Race in America Conversation (03:16)
Jim Lehrer welcomes President Clinton and journalists Richard Rodriguez, Roger Rosenblatt, Clarence Page, Cynthia Tucker, Roberto Suro, Kay James, Elaine Chao, and Sherman Alexie. Clinton responds to Rodriguez’s comment on the increasing diversity and complexity of race relations.
Wealth Gap (04:02)
Tucker discusses how poverty affects African-Americans and whites alike, perpetuating racial tensions. Clinton believes the shift to an industrial economy is responsible for income disparities. James argues that the issues of racism persists independently of class and poverty.
American Indian Experience (02:43)
Alexie explains that Native Americans have greater challenges than any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S. Americans should know that tribes exist as separate political and economic entities, and he believes education is crucial for empowerment.
Racism vs. Discrimination (05:45)
Chao argues that Asian-Americans are excluded from equal opportunities, and discusses racial quotas for school admissions. James believes racism is a character flaw that can be overcome through community building. Rosenblatt encourages new integration initiatives.
Affirmative Action (05:05)
Clinton brings up issues of fairness surrounding affirmative action and calls for diversity in education, workplace and worship. Suro calls for a new paradigm for race relations, beyond the black-white model.
Integration Dream (06:13)
Page discusses tensions between equal opportunity and diversity, and challenges Clinton to clarify his position on affirmative action. Clinton supports it, while Rodriguez finds it divisive and feels offended by the notion of a Hispanic "race."
Education in America (04:24)
Clinton asks participants how they would ensure a diverse college student body without affirmative action. Rodriguez believes early education must be more inclusive. He and Suro resent being labeled as Hispanic, rather than being recognized as successful in their own right.
Sacrificing Equal Opportunity (04:58)
Tucker experienced discrimination growing up in the South; she and Alexie see affirmative action as necessary. Chao cites data showing differential standards for different racial groups and calls for improving early education.
New Vocabulary (05:35)
A college admissions officer, James has met middle class African-American students undeserving of preferential treatment based on race. Clinton calls for community based discussions on balancing affirmative action with equal opportunity. Students need equivalent alternatives if they are not admitted.
Increasing Racial Complexity (04:06)
Rodriguez discusses how racial and ethnic intermarriage is rendering singular categories obsolete. Tucker advocates for greater understanding of African-American and Native American suffering in America. Rosenblatt argues that conditions have improved.
Evolving Racism (03:56)
Suro believes that racial discrimination depends on geographical location and socioeconomic status. Page says African-American youth are harassed by police in middle class suburbs; he sees American society as still segregated.
Practical Solutions (04:53)
Clinton argues for investing in inner city education and employment programs, based on successful models, to keep young African-Americans out of prisons. Panelists discuss how to speak openly about racism in America.
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