Bryan Stevenson

  • Aired:  12/04/13
  •  | Views: 13,433

The Equal Justice Initiative's Bryan Stevenson makes the case for reforming America's criminal justice system. (7:02)

>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY,MY GUEST TONIGHT, WHY DO I

HAVE TO PAY THAT LADY IN ACOP UNIFORM TO FRISK ME.

PLEASE WELCOME BRYAN ASTEVENSON.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)THANKS SOP MUCH FOR COMING

ON.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

OKAY, SIR, YOU ARE THEFOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE

DIRECTOR OF THE EQUALJUSTICE INITIATIVE.

AN ORGANIZATION INBIRMINGHAM.

>> MONTGOMERIE.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

EXCUSE ME, MONTGOMERIE,ALABAMA.

AND YOU CHALLENGE BIASAGAINST POOR AND MINORITIES

IF IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICESYSTEM AND WORK WITH PEOPLE

ON DEATH ROW.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: AND YOU HAVEBEEN NAMED THE McARTHUR

GENIUS GRANT AND ALL THATGOOD STUFF.

YOU ALSO HAVE THE LONGESTSTANDING OVATION ON RECORD

AT A TED TALK.

WHAT WERE YOU TALKING ABOUTTHAT GOT THOSE BRAINY TYPES

ALL EXCITED?

>> WBLTION I WAS ACTUALLYTALKING ABOUT CONSERVATION

AND THE CHALLENGES BECAUSEWE PUT SO MANY PEOPLE IN

PRISON, IMPOSE HARSHCHALLENGES.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS THECHALLENGE.

WE HAVE MASS INCARCERATIONTHAT WAS OUR GOAL AND NOW WE

HAVE A CHIEFED IT.

>> WE'VE ALSO REALLYDEVASTATED COMMUNITIES OF

COLOR, POOR COMMUNITIES.

WE CREATED DESPAIR ANDHOPELESSNESS.

WE'VE SPPBT A LOT OF MONEY.

WE'RE NOW SPENDING $80BILLION A YEAR TO KEEP

PEOPLE IN JAILS AND PRISONS.

WE CREATE A LOT OF BADCOLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES.

PEOPLE LOSE THEIR RIGHT TOVOTE PERMANENTLY.

>> Stephen: PRISONS HAVEGOTTEN BETTER, YOU HAVE TO

ADMIT THAT PRISONS HAVEGOTTEN BETTER IN THE LAST 20

YEARS BECAUSE 20 YEARS AGOTHEY WEREN'T TURNING A

PROFIT.

AND NOW THEY ARE, THOSE BEDSARE FULL.

>> WELL, ACTUALLY THEY'RETURNING A PROFIT FOR A

HANDFUL OF PEOPLE BUT THEYARE GETTING THAT PROFIT BY

TAKING MONEY FROM EDUCATIONAND TAKING MONEY FROM HUMAN

SERVICES AND TAKING MONEYFROM THE NEEDS OF THE

ELDERLY.

AND BASIC TAXPAYERS.

THEY'VE GOTTEN ACTUALLYWORSE.

WE'RE NOW OVERCROWD.

WE'RE NOW TOLERATINGABECAUSE AND RAPE AND

DYSFUNCTION.

AND ACTUALLY THE CONDITIONSOF CONFINEMENT IN THIS

COUNTRY HAVE NEVER BEENWORSE.

>> Stephen: YOU SAY THIS ISAFFECTING YOUNG PLAN MEN.

GIVE ME THE DISPROPORTION.

WHAT DOW MEAN.

>> THE BUREAU JUSTICESUPPORTED THAT ONE IN 15

PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY CANEXPECT TO GO TO JAIL OR

PRISON.

BUT ONE IN 3 BLACK MALES CANEXPECT TO GO TO JAIL OR

PRISON.

WE ACTUALLY HAVE POLICIESTHAT ARE DIRECTED AT

COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, POORCOMMUNITIES, DRUG LAWS THAT

WE ENFORCE SELECTIVELYAGAINST PEOPLE OF COLOR.

AND-- .

>> Stephen: YOU'RE SAYING WESHOULD NOT ENFORCE OUR DRUG

LAWS.

BE SOFT ON CRIME, THAT ISWHAT I AM HEARING.

>> I'M SAYING WE SHOULDENFORCE THEM FAIRLY.

WE SHOULDN'T ONLY ENFORCETHEM AGAINST THE POOR AND

MINORITIES.

BECAUSE WHEN WE DO THAT WEARE ACTUALLY CREATING A

SYSTEM THAT IS RACIALLYBIASED.

>> Stephen: OKAY, BUT LISTEN,THAT IS IF YOU BELIEVE THAT

RACE MATTERS, OKAY.

I DON'T SEE RACE.

ALL RIGHT.

I'M NOT A RACIST.

I'VE MOVED BEYOND IT YOUKNOW, YOU ARE,, PEOPLE

ALWAYS TELL ME YOU'RE BLACK.

ARE YOU A BLACK MAN.

>> I AM A BLACK MAN.

>> Stephen: HAVE YOU BEEN TOPRISON.

>> I HAVE BEEN IN A PRISON.

I HAVEN'T ACTUALLY BEENSENTENCED TO PRISON.

>> Stephen: HOW DO I KNOW IFYOU ARE ACTUALLY BLACK OR

NOT.

>> WELL, PART OF WHATHAPPENS IS THAT ACTUALLY WE

DO HAVE THIS LEGACY THATSUGGESTS THAT RACE DOES

MATTER.

AND YOU CAN SEE-- .

>> Stephen: WHY WOULD ITMATTER?

>> WELL, IT MATTER BECAUSEWE FIRST ENSLAVED PEOPLE IN

THIS COUNTRY.

>> Stephen: I KNOW, I KNOW,DON'T RUB IT IN, MAN.

(LAUGHTER)>> AND WE DIDN'T END

SLAVERY.

WE TRANSITIONED FROM SLAVERYTO 100 YEARS OF TERRORISM.

AND THAT TERRORISM-- .

>> Stephen: WHAT DOW MEAN.

>> WELL, IT MEANS THATACTUALLY FOR

AFRICAN-AMERICANS THE 100YEARS FOLLOWING SLAVERY WERE

DEFINED BY RACIAL TERROR.

THEY HAD TO WORRY ABOUTLYNCHING, HATE CRIMES, THEY

TO WORRY ABOUT VIOLENCE ANDINTIMIDATION AND THAT WAS

FOLLOWED BY DECADES OFSEGREGATION AND

INSUBORDINATION ANDHUMILIATION WHICH IS WHAT

JIM CROW LAWS DID.

>> Stephen: SO CAN I BLAMETHIS ON MUSLIMS?

>> NO.

YOU ACTUALLY, WE ARE ALLACTUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR

FAILURE TO TELL THE TRUTHABOUT OUR RACIAL HISTORY.

>> Stephen: SO YOU TOO, YOUARE A BLACK GUY, RIGHT.

>> EVERYBODY.

>> Stephen: PEOPLE TELL MEI'M WHITE AND I BELIEVE THEM

BECAUSE I FEEL TERRIBLYGUILTY ABOUT THIS

CONVERSATION.

SO BLACK PEOPLE HAVE SOMEBURDEN IN THIS.

>> WELL, YES, BECAUSE WEACTUALLY HAVE TO GET THE

ENTIRE COUNTRY, BLACKS,WHITE, LATINO, RELIGIOUS

MINORITIES, EVERYBODY TO BEMORE TRUTHFUL ABOUT WHAT

DISCRIMINATION AND BIGOTRYDOES TO US ALL.

>> Stephen: WHAT IT USED TODO, ROSA PARKS ENDED IT.

>> I HEARD YOU SAY THAT.

>> Stephen: NOT ME, THAT WASTHE RNC.

>> WELL, ACTUALLY, I STILLSEE TREMENDOUS RACISM,

TREMENDOUS RACISM.

>> Stephen: WE HAVE A BLACKPRESIDENT.

>> WE DO.

>> Stephen: WE HAVE A BLACKPRESIDENT-- HOLD ON.

WE HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT.

WHAT PART OF WE HAVE A BLACKPRESIDENT DON'T YOU GET.

>> WELL, I GET THAT WE HAVEA BLACK PRESIDENT.

IT SEEMS THAT WE HAVE ABLACK PRESIDENT THAT'S

ACTUALLY NOT ALLOWED TO TALKABOUT RACE BECAUSE HE IS A

BLACK PRESIDENT.

WHICH SPEAKS TO THIS DYNAMICOF HOW WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH

OUR PAST MORE TRUTHFULLYWITH A COMMITMENT TO

RECONCILIATION.

AND WE'RE SEEING IT PLAYITSELF OUT NOW.

TOO MANY KIDS OF COLOR AREPRESUMED GUILTY.

THEY WALK AROUND, THEY AREASSUMED TO HAR WAS,.

>> Stephen: SOME YOUNG BLACKMEN DO COMMIT CRIMES.

>> NO QUESTION.

>> Stephen: DOESN'T ITLOGICALLY FOLLOW THAT ALL OF

THEM DO?

>> NO, BECAUSE-- .

>> Stephen: FOR SAFETY'SSAKE.

>> NO, BECAUSE ACTUALLY SOMEYOUNG WHITE MEN COMMIT

CRIMES AND YOUNG WHITE GIRLSCOMMIT CRIME AND OLDER WHITE

MEN COMMIT CRIMES ANDREPUBLICANS COMMIT CRIMES.

WE'RE NOT GOING TO COLLEGESAND UNIVERSITIES DOING DRUG

RAID, WE'RE GO TOGETHERPROJECTS, THE POOREST AND

MOST DESPERATE AREAS, THATIS WHERE WE DO MASS ARRESTS.

>> Stephen: I GOT A LOT OFVIEWERS IN COLLEGE DORM

ROOMS RIGHT NOW.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE SAYINGTHE COPS ARE NOT COMING FOR

THEM.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT, YES.

>> Stephen: I DON'T KNOW,WHAT'S THAT SOUND, GUYS.

BESTED, BUSTED.

>> BUT FOR YOUR-- BUT FORPEOPLE WHO ARE IN POOR

COMMUNITIES AND URBANCOMMUNITIES AND RURAL

COMMUNITIES, WHERE THERE HASBEEN GENERATIONAL POVERTY,

MY CLIENT, THE KIDS I WORKWITH, 13, 14, FELL ME THAT

THEY DON'T EXPECT TO GETPAST THE AGE OF 21 WITHOUT

BEING ARRESTED ANINCARCERATED.

IT THAT COMMUNITY I'M REALLYWORRIED ABOUT.

>> Stephen: I KNOW ARE YOUSO ANTI-RACIST, YOU KNOW.

WHY THEN DOW LIVE IN ALABAMA?

BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT IT'SLIKE DOWN THERE, RIGHT?

WHY DON'T YOU MOVE SOMEPLACEWHERE THERE IS NO RACISM

LIKE CHICAGO OR BOSTON.

>> WELL, ACTUALLY, I HAVELIVED IN BOSTONMENT AND I

HAVE TO REPORT THAT THERE ISACTUALLY RACISM IN BOSTON.

THERE'S RACISM ANYWHERE.

>> Stephen: BUT YOU HAVETHAT CHARMING ACCENT.

EVERYBODY SOUNDS LIKE GOODWOMEN HUNTING.

>> IF WE CAN MAKE PROGRESSCONFRONTING RACIAL BIAS IN

ALABAMA AND SOUTH CAROLINAAND DEEP SOUTH WE CAN MAKE

RACIAL PROGRESS EVERYWHERE.

AND WE CAN'T TOLERATE ITEVERY-- ANYWHERE.

>> Stephen: WELL, GOOD LUCK.

GOD LESS.

AND-- GOSS BLED AND STAY OUTOF JAIL, MY FRIEND.

>> OKAY, WILL DO.

>> Stephen: BRYAN STEVENSON,EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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