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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  November 23, 2021 4:30am-5:00am GMT

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a vigil has been held in wauksha in wisconsin for those killed and injured when a car ploughed into people in a holiday parade. police are to charge a suspect with five counts of intentional homicide. they don't believe the incident was related to terrorism. as austria re—introduces a nationwide lockdown, european ministers prepare to meet in brussels to discuss a co—ordinated response to the latest covid crisis. the continent has seen the number of cases spiral in recent weeks, and have introduced more restrictions — sparking protests in several countries. britain's version of the grammy awards — the brits — will scrap the categories of best male and best female for next year's ceremony. the male and female awards for best artists will be combined into a single prize. artists had previously called for the change, saying the current system excludes non—binary artists.
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now on bbc news, stephen sackur is in new york, with hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk from new york. i'm stephen sackur. scratch the surface of everyday american life and you find a society deeply polarised. donald trump may have left the white house, but the culture wars that he inflamed are still raging. my guest today is an increasingly influential young conservative activist, ryan girdusky. he says that america's schoolchildren are being brainwashed about race, and he is going to stop it. what does it say about america that the classroom has become a battleground 7
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ryan girdusky, welcome to hardtalk. thank you, stephen. it's a pleasure to have you on the show. let me start with a simple question — do you accept the premise that american children, as they go through school, should learn the truth about race and racism in america? i believe that children should learn history about race and racism in america. i believe that they should learn about slavery. they should learn about the civil rights movement. they should learn about the underground railroad. what i don't believe that the children should learn is that america is a systemically racist country that those born white are going to be oppressors to those born not white, and those born not white are going to be victims, and there is no way to break out of that mould using things like meritocracy, using things like proper institutions. and that is what i wholesale reject. right. you've just used a phrase which is important.
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you referred to systemic racism. right. so, do you feel, do you accept that there is systemic institutional racism in the united states of america? no. you do not. no. so, you fly in the face of all the evidence, through the legal system, thejudicial, the policing and the penal systems, which clearly indicates there is systemic racism. well, that is not actually true. if you look at what systemic racism is, if you look, if there's any laws on the books that prevent non—white americans from succeeding, there is none. in fact, if you look at laws on the books, the only laws on the books that actually dealt with race are often times laws that affect...or policies that affect mostly white applicants forjobs, white applicants for schooling, white applicants — and male applicants, especially — for a lot of these educational programmes. the city of los angeles, for example, deals with a lot of funding based on race for their schools.
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if you look at new york city, my hometown, the one that we're in right now, we are about to abolish the gifted and talented program, not because it's too white, but because it's too asian. but we're using these policies to sit there and to attack people based on their race. if... in your answer, you immediately alighted on the notion that written into law is no overt racism, and therefore there cannot be systemic racism. but... but there are against whites. but i'm just going to go back to notjust the letter of the law, but the implementation of the law, the way the whole judicial system works in the united states. you know as well as i do that, i'm going to look at some stats here, african—american adults are nearly six times as likely to receive a prison sentence as white adults, you know as well as i do that, on average, black men in the us receive sentences i9% longer than those of white men, and this is the important bit, convicted of the very same crimes. are these not indicators of systemic racism?
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well, if you look at the black population in america, they make up 13% of america and 50% of all crimes. so, when you look at population... and what does that tell you? that black people are just way more criminally minded, is that what it tells you? well, there's a lot more criminality coming out of the black community. that's what you believe, that black people are more criminal? if you look at the statistics... but i'm not... i'm asking you to interpret the statistics. you presented statistics to me and i'm sitting there and giving you more statistics back. 13% of the population is black. 50% of all crimes committed in america are from black americans. that is problematic. now, why does that happen? it's a giant question. part of it is the loss of fatherhood in the home. black americans overwhelmingly in this country do not have fathers in the home. it's a huge problem ever since the great society of lyndon bainesjohnson, a democratic president. so, to sit there and to instantly say, well, they're not equally equitable among all groups, asian—americans make up 5% of the population or 4% of the population, but they make up less than i% of all criminality.
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so, is our legal system, is ourjudicial system, is our criminaljustice system overwhelmingly favouring asians or are they producing less crime in their communities? i'lljust give you one more statistic, because again, i'm fascinated by your interpretation of what these things mean — cos it's about interpretation. it's notjust about the raw data. here's a study by david baldus, a law professor, and he looked at the way in which killers of people are treated in the united states. killers of white people, he found, were four times as likely to be sentenced to death as killers of black people. well, most killers of white people are white people. but what does that tell you? the value of life is placed higher on white people than black people, maybe? could that be institutional or systemic? or are judges harsher on white criminals, white murderers? cos most white people are murdered by white people. that's the way you see it? when you look at... i'm asking you... i'm looking at the raft
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of data, and it seems to me there is a very clear pattern which suggest that the judicial, policing and penal systems are built in a way which works against black people. i think that they work against, i think that that is an incomplete idea of the data. i think they work against poor people. i think they work against working—class people and there happens to be a greater population of working—class and poor people among the black population. among working—class whites, though, it is huge rates of incarceration, it's huge rates of single fathers, single motherhood, huge rates of college and high—school dropouts. but if you look at the trajectory in the last 20 years in america, black incarceration has plummeted, black home—ownership has increased, black prosperity has increased. and if you break it down even further, from african—americans to black immigrants — immigrants from the caribbean, immigrants from africa, immigrants from the caribbean and immigrants from africa have extremely low rates of incarceration, extremely
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high rates of home—ownership, extremely high incomes. if america was a systemically racist society, how is an entire branch of black americans, who happen to be immigrants overwhelmingly, are succeeding and thriving in this culture that's allegedly systemically racist? and it is black americans who are the descendants of slavery that are being left behind. it is clearly not a issue of race, it is an issue of culture, it is an issue of our history and it is an issue that we should take very seriously and work to sit there and make better. i am not opposed to that whatsoever. you can go to large areas of... you... one more thing. you can go to a large areas of this country, whether they be native american reservations in south dakota or white areas of kentucky or the mississippi delta, which is overwhelmingly black, and you can see what poverty does, and institutional poverty does and generational poverty does. that is more of a more of an issue that american politicians should sit there and take up arms about than the idea of systemic racism when it's not a clear, coherent pattern. ok, but we're going to talk about race in some depth,
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not least because you set up a political action committee, essentially a political activism and lobbying organisation... right. ..called the 1776 project, which is specifically aiming to. . . block the teaching of certain theories, under the label "critical race theory" in america's schools. right. you care about culture and values, you say, in the curriculum. isn't one core value truth telling and... right.'re not telling the truth. i am 100% telling the truth. you know, who's not telling the truth, the new york times on the 1619 project. we'll talk to them about them, but let's talk to you about you and your truth telling and your association with the truth. i am telling the truth right now. the 1619 project, which is taught in thousands of classrooms across the country, says the american revolution happened because the british wanted to abolish slavery and the colonials didn't. but.. no, no, that's a lie. but, hang on. that is a lie. that has nothing to do... yes, it does, that's why... ..with my questioning of you about your truth telling. that is why i started my pac is that they were lies. you say, in your pac, your activist group, that critical race theory,
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this notion that there is something institutional and systemic about racism that is a fact in us history and a fact in america today, you say that theory is being taught to kids between five and 18 in america's public schools... that is 100% true. ..and it's not. yes, it is. because the nea... it's not. the nea admitted to it! the national education association admitted to it in one of their letters and how to incorporate it. and what i say, actually, throughout my pac... the national school boards association and a host of national educational leaders in this country say quite clearly critical race theory... the washington post admitted to it. not being taught in schools. 0k. you clearly didn't prep on what my pac actually has said, and what i've said about critical race theory, and i always sit there and say, more than critical race theory being taught, it is being practised, and that is the difference. and, yes, it is absolutely being practised, which clearly you didn't have in your notes about me. critical race theory... you're making things up. ..according to the successful republican candidate for governor in virginia, is being taught in virginia schools is not true. it has been practised in virginia schools.
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it's not true. yes, it is. 0k, do children in schools across the country have to do something called privilege walks? do you know the privilege walk is? i know what a privilege walk is, and i know... so, fifth—graders are not... fifth are on videos doing privilege walks. so, you're saying what we're seeing with our eyes is not true? no, i'm not saying that. 0k. your claim... is a privilege walk... ..that this academic discipline of critical race theory is being applied in public schools. it is! what would you call a privilege walk, if not an application of critical race theory? i would call it whatever they call it in schools... it's critical race theory! you're admitting to it. they're doing it. i certainly wasn't admitting to it. yes, you are. 0k. you see... what does... what does a privilege walk come out of, what thinking, what theory of education does privilege walks come out of? critical race theory is the correct answer. the problem for you... and it is being practised in grammar schools across the country. let me quote to you the words of a guy who you presumably
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are politically inclined to support, christopher rufo, who is a senior fellow at the manhattan institute, another huge opponent of critical race theory. on twitter recently, he said this, "i have unlocked a new terrain in the culture war. "i have demonstrated a successful strategy. "we have successfully frozen this brand..." brand, he calls it. "..critical race theory into the public conversation. "we're driving up negative perceptions and we will turn "it toxic as we put all the various cultural insanities..." his phrase, "..under this brand category." that's what's going on, isn't it? i don't know what christopher is talking about with that. you'd have to ask him. it's quite clear what he's talking about. he says, "guys, we're going to use this concept, "critical race theory..." you are going to have to ask christopher. "..a whole bunch "of cultural issues inside that brand, we're going to toxify it "and we're going to use it politically."
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critical race theory is already pretty toxic, but that is not what my... that is nothing to do with what i'm doing. you'd have to ask christopher, i'm not going to analyse his words. i don't know what he was talking about. i know what i'm doing. would you worry if you thought that other people pursuing the similar argument to you about the importance of critical race theory and getting it eliminated, as you say it is, on campuses across the united states, would you worry if actually what they were doing was trying to toxify a whole range of issues under one brand, knowing that critical race theory itself was actually very little to do with most of the issues raised? i take the stoic position of not worrying about what i can't control. i don't worry about what other people do. how is this working for you right now? great. i'm relaxed as anything. no, what i mean is, how do you see your political activism right now? you've been involved in various school board races across the united states. 58 this year. you also watched as virginia voted for a republican governor who claimed that critical race theory was being taught in schools. it wasn't,
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but he claimed it was. it was. you think you're winning this argument? clearly. i won 75% of my school board elections this year. billionaire donator donated to my pac. not that i know of. all my donations came anonymously, either online, through my website or through solicitations through direct mail. we had backed 58 candidates, overwhelmingly in blue areas. i backed very few in republican areas and 75% of my candidates won. so, clearly, there's some merit to my... and we knocked off incumbents. we flipped entire school boards that were controlled by very progressive people, and areas, by the way, that voted overwhelmingly for joe biden and hillary clinton and barack obama twice. so, there is something that, there is something to my argument that is making waves within these communities that, for some reason, works and works with people who vote for democrats. these are not people who only vote for republicans. right. so, very clearly, you think that politically this is working... it's working for me. are winning the races that you put money into, particularly in school board...
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75... i did 58 races. so, my question to you is, what do you think it's doing to america more generally, in terms of polarisation, in terms of the culture war that we see unfolding in this country? i think that it's actually really helpful because you're looking at areas that were highly polarised towards democrats, highly highly blue, strong blue areas, and they voted for somebody. ..candidates who were conservative. so, clearly, where i'm able to move ca...move voters who sit there and support somebody who don't necessarily have the evil r behind their name and are...and they're able to sit there and find themselves in mutual agreement with people over the concerns of education, which has been my concern. are you right now a paid—up member of the republican party? i don't pay any dues, so i don't pay any dues. i am a registered republican. you are a registered republican. but i'm not a paying member. yeah, it's not like the tories, where i think you have to pay.
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itjust seems to me we're in a very interesting political moment in america. the biden administration's come into power and they are spending big on a whole host of policies, which they say are going to fix america's problems. you know, you can look at infrastructure, road building, roll—out of 5g, post—covid recovery. this is what the biden administration says it is committed to fixing. the republicans aren't really coming up with any policy proposals on that. what they are focused on, and people like you are particularly focused on, are a whole bunch of social, cultural values—driven issues. now, do you think that that approach to politics is actually what the american people want right now? well, i...don�*t agree with your assessment. so, i've been doing campaigns for 15 years. i'm right now on four major campaigns. i talk about infrastructure and industry and bringing jobs back all the time
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to candidates, i coach candidates constantly on that, that is my main driver, i think, of the working... really, that's your main driver? yes, absolutely. i think that, for instance, the trillion—dollar infrastructure bill would only doesn't do anything to counteract the growth of china, it doesn't do anything to repatriate most industries, especially essential industries, especially post—covid, where we didn't have essential services to things like produce toilet paper in our own country. i think about that, i talk about that constantly. the 1776 project pac was a side project that i've worked on, and i work on literally by myself, i have no staff, just to sit there and to engage and to give parents who don't have the access of teachers�* unions who don't have millions of dollars at their disposal, who needed some leverage to sit there and run
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for office to run for office. mm. well, in that case, then, maybe you are concerned about the degree to which the republican party right now seems to be tied to a whole bunch of issues which don't look as though they're practical and that they're about fixing america's material problems. they look much more values—driven. i'm thinking about the many republicans, some in high office, who are prioritising the battle over masks and whether masks should be worn. yeah, mask mandates. mask mandates. i'm thinking about those republicans who still deny that human—made climate change is real, and there are plenty of republicans still in that position. i'm also thinking about the republicans who think that they've got a winning issue with the texas abortion law and want to see it rolled out across the united states and the end of roe versus wade. these are, you could call them wedge social issues, which many republicans think will be their route back to power. do you? um, i don't think that abortion or climate change or even mask mandates are the big issues going forward in this next election cycle, in the 2022, possibly even 2024 election cycle. i think that going forward, a big part of our nation's interests are things like inflation, things
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like infrastructure, things like getting supply chains, things like bringing back some normalcy post—pandemic. and i think education is a very, very big part of it. you know, during covid, we had millions, possibly the biggest number, definitely the biggest number ever in modern history of children being educated at home, either through zoom classes or google classroom settings or through home schooling, and parents really got to see what their children were learning in school in a very, very interactive way for the first time ever. and that is where the outrage over education and over curriculum came into being. it came way before this election cycle or the or glenn youngkin�*s rise or anything like that. parents got to see what their kids were learning. and for generations, republicans, sadly, when they focus on education, have focused on either school choice or college indoctrination of left—wing values. i have always said curriculum is where it's at cos a majority
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of americans will always go to public school, and we need to fight over curriculum — curriculum is very, very important. and when it comes to critical race theory, it affects many, many different issues. you say you're working with four different republican candidates right now. right now, yeah. and we've talked a lot in this lively conversation about american values, and perhaps the most fundamental american value of all is democracy. so, when you're advising those republican candidates and maybe sometimes they say to you, "you know what, ryan? "what position am i going to take on the legitimacy "of the 2020 election," and basic questions about whether the republican party is actually committed to democracy, what do you tell them to say? well, no—one�*s ever asked me that question, so i haven't had the ability to sit there and say it. when it comes to the 2020 election, i sit there and tell them, "look, here's how election rules were changed." no, no. hang on, i'm just asking a very simple question. was donald trump right to call that election stolen, illegitimate?
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donald trump has called every election stolen. he called the 2016 election stolen. so, tell me, so you're saying he was wrong? yeah. you're saying absolutely clearly, cos most republican candidates won't. well, i'm not running for office. but the point is, you're advising people who are, so i'm very interested in your answer. you're saying that republican candidates from the very top down now need to go out across the country say donald trump lost, donald trump's lying, donald trump, therefore presumably can have no future in my party? you know... well, no. ithink... you can't. you can't expect americans to vote for a guy that you say is a liar on the most fundamental issue of all. well, they're a politician, of course they lie — it's theirjob. i think that the thing is... and it's yourjob to get liars into office, is it? i guess so. i make a good living off of it. every consultant's job is to get someone elected to office. underpinning this entire conversation... that was a joke, by the way. your profound cynicism, your profound cynicism that you think yourjob is to get liars into office. that was a joke. relax. really? yes, it was a joke! but they do sit there... so, donald trump isn't a liar.
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this is like the worst, like, word game, word salad i've ever had in my life. well, your question was... it's very simple. no, it's not. to an outsider not living in the united states, it is profoundly simple. has boris johnson ever lied? asa... has boris johnson ever lied? what's that got to do with this conversation? because every... does every politician fib about their things? donald trump, in my opinion, says an enormous amount of lies, and he's the most lied—about person in the world. i think that both things can be wedged and true. but you ask me about the future of the country and the things... i asked you about democracy. wait, let me just finish. you asked me a question ago about the future of the country and issues that matter. the 2020 election does not matter to 99% of people in the country. they are not thinking about it. so, if donald trump runs again, as it looks as though he will, in 2024, and you are a very active republican who is working with candidates across the country. mm. you have no problem with that? i don't know who else is running. i mean, is donald trump
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the only person running, do i not get a vote for somebody else? i mean, i get to sit there and make a choice, i'm a free person, sit there and say, "no, i prefer this candidate over that candidate." and, i mean, this is three and a half years away. i'm not sitting there... i don't have a crystal ball if donald trump's actually going to run. i'm not asking this just as a political operative. i'm asking this as a human being. i'm telling you, as a human being, i don't know who is going to run for office. is it going to be ron desantis? is it going to bejosh hawley is going to be tom cotton? is it going to be tulsi gabbard? i don't know. the one thing you could say as a human being is, after everything that happened in the trump administration, in particular his refusal to accept the legitimacy of the results... that's the least worst thing. ..and in particular the january 6th assault on the capitol... right. ..which to many people look like a coup d'etat attempt. yes, we were really going to get the qanon shaman as our new leader. makes very clear sense. in the context of all of that, you could just say, "i don't "know who's going to be the next republican candidate, "but i can tell you one thing as a republican, "it shouldn't be donald trump." are you prepared to say that?
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i don't know who... listen... you're not prepared to say it? no, because i'm not a... my role and myjob is not to sit there and pontificate. i don't... ijust asked you as a voter in america. i didn't ask you to give me your political analysis. do i plan on voting for donald trump in the next republican primary? no. is the question of, is it going to be donald trump or kamala harris? well, i'm voting for donald trump because kamala harris would be a disaster. a final thought. a long—time conservative writer robert kagan wrote... i've no idea who that is. well, let me finish the thought anyway, cos he is a long—time and important conservative thinker. he wrote a piece in the washington post recently, saying he feared that if donald trump fights and then wins the next presidential election, there is the real prospect of violent conflict inside the united states. um, we have armed...we have conflicts now in our country, violence is up and homicide is up in every major city across this entire country. that is a more major concern than the fear of, you know, mass armed clashes if donald trump is re—elected in three years from now.
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i would like to care about the fact that there are thousands more dead people in our cities today and last year, under both donald trump and joe biden, than what may happen if he is re—elected? that's a real serious question, is crime in our country right now. ryan girdusky, we have to end there, but thank you for being on hardtalk. thank you. hello. after all of monday's sunshine, tuesday will be a cloudier day with the best of any sunny spells across southernmost parts of the uk. despite all the cloud, there'll be a lot of dry weather around, though you may encounter a little light rain or drizzle. it is high pressure, which is why it is mainly dry — it is bringing
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in the cloudier moist weather from the atlantic with some air which is a little less chilly than it's been — but i'm not sure we'll notice much difference between monday and tuesday because we're exchanging sunshine for so much more cloud — cloud will have prevented much in the way of frost into scotland and northern ireland overnight. it's england and wales that'll start with the lower temperatures and the greater chance for a frost, but also some early sunny spells. a rather cloudy day, though, in scotland and northern ireland, some patchy rain and drizzle north and west scotland, into northern ireland. and northwest england and north wales could see some of that, as well — and see the cloud just increasing further through wales and england. just east anglia across southern england, to parts of south wales having some sunny spells on through the afternoon with temperatures which are close to average for the time of year. the odd shower near the north sea coast and the far southeast of england into the channel islands, a few of those could continue into tuesday night. with a lot of cloud around, so bear the only frost, and a band of rain working
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into scotland and northern ireland as we start off on wednesday morning. now, some fog patches for tuesday morning, as there could be for wednesday morning, as well — and particularly through parts of wales and england, they mayjust end with a grey and rather misty, murky day, an already cold—feeling day. ahead of this weather front, which takes rain towards northwest england and wales, and out of scotland and northern ireland with sunshine following, but blustery showers, wintry on hills. it is a colder—feeling day for wednesday. and then, for thursday, the colder air has come back — but it's a brighter day again with sunny spells, though cloud steadily increasing in scotland and northern ireland. wintry showers in northern scotland, a few coastal showers elsewhere in both the east and west of the uk, but most dry with some sunshine. and then, this at the end of the week that will take us into the weekend, as well, an area of low pressure moves across us — so wet weather pressing south, heavy showers following on behind, and stronger winds with gales in places, as well. and it will feel much colder with a significant wind chill around. and some of these showers may be wintry not necessarilyjust on hills.
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this is bbc news. i'm alice baxter with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the international red cross says sanctions against the taliban are causing extreme hardship for ordinary afg ha ns. as coronavirus infections continue to rise, austria re—enters a nationwide lockdown, despite angry protests. a vigil in wisconsin for the people killed and injured when a car drove into a holiday parade. police are to charge the driver with five counts of intentional homicide. stolen from their parents 70 years ago — the inuit group seeking compensation from denmark.


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