tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg July 14, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: we have an editor and blogger for the atlantic magazine. he discusses racism in the u.s. it sparked a national debate his latest book is called "between the world and me." i'm pleased to have him at this table for the first time. welcome. i would like to talk biography.
tell me about growing up and family and influences and shaping identity. >> i was very fortunate. i have six brothers and sisters total. i lived in a household right across the street where disturbances started this year. the world you grow up in and what you know and see, and then there is a world on tv. the world i knew was one in which there was a great deal of violence and the social customs of folks and where violence it wasn't as obvious. it is shaped and aspects of folks in my communities. they think i think of -- the
thinkg i think of is i grew up in a household with a mother and father. this is not the typical profile. they were educated people. i have the basics covered in terms of food and clothing etc. despite all of that, when i left for school every day, i confronted all of those sorts of things that all of the other boys and girls in my neighborhood confronted. charlie: which is a risk of violence? ta-nehisi: all the time. [laughter] constant. it is the little things. as a child you think it is normal and now i look back and it is insane. i think about when i was in school.
why is he always with a posse? i understood exactly why and needed a posse. he comes from a place or it is quite clear he needed security around. you never know what someone might do to you. charlie: growing up, did you think you would do what with my life? ta-nehisi: i had no idea. i knew what i like, but i had no idea what i liked might be a career. i was instructed what you did with your life and how successful you are was determined by how well you did in school. i wasn't a particularly stellar student at all. even as it talked about rules for keeping yourself out of danger, i was in the best at that either. i wasn't the best at the street life either. i wasn't a thug or anything like that.
i didn't even have the security of being a nerd and being good at school. i had no idea what would become of me. it was a fear and remembered. for young black boys growing up in that period and i suspect today school is not just will i get into harvard or not? it is will i go to jail are not? will i be shot? life or death. that was the message. charlie: is it true today in baltimore? ta-nehisi: i don't know. i'm asked about baltimore quite a bit. i haven't lived in baltimore in 20 years. from what i could tell what i have seen when i go to visit family, i strongly suspect so yes. i want to highlight this. there is a video of a woman beating up on her son. charlie: everyone was praising
her. ta-nehisi: yes, but that is fear. people need to be clear. she said i do want him to end up like another freddie gray. charlie: fear her son might be next. ta-nehisi: very much so. she wanted to go home where she feels he is the safest and could be protected. that was very familiar to me. charlie: what is commonly called the talk that parents give to their children? you have got to stay away from where violence might happen. ta-nehisi: right. charlie: and more. ta-nehisi: right. african-american families understand the consequences very much so. you have to educate your children on how to basically deal with violence. we have seen violence focused on the police. when i was a child i suspected it was the same. i know it is the same with my
child. it doesn't concern the violence of the police. it's the violence of the neighborhood. african-american new goods are much more unbalanced and violent than other neighborhoods -- neighborhoods are much more unbalanced and violent than other neighborhoods. african-americans did not walk out of bed chains and a merely walking 20 -- walkout of their chains and into america. segregation restricts the way you could live. it districts what you could do with your money. housing is central to wealth in this country. even a restriction of what you are exposed to. kids could only live in certain neighborhoods. on top of that is all of the other discrimination that they deal with.
discrimination in job programs and schools. all of that piled onto one single geographic region. the inability to escape that creates a deprivation. a kind of frustration. people have obvious needs. it is no surprise those neighborhoods tend to be more violent than other neighborhoods. charlie: you escape to harvard. he went to harvard. [laughter] you called it met up. -- mecca. ta-nehisi: yes. it was an awakening for me. that was probably the first place i saw black people who are doing a variety of things.
again, i had been aware of that. i was not really deprived at all, but this was the first place where you met black people -- i feel silly saying this, but someone might say i will take a year off and go study in spain. i said, what? you can do that? right? that actually happens? the world is not as restricted as you think it is? little things like that. professionals from other places. one was from trinidad. the very thing i was talking about was i had so much exposure at the university to completely other ways of living quite frankly. charlie: you also thought about being a poet. ta-nehisi: i did. i very much wanted to be a poet. wrote quite a bit.
probably the first two or three years after i left my parents' home. i think that mark my journalism. charlie: it was about command of language or -- ta-nehisi: the economy of language. it is economy. that is crucial in journalism. the ability to say something with as much power as you can. charlie: you met a friend of mine and a friend of yours david. your sort of first job. as a reporter. ta-nehisi: yes. charlie: you spoke eloquently about him. what did he do that made you feel so thankful? ta-nehisi: he saved my life. i was telling you before i think i met david about two years ago.
and like two years out of baltimore at the point. it wasn't clear to me that i would make anything of myself. i tend to be -- i lived in a positive home where my folks encouraged me. my father had high expectations for his children. it wasn't clear to me i have the ability to live up to those expectations. i went to work for david at 20 years old. right out of boyhood. he made it clear that i could do this. that i could write. that it was possible. that i could make a living doing that. i couldn't believe that the essence of the job was you find some in string -- interesting questions call people up investigate, write it down. then they give you a check. oh my god.
i had caught wind of a story in washington. to actually -- when people wouldn't pay their rents, there would be a service. they would hire homeless people to do even actions. homeless people making others homeless. that headline david all away. go find your story. i went down to a homeless shelter. i went up to the first person scared out of my mind. how do you do even actions? that guy over there does. [laughter] he demanded that he go out and face that fear of asking people questions. he was very good about that.
[laughter] i started working with david in like '99. i think i lost three straight jobs. david got me that job. charlie: because he knew jamie? ta-nehisi: that was exactly it. he said you should take a look at this guy. i'm sorry he couldn't be here to see all this. charlie: me too. he was on this program and have that unique ability to write. ta-nehisi: he did. charlie: why is what you are doing is resonating so much with people? ta-nehisi: i cannot answer. i don't know. what i can tell you is i think
certain aspects in african-american men it is anger. it is not allowed to be aired in public the same way with other people. i think there is great fear when black people talk about their anger or hatred of certain things. i think that makes people uncomfortable. charlie: you also think -- help me to understand -- there is built in through the establishment in america and understanding that building on slavery of what we had to do violence to the body of other people -- violence and body directly from reading you. that gives them power and control. ta-nehisi: yeah. one of the things i have tried to make clear is if you think it
is innocuous that relates to race it ultimately comes back and doing violence. think of something that seems abstract. a debate over affirmative action? how is that related to physical violence? there are many who want their kids -- you decide whether you like a policy are not. they hope they improve their station and grew up somewhere that is not like where they grew up. it is almost always i do want you to have to walk out the door and watch your back the way i did. charlie: that's why your writing
this letter. ta-nehisi: yes. charlie: it is the very much this act of violence against the body. your terms. the basic difference in terms of how you see that from the president -- probably you have had debates in the white house. ta-nehisi: yes. that's true. [laughter] i think the president reflects in his public comments to the extent that the kind of optimism that is very much rooted in the african-american experience, the notion of hope the notion that it will be better tomorrow is almost religious within the african-american community. a lot comes out of the church. justice ultimately does triumph.
there is a sense of inevitable progress. the quote that martin luther king used to use and the president now uses is it bends towards justice. you do not believe that? ta-nehisi: i see no reason to be assured that it does. this comes out of my own belief of the natural world. if you are in african-american who is enslaved in this country and died during the period of slavery, that is the end of your arc. you lived in dived as an enslaved person. -- and died as an enslaved person. that is the end of their arc. there's no broader big justice. charlie: what about people who were killed by accident in police violence today? ta-nehisi: the arc ended right
there. that is the end of it. even assuming some sort of great reform comes out of his death -- it's just my belief about the world. i don't believe there is an afterlife where he will look down and see -- that informs a great deal of my view on this. i think this is crucial to accept. if you get that, you could get to the pain of what is happening. martin luther king was shot and killed. that's it. charlie: and your hero malcolm x was shot and killed. ta-nehisi: same way. charlie: if i said malcolm was killed by black people if i said something that resonated within you the story of an
accomplished man -- ta-nehisi: yes, my friend was killed by an african-american police officer. charlie: but it doesn't matter to you. you said he was killed. ta-nehisi: yes. he was living in a system that cast him into a -- charlie: black on black violence. you don't want to hear that? ta-nehisi: i can hear it. take the example of malcolm x. he never should have been in that fight to begin with. he should have been a governor. he never should have been there. charlie: the skills and talent. ta-nehisi: yea. -- yeah. it cannot be taken away from the context of white supremacy. my friend who was gunned down not be subtracted from the fact that he was mistaken for another black arson who was -- person
who . charlie: you write eloquently that this is the forward projection of history from slavery? ta-nehisi: very much so. until there's some sort of direct reckoning with this, we are going over and over on the same thing. there's this question of who the killer is and race -- it is a distraction. charlie: it is also a distraction. tell me when you watch the eulogy that the president gave in ralston, -- charleston -- ta-nehisi: i watched the whole thing later. charlie: what did you think about that?
ta-nehisi: i thought it was a great speech. in my lifetime i thought it was one of the greatest presidential addresses i have seen. charlie: yes, you do. [talking over each other] he had to speak that way? ta-nehisi: yeah. if anyone else was there and potentially in that spot i thought the address he gave was better than anything anybody else. charlie: he did do a we are all responsible. ta-nehisi: yes. charlie: you quarrel with that, don't you? ta-nehisi: no i think as americans we all are.
charlie: we have to be accountable for ourselves. my impression is -- ta-nehisi: i quarrel with the notion that individual virtue is somehow a match for the forces and resources of a society. i do think individual virtue is enough -- don't think individual virtue is enough. my parents were very virtuous. this did not change affect a lived in a community that was shaped by housing segregation. my grandmother raised three kids in the projects. sent all three of her daughters off to college. she scrubbed white people's floors and went to school at night.
? ta-nehisi: because i was deeply inspired by james. charlie: what was it that inspired you? ta-nehisi: he is a beautiful writer. charlie: of course he is. ta-nehisi: yes. charlie: the way he wrote it. ta-nehisi: yes. it is his literary ability. the way he begins and slips in the memoir and the repertoire and throughout the book. amazing act of literature. charlie: what do you aspire to do? ta-nehisi: to continue to write for the rest of my natural days and two continue -- to continue that allows me to care for my
family. if i can do that, i will have a happy life. what else is there? charlie: that is pretty good for me, too. i do want to try to understand the message. beyond that command of words the on the poetry, it seems to me those things are tools and skills in the exercise of presenting beliefs, ideas, convictions experience. ta-nehisi: that is true. i'm not trying to be difficult. that is exactly right. i'm a writer. if not from interest in tools, i wouldn't care. i would care about the message. charlie: that is what artists
do. ta-nehisi: yeah. the tools are very important to me. charlie: are tools more important than the content? ta-nehisi: personally, probably. yeah. charlie: you are being championed. ta-nehisi: right. i appreciate that. charlie: maybe you have given the constant more fire. ta-nehisi: my hope is that someday is to use those tools to do something else. charlie: write the great american novel or -- ta-nehisi: who knows. i do know they'll be using those tools to write the same thing. charlie: when you go back to
what welcome x -- malcolm x did, where you amazed? ta-nehisi: i was amazed by his eloquence. there are a lot of people who may be felt -- certainly many black people felt like malcolm felt. there was an articulate. -- articulance. charlie: what artists do is they give expression with her intelligent and skill -- their intelligence and skill to what we feel. you are on the raw edge. they feel. you go to aspen and you write about that. you see people experiencing what you are saying. ta-nehisi: i do very much so. the obvious case is charleston.
forgiveness. the way folks interacted with that. the optimistic notion of there being some sort of great justice that will triumph at the end of the day. i don't share that. a large number of african-americans do. it is all through that tradition. i don't have that. the idea was one will triumph in the end. i don't know if i will have that . it is hard for me to say. it is a very internal thing. very internal. charlie: my impression was that because of the life experience you had because of the
curiosity you had, because of your overwhelming sense of wanting to understand comprehend that you are opening yourself up to a dialogue and a conversation to try to figure things out for yourself and give expression to them. ta-nehisi: that is very true. charlie: your head. ta-nehisi: you go at -- go ahead. ta-nehisi: no, you go ahead. i don't know. i love writing. it is a personal need. the four-year, i was sitting here trying to write another piece for the atlantic. it had to do with much of what was in this book. the act of trying to action work it through and make it into something that is coherent -- i really enjoy that.
charlie: someone once said the joy is in the doing of the thing and not necessarily the end result. ta-nehisi: that is the thing for me. charlie: and all that you have done and said to your son who is 14, to you believe there is some that could change the way things are? ta-nehisi: in my book? my writing? charlie: in your head and heart. reparations is one thing. ta-nehisi: i think so. charlie: because they would say that you have been wronged? ta-nehisi: yes. the vast majority is the
inability to acknowledge. i think that is the root of everything. if we acknowledge what we have done and the economic and financial debt -- charlie: therefore what has happened to the confederate flag you find? ta-nehisi: progress. it is a good thing. charlie: nearly half a century work by historians and activists. there is as the president wanted to take note, progress. ta-nehisi: i think so. charlie: the progress i came as a result of activism? -- in that came as a result of activism? ta-nehisi: i would agree with you. i disagree with the idea that it is inevitable. i don't think it is predetermined.
i don't believe that it is inevitable. i think history goes on and we shall see. charlie: that makes you what? the fact that you recognize that has what impact on you? ta-nehisi: i think it has an impact on the question you asked. what is more important? it means that you cannot really put your happiness on how much you get out of your life on things that are outside of your control. whether you live to see the fall and destruction of life in this country or not, you had to find beauty in that. it is important. charlie: you have got to deal
with the fear behind the beauty at the same time. you do believe that things can change with struggle. ta-nehisi: it can. charlie: as they have. ta-nehisi: do you go to france to see there's a different system, approach, point of view about these issues you have been writing about here and here? ta-nehisi: not really. i go over there to explore my love of the language. have our son exposed to other things. i do go over there to see how france deals with their problems. charlie: some problems they
don't deal with very well like immigration. ta-nehisi: i suspect that is very much correct. charlie: if you are writing your own epitaph, with the first word be a writer? ta-nehisi: definitely. maybe decent human. charlie: decent human. tell me about your father today. ta-nehisi: ident works as a publisher and printer. -- my dad works as a publisher and printer. he knows publishing. charlie: what is he say? what does he do when he reads this? ta-nehisi: he is proud. there is a degree of distance. a necessary distance. i think he would be to allow me to tell my story.
you probably have a different perspective. he has given me that space to write. i'm very much appreciative. charlie: the book is called "between the world and me." this is required reading. david and others have said this is an important book. we ought to read it in part for what he says come in part for when he observes, in part of the way he said it all. thank you. ta-nehisi: thanks so much. charlie: great to have you. ta-nehisi: thanks for having me. charlie: back in a moment. stay with us. ♪
charlie: mexico's el chapo guzman has escaped from prison. this is the second time he has broken free. this is an affront to the mexican state and has bound to capture him. with us is patrick radden keefe a staff writer at the new yorker. his article appeared in the new yorker last may. and from washington, d.c. is don winslow. his most recent book is called "the cartel." i'm pleased to have both here.
was this inevitable that he would get out of prison? >> i think so. let's back up a little bit and see who this man is. a billionaire businessman. ruthless. intelligent. he is organized. hate cannot run his business as well from prison. this is the second time he has god out -- got out. the man number two on the list behind osama bin laden. i think it was inevitable. charlie: does it say something about him and mexico? don: absolutely. let's take a look at this escape. a mile-long tunnel. the construction crew and the maxim security prison. we are supposed to believe he didn't have health from the outside or inside -- help from
the outside or inside? that is inconceivable. who were these people? nobody knew a tunnel was being down for a mile-long? chapo has the power and intimidation. he has organization to do something like this and to corrupt the police and government. charlie: patrick, give me your take on this. when you read about this, what did you think? patrick: i don't know if it was inevitable, but it was predictable. that is the better word. i agree with don that what is most disturbing about this is it was an industrial operation to get him out. look at the last time that guzman escape in prison. the story was that he snuck out in a laundry cart, but has been said by many that he just walked
out the front door. 71 people who worked at the prison were charged with complicity, including the warden who is running the prison at the time. i have a feeling in the coming days and months we will have a similar experience here. you will look to see how wide is this complicity? charlie: what will be your expected answer? patrick: i think what we will probably see is i'm afraid to say is scapegoat's at the local level. i'm sure people within the prison will end up getting charged. the big question will be who are the people who end up not getting charged higher up in the mexican government? this is a guy who has made billions and billions of dollars and has paid hundreds of lines of dollars in bribes. a big part of what he does is grease palms up and down across the country. the were some suggestion in my mind is you have a situation in
which there is quite extensive complicity with the government at quite senior levels. we will see the bottom rungs of that in terms of what will be visible. charlie: but you have a president who clearly knows everything that you just said and everything that is unsaid. it is -- is it impossible for him a system that is failsafe? patrick: this is what is so maddening. ap came out with a story saying they saw documents that were internal. after chapo was captured, and his family consulted with military specialist about ways of getting him out of the prison. they passed these warnings on to mexico. we know the mexican government was on notice.
this is a guy who had escape before. the fact that he used a title -- look at the history of his career. 25 years ago, chapo invented the border tunnel. charlie: i used a tunnel to escape or walked out some other way? -- did he use a tunnel to escape our walk out some other way? don: i don't believe that chapo walked out of prison. charlie: we're joined now by our guest in paris. are you in paris or having anything to do with mexico? jorge: yes. i'm part of the mexican presidents visit to france. a franco-mexican strategic
counsel. charlie: what is the president saying to his official entourage about this? he calls it unpardonable. some say the president of mexico allow this to happen. jorge: i had a chance to speak with people in his delegation. they all feel dazed. you have been hit by a train or something. they don't know exactly what is going on. it is a very important visit to france. it is a big deal. he will be the only guest for the best deal parade appeared a victim for mexico. not everyone is talking about [cheers and applause] -- everyone is talking about chapo.
it really is perhaps the most difficult moment of his administration so far. he has a way of accumulating different moments. charlie: what will it do to his popularity in a mexico? jorge: unless they recapture el chapo guzman it will be devastating. his popularity is very low. that was because of an economic crisis. nobody believes he is getting torn apart in the social media that people making fun of the tunnel or saturday night at the movies or the equivalent in mexico. making fun of where is he? in paris while chapo has flown to guatemala. maybe chapo will show up in
paris. in a way president pena nieto is not directly responsible for this pit the guy is an escape artists. they should have been more careful. there is negligence not on the part of just the people in the jail here to visit negligence in the part of the highest levels of government in mexico. i don't think there's any doubt about that. charlie: let me turn back to don. here is a foreign minister saying the president is not responsible, but it happened on his watch. is there simply -- having to do with drug cartels -- is there a culture of money and corruption that in some ways makes this her dick kaegel? don: i'm a -- makes this predictable? don: i'm afraid there is.
there are police and high-ranking officials in the markets -- in their pockets. it took a lot of help from the inside and outside. money often is the answer to that. charlie: patrick, why is he skilled at being that rug cartel drug lord -- the drug cartel drug lord? is he more violent? smarter? is he what? patrick: most of the above. this is a guy who grew up a farm boy in the mountains i left school in third grade. he is more or less in literate from what we understand. he does text on a blackberry. he does read and write a little bit. he rose to prominence in the 70's and 80's. after he escaped from prison the
last time in 2001, that is when he came into his own. there are aspects that make him stand out from the others. one is that it is horizontally integrated. it is quite diversified. they move cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana across the border. in terms of violence, this is a very violent organization. there is levity about this on social media. it saddens me that this is such a big punch line. this is a guy, an organization that is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in mexico. i think we lose sight of that. it is a tragedy of him escaping justice. for mexico, it is a reckoning. it says something about the rule of law in the country.
the man responsible for that magnitude of suffering could go free. charlie: back to you, jorge. the notion that somehow this is the way it is in mexico that there is a corruption when it comes to drugs that is so deep and broad that this is in evidence. jorge: i think maybe we should split it into two. the corruption or the drug trade or the absence of the rule of law in mexico are deep, broad wide intense, whatever adjectives you want to use i think is accurate. take your pick. that being the case it does not necessarily imply that this guy had to escape. the government was clearly
remiss in that sense. there were not watching out. they were not doing their homework. there was a whole bunch of guys in mexico who do not escape from jail everyday. on the other hand, there has always been an antidote for this. it is not great, but it works. extradite these guys to the u.s. not a year and a half later, but right away. it is humiliating for mexican sovereignty. it allows the u.s. government to know a bunch of stuff about what chapo would have told them about his accomplices in the mexican government. in makes it difficult for the mexican government to be able to interrogate him freely once he is in the u.s. all of these are downsides of extra diction -- extra diction.
maybe they made a bigger mistake which is to advertise the fact that they were going to extradite him, so he went to his plan b using a tunnel that he had, but did not necessarily want to use. once he found out they were going to ship him to the u.s. then i'm going to use the tunnel. it is a terrible situation for mexico. it is more a reflection of the general context than something that was inevitable in it self. i read patrick's excellent lease in the new yorker. i agree with it entirely except maybe for that last point that it was absolutely inevitable. charlie: patrick? patrick: i don't know i was saying it was inevitable on the contrary.
i think mexico could have taken steps to make sure that chapo was secured. the point of extra diction, it is fascinating the timing. the last time he escaped from prison in 2001, he was in prison for years at that point. extra diction papers were getting ready to have consent to the united states. it was at the point they were going to ship him that he broke out the last time. in this particular instance after he was captured last figure, there was a big fight between the u.s. and mexico. chapo was indicted in six or eight different jurisdictions across the united states. prosecutors were saying, after what happened last time, we don't trust you to hold him. you need to get him to us here. i spoke with a bunch of mexican officials over the past several months have said, we can do this. this is a test case for the rule of law. it is important for sovereignty reasons.
they said, we caught him. the bulk of his crimes took place in our country. we are the ones of the casualties to show for it. he should face justice here. to your question about whether there is something about the drug trade in mexico that makes it inevitable is that it is something that i think that's lost will we talk about the war on drugs in this country. a lot of the murderers don't happen on this side of the border. we are very much a part of this. we are tied into it. it is a cross-border market. we are the demand. it is because of our prohibition that this business exists at all. charlie: what do you think will happen? jorge: when the president returns to mexico, some heads will roll. it is so embarrassing and humiliating for mexico.
some heads have to roll. what i hope will happen is it is time for mexico to tell the u.s., we are done. we won't do this anymore. if you want to stop the drugs entering the u.s., do it on your side of the border. we're not going to put up any checkpoints on the highways anymore. we're not going to carry out drug busts. we won't go after cartel leaders. we're going to work de facto i'll legalize drugs in mexico. you figure out what you want to do. we have had enough. when hundred thousand dead in the last nine years. over 30,000 people missing. an enormous amount of money spent on this. the humiliation on cases like this and widespread human rights violations in mexico by the army, navy police, and the drug
cartels. this is something that has become absurd, especially as more states in the u.s. legalize marijuana now. what is the point of having people like chapo in jail and devoting a norman's resources to getting them -- enormous resources to getting them in jail and having them escape anyway? charlie: thank you. thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪