had this sort of hidden self-interest,
this hidden cultural self-interest, that led to his idea. And, you know, Thomas Jefferson, as many of
you would understand, I mean, he was a slaveholder who, of course, wanted to create ideas that
allowed him to continue slaveholding. And, you know, all the way up to sort of Angela
Davis. Angela Davis, I chronicle as, you know, this
major anti-racist theorist, because I really sort of show the debate, really, between racist
and anti-racist ideas. And I show, particularly within the realm
of criminal justice, that, you know, all of these ideas justifying law and order, justifying
the war on drugs, justifying tough on crime, and now justifying police being exonerated
for killing black lives, that Angela Davis was long at the forefront of challenging those
ideas by challenging the racist ideas that were underlying them. AMY GOODMAN: You write very poignantly in
the prologue to Stamped from the Beginning, “I somehow managed to write this book between
the heartbreaks of Trayvon Martin and Rekia Boyd and Michael Brown and Freddie Gray and
the Charleston 9 and Sandra Bland, heartbreaks that are a product of America’s history
of racist ideas as much as this history book of racist ideas is a product of these heartbreaks. Young Black males were twenty-one times more
likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts between 2010 and 2012, according
to federal statistics.” And you go on to say, “The under-recorded,
under-analyzed racial disparities between female victims of lethal police force may
be even greater. Federal data show [that] the median wealth
of White households is a staggering thirteen times the median wealth of Black households—and
Black people are five times more likely to be incarcerated than Whites.” Talk more about this. IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. Well, Amy, this is—I mean, since the beginning
of the United States, since the beginning of colonial America, there has been what’s
called racial disparities, as you just outlined, racial disparities where black people were
more likely to be poor, black people were more likely to be killed by the police, black
people were more likely to be imprisoned. And so the question becomes: Why? Why is it that black people are on the lower
end of these racial disparities? Why does racial inequality exist in this country? And really, the racial debate has largely
been trying to answer that question. And really, Stamped from the Beginning chronicles
that long racial debate trying to answer that question. And really, there’s been three positions,
and those positions still persist to this day. The first position states that it’s because
black people are inferior. The reason why so many more black people are
being killed by the police is because black people keep acting recklessly before the police. If black people would act better, then this
would not be a problem. So they principally state that there’s something
wrong and inferior about black people. This is what I call the segregationist position. On the other side of the debate has been the
anti-racist position. The anti-racist position states that the racial
groups are equal. There’s nothing wrong or right about black
people or any other racial group of people. So, because the racial groups are equal, it
must—these disparities, these inequities must be the result of racial discrimination. So they spend their time challenging racial
discrimination. And then the third position, which is called
the assimilationist position, actually argues both. Typically and historically, they’ve stated
that, yes, there is racial discrimination, but there’s also something wrong and inferior
about black people. And so, they’ve sought to civilize and develop
black people at the same time they were challenging racial discrimination. AMY GOODMAN: So talk about where Black Lives
Matter fits into this picture, the organizing from the grassroots up, and where you see
it going. IBRAM X. KENDI: Yeah, I think it fits precisely
into this picture, because I think Black Lives Matter activists have made the case that the
problem is the criminal justice system, that the problem is racist policing, that the problem
is the laws that are being created that make the case that there’s something wrong with
the people as opposed to the environment that these people—the lack of jobs and resources
these people are being faced with. And so, I’m hoping, and I’m sure many
people are hoping, that Black Lives Matter and many other activists, anti-racist activists,
who have been inspired by Black Lives Matter, and other types of activists will recognize
the anti-racist position, which is that either the racial groups are equal or they’re not. And if you believe that the racial groups
are not equal, that there’s something wrong or inferior about black people, that that’s
a racist idea. And so you cannot continue to imagine that
this nation is post-racial at the same time that you don’t believe that the racial groups
are equal, that you’re championing policies that actually discriminate against black people. AMY GOODMAN: Talking to historian Ibram X.
Kendi. His book won the National Book Award, Stamped
from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. And you talk about overall racial inequities,
from everything from wealth to health. Certainly, when we look at what’s happening
right now in the Senate, though the healthcare bill has been put off for the moment, now
opposed by nine Republicans, who run the political spectrum, feeling that regulations—like,
what, Senator Paul of Kentucky—have to be stricter, that Medicaid and other healthcare
policies and safety nets have to be dismantled, to those who feel that this is way too stringent. But always at the bottom of this you have
the most vulnerable in society. So talk about from wealth to health, Professor
Kendi. IBRAM X. KENDI: So, I mean, from wealth, I
mean, the Great Recession, some have made the case, was one of the largest losses of
black wealth in American history, one of the largest losses of Latino wealth in American
history, that when we have these major economic catastrophes, you know, those people who are
the most sort of underprivileged are most likely to lose out. But I think the healthcare debate and, really,
argument, I think, is even more indicative, you know, of what we’re talking about. I mean, the Affordable Care Act led to 11
percent more black and Latino people becoming insured, which is a dramatic sort of development
within black America, within Latino America. And so, more—it eliminated these massive
disparities—or, I mean, eliminated—reduced these disparities between racial groups that
are uninsured. And so, you know, to think about a new healthcare
bill that’s going to reduce the number of people who—I’m sorry, increase the number
of people who are uninsured, I mean, many of those people are probably going to be black
or Latino, and then, therefore, we’re going to have an increase in these disparities. And then what racist ideas will say is, “Well,
it’s those black people’s fault. It’s those Latinos’ fault. You know, they should be working harder. There’s something wrong with them.” And so, they’ll create racist ideas to justify
those disparities. And I should also say that, you know, I think
one of the most consequential manifestations in this country that black life does not matter
is the disparity between how long black people live. I mean, white people are more like three-and-a-half—have
a lifespan of three-and-a-half years in this country. And I think, you know, many of these things
sort of result in that, including people having access to healthcare. AMY GOODMAN: You’re writing a new book on
how to be an anti-racist, which will be released next year. Can you give us a little preview? IBRAM X. KENDI: So, you asked about the—Amy,
ask the question again? I’m sorry. AMY GOODMAN: I was just saying, you’re writing
a new book, How to Be an Anti-Racist. IBRAM X. KENDI: Oh, yes. AMY GOODMAN: Give us a preview. IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. So, I mention in the prologue of Stamped from
the Beginning that, you know, before I could chronicle anyone else’s racist ideas, I
first had to come to grips with my own. And so, really, in How to Be an Anti-Racist,
I want to sort of chronicle my journey, my personal journey, of really, you know, being
raised and consuming many racist ideas to seeking to become somebody who is an anti-racist. And so I begin the book with a speech that
I gave in high school, in which I uttered all of these racist ideas, all of these things
stating that there’s something wrong with black people. And I take readers through my own personal
journey, while simultaneously revealing many of the concepts of what it means to be an
anti-racist. AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Ibram X. Kendi, can
you tell us the origins of your name? IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. So, Ibram is—was given to me by my parents. It means “exalted father.” It’s a derivative of Abraham. Came up in a Christian church—I mean, a
Christian family. My parents were part of the black theology
movement in the early ’70s. And my last name, Kendi, my wife and I, when
we wed in 2003, we decided to choose a name together. And so, Kendi is a Meru, in Kenya, name that
means “loved one.” AMY GOODMAN: And you unveiled this at your
wedding to your family and friends? IBRAM X. KENDI: Yes. Yes. AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ibram X. Kendi, I want
to thank for you being with us, professor of history and international relations and
founding director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University. He’s just leaving the University of Florida
at [Gainesville]. He’s the author of Stamped from the Beginning:
The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which is winner of the 2016 National
Book Award. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we look at a lawsuit in
Washington against the Washington, D.C., police for their treatment of protesters at the inauguration
of President Trump. Stay with us.

Politicians Who Do Not Support Reparations, Should Not Get Your Vote. w/ Thea West

alright everybody we are live again – the mirror search for a guru and today I have a special guest brother T West is on with us from Ashley singing G and today's topic is politicians should do not support reparations should not get your vote now let me start start with this if a brother to us introduce yourself let everybody know who you are and they will hop right into it yeah hey Dinah's yes this is a t West for those of you who don't know me know about me opportunity news and a percent of your news deals with topics involving geopolitics local politics I deal with all of it reparations okay that's the big thing especially right now so we deal with that as well so I'm looking looking forward to this conversation today and if you want to see more of the programs that are produced by a percentage of news you can go you can find me on after synergy news in YouTube you can also find me in a fraternity news on Facebook I didn't Twitter I'm under I don't do a hell of a lot of things in Twitter but I'm out there under West the that's W est the8 so anyway dynastar thank you for the invite to your program I'm looking forward to doing this because it's very very important I mean the people who have been mistreated for the longest period of time and been treated the worst have been African Americans and you had other groups of people who've gotten reparations for various things and they haven't been treated anywhere anywhere even close to negatively to African Americans so I'm looking forward to dealing with this this topic today excellent topic now in which you mentioned how other groups received reparations the Japanese Italians even even the former slave masters see reparations right the argument is the reason why the Japanese Jews the Italians the reason why they receive reparations because they have a nation of their own Malak America and not having its own nation is playing a role in us not receiving our the pushback in that's receiving reparations no it's not stopping us from receiving reparations we are trendsetters we break the mold so just because these other groups who didn't face enslavement here in the United States originally came from these other nations that does not by any means prohibit african-americans from achieving or getting reparations for 243 years of slavery more than 100 years of Jim Crow lynching discrimination sharecropping all these ugly and negative things and what you mentioned about other groups receiving references including including those healthcare slave masters who owned black slaves many of them they receive reparations from the US government when they lost the labor of our ancestors and they lost that so it's asinine to think and believe that this nation with all of its wealth of past and current can get away with the very very nasty low-down dirty savage things that they did to an entire group of people here in the United States of America so no and once again we do not have to have a nation state in order to get reparations that helps it can help in many cases but as I said we are trendsetters we break the mold so we're going to get it and it's going to be in our lifetime you know any time you have you know I called them the oversized puppy such as rush limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly learn about reparations and even Mitch McConnell in in the Senate talking about reparations that's telling you something right there that's telling you that they're hearing footsteps in the dark baby okay we're coming and we're going to get it we have to demand that in every politician every every politician whether they black white or other if they do not support reparations then they should not and must not get your black vote and either if you're not black and you support reparations and a lot of white people do support reparations for for African Americans a lot of lots of them doing of course a lot of them don't but that's okay you know that's fine but whoever you are if they don't have reparations in their political agenda then they don't get our vote now if you have five people running for a political position and none of them have reparations in their agenda then none of them are going to get your vote in other words you're going to withhold your vote you have power the power is with your vote and you can withhold your vote and wait for a candidate who is going to say you know yeah look I will do support reparations for African Americans I mean these politicians they support almost everything that relates to industry that relates to immigration in this ocean makes the fourth bag almost virtually everything with regards to illegal immigration none of these politicians they support it but mostly Democrats but sorry to cut you off so I was on the black caucus site the other day any know as their objective right is of course the support of African Americans then it says it follows up with all marginalized groups and I'm like hold on why is the black caucus focused on marginalized groups outside of black African Americans because we got a Hispanic Caucus Hispanics if you go out to be I think it was the Pacific Islander caucus I is strictly Pacific Islanders but the black caucus is African Americans and all other marginalized groups I know you write up as far as how Democrats where she black Democrats Democrats like support all these other groups more they do black people yeah yeah yeah that's true that's that's under that so-called moniker people of color you know the hell with that no no this is for black folks ok period don't be afraid don't be ashamed don't be scared to say black folks you know the African America's national political agenda don't be afraid to say no this is for black people all right you've got you got homosexuals you've got queers you've got white women you've got Hispanics they're all demanding what they want okay and they're using what was the profile of what blacks used during the civil rights movement they're using those strategies to try to get what they want so when remember that the Congressional Black Caucus say these things look we the voters because those people don't have any power the black caucus they don't really have any power because if you those of you who are in Atlanta and I say shame on black folks in Atlanta because you've been in reelecting John Lewis year after year year after year so you're a part of the problem if you do that okay you have to demand that these people that these people push and promote what is in your best interest as black people here in America okay you have to do that so the power is in your vote and you can withhold your vote there's power in voting there's also power and withholding your vote because um once you let them know look you're not going to get my vote then they're not elected Hillary Clinton found that out she discovered that she discovered that a lot of black men did not vote for her didn't happen right it's going to be even more profound than 2020 whereas black folks as they began to listen to the message that I'm talking about here whereas they realize that there is extreme amount of power in not voting for someone also as well as voting for someone everybody have to have to get the black vote you must demand that they have in their platform their political platform that they have reparations for African Americans not for any other group no no no no no no no no we're not going to sabotage this everything has been sabotaged affirmative action was first put there for African Americans it's a joke now it's an absolute joke and it was and the white women took it and all the other ethnic groups they took it yeah so so it's time to make a stand and whether you black white other make that stand it's funny you brought Atlanta there is actually a study done the article that came out the other day saying that in in Atlanta black Atlanta which is supposed to be the black Mecca in America that only 25% of black people are homeowners here in in Atlanta I was shocked by that well I'm really not shocked because the the area belén i live in is the the neighborhoods called the West End and as you started it you're fine you notice all these tenants moving out there were section eight as a lot of section 8 tenants are the move around are being put out and you'll see this Oh Jewish or this old white guy pull up to the house to assess it to get a renovator so they can sell it and then his white people who are moving in so I'm really not shot but yeah in Atlanta only 25% of black people home are the home yeah there are some hit there's some head issues in in Atlanta I mean whenever you have that large a number of black people and you do not exercise the power the collective power of black people for things that are most dear to most black people and you push and you promote other people's agendas about John Lewis LGBTQ he's I mean I mean that Negro that Negro if he was in my area of the country okay I would be out there doing things to book get him voted out of office and put a presenter candidate who is actually going to represent the interests of most of the people who live there in Atlanta which are black people now but the problem is once again it's not just John Lewis the problem is is the voting bloc there in eleven that's a problem with a lot of black folks in Atlanta I'm sorry to say it doesn't be problem with that I agree I agree now the the strategy of holding your vote if a candidate does not support reparations a lot of people will say oh man reparations you're gonna check a $5 feeling your fire on us and they're saying why would you hold your vote when you're I guess sacrificing all these other social programs which I have no clue where these how these social programs are benefiting the black could be out of Halle I mean I don't know where are the social programs what's your response to people who tell my mother whatever the social programs are you're going to get them anyway regardless or whoever the candidates most of those social programs you're going to get them anyway because many of those social programs are out there to help prevent people from organizing and even rioting okay you start taking away too much candy what you will have you will have an explosion in those streets okay so withholding your vote for a greater a much greater goal is the thing to do and the much where to go when we talking about reparations we're talking about $5 we're talking about more than more than a number they're not going to give a number but I'll just say this number right there we're talking about more than $100,000 per each per each African American family who went through the ancestors went through slavery here in the United States of America that's what we're talking about we're not talking about our pennies now and you have some people who's talked about the argument about well okay you can you give these black folks that money they'll just throw it away they just give it away no that's that's just talked that's just talk most black people are handled their money quite well because I'll tell you black folks health forever in this country taken a little and stretched it out to make it into much whereas if you were to give some of the other groups of people that amount of money they couldn't survive on it and I've seen it I've seen it in my family I've seen it with my mother my grandmother okay and even myself I stretch it I make I make that money go so it's a matter of what do you do with what you got okay you always going to have some some black folks who are going to squander their money you can squander their money so what that's on there if they squandered their money hey there in the streets that has nothing to do with me or you okay if we are good stewards of our finances of our money then we are rewarded for that we will reward ourselves we will reward our children our grandchildren our progeny for ourselves being the stewards of that money so all the excuses need to go out the window go ahead go ahead I'm sorry you know no I'm good yeah okay guys this is this like button we have 146 people watching only 60 lines please hit the like button as you come to the channel again we have the West sea what I saw with us today and the topic is politicians who do not support reparations should not get your vote so tea wares we've been reduced to now voting for someone just to get Donald Trump out of office because Donald Trump is just a mean mean mean man that's the logic now when I try to get black people to articulate how has Donald Trump negatively impacted the black community outside of him just being mean they can't you know are just talking me on Twitter or you know on TV just being a mean guy they can't articulate anything well how do you feel about this strategy this we have to vote for someone just to get rid of Donald Trump out of office because he's a mean guy no sense so losses John Sumeet guy that's mainstream media mostly talking Donald Trump has done actually more things for african-americans indirectly and a few things directly then did Obama plain and simple he has now you have for example in hood on the hood housing section 8 housing and all you have black families in this country who are waiting for houses been waiting for housing for years and but you've got illegal immigrants who are living in her housing and here Obama didn't wasn't his administration wasn't kicking these people out here comes the Trump administration here comes Ben Carson ben Carson and saying no no no you people cannot be living in these houses the illegal immigrants you can't be in these houses we're going to give you a certain amount of time to get out of these houses because we have a waiting list of American citizens who are waiting for such a housing so when we talk about how the policies relate to African Americans and how African Americans must respond with regards to leadership who is who are saying and it has been saying look we will lose this we will lose that if we don't vote if we don't get rid of Donald Trump what Donald Trump has not heard black people he hasn't hurt them Donald Trump did not start our war like Obama did in Libya with and led to black people being enslaved in Libya led to black people having their organs harvested having black people beaten and tortured in Libya that was under Obama and Hillary that wasn't Donald Trump so intelligent black folks now if you're not like this you're not intelligent okay intelligent black people think creatively they don't say something just because CNN said at MSNBC said at Fox News said it are ABC CBS they don't say things just because they heard some talking head in the media say it they don't say certain things because error al sharpton of national network say it they don't say certain things just because they heard joy reads it just because they heard April Ryan say it they're not saying these things just because they heard these people say it they critique the things that these people say intelligent black people they do that they could take what these Talking Heads say and then they articulate what they have come up with and have concluded themselves that's creative thinking that is thinking for yourself that is not allowing these Talking Heads who have led for the most part have misled black people for the last several decades they're not talking about all of them no no no no no no I'm not talking about all of them but the noisy ones the one who get the notoriety most of them have misled black people I mean they got rid of John Conyers John Conyers he is the one who promoted that over 30 years ago in 1987 1989 he promoted that HR 40 right resolution 40 which deals with a study of reparations right okay and then you have now I several several months ago I came up with the african-american national political agenda and in there I talked about there has to be a twin or a parent Bill for HR 40 in the Senate now unfortunately and and I and I give kudos to cory booker some of his people it appears got the message to him that cory booker has presented a bill in the senate a companion bill in the Senate for HR 40 and that's good for reparations so in next year or before next year we're going to have Donald Trump uttering the word reparations in his mouth it's going to be in his mouth reparations we've already influenced it to be utter from the mouth of Mitch McConnell and if we have Rush Limbaugh he's mentioning reparations we have Bill O'Reilly he's mentioning reparations of course they mentioning it in a negative in a derogatory way but the victory part of the victory is one because they're talking in and that's what we want we want Donald Trump talking reparations the Democrats even if those Democratic presidential candidates are not serious about reverent reparations even if they're not they're actually serving our interests because they are putting it out there on the platform and when it becomes a part of the Democrat platform it being in the general election next year it then becomes a part of the general election platform which is where we want we want someone in power someone in the White House who has the power to say yay or nay we have someone we want someone in the White House who said well yeah you know yeah we should think about that and that's what Trump is going to say sometime next year or before he's going to say well yeah you know that is I think I think there are some validity to that I think we should talk about reparations a little bit I think I think we should consider some of the validity of that okay and that's good that's exactly what we want we want all of that mixed in to that broom we want that to happen and we're going to force Donald Trump to talk about it now vielen vielen so it regards to this reparations debate yeah like several groups who I would say I want to call the fringe groups but you have several groups you have the Atos group led by Yvette Cornell and tone talks you have in Cobra who just had their reparations of National Convention in Detroit as fast weekend you have all these different groups like which group do you think is making the biggest impact and why haven't these groups just came together as one since they're all fighting for the same well well I am NOT one who say that all of these groups need to come together I'm not one to say that because you can still accomplish a goal without coming together but there's one thing that is certain they are together on one thing and that is real gracious and that's the key thing okay now the different people different groups have different ways and different methods of getting there that whole bit you have all of that but but one thing we do know is that it has to be it must be done through the US government not through a court not through the World Court not through the United Nations not to any of that that's all good that's all good but none of those entities none of them can force the United States government to pay reparations none of them the court systems in the United States have have already told one group of blacks okay and some of them are out there just stay still running and talking the same language and making a little bit of money selling their little wares or whatever on it but the courts have already told that group that this is outside of the jurisdiction of US courts it has to be a part of Congress you have to take it to Congress you have to take it to the US government not the court system so we don't have to be together in the same way for this but we do need to be together on the concept of reparations and that's what's important and as time moves on and as we move closer to the reality of reparations then you will begin to see these disparate groups coming closer and closer together in some form of unity with reparations the t-west what if what this reparations look like is it just a check I'm hearing this oh we need to invest in these schools we need to do this we need to create that me personally I just want my check like if you can break down or define reparations what what exactly would it be reparations is a check monk it's a check it's a check some people say okay we want land no it's a check okay it's the money give the people the money okay and then with the money you can acquire land you can buy land some people don't even one land some people breath if they money they can get other things that they desire other things that they need other things that they can leverage and build from okay so go for the money it is not money to historically black colleges and universities many people who are who are graduates of HBCUs they're going to be biased about that because they're they're you know they're graduates of HBCUs but a very small small small my new my new my new percent of African Americans are graduates at HBCUs okay so if you want to talk about reparations being a part of contributing millions of whatever billions of dollars to HBCUs and then an engineer huh no the average Joe Blow weren't there damn check the average Joe Blow does not attend HBCUs all right so that's all important but you know we have to be focused we have to be considerate of the majority of black people we cannot we cannot rely upon the whims of the so-called talented tenth okay we can't rely on that because the reliance on that has kept most black folks behind the eight-ball in the first place the talented tenth one say hey lock them up three stretching you out we're for that all wrong but I do the drop the talent is say man hey we already we already have generational world we really don't the reparations that's the talent in there they do not represent the overwhelming majority of forty to forty six million african-americans in this country they don't represent a bill they represent themselves they are the type who say you can do anything in America anything if you just bootstrap this bootstrap I made it by God you can make it too okay most people's success most people who have great great success most of it is based on luck and then the other part hard work okay but most of it most of it is luck getting the breaks at the right time being at the right place at the right time and having having enough skills or knowledge and/or abilities to get in that door and stay in that door it's based on luck nothing that's not the hard work well yeah true and then I'm someone also brought this up that we should start off with clash class-action lawsuits against the companies who benefited from slavery you know example I think New York Life offered insurance policies to slave masters when their slaves died passed away and whatnot what are your thoughts on this class and shelah that's nothing new that's nothing new I mean that happened that was proposed decades ago nation on Islam and others proposed that decades ago but now now what you don't want to do you don't want to get bogged down in the trees but don't want to get bogged down in the mud okay you only want to deal with the US government you don't want to deal with JP JP Morgan and others and and some of their names have changed okay they've rebranded you don't want to deal with them I want to tell you why listen closely the reason why you don't want to deal with them is because when you go to the US government and you demand your check you can bet your bottom dollar that the u.s. government will deal with them okay the US government will deal with them because the Treasury Department they earn money from taxation and in all from those big corporations and if they look they're looking at they're counting they're counting the dollars and all in the Treasury Department and they're saying well hey look we know and we got the record we got the record dating back 400 years ago of JPMorgan Vint Vanderbilt's and etc etc we got the records of these companies and these individuals these wealthy families who were involved in the slave trade who involved in uh selling blacks as commodity on Wall Street we've got the records of all of that so they can assist the federal government can assess penalties to acquire money from them let them do the work for you think about that yes I didn't think about that so if we go after the government for reparations you'll be in turn the governor will go after these companies that benefited from on the front flavors government will handle much of that okay because they're going to be looking okay we're gonna be turning over every Rock they have the money of course they print the money they have them gonna do whatever they want to do rather rather it raises the deficit or not they had it okay I mean Pentagon budget okay over seven hundred fifty billion dollars a record amount of money okay they raise it you know that they got money thirty eight billion dollars before bomber left as president thirty eight billion dollars to Israel okay all right so they got the damn money it's not a matter of do you have the money or not okay then you have some people who say black folks and white folks another that's something to say well I'm not going to pay your damn thing for reparations well look here I'm gonna tell you something I'm gonna tell you something that I told some of you out this already I'll tell you right now it's none of your damn business you didn't have anything to do with the US government paying Twitter over twenty twenty five thousand dollars to the Japanese you had nothing to do with that you had no say in that and you will have no say in this everybody who pays taxes I pay taxes a brother brother deines you pay taxes right that reparations is coming from our tax dollars not just the other folks acts are not just white folks fat tax dollars but my tax dollars it's all coming from that some people say well part reparation should be we should have a be tax free we should I don't have to pay any taxes no no I don't agree with that they'll cut the damn check okay cut it down check okay we're Americans also okay all right because we pay taxes we're into that into reparations also okay you didn't see any of that with the you didn't even see that the kind of nonsense even with the so-called Jews drive when they were given reparations even by the Knights as governor we never give a reparations they didn't get no tax break so all this loony toony stuff you know I mean it's creative thought that's good I'll give it credence for a creative thinking but you know I mean let's put aside the stupid thinking though hmm I somebody challenge says Ashley guess if he thinks it should only be yeah we want to talk about that as surely be a check we just want to check yeah let's check so we get the check what's the in-game not me I'm taking my check and I'm dipping to Africa now for those who decide that they want to stay here I think the ingame should be built a nation of your own or integrate back into announcement countries reason why I say that is because okay so you've got the check we're still gonna deal with racism those little reparation saw systemic racism that's my question wait reparations will never solve systemic racism never will never will that will never be solved ever ever ever so let's put that false illusion throw it out the window okay it's not they'll do that but I'll tell you one thing when you have money when you have money as a people collectively when you have money the racists think once twice three times before they think about doing something crazy to you because they know you now have the power the money the finances with which to sue their asses until the things that work for black Wall Street in Greenville North Carolina South Carolina Rosen again and not like the because I mean we have money back after after slavery during Reconstruction in the early total different you did not have as black folks back then you did not have the right to go out there and successfully sue white people now you do now you can do that you couldn't do it with black Wall Street when they kill those blacks at with in an Oklahoma okay there was no nothing no recourse there was no no insurance that was giving them money for that when they burned out and killed nearly 100 black folks in lower Manhattan in 1863 when the Irish did that the black folks it witches now today lower Manhattan the most valuable property in the United States and black folks had that have a big part of that in 1863 where there's no repercussions for that there was no payout there was no reparations for any of that you did not have the recourse of filing a lawsuit with regardless of that even if you were a black doctor in lower Manhattan or in Oklahoma with black Wall Street even if you had all that money and everything you did not have the rights as a human being to exercise the power of your wealth with regards to white people well that's why people would just come out and just kill you okay they'll come out of just firebomb your place blow your place up and you had no recourse alright because the government did not support you the government was not backing you a different day different day in time totally different now you can sue their asses and you feed black folks who have money who sue and they win you see that now we all know that had O'Day not been wealthy had he not been rich when they say rich I had not been rich that we know that OJ would have been put underneath the jail true okay but it was his money in this age in time now had that been in the 1920's 1930's 1950s he went to manatee he was Amanda okay no matter how much money hair look at look at Jack Johnson okay look at here look at what they did to him and he was a rich man but look at what they did to it his money couldn't help him now you have only one one exception today only one and that's limited and that's what Bill Cosby that somebody brought it up the jammer so what's the difference between Bill Cosby in oj well what Bill Cosby with Bill Cosby is this but Bill Cosby what you had you had people who changed the laws in Pennsylvania they totally change the laws to go after Bill Cosby totally change them now they tried to do and they did a little bit of that with Michael Jackson and they still didn't get Michael Jackson okay in California California changed some laws to go out to Michael Jackson well in that last trial okay and he was found not guilty okay now but in Pennsylvania they changed the laws they got rid of the other prosecutor they put in that Democrat as a prosecutor they put a black female right there as his Tonto and they took down Bill Cosby mm-hmm okay so so we can go into the details of what makes certain situations and circumstances different but when we look at the macro level and that's what I'm talking about I'm talking about the macro level not the micro level the micro level is when I is when I go into the weeds and the murder involving a Bill Cosby okay and Bill Cosby was an exception you got Michael Jackson you got Oh Jay Simpson okay so they have to go around another way to try to antagonize OJ Simpson so they follow Sybil the civil suit against oj okay and even they did that kind of crap even with us in some ways with Bill Cosby okay so but for the most part at the higher level at the macro level when you're talking about a check to every adult African American descendant of those who were enslaved in America at the macro level that's too much money okay you cannot you cannot come out the racists I'm talking about the haters the biggest you cannot come out and successfully sabotage this type of check at this level at this amount at these numbers you couldn't do it now you talked about well you have plans in Africa that's good some brothers and sisters do have plans in Africa but you have you would have the resources to do that but not only do you have plans in Africa but Africa I also have plans for brothers and sisters who have gotten that check here in the United States of America okay that would be plans you will see some synergy happening and going on with African nations and the African Americans here in this country you get it here you get a reference when you get it here in America you also going to see blacks in Jamaica getting it from the British grant and the British the British have a part to play in this too because not all of those 243 years was under the United States government part of that was under the British government that's fast you're right all right partner who was under the British government any part of the Spanish government was rich government yeah territory French we're a much of a much of the West even parts of the South that was under the Spanish great okay so we have all of that right there and now I'm so so when you start talking about reparations and you start talking about the US government then the US government will then say what I'm saying right now well then look here for those two hundred forty three years we were only a nation for X number of years so what about the British you'll have the US government coming to bat for you because they want the British to play there to pay a piece too they want the fridge they want the Spanish to pay their piece too well cos wish your thoughts on a candidate slang cory booker now Cory Booker was at the age of 40 here you see certain Democrats who are a lot of people say they're pandering they get the black vote in they're not serious what are your thoughts on that as far as it's easy to say someone is pandering and that's fine that's what politicians do politicians business is dependent they have to say okay now they have to first first find out okay what do these people want and then the politician has to say well is it would it be politically advantageous for me to come out and say that hey I support what you want now I support it I support it's a part of my platform part of my platform okay that is a part of politics to pander so if they Pender that's fine I accept that but you as a voting bloc as the voting constituents you must force them to put action to put meat on the bones to that pandering to make reality of that pandering to who produce what they're promising Bernie Sanders promises the moon the Stars where he promises everything oh free to leave everything as sure as Pinterest but that's crazy pandering because we know he can't deliver that we know that he's an independent he's not even enough Democrat he's an independent very small very very small counting on a few okay I'm on two fingers probably of Independence within Congress okay sorry if they didn't show if he didn't show all the years he's been in the Senate now I know so pissing off some of you Bernie Sanders supporters right now but it applies to other candidates to Elizabeth Warren as well but Bernie Sanders have you been in the damn Senate for a few decades and you haven't accomplished what you trying to Pender and promise people right now now what makes you think that you as president that you're going to be able to deliver that if you can't deliver it in the most powerful body in the US government which is the US Senate not the house but the Senate not the president the Senate that's where most of the power is in the US government is a damn Senate all right so I think it was Elizabeth Warren she brought up how the lgbtq out the big community should also get reparations do you think they're gonna turn a reparation to into something like affirmative action where just everybody claiming and not specifically after the citizens length they they the word thing let me say again the word they they they they focus on day they they uh-huh they don't mean jack it's not about they it's not about them it's about us they are not going to control this they are not going to dictate with this Elizabeth Warren is not going to dictate that with this that to be the lgbtq they're not going to dictate with this LGBT people white people white women white men they were enslavers all right the most wealthiest group of people or community in this country so happened to be among LGBTQ ok when you start dealing with the Silicon Valley you're dealing with a lot of homosexuals and lesbians when you start dealing the Seattle Washington you're dealing with a lot of homosexuals and lesbians okay that's why we bomb on love to go up into that area of the country when he was running for president both times okay uh Silicon Valley he loved that Seattle he loved going up there Seattle Bellevue Kent Washington State I know about that I live there okay so he'll a lot of money up there I mean Bezos Steve Bezos Nora okay do it gates okay two richest men in the world get up there Seattle only money money money money that's where it's at so so they are not the ones who dictate any of this anybody that listen to the woman who comes out talking about well LGBTQ and she mentions LGBT and reparations in the same sentence and the same paragraph turn her off blow her away and blow her away means turn her off okay I don't want you guys to misconstrue what I just said okay just blow her away with it we don't wanna listen to you we're not going to abide by that you're not going to dictate that you're not going to determine you're not going to sabotage what we want as african-americans with what you did with affirmative action you're not going to sabotage this affirmative action is a white women thing now okay it was it was it was first created by and started and dreamed up by author Fletcher a black man Brown okay and it was intended initially it was intended to right the wrongs of what we're going after reparations for because it did not right the wrongs of what it was intended and because it was sabotage therefore we demand reparations and we don't want any of these other fringe groups talking about reparations none of that none of it and we don't want any coalition's with them if they're going to use our demand of reparations as a platform to promote their agenda I mean it's Jackson rainbow coalition okay now you see the rainbow flag now you see it you see it you see it okay that was sabotage okay it was a big sabotage and then continually when you do something and it works you will do it over and over and over again until black folks finally figure it out hey we've been bamboozled we've been tricked we've got the wool pulled over our eyes we've been fooled okay there's time to open your dog gone eyes and see it for what it really is go for yours not for anybody else not for illegal immigrants I don't know no not for them us we're first we're first not the newcomers we're first we're first we built the damn country okay we suffered the longest beaten killed rate lynched burned blade okay and worse harvested for organs I did a program about ten years ago and it's become a big thing now about Henrietta Lacks I was the first one to come out and really put that out there mother used the cells of a black woman they discovered that her cells would not die she died of cancer but her cells would not die and the US government used those cells to this very day and they send these cells out around the world to laboratories for these classes and universities to run their lab tests and harm around the world day but use and abuse for too long too long we are not going to cake for anybody else we must cake for our own people today is our day we've got somebody in the White House right now who have the balls and don't mind pissing off people even some of the racists among his own group and who will say well reparations I think that's a good idea and Trump I can imagine him saying next year that you you know look you've given these illegal immigration immigrants illegal aliens all of this and that and everything you're still trying to give them all of these things what have you done for African Americans specifically for African Americans not as a as a catch-all as a group you know when we talk about unemployment and all we have record low unemployment for African Americans but we also have been wrecking low unemployment for white people Asian people Mexican people all across the board for the United States of America but we're talking specifically for African Americans that's what we're talking about now by African Americans because when you start looking at the CDC Center for Disease Control and other government statistics in relationship and comparatively with African Americans and other groups ethnic groups in this country you will see that African Americans suffer more than any other ethnic group here in this country then you have to ask the question why is it that African Americans being one of the groups who have been here the longest in America why is it that they're suffering more than any other group percentage-wise in this country and then you have to ask the question well what is it that they suffered that was different from any other group in America and then with that suffering you have to ask the question what type of restitution or corrective action was there for that suffering that was not a part of their fault but a part of the fault of American institutions American corporations in this country American religious organizations in this country what did they get for that that type of sound what type of bomb came what type of in Gilead the balm of Gilead what what was given to them to heal them was that was there ever a healing process for that and the answer is no so therefore you different you're different you're a peculiar people you're different therefore the solutions for you must be different shops everybody the chat room we have two hundred and eighty-six people watching one hundred and forty lines please please sit down language we are brother t-west son today's topic is politics you do not support reparations should not get your vote TOS this is what I'm confused about and then we're shifting times just a little bit these liberal cities la Seattle will recite Chicago but specifically LA ours are so filthy and in the Bay Area and San Francisco are so filthy but the real estate prices are high well why it is that the safety what New York like what why is that they have illegals home listed homelessness is out of control they're not clean like in LA you have on Skid Row which is predominant black you have my typhoid and hepatitis B and a whatever breakouts like but the the real estate is still expensive why why is that well the reason why it's not just real estate the real estate is good that's good the reason why it's so expensive is it's because anytime you have a large social net anytime you have a large illegal alien population some of them came as illegal aliens but under Ronald Reagan Reagan did it twice and and also the Democrats picked up on it too they made these people citizens Nora gave them amnesty and then they did it in the tens of millions okay any time you have that you're going to have a requirement for a large amount of social support social support meaning financial support from the government you're going to have to have on large and in order for the government to get that money that means that they're going to have to tax more that means that your property of tax is going to be higher because the state of California the state of Indiana and other states the New York they're going to want and need the dollars to take care of that big large social issue and that big social issues that you brought in all of these mostly poor people okay from these other countries mainly and almost solely almost solely Hispanic countries and you've made them a part of your society so they need they need hood housing okay they need section 8 housing they need food stamps they need all these things therefore your taxes are going to go up so whether you talk about real estate prices when you start talking about those things you're also talking about taxation right okay when you start talking about the price to rent property in San Francisco Oakland in other areas of California Los Angeles you're talking about also the owners of that property sometimes having no choice but to raise the rent prices because they got to pay taxes normal okay so that's the part of it and then the other part is obviously also agreed three okay rich getting richer the poor getting poorer alright so uh you know that's my answer to that the illegal immigration is a very very big problem if you look at the 21 point african-american national political agenda if you look at that you will see that I that I inserted illegal immigration along with reparations and there is a connection there is a connection because apart part of the reason why blacks were not able to acquire and get and I'm talking about at the macro-level I'm talking about those of us who did pretty good I'm not talking about I'm not talking about the US okay I'm talking about the majority of black folks one of the reasons why blacks did not get and acquire what was intended after the 1960 after after 1965 1964 civil rights bill and all was because it was sabotage you started bringing in tens of millions of Hispanics from Mexico and now that Mexico has pretty much dumped out almost everybody everybody that they can dump out to the United States now they're being dumped out from Nicaragua El Salvador in other Central American countries okay they've been dumped into the United States and the first group of people who are adversely negatively affected by that are african-americans and other Hispanic Americans I'm talking about Hispanic Americans who are American citizens they're also affected because generally they live in the same area same neighborhoods and all a part of that is because of redlining the history of redlining which is a part of why you who why is being figured into the formula when we start talking about reparations the cheque redlining banking redlining not just in the south in California redlining the banks financial institutions okay that kept pills can Americans white people rich made of rich richer and wealthier while keeping blacks less wealthy or poor all planned plan sanctioned by the US government so now the argument for people who support illegal immigration especially it is proven that in an adversely affects the black community is that black people shouldn't complain because they're taking low-wage jobs well what's your response to that are they're taking lo a shop so it shouldn't matter whole phase like it's a bold-faced lie most of them are not working in low-paying jobs you have a for example you have a company in Texas Lowe trail they manufacture trailers and ice rated them several months ago arrested 160 at least 160 and wasn't the first time that that ice raided that company and that company paid a fine of I think around about a half a million dollars and there was one manager in that company says hey look we had a problem we just paid a fine okay alright would rather have these people working working for us here now but those people cut to the chase those people were being paid over $20 an hour okay okay all right now you do have cases where yeah some of them are being paid very low wages and the other other scenario which is more important is that some of these employers can treat these people almost any kind of way they want to treat them because they know that they hold leverage over them because they are working under the table they are here in the United States illegally okay true and those are the same type of people with very often with the same type of mentality of those pale skinned Americans who enslaved blacks in this country you have that mentality so those type of people they supported legal immigration because it's a part of an effort to move towards the purest form of capitalism and the purest form of capitalism is chattel slavery now you have some of my brothers and my sisters out there to talk about yeah capitalism capitalism annonay they integrate socialism you know now you got to have balance with all of it you got to have balance with capitalism you have to have balance with socialism all of that's good you know if I see my brother my brother is a good brother my sister's good brother and she's she's down she's out and I have the ability of the capability to help them well I probably should help them that's socialism okay okay we're social creatures okay so there's nothing negative and dirty and lowdown about socialism it's just that when it becomes gets to a point where you are doing it and that is the solution now you see it as a solution and what does that do that makes people lazy that makes people not want to go out and work that makes people want to get out there and Panhandle get out there and beg I can do better begging than I can if I work a job I'm a lazy asshole I don't like the work okay all right so you have to be careful about that you have to be careful as I said with capitalism pure capitalism is chattel slavery in definitional capitalism is the maximizing of profits and how best can you maximize how much better than chattel slavery you exclaim the day you were born to the day you die your children who are born of you they will be born into slavery that was the experience of your ancestors brother deines my ancestors of the ancestors of many who are listening to your program that was their experience but slavery doesn't exist anymore to West okay Wes I didn't know this plague my answer I did not slay many black people so what you benefited from it you benefited from it every pale skin every white person in the United States benefited from it whether you came from Italy from Russia from wherever if you away and you got to America you might have had problems with each other in Europe if you came from Eastern Europe you were you were considered by the Western Europeans you were considered impure in other words you had a little too much of that black blackness mixed in with you from Eastern Europe but when you came to America it didn't take long before you were accepted and you were branded along with the Brotherhood of white okay so you were part of it you you were a beneficiary of it you benefited from the land grant where the governor US government gave away millions of acres of land to white people that's why a lot of white people are so much wished so rich today and some people say well to us white people struggling just like black people they're pearl white people just like they're poor black black people yeah but when you start playing the numbers though don't play the numbers with me because it still remains that way every dollar that black people have in America white folks have $18 18 to 1 though you're not going to win the argument because too much dirt and savagery has going on under this bridge there's too much there you can't win the argument you can get angry you can stomp on me you can holler you can call names you can do all of that but you cannot beat the truth the facts don't yes hsiao to a Brian Cole into the do for the super chance thank you so much for the super chance really really appreciate it now do you think the reparations conversation will go mainstream where we'll start hearing athletes and entertainers talking about it early something that still that's gonna be relatively you know I guess grassroots it's already both anytime you anytime you hear oversized puppies like Rush Limbaugh Bill O'Reilly Mitch McConnell in the US Senate mention the word reparations it's already mainstream baby it's already mainstream and we're going to push it even more mainstream it's going to be up there neon signs reparations in all caps blinking that's the goal that's where we're going with this that's where we're going now we're going to force this to happen well it's a demand it's not a ask it's not all a request it's a demand all right now it's time up it's time out now this is the day for reparations and we're going to push for it Obama through cold ice on it when he was president if you call ice on it next year you're not going to see Trump do that yeah he's not going to do it watch watch as sure as I say it in 2015 the trunk will be the next president and why he would be the next president I can tell you this that African Americans best bet for reparations is with Donald Trump in spite of what Mitch McConnell said I'm so glad Mitch McConnell opened up his mouth I'm so glad because that was a testament to the power that the many many voices and the voices are increasing okay and I can give shout out a shout out to all of them all of them I mean you could say event tournelle you could say Tony Moore Antonio more where you can talk about a hissy okay all of them even those been flown before them I mean I wrote a book in 1989 about reparations okay all right self-publishing long long ago okay so so so and I was not even the pioneer of it there were others before me reparations but all of that has gone into building what we're seeing today if there's a perfect perfect situation that is developing for reparations at sea so Trump yesterday somebody just put this in the channel and I just pulled up the article I'm trying to pull it up computer slow he said that repre is interesting but it's not going to happen what you're uh-oh oh that's okay that's okay if Trump in fact said reparations is interesting is not going to happen that's exactly what I say it a few days ago I think I actually said in a few weeks ago something to that effect I said what you want Trump to say is the word reparations and he said interesting and that's what I said I said he's going to say reparations and he will say interesting something interesting that's okay we've seen Trump do an about-face and switch and we're going to force him to switch and change it up it's early we've got 20/20 coming the general election and believe me on the campaign trail we're going to push it we're going to promote it at Trump's rallies at the Democrat Republican debate we're going to push it we're going to promote it okay so that's what I have to say about that now as far as forcing someone the politician to and yet we keep bringing up the boat we keep bringing up the boat everyone goes super try thank you so much for the super Chen I'm glad you are enjoying the conversation I'm happy that you guys are enjoying it Janine Smith thank you for the super chat so again how do you push I know you keep hearing we're gonna withhold our vote you know is that we're coding your vote enough leverage I see a situation where the only way that we can possibly get reparations or get through our force that first force their hand is if black people just completely check out like don't go to work don't do anything no athletes don't compete like look we're going on strike until this happened but you're saying that the vote is enough well why is that yeah all right now we want people to go to work all right okay now make that money make that money I don't think I don't think most of you you can never have enough of it make it okay do the things you need to do the power of the vote is the way to do it athletes and other big-name people when the grassroots when the buzz is out there in the grassroots of people athletes begin to start articulating that also in most cases they're not the leaders of such things they're not it's people out in the grass hood who are the leaders of such and then when you start getting other big names signing on to it they're just signing on to what people out there in the streets have been pushing and promoting all along anyway right so with rapper at that there was another part today I think that was a question was the other part to that no is the is the voting with Tony your vote enough to force the reparations issue yeah yes withholding your vote is definitely enough but it has to be strategic for example let's say that Kamala Harris right just one name they say that common law Harris was to come out and say on my platform on my website I'm not going to put anything out there on my website that says that I support reparations for african-americans but instead what I will put out there is I support reparations for people who have been mistreated and traditionally maligned now come alive ever supposed to do something like that and if in an organized way in an intelligent way if we as African Americans say okay this is on Kamala Harris as a page web page this is a part of her platform that she does not specifically support reparations for african-americans we're not going to vote for her okay we've chosen her as the goat as the example okay and she doesn't make it through the Democrat and she checks out early not just coming on Harris come on Harris was just an example but we could select other top people it could be Bernie Sanders it could be Joe Biden okay you should let these people and then you say you articulate ahead of time that this person this candidate does not support this therefore they will not get our support that means they're not going to get any donations from us they're not going to get our vote okay and what you will see you will see them being forced to drop out of the primaries not only people who are running for president but also people who are running for Congress because you have executive orders that can do certain things like with the Japanese I think that was done through an executive order not through Congress per se with the Japanese reparation okay and you also have Congress now with reparations for african-americans you're going to need Congress on board yeah they gotta have it with just an executive order no matter who the president is okay so that means that you've got to look at people Congress men and women in your district and here's some work for each one of you every one of you who are listening I don't want I don't like talking I'll say of giving some hints of the work that you need to do okay otherwise I got you know I got better things to do around here on my property I got a lot of things new enjoy my grandchildren I got a lot of things other things I could do but this is my commitment to help the collective so but you tell those congressmen and congresswomen in your district hey you ask the question do you support reparations okay yes or no have you put it on your website that you support reparations come they can sit they can tell you yes they can tell you no and they tell you yes and it's not on their website they are in the true sense of the word simply pandering they're lying to you it'll really support it we want it on their website we demand that it be on their website I support reparations for African Americans so if they're in your district in your district wherever you are Atlanta Chicago California Arizona New York wherever they are Cortez in New York if they don't specifically and categorically support reparations for african-americans and and and and don't be equivocating on it you know well a Hispanic City reparations to you know these families who are illegal immigrants come across the border who've been harmed by ice lady reparations – oh no no no no no no you started talking that we write you off okay that's the process of sabotaging what is specifically and it's supposed to be specifically for you as african-americans as descendants of people who were enslaved for 243 years in this country more than 100 years of Jim Crow lynching other forms of discrimination redlining okay all right so if they don't support it then at the Congressional level you don't give them your vote and if you have the power you have the organization in your community in your area in your district to fill a candidate that is get a candidate okay vet that candidate make sure that that candidate supports your interests and puts that candidate support that candidate put that candidate up against someone like a John Lewis or others then you withhold your vote you simply withhold your vote I'm not gonna vote for you if I don't have anybody to vote then for I'll just write my own their name in if I just have to vote all right bye name in mm-hmm I'm not gonna go for you because you do not support the number one agenda look at the african-americans national political agenda 21 points 20 million points prioritize or african-american people in this country look at it study it okay get ideas from and then move it to action based upon what you were able to get out of that so those are my thoughts on that right there so uh brother Wes what we'll do we'll go ahead and close out anything else you'd like to share in closing and also to please give everybody your contact information again so they could subscribe to your page and also reach out if they have any questions yeah well once again deines I thank you for the invite on your program it's been a while since we have had a dialogue and you've done some fantastic things you doing some fantastic things over there on the continent of Africa and that's very good I'll be in Ghana in August so I really appreciate the work that you're doing now so but once again I'm T West the money my name is Tiaras the author of C is just short for the authors that's my name the authors but everybody calls me T because you're not going to remember the address so now but after sending your news you can find me on youtube you can find me on Facebook and I'm also out there in Twitter but on the Twitter I'm out there on the w es t th EA w es t th EA I appreciate all of the comments that many of you have made over the years that you continue to make and that's very good it's very good dialogue we have to continue that dialogue and we have to have to demand the man what we want and it has to be prioritize prioritize okay not as little small stuff anymore I'm not an engineer no no no no no we're talking about the macro level as I said before the macro level at the hi for the majority of black people not the talented tenth not they're not the ones who graduated which is very small the number comparatively to the more than forty million blacks in America who graduated from HBCUs not the blacks to graduated from Yale who graduated from Harvard who graduated from Stanford whatever we're not talking about just that we're talking about the whole collective and that is the way that we must think and I think that's a little bit of Booker T Washington okay there's a little bit of that right there so so those things we must be about once again good topic good topic brother Dinah's no problem on you know if the politicians do not support a rep support reparations whether they're black white or uh we do not give them our votes that message must be sent to every politician not just presidential candidates every last one of them okay so thank you brother Dennis any time for the tea Wes any time everyone thank you so much for joining I hope you guys enjoyed the dialogue please go to search for ohoo on instagram snapchat twitter and facebook also 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