Eugene Robinson

October 4, 2010 - Eugene Robinson 10/04/2010 Views: 28,114

Eugene Robinson sees four categories of black America, and Stephen should feel threatened by all of them. (7:11)

>> Stephen: THANK YOU,

EVERYBODY.

WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT SAYS THAT BLACK

AMERICA IS MORE DIVERSE THAN YOU

THINK.

WELL, THE JOKE'S ON HIM.

I DON'T THINK ABOUT IT AT ALL.

PLEASE WELCOME EUGENE ROBINSON.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

AWESOME.

HEY, MR. ROBINSON, NICE TO

FINALLY MEET YOU AFTER ALL THESE

YEARS OF WATCHING YOU BE THE

CALM ONE ACROSS FROM KEITH

OBERMAN.

>> YEAH, IT'S A CROSS I HAVE TO

BEAR.

>> Stephen: YOU ALWAYS DO THAT

BY SATELLITE BECAUSE IT'S

DANGEROUS TO BE IN A ROOM WITH

HIM ALONE.

>> IT'S NOT THAT DANGEROUS.

I SURVIVED IT ACTUALLY.

>> Stephen: YOU'VE GOT A NEW

BOOK CALLED "DISINTEGRATION: THE

SPLINTERING OF BLACK

AMERICAMENT" YOU WON A PULITZER

PRIZE.

GOOD FOR YOU ON THAT PULITZER

PRIZE, MAN.

>> WELL, THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE ANY

EMMYS?

DO YOU HAVE ANY EMMYS?

>> I ACTUALLY HAVE NO EMMYS.

>> Stephen: I HAVE FIVE.

JUST WANTED TO GET IT OUT THERE.

>> ANY PULITZERS?

>> Stephen: NO.

I GOT TWO PEABODYS.

YOU GOT ANY PEABODYS?

>> NO.

>> Stephen: DON'T GO TOE TO

TOE WITH ME.

PULITZER IS NICE, DON'T GET ME

WRONG.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE SPLINTERING

OF BLACK AMERICA?

YOU MEAN THERE'S MORE THAN ONE

BLACK AMERICA?

>> 50 YEARS AGO BLACK AMERICA

WAS A MORE UNIFIED, MORE

COHERENT THING.

YOU COULD HAVE SAID THAT BLACK

AMERICA WAS POORER, LESS

EDUCATED THAN WHITE AMERICA OR

THAN THE LARGER SOCIETY.

>> Stephen: I WOULDN'T SAY

THAT.

THAT WOULD BE RACIST.

ARE YOU BLACK, BY THE WAY?

>> YOU NOW, I AM.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE BLACK?

OKAY.

I DON'T SEE RACE, BUT I DO SEE

CLASS.

>> WELL.

>> Stephen: YOU CAN BLINDFOLD

ME, I CAN TELL YOU WHO IN A ROOM

OWNS A YACHT.

YOU CAN SMELL THE TEAK.

AND YOU ARE ONE OF THE

CATEGORIES OF BLACK PEOPLE,

WHICH ARE YOU?

>> OH,'D SAY I'M MAINSTREAM.

I SEE FOUR CATEGORIES,

MAINSTREAM, MIDDLE CLASS, PEOPLE

WHO HAVE MADE IT TO THE MIDDLE

CLASS, A LARGE ABANDONED

MINORITY.

>> Stephen: WHO ABANDONED

THEM?

>> EVERYBODY.

WE DID.

WE ALL DID REALLY.

THOSE WHO HAVEN'T MADE IT TO THE

MIDDLE CLASS, THAT GAP IS

GROWING.

TWO NEW EMERGING GROUPS, A BIG

GROUP OF IMMIGRANTS WHO HAVE

COME IN FROM AFRICA AND THE

CARIBBEAN WHO ARE DOING VERY

WELL.

THEY'RE MORE AND MORE BIRACIAL

AMERICANS.

OUR PRESIDENT IS ACTUALLY A

DOUBLE EMERGENT.

>> Stephen: HE'S A DOUBLE

EIMER JENTS?

>> YES.

>> Stephen: DO PEOPLE KNOW

THAT?

>> NO, AND DON'T TELL.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE HE WAS BORN

TWICE.

[LAUGHTER]

>> AND THEN THE LAST GROUP IS A

GROUP I CALL THE TRANSCEND DENT

GROUP OF AFRICAN AMERICANS WHO

HAVE THIS AMAZING HUGE POWER

WEALTH AND INFLUENCE.

>> Stephen: WAIT.

TRANSCENDENT AFRICAN AMERICANS

THAT HAVE POWER.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE MAGIC NEGRO.

BECAUSE TRANSCENDENT IS LIKE

MAGICAL.

>> NO, NO, BUT THAT'S A WHOLE

DIFFERENT DISCUSSION.

I'M TALKING LIKE OPRAH AND

PEOPLE WHO HAVE THAT SORT OF...

>> Stephen: SHE'S HER OWN

CATEGORY, ISN'T SHE?

>> ALMOST.

>> Stephen: SHE'S ALMOST TRAN

SENDED HUMANITY.

SHE CAN HEAL PEOPLE WITH HER

HAIRSTYLE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

SO WHAT'S THE LARGEST GROUP?

I KNOW YOU'RE TRANSCENDENTS.

I KNOW RICHARD PARSON, OPRAH,

OBAMAS.

THOSE ARE MOST OF THE BLACK

PEOPLE I MEET.

ARE THOSE THE LARGEST GROUP OF

BLACK PEOPLE?

>> NO, NO, THAT WOULD BE THE

SMALLEST GROUP.

THE LARGEST GROUP WOULD BE MAIN

STREET, A LARGE MIDDLE-CLASS

GROUP, NOT QUITE AS WEALTHY AS

WHITE AMERICA BUT CLEARLY ON

THAT PATH.

THINK OF THEM AS CANADA.

DEMOGRAPHICALLY THEY'RE

BASICALLY LIKE CANADA.

>> Stephen: I PREFER NOT TO,

THANK YOU.

NOW, OF THESE FOUR DIFFERENT

GROUPS, ARE THEY NICE TO EACH

OTHER BECAUSE BLACK PEOPLE HAVE

OFTEN SAID THAT WHITE PEOPLE

WEREN'T NICE TO THEM.

AND I DON'T... I TAKE THEIR WORD

FOR IT.

OKAY.

>> YEAH, YEAH.

>> Stephen: ARE THESE

DIFFERENT GROUPS OF BLACK PEOPLE

NICE TO EACH OTHER?

>> GENERALLY SPEAKING, YES,

ALTHOUGH THERE ARE POINTS OF

FRICTION, AND THERE ARE POINTS

OF SEPARATION.

I WOULD ARGUE THAT THE DISTANCE

BETWEEN THE MAINSTREAM AND THE

ABANDONED, FOR EXAMPLE, IS

GROWING RATHER THAN SHRINKING AS

THE PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T MAKE IT TO

THE MIDDLE CLASS ARE LEFT IN

DYSFUNCTIONAL NEIGHBORHOODS WITH

SCHOOLS THAT DON'T WORK, WITH

CRIME.

THEY'RE SHOVED TO THE PERIPHERY

AND FORGOTTEN ABOUT.

>> Stephen: SO EVEN THE BLACK

MIDDLE CLASS IS SHOVING THE

GENERATIONALLY POOR AWAY.

>> WE'RE NOT PAWING ENOUGH

ATTENTION.

>> Stephen: WHAT ABOUT THE

CARIBBEANS AND THE AFRICAN

IMMIGRANTS THAT COME MANY?

DO THEY WANT TO BE KNOWN AS

AFRICAN AMERICANS?

>> THEY'RE OF TWO MINDS ABOUT

THAT.

INTERESTINGLY, THE MOST

EDUCATED, THE BEST-EDUCATED

GROUP OF IMMIGRANTS COMING INTO

THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW ARE

AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS THAT ARE

BETTER EDUCATED THAN THE ASIANS

AND THE AMERICANS.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

THOSE ASIANS ARE DANGEROUSLY

SMART.

I DON'T WANT TO GENERALIZE, BUT

LET ME PAINT THEM WITH A SINGLE

BRUSH.

BY THE WAY, ARE YOU

GENERALIZING?

ARE YOU JUST PAINTING FOUR

GROUPS WITH FOUR BRUSHES HERE?

>> YEAH, KIND OF.

>> Stephen: SO YOU'RE A BIGOT.

YOU'RE A BIGOT IS WHAT YOU'RE

SAYING.

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, ME AND JON.

WE'RE BIGOTS.

>> Stephen: EXACTLY.

WHAT I'M TRYING TO DO IS DEFINE

A NEW PARADIGM.

I THINK WE TALK ABOUT BLACK

AMERICA IN TERMS OF WE'RE

APPROPRIATE FOR 50 YEARS AGO.

I THINK THEY'RE NOT APPROPRIATE

NOW.

AND I'VE BEEN TRYING TO SKETCH

OUT IN BROAD TERMS...

>> Stephen: WHAT'S THE FUTURE?

HOW IS IT... IF THERE ARE FOUR

GROUPS NOW, DO YOU SEE FURTHER

DISINTEGRATION AS WE GO DOWN THE

LINE?

>> NO.

>> Stephen: WHAT ABOUT THE

REPUBLICANS?

DO THEY HAVE A SHOT AT ANY ONE

OF THESE FOUR GROUPS?

>> THEY OUGHT TO, BUT YOU KNOW

THE POLITICIANS, THEY'RE NOT

TAKING THAT SHOT.

THEY GOT A SHOT.

>> Stephen: WHAT WOULD THEY

HAVE TO DO TO REACH OUT TO ONE

OF THESE FOUR GROUPS?

>> MORE THAN MICHAEL STEELE.

THEY HAVE TO GO BEYOND MICHAEL

STEELE.

I'M SORRY.

THEY'VE GOT TO...

>> Stephen: LET'S WAIT UNTIL

MICHAEL STEELE IS OVER BEFORE WE

GO BEYOND MICHAEL STEELE.

LET'S GET DOWN TO THE

NITTY-GRITTY HERE.

IS THERE ANY ONE, AND PEOPLE

TELL ME I'M WHITE AND I BELIEVE

THEM BECAUSE I DON'T APPEAR IN

YOUR BOOK, BUT IS THERE ANY ONE

OF THESE GROUPS THAT I SHOULD

FEEL THREATENED BY?

BECAUSE AS PART OF THE WHITE

CHRISTIAN MALE POWER STRUCTURE,

I FEEL THREATENED ALL THE TIME

THESE DAYS.

>> I WAS GOING TO SUGGEST MAYBE

ALL OF THEM.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

THAT'S WONDERFUL.

I'M HAVING A MARCH TO KEEP FEAR

ALIVE, AND IT'S SO REFRESHING TO

HEAR AN AFRICAN AMERICAN TELL ME

I SHOULD BE FRIGHTENED OF

AFRICAN AMERICANS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THAT, IF NOTHING