Amanpour: Brett McGurk, Rashad Robinson and Reniqua Allen
Tired of spending hundreds of dollars prescription glasses. Xeni offers thousands of affordable eyewear styles starting at just six ninety five visits any today at Zanny dot com slash CNN. Hello, everyone and welcome to almond for. Here's what's coming up. Unacceptable and a non starter. That's Democrats on President Trump's idea of compromise to end the government shutdown and amid the president's controversial plan to withdraw troops from Syria. Former envoy Brett mcgurk says Trump's new policy will give ice is a new lease on life. Then a Martin Luther King day, the president of color for change. Rashad Robinson tells a hurry suite of us and how the internet can help achieve racial equality and Justice, plus the journalist and writer Renisha Allen tells me why the American dream is dead at least for black millennials. Welcome to the program, everyone, I'm Christiane Amanpour in London as the longest US government shutdown in history enters its fifth week now. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees remain without work and pay including nearly a quarter of a million veterans who worked for the government one union says the former service personnel are among the hardest hit by this furlough. So morale-sapping news at home and also abroad in the field after four Americans were killed in a suicide blast in Syria last week at the very time. The president is rallying to withdraw all US troops from the country. The decision sparked several high profile resignations from his administration. I there was the Defense Secretary James Mattis, then Brett mcgurk who was the presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat. Isis mcgurk work had spanned three administrations. And now he's written an op-ed. Trump said he beat ISIS. Instead, he's giving it new life. I've been speaking to Brett mcgurk who tells me the president Syria policy is a total Vercel of everything the administration had been trying to achieve and worse that it strips the United States have any leverage with its partners and adversaries. Brett mcgurk. Welcome back to our program. Christiane? Thanks so much for having me. So we talked to a lot over the years when you were all sorts of different iterations of envoy presidential envoy, basically ISIS point man over the dos. Many many years, you have resigned, it was very public letter and public moment. But I want to ask you first, the consequences of the US pull out, and we hear today that the Turkish president has decided and has offered to be, you know, the security force for man bitch that famous town in northern Syria. What what does that mean is that a good thing should the US be happy that the Turks are gonna take over when we formed the coalition really in late summer early. Fall of two thousand fourteen we started with twelve countries it's grown to seventy five countries. American leadership was really critical to that. And of course, was a was a key partner in this. And in our our initia-. Plan plan A if you want to say that. Was to work with Turkey to get a handle on this problem. And I probably spend most of my time in the first year of my job, including when I was working with general Allen. Most of our time was spent inaugura because most of the material coming to to fuel the ISIS war machine. Frankly was coming across the border from Turkey into Syria. So we we clearly identified that one of the things we wanted to do was to work with the Turks NATO ally to control their border, and quite frankly, it was very frustrating because Turkey did not take much action on the border. So we have worked very hard with Turkey on in various ways and nothing's really worked out. And there's a number of reasons for that, quite frankly, I think our interest in Syria in fundamental ways really diverge, and when when president Erawan puts on the table proposals. That might look look good in concept. Every time we send our best people or best planners to really dig into. What can actually we do together? It never really pans out. I'll just give you an example. The opposition groups that Turkey supports that it would send for example into a safe zone. Are simply not groups that the United States of really work with. I mean, they are very closely tied with tied with with with extremist groups, and if you just run if you just look at the northern tier of Syria and just run across what is now that the Turkey border in it live province that's an area that we don't outbreak in. It is a really Inari influence for Turkey. It is really dominated now entirely by groups with ties to al-qaeda all the border crossings with Turkey are controlled by kite, very serious problems. Very serious problem. I it is I sort of see what you're saying. I'm you saying that that is not the solution to replace US troops who are leaving. So let me wind back a little bit this tape to when you first heard that the president was going to be removing US troops from Syria after all the hard won gains that you describe. Well, I. We knew that the prisoner to want to speak with President Trump and president Erdo wine was sabre-rattling about sending the Turkish backed opposition forces and Turkish military forces into areas of Turkey where US forces are operating, and we've been dealing with this for a couple of months or message to Turkey was just but do not send your military forces in because that's going to create a very serious situation. And frankly, put American lives at risk. So that was the policy when president it'll on called President Trump. This was really upended. Instead, President Trump did not say that. And he basically said look we plan to leave Syria fairly soon, and then basically a green light. So that just totally reversed everything we have been doing for a very long time. I was in Iraq working with the new Iraqi government on on making sure we sustain the very significant gains against ISIS when I was informed of the call. I had a phone call with. -tary Pompeo, and I came home to Washington to try to manage the fallout from this and immediately got on the phone with my coalition partners in capitals around the world and tried to explain what was happening, and it was just a total reversal of what we had been telling them for a number of months, and you did resign to be fair. You we're going to plan to leave mid February. But you brought that up to the end of December. And in your letter to your colleagues, you said the recent decision by the president came as a shock and was a complete reversal of policy that was articulated to us it left, our coalition partners confused, and I'll fighting partners bewildered you've expanded a little bit about that. But when you say, what was your foot, what came out of your mouth? What what was the first thing? You said when you got the call that this was going to happen. Well, there were two Eissa look at at one was okay. The president has asked us to leave Syria. Let's try to figure out a way to orchestrate this in a way that can still achieve all of our objectives. Syria, and all of our objectives and Syrian clued. And again, this these are the instructions from from the White House. So this is not a policy is just cooked up in the State Department our policy in Syria articulated by the White House national Security, John Bolton and others was that we would stay in Syria until number one the enduring defeat of ISIS that was the primary mission that was my mission. Number two will stay in Syria until all Ronnie's are out of Syria, whether or not that was real realistic. That was the stated policy or ticketed again from the White House and number three. We'd stay in Syria. And there was a euro versatile mental was the phraseology to the UN back political process in Geneva, which dealt with the Assad regime in the civil war. I frankly believe that if we are leaving serious, the president has now very clearly instructed, those objectives simply are totally unachievable. Another thing that really concerned me Christiane is that asking a military force to withdraw under pressure or from a combat environment. As one of the most difficult things you can ask a military force to do. So if the orders are, and these are the orders from the president to withdraw that has to be the mission, the mission cannot be withdraw and do a number of other things complete ISIS campaign, which of course, we want to do keep the Russians and the regime out of the territory, we continue we now influence try to do some sort of engineering to allow Turkey to come in to replace us in a number of other things that's impossible to ask the few Americans on the ground to do. So is really mission impossible. Well, I mean, it just does sound absolutely awful. And I wanted before I get into most Pacifics about the particular fallout that you would just referring to how does it make you feel? I mean as a person as the ISIS point man now seeing four Americans killed this past week in the days after President Trump made his announcement. Where look anyone who works on these issues where professional worked across three administrations. Republicans and Democrats I've worked on policies I fully supported I worked on policies. I might have thought of been. Unwise, but you always your voices at the table, and you try to influence things based upon the facts and the analysis, and and you do the best you can so in Syria, for example, we are not doing the fighting on the ground for over three years in this campaign until just last week. Two Americans had been killed in action. And then tragically last week. We lost four additional Americans that pales in comparison to the democratic forces that have lost thousands of casualties in this campaign. American taxpayers are not spending money on civilian reconstruction. And other types of those tests as coming from the coalition that we built so it is a very sustainable low cost high impact mission of mission. Let me interrupt you the kind of mission presumably, the President Trump would love you just out of the magic woods low cost the people of paying the bulk of the money that it takes his you've just described begun to to help design a campaign plan that was succeeding, and it was reaching a really critical. As and we were talking about the longer term transition and to have it all ended in a phone call with a foreign leader without any serious consultation with the national security team with sector defense and others. That's just not the way to run foreign policy effectively. So this was a complete reversal. And I'm concerned about the the fallout one can say that the president has a fairly unusual relationship with Russian President Putin. And maybe he doesn't castle much if the Russians fill the void that US is leaving. But he doesn't have a cozy relationship with the Iranians. And you just said one of the principal aims was to degrade Iranian influence as much as possible. And the stated aim of the White House was to stay until Iran was no longer a viable player that, but you're on staying not only that the president himself said Iran can have it. You know, we don't want it. It's just sand and death. I don't understand that policy. Do Booker, Sean. You hit on a good point. And this is there's a bit of, you know, I'll be careful with my words, but there's a there's a bit of incoherence between the views of the president and the views of some of the most senior members of the national security team, particularly in the White House the views of the president. Clearly, he's been very consistent. He does not want to be overly invested in the Middle East, particularly with with the US military power, the views of the national security visor seem to be quite different. And so that is a divergence that makes our foreign policy. There's lens element of incoherence to it that we hear about this from partners all around the world. And and that's something that ultimately, I think they're going to have to address it still really weird because everything the president has done speaks to wanting to isolate Iran where the pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal with a being so cozy with Saudi Arabia despite everything including the kashogi Moda just because they partly see it as a bull walk against Iran. And then to say that it can. Have if it wants we don't want Syria. It's just sand and death. But you just mentioned being presidential envoy Europe presidential envoy for President Trump. Did you have a meet him? Well, every ministrations different. So with President Bush in the White House. If I if I was overseas every morning we were in the Oval Office, President Obama a very regular exchanges. President Trump just runs the operation differently. So most of my most of my interactions than Trump administration's were at the sector defense, the secretary of state and our military commanders. I was obviously involved in every major decision of the ISIS campaign, but turns of direct interactions with President Trump pretty much interacts with his cabinet secretaries. No, basically, the president did not meet the presidential envoy to Syria. Yeah. That's right. All you concerned as one writer has said senior fellow at Brookings. The advent of a more unified and predictable US foreign policy is likely to weaken American influence and destabilize the international order a deeply divided. Trump administration was the best case for those who believe in the United States postal strategy defined by strong alliances, an open global economy and broad support for democracy. The rule of law human rights, all the rest of it. Again. Just go back to my earlier point. There is a there is a disconnect and just my own personal experience instructions from the White House from very senior levels of the White House to tell our partners are allies, the Russians or adversaries that we are staying in Syria until these very these these objectives are met, for example, until Ron is leaving Syria that those are instructions that we were carrying from the White House and that was completely reversed by the president. Therefore, I think we have to be. Very realistic about the situation in Syria and number one. I think we have to be realistic that President Assad is staying in place this objective that somehow we were going to work through UN process to to remove sharla Saad, I think at this point is unrealistic. And if we if we continue to reach for unrealistic objectives US credibility will continue to be further diminished in other words side wins. And he gets it back. He wins, and he gets pretty much all of Syria back. Well, that's the consequence of our of our leaving Syria and announcing to the world, we're leaving Syria. You know, Christiane I also did a lot of negotiations with the Russians on Syria. So I kind of understand exactly where they come from those negotiations are very tough. What gave us leverage at the table. Was the fact that we are present on the ground, and that we have influence over significant portion of Syria, and we actually drew lines on the map to make clear the Russians you do not cross this line, or you're going to have a very bad day that gives you that gives you leverage with the Russians and we getting to the point where with the defeat. Physical caliphate. We'd be able to sit down with the Russians, but very serious conversation about the future of Syria announcing to the world that we were just leaving basically all of that leverage completely evaporates and just not to put too fine. A point on it. The main reason that you stated at the beginning for the US presence and the US campaign and the coalition campaign was to defeat ISIS and the president described ISIS as defeated that's a quote, an absolutely obliterated in terms of territory. But of course, you know, many reports released late last year, including the Pentagon inspector general, the UN's and strategic, and it's national studies estimates that ISIS has twenty to thirty thousand members in Iraq and Syria is era is ISIS defeated can the president leave Syria knowing that they'll be no more threat from ISIS. Crescendo? Look, it's a great question. And in early December secretary, Madison I met with all the military contributors of our coalition, including many countries they've been attacked from ISIS out of. Syria, and the unanimous view was that is not defeated. This mission is not over. I do not think there would be a single expert. They would walk in the Oval Office until the president that this is over. And that is why we always said that the mission was the enduring defeat devices not just taking physical caliphate. But getting the arrangements in place to ensure that vacuum out open in its wake. And that's why we were setting up the conditions that have this very serious intense negotiations with the Russians which I think was setting up in a pretty good spot. Until again, we we we throw away all of our leverage by announcing we're leaving on. There's also very serious risk to Iraq. This is of course, one third of Syria in which thousands of foreign fighters and suicide bombers poured from Syria into Iraq that we are. Now, a announcing to the world that we are going to leave without having any plan for who is going to take our place. So again, I think the consequences are quite serious. That's why I would recommend to the president to halt these orders reassess the situation but short of that. Think we just have to face very hard reality. I mean, you couldn't make it up. Really it just does sound very perplexing. Indeed. For all the reasons that you state, can I ask you to give me your personal analysis opinion of what role secretary Mattis played? And I don't just mean as a foam Kamanda a secretary of defense. But a somebody who it has to be said the rest of the world look to as a salutary influence on a president who is not versed in military affairs, or foreign affairs secretary Mattis is one of our greatest Americans, I the honor to work very closely with him over these last two years, but also many times previously really over the last decade combat veteran spent a lot of time in war-zones that is actually very important experience. You wanna have people have actually know what it's like on the ground. What this is like, no we're talking about. So his voice in the room was just a critical. Kind of stabilizing factor as the national security team deliberated and made decisions when President Trump came in. You know, we did we did a strategic review of the Conroy campaign. And we looked at elements in which we could exceleron the campaign, and we put a number of decisions to the president and the president made those decisions and those were good decisions. That was a that was a strategic review that was really run by my office together with secretary Mattis in sector, Tillerson at the time. And I think it was actually done quite professionally and thoroughly and have you heard from America's allies in this, particularly the ones you've been talking to in the wake of this decision. There is concern about where this is heading. And I think particularly are our allies in Europe that were prime targets for ISIS, and you're the attacks and the attacks in Paris, one hundred thirty civilians dead in the streets of Paris, those attacks came directly from Syria, they were planned in Raka. They were organized in Maharaj, they terrace combat team out through Syria. To infiltrate into Paris of the same thing with the Brussels airport attack. So these are very serious threats emanating from Syria, and these countries and capitals, all of whom have put their blood and treasure on the line as part of our coalition under the umbrella of American leadership are extremely concerned about the decision that was just made. And the fact that again, we don't have a plan for what's coming. It's one thing to say, look, we should leave serious think of plants note that thing to announce we're leaving Syria, and then to try to think of the plan later, and that's what's going on now. And I think it is it's increasing the risk to our forces on the ground. It's increasing the risks to our partners who under threat from from ISIS. You know, you've laid it out very succinctly. And you've sort of touched on the fact that yes, of course, if we want to withdraw troops, but we should have a plan. Not do it vice versa. But what do you say to the American people to the president who ran on a promise of bringing back forces? These wars have been going on since. Two thousand and one after nine eleven, you know, the forever wars people in America fed up with them against the great question. That was those a drive that was it's obviously a driving influence within the Trump presidency and President Obama also, of course, had that view in that comes from the American people in the the experience of our country over the last decade that is why how ever we design the counter ISIS campaign to address that. And again, this this element of a very low cost very high impact campaign Americans are not fighting in the streets of Syrian Syrian cities and towns series are doing the fighting rocko, which was the capital ISIS through its under which all these threats were being these plots were these plots being hatched and launched ISIS was taken down by series without the loss of a single American life. So we designed this campaign actually to address that. And again, my head is spinning because I recall, very, very very very clearly so many in the national security. Of field and also Trump when he was running as campaigning with very very critical of President Obama precipitously pulling out of Iraq. And what did that lead to ISIS the rise of ISIS? And then what that lead to reinserting tens of thousands, if not more US troops. I mean, we've seen this movie before in the Middle East to two things presence matters and credibil- credibility matters. So an American handshake has to matter and your presence on the ground matters. And that does not mean again that we were planning or we should have planned to stay in Syria forever for twenty years. It does mean that we should have presence on the ground to help us in a negotiation with adversaries like Russia than our presence on the ground helps at the table and having been a diplomat at the table. You wanna have that on your back number one, the consistency of American foreign policy in the leadership behind you and presence on the ground. That is what it diplomat really needs to get things done. And we just pull the plug on that. It's really very perplexing with very very potentially dramatic consequences. Brett mcgurk former presidential envoy for Syria and ISIS. Thank you very much. Indeed. Thank you, Sean. Sean. You don't want not smart job boards that overwhelmed with tons of the wrong resumes. Luckily, there's a smarter way to hire at ZipRecruiter. Ziprecruiter's powerful matching technology finds the right people for you. And actively invites them to apply. It's no wonder that ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US this rating comes from hiring sites on trust pilot with over one thousand reviews and right now listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at ZipRecruiter dot com slash on poor. If you love this show show, your support to it ends up recruiter by going to ZipRecruiter dot com slash AM. A N P O you are tired of spending hundreds of dollars for prescription glasses. Our friends at Xeni optical offer, a huge variety of high quality stylish frames and state of the art optics starting at just six ninety five. You can get multiple frames with this great pricing for less than one pair. Elsewhere start building your eyewear wardrobe from the comfort of your own home, eggs, any dot com. With the latest trends in eyewear available and hundreds of. Frame styles and materials there isn't a better way to change it up for every season. Plus Xeni offers prescription sunglasses at incredible prices. Visit Xeni today at Xeni dot com slash CNN. That's Z E N. I dot com slash CNN. Remember to create an ad like this one visit pure winning dot com slash CNN. Turning to a day of reflection because America's mocking Martin Luther King day. But no public holiday for congress because of this continued shutdown, however, congress can claim an important markup for the first time in history African Americans hold the same proportion of congressional seats twelve percent as their proportion of the population at large and yet while more than half a century is passed since Martin Luther King spoke about his American dream today, racial inequality. Stubbornly persists in a moment. How it affects black Manelli millennials when we talked to the author Renita Allen, but I those fighting for racial Justice. Give us a reality. Check. Rashad Robinson is the president of the leading nonprofit color change. And he tells a hurry screen of awesome that we need to confront the calls. Instead of the symptom. For those familiar with the organs. Asian what is color of change? Do what's it's mission color of change in next generation, racial Justice organization, and we were founded after Kane, Katrina, and that moment where black people were literally on their roofs begging for the government to do something. And we're left to die and the feary behind the start of color of change was that the movement needed a new type of infrastructure to capture the energy and aspirations and demands of black folks in their allies if every race folks were giving to the Red Cross when they could be working for systemic change. How could we pay our technology and media and organizing together to build the type of momentum in power that did the thing that was really at the heart of Katrina where no one was nervous about disappointing black people government corporations and media. And so the idea behind color of change is how do we translate these wide Ray? Range of moments that are happening every single day, and our society and give people the ability to collectively take action, and then translate that action into strategic, cultural and political change. How do you do that? Is it public pressure is private pressure? It's a mix of both, you know, private pressure for us only really works. If there is this idea that public pressure as possible. And so sometimes we have to hold out the idea that public pressure is coming sometimes we can work behind the scenes to push our demands sometimes this about reward. Sometimes it's about a shame. But all of that is about creating a sense that those who are empower need to know that there are consequences for racism there consequences for behaviors that put our community imperil one of I remember guys coming on the field, so to speak even post Katrina was. When you were able to exert pressure on Glenn Beck and looking back now, I mean that was because of some of the comments that he was making the divisive rhetoric looking now, and that was two thousand nine and here we are nine years after and we have nine term members of congress who are just starting to face consequences for things that they've been saying that episode. Glenn Beck relatively speaking seems tain today in some ways, it does seem tame I do think. That some of this is is Evan flow. And I do think that while it's important in the media culture to think about rhetoric because media oftentimes about rhetoric when we look at what's happening in our congress with someone like Steve king. I think it's it's it's important that folks are calling out his rhetoric now though, I think more journalists to ask why now and why not just Steve king? But the larger question is not about folks in power and policymakers rhetoric, but actually their policy what are the impact of the policies that they are putting forth voting rights civil rights. Like, these are all things from criminal Justice immigration that Steve king had a say over he was able to implement and move racist policies policies that have deep impact on people's lives. And so I. Really hope that as we move this discussion forward than we talk about sort of the words that were able to not just kind of have outrage about those, but actually go much deeper and be more clear that it's the policies that have the real deep impact on people every single day. There's sometimes this conception that racism is a generational issue that it will die out over time that it will move towards equality. We have those images and Charlottesville, these young men that just maybe out of college or little after that. And with their faces in full Tiki torch light. You know? The voted ever since Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in the Voting Rights Act. No democrat that needed black votes has gotten a majority of the white vote. We do live in a very deeply divided country along race. And I don't think we get around that by refusing to talk about it or thinking that it will just change overnight far too often people think about any quality as unfortunate almost like a car accident. And I don't just mean people who don't always agree with us on the issue. I mean, lots of people and so instead of seeing inequality as unjust. And when you see inequality is unfortunate, so many of the solutions that people think about our charitable solutions. Let's in water bottles to Flint and said of working to actually deal with the pipes. Let's clean up inner city school instead of dealing with public education making public education equal, let's deal with reentry. Sense versus versus the cause. And so part of the challenge that we've had over many decades we've worked to deal with a lot of symptoms and not a lot of causes and change has actually happened. And in in that sort of where we haven't done all of the work to bring people along at the same time. They're powerful forces in the White House on their powerful forces in the media, their powerful force in our culture that have a lot at stake at keeping the status quo in place at keeping the rules rigged and keeping us divided to in order to do that. And and for people of good faith who are watching this for people who are on the sidelines. The, you know, the fight to ensure that our democracy allows all of our voices to be counted is not just the fight for black people. Not just the. Fight for people of color the attacks that have happened. Via racism on our education system on our health system on our environment. The way that racism has been used as a wedge has hurt all of society and the question will be is keeping racist status quo policies in place. So been official to folks that people are willing to risk their own health their own environment their own education, and all the other things that have really the gun to fall apart because racism has been used as a wedge to break down the structures of our society. The ways that we ensure that Justice is actually served in our systems, one of yours focusing on social platforms. What are you asking of them? What's happening there like many institutions that grow very quickly? There have to be rules of the road. And as we started to deal with. Platforms like Facebook and watched how they dealt with low enforcement without any rules or regulations oftentimes, bypassing kind of warrants in civil rights law by providing information to to law enforcement, really violating the the pack that people thought they had about privacy with those platforms the way that algorithms could be used to violate the nineteen sixty four Civil Rights Act. Like you could put an ad on Facebook. That said I only wanna market this house to white people. And and the way that race was weaponized during the twenty sixteen election, really breaking down. A whole set of trust about how we think about our elections, and how we think about voting and democracy, while we have been engaged with Facebook really pushing them to do a civil rights audit and look at all their policies put into real structures about how they think about policies and practices. We found out via the New York Times that while they were telling us sort of really great things about what they were gonna be doing and talking to us about this audit and hiring the people to do it. They had hired a PR firm to attack us at the same time employing, this firm to sort of move these narrows about who was funding us, and that we didn't have our own ideas, which were deeply racists in this idea that black people don't control their own ideas of many of the ways that the student nonviolent coordinating committee, and Dr king, we're sort of tact in the sixties by saying that they were puppets of some larger. Entity as if they didn't have their own ideas for fighting for their for Justice, and one of the things that we really need from both. Our regulators members of congress those that invest in Facebook is to hold the largest communications platform that the world has ever seen one of the largest corporations out there accountable for basic practices around privacy around data sharing around civil rights, and that is going to be incredibly important because they have so much access to so much of our information. There was a now famous litter from a former employee of theirs Mark lucky as he left the company. He had great statistics on how much more engaged African Americans are on Facebook all the metrics Facebook wishes that had about other communities as well. But that it was also not a positive experience for so many of them. Because when they would post something either the algorithm or other people were able to essentially create ways for that content to be censored. Well, I mean, that's one of the things that we've seen in. And it's not just that. It's organizations having their content blocked. You know? You know? Many kind of forces inside of Facebook conservative force inside of Facebook have put this idea of conservative bias at the same level as civil rights. We oftentimes talk about is there's left in there's right. And there's right and there's wrong, and so civil rights somehow a left issue now. And so Facebook will do a training for their folks that are monitoring around the election monitoring the platform around the election and the same day, they do a training on voter suppression. They did a training on voter fraud. Which is basically this. Donald Trump conspiracy theory on that's been advanced by the right? It's like why don't you do training on is the world flat? And the and the idea that they they've put the politicized civil rights to such a point where ad for a pride parade in a pride celebration becomes a political ad and not just like an ad for people coming together is an example of many of the ways that Facebook has to sort of recognize and all these platforms have to recognize that they've gotta have a moral Rutter one of the big or challenges that they've had. And this is really a challenge that they're trying to fight because of what's happening in Europe is that these companies are trying to avoid any type of regulation all cost. These companies will have to think very clearly about how they engage in his upcoming twenty twenty election back in twenty sixteen. We've. Forced many companies to divest from the RNC convention because of the rhetoric of Donald Trump in the lead up to the election all of the platforms, like Google and Facebook, and we got on the phone with them and urged him to divest from the RNC convention. They told us that they were media platforms that they had to be at both conventions for both sides. Now, we've seen Mark Zuckerberg go to congress and say that they're not a media platform. So now what will their excuse be for enabling racism? There's also the power of traditional media. Whether it's the news industry or really the entertainment industry. There's a relatively small group of people in Hollywood create and manufacture the perception of how life is or how life should be. So how does an organization like yours tackle that? We really think a lot about this. We a couple of years ago opened an office in Hollywood and put real energy behind focusing on these images with the larger. Idea that we do have to change culture culture, oftentimes precedes policy shift, and and one of the couple of things that we really focus on we've worked with UCLA USC on a number of reports to really look at both diversity and writers rooms, the writers rooms that create this shows and look at how these shows are created who's in the room who's writing the stories that reach America and as a result. What what are we missing as a result and seeing? A whole set of challenges in terms of access that black folks if people of color and women have had to being able to create and write Intel authentic stories, they're going to reach folks, we're releasing a report that looks at crime on TV and all the crime shows, and how they not only portray black people on those shows, but how they portray a criminal Justice system that is deeply unfair that we've had folks on the left and the right say is deeply unfair. But our Justice system is oftentimes portrayed on TV is just a set of individuals moving forward the law that the heroes are the folks working inside the system everyone on the outside is a criminal. You see oftentimes these cases that start with the crime, and in with a verdict within an hour when people when what we really know is that people are oftentimes lacking behind bars for months and months and years and years way. Waiting trials. And oftentimes they're not because they are guilty. But because they are poor because they are black because they're not powerful. Here. We are more than fifty years after the I have a dream speech, and you talk about civil rights, and you talk about voter rights where are we in that longer arc of not even achieving the dream? But in the process toward it. You know, I think that we're in a deep struggle right now. I I look at many of the rollbacks on many of the ways that voting rights were under attack doing this past election in places like Georgia, and Florida and elsewhere, I think about the work that we have to do to not just be on the defensive so much of the work in previous decades was about defending and protecting the things that were one doing the sixties and as a next generation racial Justice organization. I really do believe that so much of our work. Has to be about what what are the next generation campaigns the next generation policies that we are putting forth that will allow us to move forward in a more multiracial, democracy, more multiracial society. And so not just thinking about how do we protect things like the Voting Rights Act, but what is the new Voting Rights Act? What are the policies in states around the country and federally that we need to push to ensure that not just that we protect the vote, but that we make every vote or cat not just every vote count. And for us at color of change constantly sort of thinking about that. And thinking about when we asked people to take an action on something that they're outraged on something that they're worried about how do we translate that into a policy fight? And you know, the politics are not always going to be there. And so some of that right now has to be about. Tilling the soil about putting forward big demands. Even know we may not yet have the policy, but recognizing that will never get there. If we refuse to actually be aspirated if we fuse to actually put forward what we really want. Sean Robinson color of change. Thanks so much. Thanks for having me. So daring to know what you want. It is perhaps not surprising to hear about him next gen approach to civil rights when so many young black people in the United States feel frustrated and disillusioned by the current state of play author unequal Allen talked to dozens of black millennials from all over the United States for her new book. It was all dream. It's called a new generation confronts. The broken promise to black America. And I've been speaking to her about those broken promises and the significance in front of her books title. Renisha Allen, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me here cushy on. So you've risen this book. And it's getting a lot of buzz, and you particularly have sort of the millennial experience. What is the significance of the title? It was all dream. So it was all dream is a lyric from rob song from the notorious via gee, when I was growing up as a young person in the nineties, and it was about this rapper from bedside a very poor neighborhood in New York City, having his dreams become realized he was making it he had money all of a sudden. And for me, I realized that something that didn't quite feel so possible anymore is I inter my thirties. And as I saw a lot of my millennials. Peter's really struggling to have their dreams realized. So I was wondering is it all it dream? It was all dream. It felt like, you know, Barack Obama his presidency was ending and people were still really struggling. And while millennials. I think overall struggle black moon. Were having a specific and unique time and in a hard time kind of just dealing with growing up. So let me let me just get straight though, you sort of on the cutting edge in that you're one of the original sort of older generation of millennials right now. So are you saying that when you heard this song and his experience Dettori is about this other Rapa things were looking like they were better, and you feel now than not so good? Absolutely, absolutely. I came of age like like, you mentioned I'm an older millennial and when I came of age things felt possible. Jesse Jackson was running for president. That was a big deal are parented endured. Affirmative action had benefited from -firmative action. Argentina parents like the first people that really were in corporate America. They were African Americans who were by all means kind of succeeding, even though a lot of them grew up with with segregation. But our parents were doing well by by many. Accounts in all of a sudden when we came of age, it didn't seem like that necessarily was the case, you know, Barack Obama was such a high moment for a lot of young black millennials. But at that same time, we had a proclaim to the world that black lives matter that our lives matter. There was a humanity that I think we've still were fighting for and it felt exhausting. We have cell phone technology now. Right. So you can see a lot of our pain and struggle every day. We saw Mike Brown laying out we see these videos of young black bodies getting attack constantly over and over people getting shot in the street, and that's a hard place to be. So so let me ask you because I want to you've done a huge amount of research you've written this book. And I wonder whether you have synthesized why this is happening. I just read one of your quotes you write today. I laugh at my early nineties. Notion of making it yet out his cool. It never really changed. My American dream was not to mess up. My dream was to defy expectations to be unpredictable to do something better. And something more than my ancestors. So I mean, you had those hopes what you think went wrong so to speak who I'm in student debt college. What went wrong, I think America, his always been hard for young black people? I think it's hard for millennials in general. You know, there was a piece just this week about millennial burnout from BuzzFeed. So I think it's hard for this generation. I think there's a lot of uncertainty. We don't have the jobs that are parents that we have to get degrees. If we wanted just make it ahead a little bit those factory jobs. Right. The you could go to high school, and you know, have an have a job on a factory line in in B. Okay. And have a home on. That's the -bility has gone. Right. So many of my peers are freelancers, there's uncertainty. We have a lot of student debt those jobs. I don't know anybody who's been on a job for ten years. And I definitely don't know anyone who's had a pinch in. So I. Think that it's really difficult. There's a lot of uncertainty in that's being passed down to this generation. And I think that is the difference. And then I should say I think the other difference is having Barack Obama become president. Right. The idea possibility realize Obama was such a tremendous figure whether you like him or not or disagree with his politics. It was the site of. Yes, we can't achieve but then I'm looking at the world after and I'm looking at black America after I'm looking at how people of color in this country being treated, I'm looking at what happened in Charlottesville enough to all that after all the excitement of having someone like the rock Obama in the White House where we are today. We feel more divided than ever feels like we have to still fight and fight and fight for humanity. And we saw Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in their kids have to do that. And that's a hard hard place to be. I mean, I don't wanna say that many of us bought into this kind of idea that we were. Becoming a post racial society. But even the young men and women that I talked to some of them actually believe that they thought that we were going to be in a better place and to see that America's not if we're actually in a worse place than ever. And that's that's a tough thing. I think to deal with what it is tough. It's tough to hear you say as well to you said to be in a worse place than ever. It's really hard to hear you say that. And of course, you do highlight the difference the actual factual difference and difference of opportunity between black and white millennials which presumably mirrors the difference between blacks and whites in America, period. But let me ask you this. Because you quote in your book, the current President Donald Trump who once said a well educated black has a tremendous advantage over well educated white in terms of the job market. Now, I believe he said that in one thousand nine hundred nine and he may or may not still think that but do programs like affirmative action help. I mean, I will what do you make of that statement? I think it's misguided. I think it was misguided in the eighties. Misguided? Today's though, I mean, we know that this thing that is white privilege is like it's not made up lake being white in America does provide you with like a boost in society. Whether you see it or not, it is a thing by virtue people just giving you the benefit of the doubt when you walk into a room not saying, I grew up with a lot of privilege, right? I grew up in the black middle class. I did not actually I did not come from many slums or poverty, but I will say that programs. Like affirmative action. I think actually did benefit people like myself, my mom, just because we don't have the networks. Right. You might have had if it Donald Trump's father. I mean that gave him a huge boost in while a lot of Americans don't have that they may have a friend or no friend of a friend. Let me just give you some statistics. Go to what you're saying. The National Academy of sciences lost year said hiring discrimination against. Hasn't changed in the last twenty five years, if you're black Latino you have to work harder just to get an interview. Even if you as well qualified as white candidates. I spoke with William John Doe who has you know, was working in the Obama White House in the my brother's keeper program, and he said to me even a year ago similar to what you're saying. Let's just play it been ninety nine percent of American communities, if you're black boy, you're going to have a consistent and persistent income gap from your white male peer, even if you were born with the same economic circumstances. So if you're a millionaire black boy your chances of being incarcerated or the same as a white boy from the household that has thirty six thousand you're just as likely to fall out of the top income brackets as you are to stay. If you're an African American boy. So just just stunning data. Is that consistent with what you're finding? Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, one my name is Ronny CuA. An obviously I have been able to. Some of those barriers and get job interviews, but you know, just having a name Renita on a resume, obviously impediment. Studies have shown over and over and over again. I mean, my the people that I spoke to in the book consistently said like so much that I actually was like tired of hearing it that they said we have to work twice as hard. We cannot screw up in in. You know, Bill say that I saw this myself that I saw my white colleagues saying, oh, we didn't have to. We didn't get internships. We just kinda got drunk the whole time in college where so many of these young black people having internship after internship having to consistently prove themselves on the workforce to their pairs to their bosses. It's hard for everybody. Like this millennial generation has it rough. It doesn't always matter about skin color. We have an uncertainty in an economic ins -iety that I think we haven't had in the past. But on the job front. It is still hard even with a college degree in generally because we have more student debt black America does not have wealth. We saw her parents become wiped out by the recession. And it's actually quite outrageous. When people say, well, it looks like a even playing field. And I think that's like the hard part for me about this generation that yes, the black man can become president Oprah's on television. There's each suray there. There's black success out here. But like, why aren't we getting it and people don't quite get it that like those folks are like the exceptions you broach. Black lives matter, we have seen actually a sort of almost culture shift in some areas, you see what's happening in Hollywood, major black directors major stories that they're directing you can see in editors of major cultural magazines and things of black people of color and they're changing the tone of the editorial. And what you see on the cover of these magazines. I wonder whether whether that strikes you is. Hopeful how you how you analyze that? Yeah. I think it's absolutely hopeful. Right. I think that people are recognizing that African Americans and also people of color like their voices in some ways do matter. However, and I say that with a very follow fire that we're still not the folks that that whole power. I mean a piece on Twitter pitcher on Twitter was just posted a reporters for another network. And it was no African Americans that is a huge overnight. Right. You look at Hollywood you look at. The number of executives, and they're largely in for television and film right there, largely white and largely male still. So we have a long long way to go. You look at the people who have power, even though, you know, despite Barack Obama and house and congress, and it's still largely white this, particularly with this current administration the people that are on the top that are millionaires at a making success. Like that power structure still hasn't changed. You do actually talk about a maybe self selecting solution. I don't know, but you describe this phenomenon which I found fascinating. And I didn't know about of so many young black millennials actually moving from the north which we thought was the land of opportunity Gnoll and all these other states that once save holding states a moving down south that I find fascinating what is going on there? I mean, I was sitting in a election night in New York City in a bar and someone. Said, you know, we need to make America great again. And I don't think it's solely about this administration or or just Donald Trump or who's in the White House. But I think near city it doesn't exactly feel so great and liberating anymore. Teen Lee get followed. When I go out in a store in the upper east side, and the south has like a different vibe. There is a vibrant middle class there. HP see us for the people that I interviewed in this book HVAC us were huge Houston. And I mean, historically, black universities. It was a huge part of their identity in them coming to terms with themselves and their blackness people felt in ease of the south going back home. They felt welcomed and they felt that race relations somehow it was all out there. And so also economic opportunities. Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, you have I think there's more black wealth. There's educated they're more networks where people to tap into. So people really young black people are leaving New York and leave. Another places in Chicago that were deemed the promised land. Because I think if feels like they weren't so you know, they weren't fulfilling its promise. So why not go to places where it feels like home? Well, Bruni Allen. Thank you so much. Indeed for joining me. Thank you so much for having me here. Some sobering reflections on the lack of structural change for the civil rights movement. 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