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tv   Our World With Black Enterprise  CW  July 17, 2011 6:30am-7:00am EDT

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♪ ♪ >> welcome to "our world with black enterprise." i'm your host, mike lamont hill. tavist smiley reaches a milestone, plus our panel looks at men, women and the issue of gender justice and finally, we found a teacher that makes math and science fun. that's what's going on in "our world" starting now. ♪ ♪ journalist tavist smiley is
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celebrating 20 years of interviewing some of the world's most influential people. i sat down with the best-selling author at the studio museum in harlem to discuss his life, his new book and his thoughts on the first black president. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> first of all, brother, let me congratulate you. you just celebrated your 20th year in media. >> it's hard for me to imagine that i've been at this for 20 years. i started with tom bradley, never expected that i would be in the media, much less 20 years. it's been a fascinating ride, but i feel good about the fact that we get a chance every day on our tv and radio shows to try to get people to re-examine the assumptions they hold, to help people expand their inventory of ideas. i'm having a lot of fun, even 20 years in. >> over the 20 years you've had a range of successes. you built a media empire and created space for black folks to create ideas. what do you know about failing? >> the more you succeed the more you know about failure because
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those two things are inextricably linked together. there is no success without failure. i suspect who has been honest to you, they've learned more from their failures than they've learned from their successes. >> a couple of stories you tell in the book. >> sure. >> i was surprised with this, you were fired as an intern for mayor for cheating on your time card, for billing more hours than you got. >> when i was a college student, when i was young and dumb, i didn't know it at the time, i was padding my time card. long story short i was doing an intern for the mayor of bloomington, indiana. the deputy mayor, a white male, caught me, found out that i'd been padding and cheating on my time card. i had worked three hours and write down four. worked four, write down six. i was working for $4 and $5. i'm just trying to get through and make whatever little money i can. i didn't see it as cheating. should i have, but i didn't.
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>> he caught me, called me into his office and read me the riot act and was about to pick up the phone to call the police department to come and arrest me. blessedly, the mayor who was a white female, walked in and said what's going on? i'm sitting there crying and boo hooing and begging him and trying to apologize and i'd do anything to do this. she says put the phone down, don't call the police department and tavist, come into my office and she looked at me as only a woman can, as only a mother can, who has that sensitivity. she said to me very simply, you let me down. you're not just stealing, tavist. you're stealing from the people. this is the people's money and that hit me like a dagger in my heart, and from that day forward i've always taken seriously the public trust. how. >> how do you feel when the public says tavist is not offering criticism on the
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president he's hating on him. >> with regard to barack obama. zee to respect him, we have to protect him and at times we have to correct him. he ain't god. he don't walk on water. we have to respect him, protect him from all of these vicious and racist attacks, but correct him when he's wrong and the irony of the whole obama-tavist drama was that i was not doing anything i had not always done. so if i can take bill clinton on, and you know if i can take clinton on, you know i'll have something to say about george bush, then how all of a sudden with integrity am i not supposed to hold this man accountable? i understood it 400 years back, we waited for this moment and they wanted to see barack obama elected by any means necessary. i airnt stuck on stupid. i get that. his job is to get elected. my job was, is, and will always be so long as i have a voice in love and respectfully to hold him accountable to the best interest of black people and there's a lot of stuff he's done right, but there are other things we have to hold him accountable for, these wars are
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wrong. not addressing poverty is a problem. when the auto industry call, you respond and black folk are doubled, tripled and in some cases quadrupled the national average on unemployment and your answer is a rising tide will lift all boats and you don't want to say more because you don't want to be accused of being tribal. my job is to hold you accountable in the interest of the people. i don't believe the great presidents are born, they're made. you have to push them into their greatness. in other words, there is no abraham lincoln if there is no frederick douglas pushing him. there is no lbj if there is no mlk pushing him. i don't want barack obama just to become another garden variety politician. i don't want him to start the clinton triangulation. >> it may be too late for that. >> i want him to be a great president. this nonsense of me hating on the president is ridiculous. >> when you're at the bottom moment and in the world of creaming back at you be quiet,
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tavist, just let him win. did you want to walk away from this? >> i say this again with as much humility as i can muster. if you ever see me in a fight with the bear, help the bear. you can pour honey on me, and still help the bear. part of the taf thing was to teach me a lesson and the lesson was simply this. i know you love black people when they love you back. can you love black people when they don't love you back. can you stand with them when they don't stand with you? when obama as president is subject to racist attacks are you going to hold it against him that he hasn't invited you to the white house? that he's talked to bill o'reilly and sean hannity, but you've not been invited? will you hold that against him because what's happening is wrong and racist. all of this has been a learning experience for me. so in this process, even, i'm learning. i'm growing. i'm developing. i'm becoming stronger as a result of what many perceive to
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be a failure and that's why i can write this book now, they could have written years ago putting all of this outçó there and i know that i'm a witness. i'm a witness that you can fail your way to the top and i'm still doing it every day. >> at the beginning you talk about emerging out of a conversation that you had with cornell west. >> my friend. >> what does that friendship mean to you? it's a great question and thank you for acknowledging that and thank you for even noticing that because we don't do it for people to notice. we just love each other. >> right. >> in a deep bond and deep brotherhood. in that regard i'm honored to be on radio with him, honored to be his friend, and honored to be his little brother and honored to be on with him, but he's been search a rock for me. i am blessed without measure. i don't know what i've done in my life to be exposed to him, and it's a beautiful thing and i thank god for it every day. >> you've got 20 years of failures which have resulted in a whole bunch of good stuff.
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we know you're not going to be president. >> no, i'm not. i airnt rung. i don't want to be. i do know this, whatever i'm doing 20 years from now, i hope to be doing then what i am doing now, the best i can with whatever i have wherever i am. every day i wake up, the first thing i do is brush my teeth and wash my face. the second thing i do is take my big boy pill because i don't know what that day's going to bring me, and the third thing i do is to pray the prayer before i walk out the door. lord, i hope that in this day, i pray that in this day i will do something that i can present to you before i go to bed tonight that might not make me feel so ashamed. up next, will men and women ever be equal? >> women don't fair the same as men in workplace. whether it's the job women have and women's work is considered less valuable, women are seen as lesser than men in our society.
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i'm dr. regina benjamin, u.s. surgeon general. with each cigarette, you have to ask yourself: "is this the one that will cause a heart attack?" if you really want to quit smoking, call 1-800-quit-now. >> welcome back to "our world with black enterprise." are men and women equal in our society? where do we stand on genteder justice? here to talk about it is assistant professor of english and africana studies in university of pennsylvania and co-founder of "long walk home." award-winning filmmaker maker, and a kiba solomon.
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thank you all for joining us. >> thank you. >> there's so much conversation today about race. even if people don't like it they're talking about race, they're talking about poverty and economics. one thing that rarely gets talked about are issues of gender. what's going on? why is that? >> i think the basic answer to the question is that men and women, like you said, the question is part of the value the same and men and women aren't the same in our society and it's not unique to the united states and i think you can see this on so many different levels, whether it's equal pay and women don't fair the same as men in the workplace and whether it's women's work being considered less valuable and whether it's reproductive justice or sexual violence, women are seen as lesser than men in our society. >> why don't people care? there's at least an outcry? people will talk about it. the gender seems to get hidden. >> i think that women care and i think a lot of men don't care. more men are invested in the issues and i think more men have to see how things like gender
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violence, for example, and gender equality affects us as men as well. particularly gender violence because a lot of men grow up with women in their liefrs who are abused in some way whether there's rape or sexual assault or sexual violence or any sort of battering and, un, they don't know it, they don't understand it, they don't believe that it happens and they don't really associate it with the women in our lives, you know? i think if you associate it more with the women in our liefrs that people care more about the issue. >> that's interesting because you think as black people who have had a history of oppression and marginalization and so forth that we would respond differently to gender injustice. why is it that black people like other races don't deal with the racism as we probably could. >> there is a dynamic among black people where we really want to be unified. we want to present a unified front at all times. there's discussion around the endangerment of black men like
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police brutality, mass incarceration, lack of employment and i think that a lot of the conventional wisdom around that is we need to handle black men's problems first because black men are a lot more challenged than we are, and in the process of trying to repair black men, quote, unquote, we are getting lost in the sauce essentially. and in a way it seems we are race traitors if we bring up our own concerns. >> other things you issued in terms of issues related to black men whether it's unemployment, mass incarceration, police brutality. the problem is you have all of these things affecting black women and another list of things affecting black women. it's a failed strategy not to affect the things that impact black women, black women are the ones who have been on the front lines of social justice movements as well and also because so many families are
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headed by black mothers that if we don't deal the way gender traumas affect them, then we're creating a further crisis in our community. one thing is gender dynamic, right? not only how -- how men respond to it. how is this playing out in popular culture? >> do a lot of work with boys and men around the country. i've spoken to thousands of men at high schools, colleges, charity settings, sports settings all over the country and there's a lot of defensiveness. a lot of guys are very very, defensive and there's a lot of deflection, mark. there's always pushing the issue back on to the woman as if the woman is the source of the problem and that we can't be several-critical. we can't think about our own attitudes, our own behaviors. that deflection does not allow us to be several-critical. it does not allow us to look inside ourselves to examine our attitude and examine our
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behavior. however, i will say, is what's your engagement in the conversation? once you have an open, honest, sincere conversation about our attitudes, our behaviors and the way we're raised, you begin to see a shift and that's been my experience. >> one of the things that i saw in the last few months or the last year has been the response to the chris brown thing. as you know, chris brown physically assaulted and he's admitted to it, physically assault rid ana. the first thing black men and black women is she must have done something to cause it, the collective response from men and women was something other than holding him accountable. why does something like that happen? >> think with issues of domestic vealence and sexual violence, there are only two crimes where the victim is blamed for their attack against them, right? with chris brown, we're all sort of conditioned to have this knee-jerk response to blame the victim and there are a couple of reasons why that's true. one, a lot of women may feel that's -- they may feel
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powerless, they may feel they don't want to over-identify with the victim. therefore there she must have something at fault or something that warrants him beating her. also with the chris brown-rihanna scenario there was an element which is race. charlie sheen is a well-known batterer and yet with white men there is a sense in which they can get away with even more stuff than black men, right? >> that conversation still becomes about -- >> race. >> instead of gender. even when we're talking about a gender issue, race begins to trumpet. how can we think of gender justice in a different way. >> we need to have more men who are willing to educate boys and men around gender issues. i think that we have to have much more -- we have to redefine what it means to be a man. we have to have men who need to redefine mas masculinity and we
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need gender education at young ages so young boys can see what the power dynamic is and what we need to do to shift the power dynamic and make it more fair and equitable for women. >> do you see that as a possibility for us in the near future? >> think it's a possibility. i think that we have to really invest in that idea. we have to imagine what that future looks like and then we have to have honest conversations with one another, whether they're formal or informal about what's really happening and once we have those hoefrnt conversations we'll be good. >> acres appreciate you all for this honest conversation. thanks so much for being here. and if you have a top take you'd like us to cover, e-mail us at our world@black enterprise.com. >> it is my focus and my passion.
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[coo coo] [coo]
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[coo] be free. nice, dad. ["nice, dad" echoing] charles! nice, dad. announcer: you don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. there are thousands of siblings in foster care who will take you just as you are. when a woman is having a heart attack? chest pain, like there's a ton of weight on your chest. severe shortness of breath. unexplained nausea. cold sweats. there's an unusual tiredness and fatigue.
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there's unfamiliar dizziness or light-headedness. unusual pain in your back, neck, jaw, one or both arms, even your upper stomach, are signs you're having a heart attack. don't make excuses. make the call to 9-1-1 immediately. learn more at womenshealth.gov/heartattack. . welcome back. with u.s. schools lagging behind most countries in math, science and technology, one teachers the key to catching up is adding fun to the equation. >> these kids sitting in this classroom in washington, d.c., fly decades ahead of us, grasping the principles of math
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in theic, and understanding the science of geometry, developing mobile apps and building robots. michelle created youth lab, a non-profit after cool lab to give 12th graders an education in stem, science, technology, engineering and math. >> since i was 12 i knew i wanted to establish an after-school program. i didn't know it would be about technology or about science, but i did know it would provide a place for children to come after school in a safe environment. >> over the last 15 years michelle's after-school program has won numerous awards in robotic competitions as well as the macarthur grant to help fund the effort. >> the program i won with is called youth app lab and it's designed to teach african-american and latino high school student originally about how to make smartphone applications. >> we have built an app for the an droid platform to control the robot to drive forward, drive backward, turn right and turn
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left and all of us pitched in to build the robot. >> getting students interested in stem courses is no easy feat, considering americans ranked 19th in the world in science and 26th in mathematics. congresswoman eddie johns orngs the highest ranking african-american in the science and space and technology committee understands just how far america lags behind in stem education. >> we know that nationwide, 70% of our public school teachers are teaching courses they have not majored in. we have to do something about that. >> president obama agrees that stem education is vital to america's leadership. >> our future depends on reaffirming america's role as the world's engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation and that leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today. >> for a few hours every day, michelle and her small staff are part of a grassroots effort to make a big difference.
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>> think michelle's program is dynamic. i think it has the potential to be scaled at a much larger size. she's pretty much building a model that any organization in any community can run with to help expose student systems especially in the minority community. >> in our community, students feel that being in computers and being a computer programmer you're considered a geek, and i want to show them that's not true. you can be cool and be a geek ask actually learn about the program k program. >> kids are brilliant and they don't get the opportunity to learn and to shine in whatever they try to do. so the stem focus is really my focus and my passion and so i just kind of put the two together. >> and thanks to michelle and her program, america has a chance to be a world leader in science and technology once again. >> we'll be right back.
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would start taking better care of myself. narrator: you have many reasons to stay healthy. exercise and physical activity can help. so that national institute on aging at nih, of the u.s. department of health and human services, created go4life.
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bud: i now excercise three times a week. narrator: featuring exercises you can do anywhere. irene: i can really go. narrator: find our more, visit nia.hih.gov/go4life. that wraps it up for us. don't forget to visit our website at black enterprise.com/our world. you can fan us on facebook at black enterprise and mark lamont hill. thanks for watching. we'll see you next week. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com

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