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The brown Pandit's Brown can everyone, and welcome to the brown Plunkett's brown cast. We are joined today with Mercanti, Raghavan and Rasyid Con. And our guest today is Mr. Bob Woodson. Mr. Watson is the director or president of the Wilson Center and is also the one of the founders of the project, the 1762 project, in which they have spent a lot of time addressing the issues of the 16 19 project that was started by The New York Times in in in response to basically stating that America's entire movement or an entire found foundation was based on racism and slavery.


Mr. Wilson, welcome to the program. How are you today? Pleased to be here.




So, Mr. Watts, key, tell us a little bit about your background and how you came into this space to start the 1722 project.


I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a lower income community, but a real tight knit black community during the time of segregation.


We had 90 percent of all the families had a man and woman raising children. Yeah, we were broke, but not poor. Right.


My dad died when I was nine, leaving my mother with a fifth grade education to raise five children. She had to work very hard, but she instilled in us the kind of values that we selected. Good friends, right. Even though we were in a troubled neighborhood, trouble wasn't within us. Sure. So we were able to drop my friends. A small group of seven of us were very close state. So I understand people joining gangs, but it was a close affiliation, became a surrogate family when they were a year older than me.


They they graduated, went on to school and I left and went into the military and during the 50s, got out of the military, had to face racism head on in the military, in the south, in Mississippi and in Florida, got out, got my undergraduate degree and then got involved in the civil rights movement, but left the civil rights movement when following the death of Dr. King, because I disagreed with some of the positions. I like forced busing for integration.


I felt that poor blacks were not being cared for and that I felt this that bifurcation was split in the black community on the issues of race. And I've been at that position for 40 years. I believe that a lot of the people who suffered and sacrifice in the struggle for civil rights did not benefit from the change. That's the biggest difference, is not between blacks and whites, but lower income blacks and upper income blacks. Wow, so that yeah, yeah, how does that become the Woodson Center and how did that turn into.


Well, because I really feel is that what happened is the civil rights movement that I was proud to have participated in, again, morphed into a race grievance industry. A lot of the the leaders of that movement became Democratic politicians and ran for office in the cities at a time in the 1960s when the government started the war on poverty. In the last 40 years, they have spent about twenty two trillion dollars on programs to aid the poor. Many of these dollars were being administered by former civil rights activists.


70 cents of every one of those dollars did not go to the poor, but it went to those who serve the poor. They ask which problems are fundable, not once solvable. And so we've created a commodity out of poor people. So I left and began to work on behalf of poor people of all races. The biggest challenge America has is not racial. It's class, it's lower income people and the rest. So an. Evolution, senator, and I formed it because I was I was after I left the civil rights movement and I went to a think tank, I said there's nothing that really bridges the world between activism in the streets and the policy actions in the streets.


And so I wanted to the Wilson Center is kind of a bridge. We are the kind we have about two thousand five hundred low income grassroots leaders in thirty nine states that we be the trained or have direct relationship with. And they are different racial groups. And so we define ourselves by representing low income leaders, helping them to design and develop solutions to crime, violence under development by coming from the inside out and the bottom up.


Can you give us an example of one of these solutions to a problem that.


Yes, one one you can see on 60 Minutes if you if you're talking in Berkeley? Goken we we have a group of about seven residents of public housing. Public housing is where all the violence and the crime and the disinvestment occur. Well, some of these leaders said we are tired of being having to live like this. So they began to take over the control of their own community. They set up their own resident management council. And with our help, they they secure the ability to to supervise their own.


So what they did was they organized, they drove the drug dealers out. They had people began to send their children to school. They they impose discipline on themselves. And as a consequence that the drug dealers were driven out. They began to take control. The violence went down. They they began to manage that and end up sending about 500 kids to college. Wow. It was so peaceful that they were able to that middle class housing was built right across in public housing with the residents that moved in, became a part of the resident management.


So so we helped create seven of these islands of excellence. We even got the law changed several amendments to the Housing Act that will permit government to contract with residents. So we that's one of our signature examples of economic and social success, where the the income of the of the day took over and ran the businesses in the mix. So that's an example. And where was this? In St. Louis, Missouri. If you go on 60 Minutes and put Berthot Gilkey GI OK, why 60 Minutes.


It's a twenty three minute essay on how residents, low income residents through empowering themselves took over control control to manage the money, the contracts, everything in their example of empowerment. That's awesome. That's great. Now is the Wilson Center politically affiliated? Is it bipartisan. Is it, is it just. No, it's it's not. It's nonpartisan. Yeah. We we are we are an organization that believes in the fundamental values of America that the principles in the market economy should apply to the social economy.


OK, so we kind of look at ourselves, is that like a venture capitalist?


But our capital that's going to be so I mean, the kind of goes into dovetails into the 1772 to project that you guys started because, you know, what are the companies X, right. I'm sorry. It's a project that you guys started. It's addressing what the values and the foundation of America is. And. All right. So how did that start? Well well, first of all, it was these Bushrod values of hard work, self determination, self discipline, the poetry, all or all those things that sixteen nineteen said are are antithetical to help.


And so what they're saying America, because of the first slaves who arrived on our shores at sixteen nineteen, first of all, it was incorrect. They were slaves on their boat. Once they got off they were indentured servants. Most of them secure their freedom within a short period of time. So that's a myth right there. But I believe that sixteen nineteen posture's that because America imported African slaves in sixty nineteen and. The signers of the Declaration of Independence, half of them are said slave owners there for the Declaration of Independence is invalid and America is irretrievably racist and they are for white supremacy rules.


And so therefore, all whites are the victimizers and all black, the victims to be compensated and the victimizers ought to be punished. And so they just stop there. Right. And so what we did, we responded saying rather than offer an alternative argument, we say that the birthday of America is 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And that and the left, the 60 90 says that a lot of the problems facing black America today with out of wedlock versus 70 percent.


And the violent crime is related to the legacy of slavery and discrimination. That's a lie. So what we are offering are an alternative narrative.


We go back in history and look at examples that when whites were at their worst during segregation, blacks were at their best. When we were denied access to hotels, we built hotels in every major city while hogy in Atlanta, the Carbon-Carbon hotels in Florida, the St. Charles in in Chicago to St. Louis.


I could go on and on and on tour. When we were denied access to medical schools, we built our own. Chicago in nineteen twenty nine has seven hundred and thirty one black owned businesses and one hundred million real estate assets at a time when we were redlined. But see the this the stories about how blacks confronted oppression. We did it with resilience. We didn't succumb to victimization. But 16, 19 does not mention any of these accomplishments by blacks.


Right. They tell a false narrative about blacks that our history is going to be from slave ships to plantations to ghettos to welfare to prison. That's a 16 19 version of black history. Ours is a rich tradition that in the 1930s, in the 1940s, when we were in the depression, 40 percent unemployment, blacks had the highest rate of any other group in society. Elderly people could walk safely without getting mugged. You can't do that today. Right.


So, I mean, a couple of these I have a couple of questions on this, so if their position is in and from 16 19, the foundations of America would lead with basically black bodies and black slavery. But did it not? How does that differ from the fact that until about a hundred and 150 years ago, slavery was the law of the land here 106 years ago. So if it was a law of Latin America and black people until until they received their emancipation, were able to own businesses or weren't able to provide a life for themselves.


The South, I mean, that's not true. Blacks during slavery own property. They were free blacks in the north.


In the north. I said the south particularly. I know the north was a little different, but the south, they were where the bulk of the black population was. They were disenfranchised. They were oppressed. They were they were kept from the court. But it didn't it didn't condemn it didn't it didn't doom them as soon as slavery ended. Yeah. During slavery, after all of these were suppressed. But as soon as slavery ended, you saw the largest change of any group in society.


We went from a people. Only 20 percent were literate. And within 40 years, 75 percent were illiterate. Right. That had never happened anywhere on the face of the earth. Right. Surges like that. Yeah. Its duty is to the resilience and and the and the desire for growth of black people themselves. That time period. Right. So but the question always rising my mind is, is it part of the argument that there is historical trauma to black people across America?


So there is. But the question is. To what extent does it explain conditions today? Right, and that's that's the question, and I do not buy this notion that what happened over one hundred some years ago somehow has a residual effect on what people do today. You know, I don't buy that argument because I've seen so many other examples how we achieved income parity and groups. Yes, it was slavery is not the condition under which anybody should be forced to live.


But the question is, is to what extent do do do you define people's condition today? But what happened over one hundred and fifty years ago? Yeah, I mean, I think that's a valid point. I mean, what am I what am I? Pushbacks would generally be that it's not just about 150 years ago. It's everything that happens in between. Right. Because there are threads that continue to be connected to that. Right. Whether or not it is slavery that becomes segregation and Jim Crow, that then becomes some form of a more subconscious or underlying racism that people might exhibit through business practices or redlining.


I mean, like, for example, like we know a lot of the ghettos that we consider today are due to a large portion of racial covenants, of of redlining, of pushing black communities out of areas of wealth like South Central. Before nineteen fifties was a was an area that was much more booming. But because they weren't able to move and work within the L.A. region after World War two, the difficulty became that these areas became more impoverished. Denton, how do you explain them in nineteen twenty nine in the Brownsville section of Chicago?


Yeah, or Harlem or all these there is Wall Street that were booming in those periods of times. How how do you explain that? And the great promise of the civil rights movement was if you elect blacks to these offices running these cities, that conditions for all black would improve. That was the promise. Yeah, but the question is blacks, liberal Democratic blacks have been running these cities for 50 years during a period of this gradual decline. And if racism were the single factor, why are blacks failing in institutions run by their own people?


Right. Right. I mean, I would I would say like racism, in my view. Is it the single factor is many factors. Economic conditions, right? Exactly. It's always about choices that people make themselves.


Sure. Right. I mean, I've I've been talking a lot. You have any questions you take from here? Well, you know, I feel like I agree probably a little too much with Mr. Woodson politically to really have big disagreements. I do have a question. He did talk about leftism, and I'm just curious about his opinion on the people behind things like Black Lives Matter and 16 19 project. I'm like the core initial people because I feel like they're not really leftists, because they don't talk about class.


They talk about kind of like race and identity. The and, you know, the person who started the 16 19 project, she she went to a speaker symposium for Shell Oil. I mean, these are and you have people like the CEO of Goldman Sachs taking a knee. So I you know, I'm just wondering, like, are these really leftist? Like, where is this coming from?


Oh, yeah, I have you you got to look at their migration. They when you look at on their website, when you look at their Marxist, some of them are Marxist. They are, you know, intersectionality, all of this stuff. If you look at what they're doing, I looked all over the world. And how what do they mean, Updyke? I did a piece on I'll be glad to share with you on that. But what they did was they hijacked the moral authority of the civil rights movement and made other groups the equivalent in their oppression.


They moved from there to women and then trans. And then these same people said, well, the nuclear family is Eurocentric, patriarchal and therefore racist. And now in Portland, you see in the name of Black Lives Matter. They're burning the Bibles. They are trying to tear down a Christian cross. They say that is a symbol of white supremacy, that demonizing the police, they have migrated in to even these blacks in cities that were burning. The guy put up a sign of black business.


He was burned down, too. So their hostility is towards the fundamental values of this nation. And that's what this war is about. They they don't have and nothing to do with race. They're using the moral authority of the civil rights movement to create to recruit monies. These corporations are funding people who goal is to undermine and destroy those same companies.


Yeah, yeah. I mean, I agree with a lot of that. I guess my question to you then is how is this happening? We have all of the elite media that's on one side. And, you know, I've done some of the research and I've told my liberal friends about what I found out about BLM and nuclear family, and they thought I was lying and they had to googlies find it themselves. So, I mean, is this bottom up?


Is this coordinated? I mean, do you have any idea? Because, you know, I'm just confused as to what's happening in this country right now.


Well, I am, too, but I tell you that. I think corporation Michael Novak, years ago, his world renowned sociologist who was a colleague of mine at the American Enterprise Institute, he wrote a book called The Anybody.


No, come to me. But anyway, he talked about how companies are lions in the marketplace and bleeping lambs in the social marketplace, they have a clue that the money that they're spending on Black Lives Matter is being used to undermine the very companies, the hope. And this is happening. But and also, I think a lot of young people are and others have been motivated by a quest for a legitimate concern about social justice. But they are being exploited.


And, in fact, all of the violence that you see, I have never seen the level of incivility that I'm seeing now. That people are actually cheering when somebody is murdered in a street in Portland. That's chilling. So actually, I do have a question for you on that vein. Is this worse than the 60s because of. Oh, then I don't think it's much worse.


In the 60s, we were fighting for inclusion. We also in the 60s had an agenda, it was trying to open up issues and Dr. King said that racism isn't bad because it's visited by is practiced by whites, is bad because it's evil. And so King invited people to come in. Also, we had standards of conduct for those who could claim to be operating in the civil rights movement. But the standards but the civil rights movement wasn't a huge amount of movement, it was also had the Malcolm X, right, which is very he had a very different philosophy on this.


It had it had it had a debate inside always. It was it had their own Tea Party movement. Yeah. Yeah. Nick, when when when the when King was sent to Greensboro, he was sent to discourage the children, the students from engaging in civil disobedience. Right. Right. And the student said lead, follow or get out of the way. It when Rosa Parks decided to sit on the bus, she was opposed by the groups in Atlanta.


So there was a fracturing of the civil rights movement into Sneek Republic, a new Africa, the Muslims. That was a healthy but it was a debate over what we should be doing to correct our situation. That debate is absent today. The civil rights movement is silent in the face. They have been hijacked. They don't have any by coming together to argue with one another as to the path forward, they have relinquish authority over which direction black America should go.


They have no say in it, unlike the civil rights movement. Also going back even before that, when Marcus Garvey, Dubois, Booker T. Washington, some were recolonisation, as others were insurrectionists. It was Nat Turner. So we had that that that turmoil, that that that debate as but the debate was over how do we employ our agency? But there is no civil rights agency today, it's been taken over by the white left, they dictate what the civil rights organizations do.


Which is really interesting, I mean, it's crazy to me because this this entire movement, you know, recently the riots and everything started from that of George Floyd and then the riots, the protests. What what what's your thoughts on the nature of police interaction with the African-American community or black community in America? And what are your thoughts on this defund the police movement? Well, first of all, I really think that police were thrown under the bus by these black civic leaders.


Rather than try to explain why conditions were deteriorating well under black rule, for instance, in Washington, D.C., under a black mayor and all the other officials, twenty thousand blacks over the last 20 years have been gentrified out of the city. And this is happening all over. But they are worried about social justice and affirmative action. In the meantime, whites, the same whites who are demonstrating, are moving into neighborhoods that used to be occupied by low income and moderate income whites.


That's the hypocrisy of it. So they got public black officials concentrating on Meiners, issues like any such structural inequality. In the meantime, they are asleep at the wheel when it comes to preventing gentrification to occur. And so so after 50 years and twenty two trillion dollars, they have to come up with some reason and they say, well, the police are are the villains. So black officials through the police, even though in some cities, 60 percent of the police departments are black.


Right. So they just threw them under the bus because that's another way. So they can avoid having to address the problems. And then they say, can somebody tell me what systemic racism is? And somebody tell me what institutional racism is? And if they do, tell me what is your remedy and then how does that remedy apply to the black on black crime disinvestment? Tell me how your remedy addresses that problem. But I mean, I would say what they what what their argument would be is that systemic racism or institutional racism is basically racist and that's been digested of sorts.


That's been kind of sunken into the very core of what your institution is and how you approach the world. And it's kind of unconscious in many ways, but it exists, right?


I mean, that would be my my guess is with the argument that if you were a black official, I would say to you, you've been in power for 40, 50 years. Tell me, are you acknowledging that white people are so powerful that they compel you to make decisions that are hostile to the interests of your people?


I mean, are you you know about it and you're complicit in it?


I think there's a there's a weird in-between area here, because I understand your point, but I also get the need for people psychologically to fit in somewhere or to behave a certain way. I mean, I was a prosecutor in Brooklyn for about three or four years, and I'm glad.


Yeah. And I spent a lot of time in like Flatbush area and, you know, all that entire region where there's projects. And I can tell you there was quite a bit of I would say in my views, you had a lot of white middle class prosecutors coming in from, you know, you know, some other county and some of the neighborhood coming in to basically govern all these black people. And there are police officers were mostly from outside the area because that's with the practices.


You know, the police officers can't be from the place or policing. They'll be coming from like Staten Island or Jersey or whatever it was. And they were policing in Brooklyn. I mean, I can tell you, a lot of cops were terrible, terrible police officers. Not great.


Yeah, not no one is going to say that racism is not.


But but but I guess but the institutional part here, Mr. Woodson, would be that because the police department does nothing to address the racism within their ranks, they let it go. It becomes part of the organization. All right, but. Then why, when I was a youngster born in nineteen thirty seven doing segregation. We didn't have the kind of assaults that we have, the problems we have now, even under segregation, elderly people could walk in my community without being mugged.


When when racism was enshrined in law, there was no political representation. We had nobody in the police department. But yet we did not carry ourselves in a way to destroy ourselves.


Right. We did not do this under the jury segregation. Why are we doing it now?


Well, I mean, I would hazard my opinion or my guess would be what happened during segregation is all the black community stayed together in some areas. Right. You had both middle class, upper class and poor people within a certain region of a city. I mean, you could tell me if I'm right or wrong there because I didn't live at that time period, but I was just a hazard, I guess. But today would end up happening is the poor black people stay in a particular place, but the middle class and the upper class black people move out of that area and go into a strong black community has always been bifurcates.


That people I can tell you in Philadelphia, where I grew up, low income blacks live in South Philadelphia, doctors and lawyers lived in Yaden, Pennsylvania, a suburb. The judges lived in Germantown, OK? And poor blacks live in South Philadelphia and parts of North Philly. They have always been class divisions like with Jews, European dues, the not live Eastern European Jews and not live in the same communities with Western European Jews in Philadelphia. I mean, so there's always been, but what we were united in was a set of values that causes us to respect ourselves to all of those groups.


Having a baby out of wedlock was a was prohibited. Right. So there we shared a common set of Christian values that so that class was never defined by income. It was defined by your behavior and your values.


So if those behaviors, values were applied to all classes of people, why do you think the those values that were existent in nineteen sixty four do integration?


Yeah, that was one I was I left the civil rights movement over the issue of forced busing for integration. I was I was against forced integration. I said the opposite of segregation is desegregation. It is not integration. And what do you mean by that? Can you explain the difference? I mean that. I had a debate with Julius Chambers. He was a black Ph.D. from Harvard, head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund before the New York Bar Association.


And I said, Julius, we were debating integration. I said, if you had two circumstances, school A that is all black with the presence of educational excellence in school B, but as diminished excellence, but it's integrated, where should we send our children? He said the school B I said then this debate is over because I believe what we ought to do is create centers of excellence. And then when you create centers of excellence, whites will want to come there, right?


Integration will be a byproduct. Marva Collins and Eastside Academy in Chicago, back 30 years ago, demonstrated that Jaime Escalante did the same thing in L.A. with his his. So if you create centers of excellence, but we were busing kids from superior black schools into inferior white schools to integrate. But low income blacks never supported it. It was all middle class blacks who did not have their children on those buses. Just like middle class blacks who support the defunding of police don't live in communities that have the high crime rates because they don't have to suffer the consequence of their advocacy.


Sure, sure, Rasyid. Yeah, no, I mean, I broadly agree with what Mr. Watson saying, I feel like one of the issues in the media and in the culture is we only encounter a certain type of person of whatever race, of a certain educational background, a certain you know, I want to hear more from the garbage man, the truck driver, people like that. I think those are most people. Most people didn't go to college.


Most people didn't go to get a masters, all these things. And so I feel like when I when I listen to these arguments people have, I feel like it's abstract for a lot of people and it's not going to affect their real life. As I said, I agree basically politically with what Mr. Woods. And so, I mean, there's not that much daylight there. I'm just more curious about his long view because there's so much more experience.


I you want to ask a question. You know, I'm I'm forty early forties. And, you know, I grew up like, you know, like like, you know, people would ask me where I was from when I was a kid and compliment me on my English. And I feel like we've changed a lot over the last twenty to thirty years and the last couple of years last like six months, I've gotten really depressed because am I going to have to start thinking about my race again?


I'm starting to have thoughts like this. It seems like we really turn things around in a bad way in terms of race consciousness and everyone has to talk about their identity. And I'm starting to see it in the schools. And I'm going to be entirely frank. I don't want white people to think about their whiteness all the time. I don't think that's good for us. You know, I want them to think less about race, but so I'm feeling really dark right now.


But, Mr. Watson, you have a longer view on the sorts of things like do you have hope for optimism? Do you think this will burn out or do you think we are indifferent?


Oh, I think I agree with your frustration.


But, yeah, I think that white people are going to reach race fatigue, and that's my hope that they wake up. There are two groups of people who annoy me most one hour. So flagellating guilty whites. And the second group is rich, angry, entitled Blacks. And so I'm doing everything I can. I'm optimistic because what I'm trying to do is give voice to low income people. For instance, we're reaching out to the mothers of these thousands of young black children under 16 who were killed in street wars.


I want to know if those mothers think somehow systemic racism is the answer to to the slaughter that's going on in these communities, or do they believe that we must address the enemy within. Right. You know, I was I have I have the experience of going into a gang territory and training some local groups who went in and they brought these two warring factions to my office downtown twenty one years ago, and they worked out a truce and we went from 53 murders on a five square back here in two years, down to one in 12 years.


That's the kind of intervention that we need to empower our communities to be agents of their own transformation and uplift. And I'm trying to get some of these companies investing in Black Lives Matter or why people pay expensive seminar costs so they can get cussed out by entitled middle class blacks in the name of inclusion and diversity. Sure.


To get them to invest in these homegrown solutions from within the community. So, so but these are the voices that we're trying to give, give give attention to.


What's the one thing that I don't know if you encounter this, like in the circles that I move in and I was in academia a couple of years and I still have a lot of friends in academia, some of the things that we're talking about here. Are not even permissible to talk like using the word black on black violence. You use that word, those words, concepts, ideas that they're not allowing right now. And so I don't even have discussions because I know that I'm going to get into a huge argument about even pointing out the fact that's what murder rates have increased, you know.


Well, we're going to get permission for everybody to do it. No, and I think we've got to be the right messenger. That's why I've recruited about twenty five to 30 black scholars. We have 20 other black activists. And we are coming together as a as a fourth tour de force to try to push back against this race grievance narrative. And we are we're getting we're having some success with developing our own curriculum. We have some videos. We're coming we're going to come out with we're having a cartoon character.


So we we're going to develop a ground ground game so that we and then we're trying to entice some of these corporations to spend millions of dollars on black on black uplift rather than spending money to to I mean, it's Marxist. It's a war on ideas. America is becoming totalitarian if we can get people to get beaten up. 4000 or fire the whole. So we've got to change it. America is in a very dangerous place. Well, let me let me let you go.


I have to ask, though. I don't want to be negative, but it's like I see the sixteen, seventeen, seventeen seventy six project. There's great people. But someone like Coleman Hughes, he's so young. He's so brilliant. But I see like to be frank, you Glenn Lowry, Carol Swain, I know these names. You guys have been around for a while. I'm worried about the of all races of the upcoming generation and what they're being taught.


I mean, no, we are to take whatever we know to where you'd be surprised. A group of younger people, like high school students, first year college, are calling us. Some of their parents are concerned. We just got to we just have to reach out. And I really think the savior of this country is going to be the thousands of low income blacks. As I said before, they are the sleeping giant because the left, the radical left, thrives on advertising themselves as being the legitimate representative of disenfranchised blacks.


Well, when they rise up by the thousands and say these radicals do not speak for me. Then you'll see a change, according to the last poll I saw, 80 percent of all blacks are against defunding the police. All right, but we are going to try to give a face to that number. We're going to have thousands of people stand up in a single place and say these crazies don't speak for us. OK. Yeah, good to me.


So this. In this context right now, what are your thoughts about how we need to approach this entire idea of racial identity? Right, because one of the concerns is, is, you know, you have on the left on a lot of people saying race is the foundation of our country. We only view everything through race. And then there's quite a few people on the right who are like, well, I don't see race. Right. What is what is the response or how do you approach this world where there is this really stark difference between the reason that we're in this bad, because people on the right took that position and it was the wrong position.


Right? Sixteen 19 is right. We have always given short shrift to slavery. They were right about that. And we should be telling the truth. People don't rise. Oh, we are colorblind. No, we're not colorblind. And so I think this is a pox on both their houses that needs to be a radical center that goes back to Dr. King saying let's be judged by the content of your character. That's why the the the my book, The Trials of Joseph, really defines the Wilson Center because Joseph was blameless, even though he was treated unjustly, he never came to bitterness, nor did he lose faith in his God.


And he maintained his integrity, but if it wasn't for the good Farrell, we wouldn't know about Joseph. Sure, the good Farrell is a powerful person who could reach out and to a thirty one year old uneducated Hebrew shepherd. And raise him up and give him power. That's my motto, right? Right. For the for the rich, powerful Feroze. To come together with the Josef's and let's save this country, sure, sure, I mean, so like your language is very biblical in some sense, right.


And in the connection to, well, Christianity. What's your response to the movement of a lot of black people towards Islam and and how they're engaging with with that as as their identity as opposed to Christianity?


What I'm looking for those who believe in God. Mm hmm.


Yeah. And if if you're a Jew. Muslim, Christian, it doesn't matter. Right, right. And so but I really think that we come together when it comes to what I did one time, I brought some X gang members together, 20 of them were were transformed through Islam. Right. And 20 young men were transformed to Christian. I brought them to one room and I had an imam explain how that transformation occurred. And I had the pastor explained how that transformation.


And we we came together to talk about transformation and redemption. Sure.


Sure, sure. Well, speaking of redemption, you know, and transformation, what are your thoughts on the on the prison system in the U.S. and in terms of its relationship to the black community right now? Michelle Alexander came out with her book, you know, a few years ago, New Jim Crow. What are your thoughts on that entire idea that the much of the black community or a male community has spent time in prison and is part of this complex?


They are there because they have committed more crimes and other people. Is it the nature of the crime? Yes, but look at it historically. Sure. If racism were the culprit, then why did we have these huge incarceration rates from the turn of the century up until 1960? Look at what the incarceration rates were for blacks. Sure. OK, and the question was, if racism were the culprit, why weren't we being locked up doing jury segregation?


But that all changed in the 50s with the dissolution of the family. OK, and I know I've written about that document and the fact that it was when the left and in the 60s said if you separate work from income, then it'll make the father redundant and then they recruited then to that I don't take all the time. But welfare increase out of wedlock births occur. Dropouts, drug addiction, all of the of the decline that we see now can be associated not with an increase in racism, but social policies that decimated the black family.


Yeah, and so that's where a prison I lived in New York doing that in the early the late 60s and early 70s when you everybody knew of Jack Lucas and all Frank Lucas and all those when blacks were dying in record numbers, the demand for four long term, what came from the black community? It wasn't racism. I did it. The black community demanded longer and tougher sentences for crack.


You mean for crack? Yeah, in other words. But we are 13 percent of the population and commit half of the homicides. So how can. So you can't just say not worse. It's not popular to talk about personal responsibility. We act as if that people are driven completely and totally by external factors and we should never talk about what we can do. Right.


Right. I do agree with you that I think on the left there is an entire area of personal responsibility or the conversation or agency that's entirely missing. But let me just add a footnote. If you look at which groups are underrepresented in prison as an indication of whether the prison system is racist, the most underrepresented are Asian-Americans, Indian, Americans, Jews.


There are more Gentiles and Jews in prison and not Darians. Yeah, yeah, well, economically mobile upward community is right. Who, if they committed a crime, would more likely commit crimes of white collar nature will be fraud or embezzlement. And it is more than income.


It is values. That is values to what? Well, I think there is a set of values that people track, blacks were not going to prison back then is because of a set of values, these values, the moment when the values changed. And decline, then you saw criminal actions increase, right?


So, you know, I got to say, I mean, obviously we're not going to resolve this this particular debate, but I think it's great that we're having this discussion and that is not happening anymore because of the marginalization of everything outside of a few ideas in the public space right now. And it's it's changed over the last couple of years, like these are discussions that could have been had. But now you get shouted down, you get on unfollowed on Facebook and all these.


Things, if you say that, well, maybe it's not all racism, and I think that's the critical aspect that I want to emphasize here in terms of what's happening, that Mr. Woodson brings a historical perspective. I mean, he brings facts, but he's also lived it. So I think that that's really interesting. But it's very interesting when you look on Twitter, when some of these young black speak up and talk the way I'm talking. There is a huge positive response to it.


The following morning, maybe. I just think that that is just I have gone on black Newsradio. For three hours. Debating with somebody in the studio. And whenever they open the phone lines up seven seven to one of the people who hear my message agree with me. But they're not only an invited back. And why is that? It's because the people who control the TVs and whatnot are middle class entitled blacks who care about the problems of poor blacks, all these people who are making six figure income, giving diversity training to corporations, we are now got an industry out of diversity and inclusion training.


Right, you do. That's a new a new great race grievance industry. Organizations that promulgate this madness, millions are being poured into him. Well, I mean, let me let me give you a weird example of this. You know, in academia, the term BIPAC has become huge within the last three months. And you're not supposed to say possie. You're supposed say BIPAC. And I have a friend who's an engineer at Intel and we've known each other for 20 years and he said non-white.


And I'm like, you're supposed to buy pork. And he looked at me like, what are you talking about? And this is a person with a Ph.D. in engineering that works at Intel and he didn't know what was going on. So there is a little a little like thought bubbles that enforce these rules and these word games and these ideas. And it's really sad how we have this information superhighway, all this Internet, and people are just putting themselves in the bubbles.


And that's probably one of the things that's really depressing me, because we're arguing about all these words and and like what's acceptable and what's not acceptable. But the world is still going on. As I alluded to, homicide rates are up 20 percent in this country over the last year. We are in the worst economic situation that we've had since the Great Depression. But the primary focus is on I mean, we're talking about systemic racism. I don't yeah, I don't know what it is.


I feel like it's kind of like calm or like, you know, some sort of force of the universe. It's it's a very spiritual thing. It's not a real thing. Like if you're talking about segregation, I can tell you what that is. There's a law or there's patterns. Right. Which are systemic racism. It's you can't grasp it. It's just something that explains everything and explains nothing. That's how I feel. And so we have this situation on the macro scale, on the micro scale.


People are just not talking to each other because there is a silent majority, I think. But the silent majority does not have it doesn't control the op ed boards of the newspapers, doesn't control academia. These are the institutions that speak loud and most for us. So, I mean, there's very few people with college college educations in the United States Senate or the House of Representatives. There are some, but there's very few. But that's only twenty five percent of Americans.


And so the discussion that we have is a certain discussion and all three of us are college educated. So, I mean, there you go. Right. So we need to try harder. So Mr. Woodson's bringing up class people. I've said my whole life, well, we don't have a good way to talk about class. And my thought is, well, you know what? We need to find a good way because this is enough. Enough is enough.


We're dealing with a lot of issues related to globalization and income inequality. A lot of people are doing well, but a lot of people aren't. And we're not having those discussions. We're having discussions about should we capitalize black, should we capitalize brown? Is it racist for a white man to be married to and have children with a black woman? I mean, just really weird thing. I'm reading really weird things that I would think are maybe parodies produced by conservative media, but they're true.


Like this has happened to me multiple times where it was. I just couldn't believe it was true. So I don't know who's doing this. I don't know if it's the spirit of systemic racism is like producing these crazy things. I don't know what's going on. I just want it to be over. I want us to focus on real things. And I think that's what this conversation has, really. I mean, it's left me in a better place.


I mean, you know, Mr. Woods has been around. He's seen Dr. King. He knew all these things. He's seen it. And so hopefully we can find a path forward as a country where we all have whatever our disagreements, we all have respect for each other. And that's one of the things that I don't know. I mean, has it ever been like this? There just seems to be no respect and people are very self righteous.


And I don't know where to go from that because you can't engage with someone when they don't respect you, they don't listen to you. And then one hundred percent sure they're right.


Well, having a respectful discourse was the rule in my era. I remember being on NPR. I was on with Jesse Jackson, Johnnie Cochran. And it was on Meet the Press and we had a very simple exchange, I was on Jim Lehrer News Hour with Jesse Jackson and and head of the Myrlie Evers, the wife of Medgar Evers, and John Jacobs, the head of the Urban League. And I remember the first thing when Urban League issued a state of black America, which is always bad news.


Jim Lehrer turned to me and said, well, Mr. Watson, what's the state of black America? I said, For those of us on this show, I think that.


Yeah. I said we all make comfortable incomes, we live in nice homes, our children are going to good schools, it doesn't matter. It's not related to which white man's and White House. We're prosperity. But for some, blacks is a different case, so we need to stop acting as if there is a single black American, right? No single black anybody. There are no single group of poor people. Not everybody is poor for the same reason.


And so we need to stop making these generalization, I don't have anything in common with some black was going around robbing people. There's no solidarity that I feel towards that person. Right, yeah, yeah. I mean, so could I just say it's not just about race, that's not the only identity we have. And to be frank, you I'm a self admitted coconut. Like, it's not super important to me. It can be important to you.


It's not I don't judge. I think we need to accept a little bit more diversity in how we create our own identity. I do, that's why in my book, The Trials of Joseph, I talk about when Joseph saw his brothers, when they came to Egypt and they didn't recognize him, he wept, but he did it in private because he was still angry that they sold him into slavery. It was only after he put them through various test and finally he took his younger brother, Benjamin, put him in prison, and Judah, the principal conspirator who came to Joseph and said it would break my father's heart to lose another son.


So take me in his place. Joseph wept because Judah had then become his brother in spirit.


So that always says to me, the question for me isn't, are you my color? The question for me, are you my right? Right. That's what Dr. King meant to be judged by the content of. So you and I can have a relationship not because you tell me you're black. That doesn't mean anything to me. If I want to know, are you the kind of. Are you my kind? Should we share a set of values?


Back to me is where we go, absolutely everything that you have anything else to follow up with? No, I mean, I think that's that's a great message. I mean, I'm 100 percent on board with that. Yeah. And that that that that that brings that can bring people together instead of separate. And that's that's what we want. Right.


Right. Yeah, absolutely. We want. So in your in your final thoughts on this before we let you go, Mr. Watson, what are your what are your thoughts on how people should go forward thinking about how. How you know, this presidential elections coming up. It's a it's a very first time, it's a difficult time in American history right now.


How what will be the general principles that you think, given your vast years of experience and connections with different different people from different strategies of life? What's the mindset people should go? How are they want to vote? What are the few things that you think are the most important things to think about in this election? If we don't have safety. We don't have anything else. And I think that is a responsibility of government to protect its people and if and if a person is running for office is hostile to agents of government that are in power to protect, they should not win office.


The choice is between chaos or community. I'll let people make their job. It's chaos, so community. The Roman Empire did not expand solely because it had power is that it offered people security.


From, you know, bands of of of warlords. But what Rome offered all all romance was you give me your liberty, I'll give you security, right? And that's how our company, a country, becomes a dictatorship when we a government abandons its capacity to protect its citizens and then others step up offering security at the cost of their liberty. That's what's on on trial during this election.


Right. Do you have any last thoughts? Anything else you want to leave us with? Are you working on anything that's upcoming? Yeah, I have a I have a book coming out and I think is December the 12th is called Lessons from the Least of these the Woodson principles. It's on Amazon. And what it does is I've taken all of my experience in the last 40 years and distilled them into a guide as to what you should do if you're trying to help people who are disadvantaged.


What are the ten principles that should guide the decisions you make regarding these issues? Sure. It's called lessons from the least of these.


Yeah, if you give us a link, we'll put it into our show notes. In addition of working people, if they want to read seventeen seventy six point seventy six Unite's dot com.


OK, 1776 unites with an S dotcom. Excellent. I just want to thank you for this time.


Oh, thank you for this time. It's it's been great talking to you and we really appreciate your perspective and and the work you're doing in trying to, you know, build bridges and and address issues that you find to be problematic and civil and and meaningful way. So thank you. Yeah.


I've been I've been a big fan for a long time, so it's been an honor to to talk to you and meet you. And I obviously I wish you the best of luck and success with the project. I'm keeping track of all you guys. So, Glen, I'm a big fan of Carol Swain's work. I watch Colman's show. So total fanboy here. Yeah, that's great work. Thank you. Thank you.


Tune in next week for Brown.