Peniel Joseph

  • Aired:  06/25/13
  •  | Views: 16,616

Tufts Professor Peniel Joseph details Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, explains colorblind racism and gives a mini history lesson about the civil rights movement. (7:27)

>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A PROFESSOR

OF AMERICAN HISTORY AT TUFTS.

WE'RE HONORED TO HAVE HIM HERE

THE NIGHT THAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN

HISTORY ENDED.

PLEASE WELCOME PENIEL JOSEPH.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

HEY, GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH ME.

YOU ARE A PROFESSOR OF HISTORY

AT TUFTS AND THE AUTHOR OF "DARK

DAYS, BRIGHT NIGHTS: FROM BLACK

POWER TO BARACK OBAMA" RECENTLY

RELEASED IN PAPERBACK.

NOW, SIR, CONGRATULATIONS ON

BEING HERE THE NIGHT THAT RACISM

WAS OFFICIALLY DECLARED OVER.

IN AMERICA.

DID YOU READ THE DECISION THAT

JUSTICE ROBERTS HANDED DOWN

TODAY?

>> I READ THE DECISION, STEVE.

THAT'S EXACTLY WRONG.

RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL IN

AMERICA.

IN A WAY THIS DECISION...

>> Stephen: NOT ACCORDING TO

JOHN ROBERTS.

WE HAVE EVIDENTLY PASSED THE

MAGIC MOMENT AT WHICH WE NO

LONGER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE

JIM CROW STATES THAT USED TO

PROHIBIT MINORS FROM GOING TO

THE POLLS.

THEY'RE NOT GOING TO DO THAT

ANYMORE BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T

DONE IT SINCE THE VOTING RIGHTS

ACT WAS PASSED.

>> THAT'S THE IRONY OF THIS

DECISION.

>> Stephen: OR THE MAGIC.

THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT

ACTUALLY HAS PREVENTED RACIAL

DISCRIMINATION IN THESE STATES

THAT USED TO BASICALLY OUTLAW

AFRICAN-AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP AND

VOTING RIGHTS SO TODAY'S

DECISION IS REALLY TERRIBLE FOR

OUR DEMOCRACY.

>> Stephen: LET'S TELL THE FOLKS

EXACTLY WHAT THE DECISION SAYS

BECAUSE IT AFFECTS SECTION 4 OF

THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965.

>> BASICALLY SECTION 4 PROVIDED

CERTAIN STATES HAD TO HAVE

PRECLEARANCE BEFORE CHANGING ANY

OF THEIR VOTING LAWS, ANY OF

THEIR POLLING PLACES.

>> Stephen: I'M TEXAS AND I WANT

TO CHANGE SOMETHING ABOUT MY

VOTING LIKE WHERE I CHANGE MY

POLLING STATIONS OR WHAT MY

CRITERIA IS, WHAT THE HOURS ARE

IN CERTAIN PARTS OF MY STATE.

THEY WOULD HAVE TO GO TO THE

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND SAY IS

THIS OKAY WITH YOU?

AND ERIC HOLIER WOULD TAKE OUT

HIS PEN AND SAY YEAH OR NAY AND

TEXAS COULD OR COULD NOT DO

THAT, RIGHT?

>> EXACTLY.

ONE PROVISION WE HAVE TO

REMEMBER, STEPHEN, IF YOU WERE

NOT DISCRIMINATING FOR TEN YEARS

YOU COULD APPLY FOR AN OPT OUT.

CERTAIN STATES ACTUALLY DID AND

WERE SUCCESSFUL.

SO THIS IS REALLY ABOUT WHETHER

OR NOT STATES WANT TO ALLOW

AFRICAN-AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP.

WHEN WE THINK ABOUT VOTER

SUPPRESSION IN THE LAST

ELECTION, FLORIDA, OHIO.

>> Stephen: I DON'T THINK ABOUT

VOTER SUPPRESSION IN THE LAST

ELECTION NO.

THAT'S A BIG IF.

>> I DO.

Stephen: OKAY.

WHAT ARE YOU SO DIFFERENT FROM

ME ON THAT ONE?

>> I BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY AND

CITIZENSHIP AND...

>> Stephen: SO DO I.

LISTEN, JOHN ROBERTS, ONE OF THE

THINGS HE SAID IN THIS IS THAT

DATA IS 40 YEARS OLD.

1972.

WHY SHOULD WE USE THAT CRITERIA

FROM '72 WHEN THEY DIDN'T EVEN

HAVE CELL PHONES THEN?

YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE AN

AFRICAN-AMERICAN, ARE YOU AN

AFRICAN-AMERICAN?

>> YES, I AM.

Stephen: I DON'T SEE RACE.

I HAVE MOVEDDED BEYOND THAT.

I DON'T EVEN SEE MY OWN RACE.

PEOPLE TELL ME I'M WHITE AND I

BELIEVE THEM BECAUSE I AGREE

WITH JOHN ROBERTS.

>> HERE'S THE THING.

SOMETHING CALLED COLOR BLIND

RACISM.

>> Stephen: WHAT?

COLOR BLIND RACISM.

>> WHAT THAT IS, YOU DON'T SEE

RACE.

>> Stephen: I DON'T.

BUT THERE'S RACIAL

DISPARITIES AND OUTCOMES FROM

MASS INCARCERATION TO DISPARITY.

>> Stephen: IF I DON'T SEE RACE

AND THERE'S DISPARITY IN

OUTCOMES ISN'T IT IS THE FAULT

OF THE WHOSE OUTCOME IS

DIFFERENT?

>> NO, IT'S THE FAULT OF

INSTITUTIONS.

>> Stephen: WHY?

I DIDN'T DO WHAT I DID BECAUSE

YOU ARE OR ARE NOT A BLACK

PERSON.

I DON'T CARE ABOUT THAT.

>> STEPHEN, LET ME SPEAK FOR A

SECOND.

A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

ALL RIGHT.

>> THIS COUNTRY IS FOUNDED ON

RACIAL SLAVERY.

THIS COUNTRY IS FOUNDED 1619

EVEN WHEN WE WERE A COLONY IN

BRITISH NORTH AMERICA WE WERE

FOUNDED ON RACIAL SLAVERY.

1776 WE HAVE ANOTHER ALMOST 200

YEARS OF SLAVERY AND JIM CROW.

>> Stephen: I UNDERSTAND.

500 YEARS OF RACIAL SEGREGATION

AND OPPRESSION OF

AFRICAN-AMERICANS.

BUT WE'VE HAD 40 YEARS OF BE

GRUDGING, YOU KNOW, TOLERANCE.

DON'T THAT COVER IT?

>> NO, IT DOESN'T.

NOT AT ALL.

NOT BY A LONG STRETCH.

SO THERE IS NO END OF RACISM.

IF ANYTHING, WE NEED A NATIONAL

CONVERSATION ABOUT RACE AND

DEMOCRACY.

>> Stephen: IF WE KEEP TALKING

ABOUT THIS NATIONAL CONVERSATION

THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT,

DOESN'T THAT MAKE RACISM WORSE

BECAUSE IT KEEPS REINFORCING

WHAT RACE EVERYBODY IS?

CASE IN POINT.

THIS VOTING RIGHTS ACT ITSELF

DISCRIMINATED AGAINST THE

ABILITY OF CERTAIN STATES TO

CHANGE THEIR VOTING LAWS.

BASED SOLELY ON THE COLOR OF THE

PEOPLE THAT THESE STATES TRIED

TO DISENFRANCHISE.

WHO IS A RACIST NOW?

>> HERE'S A GOOD POINT, STEPHEN.

WHEN WE THINK ABOUT RACE AND

DEMOCRACY IN THIS COUNTRY AND

RACE RELATIONS, IF WHITE PEOPLE

ARE TIRED OF TALKING ABOUT RACE,

IMAGINE HOW BLACK PEOPLE FEEL.

THEY'RE EXHAUSTED.

THEY'RE EXHAUSTED AFTER HUNDREDS

OF YEARS OF HAVING TO TALK ABOUT

THIS.

BUT DISCRIMINATION CONTINUES.

DISCRIMINATION CONTINUES.

SO A GREAT EXAMPLE.

TEXAS TODAY DECIDED THAT THEIR

VOTER I.D. LAWS, WHICH JUSTICE

DEPARTMENT HAD OVERRULED LAST

FALL, THEY'RE GOING TO IMPLEMENT

THEM.

>> Stephen: WAIT A SECOND.

ERIC HOLDER LAST FALL SAID YOU

CAN'T GO AHEAD WITH YOUR NEW

VOTER I.D. LAWS BECAUSE THOSE

VIOLATE THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT

BUT TODAY THE FIRST DAY OF THE

VOTING RIGHTS ACT HAS BEEN

STRUCK DOWN, TEXAS SAID, TA-DA.

>> EXACTLY.

Stephen: THAT'S KIND OF NICE.

I'LL TELL YOU WHY.

IT'S EASIER TO FIND RACISM THIS

WAY.

IT'S LIKE IF YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR

PROSTATE CHECKED, BY THE TIME

IT'S LIKE A CANTELOPE, THE

DOCTOR CAN FIND IT RIGHT AWAY.

IF WE REMOVE ALL THE PROTECTIONS

AT THE POLLS, LET RACISM GO NUTS

FOR A FEW YEARS.

AND THEN WE CAN GO, YOU KNOW

WHAT?

WE DID NEED IT.

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

IT'S KIND OF THE BEST POSSIBLE

ANSWER.

>> THAT WOULD BE A GREAT

POINT...

>> Stephen: IT IS A GREAT POINT.

NO, IT WOULD BE A GREAT POINT

EXCEPT FOR THE FACT FOR 350

YEARS WE DID LET RACISM GO NUTS.

IT WAS SO SWOLLEN AND SO

CANCEROUS THAT WE HAD TO DO

CIVIL RIGHTS ACT, VOTING RIGHTS

ACT.

>> Stephen: FINE.

THEN WE'LL JUST HAVE A NEW

VOTING RIGHTS ACT.

IT WASN'T THAT HARD TO PASS THE

FIRST TIME, WAS IT?

>> VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TO PASS.

Stephen: CONGRESS CAN GET

STUFF DONE, SIR.

>> HERE'S A GREAT, A

MINI-HISTORY LESSON ABOUT THE

CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

>> Stephen: I'LL TRY TO STAY

AWAKE.

>> 1954 TO 1965, THE BROWN

PUBLIC SCHOOL DESEGREGATION

DECISION CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF '64

VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF '65, CROWN

JEWEL IS THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT

OF '65.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr.,

SELMA, CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS

GOT HIS SKULL FRACTURED TRYING

TO DEMONSTRATE.

>> Stephen: HEY, BABY I WAS AT

THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO TELL ME.

I WAS AT THE "I HAVE A DREAM

SPEECH."

DON'T PLAY THAT BACK PEOPLE WENT

ON MARCHES CARD.

I WAS AT THE MARCHES.

WERE YOU?

>> I WAS NOT.

Stephen: YOU WERE NOT AT THE

MARCHES.

>> I WAS NOT BORN IN 1965.

Stephen: I COULD BE MADDER

THAN YOU.

OH, I WASN'T BORN THAT.

THAT'S A CONVENIENT EXCUSE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US

ME.

DARK DAYS, BRIGHT NIGHTS.

WE'LL BE RIGHT

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