Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Shelby Steele on race relations following the death of George Floyd.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Let’s talk now in depth about race relations in America after what we’ve seen. Shelby Steele is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Shelby, thanks for being here. We appreciate it. I want to get your 30,000-foot view of what we’ve seen over the past few days and your reaction to it. SHELBY STEELE, SENIOR FELLOW, STANFORD UNIVERSITY’S HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, boy, it’s — in many ways, it’s something of a carnival. There’s there is, I think, a lot less happening that seems to. It’s very dramatic on the surface and it looks like, you know, sort of classics of reminiscent of the civil rights movement and so forth. But actually, it seems to me there’s not much happening here at all. It’s a kind of a repeat of what we’ve seen for throughout my lifetime. And so, I think there’s something — there’s pathos here. It’s like we’ve done this too many times. We’ve been here too many times. We’ve seen this kind of thing and there’s a big hullabaloo, and then it sort of fades away, and this is already beginning, I think, to fade. What was it all about? What was the point? What did these various groups — what did they want? They — striking to me about this particular one is that there was not even a list of demands, usually, there’s always a long elaborate list of demands. That wasn’t the case here. There’s nothing that you can come away from. This entire episode last two weeks or so. That — that’s meaningful. We — people are talking about police reform. Well, I’m all for police reform. I think most people want to — want to see the best policing we can possibly get. But this, this wasn’t called, and police reform didn’t trigger this. This is — this is something else. It seems to me there’s a generation here that doesn’t quite know where to go, doesn’t know what to looking at racial tensions, and problems in the black community, and there’s no longer any sort of idea what we ought to be doing to work on those things to fix them. BAIER: Well, here is a Reverend Al Sharpton at the memorial service for George Floyd in Minneapolis. Take a listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AL SHARPTON, FOUNDER, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be in is you kept your knee on our neck. (END VIDEO CLIP) BAIER: Went on to say, essentially, that this is the moment, and repeated the systemic racism in this country. Your response to that. STEELE: My response to that is that Al Sharpton is a master of this old form of politics that comes out of the 60s where we as blacks cry victimization and demand the larger society, give us things, of some kind of another. I will take Al Sharpton seriously. And I know him, he’s a nice, nice person. I will take his message here seriously, when he stands before congregation like that of black — people in America over a tragic event, and says what Black Americans can do to get out of the situation that we’re in? No one from the president on down anywhere, says, what role? What’s going wrong with Black America? Why are they so dependent on White America, on the government? That all they can think of is themselves as victims, which then, of course, deflates them as human beings, undermines their best energies, their best intentions, and keeps — and so, after 50-60 years now, past the civil rights bill, we’re worse off in many socio-economic categories than we were 60 years ago back then. I don’t blame that in time and I understand why it happened. And the kind of liberalism that came in, and really took over our fate. Took it away from us. White America in many ways did that, and they needed it for their own reasons. White America’s live under this accusation that they’re racist, they need to prove that they’re not racist. In order to prove that you’re not racist, you need to take over the fate of black people and say, go with us, we’ll engineer you into the future, we’ll engineer you into equality. Life doesn’t work like that. We have to engineer ourselves. Period. There is no other way. It — unless you can rewrite the rules of the human condition. There is no circumstance in history where people can — no matter — no matter how much guilt they have over the oppressive majority, there is no — there’s no indicated — indication anywhere that you can somehow get them to lift your — lift you up and get you out of your — the condition that you’re — it’s not a possibility. So, Sharpton is — (CROSSTALK) BAIER: You said there’s not a list of things. There is a — go ahead. You said there’s not a list of things, there is the — there is — or everything from defund to the police we’ve seen to retribution, essentially, monetary payments to level the playing field. Is there a solution out there that politically can get you — (CROSSTALK) STEELE: Hold up. BAIER: — you can get your head around. STEELE: I will take that — those things seriously. When I also hear from Sharpton and others, the argument that we need within the black community to work on the institution of marriage. Our families have fallen to pieces. 75 percent of all black children are born out of wedlock, without a father. I don’t care how many social programs you have. You’re not going to overcome that. That’s where we need to put — all right, that’s what the messages seems to me in this tragedy is, is that we, as Black Americans have to begin to take our fate back into our own hands and move it — the stop crying racism. There’s a little racism out here, always was, and always will be. Why — just why is that an argument to stop, to not move forward, to not be responsible for your own fate? Well, again, it’s that — it’s that we live in a wealthy, liberal, bend over backwards, differential nation has hurt us in terms of moving out of the 400 years of oppression that we were subjected to. And we’re got — we’re never going to get out of it. And you can — you can again fix to have the police go this many sensitivity training classes as you want. It’s not going to me — it’s not going to read a story to a child that night before he goes to sleep so he’s developing his mind and he’s getting ready to go to school and be serious about the academic and educational development. So he can someday compete in the most advanced society in the modern world, where one has to be. BAIER: Yes. STEELE: Really strange and developed in order to be successful. When I see that focus, I feel a lot better. BAIER: Well, we’ve had a number of different voices all throughout these days. And we appreciate yours. Shelby Steele, thanks for being on.