thumbnail of Focus; Immigration, Affirmative Action, and White Nationalism
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In this part of focus 580 we'll be speaking with the political scientist Carol Swain who is at the moment Professor of Political Science and also professor of law at Vanderbilt University she's written quite a lot on issues including immigration and race relations in America. And in one of her recent books she made the argument that there is a New White Nationalism on the rise in the United States a movement that she argues certainly poses a threat to our ideals of racial integration however to combat it she makes a proposal that is somewhat controversial she proposes that we can defuse the appeal of this white nationalism by taking on some of its positions among other things abolishing affirmative action and limiting immigration just a little bit more about our guest as she taught at the Duke University before spending 10 years at Princeton where she was a tenured professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and as I mentioned she's currently
professor of political science law at Vanderbilt. She's the author of a number of books including black faces black interests the representation of African. In Congress another title race versus class the new affirmative action debate and a book dealing with the subject of white nationalism which is entitled The New White Nationalism in America. Its challenge to integration. And in addition to her books and many articles she is a frequent guest on many different programs on television on radio. She's been on several programs on National Public Radio and she's joining us this morning by telephone as we talk. Questions are welcome. 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 we do also have a toll free line. That's good to anywhere that you can hear us that is. Eight hundred to 2 2 9 4 5 5 and so either way whether you're a local 3 3 3 W while or if it would be a long distance call use the toll free line 800 1:58 W while it certainly questions comments are welcome the only
thing we ask is people are trying to be brief and we ask that so that we can get in as many different people as possible and keep the program moving along but of course anybody is welcome to join the conversation. Professor Swain Hello. Good morning a place to be on your cell. Well thank you very much for giving us your time we certainly appreciate it. Maybe what I would ask you to do is talk to us a little bit about sort of the basic idea in the new. Nationalism and when for example when you use a phrase like that The New White Nationalism What exactly does that mean. Well first of all the book was published in 2002 and the work began much earlier. Own it. Initially I was working on affirmative action and then there were some high profile hate crimes in the news and I became very curious about how people would develop hatred of fathers of different races and. And so I commission interviews I had a white interview or interview some of the leading white
national summit countries and what the white nationalists we were interested in people that see whites as a distinct national group. And they believe that whites have the same you know that they should have the same rights as other groups to organize by race and to protect that interest. And even though we looked at some people there were in hate groups for the most part we were interested in people that called themselves white right advocate white civil rights advocates. And they would argue that white people have a distinct interest much in the same way that black leaders argue that blacks have an interest Hispanics have an interest. They say why. People have an interest and part of that interest is and not supporting certain types of issues and they believe that America was created as a European you know American nation. And that is that the European culture is being threatened by so much
immigration and that white rights are being trampled and maybe I should just add this and I don't in the way that I introduced the program you the ideas I guess I don't want to try to make sure that I'm not misrepresenting right you and your ideas because I think you have said very in some articles and interviews very clearly that in in the positions you take on issues like affirmative action or immigration that you're not interested in appeasing racists that your position is well these are as far as you're concerned those are the right things to do for America when you're not doing that to blunt the white racism in America. That may be a side benefit but but primarily you would be making those arguments on their own. Merit that's that's how I want to make sure I'm representing absolutely you're right and you know people will say that I argue you should get rid of affirmative action or you should curtail
immigration to appease the white nationalist and actually I believe that racial preferences have sought I believe of the usefulness and that nation is so racially diverse at this time that you cannot continue the same path. What made sense 40 or 50 years ago doesn't necessarily make sense today. And I think that we would all be better off if affirmative action was based on need. If if it was more class based and if you think about the divison miss of the issue there's a debate coming out of Harvard University about the fact that many of the new admitting to the University of blacks from the Caribbean or from Africa something like maybe three quarters of the newage maybes and it's been like this for a long time they just discover that they're not native black Americans they were descendants of slaves. And so if it's so that this if among blacks themselves you can imagine Heidi as for the rest of the country. And then there's the whole thing about immigrant blacks. They are eligible for racial preferences why should people that voluntarily come to this
country be able to get preferences over people that have long historical roots. Well let me ask you what what is admittedly a very large and complicated question but it seems to get to the heart of it. We're talking about in that obviously we know that racial divisions persist in this country and they do. If we agree that that's a problem then we have to talk about why and why it is it seems that we have not made over the last century or so more progress than we have. Is there an easy way to answer that question. Well document I can try to answer it I think that race racial divisions persist because there's something about human nature you know there's that that old expression birds of a feather flock together. I think that most of us unconsciously lean towards people that are like us. And so we tend to hang out with people that are very similar. For the most part and when people start acting on those decisions you know in public and private arenas you have discrimination.
I do believe that discrimination exists. I certainly know that it exists. But many minorities and sometimes it favors them sometimes it works against them. I believe that we can have stronger measures to a dinner and combat discrimination than racial preferences of affirmative action because disproportionately the benefits go to racial minorities that are more middle class that are better off. It's not reaching down to the poor. And if you look at the poor of all races that this ought to be and bypassed I think that there are other programs. We could do and I talk about some of that in my book The New White Nationalism I make policy recommendations that I believe that would be less to Bisset and would benefit all of us and I think that you know that racial preferences affirmative action is racial preferences. Is this I've lived it's usefulness and you cannot continue to persist with a policy that covers such a large percentage of the population. And many universities you see that the students that are coming in under diversity
purposes that are being given money to for diversity these are not people that have come from nations where they may come from nations that are poor but they don't have the historical roots that initially affirmative action was about African-Americans and overcome and they the effect the lingering effects of slavery and discrimination and that has been lonesome has been lost for a long time. A preemptive action is not about that anymore. And people that believe that he is a merely fooling themselves. Do you think that we have asked this question I think knowing answer do you think that we have underestimated the divisive power of of class of social class in this country. Yes I do I believe that a lot of the problems that mask they seem to be about race and whether which. Talking about the unemployment office or drug abuse or prostitution or on way of
motherhood a lot of those things about social class. And by focusing on race I think we're missing a lot. I think that we would get more support for address and these issues that affect in the whole population if we saw them as being about social class just the immigration. It disproportionately affects people that are working class and people that are lower middle class. Those are the ones that are being displaced. There's so many studies to show that in areas where you have a large immigrant population it depresses the wages of native workers by 10 to 15 percent. The people that are being displaced and they're not all African-Americans disproportionately. It's affecting African Americans but it's also affecting immigrants themselves that come here illegally that are trying to make a living is depressing everyone's wages. And I think as a nation that our greatest obligation our obligation is to members of our own household and that's people that are already here that we
have to take care of then the first and then we can use the excess to try to help people from other countries that are poor but we have to take care of our own house. So for us we have to make the American dream available available to them. And we're not doing that. And none of the political leaders Bush Kerry Democrats or Republicans they're not taking a very responsible position on these issues and the African-American leaders. So into political correctness that they are not serving the interests of people that are being displaced because of the policies we have especially when it comes to immigration. I'm interested in just dealing with this. This question of class and our in ability or failure to acknowledge just how important it is and I'm interested in why you think that's the case. I suppose in part it has something to do with the fact that here in United States we don't even like to believe that such a thing exists. Everybody almost everybody likes to think that they are middle
class or identifies themselves as middle class even though there can be a wide range of markers among all those people and certainly there are a lot of people who are not middle class and some people who are in the upper ranges if not in some other class entirely but it's something that we seem I don't know if it is that we don't really quite have a vocabulary to describe that or indeed as I say that it has something to do with with our not wanting to acknowledge that their class is a as a factor. One thing I think it would be much more difficult for people much more difficult as far as calls for the political system to address and then some of the people you know that a middle class they have aspirations to become you know upper class or become wealthier. And so they're not particularly interested in redistribution because they themselves have aspirations of Rossum higher. And I just think that part of the problem is that it's just two different piece. It is too difficult to address. Yet many of the problems that this a man
decimating poor communities. It is about class and it's not about race. And you would get more support I believe from average people if it were framed as being about class. But if you look at the two major political parties Democrats and Republicans there are a lot of issues that they are totally out of tune with the American people. But because you know third parties are not able to make any headway in this country also of the reasons people the American people are not being represented on a lot of the issues that are important and I think over time that it's going to create an explosive situation because I don't think we can continue to ignore the you know ignore the opinions of Americans on important issues and I don't know if there will be some type of you know uprising in which people will house politicians you know that ignoring that wishes but right now you know if you vote in between Democrats and Republicans on issues like racial preferences on immigration on some of the things that
relate to the economy there's no real representation of what people want and the people that are unhappy with the policies that the major parties recommend you think that. Though those are some of the people that are simply not participating in the politics as there are people who hang out on a limb I'm not. I think some of them are not. Myself I have struggled this year about who I would vote for and I really don't know. You know that I am very much undecided and if I have a temptation to stay home just imagine how many other people must feel the same way that I mean it's almost like what difference does it make if you look at the polling data. You know these parties have sort of conspired in some ways not to represent the American people on certain issues. And unless things change I mean I'm not very optimistic about the future. I almost ask feel like asking forgiveness for such a question
here because I really think that political labels. Very useful but having said that do you think of yourself as a conservative. Do you see yourself that way. Well I mean there are certain to use that I have been a conservative but I have always thought of myself as an independent and I'm equally critical of both political parties I'm definitely not a Republican. I've been a Democrat most of my life. But there are some social issues where I strongly disagree and and I am one of those Christians that you know find it difficult if not impossible now to just finally David thing the Democratic Party stands for and it was it's becoming harder over time for me to pull that lever. So I'm going on up on some social issues I guess I am consider. I would be labeled as a conservative but I see myself as a moderate I see myself as a person that depending on the issue I call it the way I see it I don't think of myself OK I'm a conservative What do conservatives stand for. And I have a checklist of everything they stand for. And so I'm certainly
not there and I've been told that I'm too unpredictable. You know a lot of people because they like to know what you're going to say in advance and they pretty much don't know what I'm going to say. Let me introduce Again our guest anyone has just tuned in Carol Swain. Is professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University. And before going to Vanderbilt is she taught at Princeton where she was a tenured professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and she's authored a number of books dealing with issues of race in America. Her most recent The New White Nationalism in America its challenge to integration and a companion to that it's titled contemporary voices of white nationalism questions comments certainly are welcome 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. One of the the the ideas that I think you that you lay out in some of your writing about white nationalism has to do with the way
that the New White Nationalism styles itself differently and how it. I think you are making the argument that it has borrowed from some of the kind of borrowed some of the kind of language. From political groups that represent ethnic racial minorities and that this you see making a criticism a criticism of identity politics. And I wonder whether you in fact think that that that has that has not been good for America and maybe not good for the interests of people who are these group who these groups claim to represent. Well you're right. What they have done is to take that language of multiculturalism to argue that white is like any other group. And if it's OK for blacks and Hispanics maybe minority groups to organize by race that why not whites. And then they take civil rights and they say that it's wrong to discriminate
against anyone. It's wrong it's un-American it's unconstitutional. Why. Being discriminated against and there's no one stand up for their rights and those occupants I think a compelling they point to racial double standards they say well you know what. Why is it OK you know for all blacks to be able to say they aspire to be and all of them as by race and to be able to do these things and not why and I believe that with a lot of young people you know that we're that you know they were born in the 80s and the 90s and that these people that these young people that they really they don't see race in the same way they don't they're not familiar with the civil rights history and even if they are they feel like that happened a long time ago. They don't understand racial double standards. And I believe that identity politics have been destructive and increasingly it will be so. And one of the things that I strongly believe has ministry in the nation is that Judeo-Christian hurted and the belief in a common Creator and the brotherhood of man
and I believe that we as Americans have to look at the whole the interests of the whole and that the identity politics to the extent that it forces groups to think about what might be good for a model group and not for the hollow that is destructive and that will be as a nation becomes increasingly increasingly diverse and it is becoming increasingly diverse. Whites and Blacks decrease in as opposed. The population is Panix and Asians are increasing and we all just identified by race identified by ethnic group. Then that doesn't serve the interest of the whole. I think we're making a terrible mistake in not encouraging immigrants to assimilate. But by having so many different languages and not push in on a common culture in America and so what the white nationalists I think they make a very compelling case and what's really scary to me is that when my book was published a lot of the people that contacted me were people that told me that they had been you know liberal left Democrats all their lives they had
participated in the civil rights movement. They had been on the right side of all of these issues but they felt like that white culture that you know was being threatened that whites were being discriminated against. This was not what they fought for. This is not what the civil rights movement was about and that white people had all because every other group was organizing. And so I really do think that the way white nationalism is being presented now using that language of the Left that it makes a very compelling case. And these are not people that are talking about violence. You know these are people that are saying that if you want to solve Whites need to organize to they need to protect that culture. Well we have some callers here are people who I'm sure have some things to say in reaction to some of your comments so we'll do that get on to callers and we'll start with someone in champagne. Lie number one. Hello hello. I was listening rather casually for a while then begin to perk up wondering when you were going to mention this lady's name so I can vote for.
But then I don't think she's running for anything right at the moment I know that I should have more sense than that because most people who are actually running don't have that much sense and she seems to put a put forth. Anyway I don't have any problem on it I've just been a very interesting listening with what's going to pop me out to vote is a feeling that I need to protect the Constitution and I think what that's. Well I've got an opinion about the way to go on that so. Anyway interesting hearing that this remote with your name and my name with Carol flame and how would you protect. How would you vote to protect the Constitution. Well I think it's 1:53 now on one side. I'd like to see that. Still keep some kind of a balance because there are different views represented by the two parties when it comes to the cause. In general when it comes to the Constitution and I don't like the prospect of it going to 9 to nothing and so that that's what would
impel me that's all. Well you know they we're kidding FS and we think that a Supreme Court is a neutral body and he is not given by the politics of the nation and so you know what you have a party is able to be in their power long enough it's going to try to stack it to whatever they see if that changes. Well of course you expect that you know as just as a voter I'd like to keep that jumping back and forth so that it doesn't get too one sided. I don't know if it got seven to two the other way how I feel. I guess I'd have to look at what the you know very carefully what. What issues were likely to come before the courts will warm up most of the decisions on the issues that I'm talking about have been 5 4 decisions. And so you're right one person could switch it in any direction on these issues. And. And and so that mean that's where it stands and on affirmative action it's continually been that way. I think that the Supreme Court made the wrong decision in the Michigan case it was a divided case
and and that that the civil rights leadership and the ones that pushed by the diversity rationale I think that that was a big mistake because it divorces the whole history of affirmative action from past discrimination. And that seems to be the way the court is moving and diversity can be filled in any number of ways. Just wait and see. I suppose you know given the luck of the draw it could change four years from now or whatever. But if you're that good yes you run that for that case before the court again or would even listen to it. Anyway that's it's nice listening to you and I better get some time for some other calls. Well thank you. Thanks for the call. Let's go on to we have a couple. The other champagne people so the next person in line here would be line number two. Thank you ma'am. I'm curious you mentioned earlier that you say that it's human nature for us to kind of flock together with our own kind don't you think that repealing the filming of action would create again
African-Americans not getting hired not being rented to the redlined on property and bank loans and such. Are you suggesting that it's already being done by you the use of the authority being sabotaged because we flock toward international all of that coming up mang. I think that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was very clear about banning discrimination against individuals and that there are discrimination laws on the books that if they were properly enforced and if we had a me. I mean I think we can we expect affirmative action to curry too much water. There is discrimination one of the things that I have learned is that discrimination can occur in the very places where they claim to have stronger preemptive action programs. It doesn't prevent discrimination in fact sometimes as more discrimination. And so it's just like a cover is just like a cover that many institutions a lot of they talk about affirmative action that unless they have to do this. And so it's not protecting people against discrimination. I
think the law was that on the books if properly enforced would be enough there. And I also believe that a lot of affirmative action the people that the benefit is it's about social class and that Alisa going to wash each other's hands. And so that the elites will still be able to penetrate this the system because I think that there are a birth of a feather flock together. But if social class is causing them the flock together. OK thank you. Let's go to shit. And again this is line 3. Hello ma'am. I'm going to ask a question that may be relevant but I'm going to ask to be anyway. Are you African-American. I'm African-American and I came from a nontraditional background I'm one of 12 key it's born in rural poverty I was a high school drop by my first degree was from a community college. And and I have worked real jobs in my life in the sense that I've worked in a nursing home or worked in a garment factory absolute things from door to door before going to college and becoming a university professor.
Do you think I'm African-American too and I grew up in the Jim Crow southern Oregon so and I know the the insidious nature of overt racism and I know also the insidious nature of covert racism and I know that affirmative action even though I benefited from it can be used in a way that does not help an African-American like me who comes from a low socio economic group. But I don't see to win out the baby with the bathwater as a reasonable solution to a program that's been in existence a little over 35 years. Palliative to a country that's in gazed in the exclusion of African-Americans from from all of the white man's privileges since 69 to you know I mean it seems to be a form of extreme reaction to this so-called white nationalism that you consider compelling. I consider re pretextual and it was simply another way of saying we want to maintain white supremacy.
OK that a lot of things that you have have have a say in what you assume in that affirmative action you know is is one thing and nation is changed dramatically over the last 40 years is not the same country it was when we passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when we did immigration reform in 1965 and the Voting Rights Act and what it may have changed that you would lead us to believe it or not but I mean it has the common the racial composition of the nation and change an affirmative action to door policy for you than you think. I think that if people actually knew. What takes place behind closed doors and hire from depression is actually implemented. They would be on my bandwagon trying to get stronger measures to Adana and attack discrimination. It's very easy to use affirmative action and set up some token people in a few positions and not do anything for anyone else. And people at the lowest social economic levels they're not benefiting from it and the people that American poverty they are not getting anything from it. Plus some of them
might as well not exist. I benefited from when I came for my All Blacks that in mind I mean how old are you holding the letter in a distinguished university not the same program as it was 40 years ago. And I went to college in the 80s even though I'm an older person I went on merit and eventually went to the community college and went on affirmative action had started changing. A bit of promise because I was a mom a student and I worked really hard I worked a full time job and went to school full time I actually did both and I was an honest student and I have a failed academically and so it's a benefit it may but mostly the people that I canot at the five institutions I attended were people that were from middle class and more elite backgrounds there were very few people that I in Canada there were from backgrounds like mine when I feel her blasphemy was free all of it would have been scared to do away with affirmative action no that's not what I say and I was you know I
have to end it if we make it the last space I SAY IT MAKE IT class space make it be based on need and that race is not the same program it was 40 years ago. It's not it's not the same program that it was 40 years ago and it's changed dramatically the nation is say is dramatically in racial composition where you often get away with formative action in its current vestige as racial press as as a relation on the right. I know we can quibble about this but right now is race race and offered up. Never thought of me as crippling to the fact that an African blacks are getting disproportionately given the benefits and so with them African-Americans it's dubious that if you go back to the history of affirmative action it was supposed to help blacks catch up and overcome some of the vestiges of past discrimination and slavery. It's not doing that today it's not even about that today. I think you mislead you you missed misguided in your conclusion but you have every right. I want to take you to task on one last issue. OK. As I think what you're saying is very
pollyannish and that is the let the laws are on the books. Let's let law always work provided they are faithfully in full was I think that is is is screwy as it gets in light of the dynamics of this country and that is our white domination. You know why they're not being enforced because there are many people that feel that they have been discriminated against and they are so upset about racial discrimination as I think you would get more support for fighting discrimination if you didn't have so many people feeling that they were victims. I respectfully disagree. OK well I appreciate the call and anybody else who is listening or wants to be involved in this conversation is certainly welcome to call 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 that's for champagne Urbana listeners we do also have a toll. Free line and that one's good anywhere that you can hear us. Eight hundred to 2 2 9 4 5 5 and again maybe I should introduce our guest. For anyone who has recently tuned in we're talking with Carol Swain. She is professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University before that she taught at
Princeton where she was a tenured professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and has written and spoken quite a lot on issues of race immigration and her recent books include The New White Nationalism in America its challenge to integration and contemporary voices of white nationalism. Books that have gotten quite a lot of attention and she's spoken about them quite a bit and questions comments certainly welcome 3 3 3 excuse me 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 toll free 800 2 2 2 9 4 5 5. I guess I'm I'm interested in having you talk a little bit about how it is that we have. Bond to the growing cultural diversity in America. Some people have in effect gone out and tried to hold up their hands and tried to hold it back which is kind of like you know going out and standing in front of a hurricane and trying to push it back with your hands that
that's not going to happen. So it's something that happens it's going to happen whether we like it or not. Is there some way that you think we can in a deliberate way make that a more constructive process a smoother process is something that we that we have not done. And if you think maybe what we have done wasn't the right thing to do. Is there something else that would be the right thing to do. I think that we need to focus on. I think that was a mistake that we're making here is that we're not encouraging new immigrants to assimilate with sand. You know it's OK. I mean it's not just but there are some things that I believe that a that should be like uniquely American that we have Americans and instead of looking at our group interests we should look at the interests of the whole. And if we look at the interests of the whole Some of us would be forced to support. Public policy issues other than the ones that we support right now and affirmative
action. A lot of the issues that a lot of the policies that we enacted decades ago are not working today because we're not the same country today demographically by 2050. You know the country will be majority minority we all know that racial preferences today went over 30 percent of the population is minority and quickly growing. It makes less sense today and I think what we could do is to identify those issues that divide this save and try to come up with public policy issues that would serve the needs of the whole better than the ones that we have today. And when we have data to show the impact of illegal immigration. And it's not just illegal immigration immigration period. Oh and American workers that we have a responsibility to the people that are already here. And if you look at some of the surveys of Hispanics they are not so eager. They are not all eagerly supporting illegal immigration an amnesty for people that are here. And so I
mean that's part of what I think we should do is that we should look at HAVE nation has changed over time. And then look at those public policies maybe not get rid of affirmative action but make affirmative action based on need rather than based on race because you can take cannot continually have it based on race if it's going to people that are more affluent disproportionately benefit and the people better bet all and doing nothing to those that a city or mired in poverty and of trying to get a leg up. And if you look at the minimum wage and the wages in America the wage structure and globalization all of the things that have taken place today something needs to be done. And I think that that would make it easier for us to get a loan. And again. And I think that that belief in a common create a brotherhood of man. The fact that there is one race the human race what would contribute to better race relations than us. But so when identity politics and multiculturalism and haven't you know different things for different groups rather than emphasizing the whole we're all
Americans WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER we stand up all together. I think that needs to be emphasized that we stand or fall together as a mation not separate little groups. Let's bring some others into the conversation Urbana is the next in line and that's more number one. Right. Very interesting show today. I too am concerned about classism in America. And the thing that I see is causing most of that is the cigs. Making it worse would be the growing division between the upper class and the lower class and the middle class just disappearing with the highest paid employees in any given company making 500 times what the lowest as compared to 40 or 70 times that it used to be. And part of that would be the global corporate culture that's just running almost running a lot of countries and sometimes I think including ours. And I wondered you know how what what you've been saying about you know affirmative action and the
way we should change and so forth. How do you feel that impact. Global corporate expansion and I'm going to go off the air Listen thank you. All right thank you. Well I guess I see that global corporate expansion as being about something man. But it's certainly the stable last impact country and a lot of the outsourcing of work. It's at one time we thought about the immigrants and we talked about bringing the brightest of immigrants to America a lot of the people can get the job by just staying home and not jobs or going to other places. And I believe that the globalization again that all of these things together that if you look at the racial preferences if you look at globalization you look at immigration you look at multiculturalism what I talk about in my book The New White Nationalism is how these things together create a create a devil's brew for racism anthemic on RAS because people are not being able to improve their standard of living. And
you know there are people that did. Companies are going out of business people are losing their pensions their factories that are disappearing where you were people with low levels of education could earn a living wage of 14 to $15 an hour. Those people are being displaced and so they're struggling for a minimum wage work. They're competing with the immigrants and the country has made choices that over time will be destructive and I don't see enough people in positions of power. Concerned about the future it's all a short term interest. The Republicans are interested in cheap labor cheap labor cheap labor for businesses and the Democrats looking down the road for a vote. But none of them are doing anything to save the country from this dangerous trend that we on these bad decisions that we make and that are going to be explosive over time. Some of the people in it who voiced concerns about the way that America's changing say say things. Something like what you have
said and I guess I'm wondering whether you are concerned that this somehow there there are some core set of American values. That are in danger of being lost. And if so what you think those are. Whether certain my values that I believe has to do with. You know I believe that if we worked hard that we would be able to attain a better standard of living and the focus on individual individual autonomy. I believe that our Christian values a belief in a common created that that certainly be in loans that the role of faith in America is being weakened and it's not. We show we have George Bush in the White House and we have him talking about religion. But I think that the moral principles that many of us
grew I grew up in Iran or were prevalent in the past that those of losing that hold on America and I believe that that those principles and certain principles that have served as a restraint on human behavior avidly that we have an obligation to help other people that are disadvantaged and the disadvantaged people that and I neighborhoods and people that in other countries I think that some of that is losing its force on us. And as we become more cept interested only interested in our own families and in our own racial and ethnic groups then I think that's destructive. So the I guess there are some people who. Maybe make draw some connection between that and between increasing diversity and immigration it sounds like you're you're you're not doing that. Or are than that. Well again that that there's this this concern about how many how many newcomers there are how many people come here
and stay and that's a guess it's those people who who make the strong argument that we should be more concerned with assimilation. I think we're really not. We have to be concerned about assimilation and we have to realize that the more people come here it does affect the rest of us and I think that if you look at the American people as a family as a household our greatest obligation would be to members of our own household and I think that our standard of living would be unable to provide opportunities for the American dream that we have to provide that first to the people that are already here whether they came here as immigrants or whether the African-Americans African-Americans certainly fallen behind and are suffering the most. But again I don't think we should just focus on African-Americans. Think we have to look at the hole that we need to thrive to give us a nation we have to be concerned about those people that have been displaced and the lack of opportunities for their children that that has to come first. And I don't know that we can continue to absorb immigrants whether they're coming
here legally or illegally. That and the amnesty thing I think is just ridiculous to be offering amnesty and I lammed people that break laws to jump ahead of those that have been waiting for 10 15 years full of these a come here using our legal processes. We have one of the callers who are coming down to a probably about our last 10 minutes. Next we'll go to Bloomington Indiana. Well in for. Hello good morning. Good morning. I was debating whether I should call because if you're carrying on the wonderfully However you have opened up the door when you brought in the term phase and you may have used. Right I mean I'm a devout Christian and I don't try to hide that I haven't always been in the last six years and I do believe. I bet I'm absolutely that that nation is in trouble and that that has meant a strength for us. Yes and I agree unfortunately and this is the reason I was reluctant to bring this up is because I think that if one
refers to what Jesus says and I don't think it would matter if Jesus said it or Mohammad said it or Buddha said it. But when Jesus talks a lot in Matthew 25 40 that what you do to the least of my brethren you do for me. This is a very clear message I have about him very white army. It's a clear message about what it's a clear message as to what our responsibilities are as human beings to those who are in a lesser situation. And it really cuts through a whole lot of ambiguity as to well do we have enough or should we get more. You get just what I'm referring to. But we're talking about immigration right. Well we're going about any time people make decisions based on their sole interest and very conveniently forget about their or what their decisions
responsibilities are to other people as well. Well I mean I've learned I believe we have responsibilities to other people and one of the reasons I'm not a Republican is that I don't see conservative compassion MSM. I don't believe that the Republican policies are compassionate to people that are less fortunate MSA fortunate but I do believe that they you know that we as a nation state we have a right to control our borders. The American people have decided that they will have borders. And if you look at biblical principles. Again and again Christians are admonished to be kind to strangers but Biblically the strangest had an obligation to obey the laws of the land. When people come to a nation illegally they are already in violation of that and so I think that that a Christian nation can control its borders and it can expect people that come from other countries to assimilate and and and take on the values of that culture. And so that's part of my concern and I
do think that we are losing a national identity and that I don't see how we can survive if everyone tries to cling to identities they brought from other places. Well on board unfortunately because I came in late I missed some of your earlier promises and so far we've been talking about everything. And so you know and but the my big issue is I am very concerned about racial preferences. I'm offended by the Immigration and. And so that's what we've been and and white nationalism and the fact that as long as you have a dynasty politics and you encourage people to identify with their own group that I think that hurts the whole and that Americans their American national identity has a value of its own and I believe that we would have more hominy. And if we again a fied by that American national identity rather than separate racial ethnic groups. Oh well thanks for the call do I guess the thing that that is
that some people question is whether assimilation really requires you to completely give up previous identities. I don't think you have to give up your food and know how you worship and certain things like that but I do think that you have to mean America is a dominant lay an English speaking nation and so certainly people should learn the language. And and I mean that's an example where I don't think we should be debating whether or not people should be asked to learn the language well and that we should make everything available in different languages and encourage people you know to just you know just associate with their own group rather than associating with everyone else. What's what we find ourselves out of time I have at least one more caller he want to get to Eric. The place that they're listening in line number one. I want to get behind your guest didn't agree with her on a lot of ways. I can't see how anybody can complain
if we make a program that's targeted to a particular economic interest. And if that interest happens to be more one race than another you know it's great that that particular race can take advantage of it to a greater effect. But I have to agree with you it seems like the way to do those things is to make them open to everybody that would economically fit. And to let all the races you know enjoy the benefits I come from a very rule area that is very very very similar to the ghettos of a major city. The only difference being We've got a lot more space and I know that it sometimes irks people around here when something will come up that will be race based and other than that one thing that we're not the right color are or will get out of the country fits everything quite well. And then the other thing I want to do agree with you
on that is the issue of immigration. It seems like most of the political groups will go with the what the AMA economic base whatever there's a shortage of tends to be more valuable. And what war could that be based on then labor. Obviously the more labor we bring into this country the less valuable the labor that is here is already worth. And I would much rather be on a par with Switzerland with being individual labor worth quite a bit than being on par with China where individual labor is very very valueless. Thank you I had a conversation a few years ago with Justice Scalia and he's one of the Supreme Court justices perhaps the most conservative Supreme Court justice and he expressed his support base to primitive action and he stated he did. Here if all of incipience were minorities but that we just could
not have a government sanction you know public benefits being given on the basis of race. And so you know he terms that he's seen as an opponent of a part of the faction but only because it's based on rights and not based on class. And he is someone that came from a working class background and there are many poor whites that I haven't counted over the years that are struggling and you know the parents the mothers are working as waitresses trying to create opportunities for their children. We cannot have a government system a system that just sets out whole groups of people and all of that begin to change and there are more opportunities now that are based on need and not based on race. We will have to leave it there because we've come to the end of that time. We will see progress Wayne thanks very much for giving us some of your time sharing some of your ideas with us. I thank you Carol Swain our guest he's currently professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University. And if you're interested in reading some of her work the most recent
Immigration, Affirmative Action, and White Nationalism
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With Carol Swain, Professor of Political Science and Law, Vanderbilt University
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community; Race/Ethnicity; immigration; Racism
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Chicago: “Focus; Immigration, Affirmative Action, and White Nationalism,” 2004-09-15, WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 7, 2020,
MLA: “Focus; Immigration, Affirmative Action, and White Nationalism.” 2004-09-15. WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 7, 2020. <>.
APA: Focus; Immigration, Affirmative Action, and White Nationalism. Boston, MA: WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from