Placeholder Image

字幕表 動画を再生する

  • I am a public policy wonk.

  • I investigate data that points to problems in the American economy --

  • problems like rising household debt,

  • declining wages and benefits,

  • shortfalls in public revenue.

  • And I try to pinpoint solutions

  • to make our economy more prosperous for more people.

  • I geek out about tax policy

  • and infrastructure investments,

  • and I get really excited

  • by a gracefully designed regulatory regime.

  • (Laughter)

  • These are the kinds of topics that I was talking about

  • on a public television live call-in show in August of 2016.

  • I was about halfway through the program

  • when a man called in,

  • identified as Gary from North Carolina

  • and he said ...

  • "I'm a white male, and I'm prejudiced."

  • He then went on to detail his prejudice,

  • talking about black men and gangs

  • and drugs and crime.

  • But then he said something that I'll never forget.

  • He said, "But I want to change.

  • And I want to know what I can do to become a better American."

  • Now remember, my career is about economic policy,

  • as translated into dollars and cents

  • not personal thoughts and feelings.

  • But when I opened my mouth to respond to this man on live television,

  • the most surprising words came out.

  • I said ...

  • "Thank you."

  • I thanked him for admitting his prejudice,

  • for wanting to change and for knowing, somehow,

  • that that would make him a better American.

  • The exchange between Gary and me went viral.

  • It's been viewed over eight million times

  • and inspired waves of social media commentary

  • and news coverage.

  • And I think people were surprised

  • that a black woman would show such compassion

  • for a prejudiced white man,

  • and they were surprised that a white man would admit his bias

  • on national television.

  • Not long after Gary and my viral moment,

  • we met in person.

  • He said that he had taken my advice.

  • He said that my words had been like someone wiped the dust from a window

  • and let the light in.

  • Over the years, Gary and I have become friends.

  • And Gary would tell you that I've taught him a lot

  • about systemic racism in America and public policy.

  • But I've learned a lot from Gary, too.

  • And the biggest lesson for me

  • has been that Gary's prejudice has caused him to suffer.

  • Fear, anxiety, isolation.

  • And it's made me rethink

  • many of the economic problems I've been focusing on

  • my entire career.

  • I wondered,

  • is it possible that our society's racism

  • has likewise been backfiring on the very same people

  • set up to benefit from privilege?

  • Driven by this question,

  • I've spent the past few years traveling the country,

  • researching and writing a book.

  • My conclusion?

  • Racism leads to bad policymaking.

  • It's making our economy worse.

  • And not just in ways that disadvantage people of color.

  • It turns out it's not a zero sum.

  • Racism is bad for white people, too.

  • Take, for example,

  • America's underinvestment in our public goods,

  • the things that we all need, that we share in common --

  • our schools and roads and bridges.

  • Our infrastructure gets a D plus

  • from the American Society of Civil Engineers,

  • and we invest less per capita than almost every other advanced nation.

  • But it wasn't always this way.

  • I traveled to Montgomery, Alabama,

  • and there, I saw how racism can destroy a public good

  • and the public will to support it.

  • In the 1930s and '40s,

  • the United States went on a nationwide building boom of public amenities

  • funded by tax dollars,

  • which in Montgomery, Alabama, included the Oak Park pool,

  • which was the grandest one for miles.

  • You know, back then, people didn't have air conditioners,

  • and so they spent their hot summer days

  • in a steady rotation of sunning and splashing

  • and then cooling off under a ring of nearby trees.

  • It was the meeting place for the town.

  • Except the Oak Park pool,

  • though it was funded by all of Montgomery citizens,

  • was for whites only.

  • When a federal court finally deemed this unconstitutional,

  • the reaction of the town council was swift.

  • Effective January 1, 1959,

  • they decided they would drain the public pool

  • rather than let black families swim, too.

  • This destruction of public goods

  • was replicated across the country

  • in towns not just in the South.

  • Towns closed their public parks, pools and schools,

  • all in response to desegregation orders,

  • all throughout the 1960s.

  • In Montgomery, they shut down the entire Parks Department

  • for a decade.

  • They closed the recreation centers,

  • they even sold off the animals in the zoo.

  • Today, you can walk the grounds of Oak Park, as I did,

  • but very few people do.

  • They never rebuilt the pool.

  • Racism has a cost for everyone.

  • I remember having that same thought on September 15, 2008,

  • when I learned the breaking news that Lehman Brothers was collapsing.

  • Now Lehman was,

  • like the other financial firms that would go under in the coming days,

  • done in by overexposure to a toxic financial instrument

  • based on something that used to be simple and safe --

  • a 30-year fixed-rate home loan.

  • But the mortgages at the center and the root of the financial crisis

  • had strange new terms.

  • And they were developed and aggressively marketed for years

  • in black and brown middle-class communities,

  • like the one that I visited when I met a homeowner named Glenn.

  • Glenn had owned a home

  • on a leafy street in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Cleveland

  • for over a decade.

  • But when I met him, he was near foreclosure.

  • Like nearly all of his neighbors,

  • he'd received a knock on the door

  • from a broker promising to refinance his mortgage.

  • But what the broker didn't tell him was that this was a new kind of mortgage.

  • A mortgage with an inflated interest rate,

  • and a balloon payment

  • and a prepayment penalty if he tried to get out of it.

  • Now, the common misperception,

  • then and still today,

  • is that people like Glenn were buying properties they couldn't afford.

  • That they themselves were risky borrowers.

  • I saw how this stereotype made it harder for policymakers

  • to see the crisis for what it was

  • back when we still had time to stop it.

  • But that's all it was.

  • A stereotype.

  • The majority of subprime mortgages went to people who had good credit,

  • like Glenn.

  • And African Americans and Latinos were three times as likely --

  • even if they had good credit --

  • than white people, to get sold these toxic loans.

  • The problem wasn't the borrower --

  • the problem was the loan.

  • After the crash,

  • most of the nation's big lenders, from Wells Fargo to Countrywide,

  • would go on to be fined for racial discrimination.

  • But that realization came too late.

  • These loans, superprofitable for the lenders

  • but designed to fail for the borrowers,

  • spread out past the confines

  • of black and brown neighborhoods like Glenn's

  • and into the wider, whiter mortgage market.

  • All of the nation's big Wall Street firms bet on these loans.

  • At its peak,

  • one out of every five mortgages in the country was in this mold,

  • and the crisis,

  • the crisis that my colleagues and I saw coming ...

  • would go on to cost us all.

  • Nineteen trillion in lost wealth.

  • Pensions, home equity, savings.

  • Eight million jobs vanished.

  • A home-ownership rate that has never recovered.

  • My years of advocating in vain for homeowners like Glenn

  • left me convinced:

  • we would not have had a financial crisis if it weren't for racism.

  • In 2017, I traveled to Mississippi,

  • where a group of auto-factory workers was trying to organize into a union.

  • Now the benefits they were fighting for --

  • higher pay, better health care coverage,

  • a real pension --

  • they would have helped everybody at the plant.

  • But in person after person that I talked to --

  • white, black, for the union, against the union --

  • race kept coming up.

  • A white man named Joey put it this way.

  • He said,

  • "White workers think I ain't voting yes if the blacks are voting yes.

  • If the blacks are for it, I'm against it."

  • A white man named Chip told me,

  • "The idea is that if you uplift black people,

  • you're downing white people."

  • It's like the world's got this crab-in-a-barrel mentality.

  • Now, the union vote failed.

  • Wages at the plant are still lower than their unionized peers',

  • and people there still worry about their health care.

  • You know, it's tempting, perhaps,

  • to focus on the prejudiced attitudes

  • of the men and the workers that I heard in Mississippi.

  • But I'm more interested in holding accountable

  • the people who are selling racist ideas for their profit

  • than those who are desperate enough to buy it.

  • My travels also took me to places

  • where I saw, however, that it doesn't have to be this way.

  • I went to Maine, the whitest state in the nation,

  • the oldest,

  • where there are more deaths every year than births,

  • and I went to this dying mill town called Lewiston

  • that is being revitalized by new people --

  • mostly African, mostly Muslim,

  • immigrants and refugees.

  • There, I met a woman named Cecile,

  • whose parents had been part of the last wave of new people

  • to come to Lewiston.

  • These are French-Canadian millworkers at the turn of the century.

  • Cecile is retired, but she had found a new purpose in life,

  • by organizing Congolese refugees

  • to join with the white retirees at the Franco Heritage Center.

  • (Laughter)

  • These men and women from the Congo

  • were helping these retirees remember the French

  • that they hadn't spoken since their childhoods.

  • And together, these two communities helped each other feel at home.

  • You know, for all the political talk

  • about the newcomers being a drain on the town,

  • a bipartisan think tank found that the local refugee community there

  • created 40 million dollars in tax revenue,

  • and 130 million in income.

  • And I talked to the town administrator,

  • who was boasting about the fact that Lewiston was building a new school,

  • when all the rest of towns like theirs in Maine

  • was closing them.

  • You know, it costs us so much to remain divided.

  • This zero-sum thinking,

  • that's what's good for one group has to come at the expense of another,

  • it's what's gotten us into this mess.

  • I believe it's time to reject that old paradigm

  • and realize that our fates are linked.

  • An injury to one is an injury to all.

  • You know, we have a choice.

  • Our nation was founded on a belief in a hierarchy of human value.

  • But we are about to be a country with no racial majority.

  • So we can keep pretending like we're not all on the same team.

  • We can keep sabotaging our success

  • and hamstringing our own players.

  • Or we can let the proximity of so much difference

  • reveal our common humanity.

  • And we can finally invest in our greatest asset.

  • Our people.

  • All of our people.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

I am a public policy wonk.

字幕と単語

動画の操作 ここで「動画」の調整と「字幕」の表示を設定することができます

B1 中級

人種差別は誰にでも代償がある|ヘザー・C・マクギー (Racism has a cost for everyone | Heather C. McGhee)