June 12, 2020

Bakari Sellers

Activist, attorney and author Bakari Sellers discusses the death of George Floyd, the nationwide protests, and whether this moment of crisis will lead to meaningful change on issues of racism. Sellers, the son of a civil rights activist who was shot and wounded by police in 1968 during a student protest, talks about police brutality and reform.

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> WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A YOUNG BLACK MAN FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE TODAY?
THIS WEEK ON ‘FIRING LINE.’
AT DEMONSTRATIONS ERUPT, ACTIVIST AND AUTHOR BAKARI SELLERS IS SPEAKING ABOUT ISSUES HE’S FOCUSED HIS ENTIRE LIFE.

IT IS HARD TO BE BLACK IN THIS COUNTRY.

HIS FATHER WAS SHOT IN 1968.

IT IS DIFFICULT TO THINK ABOUT THAT NIGHT.

AND A LEGACY THAT SET THE TRAJECTORY FOR SELLERS’ LIFE INSPIRING HIM TO RUN SUCCESSFULLY FOR OFFICE AT THE AGE OF 21.

LOOK AT WHERE I’M STANDING NOW IN JUST ONE GENERATION.
IT IS AGITATOR’S SON AND NOW AN ANALYST FOR THE LARGEST NEWS ORGANIZATION IN AMERICA.

WITH THE NATION IN CRISIS, WHAT DOES BAKARI SELLERS SAY NOW?

‘FIRING LINE’ IS MADE POSSIBLE BY —
> WELCOME TO ‘FIRING LINE.’

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

YOU ARE JOINING ME IN CHARLESTON, YOUR HOME STATE.

YES.

WHERE AT THE RIPE AGE OF 21, YOU WERE ELECTED TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND BECAME THE YOUNGEST MEMBER IN HISSER TO OF HISTORY OF THE STATE TO SERVE IN THAT BODY.

SEEMS SO LONG AGO, BUT, YEAH, I BECAME THE YOUNGEST BLACK OFFICIAL IN THE COUNTRY.
I BEAT SOMEONE WHO HAD BEEN IN OFFICE 22 YEARS.

AND ‘MY VANISHING COUNTRY’ DETAILS THE HISTORY OF YOUR FAMILY AND CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLES.
IT HAS BEEN THREE WEEKS THAT IN THE AFTERMATH OF GEORGE FLOYD’S DEATH AT THE HANDS OF A WHITE POLICE OFFICER.
AND I WANT TO KNOW IF THIS MOMENT FEELS DIFFERENT TO YOU THAN IT DID IN THE WAKE OF THE FERGUSON DEATH, MICHAEL BROWN.
AND YOU FEEL THAT SOMETHING HAS CHANGED IN TERMS OF HOW THE COUNTRY HAS RESPONDED TO THAT DEATH.

WELL, I HAVE TO SAY THAT I’M EXTREMELY HOPEFUL AND I’M FAITHFUL.
A LOT OF THAT HAS TO DO WITH MY MATURATION AND HAVING TWINS NOW AND A 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER AND WANTING TO HAVE A BETTER AMERICA FOR THEM THAN THE ONE WE HAVE CURRENTLY.
AND SO THAT IS WHERE MY HOPE RESIDES.
HOWEVER, WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE, MARGARET.
IN 1955 WITH THE DEATH OF EMMETT TILL, THE COUNTRY STOPPED AND MOURNED AND SAW WHAT THE RACISM HAD DONE TO THIS YOUNG BOY.
WE SAW IT ON THE EMMITT PETTUS BRIDGE AND THE WATER HOSES USED.
AND WE SAW A MOMENT LIKE THIS JUST RECENTLY, FIVE YEARS AGO, IN CHARLES AFTER THE DEATH OF PINCKNEY AND EIGHT OTHERS.
AND HERO WITH AGAIN.
AND THE WORLD IS WATCHING BUT MY FEAR IS THAT WE’LL MISS THIS MOMENT AGAIN.WITH AGAIN.
AND THE WORLD IS WATCHING BUT MY FEAR IS THAT WE’LL MISS THIS MOMENT AGAIN.
WE NEED CHANGE.

AND TAKE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT.
DOES IT FEEL DIFFERENT?

IT IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE WE HAD TAYLOR SWIFT AND MITT ROMNEY.
AND I GIVE THEM SO MUCH CREDIT FOR COMING OUT.
I’M A HUGE GAMECOCK FANS AND I’M GIVING PROPS FOR THE CLEMSON QUARTERBACK SAYING THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER.
BUT WE HAVE TO MAKE JUSTICE IN THIS COUNTRY A VERB.
IT IS NOT JUST A NOUN.
BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
YOU KNOW, THIS WEEK WE JUST PUT GEORGE FLOYD IN THE GROUND AND SO I’M NOT AS CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT WE’VE DONE UNTO THIS POINT, THAT HAS BEEN DIFFERENT, BUT IS THERE A FOLLOW THROUGH OVER THE NEXT COUPLE WEEKS.

SO IT IS ABOUT IS THERE ENOUGH POLITICAL CAN’T TO MAKE REAL CHANGE THAT WILL BELESS LASTING.

LASTING AND CHANGE THE SYSTEMS IN THIS COUNTRY WHICH HAS PLAGUED US FOR DECADES IF NOT CENTURIES.

FEBRUARY 8, 1968 WAS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DAYS OF MY LIFE, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS 16 YEARS BEFORE I WAS BORN.

YES.

WHAT HAPPENED THAT DAY?

MY FATHER WAS SHOT ALONG WITH 28 OTHERS.
THREE YOUNG MEN WERE KILLED.
THEY WERE PROTESTING WHAT THE HISTORY BOOKS CALL JIM CROW’S FINAL HIDING PLACE, THE LAST INVESTIGATION DAMAGE OF DISCRIMINATION.
IT WAS IN LITTLE ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA.
ALL THE OFFICERS WHO FIRED SHOTS WERE CHARGED WITH FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS CRIMES.
THEY WERE ALL FOUND NOT GUILTY.
MY FATHER WAS DEEMED TO BE AN OUTSIDAGE AT A TIMER.
HE WAS CHARGED, TRIED AND CONVICTED OF RIOTING.

AND HE SERVED TIME FOR WHAT WAS CALLED THE 1968 ORANGEBURG MASSACRE WHICH IS AN EVENT THAT HAS ESCAPED MANY OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORIES WRITTEN ABOUT THIS PERIOD OF TIME.

AND THAT IS A LOT OF THE PAIN THAT RESIDES IN MY MAERT.
HEART.
AND YOU HAVE THE BLOOD OF MY FAMILY LITERALLY RUNNING THROUGH THE SOIL OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY.
BUT PEOPLE DON’T REMEMBER THESE BLACK MEN WHO GAVE SO MUCH.
AND MY FATHER LIVING WITH A FELONY UNTIL HE WAS PARDONED IN THE 1990s.
AND ONE OF THE COOL THINGS IS MY FATHER GOT PARDONED, BUT HE DID NOT HAVE THAT EXPUNGED FROM HIS RECORD.
BECAUSE HE WANTED TO — HE WANTED TO REMEMBER THAT.
HE ALWAYS WANTED PEOPLE TO SEE THAT INJUSTICE ARE TIS.

AND HOW DOES YOUR FATHER FEEL ABOUT THIS TIME IN HISTORY?

MY FATHER IS EXCITED.
THE MOVEMENT IS ALWAYS BURNING WITHIN HIM AND HE LIKES TO SEE THIS ACTIVISM.

DOES HE FEEL THAT THERE IS PROGRESS BEING MADE OR THERE IS THE POTENTIAL?

MY FATHER FEELS THAT THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR PROGRESS BUT HE HAS THE SAME HESITATION THAT I DID BECAUSE HE’S BEEN HERE BEFORE.
BECAUSE MY 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER WAS THIS WEEK OUT PROTESTING AS AT A ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ RALLY.
AND WE WERE HAVING A CONVERSATION ABOUT LIVING IN A WORLD WHERE YOUR 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER DOESN’T HAVE TO GO OUT AND REAFFIRM THAT HER LIFE JUST MATTERS, THAT SHE CAN JUST BE 15.
SO THERE IS INNATE SADNESS IN THE COUNTRY THAT WE LIVE IN.
SHE STILL HAS TO YELL AND WRITE SIGNS SIMPLY SAYING THAT HER LIFE MATTERS.
AND HOPEFULLY THAT WE CAN CRATE A COUNTRY WHERE HER VOICE IS NO LONGER NEEDED AND SHE CAN JUST BE 15.

AND NINE AFRICAN-AMERICANS WERE GUNNED DOWN DURING BIBLE STUDY.
THE RESPONSE TO THE CHARLESTON MASSACRE WAS A VERY DIFFERENT RESPONSE THAN WE’VE SEEN FROM ALMOST EVERY OTHER MASSACRE.
RIGHT?
AND MANY FROM CHARLESTON SAY IT TYPIFIED NOT CHARLESTON, BUT THAT CHURCH.
AND OF COURSE THE RESPONSE FROM THE PARISHIONERS WAS TO FORGIVE, IN STARK CONTRAST OF THE RIOTING AND LOOTING THAT HAS HAPPENED.
IN YOUR VIEW, WHICH RESPONSE GETS YOU FURTHER POLITICALLY ON THE BACK END?

OH, I THINK BOTH.
I CAN’T — I WILL NOT SIT HERE AND UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDEMN RIOTING AND LOOTING WITHOUT CONDEMNING THE CONDITIONS UNDERLYING THAT LED TO THEM.

WHAT WITH B. PROTESTING VERSUS THE FORGIVENESS?

AND THIS IS — THIS IS CONFLICTING PROTESTING THE FORGIVENESS?

AND THIS IS — THIS IS CONFLICTING.
I THINK BOTH ARE NECESSARY.
IT OFTENTIMES PUTS ME IN AN INTERESTING POSITION BECAUSE I ASK WHY ARE BLACK FOLK IN THIS COUNTRY ALSO IN A POSITION WHERE WE HAVE TO FORGIVE.
THAT IS THE WAY THAT I LOOK AT THAT.
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANY ATONEMENT, ANY EMPATHY OR UNDERSTANDING.
W4E6R WE HAVE CHANGE IN THIS COUNTRY, WHENEVER WE HAVE THE VOTING RIGHTS OR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS, WHENEVER WHEN WE HAVE POLICING REFORM, IT IS BECAUSE OF BLACK BLOOD SPILLED IN THE STREETS.
AND THE CHANGE OCCURS BECAUSE NINE PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND THE BLOOD FLOWED FROM THAT CHURCH.
THE CHANGE WILL OCCUR IN POLICE REFORM BECAUSE OF GEORGE FLOYD AND BECAUSE OF AHMAUD ARBERY.
WHITE FOLK DID NOT BELIEVE — THIS IS A GENERALIZATION, BUT DID NOT BELIEVE THESE TYPE OF ENCOUNTERS TOOK PLACE.
BUT THE CHANGE HAPPENED IN MINUTE TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT THAT HIS KNEE WAS ON GEORGE’S NECK.
BECAUSE THAT LEVEL OF INHUMANITY IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE CANNOT COMPREHEND BEHIND.
SO I PUSH BACK BECAUSE IT IS NOT THE PROTESTS THAT HAPPENED AFTER OR THE RIOTING OR LOOTING.

OR THE GRACIOUS FORGIVENESS.

OR THE GRACIOUS FORGIVENESS.
THE REASON THAT WE HAVE THE CHANGE IS BECAUSE OF THE BLACK BLOOD THAT FLOWS.
BUT ANGER IS NOT A SIN THAT NEEDS TO BE STATED.
ANGER IS NOT A SIN.
AND FOR MANY OF WHITE HOUSE MAY NOT BE AS FAR ALONG AS SOME OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO FOR GAVE, I’M STILL ANGRY AS HELL AS DYLANN ROOF.
I STILL HAVE THAT ANGER THAT IS HARBORED INSIDE OF ME.
I STILL HAVE THAT ANGER THAT IS HARBORED INSIDE OF ME.
IT IS NOT A PARALYZING ANGER.
AND THERE ARE STILL MANY WHO HAVE NOT FORGIVEN DYLANN ROOF.
BUT HE WITH GO THROUGH STAGES OF GRIEVING.
WE GO THROUGH SEEING THE VIDEO OR HEARING BROKE THE DEATH AND YOU HAVE THE RAGE AND GO INTO THE LEVEL OF SADNESS AND THEN WE HAVE THE MEMORIAL SERVICES WHERE YOU HAVE HOMEGOING CELEBRATIONS AND IT IS A CELEBRATION OF LIFE.
BUT THE PROBLEM, IT IS A CYCLE.
AND IT CONTINUES.
AND SO YOU ARE ASKING ME TO HAVE FAITH IN A CYCLE THAT HASN’T BEEN BROKEN IN THIS COUNTRY YET.
AND THAT IS A BLIND FAITH.
THAT IS WHAT FAITH IS.
AND MY CHILDREN MAKE ME HAVE IT, BUT I’LL TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME BEFORE I START HANDING OUT PARTICIPATION PROCEED IF IS.

AND YOU QUOTED KING SAYING EITHER WE WILL BUILD COMMUNITY OR SUCCUMB TO CASE CHAOS.
WHICH HAVE WE DONE?

JUST READ THE PAPERS AND SEE THE TEAR GAS USED.
AND THE CHALLENGE IS THAT WE HAVE TO BUILD COMMUNITY.
THAT OPPORTUNITY IS STILL BEFORE US EVEN IF WE ARE DELVING IN TO CHAOS.
BUT IT TAKES ALL OF US.
IT TAKES ME IT IS BEING HERE IN THIS PLATFORM AND TELLING YOU ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES, IT TAKES YOU BEING ABLE TO GO IN DIFFERENT ROOMS THAT I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GO IN AND HAVE THESE CHALLENGING VERY DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RACE.
WHERE YOU ARE PUSHING PEOPLE AGAINST THEIR COMMON PRE-COMMON EXCEPTIONS AND NOTIONS AND YOU ARE BUILDING UNDERSTANDING AND AND YOU ARE BUILDING UNDERSTANDING AND EMPASS ANY.
AND I’M CERTAIN THAT I HAVE TO HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH MY CHILDREN THAT ARE DIFFERENT THAN CONVERSATIONS THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE WITH YOUR.

NO QUESTION.

AND I ALWAYS CHALLENGE PEOPLE WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN AND WHAT ARE YOU SHOWING YOUR CHILDREN BY EXAMPLE TO ENSURE THAT THEY GIVE MY CHILDREN THE BENEFIT OF THEIR HUMANITY.
THAT IS ALL WE’RE ASKING.

HOW OLD ARE YOUR CHILDREN?

17 MONTH OLD TWINS AND A 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER.

HOW DO YOU TALK TO YOUR 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER ABOUT WHAT SHE NEEDS TO KNOW?

THE OVER ARCING PREMISES, IS THAT SHE CAN BE UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK, THAT SHE CAN BE PRIDE FUL IN WHO SHE IS, BUT I ALSO TELL HER THINGS ABOUT HOW TO STAY ALIVE.
SHE HAS A PERMIT NOW AND SO WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING, YOU KNOW, MAKE SURE THAT YOU CALL 911 IF THE SUN IS GOING DOWN AND THE POLICE ARE BEHIND YOU.
AND DON’T PULL OVER UNLESS IT IS A WELL-LIT AREA.
DON’T REACH.
EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO LIVE AND I CAN GET YOU OUT OF THIS SITUATION.
AND SO I KNOW THAT THERE MAY BE AN AMY COOPER LIKE THERE WAS IN NEW YORK.
SHE HAS A GROUP OF FRIENDS CALLED THE BLACK QUEENS THAT HANG OUT TOGETHER.
SO I WANT HER TO BE CONFIDENT AND ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE YOU AS LESS THAN HUMAN.
AND THE FACT THAT I HAVE TO STRIP HER OF HER INNOCENCE AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE REALLY BOTHERS ME.
AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT EVEN THOUGH MY KIDS ARE 13 1/2 YEARS APART, I HOPE THAT WE CAN CHANGE AND GROW OUT OF THIS THROUGH THE CONVERSATIONS WE’RE HAVING NOW.

AND WHAT SHOULD I TELL MY CHILDREN?

SO THAT IS — THAT IS A MORE IMPORTANT QUESTION.
I APPRECIATE THE INQUISITIVENESS OF WHITE FOLK THESE DAYS CALLING ME AND ASKING ME WHAT CAN I DO.
I LOVE IT.
I’M MORE INTERESTED IN THE CONVERSATIONS THAT YOU ARE HAVING WITH YOUR KIDS AND THE LIFE THAT YOU ARE LIVING WHEN I’M NOT THERE.
ARE YOU EMPOWERING BLACK FOLK ON YOUR SHOW, IN YOUR SOCIAL CIRCLE, ARE YOU LIFTING THEM UP, BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE OKAY FOR OUR GENERATION, BUT I’M MORE — I’M MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE GENERATION THAT IS COMING.
I’M MORE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR CHILDREN.

SO YOU’RE SAYING ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

NO QUESTION.
BECAUSE WHAT THEY SEE WILL AFFECT HOW THIS ISSUE OF RACE GETS DEALT WITH.

BUT IN THE WAY YOU TELL YOUR DAUGHTER THERE ARE SOME WHO SEE YOU AS LESS THAN, SHOULD I SAY THAT TO MY CHILDREN TOO, THAT THERE ARE SOME THAT SEE AFRICAN-AMERICANS LESS THAN?

NO QUESTION.
I WANT YOUR KIDS TO WORRY ABOUT BEING A CHANGE AGENT AND NOT AN INFLUENCER.
AND SO I WANT MY DAUGHTER TO GO OUT AND CARRY HER SIGNS LIKE SHE’S BEEN CARRYING AND PROTESTING AND SAY THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER BECAUSE SHE KNOWS THAT SHE —
SHOULD I BE TELLING MY KIDS TO BE OUT THERE WITH HER?

DEFINITELY.
THAT IS HOW THIS WORKS.
THIS IS WHAT I TELL PEOPLE.
YOU WILL HAVE NO LARGER PROPONENT OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN AN ABOUT A BAKARI SELLERS.
WHEN I’M OUT THERE FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS,A BAKARI SELLERS.
WHEN I’M OUT THERE FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS, I WANT YOU MARCHING WITH ME.
YOU CAN’T BE SELFISH IN YOUR STRUGGLE.
THIS MOVEMENT IS A TWO WAY STREET.

AND SO LAST MONTH BLACK UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS 16%. AND COMPARED TO 12% OF WHITE AMERICANS.
HOW MUCH DOES THAT PLAY INTO THE PROTESTS?

A LOT.
THIS HAS BEEN PUTTING MY ANALYST HAT ON, WE’RE SEEING SOMETHING THAT WE HAVEN’T SEEN IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY, WE’RE SEEING 1968 MEET 1918 WITH THE FLASH OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

WITH 1929?

JUST A LITTLE BIT.
I WASN’T GOING TO MENTION IT, BUT JUST A LITTLE BIT OF ’29.
AND SO WHAT WE NEED RIGHT NOW, IN THIS MOMENT, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN, LEADERS WITH EMPATHY, COMPASSION, UNDERSTANDING AND SOMEONE WHO HAS A BOLD VISION FOR THE FUTURE.
AND I’M NOT SURE THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE IN THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW.

LET’S GET TO THE POLICY SOLUTIONS.

SURE.

THE REASON THAT YOU ARE INCLINED TOWARD PUBLIC SERVICE IS BECAUSE YOU WANT TO FIX IT.

I LOVE THE POLICY PART.

AND SO HELP ME UNDERSTAND THE POLICY MOVEMENT WHICH IS DEFUND THE POLICE.
WHAT DOES DEFUND THE POLICE MEAN TO YOU?

SO WHAT IT MEANS TO ME ON A VERY PERSONAL LEVEL IS THAT DEMOCRATS SUCK AT MESSAGING.
THAT IS WHAT IT MEANS ON A PERSONAL LEVEL.
BUT WE CANNOT LOSE THE NUANCE.
IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT WHEN YOU CALL 911 THE POLICE WON’T SHOW UP.
BUT WHAT WE’RE ADVOCATING FOR IS SENSIBLE BUDGET MEMBERS.
REPUBLICANS CALL IT TRIMMING THE FAT.
SO I’M TRYING TO TRIM THE FAT OF THE BLOATED POLICE DIPLOMAT BUDGETS AND GIVE THEM TO PROGRAMS THAT WILL LESSEN THE NECESSITY FOR POLICE TO SHOW UP IN THE FIRST PLACE.

AND HOW ABOUT AUTOMATIC REVIEW?

I WANT A DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE THAT HAS TEETH AND A CIVIL RIGHTS DEPARTMENT THAT ACTUALLY HAS TEETH AND THEY SHOULD REVIEW THIS AND WE SHOULD ACTUALLY EXPAND THE PARAMETERS, WE SHOULD DO THINGS LIKE LOWERS STANDARD SO THAT WE CAN HAVE FEDERAL SEVERAL RIGHTS CHARGES AGAINST LAW ENFORCEMENT.
BECAUSE IN THE WORDS OF ERIC HOLDER, THE REASON THEY COULDN’T BRING CHARGES IN THE CASE OF ERIC GARNER, BECAUSE IT WAS TOO HIGH.
RIGHT HERE IN CHARLESTON, YOU CAN GET ‘NATIONAL ENQUIRER’ED TO FIRED FOR MISCONDUCT.
SO WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE DOING THESE THING.
AND NONE OF THAT IS PARTISAN.
GRS.

WHAT PARTISAN PRESCRIPTIONS DO YOU THINK THAT WE CAN GET THROUGH?

I HAVE FAITH IN TIM SCOTT.
TIM SCOTT UNDERSTANDS THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING BLACK FROM THE SOUTH.
YOU ASKED ME ABOUT GOING IN A RULE AND I RECALL TIM SKOTH SCOTT BEING STOPPED CAPITOL POLICE.
SO I ACTUALLY HAVE FAITH THAT HE WILL GUIDE WITH HIS HEART ON THIS.
THAT’S THE TIM SCOTT THAT I KNOW.
AND I THINK THAT WE CAN BAN CHOKEHOLDS, I THINK THAT WE CAN HAVE A DATABASE OF MISCONDUCT.
DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG PEOPLE WERE SHOT BY LAW ENFORCEMENT?
NOBODY KNOWS BECAUSE WE DON’T KEEP TRACK OF IT.
SO I THINK THAT TIM SCOTT AND OTHERS IN A ROOM, I THINK THAT YOU CAN HASH OUT SOME GOOD THINGS.

ONE OF THE FEATURES OF THIS PROGRAM IS THAT FIRING LINE RAN FOR A LONG SOMETIME AND I’D LIKE TO SHOW YOU A CLIP AND GET YOUR TAKE.

YOU IN THE PARTY REPUBLICAN PARTY THE PARTY THAT IS MOST ENTHUSIASTIC OF DEEPENING ALIVE THE PROGRESS OF UPWARD MOBILITY WHO HAS SERVED MANY WHO CAME TO AMERICA.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BLACK PEOPLE AS INDIVIDUALS TAKING ADVANTAGE IN THE DEMOCRATIC OR REPUBLICAN PARTY.
BUT THAT IS NOT TO SAY THAT WE OUGHT TO EXCLUDE OURSELVES FROM ARE THE ACTIVITY OF THE PARTY THAT BEST ADDRESSES THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE OR THE HARM THAT IS BEING PUT UPON THE GROUP.
SO IT SEEMS LIKE IT IS A DEMOCRATIC PARTY THAT HAS AS THE JUDGE SAID COME FORWARD WITH THOSE GROUP REMEDIES.

AND PRESIDENT TRUMP SAYS HIS POLICIES WILL APPEAL TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS WHEN IT COMES TO THE ELECT IN NOVEMBER.
AND HE SAYS THAT HE HAS DONE MORE FOR BLACKS THAN ANY PRESIDENT SINCE ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

YOU HAVE TO CHUCKLE, THE FACT THAT HE WENT BACK TO LINCOLN.
THAT IS FUNDAMENTALLY NOT TRUE.
IN MY HOMETOWN IN SOUTH CAROLINA IS STILL IN A FOOD DESERT WHERE YOU CAN’T GO TWO TO THREE MILES AND GET HEALTHY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.
RURAL HOSPITALS ARE SHUT DOWN ESPECIALLY IN STATES THAT DON’T EXPAND MEDICAID.
AND YOU ARE INHALING UNCLEAR AIR.
AND WE HAVE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MOMENT ACROSS THE BOARD.
JOE BIDEN SAYS THAT RACISM EXISTS.

AND DO YOU SUPPORT JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT?

I SUPPORT JOE BIDEN AS PRESIDENT.

WILL HIS RECORD ON THE CRIME BILL BE A LIABILITY?

NO QUESTION.
IT WAS A BAD PIECE OF LEGISLATION.
THE FACT THAT JOE BIDEN AND OTHERS REFUSED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT IT TOOK AWAY THOUSANDS OF BLACK MEN FROM THEIR HOMES WHEN YOU HAVE WHITE BOYS IN COLORADO MAKING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS BY SELLING WEEDS, AND OTHERS GO TO JAIL.
HOWEVER, JOE BIDEN HAS PUT FORTH PLANS TO ATTEMPT TO FIX THAT AND REMEDY THAT THROUGH LEGISLATION.
I WISH THERE WAS A LEVEL OF ATONEMENT AND A LEVEL OF I’M SORRY.

SO JOE BIDEN HAS PROMISED THAT HE WILL PICK A WOMAN TO BE HIS RUNNING MATE.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT IT BE AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN?

I THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT.
BECAUSE WE HAVE TO ACTIVATE THE BATES.
PEOPLE WATCHING SAY JOE BIDEN BE HAS THE BLACK VOTE ANYWAY.
YOU KNOW WHAT, THERE IS AN ELEMENT OF TRUTH TO THAT.
MY MAMA WILL STILL VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN.
BUT SHE WON’T JUST SHOW UP, SHE WILL STAND UP FROM THE TIME THAT THEY ARE ANNOUNCING IT, SHE WILL MAKE SURE THAT THE CHURCH VAN IS GASSED UP, SHE WILL GET HER COUSINS AND BE ON THE PHONE WITH ALL HER SORORITY CITIES AND THE BASE WILL BE ACTIVATED.
THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE GOOD WINNING AND LOSING.
4 MILLION PEOPLE VOTED FOR BARACK OBAMA IN 2012 AND DID NOT VOTE IN 2016, A THIRD OF WHICH WERE BLACK.

WHAT GAVE YOU THE CONFIDENCE WHEN YOU WERE 21 TO RUN FOR THE STATEHOUSE?

IT WASN’T CONFIDENCE, IT WAS IN-STANDITY.
WHEN YOU ARE UNION, YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE IN-VIRNSABLE.
I FELT LIKE MY COMMUNITY WAS STAGNANT.
AND SO MY FUTURE IN POLITICS IS HERE AT HOME.

SO YOU WILL RUN AGAIN?

I’LL RUN AGAIN, YES.

AND YOU WRITE ABOUT YOUR OWN ANXIETY AND THE ANXIETY THAT PLAGUES THE BLACK COMMUNITY AND HOW YOU BELIEVE THAT THAT ANXIETY IS IT DIRECTLY TIED TO THE TRAUMA MEN AND WOMEN FEEL FROM DISCRIMINATION.

SOME PEOPLE CALL IT THE POST-TRAUMATIC SLAVE DISORDER.
AND MY BOOK IS A NEW YORK SOMETIMES BEST SELLER.
IT IS AN AMAZING FEELING.
BUT I’M SIGNING A NAME OF SOMEONE WHO LITERALLY OWNED MY FAMILY WHEN WE CAME FROM THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA INTO THE COAST OF SOUTH AIR AIR.
CAROLINA.
AND IMAGES OF BRIONNA AND GEORGE FLOYD, YOU CAN’T HELP BUT BE ANXIOUS.
AND THE TRICK IS THAT I USE IT AS A SUPER POWER.
AND MY FEARS ARE FAILURE DEATH.
AND SO WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING IN FIVE, SIX YEAR, IT IS A DIFFICULT QUESTION TO ANSWER BECAUSE I JUST MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY 24 HOUR PERIOD AND THE THINGS THAT I CAN CONTROL.

BAKARI SELLER, THANK YOU FOR COMING TO ‘FIRING LINE.’

GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.

‘FIRING LINE’ WITH MARGARET