tv Bakari Sellers My Vanishing Country CSPAN June 6, 2020 11:00pm-12:01am EDT
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hillbilly animal analyst and one of the youngest gay representatives in history this important book that illuminates the lives americans forgotten with the women and men. eye-opening journey through the south past present and future. anchored hometown of denmark, south carolina, my country eliminates the site unseen the continues to fertilize the soil one of the poorest states in the nation. he traces his father's life simply, and member of the student nonviolent coordinating committee created to explore the south dwindling rural black working-class pretty many of whom can trace their ancestry back seven generations.
it is poetic political history, it's affecting the other forgotten home he seldom acknowledges. where his members, neighbors and friends. he humanizes the struggles shape their lives to gain access to healthcare as rural hospitals to make ends meet and factories on the shutdown and move overseas and hold onto traditions as are towns around. in about forward without despair. his father, his life lessons have shaped him into his newborn who he hopes will embrace his name and honored. his ministry at 22 years old and a 26 -year-old, someone who had been in office longer than hand been alive . to become the youngest member of the south carolina state legislature and
the youngest african-american elected official. in 2014, it would be democratic nominee for governor in the and sellers is a political analyst and served in that south carolina state legislature . recently named two times magazine 40 and 40 liz, also a practicing attorney. he will fbn conversation . he served as tutor mayor and was a democratic candidate for the president of the united states in 2020. wedgewood of harvard university scholar . and enlisted in the u.s. navy reserve as lt. when he was employed to afghanistan in 2014. in april toy 19, candidacy for president and fmri 2020, when the iowa caucuses. becoming the first openly gay person to ever win a presidential primary.
he authored the shortly home in 2019. and now, i'm very proud to welcome them. this give them a round of applause. >> you got me. sweet to be with you. >> bottom of my heart as a young and did not south carolina when we had three soft lights are blinking light . i just want to say thank you for welcoming you may into your home spring with your friends and customers and families. we've known each other for very long. time and im really it amazes me how well you did we only yours extremely capable. shocked even our greatest expectations. i expect so much more from you now.
somewhat of a double-edged sword sword for them thank you for your love and your kind words i'm thinking that you are spending hour with me. today. means a great deal to me. pete: is a pleasure training makes me think of all the ups and downs. and you know things that come to pass even since the end of the present so campaign. good conversation they were having now. it's great to be reunited going to see that you are pandemic, treatment toughest part . so congratulations . >> i'm entering in washington right now . they told me to make sure that i have my sleeves rolled up. [laughter]. pete: there you go. i feel like all of our and rescue outcomes are being adjusted. i'm really excited to talk to y'all.
i know we will have cuny later. but before we jump into this, the something of the book, i'm curious having written exactly one book. as a member is almost curious about your process and how you found it there's a lot of personal observation and that. how has the reception been. >> i was starting this process, i didn't want to write a memoir. i tried to write a book but nobody wanted to to buy it. twenty - 30 different publishers opportunities. i wrote several chapters. i did everything that i thought you could do to have a book opportunity. and finally from harpercollins, and patrick and i sit down and they said to me a story and i told them and that when i was
coming from and in the south initial them about moving from charleston and it is but my heart on paper. i'm nervous. i'm anxious. because as you know when you write your truth down, you put everything you have on the sheet of paper. i'm excited. really anxious and hope people take it and read it and with a sense of understanding print had not write this book quicker than most . i wrote over a four - five month period and the reason being is because i found somebody who about: friend who has a book coming out in the end of this year . by the name of barack obama. so my publisher said, when we do, you have to finish this book so we can get it out before then. i was really excited about it and having the opportunity to put everything i had into this. pete: so congratulations . is a
terrific read. you mentioned just now, two tragedies that really in many ways two pillars of the story. in the first, the massacres that something that you described many ways was most important thing in life happen before you were even born. i should say i'm embarrassed to admit this but i was not taught anything about the orange master growing up. i thought i knew the 60s and certainly learning about what happened in the killing of student protesters there. but it wasn't until much later that i learned about the massacre of students fighting to integrate a bowling alley in the campus on this historical black university. and as one of the many policies and memorable experiences that is blessed to have in my
campaign, had an opportunity with your father. imagine has has a background so many educated people what it was like and what happened. i wonder if you could share a little bit about first of all, how you think we can do a better job in the country of understanding. and even acknowledging what happened. and then what it was like to grow up and it was so defining for your father and then for you. bakari: first is that me say thank you for being on the trail speaking out about my father and exploring that bit of history that not many know about. my father said your friends campaign, i'm going to walk around with him that i will talk
about the massacre and it back in 68. i said that will be a really good events. you did not have to do that. but during that moment out to lift those voices out, and who had given so much. i'm still still more angry to write about it. and even for my father. because i see the turmoil. i see the fact that his eyes don't talk like they used to. they've had so many tears. his shoulders don't stand as of right is the once did because carrying the burdens of a generation. i nobody was shot, nobody was in just just pray to talk with the injustice. but then i also talked with the trauma that he got from a generation. this but i want people to have a sense of understanding. that trauma.
my sister was born while my father, he had a felon. he was pardoned. my family had undergone through so much, is not just one generation. it is more than one. and going up in her household, we all knew, two things one is amazing going up with a hero in your kitchen everyday. that's a blessing. truly blessed experience. and second, i groped around so many people, the carmichael's, the marionberry's, jesse jackson's. so i look to my politics, my life and culture. and of the civil rights
movements. i was grateful. my father taught me. he said he didn't want us to think that it was just about certain people but he also wanted us to know about the other people. see once he grew by these giants. and talk many ways about the sense of responsibility that comes with that. even so is an audacious thing to run for office at the age you did. pete: exactly. a big fan. i think that one really defining dynamic of the books is the question of you doing things that are a little bit out of step for your age. coming an old soul. then again because you are tall)
it you go to college, people an idea that your 16. until that blends arrived. and your mother was wishing you and 17th birthday. he run for office and thank you were 20 or 21 years old. in the get sworn in. it designed in my late 20s. in particular i wanted to run one of the thing by you. when i was running, for mayor here, the fact that i was you, actually helped. and it really interesting, it helps me with the older voters the most . very similar dynamic when i was running for president. many of the bonus most excited about a young candidate precisely because of being young, world folks. did not find the same enthusiasm on the inner generational
enthusiasm always among the elected officials. not just how voters looked at you. what is it like walking into a place that i assume, as the legislature, and some people were there for a very young taught long time. you're very young men headed to think about how to negotiate your age. bakari: that's a good question. when iran, if not to me than who. if not now than when. you know this questions very well. i had done everything i was young. why was i so young it was a question of god. when i went kindergarten for semester and then they put me in
first grade and then the next to the coming third grade. so then there was some question about whether or not i would skip nice. then i made personal choice not to do it. i had finally made friends for a long period of time so i just want to jump it. so high schools well, college is 16. the malaga grade by 23. one of the things i wanted to do, i had particular experiences when i was in college. i didn't think that you had a waiting line. i think you have to wait in line for office . in the guy had to have approval to run for office. talk about the fact that i called the opponent the time to inform guys going to run against him. just let them know that courtesy. we didn't speak at all until today's, he didn't call me until a couple days after one. but when i walked into the
capital, not only being young, and the cool part about it, i'm sure you got the stupid you knock on doors, you get this resolved to join you knock on every singapore . i really wanted to meet people where they are. in his firm belief that no matter what black, democratic or republican, that you want to have a grocery store in your community. that you didn't want to grandparents having to choose between whether or not there were going to pay their utility bills parking the pharmaceutical drugs. we went through onto the steps maligning little change the lives of people. when get jaded by reality. i'm still not really jaded by the reality. i was the educators son. i was walking into a steakhouse where the same state for my
family through so much harm. i was there to help change that. tear down the systems of injustice from within . on a how successful it was debited tried my damnedest. then there's the sense of being young and everybody looked at me as i was 21 or 22 years old. i was the youngest by a lot. so everybody is staring at you in the first time you open your mouth, the light, they want to see what you're all about. this young dude. this young black guy from denmark. this is senators here and sun when is he have to say. i think people really remember but when i was elected, every day i went outside and i'm having a rough day. it would take a deep breath. the confederate flag, probably there. pete: as you mentioned in your
book, was put of the 61. which also saves something about it. forgot and put away? affect. bakari: our money people, is not flight from the civil war. [laughter]. is a flight that was put up in a finger to the civil rights movement and not about resistance and protest. so all of these emotions were going through my mind. through my head. every single day, is such an amazing feeling because everything they had a chance to help people and save lives. but it was being young and being black, being a democrat and playing a young black men working in south carolina. pete: take another set of questions. of our revolve especially for young candidates around the subject of ambition. one thing i appreciated about your book is that you've
mentioned that it is the age of 17, you're an intern in washington, he started thinking about public service you can picture yourself running. you are slicing and dicing data from the district . so the reason is on my mind, since question of ambition. one thing around my book is supposed to reveal that it occurred to you that you might run for office inside the day you make your announcement. and you say what people came joe manchin run. not to think i should but they warming down. for many people that so sorry but your expected from to print since your ambition to run away. whether that is a story or not. i'm not talking about the potential running mate question. when very transparent about the fact and wonder about this
expectation that found in our culture around with respect to it and met the have aspiration or ambition or not. when anyone has revealed himself as being an ambitious person, window be where to not. wondering how there's different for men and women. i may be different for black leaders and whites. bakari: i think was stacey's going through is unlike anything that we've seen before. being a black female thinking that position of vice president, go by forcibly due what everybody else is done throughout the time. you have to position yourself in the event they are opinionated. for me, their people who look to
me sideways like i had this lost my mind. what was i thinking about and how when i sound against him he had been the sagal for 26 years but the chair before the council, he delivered mail he delivered milk. he knew everyone. the people in line to take his place. so what was i doing and who was i to step over them. even whereas running for office, which here was nuts. pete: you are an elected official long before i was. i was elected in 2006 and back and barack obama was just i don't mean, i don't mean but he was just someone who like had given an amazing speech.
thousand 2004 and was a united states senator. the person that we listen to and become a young black official was developed patrick. it can reach that plateau. that mountain top. so recall having this, i guess people thought it's me somewhat unconscionable belief in themselves. letting people know that i wanted to serve them. i was getting lemonade. and i was getting invited in and they could date their daughter. there's just a wide arrangement. pete: you never know when you knock on that door. bakari: you never know. i think that the ambition that a display, the omission that you display, the ambition that stacy it displays a reflection because it is authentic. as transparent and people are tired of the games.
but i do think it is a thin line between ambition and arrogance. i tried not to step on that line or straddle that line. unlike your significant other trade with the details. pete: and it is good to have that. another thing you're very transparent about in the book in ways that is really striking. not a lot especially man all it takes will speak about anxiety or fear. in the stigma crying. we're talking about everything from the weight of history to sing somebody class many died. thus when you knew well but just shook me. experience the harrowing
experience and were so thankful that but in the book was good news. and that your wife, died of complications of childbirth and then also which her daughter went through. suffers i'm interested and might have taken that step ensure that. and secondly, what if anything is the reaction to the way the book has been received. that struck you the way you think either individually or a matter of policy. if you could try the light on what it takes for all of us to confront the mental health challenges. for everybody. the nation be so has intense perhaps. bakari: so the mental health aspect was cathartic for me. especially for a black man. because many black men do not stop when issues with mental health. we think that the only person we can talk to the barber.
you probably as you can see, and been there. i want to break that stereotype. i have a beautiful family. a lawyer. just try to live my life and wait to be an example for others. i suffer with anxiety. to me at times, and feeling very fears that you're dealing with. why not me. and that chapter of anxiety because for me it is that. he's not fear to drive me. to make the most of every single thing that i have. you mentioned it and going through these issues my wife dying in childbirth my daughter sadie being diagnosed -month-old
the disease. and on the transplant waiting list. every single day, she was really small. her liver was unable to process. she had this really big belly. and she was yellow. she was so sweet, you can see that she was dying in front of you. talk about all of these traumas. what i really want people to know is that my trauma may not be yours. mentally it out for people. although my trauma may not be yours, we are going through this together especially during a time of coronavirus. and uncertainty. the anxiousness that goes along with it. for me it was really personal. i also tell people that this book is really aspirational. i don't want people to think many stars in a perfect.
i many failures in this book. in his way that i believe people can garner some understanding and politically, especially in the issue of mortality. and champion of. by elisabeth warren and some others. and black women are much more likely to die during childbirth. i just want to light of that. my wife is extremely strong as she passed. the last year was the toughest year my life. i don't wish that upon anybody till most of your voice wife daughter. the same period of time, it's like a car crash everyday. for an entire year. and you know how your heart feels. so uniquely enough them everyday
i think about all of my toys. even during quarantine. everybody's healthy. don't forget that's pretty we have been down that road. but i wanted to pull everything out. perversely enough, one of the things that donald trump has been characterizes doing his main his authentic self. and people no longer, think of scribing to culture, another surrogate people know, that is a thing. and that is why that your reception was so good. in amy klobuchar so good. there is a value added to be your authentic self. when i think that i remember most about this campaign recently. in his authenticity note, your husband and that the time magazine front.
tonight utilize that image for me is in recent political history, probably but i do rankings in my head. oh, i say this might give their second-best speech is really good. that for me was right below when barack obama philadelphia when the writeup white house. and he touches their pretty the picture of you and your husband together the signs, it also was hopeful and aspirational and showed the true values of what this country can be. like that sharp rock in the four -year-old black kid. in authenticity, and given -year-old pouring your heart to the world. that's when i try to do as well. pete: we give me a great honor
by putting that image in the picture talking about, in an extraordinary field. thanks for that. i know we have audience questions. so i don't want to although speaking of rankings. ... ... it doesn't actually if the objective whether you are as good as you believe you are. >> i am right now. i am in a text group with a few of my friends reading it. no one really read it was close to me so this is she didn't read
it before. i said a weird thing would be -- [laughter] i am decent. >> the first question is jim, people have the burning desire to meet people for they are. is it fear? >> i would say this is a trait that's more prevalent in young people. thank you for your question. i do think it portrays a lot of young people, have the ability to change. i think generation z which is a god-awful generation.
need to find a better name. it sounds like the end of the world. year ago generation now generation meeting on chasing gun laws throughout the country. assessing a generation and i always say every ounce of change in this country and the civil rights movement, women's right movement, the gay rights movement has been led by young people. a lot of it has to do with the fact that we still believe in words like hope and love and truth and justice and peace and we are going to meet people where they are. >> is a great question and again, part of his quality, sometimes it's good to know what you don't know that sense of
thinking your teeth and, maybe it's not unique, for young people generation college people today, knowing faster using the energy think that strikes me about the activism is driven by reality. young people were suggesting that generation of young people facing school violence, young people who know how long your planning on being on the earth for you have to deal with the consequences of climate. toys been young people. if you think back to this generation civil rights and the movement and hunting side the
bowling alleys they have on campus, or more importantly, the level of energy and intelligence and motivation young people have. >> the next question. besides starting from in the narrative disparities and as we define our new normal. >> i think first about marketing false choice from our leaders not between whether or not we can err on the side of public health are having a thriving economy. i think public health strategy is good for our economy. i think some of the scene about
the opening bile. one of the things i write about, it's something in the plan that you begin to unpack his peeling data, tearing the band-aid off in the injustice we have in this country. our u.s. surgeon general, his comment and basically top and smoking and it took into account about, in my community for example, you don't have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, medicaid expansion and quality care. haven't spent money on infrastructure, it's like a joke
on jay leno, we know it's not true. >> the generation again. >> he was funny, he was held areas. >> in the way of people of color the way they are treated so we have to look at all of these things in totality, that's right alabama has the highest death rate. new york and detroit in milwaukee, atlanta, etc. are dying in higher rates. i think having a good strategy that addresses these injustices good for our economy and can help change our new normal. >> one thing i think is important, the systemic issues, racial injustice could have been
exposed and exploited. not always discouraged weaknesses, disempower workers, walk access to healthcare. working through discriminatory patterns, it's a weakness in our country that we can't go back to you. i also want to mention this was back to issue areas, the one thing in my book, a lot of people, some people respond to the story which is my favorite part to write about. we are excited to hear about notre dame. there's this tiny fraction one half of 1% just love the discussion of wastewater discussions. in your book, you talk about
internships, she never discussed issue. she compassionately worked issues in a state whether the infrastructure and issues of racial justice. an interested in water from pursuit people were interested in engineering. until things like a what happened, there a lot of residents in places like south carolina living with like conditions for years or decades. something has to happen to connect the dots between fees. in our face issues everyday thirds access to clean safe drinking water or a convenience store and some kind of access to fitness. that's whether someone is more likely to have diabetes.
not because they chose to but because of the conditions. the fact that not only are we talking about those, they are likely to be conditions like of the 19th but also more likely once they do. he discussed hospitals and what that might be tragically, access to the hospitals so all these things together and it is systemic and it later desirable to go back. >> thank you. generational is a former activist part of the uprising, how do we do a better job of creating activists like today?
i think that challenge, it was a challenge than it is now. activism is still something profoundly messy and frowned upon because it shapes the cultural norms. what 15 call writing? the voice of the unheard. it's when that voice, reaching that sense that it is let out in that fashion. that level of activism is still found in that country. you can caper neck down to my friends and black wife matter. activism from being something larger than yourself, when we back at activism from the few
who decided to give him themselves and stand on the front lines in the quest for equality and justice will always be remembered timely. in the meantime, in order to be an activist, you had a certain skill set. need to track you phone and on that and understand what is. nine times out of ten, you're a decent communicator and decent organizer you can utilize those skills of organizing and communicating and it propels you into a career choice you have. i tell a story many don't know about in the book, jackson was a true activist, suspended from one freighter morning the board of trustees hostage. realizing activism go to places that accept your desire to be
part of change. a lot of that means there a lot of college campuses rooted in our culture so if you're a young person on the line, to some places i can tell you to be in line, you would be surprised. it sets in and protested in april, i just want to mention this transition. sometimes it is too long. it's something that's happened recently, a connection with you mentioned just in passing a cotton candy commercial, they've managed to.
>> martin luther king jr., 37% approval rating taken from us because of hate now there are holidays, their statues. boulevards. i think you're on top and the things we did put up a statute of a moment when the legendary university of notre dame doctor king were his. now but that was the most popular decision made at the time. the very things now are sanctified. incredibly controversial and dangerous i suppose we could look on the bright side the
pathway toward scene the radical ways also warning signs that clarity is accepted. >> let me chime in quickly. doctor king, and 66 and what they realized was that the approval rating hovered around low 30s, the fact that this president of the u.s. stays between 42 and 48% so donald trump's approval rating is consistently stronger than right martin luther king jr.'s. thus the irony of those who stand up for justice matter the consequence.
>> i am 17. i worked in the midwest in st. louis missouri. i was wondering, do you have advice on how teens in the midwest can advocate for themselves? especially in the dvt q community. >> first of all, by doing it by speaking to the admissions and being upfront about it. an awareness of how different it is depending on where you are to be out or questioning or anything that's not mainstream. it means one thing in one area and another and another. the first thing i say is representation. being ready to be out whether it
running for office or in school or a community role. it's amazing how much changes when there's just that first person you see in a position of responsibility or visibility. nobody was willing to, i wonder how that will exchange my awareness and ability to go on that journey coming to terms with who i was let alone having an office. let others know they can see. so yes, it's a matter of activism. a matter of policy but sometimes is also a matter of just presence. letting somebody see that you
know who you are, you've got to know. there watching you and i think that's going to matter as much. we have to do everything from violent to dealing with health issues and health equity issues affecting so many. intersection of different patterns of gender identity, sexuality, race. >> let me ask you a quick, want to know about this might be the wrong word but cheering you on, did you feel like a sense of
pressure, a sense of responsibility to everything that they represented the community and oppressed throughout the south, especially where you are campaigning throughout parts of the midwest, expect very stagnant political thought, lack of progressive ideologies, responsibly having to represent the first time in the main stage, lgbtq community and stand up trying every single day he went outside speaking critically? >> there's no question you feel that you are aware of that responsibility and you are humbled by it. knowing that there is, they are trying to make sure they have and what we were doing. balancing that and the fact that
i was running to be president so finding a way to be clear about it and sometimes not allowed to decide. people outside of unity put you in a certain box but sometimes they grow up on a certain definition of a right or wrong way to be clear. also looking at it but the thing i was most powerful to me when somebody would let me know the fact that made it easy for them to talk to the parents about coming out for conversation with them. for somebody to come up to me, especially people traveling. not even be able to speak, they just came up to me and shake my
hand it felt like having an entire conversation about what this meant to them. the responsibility to try every step of the way to reflect well on others in my community. whether or not there politics lineup or not what i had that responsibility. >> you are with great dignity and the question advice wanted to ask, in my discussions, it was a question of fact and how we were supposed to be black, are you going to be president for black america? he would articulate running to be president of the united states of america so it's fascinating, becoming secretary of state and it is going to be a
hell of a book to write. >> we will take another question, another video question. >> how can people help in conversation about race in conversation, how can people acknowledge that humanity of others about hate and anger? >> it's a powerful question. i think when black folks and people of color are going to get a sense. you can get a sense of understanding when you read this book. standing and struggles and where people come from allows different conversations. having compassion with a sense of empathy and giving people the
benefit of humanity. migrated fears, black children in this country, there is a large segment of the population that do not give them the benefit of their humanity, not only during a pandemic we are talking about the coronavirus and racial disparities but also ahmaud arboretum and breonna taylor. ahmaud artery got murdered incredible fashion products in which ink because i thought of him as less than human. michael brown, the list goes on and on. the eight others killed in the charleston massacre, it's a question about seeing other people's humanity. i wrote this book because i wanted to start conversations and hopefully understand what.
he can teach people arithmetic and you can teach people science if you can teach people about ancient egypt and rome but you can't teach people blackness. this is an opportunity to learn and understand. that way we have these difficult conversations. >> what a great answer. the only way to have these conversations is providing this space and they will be uncomfortable because the search for understanding, especially when it involves a lot of stumble trying to understand how to without knowing those things, only your expense. that's why stories are so powerful. the story is so powerful. they allow us to see or appear
into a bit of what we don't know based on what we do. i don't know what it's like to walk into a place like south carolina state legislature as a young black democrat for the first day but you describe what it's like and somebody who knows what it's like to walk into a room and be uneasy, you get that little connection. everyone knows what it's like to be a human being. when you read about what it's like to go through medical. my expand quickly different. i will never understand that expense but imagine what it's like to be afraid. it something out of your control. we take those pieces of what we
might understand just because we are people and connect those up to the things we will never quite understand through the eyes of them. if we have a listening ear and if people have the courage to check stories and shape you about that, it would allow you to shape your understanding. that's the only thing i think we will get to where we can. the only thing we have in common is being a person. also we can enter type things we don't. i think your question is the question of our time. we've got to find ways to do this before it's too late. the future of the american project depends on us. in particular, the experience you described anchored in this historical massacre, it can only be echoed by what happened.
it reminds us that there is every reason to doubt the future of the american project. >> that is my challenge. i love this country so much, i love it so much that it's supposed to be on display for all of its children and i'm going to ensure everyone, no matter who they are or what they look like, it's that american dream. i want this country vanish, those ideals to vanish any longer. the political climate we are and now, it's our job to continue to challenge ourselves, abraham lincoln culture our nature, it is the only way that we will be
able to come together. i hope we can come together with understanding, compassion, empathy and that's the only way we can actually heal which is what our country needs. >> if we have time for one more question, there are so many questions. i'm going to ask, what is your proudest accomplishment in serving the state legislature? >> side of the state legislature was endorsing barack obama. thank goodness i chose the right person. inside, the community for so many people.
programs and etc., is something i was proud to accomplish. >> i want to thank both of you for being here. you are very inspiring to me personally and to all of our viewers. thank you so much for being here tonight. >> before we close, thank you so very much for bringing me on this journey if you have an opportunity, read these books. give it a chance. >> thank you for the kind words.
it's good to be virtually reunited this way. >> a loss of confidence in our institutions in a way that's unable to trust what we are told by anyone who calls themselves an expert. it becomes very difficult for us to rise to a challenge like this. first reactions to say no, they are lying to us. a lot of our institutions have got to take on the challenge of persuading people that they exist for us, they are here for the country. >> sunday noon eastern on in-depth, live conversation with author and american enterprise institute scholar, you fall, his most recent book is a time to build other titles include the great debate and the republic. during the conversation with your uncle, tweet, text and facebook messages. in-depth tv on c-span2.
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