THE PRESIDENT'S INITIATIVE ON RACE
ADVISORY BOARD MEETINGTUESDAY,SEPTEMBER 30, 1997
The Advisory Board met in the East Room at the Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., at 9:30 a.m., Dr. John Hope Franklin, Chairman, presiding.
JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN Chairman
WILLIAM CLINTON President of the United States
ALBERT GORE Vice-President of the United States
LINDA CHAVEZ-THOMPSON Board Member
SUZAN D. JOHNSON COOK Board Member
THOMAS H. KEAN Board Member
ANGELA E. OH Board Member
ROBERT THOMAS Board Member
WILLIAM F. WINTER Board Member
JUDITH WINSTON Executive Director
Agenda Item Page
Introduction/Review of Agenda - 3Dr. John Hope Franklin
Report from Advisory Board Chairman - 4Dr. John Hope Franklin
Report from Executive Director - 11Judith A. Winston
Discussion with President Clinton and Vice President Gore - 13
Introduction of Roundtable Topic for the Day - 70Dr. John Hope Franklin
Demographic Information About the Population of the United States - 73Dr. Reynolds Farley
Polling Data Concerning our Attitudes and Actions on Race - 95Dr. Lawrence Bobo
Talking About Our Attitudes and ActionsDr. James Jones - 122
Dr. Jack Dovidio - 158
Dr. Derald Wing Sue - 179
Presentation of Advisory Board Work Plan - 207Dr. John Hope Franklin
Next Steps - 219
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I am pleased to call to order the meeting of the Advisory Board to the President's Initiative on Race. I think that if you do not know the members of the Advisory Board, then permit me to present them.
Thomas Kean over at my far right, president of Drew University and former governor of New Jersey.
The Reverend Suzan Johnson Cook who is the pastor of the Bronx Faith Community Church.
The Honorable William Winter, the former governor of Mississippi and a distinguished of the Mississippi Bar.
Ms. Linda Chavez-Thompson who is the executive vice-president of the AFL/CIO.
Ms. Angela Oh, is a distinguished member of the Los Angeles Bar and activist in the area of civil rights and a great criminal lawyer in Los Angeles.
Mr. Robert Thomas, the president and CEO of Nissan, USA.
I would also like to present the executive director of the Advisory Board to the President's Initiative on Race, Ms. Judith A. Winston.
There are two senior consultants to the Board: Mr. Christopher Edley, professor at the Harvard Law School and a longtime servant of the public in many capacities; Ms. Laura Harris of San Antonio, Texas, who has kindly consented to serve as a senior consultant, although we wanted her for a longer period of time than that.
We have been busy during these last several weeks doing a number of things. One of the first things that we have done is develop five broad goals that reflect the work that we will be doing and have been doing, as the Advisory Board, and the work that the staff on the President's Initiative on Race have been doing.
First, we have undertaken to articulate the President's vision of a just, unified America.
Secondly, we have undertaken to educate all Americans about the facts of race in this country that extend back at least half a millennium.
Thirdly, to promote a constructive and continuing dialogue in which we will confront many of the difficult issues of race.
Fourthly, to encourage leadership at the federal, state, local, community and individual levels in the effort to bridge the racial divides.
Finally, the identify and develop solutions in critical areas such as education, economic opportunity, the administration of justice, housing, crime and health care.
During the last several weeks, individual board members have given speeches, they have served on panels and engaged in numerous informal discussions concerning the President's Initiative on Race and the Advisory Board's work plan.
Individual members participated in the activities of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
A few of us have met with members of the American Psychological Association when it met in Chicago last month to discuss how to talk about race in ways that unite rather than divide us.
Dr. James Jones from whom we will be hearing later, helped to arrange that meeting.
I have written to the entire Congressional leadership concerning our desire to involve them in the process, and I look forward to an opportunity to meet with all members of the Congressional leadership.
I also have had the honor and the privilege to speak to the joint session of the North Carolina General Assembly. There was an enormous amount of interest in what we are doing as expressed by the members of that legislative body.
And of course, many of us were involved during this past weekend in the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock. I will have more to say about that in a moment.
The response that we have received as we have carried on our work, and the response and reactions that we continue to receive, have been overwhelming and the extent to which people have volunteered and asked to be included in one way or another in this effort, has been most gratifying.
There has been an enormous volume of mail, telephone calls, almost all of them positive, I might add. Not only has the office Washington received huge volumes of mail and telephone calls, but individual members of the board have received responses from the general public.
People have asked to participate, they have offered their services, they have made helpful suggestions, and we continue to be grateful to them for what they have done, and we will continue to be grateful to them for what they will do in the future. We look forward to getting large numbers of them involved in the work of the Advisory Board and the general activities that we will be carrying on.
When we met last on July 14, we had just appointed an executive director, Ms. Judy Winston. She did not actually begin her work until the month of August. But the work that she has done in the relatively brief time that she has been heading the staff has been most remarkable and gratifying.
The staffing of the President's Initiative on Race is nearly complete and the staff has been hard at work in pursuing the goals to which I referred. Judy will make a more extensive report in just a minute or two.
One example of the manner in which we have been active was our involvement in the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the desegregation of the Central High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Many of you saw the observations and commemorations on television and perhaps you have had the opportunity to reflect on the far-reaching impact of that one event on the status in America.
During the period of the commemoration, members of the Advisory Board were active in working with the National Conference to put on a two-day program following the specific anniversary commemoration, and they were in various parts of the country as we undertook to take advantage of the work that the National Conference was doing.
So, Governor Winter and I were in Little Rock where Governor Winter gave the keynote address of the two-day meeting last Friday. Then both of us participated in round table discussions and the town meetings that followed on Saturday.
We were particularly involved and concerned with the manner in which public education could help to prepare our young people for the multi-racial society that will characterize our country in the 21st Century.
These activities were developed and extended and transmitted by satellite to some 25 locations around the country. The Advisory Board and members participated in events in three of these locations.
Governor Winter and I, as I indicated were in Little Rock, where we able not only to listen to the comments of our local audience, but to receive comments and questions from people stationed at various locations around the country.
Members of the Advisory Board were in some of these locations. Unfortunately, we didn't have 25 members on the Advisory Board so we could not have members at each of the points where the town meetings were in progress.
But Angela Oh was in the Oakland-San Francisco area, Bob Thomas was in Chicago, and Suzan Johnson Cook and Linda Chavez-Thompson were here in Washington.
I hope that they will give us a report on those activities, perhaps, just a little later.
Also, we have developed a work plan which we will be discussing later in the meeting. This work plan is the result of contributions from all of the board members.
I want at this time, to particularly think Bob Thomas, the president of Nissan, USA, for what he has done and how extremely generous he has been with his time and with the time of his staff.
I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Nissan, USA in Gardena, California, to see what that particular group has done in the way of setting an example for corporate America to involve itself more in generating, not only on their staff, but setting examples for others, to show what diversity really is and can be in a great American corporation.
Now, I am pleased at this time to present our executive director who oversees the day-to-day operations of the Advisory Board and the President's Initiative on Race staff. I am going to ask her to tell us something about what she and the staff have been doing since she came on board.
DIRECTOR WINSTON: Thank you very much, Dr. Franklin.
I would like to add my own hello and welcome to everyone here at the second Advisory Board meeting and to thank all the members of the Advisory Board as well, for your wonderful reception to me as I joined this effort in August.
I thank you for all the time and attention that you have given to the President's Initiative on Race over the past several weeks, and to the staff.
The theme of today's Advisory Board meeting is building on a common foundation.
As Dr. Franklin noted earlier, he, Governor Winter and I have just returned from Little Rock where we attended the fortieth anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School.
We were also participants in the National Conference's National Leadership Summit which provided an opportunity for us to engage in a conversation on race and education.
Both events, as Dr. Franklin has indicated, were truly exceptional experiences.
As I sat and listened to President Clinton's speech and the words of the Little Rock Nine at the Leadership Summit, it struck me that these two events capture the essence of the Initiative, bringing people together to discuss our differences while celebrating our commonalities, concentrating on that which binds us together while recognizing we still have a lot of hard work to do.
The level of energy and excitement that people exhibited in Little Rock was astounding, and it was only matched, in my view, by the level of interest that we have found in communities all over the country that want to share their stories and participate in the dialogue.
Communities like Springfield, Ohio, which is home to a study circle and is attempting to reach across boundaries and build bridges in its community.
My point is that there are many, many people in the country, from one end to the other, who recognize a need for and want to have a dialogue on race. In fact, they have begun to have it already.
We know, for example, in Akron, Ohio and in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daily newspapers, the Beacon Journal and the Times Picayune, respectively, have both penned series of articles offering in-depth analysis of how race is affecting their communities.
We also know that in Albuquerque, New Mexico, El Paso, Texas, Valdosta, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Levi-Strauss Foundation and Levi Strauss have undertaken a significant project designed to promote racial harmony in these communities.
In Philadelphia and Seattle, the Ford Foundation is participating in the campus diversity initiative, a program designed to explore the benefits of diversity in education.
In fact, only this morning, the non-profit Center for Living Democracy released the results of its year-long survey of community efforts at interracial dialogues. Researchers identified over 80 interracial dialogue groups representing at least 30 states.
Interestingly, one of the findings of CLD is that religious organizations ranked first, and the media, last, in order of importance in fostering interracial dialogue.
There are many other findings and I hope you all will have an opportunity to take a look at this survey and understand better how much is going on in this country.
Some of it is stimulated recently by the creation of the President's Initiative on Race, but other activities have been ongoing, and the people who have been engaged in dialogue on this critical issue have been, in my view and from their own mouths, have been re-energized by the President's call to talk about this issue and to begin to understand how we can resolve and deal with the challenges of bridging the racial divide.
So these and other communities recognize the urgency and the importance of what the Initiative is trying to accomplish and sincerely want to participate.
I think that we would all agree that there is no better time than now for this activity to take place.
We have been very busy at the Initiative office which is located in the New Executive Office Building, here in Washington, D.C. I am pleased to announce that, as of today, we now have 24 full-time staff members of the Initiative and four consultants.
I have been asked by a number of news reporters over the last few weeks just how we are doing, in terms of our staffing, and I keep changing our numbers; but that is progress.
We now have 24 full-time staff members and we also have several consultants working with us. Dr. Franklin introduced earlier Laura Harris and Chris Edley who are busy working with us and helping to guide our activities.
My expectation is that by mid-October we will add an additional five members to the full-time staff.
I notice that Dr. Franklin did leave the room, and I should tell you that he has gone to meet the President and the Vice-President who will be joining us here.
I would like to take this opportunity to indicate that we expect the President and the Vice-President to be with us at this meeting for approximately an hour, and I would ask particularly that the audience would remain in your seats for a full fifteen minutes, following's departure. We ask you to do that for security reasons.
So, we would appreciate your indulgence at the conclusion of that particular part of our Advisory Board meeting.
I do want to mention that the staff is divided into essentially three components. We do have a communications team that is headed by Deputy Director Claire Gonzales. We also have an outreach and program development team which is headed by Deputy Director Michael Wenger. We have a group of staff working on policy planning and research under the direction of Deputy Director Lin Lu.
Those teams are responsible for directing the Initiative's media relations and the development and dissemination of public information about the Initiative's many activities and findings.
The outreach and program development team has created and will create an ongoing process of constructive national dialogue on issues surrounding race.
The policy planning and research team is responsible for coordinating the Initiative's efforts in the following areas: to provide the public and the Advisory Board with social and economic data by racial groups in order to analyze disparities and progress; to identify, evaluate and disseminate promising practices; to coordinate policy recommendations with the White House and other federal agencies; to coordinate the development of the President's final report to the American people.
Now, the emphasis that we have on our outreach component has been to reach as many of our communities of our nation as possible. We understand that this process is vitally important if we are to engage all of the many voices that should be involved in this dialogue is to be meaning and substantive.
We have had many, many questions about whether or not we intend for this Initiative and this year-long conversation to be inclusive, and we do.
It is a multi-racial effort and we intend to involve everyone. We have had some very productive meetings with a wide range of groups, including an opportunity that I and others had recently to meet with a number of representatives of ethnic groups.
They expressed their sincere interest in being substantially involved in the work of the Advisory Board and in helping the President and indeed, the country, understand how important it is for us to value our differences as well to understand how much we have in common.
I see several representatives from that particular meeting in the audience this morning.
We have also met with the American Psychological Association which had a mini-convention on psychology and racism in Chicago.
We have had a number of staff and Advisory Board members participating in discussion symposia, including several that were sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.
We have met with the American Institute for Managing Diversity in Atlanta.
The National American Italian Foundation a conference on pluralism, and it was there that we had another opportunity to meet with many representatives from ethnic communities from around the United States.
The National Hispanic Bar Association and the U.S. Department of Education provided an opportunity to speak with presidents and administrators from our National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative.
The National Conference's national leadership summit which I mentioned earlier in the presentation, is another example, and I could cite many more, of opportunities that the Board and the staff have had to begin to engage the communities and interested persons in dialogue.
It is true that we plan to have many more such meetings and to have several town hall meetings which have, of course, have generated an awful lot of interest.
But I think it is important, not just for the people here and interested to realize, but for everyone in the country to realize, that we expect this initiative to be represented by the many dialogues and conversations people have, whether we are talking about four people or a hundred and four or a hundred and four thousand; that all counts.
You should not count the success of this exercise by whether or not we are making the newspapers in terms of the kinds of conversations that draw large crowds. These conversations are happening everyday in many places, often involving our Advisory Board members, often involving our staff.
I just want to make a very quick reference that we are also trying to engage the philanthropic community in these discussions.
Actually, many are already very much engaged, and what we are trying to do is to learn from the experience that they have had as well as to build partnerships with organizations with foundations that are currently engaged in promoting diversity and addressing the problems of race.
In anticipation of the possibility that the President will be joining us momentarily, I would like to briefly say that we are also looking forward to extending our outreach and engaging the many sectors in this Initiative as partners.
One of the things that I know that the Advisory Board is talking about and members of the Advisory Board may wish to elaborate on today, is the fact that we are going to identify leaders in communities and in various sectors to themselves begin to do what you members of the Advisory Board are doing, and that is generating discussion across racial groups to talk about what the challenges are and how we can go about resolving the challenges.
For example, we anticipate the real possibility that the work that has been begun so well by Robert Thomas, who is president of Nissan, will be extended to many others in the corporate and business community.
We have also spoken with Reverend Suzan Johnson Cook about how we might engage members of the faith community, the religious community, through her work and experience in that community, and others.
The labor community as well.
So, this particular aspect of our work is particularly exciting as we look at building out from this circle of advisors to the many, many other people who will take leadership positions.
I am going to stop here and ask if members of the Advisory Board would like to share with us some of the experiences that they have had over the last several weeks that are indicative of the kind of work that we and they intend to carry forward in the weeks to come.
Is there anyone who would like to speak to that or speak specifically to the Little Rock event over the weekend?
MEMBER COOK: Yes. I think what I felt, most of all, was the excitement across the nation, in all sectors.
I have been in elementary school rooms to high schools to college campuses and certainly many interviews. I think a little bit of everybody in America is kind of interested in what we are doing. So, the excitement is what stood out for me most.
I had anticipated a lot of resistance from people who may not really want to deal with the race issue. But it was quite the contrary. Many people want to.
I think that the question that is raised in most places is will the real grassroots constituency be at the table and not just a talking heads environment? I assure them that I am from that community and it will be represented.
I was at the Congressional Black Caucus about two weeks ago and there were several town meetings there concerning race; Dr. Franklin participated in one. Then there were several smaller workshops where people were interested in the race issue, in terms of taking action steps, particularly. Such as, by the end of this year, what can we propose to this country, because we have been talking for a long time.
In the New York area, certainly there have been a lot of local groups, particularly elective officials who want to deal with it.
In the Bronx we have a unique situation. We have a Latino burrough president, Fernando Ferrer, so there are two dominant minority groups; African Americans and Latinos there.
It is really a desire for us to come together and not live and work in our separate communities, but to really work as one partnership and I think that is really exciting.
So, I think we are on the pulse of what American is really feeling and desiring to do. Someone had to take the lead to do it and I think we are in the right place at the right time with the right issue.
DIRECTOR WINSTON: Thank you.
GOVERNOR WINTER: Judy, in spite of the initial skepticism about this Initiative, I have found it has tapped an incredible about of interest among the people with whom I come in contact.
I come from the deep South, and my phone has literally been ringing many times a day from groups who want to know more about how they can be involved in this process of racial understanding and racial reconciliation.
We have come a long way in that area of the country in which I live, but we all recognize how far we still have to go.
Out there is a good spirit on the part of almost everyone that I have come in contact with in terms of wanting to do something, individually and as a part of the groups of which they are a part, to make this one America.
That is a task that cannot be mandated from Washington. It has to be established within the hearts and minds of individual Americans.
That is the thrust of this Initiative. As I go around and speak to different groups at schools and churches and civic organizations, I find a response that, frankly, I did not think those people were capable of, in many instances, but which, in every instance, has indicated their desire to do more than they have been doing to bring people together.
And that is what this Initiative is about and I think it will be successful because there is that spirit in this country.
MEMBER THOMAS: One of the interesting things that I have found while traveling around, and it as actually changed a little bit of my impression, is that initially, some of the younger people I talked to were maybe college students and that, and race wasn't one of their top priorities.
Many times they would say that this isn't an issue; we get along fine. We do all of our things together and we are essentially color blind in that sense. They had other things that were their top priorities. I was starting to put that as sort of a general take on youth.
But recently, I have dealt more and more with high school students and they very clearly say that race is an issue. It is a big issue at home, a big issue at school.
When they talk about solutions to this, they don't want to hear about our generations or generations beyond theirs. They want to hear from students and young people and leaders at that age because they, just very frankly, say that you don't speak our language; we don't hear you, two or three sentences into it we lose you.
And that is something that has really been a change in impression for me, that is, that race is huge issue at that age.
MEMBER OH: I would like to share with you that Robert and I had a very nice reception in southern California. I would say that there were probably two or three hundred people who were there just to celebrate the fact that something like this was happening.
In the weeks that I have been back at my job, I have received an overwhelming positive response to some of the issues that were put on the table in our first meeting.
I also wanted to say to you that I have heard from the Pacific Islander people who have said that, because of the experiences of being on the islands, it is Representative Underwood in particular, who had been very good about sending information over about the experiences of native people.
It is a difficult journey as we move through this process, but one that most people in this country are ready to take, personally and publicly.
He believes that there are some tremendous insights to be gained by going to native people and seeing and hearing their experience.
So, I hope that, in this process, one of the things that we make room for is that kind of input.
MEMBER CHAVEZ-THOMPSON: The one thing that I have experienced, more than anything else is that everybody is waiting, anxiously, for these town hall meetings, because they believe that at that point in time, they, meaning the public, will have an opportunity to address their issues.
We know that we are addressing some of the issues that we are concerned about and perhaps each of us brings to the table a certain aspect of participation.
But I think that, for the most part, the public wants to have the opportunity to have their say to tell us what concerns them.
My concern also, and in talking with some of the members here this morning, is that we also bring the youth factor into our conversations because, if anybody is going to make it work, it is the young people of our country and we need to hear from them.
We absolutely need to factor in, whether it is a town hall meeting or whether it is a mini forum, we really need to bring the young people in to talk about it.
I heard from some of the young people in Little Rock during that conference, and some of their words are so beautiful about their outlook for race and how they feel more attention needs to be paid to the dialogue
GOVERNOR KEAN: There is, you know, a tremendous desire out there for us to succeed.
There is a worry that we won't.
But my experience is that there isn't anybody out there that I have talked to who doesn't hope that the kind of dialogue that we are talking about can take place and that the results, overall, will be positive.
I find the young people, in particular, want to have that dialogue. I don't know if they want to include us or not, but they want to have it.
I see on our own campus at Drew University, without my participation at all, they have already started a dialogue and they are going to make that one of things that they do this year; have a dialogue on race that is going to go on for a period of months and it is student-led.
They had the adults in for a while, then mid-way, they said now we would like you to leave, and they had their own dialogue. I think that that is fine.
DIRECTOR WINSTON: Thank you very much. Well, we are breathlessly awaiting the arrival.
I do want to just make a comment. One of the opportunities that I had, in keeping with the point on youth and how anxious youth are to be involved, I had the privilege of participating in a symposium that was billed as the civil rights crusaders and the hip-hop generation.
I was crushed to learn that I was not part of the hip-hop generation and I actually had to spend some time with some of the many young people on our staff getting translations so I would make sure that I would understand the conversations that we were having.
It was very instructive and very, very inspiring and energizing to hear from the young people in our community.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think that we are about the welcome the President and the Vice-President and Dr. Franklin to our meeting.
MEMBER THOMAS: Judy, if you need filler, one thing that I would just mention to the Advisory Board and the public is that I have had the privilege of meeting with your staff, and I just want to compliment you and your staff on the development.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I have the honor to present to you the President and the Vice-President of the United States, and to express our gratitude for the confidence that you have reposed in us as appointees to the Advisory Board.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you, very much.
Dr. Franklin, members of the Advisory Board, ladies and gentlemen, first let me again thank the Advisory Board for its willingness to serve. To those who came to Little Rock for the fortieth anniversary of Central High, I thank you for coming there. It was a very important occasion, I believe, and one that all of us who were there felt was immensely rewarding.
I want to talk to you today about how we go forward from here.
When I was at Little Rock Central High School, after we had this magnificent ceremony celebrating the fortieth anniversary and the original nine students went into the school, I went back outside and spent quite a long while talking to the students and the young people who were there.
All they talked to me about was how we are going to go forward and I just listened to them.
I think you have made a very important beginning by urging that we focus on education and economic opportunity, things that cut across racial lines but are necessary to bring us together.
One of the young men in the audience said, "You know, I don't think they had these gang problems forty years ago. I am worried about that."
It was very touching, you know.
But I think that it is very important that we throw this into the future and I agree with you that we should focus on education and economic opportunity.
But if I can go back to the original mission of the Board, I think it is also important that we have the facts. I know that this afternoon you are going to hear from noted scientists and demographers who will share their research on population patterns and attitudes on race, and I think that is important.
Secondly, I think that it is important that we continue this dialogue. I got as much out of the hour or so that I spent after the ceremony in Little Rock just listening to the young people talking, as I worked my way down the lines of people who were there, as anything else.
I am going to have a town hall meeting on this subject on December 2, 1997, and I will continue to do what I can to support you in reaching out to all Americans in discussing this, so that we can build bridges that will lead to understanding and reconciliation.
But finally, in the end, we have to decide what it is that we are going to do.
This summer I announced the first of what I hope will be a long series of actions consistent with the work that we are doing here with the Advisory Board when I said that we would have an initiative to send our most talented teachers to the needy school districts by offering scholarships for their own education if they would, in turn, teach in those districts for a number of years. I think that would be very helpful.
Later today, our Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Andrew Cuomo, will announce new efforts to end housing discrimination.
First, HUD will issue $15 million in grants to 67 private, non-profit housing groups and state and local governments, to combat housing discrimination and promote fair housing practices.
Then Secretary Cuomo will double the number of housing discrimination enforcement actions over the next four years.
It is clear to me now that there is more housing discrimination in America than I thought there was when I became President. So I applaud what Secretary Cuomo is doing and I will strongly support him.
Let me say again I look forward to today's discussion. I think it's important that we build on where I felt we were at the end of the ceremony in Little Rock where there was a great sense of that among the people there and I felt around the country among the people watching it a great sense that now we have to do things and that just about every individual American is interested in this issue and understands how important it is and understands that we'll all have to do our part if we expect to come out where we want to be.
So, Dr. Franklin, I'll look forward to going on with the discussion and I think that maybe the Vice-President might want to say a word or two and then we can go forward.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.
Mr. Vice President.
VICE-PRESIDENT GORE: Thank you very much, Dr. Franklin. And thank you, Mr. President. I will be very brief because I'm looking forward to the discussion here. I think the remarks you made, Mr. President, in Little Rock last week were very powerful and resonated throughout this nation.
I think this initiative, as I've said
previously, may turn out to be the most important single initiative of your entire presidency, because it's obviously so important for our nation. To the other members of the Advisory Board, you have the thanks of every American for the hard work and time that you are putting into this task and I know that, like all of us, you feel proud to be led by your Chair, Dr. Franklin.
I've had an opportunity to sit at the Godfather's knee in the past and learn from him. And some of the lessons that I've taken from his work are first, that race is a pervasive, if often unacknowledged, part of every issue, controversy, in deed conversation in the United States of America. And those who pretend it's not are in danger of deluding themselves and missing important aspects of whatever subject they are trying to deal with.
Secondly however, if it is dealt with openly, in the kind of historic, national dialogue the President has chartered for our nation and followed up with the kinds of actions that he had recommended and pointed the way to, it can be transcended. Just as students learn arithmetic about the lowest common denominator, in matters of the spirit we seek the highest common denominator.
And the way to reach it is again in a two step process according to the works that I've read from Dr. Franklin. Number One, acknowledge differences. Understand and absorb the unique suffering that human beings have experienced because of the fact that they are a particular race or ethnicity or in some other group that distinguishes them.
Suffering binds us together and can enable us to reach across those divides. But also acknowledge and celebrate the unique gifts and contributions to the rich diversity of America that have been made by every race, by every group. And teach young people especially, who are members of that race or group, about the rich history which has often been ignored in the lesson plans that have left them out in the past.
But then after acknowledging and respecting difference and establishing mutual respect, then the next step is to transcend that difference and reach out for the highest common denominator. I personally think that one of the problems we've had in the past is that many people of good will have tried to go to step two without pausing at step one.
And indicated their desire to transcend difference and have harmony without doing the hard work of establishing the mutual respect, acknowledging the difference, acknowledging the suffering, acknowledging the unique contributions.
And this dialogue is a necessary healing step which gives our nation the opportunity to come together and build the foundation for really becoming one America as the President has challenged us to do.
I look forward to hearing the Panelists. I know that this morning we are going to be able to hear some of the dialogue and then this afternoon you are going to have a very specific scientific and demographic discussion of the country we are becoming and look at more detail concerning our growing diversity and differences.
And I really look forward to the part that we are going to be able to take part in. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Thank you, Mr. Vice-President. Well, there are two things that we can do. One is we can tell you what we have done. Secondly, we can ask you if you want to raise any question about what we should do or what we are doing.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, why don't you begin by telling us, giving us all the things you have done.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I would be glad to do that. We've been telling some of the audience about some of the things we've been doing. I wonder if Robert Thomas, who is the President and CEO of Nissan USA, would tell us about some of the unique and really remarkable things that Nissan is doing and through Nissan is influencing other corporations in this country.
MEMBER THOMAS: Thank you, Dr. Franklin. There are probably a couple quick things I'd mention. We've created a staff that has interacted with the initiative staff. And they've done a lot of background work on some of the issues and some directional choices that we can make.
And it is interesting because you, as you sort of brain storm your way through this and you game out the next year, one of the questions that comes out is, you know, do you do a dialogue and develop your points of view toward the end? Or do you establish some points of view early on and test those against the dialogue?
And so those are just, that's for example just one of the questions that we have, we've raised up. But I will just toss that out and then I'll just mention one personal thing that I've found in traveling around is that first the racial issues are real. And there's a lot of people that think they aren't, but they are real.
And the second thing is when you add in and lay over any issues regarding poverty, it is just exacerbated to the nth degree. And so that would just be a starting point that I would throw out for the Advisory Board.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Governor Winter.
MEMBER WINTER: Mr. President, Mr. Vice-President, let me thank you for this initiative. I think it's one of the most important things that all of us can be dealing with these days. We live in this very diverse country, increasingly diverse, and yet there is, there are common values that we all share.
And my understanding is that the common value that maybe is most common to all of us is what we want for our children. I have watched this in my own family. I watched it among my neighbors. I see it in the school up in Oxford, Mississippi where my, where two of my grandchildren go to school.
If every, if every school in America could look like the one where my grandchildren go, I think we would establish these common values in a way that would ensure that we will be one America. But we can't do it as long as we separate ourselves and particularly if our young people are separated.
And these kids are going to school with people from every background, every racial and social background. And prejudice is learned. Prejudice is learned, in my opinion. And it may not be specifically taught, but it's learned by what we, how we act and how we relate to each other.
And if we will, if we will let our children have the experience of associating early in their lives and get the kind of experience there and share in the opportunity to get an adequate education. That's one of the, that's one of the most, the greatest fault lines we have, is that discrimination between people who have a good education and people who have a poor education.
And so education, education of all of us, of the whole citizenry of this country, but particularly our young people, I think holds the key to how successful this initiative will be and how we will achieve one America.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Reverend Cook.
MEMBER COOK: Mr. President, Mr. Vice-President, I concur totally with Governor Winter. As a mother of a two year old and four year old and trying to plan a five year old's birthday party for Saturday on the road. I represent a community in the Bronx, which has now been named an all-American city, which is a phoenix rising out of the ashes.
Some wonderful things are happening in the Bronx where predominant groups, African-Americans and Latinos, are really for the first time saying, let's come together. Let's live cooperatively. Let's work cooperatively. Let's share in building our community together. So it's a wonderful model of what can be done and I hope that at some point you may even visit the Bronx for one of our town meetings.
But I also share the voice of many constituents that come through the faith community as a Pastor. Most of our constituents do not attend the same schools in the communities we live because the school districts have failed. And so children as young as four and five must travel a half an hour or an hour each way every day to get an adequate education and the parents pay a considerable amount of money.
So I think education and diversity are critical issues for this task. But I do want to share with you that people in the faith community have been energized by this initiative and are eagerly seeking ways that we can work together cooperatively across denominational lines. It is no one person's agenda, no one faith group's agenda any more. We are eagerly looking to work with you and also partner with the corporate community and the labor community where we don't normally get a chance to sit down at the table together.
So we are looking to forge partnerships because we understand in the communities that the collaborative effort brings the strong results. And so we are looking to seek ways to do that and we are in partnership with you. I think the most important thing that stood out for me in your speech, when you spoke about the Little Rock Nine, was that they did not turn back.
And what we are hoping is that we will not turn back in America. That we shall go forward and that people will not turn their backs on this initiative, but that we will work together.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Ms. Oh.
MEMBER OH: Yes, good morning and thank you again for taking that courageous step to go into what I consider to be some very tough, unchartered waters. In the weeks since we last met, I've had the opportunity to meet with folks who are doing research in this area, looking at some of the tough issues that have to do with new populations and the impact on this country and our economy.
I've had the opportunity to meet with CEO's, with Chambers of Commerce, with organized labor, with students, with creative people in the Arts who have a lot to say and a lot to share in this area. I want to urge you to continue forward with some guiding principles. Those being the compassion, the vision, the intelligence. Yes, the courage.
Also to look to non-traditional sources for your intelligence. Look to non-traditional sources, i.e., the people that you are saying you want to reach in this initiative. There aren't very many vehicles that are set up. I know we have the town hall meetings, but there is a lot of energy and interest. And you know, even among the cynics, of which I know many, there is a desire not to be involved.
But you know what? They cannot resist becoming engaged, because what we are doing is so at the core of where this country is. For those who are saying, I don't want to know, just like I don't want to know about the O.J. trial. You know, people couldn't resist. It was there. It was something that spoke to a character of who we are.
I believe that one of the things that makes us unique as Americans is that we believe in civic participation, we encourage it. A lot of people don't quite know how to plug in. And I also believe that we must look to the past to inform the future. We can't change the past, unfortunately for many, but we can have an affect on the future.
So I guess my last words would be that even as we are moving through this journey, both public and private journey, that we need to be very clear about what those guiding principles are going to be. And also be aware that as swiftly as we think we are moving, the assumptions that we begin with are going to change by the time we reach the end of this very brief public journey over this year.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Linda Thompson.
MEMBER CHAVEZ-THOMPSON: I just want to reiterate what I said to you earlier before you both came into the room, Mr. President, Mr. Vice-President. And that is that there are a lot of people who want to participate in the town hall meetings. The general public, per se, the conversations that I've had, whether it is at Union conferences or where I speak to women's groups or civil rights groups, there's an anxiety that they be heard.
And they want to be heard on the issues that they believe are important in their neighborhoods, in their churches, in their own communities. And the other thing that really comes through to me is how we need to reach the young people. Having heard the conversations at the town hall meeting in Little Rock on Saturday and the observations that were made by many of our young people, it is almost a very crucial part for this Advisory Board to bring the young people in to converse about how they will make whatever plans we come forth in a year.
We are not going to be around long enough to implement some of those if we don't have the youth of this country involved in the conversation of race. Because they are going to be the ones that finalize whatever plans we put together. And if we don't begin when they are in elementary school or middle school or high school. If we don't being that conversation with them now, when will we be able to reach them.
So the youth is a major factor for me and of course economics, I always talk about economics and how we need to be making sure that people are in jobs that provide the kind of stability, job security, wages and benefits that they need to be able to provide a better education for their children. Better housing for themselves and living wages for their family and their standard of living.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Governor.
MEMBER KEAN: Mr. President, Mr. Vice-President. I don't know if people in this country really recognize just how important this initiative is. And the passion that you bring to it from a life long interest in this subject. We forget sometimes that we are unique in the world.
I mean, there is no other place in the world where so many different groups have come to attempt to live together. In my state alone, we have over 100 recognized ethnic groups and racial groups. And the fact we are also trying to do it in a country which is the world's now oldest, I guess, democracy. And we are trying to make it work in a democratic fashion.
Whether or not this democracy is, I believe, is going to survive and flourish, depends how well we are going to live together. How well we can resolve our differences. How well we can avoid the things that divide us and celebrate the things that unite us.
Race, ethnic differences are the things that divide us. They are the things that are causing terrible problems in other parts of the world. And we are, have got to be, the example of how those issues are solved in a democratic manner. And to me, you know at the beginning of this initiative there was some press articles that said, well, I hope it's not all talk.
Talk is extraordinarily important. The dialogue that this initiative is all about. We are not going to get to the next step without the dialogue. I've seen on a college campus when there are problems, how important dialogue is and what progress you make when that dialogue is successful. Then you can move on to the next step.
I've found extraordinary excitement in any number of areas, including some folks that you wouldn't think would be that excited about this initiative. People want to celebrate it. People want to be helpful. And I just think it is a very exciting step forward for the country.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Well, of course we have been, for the last six weeks, talking about certain aspects of the program that we are trying to get off the ground, as it were. But nothing has been more important and I think nothing is more important than trying to communicate to all of us the importance of shared values, shared ideals, shared experiences, shared aspirations, as we try to develop a vision for what we want to be in the next century.
And it is very interesting that almost all of the people who have communicated with this Advisory Board, so far as I know certainly all that has communicated with me, have raised this matter in one way or another. What can we do to increase the common, our goals? What can we do to work together to achieve equity and fairness?
And so the Advisory Board has been going along two tracks. One to try to be certain that these shared aspirations and ideals and values are in the forefront. At the same time discovering or trying to find out practical ways, every day ways of realizing our goals. And to that end, I am delighted that we have the practical application as seen in the work, in the announcement that you just made regarding Secretary Cuomo's plans to enter the area of housing and to take some specific and concrete steps.
And that's what people are wanting to know. How can we combine these wonderful goals with practical steps that will take us toward those goals? And this is an example, I think, of exactly what we need and want to use as we move toward the ultimate goals in the 21st Century.
Are there any questions you want to raise with us? Any kind of advice, any kind of criticism, any kind of expression of involvement?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I would just say that I think, in addition to the kind of town meeting message, I think it is very important to try to see, identify and highlight some laboratory situations, either laboratories because you think that people are doing something that works that ought to be able to be done somewhere else.
And I agree with Suzan that what's going on in the Bronx today -- if she told anybody ten years ago that this would be happening in the Bronx, nobody would have believed you. To what extent is that unique to the Bronx? To what extent is it something that could be done anywhere else? How did it happen? Those things I think are important.
There is another sort of laboratory that I think would be worth looking at and I'll give you one example. I believe now that the Fairfax County schools, just across the river, is now the most diverse school district in the United States. I think it has even more ethnic diversity than the New York or the Los Angeles or the Chicago school systems. I believe that's correct.
According to the USA Today article on it last week, they have kids from 182 different countries with over 100 different language groups in this one school district. Now, that goes back to the Governor's picture there of his grandchildren. It would be interesting to know -- sometimes I think maybe we should all go there together. I'm just giving this to you as an example. We could go somewhere else and do the same thing.
How are these differences dealt with within the schools for the children? How are the kids dealing with their diversity and their shared values? Is there an explicit attempt to do this? How do they get along?
Then, I would ask is their experience consistent with or inconsistent with their parents' experience in the work place? Because, you know, what I have seen over time -- I hate to use such a much used buzz word as empowerment, but what I have seen is that all of these racial issues get much worse when people feel like they don't have any basic control over their lives, which is obviously why you asked us in our administration to focus on the economic and educational issues first.
But I think it would interesting to see how, in a place that is very much -- I don't think this should be the only one, but it's a place that is very much sort of standing out in big capital letters what the future might become in America. How are the kids doing? How are their parents doing? What is the difference in how their parents are being treated or how the kids are treated at school? Are there any differences?
What kind of dialogue goes on in the home with these people between the parents and the children about their experiences at school and at work and are there differences there? It seems to me that somehow we have to imagine how all this is going to play out in the real world and anything the government does, for example, needs to really make sense in terms of how these folks live.
And so, I think maybe one thing we ought to try to do is try to either organize a set of expeditions or define a set of what you might call town hall meetings with people who have actually lived in kind of circumstances that we imagine America's future to be. I think that would be, you know, one suggestion that I have. I'd kind of like to be a part of that.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I think about this all the time. In fact, I always think about how we can -- Dr. Franklin and I talked about this the first time that we visited -- how do we get over and finish our sort of unfinished business and still recognize that time is not waiting for us and our children are being thrown into a world that is radically different. So, that might be one way to proceed.
I think we might learn a great deal if you could get some of these children and maybe some of their parents together and have an honest talk about how their kids are doing in the schools, how the parents are doing in the work place and in the wider society, and what that tells us about what we need to do in the future.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: One of the things that we found in communications with people in various parts of the country is the enormous number of experiments already going on. Sometimes they seem to suggest, well, welcome to what we are doing. They are already engaged in some of these activities and they commend them to us to replicate in other parts of the country.
So that we, I think, do have a number of models that, like patterns of activity that will inform others and will, and will stimulate this kind of thing. It is true that some might not work in some other places, but that's yet to be proved. And until it is proved, we cannot invalidate them and we can merely welcome them and place them on the table as possible experiments that we can use, if not in this place then perhaps in another place.
So we've got a rather large group of suggestions that may be helpful.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: One of the things that I believe this group should strongly consider doing is actually publishing kind of a compendium of those local efforts with a brief description of how they work, who participated and how you can contact those people.
One of the things we are trying to do is to replicate what works around the country. I think that, you know, it is obvious that when people have challenges and problems, they start talking about it.
So what I would recommend is that one of the things we consider doing, without trying to be too exhaustive, to to get at least 50 or 100 of the things that you believe work the best, get a brief description of them, have a person who can be contacted, ask them if they would mind our promoting them, and find a way to publish it and widely disseminate this around the nation so that we can generate more interest and involve more people; and if not copying, then at least adapting what has worked to places where there aren't such efforts going on.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I think that our Executive Director already has some plans in that regard. Judy Winston is planning some how to bits and various other things like that.
DIRECTOR WINSTON: Yes, we have many, many examples of good things happening and things happening. And it is, we've talked to the Advisory Board, Mr. President and Mr. Vice-President, about developing something we've been calling Promising Practices. And we know that, for example, there are many, many communities who have been involved in this dialogue.
I mentioned earlier the fact that just this morning the Center for Living Democracy released the results of its survey of inter-racial dialogues occurring in more than 30 states. And they have some findings that I think would be very instructive to those who are interested in continuing or beginning dialogues.
We know about many youth groups, for example, that are actively engaged in the very discussion and exploration that we've talked about on issues of tolerance and how to overcome bigotry. There is an organization in New England, in Massachusetts, in fact it's mentioned in Mrs. Clinton's book, It Takes a Village. It is an organization, a project, a program called Team Harmony that brings together young people in middle and high schools. Young people of many racial and ethnic backgrounds.
And they spend the year talking in their schools to each other and to children in other schools about how to be tolerant. And how to model the kind of behavior that you all have been talking about. And we, and they come together every year to provide, to receive awards. I think there are 10,000 of these children who will be meeting in November in Boston.
And so those are the kinds of things that we are looking at and which we will make available not just publishing at the end of the year, but things that we want to put on our web site for people to access immediately. And we will be providing updates on those activities and getting, hopefully getting some response back from people who are able to access the web site, both in schools and in business, to see whether they have something to add. So we are very excited about this prospect. I think it will be very helpful.
VICE-PRESIDENT GORE: In a lot of the efforts that have taken place in President Clinton's administration, we've seen how communities can figure out unique approaches that are going to work best in their communities. You've alluded to this and I'm wondering if one or two examples spring to mind to any of you of local communities that have undertaken a unique approach to dialogue or promoting diversity that you find particularly promising?
MEMBER OH: In Los Angeles, there are a series of projects. We have the Leadership Education Program in inter-ethnic relations that is a school-based program. We have a Neighbor To Neighbor Dialogue Program, which is headed up by, I think one of the spouses of one of our Council Members.
The Human Relations Commission, both at the city and county levels, have been working with law enforcement agencies because of the impact that new populations, perhaps limited English-speaking populations, have struggles with dealing with law enforcement.
Encouraging, even some of our Deputy DA's go out and they do in-classroom kinds of outreach to talk to youth about considering careers in the law. The Bar Associations in southern California, we have a multi-cultural Bar Association which, in LA, every ethnic group has their own Bar and among Asians, we all have our separate Bars. But, there is something called the Multi-Cultural Bar Association for those of us who are really looking at broader issues.
Independence of the judiciary kinds of issues and then also reaching out to young people to encourage them to come into the legal profession. As many people may think there are too many lawyers, I am one who believes there are not enough lawyers of color who are out there practicing and have a sense of community and their professional growth.
So there are lots of very positive models going on, in the ecumenical ground too, churches are way out there in terms of leadership.
MEMBER THOMAS: While somebody may be thinking of a specific example, Mr. Vice-President, one of the things I'd mention is that everywhere I go there are examples of every day heros who are filling in the fault lines of race that Governor Winter refers to. And in that, we can't forget that those fault lines are there because I just think it needs bigger and more expansive every day heros to address those and solve those, like Suzan mentions, a coalition of labor and business and faith and government.
But everywhere there is these people that miraculously go out and address and solve these problems. As you said, Mr. President, the problems are there so people don't let them go unanswered. They address them. And it's really amazing and rewarding to see and listen to these individuals who do this, without any recognition, with the glare of the publicity that we are able to bring to some things. So it is really reassuring.
MEMBER WINTER: Mr. Vice-President, in Kosciusko, Mississippi as unlikely as that may be, there was organized several years ago, by black and white citizens of that community, an organization simply known as The Club, that consisted of an equal number of blacks and whites.
They meet on an informal basis once a month and sit down and talk about all the issues that concern them, with special emphasis on support for the public schools there, which incidentally are very good, and it created an atmosphere in Cosesgo that now I think represents almost a model community in terms of race relations.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: When I spoke before the joint session of the legislature in North Carolina two months ago, I praised the Governor for his Smart Start Program, which was for the purpose of stimulating activity in the schools and making certain that the schools were brought up to speed and up to standard.
I added though that we not only needed Smart Start of the children, we needed Smart Start for the adults as well. And I was talking to the Governor after that and he pointed out to me that there were plans to have adults doing the same sort of thing that they were trying to do in the schools.
And later on in October or toward the end of October this very thing is going to be discussed and developed at a conference which the Governor is styling their own dialogue on race. This is going to take place in Charlotte at the end of October, at which time they plan to have organizations or develop organizations who will replicate what they are doing in the schools among the adults, so that the adults will take the very suggestions we made regarding ways to develop programs across racial and ethnic lines.
And to spread them out all over the state of North Carolina. I think that there are a number of my correspondents, I think there are a number of states that are doing similar things.
MEMBER COOK: Two initiatives come to mind for me. In New York on the day that the initiative was announced the Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Coalition of Latino Women and the Coalition of Asian Women came together in a unique conference called the World of Women Leaders to figure out ways that we can partner together and not go on our separate tracks.
And that will now be an annual event and certainly through the year there are meetings now and dialogue for the first time across those ethnic lines. The other initiative is the Multi-Ethnic Center, which began on the lower east side of New York and now has expanded to the Bronx.
It was an after school homework help program for children, but through the children, parents who historically had racial tension and never spoken to one another, had to start dialoguing with each other and have now formed parent coalitions where they become advocates for their children on the public school level and the private school level. And help children to get into programs that will be beneficial to them.
And one of the programs under the Multi-ethnic Center is called Junta Imani. Junto meaning "join together" in Latino and Imani is a Swahili word meaning "in faith". And a community choir has now developed that brings the races together. We got some funding from the New York Yankees and some other corporate models are now funneling some funds into it.
And what it is is a dialogue for the first time along ethnic lines. The children are bringing the parents to the table and I think that's an important step.
MEMBER KEAN: There are a number of communities, Mr. President, in my own state of New Jersey who are working on a continual basis. A town called Maplewood comes to mind where people have been working over a period of years in a bi-partisan manner to keep the dialogue going. To make sure there aren't, that problems don't develop in the community. But unfortunately, the time I've seen most good happen in communities is after an incident. Somebody, there is an incident with the police, where the police act wrongly in a racial situation. Or somebody, there's a synagogue and a synagogue wall will put a swastika or one of the incidents.
And then the whole community comes together to condemn it. To talk about why it happens. To get the kind of dialogue going which should have been going all along. And if it had been going, maybe the incident wouldn't have occurred to begin with. And I think one of the things we got to figure out is how to get those dialogues going without the incidents that provoke them.
MEMBER CHAVEZ-THOMPSON: One thing that the AFL-CIO is doing is we are having a full participation conference in Los Angeles in March, at which time the dialogue on race and the question of diversity in the American Labor Movement.
We are going to hear from the people who are affected by either lack of diversity or lack of inclusion in the work place. We plan on having all of our constituency groups participate, as well as the dialogue of how we can include them in leadership positions within the labor movement.
So the conversations are going on within our group as well. But I think the other thing that I want to touch upon is sometimes how business needs to be responsive as well. And I don't point to Robert as much as, because he is the businessman on the Board, more or less represents it. But often times, you have occasions where certain businesses use race to keep Unions out, by either favoring one ethnic group over another by pitting groups, whether it's white, brown, black, Asian-American against each other.
Where they build the distrust, if the Union wins, this group will take over or this group will have more say than you do. And that happened to us just recently in one major election in North Carolina. Of course, we lost. And it was basically because they brought more Latinos into the plant to go against the Union. And the fear of the African-Americans that work there was that they would take it over versus the subs, so they too voted against the Union.
So there needs to be more responsibility and a responsiveness from businesses against using race in situation like that.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Mr. President, Mr. Vice-President, I know you have a very busy schedule. We would express to you our deep gratitude for coming here and honoring us by your presence and listening to us and participating in this discussion.
I think it has been very fruitful and helpful for the Advisory Board and I think we take heart in enjoying your support and we will therefore move forward with all speed, not deliberate speed, but all speed in order to achieve the goals that you want to achieve before the end of the term. Thank you very much and we are honored by your presence.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you very much.
DIRECTOR WINSTON: Ladies and gentlemen, let me remind you that you do need to stay in place for about 15 minutes. And we are going to be moving into the next phase of our Advisory Board meeting in just a moment, beginning with our first panel.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Today our journey toward one America will take the form of exploring how to build on the common values that we hopefully share. In order to do this in an informed manner, we have certain needs among which are knowledge and understanding about certain developments that have taken place in this country, particularly with respect to the operation and shape of it, where it has been and where it's going, attitudes toward race and ethnicity, and of course the ways in which we can talk constructively and productively about such matters.
This will be the first in a series of roundtable discussions on race-related issues in which the Board will engage. The purpose of these discussions is to inform ourselves and inform the nation regarding race and ethnicity.
Our particular desire is to learn, so that we can advise the President and his staff in an informed manner, and to share our learning with all America. Those people who watch these discussions can help us all by sharing their learning with others with whom they come in contact.
This particular topic on demography was chosen because it will establish a foundation and framework for future discussions. And the panelists were selected on the basis of the recommendations that many people made regarding their own achievements -- that is, the achievements of the members of this panel and their stature in their fields.
Each person will be asked to make opening presentations, being sensitive to very great time restraints, and then they're going to take questions from the Advisory Board members.
The first set of panelists are Dr. Reynolds Farley and Dr. Lawrence Bobo. Dr. Farley is Vice President of the Russell Sage Foundation in New York, and until this year he was in the Sociology Department, a professor in the Sociology Department, and Director of the Center of Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan where he was for 28 years.
He is a recognized authority in the field of demographics, and his most recent book, "The New American Reality: Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going," was published last year by the Russell Sage Foundation.
Dr. Farley's presentation will focus primarily on demographic information concerning the population of the United States and projections for the future. And following his presentation, he will entertain questions from the Board.
I have the great pleasure of introducing an old and dear friend with whom we have been working for a number of years, and particularly when we worked on "Common Destiny," which was published I don't know how many years ago, Reynolds, but our friendship and association dates from that time. And I am pleased to have him here and to present to the Board and to the group at this point.
DR. FARLEY: John, thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be here. I am the demographer who will try to lay out some of the population trends that are now reshaping this nation.
The United States has undergone racial change throughout its entire history, but never at the pace and the magnitude occurring now. Within the next 50 years, whites, as a share of the total population, will decline from about three-quarters at present to roughly half of the size of the total population.
The African-American population will increase very substantially in size, but its share of the total will remain basically unchanged. Depending upon immigration trends, interracial marriage, and self-identity, the Hispanic population may increase to become, by the middle of the next century, roughly a quarter of the total population. And the Asian population may increase from its present representation of four percent to eight percent or more.
Let me start with a couple of background remarks, introductory remarks. When the first census was taken in President Washington's administration, African-Americans made up 20 percent of the total -- a much higher proportion than at present. Throughout the 19th century, there were many parts of the south that had predominantly black populations, and for more than a century three southern states were majority black in their composition.
But between the Revolutionary War and World War II, the population became increasingly white, primarily because of immigration. After the potato famine, we had an influx of whites from Northern Europe after 1848, and then there was a very large influx of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe after 1880, immigrants who we now think of as white but there was some doubt about that when they arrived.
As a result of those great immigration trends, the proportion of population African-American sunk to a low of 10 percent at the outset of World War II.
You have a handout here of the presentations this morning, and on about the third or fourth page you see a set of pie charts showing the population composition. The first of those charts shows the United States on the eve of World War II. At that time, blacks and whites made up about 99 percent of the population.
The next pie chart shows the population's composition at the start of the civil rights decade, 1960. At that time, this was still a country of whites and blacks. Because of restrictive immigration laws dating to the 19th century, there were fewer than a million Asians in the United States, and there were only about a half a million American Indians, and they lived in sparsely populated Western states. There was not even a question on the census of 1960 seeking to identify the Hispanic population.
We often think of the three important civil rights acts of the civil rights decade -- the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of the next year, and the Open Housing Act passed after the killing of Dr. King in Memphis. But there was another civil rights act of that decade, one that is now helping to reshape the nation's racial composition.
Representative Seller and Senator Hart wrote the Immigration Reform Act of 1965, an act that sought to overturn the discriminatory provisions of our previous immigration laws. Those provisions sought to totally exclude the flow of Asians to this country, and to greatly dampen the flow from Eastern and Southern Europe.
The sponsors of that legislation foresaw very little in the line of additional immigration from Asia. They thought there would be an influx of immigrants from behind the Iron Curtain. That is not quite what happened.
Figure 1 shows the racial composition of the population in 1997. This composition reflects both immigration to the United States, substantial differences in birth rates, and changes in our demographic procedures. Through 1960, an enumerator went door to door asking questions and marking down the race of the respondents.
But since 1970, race has been a self-administered question. The census questionnaire comes in the mail, you fill it out, you send it back. We are what we mark down on that racial form, on that census questionnaire. So our racial identity is self-chosen. There is no editing of that, so there is a different procedure for gathering information.
The Spanish origin population -- we know a great deal about that, because of additions to the census and other federal statistical systems. Responding to pressures from Hispanic advocates, President Nixon, in 1969, ordered that a Spanish origin question be included in the census of 1970. And then in 1977, OMB mandated that all federal statistical agencies gather data about the Spanish origin population as well as race.
So a precedent is firmly established, and the plans for the census of 2000 foresee asking the Spanish origin question before the race question. And that does raise some issues, since for many Latinos the race question is apparently redundant.
In the 1990 census, about 43 percent of the people who marked down Spanish origin, that they were of Spanish origin, omitted the race question. They didn't answer the race question at all, which raises questions about our measurement of these issues.
Let's turn a bit to growth rates of the population. The second figure in my handout here shows average annual growth rates of the population from 1990 to the present, with the place of birth distinction for Latinos and Asians.
In this figure and in subsequent figures, I am treating Hispanics as if they were equivalent to a racial group. That is, I am presenting information for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic Asians, but I'll try to omit those modifiers.
The Asian and Hispanic populations are growing much more rapidly than the white, the American Indian, or the black population. The native-born Asian population grew almost seven percent a year in this decade, meaning its size will double in a decade. The Latino, the foreign-born Latino population is growing almost five percent a year, much more rapidly than the white population which is growing only about a half a percent each year.
Let's think for a minute about projections of the population. What will this nation look like in terms of its racial composition in 25 or 50 years? Whites as a share of the population will decline, blacks as a share will probably not increase much or decrease much, while Asians and Latinos will increase. But all of these depend upon possible changes in immigration trends, interracial marriage, and how people identify themselves.
Let me go over a couple of technical details here as briefly as possible. If we're going to make any assumptions of the future population, we have to make some assumptions about fertility patterns. For a population to remain constant in size, there needs to be an average of about 2.1 births per woman.
At present, among whites, the birth rate implies only about 1.8 births per woman. So if that continues, the white population will reach a peak size in about 35 years, and then will very gradually decline unless there is an influx of white immigrants or a jump in the birth rate.
The current birth rates of blacks and Asians both imply about 2.3 births per woman. That is a moderate rate of population growth. The fertility rates of Hispanic women suggest about 2.7 births per woman, but that is influenced by the large number of Latino immigrants to the United States. With previous groups anyway, the first generation arriving also often has fertility reflecting the culture and patterns in the home country. But after a generation or two or three generations, the fertility rates fall to those of the native-born population.
In a demographic sense, the Hispanic and Asian populations are posed for rapid population growth because of their youthful age structures. That is, because of immigration, a large share of the Latino and Asian populations are at young ages. So even were fertility rates to be low, or were the immigration policies to be restrictive, the Asian and Latino populations will grow much more rapidly than the whites.
Blacks have slightly higher fertility rates than whites and have a slightly younger age structure, so the black population will grow more rapidly than the whites but not as rapidly as the Asian and Latino populations.
What about mortality? A child born in the United States today can expect to live 76 years if current death rates persist. Projections of the population typically assume that the modest declines in death rates recorded in the 1980s will continue into the future, which would give us a life span of about 82 years at the middle of the next century. There are, of course, projections that assume a more rapid decline in mortality and some that assume male mortality will go up because of AIDS deaths.
Most important for today's discussion is immigration. Racial change is primarily driven by the immigration flow. Currently, there are about 800,000 legal immigrants coming into the country every year, and another 225,000 arrive to stay without papers. There is additionally some flow from Puerto Rican and American citizens who return from abroad, but then there is an immigration of about 100- to 200,000 citizens each year in immigration that is not very well documented. The most common projections assume a net immigration of about 850,000 persons per year.
In this decade, Mexico, Russia, China, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic are the leading countries of origin for immigrants. Current immigration flow might be typified briefly as about 45 percent of the immigrants are identified as Hispanics in the United States; about 30 percent, 33 percent are identified as Asians. The remainders are split between blacks and whites with whites being somewhat more numerous.
The immigration flow is now more diverse than ever before, and because of some of the diversity provisions of immigration law there is good reason to think there will be continued flow from places that have not sent immigrants to the United States before in large numbers -- the Mid East, Africa, and some of the South American countries.
What about projected populations? Figure 3 in my handout reports the Census Bureau's middle series of population projections by race. These imply that our population will grow from 268 million at present to just under 400 million in 2050. As I said, the white population will peak at about 210 million, and then very slowly decline. But as shown in the one panel here, whites as a share of the total population will decline somewhat more rapidly.
The African-American population will increase from about 32 million to 54 million, which is a very big increase. But there will be only a small shift in the proportion of Americans who are African-Americans.
The Hispanic population may triple in size by the middle of the next century, assuming there is a continued large flow of immigrants from Latin America, and that Hispanic fertility remains somewhat high. Thus, perhaps a quarter of the population in 2050 will be Hispanic.
The Asian population will grow more rapidly than the Latino but will remain smaller, will remain smaller than the black population into the foreseeable future.
What about these population projection trends? Let me suggest that there are now some pervasive social and demographic processes that call for a cautious interpretation of those projections. You're on a Presidential Advisory Committee on race, serving at the very time that the meaning and measurement of race are undergoing change.
Three processes, in addition to immigration, fertility, and mortality, strongly influence the nation's future racial composition. First, there is interracial marriage. If we look at young women who married in the 1980s and classify them by race according to this scheme, we find that only about three percent of white women who married had non-white husbands.
Among young black women who married, it was about four percent who had husbands who were not African-Americans. But for native-born Hispanics, it was 35 percent who had husbands who were not Hispanics. And for native-born Asian women, it was 54 percent who married a husband who was not an Asian.
So interracial marriage is occurring with considerable frequency now, and most of the demographers think it has been sharply increasing in the last few years.
Second, because of interracial marriage, there is now a mixed race population with clear patterns of identity.
Using 1990 census data, we can look at children who are in interracial marriages and see how their race compares to that of their parents. Now, we're still a nation in which overwhelmingly children are living with parents of the same race. About 96 percent of all children live with a married couple whose race is the same as the child's race.
But it is not the situation that children identify with the race of their mother, or that in interracial marriages 50 percent of the children are in the father's race or the mother's race.
A capsule summary would be that about 39 percent of the children who have one Asian parent and one non-Asian parent are identified as Asian. The other percent -- 61 percent -- are identified as non-Asian. For children who have one white parent and one non-white parent, about 40 percent are identified as white; about 60 percent are identified with the other parent.
But when we look at children who have one black parent and one non-black parent, we find 60 percent of the children are identified as black. For children who have one Hispanic parent and one non-Hispanic parent, it is 65 percent of the children who are identified as Hispanic.
So interracial marriages strongly influence the composition of the population. Marriages involving whites and Asians have fewer children who are marked down as white or Asian than you might expect. Marriages involving Hispanics and blacks have proportionately more than a 50/50 distribution of children.
Third, there is the important issue in the classification of people by race. How will this be done? What categories will be used? Can a person claim membership in more than one race?
In 1990, the census asked a race question first, and then a question about Spanish origin, and then a question about ancestry or national origin. Working with those data from the 1990 census, we can estimate that upwards of seven percent of the population identified themselves as mixed in race if we consider Hispanic to be equivalent to a race for these statistical purposes.
There were more than three million people who said they were white by race but American Indian by ancestry. There were more than a quarter million who said they were black by race but European ancestry. There were 100-and-some thousand who said they were white by race but African-American by ancestry, and so on down the line. Clearly, given the options to report things that look like more than one origin, many people did so in 1990.
Plans for the enumeration of 2000 call for asking the Spanish origin question first and then presenting all individuals with a list of 13 races. They will be told that they can check all of the races that apply.
Now, in pretest, it turns out that a small proportion of people, perhaps two percent, will identify with more than one race. But we don't know what will happen in the year 2000. We can probably predict it will be more than two percent who identify with more than one race. How will those people be categorized for various purposes? We don't know.
Furthermore, we don't know what proportion of the people who answer the Spanish origin question saying they are Mexicans, Cubans, or Puerto Ricans will omit the race question and what they will do.
This is time for a conclusion. If I had a lot more time, I would make two more points about our racial change in the United States. One is that racial change is occurring in some parts of the United States quite rapidly but very slowly in other parts of the United States.
Governor Kean, in your state, racial change is occurring because of the immigration and the diversity of the immigration flows. Governor Winter, in Mississippi, it's occurring much less rapidly than in New Jersey because there isn't a large immigration flow. And so there is a national story to be told, but the national story at local areas is extremely different.
I have one figure in here showing the immigrant population as a proportion of the state's total in 1990. There were only 13 states and the District of Columbia that had above the national average of eight percent foreign born. So we have a great swath of the midwest and a large part of the inner part of the south where racial change is occurring very, very slowly compared to the rest of the nation. Similarly, there are about eight large metropolitan areas that are getting the lion's share of the immigrants.
The other comment I was going to make is that racial change occurs across the age structure, starting primarily at the bottom. So it's the schools and the entering workers in the labor force, they will be much more diverse with regard to their racial composition than the population collecting Social Security checks.
Let me conclude. If the Census Bureau had made projections a century ago, at the end of the 19th century, they would have made separate projections for Anglo-Saxons, for the Irish, for Slavic people, for Italians, and for the group then called Negroes. Indeed, the national origin groups at that time were often referred to as races.
Today those projections would look ridiculous, since high rates of interethnic and interreligious marriage have produced a white population that is hardly divided by ethnicity of ancestry. The projections they may have made for the black population might look more reasonable today.
Are we making a similar mistake now when we assume that the five groups we've talked about will remain separate, distinct, and identifiable groups for another 50 or 100 years? Will interracial marriages and new patterns of identification produce a population very different from the projections that I've described here?
Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Thank you.
I want to thank Dr. Farley for enlightening us, particularly with respect to the rapid demographic changes that are taking place, and also with the challenges that result from those changes, particularly as they might affect education or economic activities.
Is there anyone who has a question? Governor Kean?
MEMBER KEAN: Yes. I just have one very brief question. I have always read that the birth rate is also a function of income, that if the income goes up the birth rate goes down. I assume that's not -- the assumption here is that the income levels will stay the same or just in -- you weren't able to figure that out?
DR. FARLEY: There is a good deal of debate among economists and demographers about how income affects the birth rate. I think right now there are several very strong downward pressures on the birth rate in the United States. Age at marriage is advancing, the proportion of women who are married is declining, male wages are decreasing, female opportunities for women in the labor market are increasing, so these projections vary in their assumptions but most of the projections assume the birth rates will eventually imply about 1.8 or 1.9 children per woman.
Of course, demographers in 1945 and '46, none of them saw the baby boom and the tremendous acceleration of birth rates that occurred right after World War II. So we may be just as erroneous in saying we are on the track of low fertility in the United States.
MEMBER COOK: Can you clarify just one thing in terms of the African-American population and the reason it will not increase as rapidly as the Asian and the Latino? Is it because of having been here more than one or two generations? Is that your theory?
DR. FARLEY: Reverend Cook, it's primarily because of the immigration flow. The immigration flow now includes a very large volume of Latinos and Asians. Compared to the past, there are relatively many African-Americans coming to the United States, but African-Americans are a very small component of the immigration flow compared to Latinos and Asians.
And as you know, in the Bronx there is a large population that -- how will they identify themselves on the census, the Dominicans and other Spanish-speaking individuals who would, in many parts of the United States, be identified as African-Americans? Interesting question.
MEMBER OH: Could you speak to the Native American population, where that fits into this picture?
DR. FARLEY: Ms. Oh, I can speak a bit to the Native American population. The demographic evidence is that a very high proportion of American Indians have married non-American Indians throughout this century, so there is a question of how do individuals with American Indian backgrounds identify themselves.
In the 1980 census, when the ancestry question was first asked, there were six million people who said they were white by race but American Indian by ancestry. And given patterns of intermarriage, that is entirely plausible.
The American Indian population is different from most other groups in that there are many tribes with official registries and fairly strong rules about who can identify with those tribal groups, and for the most part those tribal counts are smaller than census counts.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Thanks very much --
DR. FARLEY: Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: -- Dr. Farley. That was very stimulating, very interesting, and I wish we had more time to raise some questions, particularly about the implications of these demographic changes. But perhaps later on we'll have an opportunity to discuss it further.
We must move on, and I am very delighted to present Dr. Lawrence Bobo, who is a professor of sociology and African-American studies at Harvard University. Before this year, he was for a number of years professor of sociology and director of the Center for Research on Race, Politics, and Society, at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Dr. Bobo is widely known for his remarkable book which has recently been revised and updated. The book is entitled "Racial Attitudes in the United States: Trends and Interpretations." That book has been the leading book on the whole question of attitudes, racial attitudes, for all of the years since it was published in 1985.
Once more, we had the opportunity to work together on earlier projects, and particularly on "Common Destiny," where we worked some years ago.
This presentation of Professor Bobo's will focus on polling data and the impact of polling data on -- the way in which polling data reflects attitudes and actions based on race. Following his presentation, if we have time, we want to have some questions.
DR. BOBO: Thank you very much, John Hope.
I want to thank the other panel members also for inviting me here today.
My task, in a sense, is to answer the question of whether America is moving toward becoming a genuinely color blind society or remains a society deeply polarized by race. Studies of racial attitudes in the U.S. present a difficult puzzle in response to this question.
On the one hand, several studies emphasize the steadily improving racial attitudes, especially of white Americans, toward African-Americans. These trends are reinforced, of course, by many more tangible indicators, most notably the size, relative security, and potentially growing influence of the black middle class.
On the other hand, there is evidence of persistent negative stereotyping of racial minorities, evidence of widely divergent views of the extent and importance of racial discrimination to modern race relations, and evidence of deepening feelings of pessimism about race relations, particularly in the black community.
These more pessimistic attitudinal trends are reinforced again by such tangible indicators as the persistence of the problem of racial segregation of neighborhoods and schools, evidence of discrimination in access to housing and employment, innumerable acts of everyday racial bias, and of course the perceptions that we are all aware of.
By way of foreshadowing what is to come, let me say that we now have a deeply rooted national consensus on the ideals of racial equality and integration. These high ideals founder, however, on differences in preferred levels of integration. They founder on sharp racial differences and beliefs about racial discrimination. They founder on the persistence of negative racial stereotypes, and they sometimes result in policy stagnation and mutual misunderstanding.
Although America has turned away from the Jim Crow racism of the past, in many ways it heads into an uncertain future. This initiative, and the dialogue it is designed to encourage, will help enormously in pushing that uncertainty toward positive resolution.
The single clearest trend in studies of racial attitudes has involved a steady and sweeping movement toward endorsing the principles of racial equality and integration. When major national assessments of racial attitudes were first conducted in the 1940s, clear majorities of white Americans advocated that we be a society that segregated its schools, neighborhoods, and public transportation; that practiced job discrimination against African-Americans; and that drew a sharp line against the possibility of mixed or interracial marriages.
Thus, in the early 1940s, 68 percent of white Americans in national surveys expressed the view that black and white school children should go to separate schools. Fifty-four percent felt that public transportation should be segregated, and 54 percent felt that whites should receive preference over blacks in access to jobs.
By the early 1960s, each of these attitudes had declined substantially, so much so that they were actually dropped from ongoing surveys. The issue of integrated schooling remained more divided, however, but the trend has been equally steady. Thus, by 1995, fully 96 percent of white Americans in national surveys expressed the view that white and black school children should be going to the same schools.
Three clarifications about this basic transformation of principles and norms. First, there is some variation across domains of life in the degree of endorsement of the principle of racial equality and integration. In general, the more public and impersonal the arena, the greater the evidence of movement toward endorsing these goals. Thus, support for unconstrained access to housing for blacks has also undergone tremendous positive change, but still lags behind that of the case of schools and jobs.
More telling, as the first figure in your handout will begin to give you some idea of, is that willingness to allow racially mixed marriages still encounters some resistance, with one in five whites as recently as 1990 actually willing to support laws that would ban such marriages, and an even higher fraction, as the second line in the figure shows, still personally disapproving of some marriages.
Second, African-Americans have long rejected segregation. Although the available pool of data for tracing long-term trends in the views of African-Americans is much more limited than that available about white attitudes, it is clear that the black population has overwhelmingly favored integrated schools and neighborhoods and desired equal access to employment opportunity.
Third, the positive trend on these principles across the domains of schools, public transportation, jobs, housing, politics, and even intermarriage, is steady and unabated, despite intense discussion of the possibility of a "racial backlash" in the 1960s in response to black protests, or in the 1970s in response to school busing efforts in the implementation of affirmative action, or even more recently in the wake of the events such as the riots in Los Angeles in 1992.
The support for principles of racial equality and integration has been sweeping and robust -- so much so that it is reasonable to describe it as a change in the fundamental norms with regard to race.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to infer from the tremendous positive change on principles of equality that either public policy or the texture of day-to-day life for most Americans would quickly come to mirror this apparent consensus. Consider first the issue of integrating neighborhoods and schools. It is clear that numbers matters, as the second figure in your handout shows. When surveys ask whites about their willingness to live in integrated areas, or to send their own children to integrated schools, as the proportions of blacks rise, the willingness to enter that situation falls.
Surveys have documented a steady increase in the openness to both residential and school integration, so much so that almost no whites object to having a black neighbor or to sending their own children to an integrated school. But objections rise considerably as the proportion of minority students grows.
The meaning of integration also differs for blacks and whites. It is clear that most whites prefer to live in overwhelmingly white neighborhoods, even if open to having a small number of blacks in their community. On the other hand, blacks prefer to be present in substantial numbers -- numbers large enough to be uncomfortable in the eyes of many whites, if our data is to be believed, and impractical to accomplish on a large scale basis.
With respect to public policy issues, we are all aware that there have been long-standing debates over equal opportunity policies and affirmative action. The trend data suggests that there is a significant substantive division in opinion. Programs that are compensatory in nature, that aim to equip minorities to be more effective competitors, or that engage in special outreach and recruitment efforts, are reasonably popular.
Policies that call for explicit racial preferences have long been unpopular with the use of quotas rejected by whites and blacks alike. The point is there is no singular view on affirmative action. The policies themselves cover a range of strategies -- so does opinion -- as the next two figures in a way are intended to show you, and to also emphasize that there are important racial group differences in opinion. And to illustrate that I draw on data from surveys recently conducted a couple of years back in the Los Angeles area.
They illustrate that blacks, but also Latinos, tend to support affirmative action type policies whether aimed at improving training and the competitive resources of minority group members, or even in the case of calling for special preferences in hiring and promotion. Although a clear majority of whites support the more compensatory type policies, it falls below majority support when one turns to more preferential types of policies.
A major piece of the puzzle behind the limits to integration and to social policy with respect to race lies in the problem of anti-minority stereotypes. There is evidence that negative racial stereotypes of minorities, especially of blacks and Latinos, remain common. There is also evidence that minority groups themselves stereotype one another, though the story here appears more complicated.
In a major national survey conducted in 1990, well over 50 percent of white Americans rated blacks and Latinos as being less intelligent. Similar proportions rated blacks and Latinos as being prone to violence, and well over two-thirds rated blacks and Latinos as actually preferring to be welfare dependent.
One example of such patterns is shown in the next figure. Substantial fractions of white Americans in this sample rated blacks and Latinos as less intelligent, preferring to live off welfare, and as hard to get along with socially. Research does suggest, however, that these types of stereotypes differ in important ways from the views that were prevalent in the past.
First, they are much more likely today to be understood as the product of environmental and group cultural traditions than was true in the past. In the past, they were unequivocally taken as the product of natural endowment.
Second, there is growing evidence that many whites are aware of these traditional negative stereotypes -- anyone in American culture would be -- but personally reject the negative stereotype and its implications.
The problem is that in many face-to-face interactions the old cultural stereotype controls perception and behavior in the instant. The end result is bias and discrimination.
In many ways, the centerpiece of the modern racial divide comes in the evidence of sharply divergent beliefs about the current level, effect, and very nature of discrimination. Blacks and Latinos, and many Asian-Americans as well, feel it and perceive it in most domains of life. Many whites acknowledge that some discrimination remains, yet tend to downplay its contemporary importance. The next figure gives an example of these perceptions.
However, minorities not only perceive more discrimination, they see it as more institutional in character. Many whites tend to think of discrimination as either mainly an historical legacy of the past or as the idiosyncratic behavior of an isolated bigot.
In short, to white America, those who beat Abner Louima constitute a few bad apples. To African-Americans, they represent the tip of the iceberg. White America tends to regard the Texaco tapes as shocking. To black America, the tapes merely reflect the ones who got caught.
It is difficult to overestimate, I believe, the importance of this sharp divide over the understanding and experience of racial discrimination to the current racial impasse.
In many corners, there is a feeling of pessimism about the state of race relations. A 1997 survey conducted by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Research found that only two in five blacks rated race relations in their community as excellent or good, and that more than one in five rated race relations as in fact poor. In contrast, 59 percent of whites rated local race relations as excellent or good, though better than one in 10 rated them as poor.
The results of a recent Gallup survey are in some respects more pessimistic. There roughly a third of blacks and whites described race relations as having gotten worse in the past year. What is more, 58 percent of blacks and 54 percent of whites expressed the view that relations between blacks and whites will always be a problem in the United States.
The cynicism takes acute form in the black population, and there are signs of frustration among Latinos and Asians as well. Among blacks, the national black politics survey conducted in 1993 found that 86 percent of African-Americans agreed with the statement that "American society just hasn't dealt fairly with black people."
Fifty-seven percent of African-Americans rejected the idea that American society has provided them a fair opportunity to get ahead in life, and 81 percent agreed with the idea that American society owes black people a better chance in life than we currently have.
In the next figure, a major survey of Los Angeles County residents, we asked these opinions across the rainbow, and you see those numbers arrayed before you. Thus, for example, 64 percent of Latinos in L.A. County and 42 percent of Asians agreed with the idea that their respective groups were owed a better chance in life.
These two groups, in between the very high sense of deprivation, observe among African-Americans and the essentially non-existent feelings of deprivation tied to race observed among whites.
The concern over cynicism is acute for two reasons. First, there are signs that the feelings of alienation and deprivation are greatest in an unexpected place -- among the black middle class, especially so among well-educated high-earning African-Americans.
Second, there is a concern that these feelings of alienation and deprivation may be contributing to a weakening commitment for priority placed on the goal of racial integration. Among the potentially discouraging signs in this regard are a recent significant rise, as the next figure shows, in the number of African-Americans who think it is time to form a separate national political party.
The 1993 national black politics survey showed that this figure was up to 50 percent, rising substantially from 30 percent where it had been in 1984. In addition, African-Americans continue to feel a strong connection between the fate of the group as a whole and that of the individual African-American -- in fact, increasingly so.
To wrap up, the glass is half full or the glass if half empty, depending upon what one chooses to emphasize. If one compares the racial attitudes prevalent in the 1940s with those commonly observed today, it is very easy to be optimistic.
A nation once comfortable as a deliberately segregationist and racially discriminatory society has not only abandoned that view but positively endorses the goal of racial integration and equal treatment. There is no sign whatsoever of retreat from this ideal, despite many events that commentators thought would call it into question. The magnitude, steadiness, and breadth of this change should be lost on no one.
The death of Jim Crow racism, however, has left us in a somewhat uncomfortable place. We have high ideals, but openness to very limited amounts of integration at the personal level remains. There is political stagnation over some types of affirmative action. Quite negative stereotypes of racial minorities persist, and a wide gulf in perceptions regarding the importance of racial discrimination remains.
The level of miscommunication and misunderstanding is, thus, easy to comprehend.
The positive patterns in attitude and belief have important parallels in more concrete social trends. Two examples. Matching the broad shift in attitudes on the principle of residential integration and openness to at least small amounts of real racial mixing in neighborhoods is borne out in demographic data showing modest national declines in racial residential segregation in most metropolitan areas and in the growing suburbanization of blacks, Latinos, and Asians.
In addition, the greater tolerance for interracial marriages, including black-white marriages, is mirrored in the significant rise in the number of such unions, as Dr. Farley's presentation indicated.
Is it possible to change attitude? The record of change that I have reviewed makes it plain that attitudes can change and in important ways. Education and information can help. The better educated, especially those who have gone on to college, are typically found to express more positive racial attitudes.
It is also clear that there are information problems out there. Many Americans, for example, hold inaccurate beliefs about the relative size of racial minority groups and about such social conditions as differences in level of welfare dependency. So information will help.
However, education and informational campaigns alone are not enough to do the job that remains ahead. Attitudes are most likely to change when the broad social conditions and the sort of discourse we have about them that create and reinforce these outlooks change and when the push to make such changes comes from a united national leadership that speaks with moral conviction of purpose. That is, it is also essential to speak to joblessness and poverty in the inner city in concrete ways, to failing schools in concrete ways, and to myriad forms of racial bias and discrimination that people of color often experience but have not yet effectively communicating to many of their fellow white Americans.
To pose the question directly, are we moving toward a colorblind society or toward deepening racial polarization? America is not yet a colorblind society. We stand uncomfortably at a point of having defeating Jim Crow racism but unsure of where to turn in the future.
As a people, we feel quite powerfully the tug; indeed, the exhortation, of Dr. King's dream to become a nation that embodies the ideals of equality and integration. We appear to be at a point of uncertainty, misunderstanding, and reassessment.
I think it is important to seize upon the steady commitment to these ideals of racial equality and integration. The risk of failing to do so is that we may worsen an already serious racial divide.
This initiative in a sense is not merely the project of the panel. It's not merely the project of the President. It's a project for all of the American people. And it's important that we pursue it to its positive conclusion.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I want to thank Larry Bobo for his paper, particularly the good news with respect to the broad consensus on principles of economic opportunity and racial integration. There's some bad news in there, too, but we know what that is.
It's obvious from what you've said and from what we said here earlier that the hopeful note depends on the next generation, our younger generation, where they will come down, how they will come down on this whole question.
And it's somewhat like the President said in Little Rock, that we have to decide. Particularly young people have to decide. And they will either move in the direction where we will become a shining example for the rest of the world or a stunning rebuke to the world of tomorrow.
I think that this information is very salient to what we're doing and trying to. We're deeply grateful.
Are there any questions? Yes?
MEMBER THOMAS: Yes. Dr. Bobo, one question I have, you raised the issue of how whites perceive themselves. In the situation, maybe a few bad apples create any of the problems. And, yet, the blacks would see it as institutionalized. And so my question is one of terminology.
Do you think that there's maybe another term that we need to gravitate towards, rather than colorblindness, that's maybe more an active-type term? Because it seems like that in your data and also in observations, that a lot of people who would consider themselves or groups who would consider themselves colorblind are not perceived by minorities as being what they would like us to see or what they need in order to unravel this institutionalized observation.
DR. BOBO: That is a very difficult question. And in many ways, it goes to the heart of how we develop and sustain a dialogue in which we're really capable of communicating to one another, given often such sharp differences in our beginning assumptions, kind of what we take to be the baseline.
The way I often try to put it to students in my class is that it's important to enter such discussions with the strong presumption that everyone is of good will. But in America, given what we know about race, no one is innocent. And it's that presumption of being innocent that I think we have to get around.
That's a hard part, but that's the issue of keeping our eye on the amount of discrimination that is still out there in the housing market, in access to jobs, and encounters in everyday public spaces from parks and restaurants to stores, what have you. So I would just keep reiterating that phrase.
I strongly presume everyone is of good will, but none of us, sadly, are innocent.
MEMBER COOK: Dr. Bobo, thank you for the work you've done. I wonder, what do you hope will happen as a result of your work and your research and your book?
DR. BOBO: What I hope is that people have before them what are common patterns and then they pose for themselves the question: Well, how is this playing out in my world, and what happens to me day to day?
What it means, for example, is that when, let's say, a young black male shows up to apply for a job at a business where the supervisor or the person doing the interviewing is a white male, they're both likely to start off with a set of assumptions that make that interaction a dangerous one, a one fraught with the peril of miscommunication and falling apart.
But if we're both mindful of entering the situation with that risk present, I think we're much better able to manage it than in a situation where neither side acknowledges the assumptions that are being brought to it.
So I hope that it serves that sort of informational purpose to stimulating the dialogue along and, in addition, to mapping out the fact that these attitudes do change.
People often think about attitudes as being fixed and immutable and just rigid. They're just things that we can't intervene on that are going to be modifiable; that, in short, stateways can't change folkways. That's not exactly true.
If the stateways really do change the conditions and circumstances under which people live, who they have contact with, clarify the mutuality of interests and goals, then those folkways will come along as well.
MEMBER COOK: Thank you.
MEMBER WINTER: Dr. Bobo, what are the implications of this huge increase in the number of African Americans who want a separate black political party? And what happened in that 5-year period from 1988 to 1993?
DR. BOBO: There were a lot of events wedged in there. The biggest ones, I believe, were the videotape beating of Rodney King and the exoneration initially of the officers in the Simi Valley trial and then the explosion in Los Angeles that followed. That really sharply crystallized deep questions about America's commitment to full incorporation of the African American community. I think that's part of it.
I don't think we've seen any retreat from the broad goal of integration, of being full participants in American society, but there is this state of incipient pessimism out there that, well, there's some renegotiation that has to go on.
There's some internal thinking and communication that has to go on given where we stand at the moment and the repeated frustrations that we seem to be encountering, perhaps best symbolized by the recent turn against affirmative action in higher education in statewide in California.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I want to thank both Reynolds Farley and Lawrence Bobo for these very pertinent, significant, important statements that bear so directly on what we are undertaking here.
The information which you provided certainly will undergird some of the positions and activities that we will be taking in the immediate future. They're precisely the kind of information which we need in order to move on to plan our work. I'm deeply grateful to you.
We will continue this this afternoon. The Executive Director has some announcements to make. Before that, though, let me say that I'm delighted -- and I speak for the entire Board -- that so many of you have come, including some of the leaders of the community, here and abroad and in other parts of the country. You have come here to observe this. And we deeply appreciate your presence. We hope you will be coming back this afternoon and that you will come whenever we meet. Thank you very much.
Judy Winston has some announcements to make.
DIRECTOR WINSTON: I'd like to indicate that the members of the Advisory Board will be available briefly just before lunch to the front. And the Board will be available in the Chairman's Room, which is to the left as you go out of this room and two doors down. There will be a very brief, as I said, opportunity for the press to speak with the Board.
We will be adjourning for approximately an hour and 15 minutes. We plan to resume the discussion with a new panel at 1:15.
(Whereupon, a luncheon recess was taken at 12:00 noon.)
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I apologize for our slight delay in the meeting. We will now, I hope, come to order. And we will proceed with our business for the afternoon.
We have three panelists to carry on and to build on what we learned this morning: first, Dr. James Jones, Professor of Psychology at the University of Delaware and Director of Minority Fellowship Program for the American Psychological Association. His work is well-known, not only among psychologists, but even among some lay people.
His book, Prejudice and Racism, which was published some time ago and the second edition of which was published this year by McGraw-Hill, and his presentation are based upon, I hope, some of the findings that he shared with us in a conference in Chicago during the recent meeting of the American Psychological Association. He's going to speak on the embedded nature of race. And we are pleased to have him with us at this time.
DR. JONES: Thank you very much, Dr. Franklin. And thanks to the Board for giving me this opportunity to talk with you about these ideas about race.
I will say at the outset that I share your excitement in this opportunity that's been provided by the Initiative. And I think it is, without question, an historic occasion that the leader of the free world would see fit to call us to this action. I think it's profoundly important, and I'm privileged to be part of it.
Race has been one of the most enduring divisive social and psychological phenomena since the founding of this country. As the Twentieth Century enjoys its last moments, the issue of race continues to reverberate in every facet of our society.
W. E. B. DuBois challenged this century in 1903, when he claimed the problem of the Twentieth Century was the problem of the color line. From slavery to freedom, we have come a long way. But we are not all the way to freedom yet. It is not any one person's or faction's fault. Rather, it is the result of the deep and pervasive penetration of race into our collective psyche and social institutions.
We struggle for liberty, for equality, and have made great strides, but our founding fathers also believed that fraternity was a core value for this nation.
We have insisted without compromise on liberty for individuals. We have aspired to equality without regard to skin color and try to make our laws and our customs reflect that value.
But race keeps us from success. We have not worked as hard or as well towards fraternity, which in the aggregate is community. We have been stymied by our racial differences because we have not figured out how to get on the same page when everyone has either no book or a different one.
I believe President Clinton's Initiative on Race is a clear acknowledgement that true community cannot be achieved in America unless we bridge the racial divides.
There are two perspectives that have voice in contemporary society. One argues that focusing on race is exactly the wrong approach to national unity. By granting race any significance, as few suggest, we give credence to its divisive and destructive influence. Only by ignoring it or at least not consciously acknowledging it in any meaningful way, the progress in race relations we have made this century will continue. Focusing on race, as few asserts, hinders this progress.
William Bennett once told a group of black children in Atlanta on the anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King that, quote, "People of good will will disagree about the means, but I don't think anybody disagrees about the ends. I think the best mean to achieve the ends of a colorblind society is to proceed as if we were a colorblind society. I think the best way to treat people is as if their race did not make any difference."
A second view argues that we must focus on race because not to do so fails to meet the need for redress created by historic racial biases. The need to focus on race was clearly expressed by the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, who made the following observation in his opinion on the Bache case in 1978, and he made the following observation, "A race-conscious remedy is necessary to achieve a fully integrated society, one in which the color of a person's skin will not determine the opportunities available to him or her. If ways are not found to remedy under-representation of minorities in the professions, the country can never achieve a society that is not race-conscious. In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There's no other way. In order to treat persons equally, we must treat them differently."
We are faced with the question of whether the path to a fairer and more unified America can best be achieved by ignoring race or by staring it in the face and defeating its most sinister and insidious influences on our society and our psyches.
It is my belief -- and there is ample evidence to support it -- that race continues to matter in ways that may be more subtle than those who would have us ignore race understand.
I will share with you today some of the ways race matters and some of the evidence that illustrates this conclusion. I also acknowledge that by focusing on race, we run the risk of exaggerating the differences we attach to it and perhaps misleading ourselves about the degree to which it affects us every day.
I am persuaded by two of my students, who are both white, both young, and have experienced race in their everyday lives. One student grew up in a small rural town in Pennsylvania and described how life in his small high school provided daily hassles for the one black student in the school. Worse, it brought daily insults and crude and lewd racial jokes that created an image of black people that perpetuates a stereotype of their hostility, stupidity, and laziness.
Before he had even seen a black person, he reported, he had the idea that a black guy would stick him up and rob him. He even thought that black people on TV were just acting and when they went home, they acted just like the stereotype.
A second student from Long Island, New York reported that she had many black and white friends. However, she found herself continually anxious that she would betray some hidden prejudice toward them. She didn't feel any such thing but was not sure that she was without prejudice. She often felt anxious that some of her white friends who were perhaps less conscious of race than she would be more inclined to make that sort of comment.
For both of these honest and well-meaning students, race is an issue.
It is a daunting task you face engaging the nation in a focus on race. In our nation's history, race has always been used as a marker of differences and valued attributes and capacities.
Race provides a convenient and simple means to establish who's on top, in the middle, and on the bottom, who is deserving and who is not. Having made that distinction, we may then rationalize and explain why citizens of this country are segregated in certain strata, behave in ways that we find unwholesome, and need to be treated differently.
"Race" is a word that has divided and denigrated. And now by confronting it, talking about it, we hope to heal, to unite. I applaud the President. I applaud you, the Board, for taking this on.
Community is not something you create by executive order. It is not something that will happen because we want it to. It can only happen when people find that they have common ground and are better off because they cooperate than if they don't.
To make that happen across the racial divides that exist in this country, we have to take it on, shine a light on it, bridge the gaps, and figure out how to make our institutions operate as supported, not antagonistic accomplices to the community we seek.
There are four points I wish to make. I'll state them and then develop them in more detail. The first point is that race is not so much something that resides in the genes of a group of people but in the social attitudes and beliefs of a society. Race is social, not a biological construct.
Second, the significance of race rests in its cumulative influence on the psyches and social arrangements of a nation who cannot isolate and segregate its influence in a given era, a given belief, or a given person.
Third, race is a term who use and impact is far more consequential to those who have been targets of hostile actions than those who have perpetrated them or been the incidental beneficiaries of their consequences.
And, fourth, social/psychological research clearly shows that ignoring race in a race-neutral or colorblind way may do a disservice to the targets of racial bias as well as to those who presume themselves to be free of racial bias.
Let me begin with Point Number 1. Race is social, not a biological concept. One of the reasons why race is so divisive is that it is associated with biological differences. Biological differences are thought to be hard-wired and mutable and to describe some essential quality of people who are classified by race.
The Swedish taxonomist Lenais described the psychological as well as the physical characteristics on which he classified American Indians, Europeans, Asians, and Africans. By his account, Indians are tenacious and ruled by custom, Europeans are haughty and ruled by opinion, Asians are inflexible and ruled by rights, and Africans are indulgent and ruled by caprice. These defining characteristics or attributes are not only assumed to be true of members of these racial groups but take on differential value within the cultural system.
Race gives value and takes it away. It inflames a situation because it harkens to the days when it was widely believed that racial differences were biological and accounted for superior and inferior human capabilities.
American Indians were considered savage, wanting of civilization. Their salvation in this view was education, which in the aim of civilizing them taught them to reject their cultural heritage.
Who Indians were as a race was defined by the United States government and inculcated in Indian schools. I'll give you an example of that, teaching, in a minute.
In contemporary times, basketball announcer Billy Packer referred to Alan Iverson as a, quote, "tough monkey." Almost immediately calls came in to the Capital Center, to CBS calling for Packer's removal. Why? Because a monkey invokes biology: apelike, primitive. We Americans are still hypersensitive to any reference to biology when it comes to race. The fact is that there is no biological basis to race that is meaningful.
An American Association for the Advancement of Science panel including Nobel Laureate scientists noted, quote, "From a biological viewpoint, the term 'race' has become so encumbered with superfluous and contradictory meanings, erroneous concepts, and emotional reactions that it has almost completely lost its utility. It is hoped that the understanding of the biological nature of populations," their preferred term, "will eventually lead to the abandonment of the term 'race.'" So it's interesting that we are having Initiative on Race when scientists say we should obvention the concept. And I will return to that.
An important question for us is: Why does race persist given its terribly divisive and denigrating nature and its scientific inutility? It persists because it has a meaningful and prominent place in our cultural history. Race helps us to make sense of who we are, where we have come from, and even where we are going. But the meaning of race is constructed from what we do, say, and think as a society. Just as we have created race by our actions and deeds, we can uncreate it.
There is a strong push to replace the term "race" with the term "ethnicity." The horror of race is its biological implication and the association with biological heritability and the immutability. The fixed nature of race is countered by the immutable notion of ethnicity, a changing cultural identity that is more fluid and under greater personal control.
There is merit in the notion of ethnicity. It will take more than a semantic end run to eliminate race from our minds and our hearts. Perhaps a conversation on race could have as its main agenda the negotiation of the demise of race as a meaningful and acceptable way to think about Americans.
Second, the significance of race rests in its cumulative influence on the psyches and social arrangements of this nation who cannot isolate and segregate its influence in a given era, a given belief, or in a given person.
Our history as a nation is to a significant degree a racialist history. By that I mean that race has been a belief, a symbol that stands for a value-based division of people in America.
As early as the framing of our Constitution, the debate over the humanity of slaves of African descent surfaced in the most basic process of representation. Southerners wanted to count their slaves in the enumeration of their state populations because their number would bring them a larger political representation in Congress. The Northerners wanted slaves counted as property so that slave holders would pay their fair share of property taxes.
In Federalist Paper Number 54, Alexander Hamilton considered that a slave could not be 100 percent person and 100 percent property. In one of many political compromises that served the political ends of white businessmen and politicians, slaves were divested of two-fifths their humanity.
This degradation of persons of African descent endures as the beginning of the systematic dehumanization of that group of people who helped found this nation. That inhumanity, though, is not just an unfortunate handling of a bad situation, slavery, but was tied to beliefs and attitudes that we have not fully rid ourselves of today.
Thomas Jefferson wrote a doctrine of the inalienable rights of man and, thus, championed perhaps the most singular expression of the American ethos: individual liberties and freedoms.
Yet, in his heart, this is what he believed, "In general, blacks' existence appears to participate more of sensation, rather than reflection. In memory, they are equal to whites; in reason, much inferior. And in imagination, they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous. I advance it, therefore, that the blacks, whether originally a different race or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to whites." Will not a lover of natural history, then, excuse an effort to keep those in the department of man as distinct as nature has formed them?
A belief about blacks and the proposition that racial segregation is a valid; indeed, natural, of consequence law is as much a part of our cultural history as is the belief in the inalienable rights of man. Addressing the contemporary influences of this historical aspect of our cultural history is part of our education.
It is not a far distance from this viewpoint and belief to the sale of blacks on Wall Street. There is a picture of a slave trade on Wall Street. And we can ask what percentage of dehumanization is too much. It seems perhaps not a surprise, then, given this history, that in 1919 in East St. Louis, a man can be burned to death while his execution is mugged for the camera.
The excitement shown by these men, -- and I think that's a chilling aspect of this photograph; the burning body is bad enough -- the excitement shown by these men is reversed by the ugliness and disdain and hatred shown by these young people who are so offended by Ms. Elizabeth Eckford's determination of going to public school, high school, in Little Rock.
In recent days, we learn the apology of the young woman shown here hurling invectim and venom at Ms. Eckford tells another important story. We are substantially influenced by the norms, beliefs, and expectations to which we are socialized. Not to excuse her behavior, but race is bigger than individuals who act in the name of race.
You have seen this photograph often in recent days as President Clinton and the Little Rock Nine and the citizens of Little Rock recalled that time. For some, it was a celebration of progress. For others, it was a diversion from the real and continuing racial problems that still beset Little Rock.
American Indians were thought to be savage and uncivilized. Commissioner of Indian Affairs Henry Price expressed this view in 1881 in the following terms, "Savage and civilized life cannot live and prosper on the same ground. One of the two must die. To civilize them," American Indians, "which was once only a benevolent fancy, has now become an absolute necessity if we mean to save them." Such as there was interest in one America, it was in terms that denigrated the value and culture of people of color.
One of the biggest concerns among American Indians today is rethinking what education means. Repeatedly and with a sense of cultural survival, Indian education begins with the premise that American education for Indian people is genocidal.
The following photograph shows Indian students at the Carlisle Indian School. The next slide shows the questions from an exam of a student at Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1885.
The first question, "To what race do we all belong?" The exam answer, "The human race." "How many classes belong to this race?" The exam answer, "There are five large classes belonging to the human race." "Which are the first?" "The white people are the strongest" is the answer. "Which is the next?" "The Mongolians, or yellows." "The next?" "The Ethiopian, or blacks." "Next?" "The Americans, or reds." "Tell me something of the white people." "The Caucasian is way ahead of all of the other races. More than any other race, he thought that somebody must have made the Earth. And if the white people did not find that out, nobody would ever know it. It is God who made the world." This is education.
We would claim that we would no longer find such a thing in a classroom, but when do such effects dissipate in the collective minds of Americans? Certainly this civilization/savage distinction was not distinguished by the Western movies of the 1950s and 1960s. Although contemporary disagreements about the nicknames of sports teams have led to many changes, we are a long way from an understanding of Indian life that supports a unified America.
The following slide offers another image that persists in our collective psyches. President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19th, 1942 that gave authority to the Secretary of Defense to exclude all persons, cetaceans and aliens, from designated areas to provide security against sabotage or espionage. American citizens are rounded up and taken by train to San Anita Racetrack to be deployed to interment camps.
The next slide, perhaps as symbolic an image of racism as there is, the swastika is hateful and represents the lowest of human ugliness.
These are images of America. These are images that must be confronted and incorporated into a unified America. We cannot ignore them. We cannot deny them meaning in contemporary life because they happened a long time ago. There is a cumulative consequence of race in this society that challenges our fundamental notions of fairness as well as personal responsibility.
We are influenced by our past in ways that are not always obvious. It is too much to claim that four centuries of bigotry and bias, institutional deprivation, and cultural oppression were eliminated by an act of Congress.
We have been on a constant course of improving opportunities, access, and possibility across centuries. We have not by any means undone the legacy of racism.
At the Unvaried of Delaware, I teach a course on the psychological perspectives of black Americans. Students are required to make a class presentation in groups of two. A couple of years ago, a white student asked the only black student in the class to be her partner. The black woman declined, stating that she did not accept the white student's motivation for asking her. The black woman perceived the white student as curious about her. She did not want to enter into a partnership that made her a guinea pig.
The white woman was crushed. She might have been offended but was, instead, devastated that her sense of fairness, objectivity, and decency was not only challenged but rejected. She burst into tears.
This had never happened before. And the only thing I could think to tell them was, quote, "This is not about the two of you," unquote. This divergence in understanding and meaning could be traced to the troubled history of race in America.
In a sense, they were playing out the mistrust targets have of racist oppressors. Moreover, they illustrated that simply having good intentions is not enough in a society that is so charged with the distortions that our racial history has created.
It is my contention that we all live every day with this cultural history and we should never assume that we can understand each other fully from the facts of our experience.
Our national conversation must try to unravel these influences and reach a common ground that acknowledges the divergence of experience, feelings, beliefs that come with our divergent racial experiences. An apology for slavery does little to promote this understanding.
Third, "race" is a term whose use and impact are far more consequential for those who have been the targets for hostile or discriminatory actions than those who have perpetrated them or been incidentally privileged by them.
In our society, the primary effect of race has been to marginalize people who could be easily defined by racial categories. One result of this marginalization is that one's racial heritage is pitted against an American identity.
Consider the following interview of Jesse Jackson by Marvin Kalb on "Meet the Press" in 1984. This was Jackson's first run for the presidential nomination of the Democratic party, and he was making a respectable showing in the polls.
Kalb, "The question is: Are you a black man who happens to be an American running for the presidency or are you an American who happens to be a black man running for the presidency?"
Jackson, "Well, I'm both an American and black at one and the same time. I'm both of these."
Kalb, "What I'm trying to get at is something that addresses the question no one seems able to grasp, and that is: Are your priorities deep inside yourself to the degree that anyone could look inside himself those of a black man who happens to be an American or the reverse?"
Jackson, "Well, I was born black in America. I was not born American in black," --
DR. JONES: -- which raises another issue about what we call ourselves, but maybe that will come up later. "You're asking a funny kind of Catch-22 question. My interests are national interests."
These are two perspectives to note here. From Kalb's view, it seems that Jackson could not be both black and American at the same time and in equal measure. One identity had to be primary and one secondary.
We have created a conflict situation for many of our citizens of color by which their well-being is split into two halves. America's image of race has dissected people of color. Ignoring race will not make them whole.
From Jackson's point of view, the challenge to be a wholly integrated person whose racial or cultural heritage is not in opposite to but a contributing element of his American identity is one of the difficult and subtle psychological consequences of how race has been employed in America. Jackson's response to Kalb speaks to this desire to be whole, to be one with oneself as well as with the rest of society.
There is a flip side to this conflict. The majority of Americans are advantaged in ways that may not reach their consciousness. It did reach the consciousness of one young white man, Joshua Solomon, who had an experience that very few people have. He experienced his whiteness for 20 years, then by taking skin-altering medications became black. After only one week, young Solomon abandoned his experiment.
He reported the following lesson from his experience, quote, "I have been white for 20 years, and I have always assumed a level of dignity and respect. No matter how much money I had in my pocket, I could go into a store and be treated with respect. However, I realize that when I became a black man, all of that went away. I learned how much white privilege I enjoyed just by being white."
While whites are generally privileged or at least given the benefit of the doubt, too often persons of color are simply doubted. Nat Hentoff described the following encounter of two young Latino men, American citizens returning to Philadelphia from vacation in Jamaica, "When James Garcia and Eberesto Vasquez returned from Jamaica, they went to claim their luggage at Newark Airport and were surrounded by Customs agents, put into separate rooms, and strip-searched.
"These searches revealed nothing illegal, and neither did a search of their luggage. Agents decided to X-ray James and Eberesto and took them away to St. Francis Hospital in handcuffs to be X-rayed. Shackled at the ankles and handcuffed to the beds, the X-rays were taken. Again, nothing illegal was found. Without so much as an apology, they were returned to the airport and released.
"James Garcia asked the United States agents why they had been singled out. He was asked in return his nationality and age. He replied, 'Hispanic. And I'm 24, and my friend is 25.' The agent replied, 'Well, there you go.'"
Race matters in America. Its meaning has consequences, often harmful and usually troublesome. Research by Carmen Arroyo and Edward Zigler showed that the more adolescents shied away from their racial identity, a concept they call racelessness, the better they did in school but the greater risk they had for depression and poor mental health.
Embracing your racial and ethnic identity often puts you in conflict with acceptance in broader American society, leading to a win-lose proposition. Our conversations on race must convert such win-lose propositions to win-win scenarios. There is much discussion on standards that must not be compromised by any use of race in decision-making in our schools or on the job.
Research by Claude Steele at Stanford has shown that a psychological state of stereotype vulnerability can explain dramatic decreases in test performance of both African Americans and women. Stereotype vulnerability refers to a disruptive apprehension based on the fear that one will either verify or be judged by a negative stereotype about one's racial group.
Steele and Aaronson tested this idea by having white and black subjects perform a very difficult test comprised of the most difficult items from the Graduate Record Exam. The test was introduced either as diagnostic or non-diagnostic of their true ability. Steele and Aaronson reasoned that only when the test was thought to be diagnostic would it arouse stereotype vulnerability.
The next figure shows the result of performance under the true conditions for black and white Stanford undergraduates. As the figure shows, when the tests were thought to be non-diagnostic, the right set of bars, of their ability, black students performed just as well as whites. However, when they thought it might reveal their ability in a domain in which their group is stereotypically not expected to do well, they did more poorly than whites.
What is dramatically important about this study is that by simply changing the context of the test, racial parody on performance was obtained. Also indicative of the troubling meaning of race in our society, they found that having participants write down their race prior to taking the non-diagnostic tests, which showed no racial differences, black participants then scored lower than whites.
The psychological process that leads to these findings is fairly complex but arrests on the idea that the negative stereotype of your group may cause a level of apprehension that interferes with performance, even when the person themselves have had success in the past. This finding underscores the pernicious and subtle effects race may have in our society.
What is perhaps the most important thing for you to consider is that our assumptions that performances are due solely to the ability or capacity of the performer may be wrongheaded. We adopt standards based on the assumption that performance is an accurate and reliable indication of a person's true ability. But as this research shows, one's ability may be compromised by the insinuation of race.
The more we seek to test the ability of our students and the less we understand about the racial factors beyond ability that affect their performance, the further they will be from a unified America.
The fourth point, social/psychological research clearly shows that ignoring race in a race-neutral or colorblind way may do a disservice to the targets of racial bias as well as those who presume themselves to be free of racial bias. The idea that we must ignore race to get beyond it is a popular view these days, but people are treated differently. People are treated differently on account of race.
Social/psychological research demonstrates in study after study that race influences our most basic human responses. If we do not acknowledge that, if we do not believe that, we are ignoring a very significant influence in our daily lives.
Next. It's a cartoon from the specialty of the New Yorker, "Let's just for a minute forget the fact that you're black." You look at that cartoon, and you wonder: To what extent is that person capable of forgetting the fact that he's black?
This is not about laws and government but about the deep-seeded beliefs that affect us in ways silent and often unknown. Our racial expectations influence what we see in others and what we feel inside. Moreover, these perceptions and feelings affect others with whom we interact. Race is a ubiquitous presence in our society.
There are numerous scientific studies that illustrate various aspects of these racial effects. I'll describe briefly four of them: first, the general idea that expectations can cause poor performance.
Carl Word, Mark Zen, and Joe Cooper asked Princeton male undergraduates to introduce several black and white high school students and select one for their teams. These mixed high school/college teams were expected to engage in some competitive academic gains.
The researchers found that Princeton men interviewed the black students differently from the white students. When interviewing black students, they sat further away on more of an angle, spoke less fluently, and terminated the interview sooner.
The authors next trained white Princeton men to interview in a manner that reflected the differential racial pattern detected for white and for black students in the previous experiment and then had them interview other white Princeton men for a summer job.
The importance of this study is that white students are interviewing other white students. The interview style followed either the white or the black pattern, but they're interviewing them as if they are black or white according to their previous work.
Independent judges who knew nothing of the interview style variation rated the applicants. Results showed that the white applicants who were interviewed as if they were black were judged to be less qualified.
The self-fulfilling prophecy suggests that we communicate our feelings, anxieties, or simple dislike to others and, in so doing, we affect their behavior. Failing to realize how our own behavior has influenced theirs, we conclude confidently that we can draw objective conclusions about them. In this manner, we actually create the world that we expect. When it comes to race, we perpetually re-create the cultural notions of race in our everyday interaction and encounters.
John Barge, Mark Chin, and Laura Barrows have done a series of studies that indicate increased hostility reacts is a response to race. They showed that race affects basic expressions of emotions. They suggest that thinking about a behavior can increase the likelihood we will engage in it.
Just as trying not to think about something makes it more difficult to expunge it from our minds, this research suggests that trying not to think about race may have the ironic consequence of making race more salient.
Barge and colleagues suggest that race can prime us to act in ways that derive from or follow from our experience, not from our intentions. To show this, they had white participants perform a very long and boring task of determining whether an array of circles on a computer screen consist of an odd or even number. This is a trivial task.
After 45 minutes and 130 trials, the computer flashed an error message that the data were lost and they would have to do it again. This is meant to evoke frustration. And a hidden camera captured their responses. Later judges rated them for hostility.
The experimenter came into the room, checked the equipment, told them they would have to start again, and rated their hostility also. A critical variable, though, was whether or not the participants had been subliminally exposed to black or white faces while they were performing that task.
The results in the next slide show that participants who saw black faces, indicated by the dark bars, reacted with more hostility than those who saw white faces. That simple exposing them to the racial image, a racial stereotype affected a legitimate emotional reaction to an event in their lives. Race matters at a very basic level of human response.
They followed that up by showing that having increased the level of hostility by focusing on these photographs, they then had them interact with another person and found that this person they interacted with also became more hostile. So we have a chain of events that followed from simply being exposed to a heightened racial response.
I'm almost done. Finally, in my last research illustration, Rogers and Prestiss Dunn demonstrated that reactions to a personal insult diverged with the race of the insulter. Participants were asked to use electric shock to train a subject in biofeedback. Learners were either white or black, and half of both races insulted the participant. The degree to which the participants used a higher level of shock and held the shock button down longer indicated their aggression.
The next slide shows that when they were not insulted, which is the left set of facts, they were slightly less aggressive toward black than white learners. But when they had been insulted, their aggression escalated significantly more toward the black and the white learner. So there is latent -- and Dr. Dovidio will talk more about this -- response, which is triggered by the simple fact that they were insulted.
Concerning the results of this research, you have to ask what treating people as if their race made no difference means. We clearly know that race has been a central player in the evolution of America.
We are a different country because of the way race has affected us than we would have been had there never been slaves, never been Jim Crow, never been the Civil War, never been the 1960s.
Race lingers in our minds and hearts. In a sense, race is heard to achieve. As Dr. Bobo said earlier, it is not possible to achieve. We cannot be innocent.
I believe that the world looks different from different sides of racial divides. To approach the community of one people in America, we must see the world from multiple sides. That is what a dialogue on race must be about.
There are plenty of social scientists who tell us how far we have come and the best way to move further on the subject of race, but it seems to me that it is not up to others to tell us what matters and what doesn't.
That racism is over lies behind every social policy we promulgate. I believe that we need to explore the depths of race in our psyche and try to understand the divergent perceptions, the palpable anxiety and fears, the hopes, dreams, and expectations. And we should do this with honesty and humility.
By creating community, we can't create open conversation on race by executive declarations, but there are many people who are already talking and want to talk more. In spite of the fact that race opens wounds, talking about it is an important way to create one America in the Twenty-First Century. Not to do so leaves unchallenged and unexamined the variety of ways in which race insinuates itself in our everyday life.
Let me summarize in very simple terms the points that I have made. One, the historical legacy of race influences what we feel and believe. Two, although race has no biological legitimacy, its demise cannot be asserted but must be negotiated by affected parties. Three, subtle effects of race influence what we feel, think, believe, and how we act. And, four, race effects are complex and ubiquitous. Ignoring them is not an option.
I close with the haiku that I wrote to reflect one of the important reasons we have to have a conversation on race. "I am color. And America is colorblind. So do you see me?"
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Thank you very much, Dr. Jones.
I think we will save any questions we have until we have these three presentations to make certain that we get all three presentations in first.
I am pleased to present Jack Dovidio, who is a Charles Dana Professor of Psychology at Colgate University and a consulting editor for Social Psychological Quarterly. He will speak on understanding contemporary racism: causes, consequences, challenges.
DR. DOVIDIO: Thank you very much.
Basically today I am going to be talking about contemporary forms of racism. As we heard this morning, the overt forms of racism Dr. Bobo make a very strong case have seemed to have declined in fairly dramatic ways. The surveys and polls clearly indicate that more white Americans today than ever before are committed to principles of fairness, justice, and equality.
We can attribute some of these declines in the overt racism, I believe, to the legislation of the 1960s, the 1970s, particularly the civil rights legislation, which clearly defined discrimination as being illegal and helped shape our views as Americans of discrimination as being immoral, unfair as well. So this legislation I think really shaped our ideals and brought us closer to the ideals of a society that is fair, just, and equal for all Americans.
What I'm going to talk about today, it's a very simple message that despite the significant decrease in old-fashioned, overt forms of racism, contemporary forms of bias continue to exist, they continue to pervade our society, and they continue to adversely affect the well-being of people of color in significant ways.
Now, what is this contemporary racism? Well, this contemporary bias is subtle, rather than overt. And that's what characterizes it and makes it different than the old-fashioned form of racism. One of the messages I want to communicate here is although the bias may be expressed in subtle ways, its consequences can be severe.
Second of all, this subtle, contemporary bias is rooted in normal psychological processes. It's routed in processes such as social categorization. That is, we tend to categorize people into groups, people who are like us and those who are not like us, ingroups and outgroups and wes and theys.
Once we categorize people, we tend to value people in our own group more, and we tend to devalue people in other groups. This is normal. It happens cross-culturally. It happens almost automatically.
One of the ways we categorize people is based on what we see. What we see almost instantaneously and automatically is a person's race and a person's sex. And, not coincidentally, this forms the basis of two very pervasive biases in our society.
Now, this view really is a different view than the old-fashioned view of racism. The old-fashioned view of racism was that racism is abnormal. It is a psychopathology. It's like a cancer. And if we could just cut out those people who were prejudice, we would solve all the problems of our society.
What this suggests is that if these are routed in normal processes, the normal, well-meaning people may likely be exhibiting the subtle form of bias. So it's a much more difficult and pervasive problem than the old-fashioned view led us to believe.
Because these are rooted in normal processes, this subtle bias is often expressed unintentionally and often exists unconsciously. Many of the people who have this subtle form of bias truly endorse the principles of fairness, justice, and equality at a conscious level. They truly embrace these principles at a conscious level, but because they're normal, they're susceptible to these normal processes.
And they're likely to develop negative beliefs and feelings about people of color. They may try to reject these feelings. They may not be fully aware of these feelings. They may try to suppress these feelings. But these feelings still exist.
That means when these feelings are expressed, they're typically expressed in subtle, indirect, and rationalizable ways in situations where what's right and wrong is not clearly defined, in situations where what's appropriate behavior is nor clearly defined, or in situations where people can rationalize or justify the negative response to a person of color, but on the basis of some factor other than race.
And in that way, discrimination will occur as it provides systematic advantage to one group, systematic disadvantage to another group but in a way that insulates and protects that person from ever having to believe that their behavior was racially motivated. Why? Because they always have an excuse, they always have another reason to justify it.
And, finally, with respect to this contemporary form of racism, what makes it I think different than the traditional form of racism, there is more bias expressed toward higher-status people of color than towards lower-status people of color because these are the people who threaten, either directly or symbolically, the traditional role relationships in America that we have had for many years that have benefitted particularly white Americans.
Now, what evidence do we have of this modern, subtle form of bias? We have accumulated substantial evidence in the laboratory. I will just touch on a few major points.
First of all, this bias is frequently expressed more indirectly in terms of a failure to help blacks and other people of color than in terms of overt attempts to harm them because those overt attempts could easily be attributed to racial bigotry. And this is a subtle form of bigotry, not an overt form.
We found evidence across a range of helping situations, from donating time to intervening in emergencies, that whites are less likely to help people of color than they are to help other whites, particularly when they can justify it or rationalize it on the basis of some factor other than race.
For example, in one experiment, we exposed white bystanders to a staged emergency but a threatening, life-threatening potentially, emergency involving a black or a white victim.
When our subjects were the only person available to help, they helped black and white victims just the same. That is, there was no old-fashioned racism here, where you let somebody suffer and die solely because of their race.
But when we changed the situation slightly and we gave these people an excuse not to get involved, we led them to believe that someone else could help or would help, in that case, our white subjects helped the black victims half as often as the white victim.
If this were a real situation, -- we're talking about a life and death situation -- that black victim would have died twice as often as the white victim. Although the bias is expressed subtlely, its consequences can be quite significant.
This modern, subtle form of bias is also expressed more in terms of a pro-white bias than an anti-minority bias. It's not the old-fashioned belief in the inferiority of people of color because that's overtly bigoted. People know that's bigoted, and they censor that response. But what persists here is a belief in white superiority.
We find in our laboratory that people do not acknowledge or do not say that blacks or other people of color are worse than whites. They're very guarded about that. But what comes up over and over again is the belief that whites are better than people of color, and particularly blacks and Latinos. So there's this implicit belief in white superiority. It's a bias, nonetheless.
This modern, subtle form of bias is often expressed commonly in decision-making, particularly decision-making under stress or time pressure or in complicated situations.
It's expressed -- in fact, Dr. Jones mentioned it's often expressed nonverbally in the behaviors that we can't control, in the behaviors that we can't monitor, rather than in the overt expressions of exactly the words that we say and what we say. So it's expressed in subtle forms, very spontaneously but very pervasively.
And, finally, we see evidence of this in the archival data. We see evidence of it in the glass ceiling effect. The glass ceiling effect clearly demonstrates that the disparities between women and men and between whites and people of color tend to increase as you start dealing with occupations and positions of greater power and prestige.
We see this pattern in terms of industry. We see it in the military. We see it in the government. And that's consistent with the way this subtle form of bias operates.
Again, although these biases may be subtle, their consequences can be quite severe. And let me explain what some of these consequences are. First and most obviously, the subtle form of bias presents barriers to employment and advancement of people of color. Minorities may be seen as good, but, as we've demonstrated, not as good as white people with objectively the same credentials. And we've demonstrated that over and over again.
We see that these biases tend to come out in situations where decisions are complicated, where decisions may have to be made in periods of stress, where pressures may be involved. And that involves much of the personnel decision processes that we engage in the actual world.
Another aspect of this is this contemporary form of racism helps to create divergent perspectives of the world, fundamentally divergent perspectives of the world, between whites and people of color.
Because whites exhibit their discrimination subtlely, unintentionally, and unconsciously, we're not aware that we're discriminating. And, in fact, if we monitor our behavior closely, we don't discriminate.
So it's only when we're not paying attention that we discriminate. It's only when it's unintentional that we discriminate. It's only when it's unconscious that we discriminate. As a consequence of that, we tend to see racism as not a problem and particularly not a problem for us.
However, from the perspective of the people of color, they see these subtle biases. They experiences the consequences of these subtle biases on a daily basis. And they see a discrepancy between what we say overtly, which is about fairness and justice and equality and the subtle biases that pervade our society and the way whites behave. And they create a situation of distrust, where they don't believe whites and where they tend to see this bias everywhere. And let me just give you just one sort of hypothetical example of how this operates.
Let's take a situation here where I'm a white interviewer and a black person and a number of white people are interviewing for a job with me. I may see the black person as being very good. I may tell the black person that he or she is very good.
But when it comes time to make that complicated decision, I may say, "That black person is good, but I think this white person is a little bit better." Why? "Well, this white person really has the sales experience that we really need that would really benefit our organization."
So I make that decision to hire the white person. And I would say it has nothing to do with race because I can objectively point to the sales experience of the white person and say, "This is why I made that decision." I walk away from that with a clear conscience.
That black person will go for another interview with a white interviewer. That second white interviewer, much like me, will say, "This black person is very good." They will look at all of the different qualifications of all of the candidates and then probably conclude that, "Although that black person is very good, this white person is a little bit better" and hire that white person. Why? Because that white person perhaps has the technical degree, instead of the liberal arts degree that that black person had.
So that second white interviewer will walk away from that interaction with a clear conscience saying, "Race had nothing to do with his or her decision. Here's the objective reason why."
And then that black person will go for a third interview. And in that third interview, again, the white interviewer will say, "You are very good" but then will come up with a reason not to hire that black person. Why? For some other reason that has nothing to do with race. And that white interviewer will walk away from that situation, again with a clear conscience, saying race was not a factor.
From the perspective of white people, race is not a problem. It's not a factor in their decision. And they can each explain why. But from the perspective of that black person, what ties that first experience with me, that second experience with another interviewer, that third experience and a third interviewer?
What's the most simplest and parsimonious explanation for this? Is it a technical degree? No. That only applied to one case. Is it sales experience? No. That only applied to one case. But what is the constant that goes through this? It is that they are black and they were not hired.
So, from that perspective, blacks may be very sensitive to seeing racism everywhere because they can see its consequences, even though whites deny it. And whites are very likely to deny that racism exists.
That means if we follow the extension of this, that this suggests if we understand this contemporary form of racism, we can expect to see a society where the races mistrust one another and are in great conflict with one another.
We mistrust one another because we can't see each other's perspective. We don't understand each other's perspectives. And on the hand of whites, what we have is denial that race is a problem, denial that race is an issue, denial that we are engaging in racism. And from the perspective of black people and other people of color, what ties their experience together, it is that there is a systematic bias that seems to be best explained, most parsimoniously explained in terms of race. And that's what I think is characterizing America today.
What are the challenges? Okay. The challenges, the solutions I think are these. It is, first of all, I think necessary to make people aware of the existence of this modern, subtle form of bias.
We need to do that at a level of the society in order to let people know that racism is not a problem that we've licked. We need to make people aware of it to let them know that racism is not a problem with people out there, that it may be inside each and every one of us, no matter how well-intentioned we are.
We need to do this at an individual level because it's important that people become aware of their own potential for bias. What are the reasons we have these automatic bias responses? Because they're over-learned. They become habitual.
We live in a society that fosters this kind of habit. Prejudice becomes a habit for us. Habits that are learned can be habits that are also unlearned. I think it becomes important that people become aware of their own potential for biases so that they can begin to work on these biases to eliminating them.
One of the things I want to point out here that is very important is we're talking about good, well-meaning, well-intentioned people. And if you point out that they may be biased, then those good intentions, those well-meaning intentions can motivate them to make significant changes in their own lives and in the lives of people around them.
The second thing I think we need to do as a challenge here is to accept the validity of different perspectives, that we have to understand how this modern racism can produce very different perspectives between people of color and whites.
And we need to understand that two people and two groups of people can come to the same interaction, can come to the same events. They come with different histories. They come with different experiences. They come with different expectancies. And it makes sense for them to come out of it with divergent perspectives and divergent explanations for what has occurred.
It becomes important, rather than denying each other's existence, denying each other's perspectives, that we come to accept and understand what the other person's perspective is, to understand the perspective of all groups because until we can fully understand these perspectives, we can't begin a true dialogue. We can't develop a foundation of communication, which any initiative on race needs in order to succeed.
So, rather than deny it any more, we have to accept it. And we have to understand that we're both at fault, and we're both involved in the situation and both needed to come up with a solution.
And finally, we need to develop proactive policies versus passive or reactive policies. If we're dealing with public policies that are really designed to punish discrimination after it has occurred, it's too little too late.
It's too late because the discrimination has occurred, the discrimination that validates the mistrust that people of color have in whites and in America today. It's often too little because to prove discrimination is occurring, you typically have to prove intentionality. And you have to prove that racism is the cause.
This modern, subtle form of racism occurs unintentionally, and it occurs usually when we can justify it or rationalize it on the basis of some factor other than race. It's almost immune to many types of traditional forms of persecution.
We need to have sort of proactive policies, proactive policies, that allow us to assess accurately discrimination when it is occurring and disparities when they are occurring.
What we have seen is it's easy to deny that race is having an effect on any individual decision. We can explain it away. But if we look at these decisions across time and across people and if we see a consistent pattern of disparities where whites get better outcomes than people of color, then that should be evidence clearly that there is discrimination in the system. It may not be overt, but it is clearly discrimination. And then what we have to do is make people accountable, accountable to take action to remedy these injustices.
So what we found in our research is that if people do not feel personally responsible, they will not help. If people do not feel personally accountable for taking action, action will not occur.
Let me give you one example, a quick example, of how this action can occur. It has to be quick because I only have two more minutes. So I'll try to be very brief on this.
This happened with the military, with the Army. And what the Army had noticed was that over a number of years, they had looked at disparities in promotion rates between people of color and whites and between women and men. And what they observed over a many-year period is that there were consistent disparities with whites being promoted at rates higher than people of color, men more than women.
They were concerned. They looked at these results. They were sufficiently concerned that they set as an objective for their promotion boards that minorities be promoted at rates equivalent to whites and women be promoted at rates equivalent to men.
What they did was they built in some accountability. They simply said to their promotion boards, "If you do not achieve that -- this is not a quota. We're not requiring you to do this, but we want to know why. We want an explanation why we did not achieve that objective."
Well, when they applied these principles to the promotion boards, in that year there were no disparities, no significant disparities, between minorities and whites and women and men. And when they applied it the next year, again there were no disparities whatsoever.
By coming up with a system that was proactive that didn't require on proving intentionality of bias, they were able to eliminate the disparities in very effective ways.
Well, what I want to do is simply summarize here now. In summary, what I want to do is emphasize that this contemporary form of racism is largely unconscious and unintentional. It is rooted in normal processes and, therefore, can affect well-meaning people.
Second of all, it's expressed in subtle and indirect ways, in ways that make it a hidden type of bias. It's not obvious to other people and not obvious to ourselves who may be perpetuating this type of bias.
Again, I want to emphasize although these biases may be expressed subtlely, their consequences are significant. They significantly and adversely affect the well-being of people of color. And ultimately they'll affect the well-being of us all.
Finally, I want to conclude by saying that because of these subtle, contemporary biases, we need to understand that the playing field is not level for all groups. We're not starting with a system that's balanced for all groups. Because of this, we need to understand, as history has demonstrated and I think as psychology can clearly demonstrate, this is not a problem that will go away if we ignore it. We have to take positive action.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Thank you very much, Dr. Dovidio.
Finally I want to introduce Dr. Derald Wing Sue. Dr. Sue is Professor of Psychology at the California School of Psychology in Alameda, California. She is also a professor at the California State University at Hayward. She's the coeditor of Counseling American Minorities: A Cross Cultural Perspective and coauthor of A Theory of Multicultural Counseling and Therapy, published last year.
It's my pleasure to introduce him, Dr. Sue, who will be speaking on creative conditions for a constructive dialogue on race, toward equal access and opportunities.
DR. SUE: Thank you, Dr. Franklin. Good afternoon, members of the panel.
What I would like to do is quickly acknowledge how pleased and honored I am to have this opportunity to share with all of you some of my research and work in race relations and diversity training.
I believe that if we are to become a fair, just, and equitable society, we must heed President Clinton's call for a constructive dialogue on race. It will succeed, however, only if we are able to acknowledge our biases and preconceived notions to be open and honest with one another, to hear the hopes, fears, and concerns of all groups in this society, to recognize how prejudice and discrimination hurt everyone, and to seek common solutions that allow for equal access and opportunities.
Achieving what I call the cultural mosaic of one America is a monumental task because it requires two things that are so difficult I think for many of us to do: an honest examination of unpleasant racial realities, like racial prejudice, racial stereotyping, and racial discrimination; and, secondly, accepting responsibility for changing ourselves, our institutions, and our society.
My two other learned colleagues have already established the fact that bias, prejudice, and discrimination are deeply embedded in individuals, institutions, and our society.
Unintentional as it might be and unconscious, one of the great difficulties with white Americans and having them understand the issue of racism is that they perceive and experience themselves as moral, decent, and fair people. And, indeed, they are. Thus, they often fair to realize that their beliefs and actions may be discriminatory in nature.
What, however, can we as individuals do about this? We need to realize that racism, prejudice, and discrimination are not just intellectual concepts for objective study and for the other person. It has very personal consequences for those who are the victims.
For example, not only have I been stereotyped throughout my life and I could certainly share many of those examples with you, but the sanctity of our home was violated at one point by the community police in our society.
I believe that the responsibility for change resides strongly in two major domains: individually, on an individual level; and institutionally, on a societal level.
Time permitting, I would like to also talk about the institutional changes I think are important, but, in essence, I want to focus this afternoon upon what we as individuals can do personally.
While many of us are willing to acknowledge that racism must be addressed at an institutional and societal level, we often avoid addressing these on a personal level and fail to identify personal growth experiences that we need in order to succeed.
I would argue that it is difficult, if not impossible, for any of us to become racially unbiased without understanding and working through our personal biases and prejudices. It must entail a willingness to address internal issues related to personal belief systems, behaviors, and emotions when interacting with other racial groups.
There has to be a personal awakening, a willingness to root out these biases and unwarranted assumptions related to race, culture, and ethnicity. When confronting racism on a personal level, several psychological assumptions can guide us in facilitating this difficult dialogue on race.
One of them is this: No one was born wanting to be a racist or bigot. No one was born with racist attitudes and beliefs. None of us willingly came into this world wanting to be prejudice. Misinformation related to culturally different groups is not acquired by our free choice.
These are imposed through a painful process of social conditioning. One is taught to hate and to fear others who are different in some way. In a strange sort of way, what I find helpful in working with white Americans to begin to explore their biases is the fact that all of us in one way or another need to begin to understand that we are all victims.
We all are socialized into a society with biases. And, as a result, white Americans in a strange sort of way are equally victims as persons of colors, although their victimization is quite different from that of persons of color.
For example, for me to believe that I have been born and raised in the United States for some 55 years without inheriting these racial biases, stereotypes I believe is the height of naivete and that if we are to facilitate an honest and non-defensive dialogue on race, maybe one of the things that we can commonly start from is that we, too, have these biases within us.
Secondly, having racist attitudes and beliefs is harmful not only to persons of color, but to white Euro-Americans as well. It serves as a clamp on one's mind, distorting the perceptions of reality. It allows some white Americans to misperceive themselves as superior and all other groups to be inferior. It allows for the systematic mistreatment of large groups of people based upon misinformation.
Thirdly, people of color also grow up in an environment in which they, too, acquire misinformation about themselves and about whites and other minority groups as well. They may come to believe in their own inferiority of their group or themselves.
Kenneth and Mamie Clark, Kenneth Clark, the first black President of the American Psychological Association, did one of the ground-breaking studies on doll identification studies, suggesting how this insidious process can occur with respect to racial/ethnic minorities who are told in some way that they are racially inferior.
Fourth, overcoming our biased cultural conditioning means that we must overcome the inertia and feeling of powerlessness on a personal level. People can grow and change if they are personally willing to confront and unlearn their racist conditioning. To accomplish this task, we must unlearn misinformation not only on a cognitive level, but on an emotive level as well.
If we could eradicate racism simply by cognitive process of reading books, we would have eradicated it a long time ago. We need to experientially move into the reality of what this does to people.
Unlearning our biases means acquiring accurate information and experiences. Much of how we come to know about other cultures is through the media, what our friends and families convey to us and through public education tasks.
I would propose that we have to counteract this. And there are four basic principles that I feel have been evident in our scientific literature, social/psychological literature of how to begin to do this.
Principle 1, first we must experience and learn from as many sources as possible, not just the media or what our neighbor may say, in order to check out the validity of our assumptions and understanding.
For example, reading literature by and for persons of the culture, this applies to both fiction and nonfiction. While the professional and nonprofessional literature often portrays minorities in stereotypic ways, writings from individuals of that group may provide a richness and experiential reality that many of us lack.
For example, how many of us have read Now I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing, The Joy Luck Club, Return to Manzinar, The Trail of Tears: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of White Privilege, My Son Wind Wolf, all of these stories, or The House on Mango Street? All of these stories come from minority authors or individuals who taught about racial issues. And it gives us an understanding, a way to enter into the world of people that we only know from a distance.
But that is not enough. Another principle that we should adhere to is that a balanced picture of racial/ethnic minority groups requires that we spend time with healthy and strong people of the culture.
The mass media and our educational texts written from a primarily Euro-American perspective frequently portray minority groups as uncivilized, pathological criminals or delinquents.
No wonder the images we have are primarily negative. We must individually make an effort to fight such negative conditioning and ask ourselves: What are the desirable aspects of the culture, the history, and the people? Education can do much in helping us in this direction.
Principle Number 3, we must supplement our factual understanding with the experiential reality of the groups we hope to understand. It may be helpful to identify a cultural guide like I had with Malachai Enjou, a deep African-American friend who helped me begin to understand the black experience in America, someone from the culture who is willing to help you understand his or her group, someone willing to introduce you to new experiences, someone willing to help you understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This allows you to more easily obtain valid information on race and racial discrimination issues.
Another example I can give you, -- and these are straightforward, simple examples that we should have known all the time -- how many of us attend cultural events, meetings, and activities of the group? This allows us to view people interacting in their community and observing their values in action.
Hearing from church leaders, attending open community forums, and attending community celebrations allow you to sense the strengths of a community, observe leadership in action, personalizes your understanding, and allows you to identify potential guides and advisers.
The last principle, Principle Number 4, our lives must become a have-to. Now, what do I mean by that? We have to be constantly vigilant in manifestations of the biases in ourselves and in people around us.
People of color never are given an opportunity to rest in dealing with racism. And I ask my white brothers and sisters to take also the opportunity for them to deal with race as a have-to issue. This is an important one here.
Learn how to ask sensitive racial questions from your minority friends, associates, and acquaintances. Persons subjected to racism seldom get an opportunity to talk about it with an undefensive and non-guilty person from the majority group.
White Americans, for example, often avoid mentioning race, even with close minority friends. Most minority individuals are more than willing to respond to enlighten and share if they sense that your questions and concerns are sincere and motivated by a desire to learn and serve the group.
When a white person listens undefensively, for example, to an Asian American, an American Indian, African American, Latino, Hispanic American, both gain.
When around people of color, I also ask you to do another thing, to pay attention to racial situations that may create feeling of uneasiness, differentness, or outright fear.
When you find yourselves walking down the street seeing a group of black youngsters approach you, do you cross the street or clutch your purse more tightly? When you interview an Asian American candidate -- and this is the converse of what Dr. Dovidio said. If you are interviewing an Asian American candidate and you are using certain criteria to judge whether they would make an effective manager or not, one of the things that you look for oftentimes is the standard talk about: Is this person assertive, outgoing, taking charge?
And many Asian candidates may be placed at a disadvantage because their tendency is to work suddenly behind the scenes for main group consensus. If the corporation uses a standard that is primarily what we perceive to be evidence of leadership, we lose out in the fact that this Asian American candidate might have been the most productive individual on the team in getting the team to work but tends to avoid the limelight. So leadership can also be a key element that we look at in terms of doing this.
Dealing with racism means a personal commitment to action. It means interrupting other white Americans or getting them to become sensitive when racist jokes are told, when you see bias and discrimination.
Some additional thoughts that I have to quickly cover here as my time comes to an end. Many of these suggestions that I'm giving are applicable to persons of color as well.
In addition, racial minorities also need to do several things: realize that many white Americans are eager to help and represent powerful allies. We cannot do this. Persons of color cannot overcome bias and bigotry if we depend primarily on ourselves.
Recognize that we need to reach out to one another to form multicultural alliances and to realize that race, culture, and ethnicity are a function of each and every one of us. It is just not an Asian American thing, an African American thing, a minority thing. I find many white Americans do find their own race lacking; that is, that they are not conscious that they come from a racial heritage and background.
Thirdly, we must avoid the who's more oppressed trap because all oppression is damaging and serves to separate, rather than unify.
Lastly, we need to realize that we all need an opportunity to learn and grow. And that's the primary message. All of us will make insensitive comments to one another. We will commit racial blunders. If I say something -- and many times it has happened. If I say something that is insensitive to a group, I would not like to be dismissed without an opportunity to somehow be educated on that. So let us try to understand that we will all commit blunders and forgive one another because we are in a common boat together.
These are the three areas, in summary, that we can look at in bringing my presentation to a close. A constructive dialogue on race requires that we acknowledge that we all have biases, stereotypes, and preconceived notions. Secondarily, we need to take personal responsibility for combatting prejudice and discrimination. And, thirdly, we need to begin to think about allowing equal access and opportunities in our society and institutions.
Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: These have been stimulating and informative papers. And we want to thank Dr. Jones, Dr. Dovidio, and Dr. Sue for their contributions.
We certainly want to give the members of the Advisory Board an opportunity to raise questions with these three distinguished gentlemen. If you have questions, please?
MEMBER COOK: I have one. First I want to thank you all also for your presentations. They were excellent.
Dr. Sue, I had a question for you. I especially like what you said about people of color are never given a rest about the race issue, and I certainly concur.
What do you think would be helpful in terms of getting those who are not normally at the table talking about the race question? Beyond spending time with healthy representatives of the culture, how do you get one to that point when there's been closure?
DR. SUE: This is an excellent question because in doing these presentations and training, the people who usually come are least in need to hear the message. You're preaching to the choir, --
MEMBER COOK: Yes.
DR. SUE: -- as many of us know what's happening. I do a lot of diversity training in different corporations and institutions. And in work here, what I find is that generally a third of the audience is very receptive and enlightened about these issues. Another third is borderline. They can swing one way or another.
And there is a third group, which is a much smaller group, that generally, no matter what you do, you are not going to be able to sway them. I direct primarily most of my energies towards the middle group and the first group and enlist the first group to help.
Now, when we talk about the fact of what about our youngsters, I believe that the only way that we can begin to have an impact is through preventive measures. And, again, education is the key. All of our youngsters have to go through an educational system.
And I believe that if our educational system is truly multicultural -- in my community, for example, it's 85 percent white Americans. Asian Americans represent, I think, the smallest group. But we're up to about I think 15-20 percent now.
One of the things is that when we first work with a school, they say, "We don't need it." They didn't see the need for any discussions of race, culture, ethnicity.
The way we approached it was to tell the educational leaders that "You are derelict in your educational responsibilities if you do not choose to teach your kids the skills, knowledge, and ability to function in a pluralistic society that they indeed are ill-equipped in the world of business that is becoming very global. And the population that they need to work with is increasingly diverse, as we heard the statistics on demographics this morning.
MEMBER COOK: So you believe the hope is in the youth, then, in raising our next generation?
DR. SUE: I don't want to sound pessimistic. I think that much can be done, like public policy can be done, in terms of eliminating these overt forms of discrimination. But our hope, really, at some level is to begin to change the structure of education and I think the world of work as well.
MEMBER COOK: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I want to welcome Ms. Linda Chavez-Thompson back. She represented the Board this afternoon over in the Department of Housing and Urban Development when Secretary Cuomo made the announcement with regard to the new initiatives that the housing agency, the department is going to take with respect to enforcing fair housing and bringing legal action in cases where it's clear that the housing policies have been violated. Welcome back.
MEMBER CHAVEZ-THOMPSON: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Glad you're here. We're going to try to educate you.
MEMBER CHAVEZ-THOMPSON: I know.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: All right. Any other questions directed to the panel? Yes?
MEMBER THOMAS: I am not sure to whom this would go. Dr. Jones, you mentioned the Rev. Jackson incident. And then, Dr. Sue, you talked a lot about the perception of race. So maybe I'd start with you, Dr. Jones.
Do whites perceive themselves as part of a race?
DR. JONES: I am not sure I can speak for white people.
MEMBER THOMAS: You studied them, though.
DR. JONES: Yes. I have some insight.
DR. JONES: I think one of the things that is routine -- I ask my students this from time to time. I say, "When you wake up in the morning, do you look in the mirror and say, 'Wow, I'm white'?" They don't. They typically do not think of themselves as white. At least they haven't historically.
But I think as we mount the discussion of race and certainly in specific situations where the majority status is not as evident as it may normally be, one is very conscious of one's race. And it has consequences for how they come to think of themselves.
I think there's a certain threat and a certain intimidation that comes when you talk about race in terms that put them on the defensive. And I think becoming conscious of your race when you're white in this time is not a very comforting situation.
DR. SUE: Let me just quickly. It's like a fish in water. If you're in a society that is like the water and the fish is in it, they're used to it, they don't see it. And it frequently happens to me that people will come up after a presentation and say to me, "Derald, you're really lucky that you have a culture." And it's generally white people who will do this to me.
And it surprises me. I'll sit back and say, "You mean you don't have a culture?" And it stuns them. It's really something that I find very powerful. And that's one of the major barriers in which we have difficulty dialoguing about race.
There's another issue that I want to say really quickly because I felt like I didn't have enough time. You know, please forgive me, but race is not the problem. Being black isn't the problem. Being Asian isn't the problem. Being white isn't the problem. It's society's perception of color or race that I feel stands at the crux of the problem.
DR. DOVIDIO: Can I respond to that real quickly, too? Your question was: Do most whites think of themselves as race? I think whites don't. And it goes back to your question, Rev. Johnson Cook, about bringing people to the table because when you talk about the racial problem, I think most whites think of it as a problem of somebody else.
Most whites don't have a lot to do with race. We don't think about race. We don't have to think about race during the day. And many whites grow up in white communities.
I just want to say that earlier today you were talking about taking these models about what works successfully in multicultural communities and multicultural schools.
Well, I think the other part of the challenge I think is: How do you change the racial attitudes and the racial beliefs and the racial emotions of the many whites who don't live in multicultural schools or residences, the many whites who do not live, the majority of whites who do not come in contact with people of color?
And so you can have all the wonderful models you can to work in multicultural settings, but we also have to develop -- and I would suggest that one of the goals would be -- to develop models of how you deal with the race issue dealing with people who don't think about the race issue, dealing with whites who live in white communities.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: This raises the question, Dr. Dovidio, about your earlier point. You said that we must accept the validity of different perspectives. Now, if the whites who live in these communities have a perspective that, they're white and have a perspective that, is based on that, then we must take that at that -- take them for what they are, accept the validity of their perspectives when, as you suggested just then, that maybe there's something wrong with that perspective?
DR. DOVIDIO: As a place to begin the dialogue, we need to understand where people are and where they think they are. I think we really need to adopt a perspective.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Oh, yes. I can see that. But you said accept the validity of their perspective.
DR. DOVIDIO: The validity of it from their perceptions. Again, I think that what often happens -- I'll go back to what Dr. Sue said -- is that occasionally I will slip and someone will accuse me of doing something that's racially biased.
My first response is, "No, I'm not racially biased." I'm going to deny what you just said. I'm going to deny your experience. And what is more productive is for me to, first of all, say, "I am sorry for what I did. Now explain to me what I did." And then I would try to explain to people what I did.
Now, that doesn't mean valid in the sense of right but valid in a sense of what is the basis for making these things, rather than to try to convince -- people may accuse me of being intentionally biased, and I will say, "I'm not intentionally biased." But I can freely admit that I may be biased unintentionally.
And so to begin the dialogue, you have to sort of understand that common ground and where those perspectives are different.
MEMBER OH: I just have a question for any one of the three of you. And that has to do with the fact that we are going to move forward with this discussion. And we don't have a common vocabulary. And we don't have a common set of assumptions operating except in the largest sense. I hope this Board has made clear that those values have to do with compassion and have to do with some intelligence. They have to do also with vision.
What are some of the problems that you see, some of the risks that you see us running into over the next several months as we engage people in various parts of the country in this discussion?
And do you have any insight into some tools that we might be able to use to reduce or minimize the risk of unnecessary pain or unnecessary indignity in this discussion?
DR. JONES: One of the problems I'm almost certain you will have was suggested by Dr. Sue about the extent to which one group seeks to claim more oppression than the next group.
I think we have as a society marginalized so many of our citizens that there's a struggle, competition, as it were, to get attention and to get respect and be able to get legitimacy in the debate about what this society ought to be. I think managing that in such a way that you can have constructive dialogue is probably going to be one of your most difficult challenges.
There's no silver bullet here, but I think that it begins with an ability to make respect part of the approach that the Board takes, that you insist and you demand it, that your goal is progress, your goal is unification, and that whatever differences come up have to be brought back to that fundamental goal.
And I think if you exude that and present that, it will force others to try to look at ways in which they're upset, maybe contributing to the positive dialogue.
DR. DOVIDIO: One other word I would put in is literally one other word, to avoid blame. Blame is the most destructive aspect of this, where people begin to blame one another for past injustices, for present injustices. You can't begin a constructive dialogue with blame. And so you have to avoid that at all costs. That would be one thing I think that we really have to be very careful about.
DR. SUE: There are two things that I'd like to comment on and slightly different in this respect. I think that what this panel is talking about when you talk about a constructive dialogue on race, you're talking, really, about individual, institutional, and societal change.
Change does not come easy, nor without pain. Nor can you ever avoid a certain degree of intense emotions, feelings, and conflict that will arise. And oftentimes what we have to do is accept the fact of intense conflict and emotions as arising as an opportunity for change because if people are too comfortable, it may indicate we're not moving people or institutions fast enough. So I would like us to look in terms of that area.
The second one is that I think it's really important for this panel to begin to identify what I call the core values about what you're all about. What are the core values?
Ms. Oh talked about the issue of compassion. I think that we can talk about the core value of equal access and opportunity that everyone buys into. And I think that we can list them down.
In fact, if you go to the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, you will find certain core values. They may not have been interpreted in a way that has been humane, but there are certain core values present.
The difficulty is that, first of all, these core values I think you will get general agreement from everyone that these are things that we want: compassion, equal access and opportunities, respect, and on and on. When you begin to operationalize them is where it begins to create difficulties.
And that's the next level I think that this panel needs to get. What does equal access and opportunity look like? What does compassion look like in terms of how you translate it into behaviors, into policies, into practices?
That's where the big battle, the disagreements begin to occur because a change in a policy or a practice has implications for those who have been comfortable with that development. And I maybe should stop there.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I have a big question, which I think I will pass on because the time is up. And I very much regret it. But I do want to thank these three panelists for stimulating discussion and raising some very important points and creating some questions in our own minds, to which we want answers. We can't go further here, but we certainly will take your observations to heart and will continue to reflect on them as we proceed with our work in the future.
And I do want to thank all of you for your very wonderful presentations.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Godspeed. We're sorry you have to leave us.
I would like to bring your attention, the members of the Board who are remaining, to the draft work plan for us for this quarter's activities. I want to thank all of you for what you have been doing in, especially Bob Thomas and his staff, helping us think through this work plan and to really provide us with some guidance and advice.
Before we begin, I'd like to say that we view this work plan as an ever-changing document. That is, certainly it's subject to revision, it's not set in stone, and that we'll be modifying it as we go along, if necessary.
As you can see, the plan articulates a mission to build one American community which celebrates our differences, yet is united by our shared values. The plan is organized around three goals which are parallel to the President's goals. They reflect the dues and objectives of our staff as well as the members of the Board itself.
Goal 1, to engage in public outreach and communication; Goal 2, to enlist leaders to build and sustain this effort; and, 3, identify priority areas for policy action and disseminate promising practices.
We have activities by the Board as a whole, individual members of the Board, and members of the staff. I want to highlight just a few of the areas with which we will be concerned and which constitute some planning.
First, we receive many inquiries about town meetings. Somehow that's caught on. And I suppose that every community in this country would be pleased to have a town meeting. At least I have several hundred letters which would indicate that as a sample, that's where the communities wanted to go.
As has already been announced, there will be town meetings, some carried on by the President or conducted by the President, others which will be meetings sponsored by this Board and, of course, large numbers of meetings which are already in process at the local level. And so there will be many opportunities for participation at the town meetings of various levels.
In support of this initiative, the staff is going to be developing how-to kits. We made reference to this this morning in passing when the President suggested getting certain materials together for towns that want to host their own town meetings or dialogues. And we will be developing programs and materials that will assist them as they make their own plans.
The staff is also developing a clearinghouse of promising practices so that when we travel around the nation and learn about the many things that seem to be objectively favorable and that are successful, we can be sure that the information gets around to other communities that are just in the process of making their own plans.
Our final illustration of the work we have been engaging in is leadership. I believe that each of us has a responsibility for encouraging leadership in the sectors of the community in which we are active so that those communities will be able to function effectively. For example, I have some connection with the academic world. And I will be working with leaders in the academic community and encouraging dialogue and discussion and activities that will promote our program.
I think the Executive Director referred earlier to the meeting of the American Council on Education in Miami, Florida, the middle of this next month. And she and I will be there to discuss these problems with the educational community. And Suzan Johnson Cook, with her strong ties with the faith community, will be developing connections there and encouraging them.
And Governor Winter will be doing the same thing with the leadership area, leadership in the community and areas in which he is active and with which he has had connections over the years as he and Governor Kean know so many governors and do many of our political leaders.
Surely Bob Thomas as the President and CEO of Nissan, U.S.A. and one of the leaders in thinking up ways in which to project this program in the corporate world, will be active there.
I've already, as I said earlier, sent letters to the congressional leadership. And many of us have had contact with leaders at the other levels of politics and at the community level, too.
Large numbers of community leaders were here this morning. And some of them are still here. We solicit their support and their activity in connection with this program.
Yes. I think that, Suzan, you wanted to say something else in this regard. I don't know.
MEMBER COOK: I just wanted to encourage our participation and our dialogue with the youth. I think that's very important that we find avenues to connect. And whether that leads to a youth town meeting or some other vehicle, I think that it's going to be very important to speak with a generation other than our own. We represent several generations, but certainly a younger generation than ourselves. And I think that's going to be crucial for the dialogue.
MEMBER CHAVEZ-THOMPSON: Might I suggest something? If we're going to have a town hall meeting, then perhaps either the day before or whatever time we're going to start the conference, maybe an earlier hour before, but I don't want to have just one.
MEMBER COOK: Exactly.
MEMBER CHAVEZ-THOMPSON: If we're going to have four town hall meetings in different parts of the country, I want to be able to speak to the youth groups in each one of these places, even if it means we come in a day before, and some of us sit down with the youth to talk.
I think we shouldn't just have one but, rather, one attached to every town hall meeting or a public hearing. Whatever we're going to have, it's got to be spread across the country, instead of concentrating on just one.
MEMBER COOK: I agree. I agree.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Is there any other point of view you wanted to make with respect to this?
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I believe this is one area in which there's full agreement that we must do something about this. I think Linda's point is well-taken that perhaps each time we meet, each place we meet, we must make a point of having this kind of contact with young people so that they will feel a part of this whole program because if we don't get it going and solved in the next four years, it will be theirs anyway. And we must make certain that they are cued in very early and that they become quite active, if possible, in the program.
Is there something else? Is there anything else you wanted to say about the youth part of it? I want to get as much of this in as possible before lunch.
MEMBER WINTER: If somehow we could spotlight some schools where true integration is taking place and reflect what that is, how that is influencing and shaping the students in that school? I still believe this is the best hope for a truly integrated society is to create an integrated system of education, where the students not only learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, but learn the essence of living with each other, respecting each other, understanding the different backgrounds. This is as essential in the education process as any other aspect of education.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I agree with you, Governor Winter.
A lot has been said about Little Rock and about the limited amount of contact of white and black children in the school, even in 1997, in Central High School.
I thought that the observations and criticism were perhaps a bit harsh in view of the fact that that school has been so much in the spotlight and there has been reaction, perhaps blame, as applied to so much that certain segments of the community and perhaps parents are quite sensitive in this area.
Perhaps if the spotlight will just simply move away from them, they might be able to move a little more successfully toward the kind of school that you were talking about.
I come from a school that was also completely and it seemed when I was there irrevocably segregated in Tulsa. And, yet, it's not segregated at all now. When I go back in December, I'm going to look at it with a little greater care to see how much real contact there is between groups of students, black and white, and Native American and so forth.
It was my impression when I was there in March -- maybe I wasn't looking so critically and carefully. It was my impression that that was a very extensive amount of desegregation and probably even integration.
And I think that if we combine these youth and young people's activities with our own; that is, so that we can see to it, assist them, I believe that we can be certain that we can move beyond just the formal desegregation ordered by the courts, and then to some real contacts, like Governor Winter is talking about.
MEMBER WINTER: Mr. Chairman, that's a picture of what the school ought to look like.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Yes.
MEMBER WINTER: That's a school in Oxford, Mississippi, where 35 years ago a civil war was fought over one black man being admitted to the University of Mississippi. It was in that community that that took place.
Now, this is what the schools there look like now. And if Oxford, Mississippi can make that sort of transition, it seems to me that every community in the country can achieve that result.
And I see what it means to my grandchildren, who are in these classes, in terms of their ability to relate to children of every other background.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: This photograph was passed around this morning. President Clinton was making some very favorable comments about it when it came to him. You could see what's going on there, and it's most heartening, really.
I just want to say this. I wonder if we can be certain that as they move up into the next round; that is, into high school, that it will have the same thing. That's what I very much hope for.
MEMBER THOMAS: One of the things I wanted to mention while you're talking about youth is we'll always have the tendency to be able to and encouraged to talk to the youth who are involved and who are engaged in the future.
I think we really have to also look at that group of youth that are disenfranchised or not involved. We have to think of some way to reclaim them and get them back into this equation because there are so many people who have lost hope to the degree that the concept of having dialogue on that issue wouldn't even have come up to that.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I think that's true. As we move into this area and get the assistance of specialists in the area, like we have Dr. Jones and Dr. Dovidio and Dr. Sue at that level, perhaps we need some guidance, some guidance at that level of youth, and how we can more effectively draw them into our purview and get them to working and get them active. I think we'll be able to solve some of these problems in the future.
DIRECTOR WINSTON: I just want to add a word to that. I mentioned this morning the findings of the Center for Living Democracy in their survey and the finding that suggests that all of the types of organizations that have been involved in promoting dialogue, interracial dialogue, the religious organizations were ranked first and the media at the very bottom in terms of promoting. Perhaps this comment should have been reinforced this morning.
Think of the extent to which our youth tend to to the extent they receive information or have the opportunity to be engaged on this issue, even in communities where there is substantial racial isolation.
It is the media, different types of media, which are I think perhaps most influential. And it seems to me that perhaps the Advisory Board would want to explore further with the staff and others how we can use the rich technology that we have developed in this country over the last 40 years at least, technology that was unavailable to us as a country at some of the most difficult times to reach our young people in ways that they can appreciate, in ways that they may be willing to pay attention to using some of the information and strategies that our three panelists suggested we might think about. So I just wanted to add that for your consideration.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I know that Bob Thomas' group in California already is in contact with what might be regarded as the celebrity community, the film community, and so forth, that indeed might be willing, even enthusiastically willing, to participate in disseminating this kind of information in various media, to the various media. And I look forward to developing even closer contact with you.
MEMBER THOMAS: There is great interest of people who would want to volunteer their time and their personal leverage to support us. I think that's a terrific opportunity for us.
MEMBER COOK: That will be important, very important.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: Is there anything else?
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: What can we say about the meeting the next time, from here on out?
DIRECTOR WINSTON: I think your work plan does reference the fact that you do intend to meet regularly. I know that you have talked, at least at the last meeting, about your interest in coming together at least once per month, though it may be in different fora, not necessarily at an Advisory Board meeting of this type.
I know that we have already on the schedule a number of events that some members of the Board will be participating in. We have, as Dr. Franklin indicated and others indicated, a plethora of invitations on which to build your activities.
And so I just thought I would point out that your intention, as indicated in the work plan, to be involved as individuals and collectively as a Board I think has every opportunity to be successful and implemented.
But I don't know if you wanted to say something specifically about the specific issues that you might wish to cover the next time that the Board meets providing an opportunity for staff to have some options about how we can support your interest in certain --
MEMBER CHAVEZ-THOMPSON: I just wanted to make an observation that I had made to Robert while we were in San Diego, and that was that oftentimes we get requests as individuals from the group of folks that we come from and are most comfortable with, me, of course, from labor, business to Robert, and faith community to Rev. Johnson Cook.
So I have absolutely no problem being very comfortable in going there, but I think what we should do -- and I had made the same offer to Robert as well as the rest of the Advisory Board -- is that let's not be comfortable. Let's go into other areas. I would like, although I might wear a bulletproof vest, to go speak with some business people --
MEMBER CHAVEZ-THOMPSON: -- or maybe have Robert put on his bulletproof vest and come over to the AFL-CIO Council.
But, I mean, when we get an invitation, we don't need just to accept that invitation and go to be comfortable but perhaps ring each other up and find out if there is one of us available to go with each other because the invitation may just come to one of us, but that doesn't mean that we can't advise someone else along. We need to go into those areas for the purpose of letting everybody know how serious this conversation is.
I think the President's visit with us today, as I mentioned to others, continues to put the importance of what we are doing at the highest level of the President coming to stop by and visit with us to talk about this issue, that we need to do the same thing into other groups.
I will go almost anywhere depending, of course, also on my schedule. But the same thing is that I want someone coming to the Executive Council meeting. I will make sure I tell John Sweeney that we need to issue an invitation for someone or a couple of people who are available because I don't need to be talking to them. They need to be hearing from others and in reverse.
MEMBER COOK: Since the faith community made it the highest, perhaps I'll go with both of you and I'll pray.
MEMBER COOK: I do hope that maybe some of our next presenters will be some of the grass roots faith leaders and community leaders on all levels who would like to present their findings and what they're doing on a local level.
The Vice-President spoke today about the pain that has to be acknowledged. One of the most moving experiences I was invited to last week was at a local church. It was called the Mahafa Conference.
It was a totally black audience, but it was dealing with the whole issue of slavery and how it's been three or four generations that have been painful. It was a step towards race reconciliation in the fact that they could not go forward until they released some of the pain. And it was one of the most moving experiences.
I think some of the grass roots presenters need to share what they're doing in terms of steps for internal healing and then also in terms of what they can do to promote external dialogue.
MEMBER OH: My comment was going to be very similar to that because I would like to see more information brought forward involving Native populations and Pacific Island people because I think these are populations that have struggled with some of the power dynamics that go along with racism and discrimination in this mainstream culture as we know it. And I think there's some intelligence to be gathered there that we may be missing out on if we don't specifically go out and seek that information. And it's there.
So I would urge that staff try and find out more information from those populations, on the one hand. And the other thing is that when we come together the next time, I'd like to talk about some specific things we could be doing now or proposing now. I know we've talked in the past about a national report card. What would that look like on race in this country?
I've mentioned this in passing, but I really think that maybe we should consider some kind of national treasure in the area of people or organizations or programs that really exemplify the kinds of things or values that we're saying are a part of this effort that we're trying to give some texture to in terms of reflecting the spirit of what is one America.
Who are those people? What are those organizations? What are those programs that are out there really reflecting the spirit of what we're trying to do? Can we recognize them in some way? I don't know if it would be a combination of monetary recognition and something else.
These are small things, but I think that we need to start talking about some specific things that we'll be doing.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I just wanted to say to Angela with respect to the first point about the Native groups, Native Americans and Island people, now that we have Laura Harris as senior consultant, a very distinguished and accomplished Native American, whom we are pleased, -- we had to settle with her as senior consultant, rather than her coming to the staff, because she's terribly busy -- I think we will be able to focus more on that sort of thing.
I've been in correspondence, too, with people in Guam, for example. And we're setting up some kind of correspondence with them so that they will be involved. And that will be true of other Island people as well.
I think we are moving in that direction a bit. Perhaps we need to go a little more. And I do agree that we perhaps at the next meeting ought to be giving some attention to some unique and special ways in which we can dramatize the matter with which we are concerned, either with treasures, a national treasure, or something like that. That plus the Hollywood crowd and whatnot will maybe help us to get our message across a little better than it is at the present time, although I'm not complaining at all.
For the next meeting, I hope: one, we will do something very specific and very special in terms of planning in the youth area. And then we will be reporting about education and about what we must be doing in that area.
I hope that will be combined with some more about economic opportunity and, if possible, some visitation of the other areas which we have identified as issues for possible topics at upcoming meetings. So we will have a full agenda with our reports as well as our planning.
We hope, too, that kind of action that was taken today by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the employment of existing legislation and existing regulations to push ahead the whole matter of equalization, in this case of housing but of other areas, I hope that we will be able to get some more action in that area because the combination of developing our dialogue and carrying forward our discussion will action in specific areas will I think be the thing that will convince the country that we are about the business of really improving the climate of race and the relations of races with each other in this country.
Is there further -- Yes, Bob Thomas?
MEMBER THOMAS: There are two or three things I wanted to mention. One is I wanted to talk just a second about business because we reference it, but you can just tell by the series of questions you get very few questions come that way and it's a very nontraditional solution to racial issues. I think that therein lies a problem and opportunity.
One suggestion I'd have is perhaps with the assistance of the White House staff and the Initiative staff, that maybe we could have a call to action of business leaders.
The terrific thing about business is we're basically problem-solvers. So I think if you get this problem in front of the right people, we can put some heat on it. And the other thing is that with business, you have to start at the top. You have to start with the leaders, the opinion-makers, the Board of Directors. That's why I think we need a sponsor type of conference to begin with. Then I think with that preparation, we can get to the dialogue that Linda was referencing.
The other thing to remember about business is that we can contribute in many different areas: the resources for education, coalitions with foundations, and different entities.
We're the group that provides the hope for education. And then it's that food chain that begins to as they get the economics going between levels and levels and group to group -- you can see how this is very exciting to the group next door.
MEMBER THOMAS: We're talking about money.
But the other thing that working with business does is business is going to say, "Okay. What do you want to accomplish? What's the objective? What's the outcome?" They're going to put pressure on us to say -- and I think this gets back to what Angela was saying -- the report card, how to measure this thing. What's the measure of healthy race relations? And that is going to force us to tackle a couple of tough issues.
I think the starting point -- and all of this will come out if we get the right people in the right room and we begin to work out through this thing.
I think business, even though it's been a nontraditional piece of this, absolutely can be a great piece in the future. I mean, that's where people aspire to spend a good portion of their waking hours in, again, the monetary engine that fuels the rest of the economy.
The one last thing I would say just in general -- I started to say this before we were interrupted by the President and Vice-President today.
MEMBER THOMAS: That was that I want to compliment Judy and the staff that she has gotten together. We have been fortunate enough to meet with them, an extremely talented group.
As the Board begins to come together and the staff starts to really gel, a thought comes to mind, and we have talked about it. That is whether or not the use of Chris Edley, for example, as a consultant or a support person for the Advisory Board as a measure of dialogue at the staff level might be useful, too, something to get us from meeting to meeting in a very orchestrated manner.
So that's two suggestions. One is the White House and Initiative support for a business conference. And the second one is maybe an individual support for the Advisory Board.
MEMBER WINTER: Mr. Chairman, I'd like to say a word in support of what Bob has just said. Judy Winston has assembled a remarkable staff. There's so much talent and so much dedication represented there. We are fortunate to be able to work with them. Judy, thank you.
DIRECTOR WINSTON: Thank you very much. I am very, very grateful and excited that we have been able to attract such talent. And it is talent that not only represents the very best in terms of skills and professionalism and dedication and commitment to this issue. It is also extraordinarily diverse, representing the kind of thing that we want to see at the end of this process.
And it's diverse not only in terms of racial and ethnic groups represented on the staff but also in terms of generations. There are several people on the staff who could be my children -- that's true -- and who bring a perspective to this issue that I think is very, very much in keeping with the concerns that you on the Advisory Board have indicated you want to have in this discussion.
And we have been able to pull together this wonderful staff with the understanding that we at the moment, at least, have a year that we can offer. And that is an extraordinary thing that people would be willing to come aboard to lend their talents without knowing where we will be going with this a year from now, though I have no doubt whatsoever that every member of this staff will be productively employed and contributing somewhere for a very long time to come.
I thank you. We will follow up on the suggestions that you have made. I think it is an excellent suggestion that we use our consultants in a way that supports the Board and that provides that bridge that you need between your busy schedules, the Advisory Board activities, and the staffing we provide here.
If Chris Edley can extricate himself from his academic responsibilities a little bit, I'm sure that he will be willing to do that. I know that he remains absolutely committed to this work. And if he has to work 24 hours a day, I am convinced that he would be happy to do it. He's smiling, I can see.
So I thank you very much for those suggestions. And we will be reporting back to you at the next gathering on the progress we've made in responding to your assignments and your suggestions.
CHAIRMAN FRANKLIN: I just want to thank each and every member of the Board not only for their presence here today but for their work since the last meeting and their commitment to what we are trying to do.
I don't know how many hours Bob Thomas and his staff have spent, but it's a lot of hours. And they are providing a kind of guidance, not merely in their own area, but for all of our work that I want to acknowledge publicly. It is extremely valuable, and I deeply appreciate it.
Finally, let me say that the staff, I've been in contact with it perhaps a little more than some others because I've been in and out since they began to assemble the staff here in Washington. I must say that we are most fortunate, most fortunate. And it shows in every conceivable way -- most fortunate to have them, great talent all around. Every time I walk into the New Executive Office Building and see them, I'm even more grateful for what they have done and are doing and will continue to do.
If there are no other observations or suggestions or comments, I would declare this meeting adjourned.
(Whereupon, the foregoing matter was concluded at 4:00 p.m.)