Donald Trump’s legal troubles, coupled with the passionate devotion of his supporters, have made him one of the biggest wildcards in the history of presidential politics. But this Republican primary cycle has also been disrupted by one of Trump’s self-proclaimed biggest fans, Vivek Ramaswamy. The right-wing entrepreneur who said that willing to spend more than $100 million of his own money for his bid and making ending affirmative action and limiting U.S. military support for Ukraine centerpieces of his campaign, has emerged as enough of a contender that he received the majority of attacks in the first Republican presidential debate (the , which Trump skipped).
If elected, Ramaswamy, a graduate of Harvard and Yale, would be the youngest president in history and the first Indian American to hold the office. Known for trying to show off his rap skills during the election campaign (until he was asked by rapper Eminem’s label to stop by), with whom he spoke The Hollywood Reporter about race and Hollywood, the film he and his wife Dr. Apoorva Tewari is at odds, and his now shelved plans to finance a remake American History Xthe 1998 film starring Edward Norton and Edward Furlong as brothers in a family torn apart by racist violence.
What is your favorite film of all time?
I like gladiator And The Dark Knightand I like Interstellaralso by Christopher Nolan.
What movie does your wife love that you hate?
That Reese Witherspoon movie, Naturally blond. She finds it very funny.
And you do not?
No. It’s not so good.
GOP strategist Karl Rove once credited it The Cosby Show with paving the way for America’s first black president. Do you think diverse representation on screen is effective?
One of the shows that I like in this way is The Jeffersonsthat I saw as a child. The Jeffersons And South Park are two of my favorite shows. Taking an honest look at culturally sensitive topics is important for initiating honest conversations and doing so without constraints.
Do you think the different portrayals on screen have influenced you personally?
You mean represented by a [particular] Minority? Not really. Part of what we need is to create enough honesty in storytelling that allows for people from different backgrounds in every way. Diversity is not just your genetics. There are many types of diversity, such as the ability to see similarities and stories related to values in the people portrayed on screen. And I think that sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that just because someone looks like us, that means they’ll connect with the audience – and maybe on a superficial level that can sometimes be true. But I think it goes much deeper when you’re able to go beyond the mere surface and create a piece of art, a film, a movie or a show that really touches on the commonality of values that the audience shares. I don’t think that’s being done enough at the moment.
Gran Torino [the Clint Eastwood film about a white working class Korean War vet’s friendship with a Hmong American teen] was really good in that regard because I think people had a connection to the main characters in that movie…It’s a connection that every American felt to those two characters. I think we are overdue for a modern “American History American History X tells… the story of the bond between two brothers is something timeless and familiar, regardless of whether they are black or white or whatever… Actually, before I ran for president, I thought about taking on something like that.
About creating a new version of American History X?
I don’t have the necessary skills to be a director or producer, but becoming an executive producer or investor was something that really interested me.
Donald Trump recently discussed you as a possible vice president, but called some of your comments controversial. Meanwhile, his own rhetoric — including around COVID — is being credited with increasing hate crimes against the Asian community. Do you think you and Trump have a responsibility to ensure that the rhetoric you use doesn’t inspire people to racially motivated violence?
I will speak for no one but myself. Yes, is of course the answer to this question as a manager. But I think part of what’s leading to an unfortunate wave of racism in all directions and racial tension in all directions is the lack of honesty. I think when you tell people that they can’t scream, that they can’t even speak… that they have to suppress their feelings and that there are certain things they can’t say, it manifests itself in all sorts of ugly and unpredictable ways Street. On the contrary, I think we need to have open, honest and honest conversations about identity.
How does your recent comment at a campaign appearance in Iowa that Massachusetts Democratic Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is a “modern-day grand sorceress of the modern-day KKK” matter?
I compared their message to this, which is an important difference [the reference is to a 2019 statement by Pressley that Democrats don’t “need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice”].
Do you think the rhetoric you used, comparing someone who is not violent and may have said controversial things, to an organization whose worldview has led to thousands of rapes and murders, is exaggerated and makes it difficult for people to understand yours to understand the message? that we should have a polite and honest conversation?
I don’t think the line has been crossed and I hope it doesn’t make it harder for people to understand my message, although it’s my job to make sure that’s not the case. My problem with her comment wasn’t that it was controversial. My problem with her comment was that it was downright racist and ugly, displaying some of the same ugliness that embodied the Klan’s worldview. And one thing I want to say at the heart of your question: If the Klan were a modern force in American life, there is no way I would have made that analogy. Because then we would now have a bigger problem in this country. But my point was to use the memory of how toxic that was… I mean, the Ku Klux Klan is irrelevant in the United States today, but there was a time when that wasn’t true.
But I want people to remember that as bad as it was, it was normalized in its time. It was part of the culture. Today, it is people like Ayanna Pressley who are equally influential on America’s culture and corporate culture, as well as on diversity and our intellectual culture. So we need to wake up and say: Just as it was wrong to passively accept a culture that was dominated by another form of racism a century ago, we need to be aware of where that racism is showing up today Say if you have a certain skin color you should shut up, sit down and do as you’re told.
Given that we are conducting this interview in the wake of a recent shooting against Black Americans in Jacksonville, should you use different language to make your point?
No. I understand your point of view and respect it. But I reject your premise. Because our shared goal is that we do not want any more racially divisive violence or behavior in this country. And yet I worry that if we are not honestly able to have an open, real, raw dialogue and debate about what I think is actually driving some of these racist ills in this country – what a new one Way is to make people see each other Because of their genetic characteristics they are different from each other – we are in for a lot worse. Maybe my comment this week will make some people uncomfortable, but it will also lead to some conversations we aren’t having.
Senator Tim Scott has spoken openly and passionately about how many times he has been racially profiled by police, even Capitol Police, throughout his life. Do you think he is telling the truth about these experiences?
Secure. I have no doubt it is him.
If that is the case, then how can we solve problems like racial profiling within certain institutions like law enforcement when some conservatives like you take the position that the problems are not systemic or institutional in nature?
Racism is individual animus. When we talk about systemic racism, it almost dilutes the reality. I don’t think racism is one of the top 50 problems in the United States today, but that’s different than saying it doesn’t exist. But I don’t think it’s a top 50 problem…
For all people, including black people?
For all people. What concerns me is that in the name of racism it provides an excuse for solving the problems that are holding many Americans, including Black Americans, back.
So how would you address the problem of racial profiling within the Capitol Police without addressing systemic or institutional racism?
I think the reality is that the last embers of racism are burning out in this country. We should let this happen. But in pursuing more race-conscious policies, we inadvertently and unintentionally — and some people with the best of intentions, I admit — are throwing kerosene on the last burning embers. And it pains me to see this happening in this country. It’s a muscle that will slowly atrophy into insignificance if we let it. We are almost at the promised land, and yet I think that if we get closer to the promised land and start to deal more with racism, we are risking the problem when it has actually reached its lowest point. It’s like an immune system becomes overactive once the virus is eliminated and ends up killing the host itself, and I think that’s exactly what could be happening in this country.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Keli Goff is a longtime political reporter and Emmy-nominated documentary producer Invert roe and an author Mayor of Kingstown, and just like that And Black Lightning.