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BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: America can see its future. And it's a five-year-old Latina girl. It is a seven-year-old black boy. What happens to them will determine what America looks like. And many of the young people who are already 18, 19, 20 are going to be the workers of the near future.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Whenever I despair of solutions, of a way out of the mine of corruption and dysfunction that characterizes so much of government and politics, I turn to certain individuals whom I know simply don’t or won’t give up.

Just such a person is my guest on this broadcast. Angela Glover Blackwell sees the world as it is, and still believes we can change it for the better. She has put her formidable intellect, experience, and passion to no less a mission than challenging America to fulfill the promise of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for all. And I do mean all.

Blackwell attended Howard University in Washington, DC, got her law degree at the University of California at Berkeley, came of age at the height of the civil rights struggle and the black power movement, and then for ten years was partner at a public interest law firm called Public Advocates. She founded the Oakland Urban Strategies Council and worked to figure out new ways to bring Oakland’s inner city back to life.

After serving as vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation, she became the founder and chief executive officer of PolicyLink. That’s an organization that embodies her abiding belief that government and public policy can still make a difference by increasing opportunity for all, including those for whom the American dream has been, as the poet Langston Hughes wrote, "a dream deferred."

Angela Glover Blackwell, welcome.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: No one I know over these years has worked harder, or thought harder about how to rekindle, restore, the American Dream. And yet, here we are, middle class struggling, poverty increasing, the gap between the rich and the poor greater than it's been in your and my lifetime. What keeps you from getting discouraged, and giving up?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: I'm not discouraged, and I wouldn't even dream of giving up, because we're at a moment right now where I think we have more possibility than I've seen in my adult lifetime. Part of what I've been feeling is that all the issues are finally on the table. Look at how long it's taken us to have a national conversation about inequality.

And I'm not necessarily hopeful it'll go on for a long time. But we're having that conversation, now. So many people who are being left behind are now in places where they have voice, and influence, and they're forcing their way into the conversation.

And I believe that the changing demographics of the nation, this reality that before the middle of this century the majority of people in this nation will be people of color, Native American, Latino, Asian, African American. That is going to cause us to have to ask some tough questions about what we're doing leaving people behind.

BILL MOYERS: But you know, people do say that the election of our first African American president, is a sign of the progress we've made. But the people you say have been left behind don't necessarily feel that their needs are being addressed.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: It is a source of concern that many people in this nation feel that because we have a black President, that the problems of race and opening up opportunity have been addressed. They have not.

I will tell you this. I didn't expect that when Barack Obama got to be President of the United States, that he was going to be "the leader" who was going to lead from a place of race. That he was going to lead from being a black person, and bringing forward all that black people have been struggling with all this time. But there are some things that I celebrate, that often get overlooked.

BILL MOYERS: Such as?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: We live in a nation in which where you live is a proxy for opportunity. Where you live, determines whether or not you get to go to a good school, whether or not you live in a safe area, whether or not you live near a job. And this is the first presidency I have seen in my lifetime that has taken seriously, this notion of how the places where people live can hold them back.

So that we have programs, that actually say let's stop just putting affordable housing in communities that are the poor communities in a city. Right next to a poor school, where there's no grocery store, where the streets aren't safe.

Let's create neighborhoods of choice, for low-income people, putting housing near good schools, near grocery stores, near public transportation. And working with other sectors to make sure that this is a community that supports people. I also have been impressed to see that the health reform approach has included a focus on how to reform health with good things, and some disappointments in the health reform work. But also a focus on prevention.

And a focus on dealing with childhood obesity, and those kind of serious problems. And so as I look, I see the main flaw with not having focused enough on the communities that are hit first, and worst. That were hit first and worst by this recession. So if I could redo things, I would figure out a way to have policies and strategies be bigger, when they're really smart ones, like the ones I've described, and ones that are focused on jobs, and unemployment really target the communities that were hit first and worst. And very often those are black and Latino communities.

BILL MOYERS Why do you focus so much on the infrastructure of transportation?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: In low-income communities, transportation, particularly public transportation is a lifeline. We have lots of communities in which the availability of a car is actually unheard of. There are many communities in which most people in the community don't have a car. Twenty-five percent of people in the African American/Latino community are without cars.

And with-- this is at a time when so many of the jobs are not in their communities. They're in the suburban community. And so if people don't have public transportation, they cannot connect to work. You may have an employer who's an equal opportunity employer, who would be happy to hire somebody ready for the job, from an inner-city community.

But if they can't get there, the two will never meet. We also have, in this country, many families that are struggling to provide healthy diets, when there's no place in the community to buy fresh fruits, and vegetables. Only eight percent of African Americans live in a census tract, with a grocery store. Twenty-three--

BILL MOYERS: Say that again.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: Only eight percent of African Americans live in a census tract with a grocery store. Twenty-three million Americans do not live within a mile of a place to get fresh fruits and vegetables. And this means that in many communities it is impossible to be able to follow the orders of a doctor, that says eat a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, when they're not there.

This means that having transportation, public transportation, is important, even to be able to access fresh fruits and vegetables in your area. Not to mention that we need to get more grocery stores in underserved communities. But I can come back to that. But let me say another word about transportation. I have a personal experience.

It just showed me what it means when it's not adequate. Right after I got married, my husband and I moved to Los Angeles. And I had been very active in New York, around the black power movement. And so when I moved to Los Angeles, I thought, oh, I'll get a job in something that's serving the community.

So I just went to a phonebook, and looked for things that were black, or African, or "National," some of the words I thought might help. I found something. And it was in Watts, I wasn't living in Watts. Called up, got a job interview.

BILL MOYERS: Watts was the all-black area of Los Angeles.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: Watts was a all-black area of Los Angeles. And I was living many miles from there, but in Los Angeles. My husband had the one car, he had taken it to work. So I called the bus station, and I figured out transit, and figured out how to take a bus. They gave me five busses that I would have to take.

I gave myself an hour and a half, thinking it was way too much time. I was going to take the bus, and get there. I got on the bus, four busses later, two-and-a-half hours after the time of the interview, I had to cross the street, and get on one more bus, tear rolled down my cheek. And I just got back on the bus and went home.

But I never forgot that. Because actually I wanted a job, but my husband had one. I didn't have to have a job. If I had needed that job, if I'd had a baby I had to support, I'd have been on those five busses every morning. A good bus system, a good transportation system is a lifeline for communities, more so today than ever before. So we feel that you have to invest in public transportation, because too many people are being left behind because they're in communities that don't have the investments in transit that are needed.

BILL MOYERS: I think you point out that affluent Americans, who live in upscale zip codes, tend to live 15 percent longer than poor people. Right?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: It's absolutely true. It's absolutely true.

It's not right. It shouldn't be. And we know the ways to fix it. Some of the reasons have to do with the absence of fresh fruits, and vegetables in communities. No place safe to get out and engage in exercise.

Too many children. Their asthma's being exacerbated by the fact that they live near freeways, and bus depots. We actually understand that the things that we do in the communities can make a tremendous difference. And we should make those changes because if we don't, the healthcare system is going to continue to be too expensive.

BILL MOYERS: So your big theme these days is equity. Explain what you mean by that.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: Well, during the Civil Rights movement, when we were really trying to break down the legal racial barriers, it was a movement for full inclusion, and participation. But the immediate strategies and tactics were really around integration. To be able to stop the legal segregation, so that we could have integration.

And in many ways we got that. We were able to get the Civil Rights laws passed that got rid of housing discrimination, jobs discrimination, and discrimination in public accommodations, those kinds of things. And that opened up the possibility of people who but for race, and racial discrimination, would have been able to access. So it allowed people who had education to now begin to gets jobs. People who had money to now be able to buy houses in different places. But there's so many things that did not get addressed that were holding people back. I'll go back to the transportation example.

You may have an equal-opportunity employer. But if our investment in transportation doesn't get you a bus route to that job, it's not a real chance. That we may say that yeah, you can go to any college in the nation. But if you happen to be black, or Latino, and you grow up in an inner-city community, the schools that you have gone to aren't going to really prepare you to be able to go to those colleges, not in huge numbers. That's not really a chance. Equity tries to move beyond just saying we've achieved equal opportunity, and ask what do we want people to achieve.

Reach their full potential. And then back into what that will take. So that equity says if you want people to be able to go to any school they want to, to be able to do well, and to move forward, we have to make sure that we are really investing in the educational system. We're not just asking whether all the schools are open, the same amount of time during the year.

Whether they have the same books, whether they're using the same curriculum. We want to know what do poor children need in this country so that they can reach their full potential. They need to start school, ready to learn. And they need to have access to early childhood programs. They need to have a rigorous curriculum, that goes on year-round, not just nine months during the year. They need to make sure that their communities are providing the support that middle-class families provide for their children. Enrichment programs. Safe places to play. Equity asks what do you need to reach your full potential, and how do we make sure that that is fairly available.

BILL MOYERS And you run right into what you call the most uncomfortable subject in America: race.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: That's right. America does not want to talk about race. They don't want to talk about it, they don't want to change the status quo, they don't want to do anything about it. And it's going to hurt the nation if we don't get over it. We have spent way too much time avoiding a topic that must be addressed. And now we're at a point where we can't ignore it anymore.

In this nation, right now, nearly half of children under 18 are children of color. By the need of this decade half will be, and by 2030 the majority of the young workforce will be of color. If we don't make sure that the children who are moving along as a cohort into the future of this country are prepared to lead, and contribute, the future of the country is not bright.

We can look at two things side by side. What's troubling this nation right now? We really need to figure out how to be competitive in the global economy. We really need to figure out how to have a strong, and stable middle class. We need to have people who are contributing, who are innovating, who are ready, who are educated, who can lead in every way.

The cohort coming along that will be the future is of color. America can see its future. And it's a five-year-old Latina girl. It is a seven-year-old black boy. What happens to them will determine what America looks like. And many of the young people who are already 18, 19, 20 are going to be the workers of the near future.

And so this country, as a democracy, really cannot expect to continue to be proud on the world stage, competitive in the global economy, or having a democracy that it can put forward as working in a multi-racial society, if we don't invest in the people who are the future.

And so I'm all for the moral argument. I've asked, I've begged, I've prodded on the moral issue. And I will continue to do that. But it has become an economic imperative. What we do about human development, will determine whether or not this nation has a growth pattern in front of it.

BILL MOYERS: But there are still large communities, large segments of our population left behind because of race, and ethnicity. And you're asking us to address the needs of those constituencies, at the same time many people are saying that we've moved into post-racial politics. In other words, the only way to get things done is to make sure that we don't serve primary communities that are in need, because that will enable the politicians to govern by divide and conquer.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: We are not post-racial. We're not even close. Because race still controls everything in America. That when you think about part of what's causing so many people to be left behind, and in trouble, it's because they live in communities that don't support them. And those communities don't support them because of race.

We have black people, and Latino people living in inner-city, abandoned communities, because people moved away. So you have places like Detroit, were almost abandoned in terms of the people who were moving, and fleeing away from Detroit.

So race completely controls our settlement patterns, as a nation. Education. It used to be that education was the pride of the United States. And it was certainly the pride of many states, like California. I was recently talking to someone who was a leader of a state. And we were talking about poverty. And as he listed the safety net programs, for the poor, he mentioned public schools. It really caught me. I said, "Public schools, that's become a safety net program?" I thought public schools were for everybody. But as they have become associated with people who were poor, and of color. We are abandoning the public school education. That is about race.

And we have taken men, who are important for community, and we've created basically a legacy of absence in communities, by pulling the men out, and putting them in prison, in numbers that are unprecedented. Our incarceration rate in this country is the largest in the entire world. And the disproportionate incarceration of black men, in particular, but a growing number of Latino men, absolutely makes the point that race is a driver, there.

Race has become so embedded, and baked in, that people can walk around feeling that they're not carrying racism in their heart. But so long as they're okay with disproportionate incarceration, communities being left behind, children given no chance, this continues to be a society that is plagued by the legacy of the continuing impact of racism, right into today.

BILL MOYERS: How does race play out in your life?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: I really was a fortunate child.

I grew up in the 1950s, and '60s, in a segregated St. Louis, Missouri. Completely segregated. And I know the racism there was tough. But I didn't experience it, because I was surrounded by caring adults who devoted their lives to keeping us from the sting, and burn of racism.

And my parents were educated, and middle class. And they did everything they could to not just protect us, but to expose us. So that they took us to the museum, and all of those things. But they would sit around the outside, making sure that those of us who were there as children didn't know what people were saying, or what they might do, if they were coming in contact with us.

And having gone to Howard University, where I had a wonderful, supportive, education. By the time I went to law school, at the University of California at Berkeley, I was so fortified, and confident that if people had been treating me badly because of race, it was hard to penetrate my sense of confidence that I had from my own growing up. But yes. I have experienced racism.

But I throw it off. I will tell you, I throw it off. Because I'm on a mission. And it's not a mission to make sure that I get respect. It's a mission to make sure that people who deserve respect get it. And so very often when somebody's mistreating me, I can see that it's because of race. But I'm moving on. I got other things to do, and it's really your problem. And it's your loss.

What I want to highlight, though, is that I could distinguish my experience from what was happening to others. When I talk about this wonderful growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, it may have been a large social group that I was a part of. But it was a drop in the bucket, in terms of black children, in St. Louis. The majority of black children in St. Louis were poor, and didn't have this web of protection. And they were hit with the full force of racism.

Graduated from high school, a class of 200. Only 20 of us went to college. And only a couple of us went to college outside of St. Louis. I know what happened to the rest. I remember a young man who was in my class, who I liked, probably had a little crush on.

But I would have never had him come home, 'cause he couldn't have passed inspection in my family. They were very strict about who I could go out with. I remember thinking that he was one of the smartest, brightest leaders in that entire school. Our first summer after graduating from high school he ended up in prison, where he went for the rest of his life.

So I know that it wasn't just being bright, that allowed me to achieve things. Many things. He was smarter than I was, he understood the world better than I did. But the world conspired to limit his opportunities. And he ended up in jail.

BILL MOYERS: Who was your father? What did he do? And your mother?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: My father was an educator, and my mother was an educator, as well. Most of my growing up, though, my mother stayed at home. They met at a private school in North Carolina. She was teaching English, I think he was teaching math. And they ended up getting married. They came from families, though, that really taught them to expect the best of themselves, and everybody else.

And they both came from families that taught them the power, and importance of struggle. And so I grew up in a family that was educated, that valued education, but also understood that those of us within the black community who were managing to do well, had an obligation to the rest of the community. And being a part of the NAACP, and being an activist in the community, and caring about what was going on, was very important in my household.

BILL MOYERS: Let let me go at this question of education. I read one of your studies. One of them talks about the need for education in the future. And I think you say that by the end of this decade, at least 45 to 46 percent of our jobs in America will depend upon at least some college education. Probably an associate degree. And yet we seem to be running into increasing hostility toward education, today. You may have seen or heard that Mitt Romney put down a student who said he was concerned about being able to afford college. And Mitt Romney said, in effect, "Good luck, but don't count on the government to help you." Let me play you that video.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi, um…

MITT ROMNEY: Hi.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I’m a senior in high school right now. I’m going to be going to college next year, and it’s not very cheap. So I was just curious, if elected, what you would do with regards to college tuition, whether making it easier for me and my classmates, or you know, with regards to that.

MITT ROMNEY: I know that it would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to make sure to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that. What I’m going to tell you is shop around, get a good price […] find a great institution of higher learning. Find one that has the right price. Shop around. In America-- this idea of competition, it works. And don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully you’ll find that. And don’t take on too much debt. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on. Recognize you’re going to have to pay it back. And I want to make sure that every kid in this country that wants to go to college gets the chance to go to college. If you can’t afford it, scholarships are available. Shop around for loans, make sure you got to a place that’s reasonably priced, and if you can, think about serving your country because that’s a way to get all that education for free. Thank you.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: It is shocking to me that someone running for President of the United States, would suggest that there is no obligation on the part of the government to help people get the education that this country needs for people to have in order to be able to help the country to thrive.

You cited the data, 45 percent of jobs in the-- just by 2018, will require at least an associate's degree. Only 27 percent of African Americans have it, only 26 percent of Latinos. We've got a real problem, when those are the people who are going to need to have those jobs. And we're at a place in which we really need to be making sure that we are aligning the affordability of the education that the country needs people to have for the future, with their ability to access it.

I went to law school at Berkeley, and I paid about $1,000, maybe a little less, a year. I think it was about $900. That same education, law school at Berkeley, is over $40,000, now. It would have been impossible for me to access it. We have allowed educational costs to just get out of hand.

We need to figure out a way to make education more affordable. And while we're doing that, we need to help people access education, and we need to really emphasize for young people how important it is that they do well in school, that they get the skills that they need, in order to be able to support their families in ways that are really decent. And furthermore, community colleges need to be lifted up as a real bridge that allows people who are entering, often the first in their family to go to college, to be able to afford it, and get the skills that they need.

BILL MOYERS: But you heard the applause, when Mitt Romney talked about how you don't depend on the government to help you. And Rick Santorum was applauded when he called Obama a snob for promoting college. Because, said Santorum, college are - colleges are “indoctrination mills." Newt Gingrich said that colleges are promoting a “bizarre and destructive vision of reality”. So you've got this antipathy, hostility, toward education as an avenue for which you're asking all of us to help others travel on.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: At this moment we really are two, or three Americas. And one of the Americas is really scared, really frightened, really feeling that everything they thought that they could depend on is disappearing. People who have that fear can go a couple of ways.

They can get involved, and they can think about how to change things, so that the decisions that are being made don't keep taking us down this road of insecurity. Or they can just circle the wagons, decide that anything they don't have, they don't need.

That anything that people are trying to get, that will help them to do better in life is going to be a threat to what they, and they and their children might have. And so part of what's happening is we have a good number of people in this country who are just scared, and they're shutting down. And they're closing off opportunities.

In many ways they are prepared to be a pull-up-the-ladder nation. “I got mine, and I'm pulling up the ladder so you can't get yours, because I think I have to keep you out, so I can stay in”. That group is really going down, in terms of their connection to what the future is really going to be like.

In, and by that I mean they are nostalgic for a time that never was. And avoiding a future that is inevitable. Then you have another America that sees the future. They know that the future depends on education. They know it depends on being able to make sure that those who are being left behind are educated, and brought forward. That understand that they can't get the policies and strategies in place that they need, unless they begin to tell a story that allows other people to see themselves.

And that's what I'm trying to be part of. Trying to help create a narrative that both draws together the people who understand that they need investment to go forward, and allows other people to see how they, too, could benefit from buying into that story.

BILL MOYERS: Well, I think you're getting close to something very important here, because what - the moment I decided I had to have you on the show, it was back in January. And The New York Times ran a story about how upward mobility in America, the old story of starting at the bottom of the ladder, and going to the top of the ladder, is really in trouble.

You then followed that story with a letter to the Editor of The New York Times, in which you wrote, “The Horatio Alger ideal that someone born poor can, through hard work, become rich … [is] for the most part … a pipe dream.” What do you think has gone wrong?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: A lot of things have gone wrong. One of the things is that we really don't have an economy that allows for that kind of upward mobility, anymore. That we went through a period that led us into the Great Recession. That was really fueled by a housing bubble, supported by credit. And de-regulated the financial industry. And so we went through a long period in which we weren't producing anymore.

We weren't creating jobs. We were just creating wealth. And we were creating wealth by laying people off, by exporting jobs, by changing the way that we reported on things. And we weren't investing in the nation, in the workforce, in a way that allowed for a continuous flow of jobs and opportunity. And that's really brought a halt to the upward mobility that had been so completely important.

BILL MOYERS: And the shared prosperity that was at least the ideal when you and I were younger.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: That's right. Shared prosperity just went out the window. The economy stopped working for the majority of people. But it wasn't an accident. It came about through conscious decision-making on the part of people who were wealthy, and could control the decision-making, and the policy making. And they had a wonderful ride. And they're still having it. And too many Americans are being left behind, and for the first time we're a nation in which the children are not expected to do as well as well as their parents. And sadly aren't even expected to live as long, because the impact on health, and wellbeing is pretty sharp, as well.

BILL MOYERS: And the reason I think you're onto something is because many, many particularly working white people, young white men, feel that they-- the rungs disappeared. They're not even on the first rung. They can't get on it. And isn't there some potential for moving beyond race, in discussing the American Dream?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: I think so. I think that's exactly the potential. And that's exactly what I hope people will catch, at this moment. And I hope those people who are white, and struggling, and fearful, will see that there is solidarity to be made with others who are in the same circumstance. They just aren't white. So that people who are white, and being left behind, people who are Latino, black, all of the American people who are being left behind, need to join together, and ask what do we need to do differently, and how can we work together to get that in place?

Because if we don't, the future isn't bright. And part of what we need to do, which is why I keep coming back to race, is that we need to understand that people of color in this country, if we paid attention to what was happening to people of color in this country, we could avoid a lot of what we end up in that's bad, and negative.

BILL MOYERS: How so? How so?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: Well, black and Latino people had double-digit unemployment before the United States of America discovered double-digit unemployment. And black and Latino families were losing their houses in record numbers, long before we ended up in the foreclosure crisis that hit the front pages of the newspaper. If we cared about them, if we felt connected to them as a nation, we would have started asking questions, and trying to fix this early on.

But we didn't have that connection. And so we need to keep race in mind, because we live in a nation in which what happens to people of color is often the canary in the coal mine of the nation.

BILL MOYERS: One of your papers says that by nine-- by 2042 the majority of people in this country will be of color.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: Yes. By 2042 the majority of the population will be of color. And already we're in a situation in California where 73 percent of those under 18 are of color. Already, in California.

BILL MOYERS: How's that playing out?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: It's not playing out very well. And it's a case study in what not to do. That California, just to go back, to after World War II, California was a place that did not look like it was going to have a very bright future. Half of the population was from someplace else. People had drifted into California. A quarter of the population lived below the poverty level. And half of the population did not have a high school diploma.

California looked at this group of white people who were poor, and uneducated, and said, "We're going to invest in this population, and really bring this state up, to really leading the nation." And they did that. By 1960 California had a 25 percent advantage in employment, and education over the rest of the country. Newsweek had 'em on the cover.

“No. 1 State: Booming, Beautiful, California”. That is a case study in equity. Because what California did is it said, "Where do we need for people to go," and then, "How do we back into what they need?" Developing the best educational system, the best work environment. The best health system. Really saying, "We're going to take what we have and build what we need."

Now California as a place where the majority of the children are of color, has stepped back on everything. They're near the bottom, in terms of education. They're near the bottom in terms of high unemployment rates. They really are not doing well at all, because they're not doing what they did after World War II. And part of the reason is because the decision-makers, and the people who have wealth, and influence, don't feel connected to the people who make up the population.

Our racial divide has become a generational divide. That the divide in this country that causes people not to feel connected to the other - the white homeowners, the white politicians, don't feel a connection to the children who are Latino, and African American, and Asian.

That divide, that lack of connection now has a whole generation of young people without a robust public school system. Without a robust public transportation system. Without communities all over the state that are healthy communities, giving people the ability to be able to start a family wherever they might want to.

Our lack of connection, that I call our racial divide, now has a whole generation of young people, including young white people, not finding the investment coming from their government, and from their private sector, that puts them in a position to be able to have the life that they saw their grandparents, and their parents have.

BILL MOYERS: Are you placing your hope in the possibility of redemption for folks who see the other, and see an alien, and a stranger? Or are you placing your hope in the fact that as the country reflects politically, the growing numbers of people of color in this country, people of color will out-vote everyone else?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: I am placing my hope in the self-interest of the people, and the nation, to make the investments that are essential for the country to be strong. I actually believe this one thing, that people say across all party lines. That people do love their country. And I think that if people love their country they have an opportunity to help their country continue to be strong, by investing in the people who are going to be the future. I'm also placing my hope in the political impact of changing the nature of the voting public.

That people who are of color become a majority. They begin to vote more, they become engaged more. They will see their interests. I'm placing my hope in communities of color, and progressive white communities, and people who have the ability to be able to think about the future. And act on the future. Seeing themselves as a huge movement to transform the nation.

BILL MOYERS: You make such a persuasive case, based upon an affirmative reading of human nature, and American democracy. But we both know we're up against the realistic politics that is based on divide and conquer.

Wouldn't you say that politics of discord rules today, and undermines that hope you have for a more affirmative future, and a more affirmative democracy?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: When I was a girl the politics of discord seemed to rule then, too. I remember, as a girl, having no expectation that the barriers that were set up for black people would ever be removed. I remember envisioning my future as one like the one that I grew up in. I thought that I would be forced to create an enclave in a black community that would protect my children from racism.

I remember going to college. I went to Howard University, and one time my friends and I wanted to go ice skating. And one of my friends was so light in complexion, that if you looked at her you couldn't tell that she wasn't white. So we went to the ice skating rink, and we sent her in, to see if we could ice skate.

She said, "No." We went to the movies. We accepted that, as a part of life. And it changed. It changed, because some people said no, and they worked on it for a long time. And a lot of people who were not black, joined them, and worked on it, too.

And the public media, really got involved in showing America its worst self, and showing leaders who were trying to take it someplace else. I am not naïve. But I believe in struggle. I believe in becoming enlightened. I believe in coalition building. And I also believe in the power of logic.

The middle class is in jeopardy. And we know it is. And we need it, for democracy to thrive. When you look at the changing demographics, you look at the vulnerable middle class. It is clear that we need a strategy going forward, that invests in people, so they continue to be that middle class.

We have a context that makes the narrative that I'm putting forward one that some people are going to want to listen to. The more people listen to it, the more people coalesce around it, the more we have policies and strategies that don't exclude, but include. Because white people are being left behind too. And I'm talking about them, when I talk about people who are being left behind.

BILL MOYERS: I urge you to read the new book by one of our greatest journalists about these issues Thomas Edsall, formerly of The Washington Post, now at Columbia School of Journalism. His book, The Age of Austerity, discusses how, reveals, shows how we're going to be squabbling over shrinking resources in this time of rising debts, and polarized politics. How are we going to pay for all that you're talking about, in a time of austerity?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: We are not a poor country, and we need to stop acting like one. We just are not a poor country. We have done this to ourselves. We are nickel-and-diming ourselves. We have money in this country. We're still the wealthiest nation on the face of the earth. We have so many wealthy people.

But our tax system is not tapping our wealth. And so we need to stop acting like there's no wealth to tap. We're a wealthy country. And so your question is not how in a time of necessary austerity do we do what we need to do, but how in a time of stinginess do we develop the public will to use our resources, to tap our resources, to do what must be done. Part of what we have to do is we have to change a narrative about our future.

When you think about what the world needs, in a global economy, it is an asset to be multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural. To be connected to the places around the globe. In any nation, in a world in which the industrialized nations are aging, to have so many young people in your country.

That is an asset. And that asset of global connectedness, and youth, it's coming from the people who are going to be the future. We need to embrace that, and understand that if we invest in it, our future is strong, for all.

BILL MOYERS: But let's be very specific. You are asking people with money to pay more taxes, to help those who don't have money. And that's not, remember when Walter Mondale, in the debates, in 1984, said, "I will raise taxes," he lost overwhelmingly. And you're asking people with money to pay for a future they won't inhabit, and for people now who don't have money.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: Asking them to pay more, yes, in taxes, and they have more. Part of what we've seen as a result of this focus on inequality, is how much more the wealthy do, in fact, have.

So yes, we're asking people that have more to pay more. But they have more, and they can. We're also asking that we have a fairer tax system, that actually taxes people in ways that are proportionate to what it is that they are making. The gifts that they have received. The fortunes that they have been able to build.

Because they have been in this nation. It's been built on the backs, and with the labor, and with the consent of a government, and people who have allowed this economic system to go forward. I don't think that I'm asking anything unreasonable. And if we can get over this sense of disconnectedness, then people will see it as they had seen it in the past. California, back in the time that I described, it was under Republican Governor Earl Warren, and Democratic Governor Pat Brown, that California sacrificed, paid taxes, and built a state that everybody was so proud of. People can do it again.

BILL MOYERS: How does Occupy Wall Street, the whole Occupy movement, fit into all of this?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: I have been so thankful for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Because it put inequality on the front pages of the newspapers, on the nightly news. And allowed people, in their private homes, to start talking about something that had not been a topic of conversation. So the Occupy Movement has done one job, already.

They brought the issue of inequality front-and-center. The next thing that it has been able to do is to encourage people to be visible. To get organized. PolicyLink had a summit in Detroit.

The people who were there, mostly activists, and leaders in their local communities, were very anxious to figure out how to talk about what we had been talking about all along, in the context of the 99%. Very happy to take the issues that very often are issues that low-income people of color care about, and connect them to a national concern about growing inequality.

So the movement has helped to jump start a conversation, and I hope that those of us who have been working on things all along, will keep fanning this conversation about inequality until we begin to get some policies that do something about it.

BILL MOYERS: How long have you lived in Oakland?

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: Since 1973.

BILL MOYERS: So you know it well. Many people felt that Occupy was moving positively, and going to make great strides, until it ran into Occupy Oakland. I brought a headline with me. "Occupy Oakland's Violent Turn Proves the Movement has Lost Its Way." Tell me what you saw out there, and whether you agree with that headline.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: I was not there. I was in the airport. I looked up, and saw what I thought was fighting in Syria, frankly. That's what I thought I was looking at. And then I saw Oakland. I said, "Oakland? What's happening in my hometown." I was shocked, and dismayed. And embarrassed, and sorry, and thought it was a terrible turn of events.

And I think that the Occupy movement did suffer because of it. Because then it became commonplace to move people out, and to move on them, in ways that were violent. It didn't kill the movement. It has not killed the movement. The movement has taken itself into different realms.

But movements have to figure out how to grow, and how to turn corners, and how to develop new strategies, in turning the movement to the foreclosure crisis, in turning the movement to the banks. In turning it in different places. I think the Occupy movement may take on different forms. It is far from dead.

But it is the collective action of people that can make all the difference, it always has. That is the one piece that we are missing right now.

Occupy Wall Street has opened up that possibility. But we don't have that collective action of people. We have been so separated, those of us who have organizations, and people who are leaders, are so separated. Put in this box, and that box.

Rather than understanding we're on a collective mission. And our moment has come. That the nation is having a conversation about inequality, don't let that door close. Let's bring everything we know into it, prop it open, and bring through the army of people, and ideas, who are ready to make America better, and help America see it's not scary. It's glorious.

BILL MOYERS: I'm reluctant to bring this conversation to a close, but it's been very good to talk to you, Angela Blackwell. Thank you for being with me.

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: Oh, thank you.

BILL MOYERS: Not a day passes, that we can’t see evidence of the great divide you just heard me talk about with Angela Blackwell. All you have to do is look at the news.

The Wall Street Journal reports that big American companies have emerged from the deepest recession since World War II more profitable than ever: flush with cash, less burdened by debt, and with a greater share of the country’s income.

But, “many of the 1.1 million jobs the big companies added since 2007 were outside the U.S. So, too, was much of the $1.2 trillion added to corporate treasuries.”

To add to this embarrassment of riches, corporate taxes today are at a 40-year low.

Then look at this report in the New York Times, last year, among the 100 best-paid C.E.O.'s, the median income was more than $14 million, compared with the average annual American salary of $45,230.

Combined, this happy hundred executives pulled down more than two billion dollars.

And according to the Times, “these C.E.O.’s might seem like pikers. Top hedge fund managers collectively earned $14.4 billion last year.”

That’s Wall Street—the metaphorical bestiary of the financial universe. But there is nothing metaphorical about the earnings of hedge fund tigers, private equity lions, and the top dogs at those big banks that were bailed out by tax dollars after they helped chase our economy off a cliff.

So what do these Wall Street nabobs have to complain about? Why are they whining about reform? And why are they funneling cash to super PACs aimed at bringing down Barack Obama, who many of them supported four years ago?

Because, says Alec MacGillis in “The New Republic” -- the president wants to raise their taxes.

That’s right. While ordinary Americans are taxed at a top rate of 35 percent on their income, Congress allows hedge fund and private equity tycoons to pay only 15 percent on their compensation.

The president wants them to pay more, still at a rate below what you might pay, and for that he’s being accused of – hold onto your combat helmets -- “class warfare.” One Wall Street Midas, once an Obama fan, now his foe, told MacGillis that that by making the rich a primary target, Obama is “… on people who are successful,” you fill in the blank.

And can you believe this?

Two years ago, when President Obama first tried to close that gaping loophole in our tax code, Stephen Schwarzman, who runs the world’s largest private equity fund, compared the president’s action to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. That’s the same Stephen Schwarzman whose agents in 2006 launched a predatory raid on a travel company in Colorado. His fund bought it, laid off 841 employees, and recouped its entire investment in just seven months.

Last year alone, Schwarzman took home over $213 million in pay and dividends, that’s a third more than 2010.

So Angela Blackwell was on the mark when she said this is a wealthy country, she also nailed it when she said one reason so many are not doing so well, despite that great wealth, is because the decision makers, and the people who have the money and influence, don’t feel connected to the rest of us.

So you can understand why I’m going to miss Bernard Rapoport, who died this month at age 94. B was my friend for half my life, and a long-time supporter of my work on public television. But more important, he was a capitalist with a conscience.

His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia who landed in Texas, where B was born dirt poor. Poverty there either broke your heart or bit your ankles. And like a man with a bulldog at his heels, B scrambled up and out. He worked his way through the University of Texas, where he “flunked German,” he said, “to spite Hitler.”

At age 24, he met his future wife Audre on a blind date – they were engaged the next day. Together they invested $25,000 to start a life insurance company, which they later sold for half a billion dollars. B would have given it all away, except for an uncanny ability to make money faster than he could dispose of it.

He and Audre gave millions to help low-income children in Waco, the heart of Texas, where they lived modestly and where he died. Millions more to our beloved alma mater, the University of Texas; supported progressive causes and politicians, civil rights and voting rights, arts and culture, and social justice across the country and in Israel – from an eye clinic serving predominately Arab patients, and a high school for children of Israeli families who wanted to co-exist with Palestinians.

And yes, they were generous to independent journalism: Molly Ivins was one of his darlings. And so was the tough little magazine The Texas Observer, that fearless watchdog that takes on the oligarchs who run the state.

Not once, not once, did he ever suggest to me a story to cover or criticize one we did. It was hands-off all the way.

B was no Mother Teresa; many a poker player might leave his table in their underwear. But he stayed close to his roots, urged the politicians he supported to raise his taxes, and felt morally obligated to argue against his own privilege.

There weren’t many Texas tycoons who believed society not only has the right, but the need, to check and balance their appetites.

He did.

It was the only way democracy and capitalism could work.

B read more books than anyone in business I have ever known, and he would send us one that especially moved him, usually about how democracy works, or doesn’t, or on the contradictions of wealth and power.

He fretted as his energies began to fade, and toward the end he called almost every Saturday morning, and always beginning the conversation with the same question: “Moyers, what can I do to make this world a better place?”

You did plenty, my friend. You did plenty.

That’s all for this week. We want to call your attention to an upcoming special report. On Friday, April 20, our colleagues at Public Television’s Need to Know, in partnership with the Nation Institute, investigate whether U.S. Border Patrol agents have been using excessive force to curb illegal immigration.

HUMBERTO NAVARRETE: He's not resisting. Why are you guys using excessive force on him?

JOHN LARSON: As you arrived there, what was the very first thing you heard?

HUMBERTO NAVARRETE: I heard Anastacio screaming and asking for help.

ASHLEY YOUNG: He was being tased for several seconds and wasn’t moving.

MALE VOICE: Ah! Por favor!

ASHLEY YOUNG: I think I witnessed someone being murdered.

BILL MOYERS: That’s Friday, April 20th. Check your local listings.

Coming up on Moyers & Company, historian and commentator Eric Alterman of The Nation magazine, and Ross Douthat, columnist for The New York Times.

At our website, BillMoyers.com, remember Angela Blackwell said Americans don’t like to talk about race, so what do you think goes unsaid? Share your thoughts on a special spotlight section of the website or link from there to our Facebook page.

That’s it for now. See you next time.

Watch By Segment

Full Show: An Optimist for Our Times

April 13, 2012

Angela Glover Blackwell has spent her adult life advocating practical ways to fulfill America’s promise of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for all. Now, with our middle class struggling, poverty rising, and inequality growing, the founder and chief executive officer of PolicyLink, an influential research center, finds reasons for hope in the face of these hard realities.

On this week’s Moyers & Company, Bill Moyers and Blackwell discuss what fuels her optimism.

“I’m not discouraged, and I wouldn’t even dream of giving up, because we’re at a moment right now where I think we have more possibility than I’ve seen in my adult lifetime,” Blackwell tells Moyers. “Part of what I’ve been feeling is that all the issues are finally on the table… So many people who are being left behind are now in places where they have voice, and influence, and they’re forcing their way into the conversation.”

“America doesn’t want to talk about race,” Blackwell states, but says the future “is a five-year-old Latina girl. It is a seven-year-old black boy. What happens to them will determine what America looks like.”

“And so this country, as a democracy, really cannot expect to continue to be proud on the world stage, competitive in the global economy, or having a democracy it can put forward as working in a multi-racial society if we don’t invest in the people who are the future.”

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  • Henry Wong

    The well meaning and politicians share the same pabulum that only shows them as caring persons.  Recognizing the specie is wired to compete and, with intelligence, always to seek  advantages by fair or foul, we can only expect mitigation in a future laden with regulations.

  • Jament

    Some recent studies have shown that “cooperation” has proven to be one of the most powerful survival techniques “wired” in – that has led humans for example, to be so successful.

    Basing a society on competition alone without compassion or cooperation is Social Darwinism – and has proven to be disastrous for those societies that have adopted it.

    Greed and avarice based on the concept that competition is the only fundamental value of the human species – is not only invalid as a theory, it is also immoral.

  • Artful1designer

    Bill Moyers rocks!

  • Andy

    For those who justify selfishness and greed based on human nature are lying through their teeth, there is no scientific consensus on human nature which we barely know much about, the hard science on human nature is nearly non-existent.

    We can only hypothesize, and most likely the truth is a combination of several hypotheses. Chomsky notes this fact here on social darwinism.

    I’m sure you’ve heard of Peter Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, which notes the importance of cooperation as a factor in evolution.

    Hence, while we have certain innate qualities, it is our environment…the society…which determines which qualities are repressed and which are exploited. 

    The current system is structured around repressing our more desirable qualities, such as cooperation and our innate creative and artistic potential, while exploiting our more savage qualities, such as greed and survival of the fittest…commonly referred to as social darwinism.

    Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, has also noted the importance of mutual aid, the idea that if you scratch my back I will scratch yours. Hence it is in my self-interest to cooperate with you because in doing so I myself will also benefit.

  • Michelle Mosser

    Thank you Bill and team…for putting an exclamation in my life, again…this week, with your Angela Blackwell interview. As well a stunning tribute to your friend, the great B. Rapoport. He’s surely smiling upon you now.

    During these times of challenge, trials and ripe potential…your return to weekly media serves as a beacon for me.

  • guest

    Just wondering if all this inequality among the races is conscious or unconsciously  promoted by Darwin`s theory of evolution…that there is a biological inequality.  This was promoted by the eugenics programs which was introduced into the elite private schools in the East (England, Nazis and Bolshevism systems, too). It worked out in the treating of the citizens in each of these countries to almost its own destruction.

  • Anonymous

    “We’re not poor. We’re just stingy.”

    Surely a bumper-sticker for our time.

    Thanks again, for introducing me to another fine, fine person.

  • Josefina

    As a professor in an inner city Community College and a minority myself, I listen to Mrs. Grover attently.
     However, I would like to ask her to start requesting a little effort from  the minority students.
     
    ” I was surrounded by loving parents who took me to the museum..” Is Mrs. Grover encouraging all minority parents to take their children to the museums? Yes, museums do have free days and even offer free transport.

     Bill,  I was dissapointed that you did not request a little more explanation about the reasons why the black community has progressed so slowly after 40+ years after Head Start.  And how are the minority families trying to break out of the total poverty cycle. What are they doing?

    Please have a program about the progress made so that other minorities will feel inspired instead of feeling sorry for themselves like Mrs. Grover seems to insist on.

    And Mrs. Grover insistence on mixing black and latinos as a common need group, is also a gross exageration. Their attitudes are different.

    Note: I am a liberal. But, enough is enough.

  • Pittyfarfan

    Angela message is very clear. There is no turning back the future of our country is ahead if we dare to face that  the emerging majority is our strength. Investment in the “emerging majority” is not  a choice it is our future.

  • Joseph Phillion

    Cogent, sound social AND economical (education) argument.
    Tough…politics…too much “yelling” on talk shows vs interviews like this.
    I suspect most politicians do not know the statistics she quotes…sad.

    I was hopeful that the day would come when I saw a Black/Asian/Hispanic walking down the street in my town and I wouldn’t notice.
    Sadly, not in my lifetime.
    (age 59)

  • Astrosue

    I’m from St. Louis also.  You are certainly blessed ….and lucky.
    Yes the majority there were hit with the force of racism.  I remember integration in school.  I have found that many African immigrants do not understand what went on during the dis-integrated past in this country; they do not understand what happened to many during those times and cannot understand what this has meant to those who lived during the times before integration took place.

    Thanks for your thoughts – they make such sense - and thanks for your optimism. 

  • Astrosue

    Angela Glover is overoptimistic.  We are not fighters and struggle?  It depends on what is done by the Occupy Movement:  a LOT depends on that.

  • magounsq

    Occupy movement MUST have a common message and agenda…not just noise!
    Communication must come from “both” sides.

  • Anonymous

    Regardless of the “color” that this Nation will be by 2050, I do not understand why we, as Americans, don’t see that these are ALL our children, and they will be the hope for our future as the vibrant and competitive Country we have always been. We ignore these youth at our own peril…
     
    Bill: I desperately missed you, and am thrilled to see you are back with us!  

  • Joseph Upton

    More collectivist, progressive propaganda.  This woman doesn’t even know what form of government we are suppose to have (not a “democracy”).  What she calls “investing in the people who are the future” should be read “taxing and spending on more failed, bloated, non productive government programs”.   Big government had its chance in the 20th Century and it utterly FAILED.  Return to liberty, free markets and private education.

  • Legrf

    what is going to happen when the rich have all the wealth and there is very little left. For the 99 percent
    . where is the demand for goods going to come from when The financial folks have all the wealth?

  • Virginia Baker

    God bless you Bill Moyers for doing sacred work.  Long may it and you wave!

  • Anonymous

    There is no such thing as a free market.  All markets require rules and regulations to function.  Without that we have only anarchy or as they used to be called pirates.   The founding fathers discussion of liberty had to do with personal freedoms and the role of government with regard to protecting those freedoms.   Additionally, public education has it’s roots as early as 1635 when the first public school was established.   In 1785 the Continental Congress pass a law that required townships to set aside land for local schools.  From this developed the  land grant universities.   It sounds like you want to return to the time before the revolutionary war.

  • Craig1071

    your hate will die with you. so keep ranting, it matters little.

  • Lovinglee337

    I am reminded that until people respect the work of the heart – our connections will – for the most part – be shallow and tend to foster things such as racism, sexism, etc.   Our connections demand a deeper substance from us all. A substance that can tend to knock us down a notch or two on the status ladder of always trying to be better - while feeling a fear we are never better.  It is  fear that causes us to compete with the very people who could best help us through the fear that is slowly destroying us from within. The fear we should all understand since we are all going through it each and every day.

  • Anonymous

    In answer to Legrf as to what happens when the rich get richer.
    The 1% will be in charge of a third world country.Greed rules ,sadly but true

  • Hafeezah

    Bill~~

    I was thrilled to watch and listen to this eloquent Sister share her vision for what’s possible in America!  Our collective “willingness” is the key.  I will visit her site and invite her to collaborate with us at the Anti-racist Alliance in New York.  Thanks for coming back to PBS and bringing brilliant thought leaders like Angela Glover Blackwell to your table.
    Hugs, Hafeezah/A CIRCLE OF SISTERS

  • Franciest1

     how did it fail?

  • Franciest1

    Is this the discussion on why we don’t like to talk about race?

     I think we don’t like to talk about race in the white community in the United States because it open us to the vulnerabilities i.e.,shame,  that training in white supremacy ascribes to us. It is painful to admit that we have absorbed what we learn through Western academic i.e., white, dominance at the expence of a complete education that would teach us how we came to be a culturally and racially diverse society which might enable us to value our diversity sensitively– “with concern” as stated by Ms. Angela Blackwell.

    We are trained to look away from the organized genocide of Native People that set the standard for our white supremacist practice and while we learn that African people were forced into slavery, how many of us comprehend, if possible, the atrocities of the condition of slavery? Perhaps, even more importantly, how many of us understand the long term political implications for emancipated slaves/freedmen, of Andrew Johnson’s Presidency ? How do we view the 39th Congress, so wrought with the bitterness and entitled ambition of politicians/people from the seceded states. They fought vehemently against well intended abolitionists like Thadeus Stevens–who ever heard of this admirable US American hero? And why not?
     How many of us look for stories about our history in the United States  from the perspective of those who experienced disadvantage to the advantage of white people. Is it our white supremacist endoctrination that persuades us to believe that we can rely on white resources/ authors to learn  the truth?

     Every ethnic group who arrives in the U.S. has its own story-we do not learn about those histories in our public education system unless we seek out the information deliberately. And why would we? We usually aim to get an education that will make us “marketable”.

     We need to look no further than  Tucson Arizona HB 2281 to see what a threat such lessons pose to the powers that be–the 1%.  So while we do not easily understand the source of our racism, and I want to believe that our denial comes largely from our longing not to be racist, we are inundated with white supremacist doctrine  We need to come to terms with it–it requires homework and facing,  painfully, the humiliation that our white supremacist endoctrination

  • Sheila

    Ms. Blackwell spoke the truth … about it being a real factor: where you live, and attend school. As a 10 year old, I was moved from EXCELLENT public schools (in Macon, GA and Belvedere S.C. — to AWFUL public schools  – in New Orleans. It has been a very long, difficult struggle, to surmount the lack of opportunities. It MATTERED where I attended high school, as to where my financial aid for college came from, and even KNOWING about how to apply for college, and IF I was READY for competing (with students who had good college preparation. Even tho’ I graduated Valedictorian, it took a long time, and returning to school in my 40s, to really start to grow into my potential. In my early adult life, I was often told I was “over qualified). I was not above retail work. Indeed, that is what made life so hard, and why SAVING for a better life has also been a challenge. 

  • American Dreaming

    Bill,

    Soul searching show. On one hand, I
    emphatically agree with Ms. Glover-Blackwell that our future lies
    within this beautiful, multicultural emergence. If the US gets it
    right, our most important export to the world will be how nations
    deal with ethnic and racial mixing. On the other side, is the self
    responsibility and criminal fantasizing aspect. Don’t get me wrong, I
    believe the much bigger problem in these African American and
    Hispanic communities are the lack of resources, the “equity”
    argument that Angela makes, but how do you instill into a child to do
    the right thing? How do you stop kids in a classroom making fun of a
    child because they are answering questions and participating in
    class? How do you stop kids from fantasizing about being their
    criminal heroes, to someday be a cash flush criminal throwing money
    in the air for the illusion of street “cred”? (sorry, that is
    Wall Street…ahem) When a community is beaten down so much, you can
    understand how destructive they can act upon themselves but – how
    do you instill that it IS cool to be smart and it ISN’T cool to be a
    crook? Angela was absolutely right in that we are a rich nation who
    can afford to invest in our public transportation and education
    systems. Re-appropriate. What is more important: A military where
    spending is grossly disproportionate to other countries, or our
    children, who won’t even have the knowledge to work these complex
    weapon’s systems? Thank you, Bernard Rapoport, for fighting for us.
     

  • Sheila

    I ‘ll add that being a woman, and wishing to be an architect, met with stiff resistance. Had the financial aid been available, I would not have had to drop out of school (after my freshman year) and could have switched from Fine Art to Architecture for my 2nd year at Tulane U. I was told my mother made “too much”. We did not even have living room furniture, or a car – and her 2nd husband left her with $10K debt @ their divorce. 
    I went to work in oil co 
    offices & retail. I did not know the truth about financial aid. (This was decades before the Internet). I could not afford my own apt (even shared) on “temp” or retail jobs. Funding was always very thin. I went to college 4 years later, but had to drop out again, for lack of sufficient funding. A string of “odd jobs”, including being a “governess” in a number of families over the years … at least, when I wasn’t MOVING, allowed me to PAINT.Fast forward to the 1990s, I was able to get in a training program for AutoCAD. All I heard was that “architects were working for engineering firms; hence NO jobs for a simple draftsperson. I got sick about that time. DESIGN was what I needed to do, and ART was what I was good at. I returned to school 20 years later, and I was on the road to FINALLY having a career. Then “Katrina” happened. I felt compelled to relocate … a few months before my graduation. 6 years later, after years of struggle with chronic pain & housing issues, in my mid-50s, I hope, I’ll SOMEHOW be able to finish my BA, go on to graduate school, and become a teacher (and professional artist/ designer). I take on as much volunteer designing as I can, and while at Loyola U. New Orleans, even made it to Dean’s List. The relocation to Colorado was followed by many ups & downs, but I remain hopeful. It is hard living with a disability, and having one’s dreams … deferred … indefinitely.

  • http://twitter.com/GHY1 George Yates

    Too bad the criminals are in charge of capitalism now. They are addicted to money and under go withdrawal symptoms at the thought of higher taxes

  • http://twitter.com/GHY1 George Yates

     I wonder if the 99% will turn to stand your ground and feel threatened by billionaires

  • Jeromegelover

    When one wants to solve a problem one needs to define it properly. I listened to Ms Blackwell describe how her  family supported her when she was growing up.  This was also true of all the ethnic minorities who came to this country.  What Ms Blackwell apparently doesn’t see is that this is what is lacking in the inner city minorities , a lack of a family structure or literately  lack of a famil,period.  Until this problem is addressed we are all wasting our time.  So have the courage to properly define the problem, then , maybe you can find a solution.

    All that other stuff she is saying is just yada, yada, yada and it will go nowhere.

  • Vic

     I so appreciate Bill Moyers for his ability to bring the best minds to our attention.  Angelo Glover Blackwell put into words what so many of us can’t even comprehend.  Fear of not getting what we “deserve” and the entitlement idea that makes us feel like we deserve everything that comes our way seem to be at the root of negativity at all socioeconomic levels.

  • discouraged

    This lady is pretty idealistic. I have a next door neighbor who is renting a house converted to section 8. I wish she could live next to this neighbor for a few years like I have. They are not good neighbors. They don’t take care of their house, keep their agressive pit bull in the yard, keep trash  put away, keep noise down, respect others right to live in peace in their own yard and on and on. They also leverage the welfare system like it is theirs to trade, barter and change out for newer things. Somehow they  can afford leisure drugs, a tv satellite, and trendy clothes. There are other suspected activites going on in that house …. and violation of section 8 activities like having too many people staying there, etc. Need I say more? Who’s responsibility is it to monitor these folks and integrate them into a real neighborhood from the ghetto?

  • discouraged

    That is the case in an affluent neighborhood.  Money is the great equalizer.

  • discouraged

    I was met with stiff resistance when I wanted to enter the service with a college degree as a woman. I am white. Overcoming is a part of life, not race.

  • Rrtl

    I came from a poverty-line family and worked with families like mine for a very long time.  What Discouraged describes below is simply a family that has a different definition of success.  It’s just that they don’t set their sights too high, because experience has shown them otherwise.  

    Parents always want to do well by their children, and when they find that a change in behavior will bring about something better for their children, they are usually motivated to give it a try.

    I have dealt with hundreds if not thousands of families whose parents would be making $25 an hour, whose houses would be theirs, whose children would be doing well at home and at school– except the money wasn’t there for the job training, the parenting resources, the schoolbooks, the teachers, the better classroom furniture…

  • Hughtnsly

    It seems a number of people out there missed the message of Ms Blackwell. When more and more of our young people are people of color it makes no sense to continue to emphasize and support a disconnect with these young people who are the future of this country.

  • Michael Helms

    I’m extremely pleased and grateful that Bill is back on PBS, his interviews and subjects are so important and routinely address vital matters  that all of us need to understand. Most of the recent guests have been terrific and deserving of the audience’s attention. I’m afraid Ms. Blackwell however, exemplifies some qualities as a speaker that probably bear consideration: She seems to focus excessively on “people of color” (a phrase she must have included in every fifth sentence) and seemed to grant only a perfunctory measure of lip service to working whites, many of whom voted for and support our president, and are experiencing the same challenges that concern middle-class and poor non-whites. She exudes overweening self-satisfaction and delivers her instruction in a patronizing way that probably only gives ammunition to those who believe that minorities and working people suffer from a weak work ethic and are seeking some kind of government sponsored hand-out. Previous episodes have made it clear that there are excellent and informative voices in the community that could more effectively help to inform us and resolve the issues of unbalanced wealth and power that are broadening the yawning gulf between top and bottom of American income earners and generating the uneasy discord in the community that threatens to continue to spiral out of control.

  • ComeOnGuysHurryUp

    Maybe you should take a black history course. You seem to have the right questions and there are real tangible answers. But not just black history any American history from the turn of he 20th century to now. If you’re looking for one kernel to explain everything you are fooling yourself.  Adjust your question a little and ask why have Native Americans been so slow to adapt?

    The question you pose is akin to planting seed, coming back the next year and wonder why has the plant now grown at all? Maybe it grew a little but you were expecting more growth. An investigative mind would I hope naturally look at he surrounding environmental factors, or physically disruptive factors. Some black families have account of the “entitled” whites to restrict black business and growth through various means. 

    If you restrict growth early enough and numerous times that in itself is not evidence that the subject is incapable of growing but that real influences prevented it. As such in my plant example. And yes of course blacks (like any group have bad actors so I don’t champion the notion that blacks would be gods if all conditions were perfect but what race is?)

    I would encourage you (and this may sound silly) but Google Lionel Richie (yes the singer) his family history is good snapshot about the idea of how getting a leg up didn’t always pan out nicely for blacks even from a sympathetic white master because his “entitled mined” white contemporaries wanted to maintain a status quo.

    This is NOT an argument saying “arggh all whites caused black people to not get anywhere…arrghhh” but when you talk about growth you have to realize that there are stumbling blocks that affect the outcome of the subjects potential and not the capabilities of the  subject, again my plant analogy.

    Time for bed. Again if YOU are interested in American History then do the due diligence. If not then you will always how views that are of what you see and not what you can’t. This is by no means the extent of my take on your question but come on…this is a forum and I have job.

  • ComeOnGuysHurryUp

    Maybe you should take a black history course. You seem to have the right questions and there are real tangible answers. But not just black history any American history from the turn of he 20th century to now. If you’re looking for one kernel to explain everything you are fooling yourself.  Adjust your question a little and ask why have Native Americans been so slow to adapt?

    The question you pose is akin to planting seed, coming back the next year and wonder why has the plant now grown at all? Maybe it grew a little but you were expecting more growth. An investigative mind would I hope naturally look at he surrounding environmental factors, or physically disruptive factors. Some black families have account of the “entitled” whites to restrict black business and growth through various means. 

    If you restrict growth early enough and numerous times that in itself is not evidence that the subject is incapable of growing but that real influences prevented it. As such in my plant example. And yes of course blacks (like any group have bad actors so I don’t champion the notion that blacks would be gods if all conditions were perfect but what race is?)

    I would encourage you (and this may sound silly) but Google Lionel Richie (yes the singer) his family history is good snapshot about the idea of how getting a leg up didn’t always pan out nicely for blacks even from a sympathetic white master because his “entitled mined” white contemporaries wanted to maintain a status quo.

    This is NOT an argument saying “arggh all whites caused black people to not get anywhere…arrghhh” but when you talk about growth you have to realize that there are stumbling blocks that affect the outcome of the subjects potential and not the capabilities of the  subject, again my plant analogy.

    One of my now favorite terms by Ron Paul is the term “blowback” is which describes the unintended result of an action that was not forseen or calculated.

  • Tom Radey

    I was a gassed listening the Bill Moyer program tonight
    (4-15) and here the racist garbage coming from the mouth of Angela Blackwell. Not
    once did I hear Ms. Blackwell use the term “rain-bow national”. For some one that
    claims to be so enlighten about the race issue and the problems that are facing
    our nation today and more importantly in the further, surely Blackwell should be
    sensitive to the issue of  “including
    all” NOT JUST A SPECIAL COLOR. According to Blackwell “we blacks” are going to have
    to do all the heavy lifting to keep our nation from becoming a third world
    country and it is appropriate and our RIGHT
    (meaning blacks and Mexicans) to put out your hands saying gimme. Gimme free
    collage education, gimme free vegetable so we can have a balance diet, housing at
    1/10 th going price because for our color and the list just keeps go on.

     

    Your soul, Angela Blackwell is at risk here. When Bill asked
    how are we (the nation) going to pay for all these grand programs and your
    response is we are not a poor country and it’s time for all those rich white
    people to start paying their fare share now. We blacks are taxed to severely. This
    type vocabulary just makes things worse, by calling out one race needs help while
    the others can fine for themselves. I did not once hear Blackwell  say we also need to
    include the poor white people and yes there are more of them, than you care to believe.

    My parting question to Ms Righteous, what was your grouse
    income vs your “adjusted net income” last year?? I don’t need the exact numbers
    just the number is digits and percentages will serve my point. I think that
    would be an interesting fact only in understanding from where one speaks from
    and how you unitize the tax loop-holes that are only available for the rich. As
    in the case of Warren Buffett, he pays lower taxes than his sectary and he is lobbies
    for the rich people to pay more taxes. There is a hypocrite right before your
    eyes and no one says anything. No one forces Buffett to take all those tax loop
    holes but he willing did.

     

     
     

  • R. J. Crabbe, M. A.

    Jeromegelover seems to not understand the context of inner city issues. These communities are marginalized areas by the larger society. These communities are formed by a lack of connection to the larger community. Understand how these communities come about and stop blaming the victim.

  • R J Crabbe

    I so appreciate Bill Moyers provided Angela Glover Blackwell who is a member of America’s brain trust and a strategic advocate for the betterment of the United States. She embodies liberty and justice for all.

    Ralph J. Crabbe, M.A.
    Doctoral Candidate-Counseling Psychology

  • ESTELLE

    THANKS FOR BRINGING MORE TO THE NEED FOR EQUITY.  IN ADDITION TO RACE INEQUITY, THERE’S ALSO  TERRIBLE  INEQUITY  TOWARD HOMELESS PEOPLE , DISABLED PEOPLE AND SENIORS, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD TO  REPEATED CUTS  TO LIFELINE SERVICES LIKE MEDICAID, MEDI CAL IN CALIFORNIA, AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR DISABLED, HOMELESS AND SENIOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ABANDONED.  MANY OF THESE POOR PEOPLE OF ALL RACES, INCLUDING WHITE, DONT HAVE HOUSING, BECAUSE THERE’S A VERY LONG WAITING LIST FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING…3-5 YEARS   OR MORE,IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA.  THAT’S A LONG TIME TO WAIT FOR A PLACE TO LIVE.  AND NOW THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES HAVE BEEN DEFUNDED, AT A TIME WHEN MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS NEEDED…A LOT MORE, AND INSTEAD THERE’S EVEN  LESS AVAILABLE. HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF SICK, SENIOR AND HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE ON THE WAITING LIST, AND HOW MANY MORE CANT EVEN GET ONTO THE CLOSED WAITING LISTS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING?????HAS ANYONE DONE A COUNT? DOES ANYONE CARE?
        I SAY,  WE NEED CIVIL RIGHT FOR THE HOMELESS, THE DISABLED, AND SENIORS OF ALL  COLORS OR RACE, INCLUDING WHITES.  THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE CONVERSATION AND AWARENESS OF ALL THESE SUFFERING PEOPLE WHO CANT GET HOUSING AND HAVE TO LIVE ON THE STREETS AND BE  HARASSED BY POLICE AND CRIMINALIZED, AND BRUTALIZED AT TIMES BY POLICE, EVEN WHEN THEY ARE INNOCENT AND  SICK., AND STRESSED OUT AND MALNOURISHED, AND TREATED LIKE  DIRT..  INSTEAD OF GETTING SUPPORT THEY ARE GETTING ABANDONED AND ABUSED TERRIBLY.    EVEN THE SHELTERS ARE ABUSVE AND DANGEROUS.  SHOULD BE CALLED DANGER AND ABUSE TRAPS. BEING MALTREATMENT BY ABUSIVE SYAFF AND OTHERS LIVING THERE….AND THEY ARE OSTRASISED BY MOST OF SOCIETY. LEFT OUT IN THE COLD.  THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR MANY YEARS., WITHOUT BEING ADDRESSED MUCH, AND WITHOUT ANYTHING BEEN DONE ABOUT IT.  THE AGENCIES ARE MORE HARMFUL THAN HELPFUL AND MOSTLY JUST JERJ PEOPLE IN CRISIS AROUND. NO REAL HELP. THEY JUST GIVE YIU THE RUNAROUND AND STRESS YOU MORE…WHEN YOU APPROACH THEM FOR HELP IN A CRISIS SITUATION.  ITS A WIDESPREAD,  BIG PROBLEM AND VERY CRUEL TO TREAT SICK PEOPLE OR PEOPLE IN CRISIS THIS WAY. THERE IS VERY LITTLE REAL HELP. ITS A BETRAYAL OF TRUST. THERE NOWHERE TO TURN THAT GIVES REAL HELP. 
         PLEASE ADDRESS THESE PROBLEMS OF INEQUITY ALSO.  MANY SENIORS, DISABLED PEOPLE AND HOMELESS PEOPLE , ARE SUFFERING TERRIBLY WITHOUT BASIC NEEDS AND BEING OSTRACIZED AND EMOTIONALLY AND MEDICALLY DAMAGED. YOU COULD INVITE THESE PEOPLE TO GIVE THEIR STORIES AND WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN THROUGH…TO BRING AWARENESS AND HEALING..AND MAKE THEM FEEL THAT THEY COUNT.
         ITS TIME TO SUPPORT THESE PEOPLE TOO.  THEY ARE THE FIRST TO HAVE THEIR PROGRAMS CUT….PROGRAMS THAT WERE INADEQUATE TO BEGIN WITH.   THERE/S A LOT OF HURT OUT HERE, AMONG SICK PEOPLE ON MEDI-CAL, MEDICARE,  OR WITH NO HEALTH INSURANCE OR HEALTHCARE, INCOMPETENT HEALTHCARE,  ….EVEN  THOSE WITH HOMES.  NOT ENOUGH FOOD, MEDICAL CARE, TRANSPORTATION, REAL BEDS TO SLEEP IN, & OTHER KINDS OF PHYSICAL HELP FOR THE PHYSICALLY DISABLED.  WHY IS THERE NOTHING ON MOST MEDIA ABOUT HELPING THESE PEOPLE AND EVEN ABOUT CREATING AWARENESS OF THIS WIDESPREAD PROBLEM????
           THANK YOU. I HOPE THESE PROBLEMS   OF INEQUITY, ABANDONMENT AND PREJUDICE  WILL  BE ADDRESSED ALSO. ITS NOT ONLY A RACE PROBLEM.
       INVITE THESE GROUPS OF PEOPLE TO WRITE THEIR STORIES AND INTERVIEW SOME OF THEM ON YOUR SHOWS. I KNOW YOU CARE, BILL.   THANK YOU.
    ESTELLE

  • Onequitamrelator

    While we empower China to build their middle and upper class we leave our own people here in America in the dirt. This all started with President Nixons visits in 1974 & 1975 to China and signed those trade agreements for the first time in World history and destroyed our economy here in America. There are places in China that we’re farming communities 22 years ago With several thousand people that have grown to over 12 million people just in 22 years to work for peanuts actually even less then that. We have got to get a grasp on our leaders to start making things again in America so we can build back our middle class. It sound like Angela may have smoked too much pot in the 60′s & 70′s and is out of step with reality in own broken America. Bill I love your show and all the shows that you have hosted before also but this is not the true reality in this country and in this world. Angela you need to take a road trip and not on a plane in a car like Charles kuralt use to in the 1970′s and stop in the small town USA and to talk more with the people of this country because you have not even scratched the surface of the real problem that most Americans face both Black and White !

  • Wmwangi

    Thanks Angela, for bringing these issues to light. Difficult but not insurmountable.  

  • magounsq

    discouraged
    not affluent neighborhood…town is actually becoming more diverse…slowly…but coming.
    Most in my town came from inner city…when I first moved here…mainly Italian, Irish, Portuguese, English etc…children of immigrants…now Hispanic, Chinese, Black…etc…are normal evolution…

  • Anonymous

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                                                    17
    Apr

     

     I had somewhat mixed reactions to Angela
    Blackwell.  I admire the work her
    group does and her spirit and optimism are a needed ray of sunshine and
    inspiration in the gray landscape of our current economic and political
    disasters.  But much of what she said
    was a repetition of what is obvious to progressive-minded viewers–for example,
    that slashing funds for public transportation cripples what is an absolute
    necessity for low income workers who need to travel any distance to their jobs
    and can’t afford a car, or that it’s a disgrace for a rich nation like ours to
    permit forty per cent of its children to live below the poverty line, or to
    starve the public schools that provide the affordable decent education  that will afford poor children a
    realistic chance of getting on the escalator of upward mobility.  Unfortunately I saw no evidence of her
    confronting the key reason for the brutal inequality that now characterizes our
    country, namely the capture of our political system by organized wealth
    determined to sustain and even grow its power and privileges.  Ms. Blackwell is cheered by the
    approaching day when “white” Americans will be outnumbered by
    “people of color,” but these are not a homogeneous force. Where is
    there a current rainbow movement that would unite people of Asian, African or
    Latin American origin behind progressive laws to battle the  economic royalism that hurts them
    and  European-descended white
    working and middle class citizens alike and ironically  confers on them the fellowship of
    losing ground together?   It
    is encouraging that the Occupy movement did force inequality out of the shadows
    and  on to the nation’s
    conversational agenda, but how do we generate the political will and build the
    political machinery to reduce it?  
    Obama is at last talking populist language (and being denounced by
    critics for his abandonment of “moderation) but there is no strong
    evidence in his past performance that he will continue to imperil large donors
    by genuinely transformative appointments and initiatives. Where are the
    candidates and officeholders of the current two parties who will challenge the
    Reaganite and Milton Friedman-esque fantasies blasted into our ears for years
    by right-wing think tanks and talk shows, Fox News and the National Review–that
    government is the enemy and the unfettered free market the only acceptable
    solution to society’s problems? 
    Where are the Presidential speeches that will say that government can in
    many instances  be a positive force
    for the public good as the record of twentieth century progressivism when in
    the saddle plainly shows? Or that unions are a positive force for workplace
    democracy without which political democracy can be hollow.  Or that taxing corporations and rich
    individuals substantially to support the organized free society that, along
    with their own work and talent, makes wealth possible is a moral obligation,
    not a drag on our competitiveness. 
    That in fact history shows that co-operation and community have been equal
    and even stronger levers than competition or more usually semi-monopoly in
    raising the level of human existence . 
    What do we as a people need to do on a practical level to create the
    machinery that those whom we choose to act in our names can use for us all,
    and not an elite few whose wealth is supposed to “trickle down” to
    us.  I do not believe that the
    current Democratic Party or the two-party monopoly fills that hole.  Until we begin a serious  and practical effort to re-draw that
    picture by the replacement or transformation of those two institutions, visions
    like Ms. Blackwell’s admirable dream of a prophetic and poetic universal
    community of freedom that will somehow arise on the back of new demographic
    realities will remain a bodiless fantasy.

     

                I
    thought that Bill Moyers did his journalistic best to fire a few hard shots of
    political reality in her direction, but answers came their none as they bounced
    off her armor of hopefulness.

     

                So
    where do we begin to devise practical 
    and contemporary answers to problems like these?  How, specifically, do we peacefully
    break down the walls and recapture the lost citadel of  government that operates within
    capitalism, to be sure, but keeps the interests of the general public in the
    foreground?   Doing that is
    the first priority.  After that we
    can face the problems of full employment, trade, education, the environment,
    our world role and others equally tough with new perspectives.   I would hope that perhaps some of
    Bill’s future guests and those of us who discuss the programs afterwards in
    this forum, would let the (civil) debate begin.  We all have a lot to learn and the need and the time are now

                Bernard Weisberger

  • TowandainVT

    It would be great to have a similar discussion…about the class issues (and not necessarily racial) that have the same impacts in poor rural communities. Many of the issues are the same…on the people are poor-white…in rural New England.

  • Brandon in Colorado

    Major changes of thought and culture, like evolution, tend to take generations to fullty take shape.   I look at my own generation, and even the one following me, and see a different kind of civil rights movement on the horizon.   As we grow, several generations removed from the worst of racial discrimination, our mindsets about everything from race to sexual orientation have shifted in kind.  
    With the blatant disregard many of the modern powers display for education and opportunity (like Romney in the excerpts), we may soon see a new clash.   Instead of racial lines though, the future Americans will end up rising through the empowerment of social networking, and the incalculable potential of the internet, and fighting to preserve our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness against the narrow-minded, short-term solutions instituted by beurocrats more concerned with securing their own avaristic interests than for the future of our country.
    ~Brandon – Turning 27 next week, working full time, full time student at a community college, fighting for every scholarship and grant I can get, and risking borderline malnutrition to invest in the future so I can provide for myself and my 6 year old son.

  • ~B

    I’m
    rather curious as to this as well.

    In regard to the accusation of the government structure, I do partly agree that
    a strong aspect of what she’s calling for falls within the arena of socialism;
    but anyone who carries the torch of ‘true democracy in America’ is sadly
    mistaken. America possesses, and has for a long time, a mixed economy using
    socialist ideas to balance out the weaknesses of capitalistic democracy, which
    has worked remarkably well for us (as well as Germany, whose mixed economy is
    currently the strongest in Europe).   When properly executed, it provides a country
    with a skilled, educated, effective workforce which can foster growth, a strong
    economy, societal prosperity, and a high standard of living.   Even Adam Smith, the father of capitalism,
    never imagined the levels of avarice displayed by America’s modern elite when
    he created his ideal ‘free trade’ system.

    Mr. Upton made several large sweeping claims, all of which classify as logical
    fallacies. It continually begs the questions of “what is collectivist
    progressive propaganda?”, “Which failed, bloated, non-productive
    government programs?”, and especially “How did big government fail in
    the 20th century?”

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but anyone who cannot express those
    opinions without proper support will just be easily dismissed as the verbal diarrhea
    that it really is.

    If you can construct a logical argument, I will listen to what you say and pay
    you due respect.

    But, if you cannot even spell check your own post; you’re an embarrassment to ‘private
    education’.
    DUE

  • Fran Dodson

    I was fortunate to see Ms Blackwell and a host of other magnificent presenters last fall at the Equity 
    Summit in Detroit.  It was the largest conference I have attended.  How amazing it was to be in one space with so many activists from across the country, all focused on all the faces of equity issues, from poverty, food equity, transportation equity, economic equity, education equity…and for those people to commit to returning to their own communities to continue this work.

    When I hear the comments from Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum, I agonize that the interviewers never ask them “Why do you think belittling public education serves the common good? Why do you believe restricting a woman’s right to make decisions about her health with her doctor about her own body is a good thing?  Why do you think contraception is wrong?  Why do you think there is one class that is exempt from contributing to the public good?  And more importantly, how are these views and practices going to benefit the public good? ”

    There can honestly be only one answer, and that is, by working toward inequity, you are destroying the ability of people to improve their lives so that America can compete on the world market with 3rd world countries for the sole benefit of a few wealthy people, to the detriment and destruction of the middle class.  It is not the liberals who wrote the rules of engagement for the war on the middle class, but those extremist whose fondest wish is to return to feudalism.

  • http://twitter.com/gingeredawn redawn

    amen sister friend!

  • cecebel57

    Thank you very much Mr. Moyers for having Mrs. Angela Blackwell on the program.  Very informative..really helped me understand  equity issues in this country..very enlightening.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Social networking cannot stand alone.
    It depends upon infrastructure controlled by the 1%. Interactive opportunities are commercially designed for consumer manipulation and social control. I hope your son inherits a better, more organic community. Pretending celebrity on the web is not real life. When I was 27 I thought optimistically as you do, and then I learned I have to make my own dreams real in cooperation with talented friends. The 1%, not subservient bureaucrats, block your aspirations. 

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Yep, every little community, all their eggs in one basket, one clique, the moneyed and their realtors, managers of extractive enterprise, muddying clean water for all.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Her laundry list of injustice is valid, but I agree with Bernie that she’s trapped (by expectations and funding) in an outdated Liberal meme.
    He locates the underlying problem in political exclusion of the majority by use of excessive political spending and systematic corruption. I think wealth and income must be distributed in  an equitable way before problems of political structure can be solved. 

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Road trip and pot are two inseparable concepts.
    I can’t see proper Angela toking, giggling and munching across the contiguous states. Weed have a more mellifluous, less greedy nation if we legalized marijuana. Maybe the quitrealtor deserves a roadtrip across China to enhance understanding. The growth there can’t be sustained ecologically, and the poor majority will find themselves still stuck on exhausted farmland.
    People here feel flattered that 300 million consumers in China have copied our mistakes, but to emulate that program is suicide/genocide. China has the same problem as we politically: Dominance by a greedy minority and suppression of popular ideas. It is our mirror image, both terribly flawed and mired in superstition. The truth is that the same interlocked Oligarchy runs both places.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Yep, like Carne Ross and Chris Hedges repeat each day: Help the abjectly poor and suffering first.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Tom
    Will we all be White in Heaven?
    Pretty soon the USA will be mostly people of color. The nature of justice and the viable solutions to urgent problems will not change when that occurs. I found during the  war on poverty that Whites were just as likely to benefit from enabling programs. When Angela stated that Blacks and Hispanics will have to shoulder a burden she was advocating for self-sufficiency just as racists often recommend. I am amused you lump Ms. Blackwell with Oligarchs like Warren Buffet. Will you not be satisfied until she is baking cornbread in a sharecropper shack on your plantation? I notice you did not disclose your holdings and income before you spoke so critically.What do you have that  you are so fearful the hungry and sick might take it away? Say grace at meals if you believe and realize your health, friendsip and free association, and your freedom/opportunity to earn are your greatest assets. A good man tries to extend these things to all.        Sincerely, Grady

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Any People’s History helps.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    So you got the “wrong color Barbie” for Christmas?
    If you were creative you could roleplay and find insight into yourself. Always, always traumatized minds dredge up Reagan’s welfare queen. Give your Barbie a Cadillac and a backseat full of food stamps and you’re ready to pretend. Maybe Glenn Beck can bring over his Big Buck Ken and you can play dreamhouse with make believe Freddie&Fannie..

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Excellent distillation!

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Quit sterotyping all poorer people as criminals.
    What are your faults? Do you notice if your richer neighbors use drugs, have parties, acquire new stuff and have pets? (Oh, you approve.)
    Any human life trumps the real estate value of your house. Remember, you can convert your property to Section 8 too. Ask the owner of the house next door how.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    He could have booked a stronger voice.

  • http://www.billmoyers.com Theresa Riley

    Dear Tom,

    I’m not sure if you didn’t watch the whole show, but there are many instances in Ms. Blackwell’s interview where she mentions “people of color” and poor whites. 

    For example:

    “BILL MOYERS: And the reason I think you’re onto something is because many, many particularly working white people, young white men, feel that they– the rungs disappeared. They’re not even on the first rung. They can’t get on it. And isn’t there some potential for moving beyond race, in discussing the American Dream?

    ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL: I think so. I think that’s exactly the potential. And that’s exactly what I hope people will catch, at this moment. And I hope those people who are white, and struggling, and fearful, will see that there is solidarity to be made with others who are in the same circumstance. They just aren’t white. So that people who are white, and being left behind, people who are Latino, black, all of the American people who are being left behind, need to join together, and ask what do we need to do differently, and how can we work together to get that in place?
    Because if we don’t, the future isn’t bright. And part of what we need to do, which is why I keep coming back to race, is that we need to understand that people of color in this country, if we paid attention to what was happening to people of color in this country, we could avoid a lot of what we end up in that’s bad, and negative.
    —————————————————————————-
    Theresa Riley
    BillMoyers.com Moderator

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Complexity and concentrated populations require an institutionalized cooperation. Adherence to market competition as the highest good results in  agglomeration of assets in non-productive sectors and a diminishing quality of life for all.
    Only possessors of excess wealth power, their aspirants and their retainers oppose reform. They ultimately undermine themselves. No one succeeds without help anymore.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Hate is contagious, isn’t it?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Tradition alone will not save us.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    At that point the collective social consensus (social contract) will break down and all agreements concerning the value of currency and the sanctity of private property will melt away. Are we ready for that? I don’t know. We better be discussing some alternatives.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Barack Obama, in his failings, has proven that a nominally mixed-race leader as hostage to Empire is equivalent to a nominally Caucasian leader as hostage to Empire. There ain’t a dimes worth of difference, which supports my claim that one person is about as good as any other.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Wowee…. only two sides?
    Are we choosing up for Red Rover?
    Send Moyers right over.

    Occupy will be what the participants decide.
    Are you in?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    You’re gonna depend on displaced people and people with idle time over those who do the necessary work that makes our society function?

    Angela has a right to dream, but we all gotta strive to thrive.

    Occupy will achieve the importance you give it when a strong majority joins in. Util then you are overoptimistic too.

    The majority remains in denial about the hazards of our current course. They deceive themselves so they can face the next day and keep working.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Shared guilt over inequality and fear of the poor are powerful adhering factors too. You get to be friendly when you all have the same  things to lose. Kind of like a union I suppose.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Maybe they were flying along doing 90 in a 55 mph headwind.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Racism and ideological conflict are both to the advantage of the owning class. Social Darwinism is a mythology to instill that advantage.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    What kind of world would this be if all shared the attributes of Henry Wong. Would he go about killing himself?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Andy: Learned, curious persons are valued here as a common asset. Welcome wise one.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    The germination and growth of a seed depends on the quality of the dirt and the availability of water. People likewise are living things.

    On Black History within People’s History- partial knowledge can mislead.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Little outhouse on the prairie lost viability a century ago, Pa.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Gun and George, both start with G.
    Think, the wealthy are people too.
    They sleep: they eat: they expel waste: Just like you and me. We can reach them in their commonality. A person need not think to breath. I’m counting on that.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Were any poor people at that Detroit conference?
    If so, what did they tell you?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I wish you’d had Cornell West too, or instead. 
    He teaches down in Princeton, probably could have gotten to WNET in a jiffy.

  • Franciest1

     Class issues will remain as long as we do not know one another across race and ethnic lines and then join together to find equity, realize the promises of the Preamble to our Constitution.  Those lines of difference and dispute are purposefully implemented by those in power to sustain power. We must learn our whole diverse history as told by those who have lived it.

  • Anonymous

     o please, one more liberal telling someone to shut up.
    you go live next door to that neighbor of hers

  • http://twitter.com/Paul_Revere_Mad Paul Revere

    We have to stop thinking that our old conventional ways are going to help us. We have to do really big things now because we’ve done absolutely nothing for the last 40 to 50 while continued to multiply and grow.

    FIGHT THE CAUSE – NOT THE SYMPTOM

    OsiXs (Revolution 2.0 – The Smart Revolution)

  • Culp52

    I was inspired by Angela Glover Blackwell to move outside my
    comfort zone and talk with my friends and neighbors about the effects of racism
    in our progressive west coast city.  We are always blaming somebody else
    (the police, the schools, etc.) for racist behavior, but they only reflect the
    society we have created. Those of us in the white majority need to make
    the effort to understand what it is like to be a person of color right here and
    now, because it is still a different reality than the one we experience.  Acknowledging that is the first step to an
    equitable society where everyone has a chance to live their vision of the
    American Dream.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Nice call to accountability, TR.
    Moderators are discussants too.
    Don’t presiding judges ask questions for clarification? 

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I’m definitely no Liberal.
    I was an aide to a Republican Senator for 18 years (during 4 terms). Many former Republicans are now outraged by curtailment of 
    civil and human rights, and by the polarization of power and wealth in our country. Really, most Americans feel that way, so I am hardly alone. I’ve lived in inner city Baltimore and Philly and am a streetwise hombre. My present NJ neighborhood is multi-ethnic. Are you ill at ease in Santa Monica? (I was born in California.)

  • Nadyakolakowski1

    Would that be after we sold their childern and men and raped their women? Do you think maybe that would be why it’s been hard to support thier family values? Just a thought. Most have the values they were taught from their owners. In the place they worked. Today it is still the same. Were ever we work the company tells us how we should work and act or you lose your job. Unless your too big to fail. Us poor will bail you out and then say the government is too big. WHAT GOVERNMENT. We are run by corporations now. We are all slaves to big money.

  • Anonymous

    Who does do the “necessary work to make our society function”? Slaves or their equivalent…always have, probably always will. Nobody lives an elite life without it. The beautiful mind of Angela trails off for me when she lays her hopes and dreams on the fact that it “must” change because there will simply be too many of the poor disenfranchised blacks and Non-whites to ignore them. No. It won’t matter because the poor have always been controlled no matter their numbers (sometimes those high numbers work to the benefit of the elite in a really controlled society which we are fast becoming. Angela waxes eloquent on “whats wrong” but her “why it must change” is flawed. It must change because it is wrong, not because a majority (which can most definitely be controlled without any power being ceded to them) is rising in the wings. Occupy has more of a chance to get us there then believing the system itself will soon be occupied by those who are currently left behind just because they are becoming a larger percentage of the population. Go forth and OCCUPY!! Slavery should be left in an evolutionary dust.

  • Anonymous

    I suggest you read Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States. And then I ask you – what air are you going to breath when ‘free markets’ destroy our environment and makes life a hell in a culture that  worships money and wants to pretend greed as the answer for human societies. We and you’ve been sold a bill of goods — a way of conquering us. You are more vulnerable than you know. Want to wait until we are truly in gated community, very limited safety communicty society?  Well, I used to tell women who simply wanted to get ‘a seat at the table’ and into the patriarchal, exploitive, divide and conquer ways of old ways of doing things (the TOP value being PROFIT, not a dirty word, just not the whole picture)….I used to tell them  ’you are one man away from poverty. ‘  Meaning, when your personal experience changes, so will your perspective. We are going to have solve these problems with another consciousness (set of values and goals, players and a different ‘table’) than that created these horrible problems. The words are sustainable, inclusive, problem solving to get to real productive Nation and world. Demanding more equality – OF OPPORTUNITY – and REAL free markets connected to the dictim that an economy ultimately about  benefitting society efficiently (with a place for high achiever), which is what the word   ‘economize’ reminds me of –  vs – the criminal, rigged market  games going on now.  Well, in my view, you may be thinking too small – private education indeed. I suggest we find the courage to reexamine where real ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ comes from, it’s been a long struggle.

  • Cinnamonblue

    I thoroughly enjoyed this program with Ms. Blackwell.  I found her to be very thoughtful and eleoquent.  I especially loved her saying she hoped to see community colleges lifted up as I am a graduate of the community college at which I now teach. 

  • TowandainVT

    It would seem more likely that the stand-your ground laws were written  by the 1% to protect them from the inevitable outcome of their greed…revolt. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/tmartarella Tony Martarella

    I am convinced to my core that no change for the better, no improvement to the quality of life, will happen in America without the spilling of blood.
    Rare in history has it been otherwise.
    Yes, the size of the crumbs that fall from the pulotcrat’s table vary from time to time… sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller… but in the end, has anything changed?
    The founders wrote a constitution based on plutocracy in the interests of land and shop owners; they created a republic whereby representatives would decide their best interests, select senators, representatives and electors among themselves. At no time was the notion of democracy part of the original equation…
    So I ask, aside from the rhetoric, has anything really changed?