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tv   CNN Special Report  CNN  April 30, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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proper response would have been for her to slap him and then leave. i'm michael smerconish. i'll see you back here tomorrow night. "cnn special report" starts with don lemon right now. this is a cnn special report. i'm don lemon. and tonight i want to have a conversation about race and how we talk about it. first, listen to donald sterling. >> if you don't feel it, don't come to my games. don't bring black people and don't come. >> now listen to cliven bundy. >> i've often wondered, are they better off as slaves? >> their words are clearly indefensible but it's not just white men of a certain age. what about paul ryan talking about so-called inner city men who don't work or this from congressman ben knee thompson?
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>> uncle tomorrow clarence thomas. >> some words are weapons. said out loud, they can only be said worse with words of conversation. we also have the search for flight 370. ships from bangladesh searching the bay of bengals. you've been tweeting us about the missing plane and about donald sterling and my experts are standing by to talk about experts donald sterling would make more money than he deserved, alienate himself from what he owns. >> names being tossed around include everybody from oprah to magic johnson. here's cnn ted rowlands. >> reporter: as the nba attempting to force to sell the clippers, will he fight or delay
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a sale? what about his wife shelly? she got permission from the clippers' coach doc rivers. >> it's a tough one for shellie, really. you know, she didn't do anything wrong either. and you've -- you have compassion for her. >> reporter: not everyone has compassion for shellie sterling. in a deposition, she was accused of calling a tenant a black mf after he asked for a reduction in rent. she unequivocally denies using the slur. >> there have been no other decisions of members of the sterling family and i should say that this ruling applies specifically to donald sterling. >> reporter: meanwhile, donald sterling's alleged mistress, v. stiviano, is a new magnet for
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the paparazzi venturing out with a visor that covers her face, she said she would one day run for president of the united states. several people are reportedly expressing interest in owning the clippers, including oprah and larry ellison and os ska de la hoya. >> the clippers need a face and what better face than my face. >> shaquille o'neal says it doesn't matter who ends up owning the clippers as long as it's not donald sterling. >> the players and the fan, we own the game. the owners are just the custodian. >> ted rowlands, cnn, los angeles. joining me now is a cnn analyst. you've been writing about this and speaking about this very passionately. donald sterling has been on your radar for some time now for a very long time and you've been covering him for years. tell us what you thought when you heard this -- these tapes
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this weekend. >> well, the tape itself, i think a lot of people were out raged by it but if you were aware of the stuff in the paperwork on the housing discrimination suits, the tapes were, what do you know, donald sterling is the way he was. the team got good and they wanted to enjoy the fact that the team was good. the tape itself was just really kind of bizarre. i thought it was kind of insightful to understand what somebody at that level thinks and he's embarrassed that his friends they pick on him about that, almost like high school stuff. i wasn't outraged by it in a way that a lot of other people were because there was a lot more outrageous stuff in his past. >> back in 2006 you wrote about donald sterling and called him out on charges of housing discrimination which we're learning about now. why didn't that get more attention? >> that's a good point. housing discrimination lawsuits, you see the numbers within the millions of dollars. that doesn't resonate and splash
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with people. with the tmz, it was overt language, it was clear it didn't require a deeper understand of sort of system. people could hear that and jump on it and say, oh, my gosh, donald sterling is a horrible man. when you're talking about housing discrimination, you're talking about something that is step after step and a lot of people don't realize that they saw that lawsuit and i think a lot of people charged it up to, hey, what's the big deal, even though that's one of the biggest deals in the country. >> what do you think is worse, the housing discrimination charges or the comments that were caught on tape? >> well, i think if we're talking effectively about what happens in the world, the housing discrimination, the tape itself -- the tape stuff is it candy. some of that stuff you heard was a bit strange in the way of gifgs players stuff as opposed to paying wages. ultimately, that was a crazy conversation between a man and his mistress. the stuff with the housing institute and say that black people stink and attract vermine
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and inhibiting the lively hoods of people in this country, what happened on that tape is what it was. it was a tmz story. >> i think the housing discrimination was for more egregious. that's where they live, right? these things he was mouthing off in his house or wherever he was, it's horrible but i think the housing discrimination is worse. bo, you played for the clippers back in the '90s and you co-founded 44 for life. in the 1990s, you were a first round draft pick chosen by the clippers. you recently learned that donald sterling had a lot of impact on your playing time. explain what you learned and how you learned it. >> well, first of all, i was very honored to be and very happy to be drafted by the clippers eighth pick, lottery pick. it was a very exciting time for me. little did i know that coming to a team that i thought needed
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scoring, donald was more concerned about saving a $300,000 of bonus incentive that i had in my contract to play 15 minutes or less, he would save 300,000. so he wasn't worried about winning games, he was worried about saving 300 grand. so from a business perspective, a great decision. from a team decision, it was very poor and is a perfect example of poor management and why the clippers had the track record that they had for the last few years. >> he was a multimillionaire back in the '90s. he could have already been a billionaire. he was concerned about your playing time. that seems a bit petty if not cheap. did you know donald sterling to be a bigoted man? >> i did not. i have had a lost discussions in the last few days since this came out. donald had been a very respectful to me in person. unfortunately, he was harvesting these types of feelings for
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years and it was unfortunate. for me, when i was with the clippers, he cost me millions of dollars by not playing me. not only did i not get a chance to be on the court, which was very important, it cost me endorsements, it cost me an opportunity to have a second contract and i was probably just one of a series of players that, in reality, they thought we were a bust but we never got the chance to shine. so imagine this. i come out of college, i'm a lottery pick, eighth pick, averaged 35 numbers in college, numbers that no one has put up in 70 years. yet, that being said, i can't even get on the court and contribute to a team that needs that type of scoring. now, what do you think would have happened if i had eight more minutes of playing and had been allowed to do the great things that i was allowed to do at loyala mount? there was a lot of marketing and endorsements and at the end of the day it just didn't work out for me with the clippers. >> i have to ask you something.
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did you think it was personal or do you think it was just all about the money? >> i think it was actually all about the money. donald sterling, hands down, is a very shrewd businessman. so in that regard, nobody can take anything from that. but basketballwise, very poor. >> bo -- i have to get my bos straight. bomani, there's a lot of talk about what may happen next. do you think any members of the sterling family should be allowed to carry on with the clippers' organization? >> i think shellie sterling is going down door to door and knocking down ethnicities of those that rent that building, it was stag dwering the way she was there and doc rivers said he feels bad for shellie those two it seems it would be impossible
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for them to be in charge of that team. a fellow housing discriminate for is not somebody that you put there. >> bo kimble, bomani jones, thank you. when we come back, we'll talk more about donald sterling and paula deen. public figures pay a price for racism. but does that solve the problem? when does your work end? does it end after you've expanded your business? after your company's gone public?
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welcome back, everyone. donald sterling is certainly not the first prominent figure to be caught making racist remarks and he's not the only one to pay a heavy price. what's the price they pay when it goes public? >> then why are you
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broadcasting? why? >> reporter: it can get you fired, scorned, and now banned for life. >> i'm heartbroken. >> reporter: celebrity chef paula deen and cliven bundy and now donald sterling. >> i think we've always had public figures out there saying outrageous things when it comes to race. the difference is now when someone says something like this, the chances that that it's been recorded somewhere. >> reporter: take the case of paula deen, a major cooking personality. >> there we go. how is this, y'all? >> reporter: when a deposition made public in 2013 showed that deen used the "n" word in the past, she lost it all, including her show on the food network and sponsors. there's a cycle, says a professor, and it now runs faster than ever. >> we start with public outrage.
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there's the official response by the people who can actually do something about it. >> hi. i'm back. >> paula deen is now in act 5 where she's attempting to come back and some people, of course, never achieve that part of the cycle. >> reporter: deen was reportedly worth $10 million when the scandal broke. donald sterling is a billionaire but he may end up being worth more money as a result of his racist words. >> the big punishment for sterling might be, you've got to sell the team. and that might mean that your big punishment may make you hundreds and millions of dollars. >> cliven bundy accused the government of stepping on his rights. >> are they better off as slaves? >> those words ended his brief run in the political limelight. >> the core issue of racism or
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homophobia must be dealt with in a much more frontal way. >> reporter: a long-time public relations expert and civil rights activist says that the punishment doesn't solve the real problem. >> they either repent or don't repent and move on and the insidious problem of racism in america doesn't get dealt with. >> reporter: that is, until the next public figure gets recorded on tape. jean casarez, cnn, new york. >> jean, thank you very much. so how do we deal with racism in public and private? joining me is cultural critic and legal analyst mark o'mara and back with me now is bomani jones. what donald sterling said was so outrageous that it's really easy for people to stand up against racism this time. but what about the more subtle
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underlined examples of racism? is. >> a lot of people, don, have these racist views and they say them quietly. they say that they are not recorded. they are never reported. and we have to deal with it. because i think that we have to make sure that everybody has a right to speak but they can't talk about people because of their race, their sexual orientation, their gender, their class. all of these things are happening all the time and i talk to my students all the time because they don't see a whole lot of black professors in front of them. they need to understand that i'm very aware of issues of race and gender and sexual orientation and i'm going to make sure that they are aware of it, too. >> mark o'mara, it's an interesting question for you. as a colleague, i've seen the reaction that you've had for the george zimmerman trial. you were a central figure in the tray john martin and george zimmerman case. when you talk publicly about race as a white man, how do people react to you? >> it's strange. people ask whether i have a
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right to talk about race as the white guy in the room but the reality is i think i've shown that i am willing and i'm comfortable talking about the uncomfortable. many times people have talked to me about the racial issues that came to the forefront in the zim sdplim case and by the time the case is under way they understand that my view of the racism that exists is not just from the george zimmerman case. that was one of thousands of cases. rather, it comes from the fact that for 30 years i've represented everybody accused and a lot of those have been young, black males and we've rallied against those same concerns within the criminal justice system. so, yeah, it's tough. but i think if we're comfortable talking about it, there's a lot to talk about. >> and we always say that, you know, michaela, because beside a public denuns asian, what else can be done to end racism? paula deen, we're out prajed,
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and then we go back to our normal lives. >> yes and no. i think what is interesting that we're seeing happening is we're sack stacking up icons of ignorance and they become touch points for young people and that's really what i'm focused on, is how is this affecting the next generation? how is it moving the culture forward and while sterling may make some money, but what happened to his legacy? and in history, people look at what you left behind. and paula deen and sterling and sandusky, folks are -- their legacy is being destroyed and there's power in that and the question is, what are we going to do moving forward? what is the nba going to do? because it was a very powerful moment seeing those players ready to organize, ready to like not play. imagine that. imagine the power. these are young, very rich black men with numbers. we've got one old man with a big
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bank account but we've got hundreds of activated hopefully black men so the answer is, what is this going to do for the organizations? do they see that they can have cultural currency and not just play on the field, that they can organize around issues? that's -- that's what's open at this point. >> bomani, i want to ask you this. and to what mark o'mara said, he said, you know, he feels in many ways he's being judged by one thing that happened in his career, a long career. is it -- are we in an era where we don't allow white people to talk about race and we completely count them out because it doesn't count because it's coming from a white person? >> well, where is this world where we get to tell white people what to do? i'm unfamiliar with that place where you get to command and tell white people what they can and cannot do? white people refer to race all the time. it's coded and put into other terms. but this idea that white people
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can't talk -- the issue is not whether white people have permission to talk about race. the issue is why do white people seem so uninformed about things that black people now and it's not just an understanding that you get. you get from learning and reading. it's things he read and things he learned. what i find in media, especially when it comes to talk about race, they will call me, they will call michaela or the professor. >> but we also call mark and their other -- >> yeah, you call mark, certainly. but you know what i mean. but treat it like a black zish go ahead, mark. >> let me contest a little bit because i think whites are afraid to talk about race. not race but racism and the reason why is because it is so difficult for us to have a realistic conversation about it because one false move, one misstep and all of a sudden we
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fall right into a customer vas we're trying to get out of. i think there's a silver lining with the sterling case. rather than being on the side watching it, almost like a person who is mugged on the street that you walk around, i think sterling, paula deen have shown us that we're going to be actively involved and i think michaela is right. if we take these opportunities and say these people that are doing it, these billionaires are not going to get away with it, i congratulate an active media and social media that took three or four days to take a billionaire who acted in a bigoted way and take him down. >> why are you disagrees, bomani? >> for a number of different reasons. we talked about suits that were ignored by the media and got picked up because this story was more salacious. while people were tripping about whether paula deen said the "n" word way back when, that was a
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hiring discrimination suit. also, the details of paula deen were so shocking, it seemed to be so antiquated that they were juicy in that way. when we talk about race that is systemic, we have that problem. i reject this idea that white people are afraid of falling into this crevase. they are simply uninformed on those issues. why won't white people talk about race, it's simply just not that easy to do. >> thank you very much. we've got to go to break. but go ahead, quickly. my question to you is, because a lot of people are talking and we have to go to break but i'm going to let you finish here. is it a fair criticism or critique because many things we learn as african-americans, we learn through experience and we know that white people in america and black people in america have different experiences. that's not an excuse for white people not to learn but it's not just learn through books.
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we have an experience that white people don't have. that may make us more prone to knowing about it or to be aware of it than it does the average white person. professor? >> i think white people are just as aware as we are. i think we need to make that clear. mark o'mara is a defense lawyer and i was looking at him in the trayvon martin case as a defense lawyer, not a white man. i thought he did a good job as a defense lawyer because i'm a defense lawyer. that's what i did. and i think we have to grow up and understand these differences in a way that makes a lot of sense. we're not there yet. and like i said, i've talked to my students about it but they need to understand particularly at a place where minorities are -- in the minority at a place like harvard, that they need to understand that race is a very complicated issue. you better be careful if you're going to tread in that area and you've got to take it like you're going to give it. >> very good points and a great conversation. stay with me, everybody. when we come right back, the conversation about race, we're going to move that to capitol hill where some congressmen are having their own struggles with how to talk about race.
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on brand name mattress sets. get three years interest-free financing plus, get free delivery, and sleep train's 100-day low price guarantee. sleep train's interest free for 3 event, ends sunday. ♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪ well kochl back, everyone. we're having a very interesting and honest conversation. we're talking about race now. it's a mind field across america, including capitol hill. and the words we use can make all of the difference. for example, mississippi democratic congressman bennie thompson on a radio station this weekend argued that criticism of president obama is racism and he went on to blast justice clarence thomas as an uncle tom. joining me is dana bash.
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dana, you've been listening to this conversation just today. you've had an amazing interview with mississippi congressman bennie thompson who made statements about clarence thomas and other public figures. >> clarence thomas saying that he was an uncle tom, what did you mean by that? >> well, if you look at his decisions on the court, they have been adverse to the minority community and the people i represent have a real issue with an african-american not being sensitive to those issues. >> reporter: calling him an uncle tom, though, isn't that a racially charged term? >> for some it is, but to others, it's the truth. >> reporter: because, you know, looking at that and hearing that kind of language, that certainly wouldn't be, you know,
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appropriate if it was coming from somebody who is white. >> but i'm black. >> reporter: so that make it is okay? >> well, you asked me the question and i'm giving you the response. >> now, in that radio interview that you talked about, he also accused mitch mcconnell of making racist comments when you remember several years ago he said that the political goal that republicans have is to make president obama a one-term president. thompson, again, did not back down on saying that was racially charged. said other presidents weren't treated that way but there was another democratic president who wasn't black who was impeached by republicans. >> so thompson is calling clarence thomas an uncle tom. what is making him so angry? >> he's sighing that much of the opposition of president obama is not so much about his policies but about the color of his skin.
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listen to what he said. >> well, i've been here a long time and i've seen a lot of issues come before congress. i've never seen the venom put forth on another candidate or a president like i have seen with this president. and that's my own opinion. >> reporter: don, i've got to tell you, thompson is not alone. i've had other black lawmakers who have said similar things to me. i even had more than one republican lawmaker say to me privately that they believe some of what they hear back home is based on race. >> dana, even more amazing is the interview was only minutes after the congressman met with paul ryan about his use of some words last month that a lot of people say are racially insensitive. take a listen. >> we have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities in particular of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or
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learning to value and the culture of work so there is a real kul daughter problem here that has to be dealt with. >> so what happened in that meeting today? >> ryan immediately backtracked from the phrasing there, talking about men in the inner city and members of the black caucus, you say they met with him because they were so enraged that they wanted a summit of sorts. afterwards i asked ryan if he cleared the air. he said that the point he was trying to make was that we have to stop marginalizing poor communities. the irony here is ryan is trying to reach out with minorities and is touring the countrying to understand what is needed but he obviously stumbled big time. this goes beyond rhetoric. there is a big, philosophical divide. by all accounts, they did not come close to bridging that divide today. >> dane da bash, thank you. >> thanks, don.
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>> reaction from my guests. paul ryan is doing a lot of work trying to find solutions to urban poverty but he used the words cultural problem. cultural problem when he talked about the, quote, inner city men who don't know the value of work. are those coded words, do you think? >> they are all sort of buzz words and i think they are -- they hurt. they really do hurt because it shows that his ignorance about race and people who are in a different set of circumstances and i think that needs to be treated differently. i'm a good friend of bennie thompson. i've known him and he has represented mississippi very well. the whole idea that this is a black on black discussion and i have heard that word uncle tom from the time i was growing up as a kid until very recently. so it's a common use of language to in a sense downgrade somebody who is not embracing the race and i think that people have to figure out what can you say, what can't you not say?
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and i'm really worried that this is going to be a discussion about words. >> is it okay for the congressmen -- he said, i called him uncle tom and i'm black. is that okay? >> i don't think that it's okay because he's black. but uncle tom is real and the question is, can people use that word? if they do, they don't use it as openly as they should. they should to make it clear that there's a difference between them and some other people and that make as difference about how we have a discussion about what does uncle tom actually mean? >> let's talk more about the conversations about thompson and uncle tom. is it ever okay? >> i think the thing that we find interesting is we have a discussion about whether it's an appropriate term. i find it seems a lot of white people find it to be offensive. if you were being called an uncle tom, it is offensive but i
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don't think that's a racist term that you happen to use. if you call somebody an uncle tom, you better be correct because you know how that goes. >> it seems like only a few years ago nobody thought. i guess many people -- not that nobody thought, the fact that inner city were akin to racial name calling. are we reading too much into language or should we be looking more at intent, do you think? >> i think we're getting caught up in language. however, if there's anything that brings these conversations to the forefront, if somebody call calls somebody an uncle tom so we can talk about it more, if a sensitive congressman talks about inner city cultural problems and it gets on this program and people listen to this program and we actually started having active conversations where everyone does get involved, then it gets it to the forefront and i think that's what is most important. i really do. >> i understand what you're
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saying. but those words, words like uncle tom and the "n" word, those are words as weapons and it's hard to move beyond those words, michaela davis, once someone has called you that. >> yeah, but this is a messy situation and we have to have brave enough to make mistakes and say the wrong words. >> right. >> how long have we been hearing the other narrative? we're having all of these counter narratives and we have to be brave to make the mistake, hear the words, dissect them, put them in context and then move on. i think we have to be really clear where we are in history, right? so this is a first time for a lot of time -- for a long time that people are actually able to speak publicly and then there's this big public discourse around it. democracy is messy. slavery was messy. civil rights was messy and complicated and diabolical. so how are we supposed to have polite conversations about crimes against humanity that
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have colored our entire civilization? right? so i think we need to give ourselves some room to make mistakes and say the things that are touch points so we can unpack them and give each other some education. if we're tip toeing around words, we're not going to get through the mess. democracy is a messy process. and we just have to not be cowards around whether a word is going to hurt someone and we need to educate what that word feels like when you yield it like a weapon or do you just not know? >> uh-huh. stay with me, everyone. we're answering your questions when we come right back. i take prilosec otc each morning for my frequent heartburn. because you can't beat zero heartburn. woo hoo! [ male announcer ] prilosec otc is the number one doctor recommended frequent heartburn medicine for 8 straight years. one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn.
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so change of plans here. you remember at the beginning of this newscast and i said that we were going to -- that there are different conversations that we have in public and in private, right? we just had one of those private conversations in the middle of the break and i said, why aren't we having this conversation on television. bomani, what did you say? what was your question to us? >> i was having trouble telling from the previous tenor of the conversation, i thought people were saying that paul ryan was not talking about black people when he was explicitly talking about black people. >> especially when he said inner city, that was the thing. that means black people. he doesn't mean that that's
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offensive. >> no, no, no, i don't think that's the case. i think he knows that that means black people and you can't say black people so you have to say something close to black people. he was perfectly aware of what he was doing. >> isn't the most offensive part of it, michaela, not that he's saying inner city, fine, it's that he's saying the lack of wanting to work, of wanting to have a job? >> right. i was much more offended of this idea that there's this whole culture of black men that don't want to work. and also assuming that we're so stupid that when you say inner city we don't get that that's code for black. i'm much more comfortable with them saying their ignorant things so we can know where to put the work, right? so inner city was -- i haven't heard that since 1976 but we remember is to know that that's code for black but the idea that there's a whole culture and generation of black men that don't want to work -- >> right. >> -- that's what i find offensive. >> professor ogletree, does he
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get any slack for that? >> not at all. i think the reality is that a lot of people talk about race in what they call different ways. i hear people -- and everybody on this panel has heard somebody say, oh, i'm not talking about you. i'm talking about them. and they are talking about black men and i'm one of them and i feel offended when they are talking about me like that. i think there is no easy way to do this. we do have a race problem. black men are i trueing to work. they are trying to get a job. they would love to be in their homes. back before we talked about the 21st century, they were in places where they couldn't even go home because, you know, the welfare was given a check to the black woman and if there's a man in the house, oh, my god. we have to, in a sense, build up a black man.
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when i just went to reverend sharpton's program, a 46-year-old black man said, what about me? you're talking about jobs for boys, for girls, for everybody but i'm a 46-year-old guy who wants to work, i'm black, when are you going to put me to work? and i think we have to talk about the whole community. that's very important. >> and african-americans do suffer the highest unemployment rate, the highest unemployment rate. >> absolutely. >> because of historic reasons. >> so mark o'mara, your response to all of this? >> well, look, if we as a society and as a nation are going to have a conversation about this that really makes some sense, we may have just started but the real conversation begins when we not only say to ryan you are talking about blacks. can we get that on the table and he actually says yes. that's when those conversations can actually begin because these code words that we're talking about don't really get us anything and keep it is on the periphery. it's nice, it's good, somebody will act racist and then we'll condemn them. you're right. it's not getting to the
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conversations that we have to have about how we're going to affect in my world, i want to effect the criminal justice system because i know if we do it there, we stop breeding a percentage of young black males into the system because when you're in that system, you basically never get out. there's one and there's other economic systems that we need to work on but i think that the conversations start when we get honest with each other and ryan, as an example, and he's talking about blacks and not these code words would be a nice start. >> here's the thing, though. i think as a journalist who navigates these conversations, no one wants to be -- no one wants to offend everyone. everyone wants to be so polite and i think you bring up a very good point, michaela. we have to start offending each other, whether it's black people offending black people, white people offending black people, we all have to have the tough conversation in order to effect change, michaela. >> yes. we have to not be cowards around where we're limited. we have to see where we're
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ignorant because we all are. no one got out of this thing scott-free, right. the way this was set up, black people and white people -- we are all interconnected and that's also a conversation, too. we saw the naacp have all kinds of problems around the whole sterling case. so it's not just blacks over here and whites over here. we have to engage repetitiously and continuously because we've been separated repetitiously and continuously for generations. so we're not going to -- this isn't going to happen in one newscast. we have to keep having the courage. we have to have revolutionary-type conversations and that just means we can't be afraid. >> go ahead, bomani. >> we have to acknowledge the game theory aspects of what we're talking about and it's a prevailing sentiment that as black people, as brown people get more white people by definition wind up getting less, that's why when paul ryan and guys like that use the code it
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works every time because it appeals to people's fears of losing everything that they have and sometimes the power they have in their regular lives, that's what they are afraid of losing. the step of stopping being polite is, a, not just paul ryan using code. it's crushing paul ryan and guys like that for using the code and then the people who use the code and then interpret it perfectly, we have to stop letting people slide and saying, no, he's just talking about the inner city. black people know that's what is being said. >> it's horrible in how it treats black people and poor people. so that's really where his language is. >> they had a meeting today where they addressed the issues that he talked about. isn't that a start? no? >> the congressional black caucus? >> it's bigger than that because the problem is that the issue of race applies to everybody. it's not just poor people. it's rich people. i have the opportunity to
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represent professor gates junior who wrote a book about it, the presumption of guilt and there is no presumption of guilt. there were over 200 black men who were stopped by the police in new york just recently and those men had never committed a crime. they were not -- didn't have a record, didn't have a weapon but they were stopped because they were black and we have to stand up, those of us who have the ability to do that, stand up to say, you can't treat anybody differently. you can't presume that i'm a different way. i can't get a cab in certain places, no matter what suit i'm wearing, if i have my colin powell book in front of me. i have to get a black man or white woman to call down the cab, open the door for me to get in it. and you know the people who are racist? these are folks who are immigrants, immigrants coming and driving cabs and they see me, they see black men, black women in new york, boston, chicago and they'll just drive
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right by thinking we're going to rob them, take their money. it makes no sense at all. we need to talk about race and it affects everybody, not just the folks who are unemployed, who are gang bangers. i think we need to address that issue in a comprehensive way. >> hold that thought. we'll be right back. that's why i got a new windows 2 in 1. it has exactly what i need for half of what i thought i'd pay. and i don't need to be online for it to work. it runs office, so i can do schedules and budgets and even menu changes. but it's fun, too -- with touch, and tons of great apps for stuff like music, 'cause a good playlist is good for business. i need the boss's signature for this. i'm the boss. ♪ honestly ♪ i wanna see you be brave [ female announcer ] there's a gap out there. ♪ that's keeping you apart from the healthcare you deserve.
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. we're keeping the conversation going. back with me, mark o'mara,
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michaela davis, bomani jones. listen to this. >> this is a true story. donald sterling was actually scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award from the naacp. but the organization has now called off that ceremony. yeah. it turns out black people don't want to be photographed with him either. >> earlier today he was rushed to the paula deen rehab center in georgia. >> sterling insists he's not a racist. he said some of his best credit cards are black. >> charles, do you see it as positive or negative when a serious issue like racial bigotry becomes late night fodder for comedians? >> i think it's positive for this reason. people are listening. they are bringing up issues that in a sense are global issues that everybody needs to talk about and you'll hear it the next day, you'll hear it on the
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radio, people are talking about it. but we need to have serious conversations about race and class and gender and sexual orientation because we've ignored those things and they have been overwhelming us and we are greater separation in the 21st century than it was in the 1950. it's just crazy. >> michaela, i want to get your take on this. ars sen ohio hall took a picture and the caption reads "ebony and bigotry." what do you think? >> i thought it was genius. there really is power in political satire. we've seen it throughout history and particularly again because millennials and young people will respond to that and hopefully it will incite them to have the conversation because i think we're really seeing a divide in one group of people that believe in equality and diversity and this whole other group. and we're having this cultural
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war, it seems. >> michaela, you're going to get upset because i'm going to ask your question to bomani. how much has social media shined a spotlight on this topic? i know you're passionate about it but go ahead and answer, bomani? >> i think people want to pack themselves on the back for every revolution that they start. i can tell because of the donald sterling story, that it would have blown up on its own. i'll always believe that there are other stories that do but on this one i just don't think that happened. >> all right. go ahead, michaela. i've got to get mark in, but go ahead. >> what happened, happened. it went through tmz, right? >> right. >> so the power of that vehicle is very different than if it was on a news site and then the constant, hundreds of thousands of voices adding to it, you can't deny the power and the speed in which social media will
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move an issue forward. it's just undeniable. >> mark o'mara, do you think that because of the way that this tape was, you know, gotten, that it will have an effect on how people feel about it or -- you know, because people are questioning the legality of the tape. >> it may not ever make it into a courtroom because it wasn't properly gained and it's not going to be admissible. i don't think people who are now talking about what it stands for matter at all and i think they are going to look at it and say, he is who he is. comedy is a great way to talk about these things because it's an easy way to talk about uncomfortable subjects but at least we're talking about it. >> professor, i'm going to give you the last word on this. what do you make of this whole thing? >> well, i think it's a very sad situation for all of us to have to talk about it. but let me say a word about social media. no matter what you say, don, or any of us say, everybody will be responding to this program because they can do it ano,
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ma'am anonymously. i get a bunch of hate mail and i say thank you very much. >> or say nothing like i do. thank you, panel. we'll be right back.
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come close, everyone. take a listen here. we've talked a lot tonight about race. it's a conversation as difficult as it is that america needs to have. when it comes to men like donald sterling and cliven bundy, most of us can agree that what they said really crosses the line. they don't appear to want to have a conversation about america and black and white. they appear to have already made up their minds. see where that got them? it is true that what we think or what we say in private are often very different from what we say out loud in public and the words -- very words we use can get in the way or can get us in
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trouble. words like the "n" word, words like uncle tomorrow. they either leave us speechless. tell each other the hard truth, to be honest with each other about our feelings, to allow each other some leeway when talking about race and racism and don't forget to leave room to listen. i'm don lemon. thanks for watching tonight. "ac 360" starts right now. good evening. 60 mile-an-hour winds in california. a foot and a half of rain on the gulf coast. out west, there is a fire in the san bernardino forest and it's taking aim north of rancho kuk ka money ga forcing homeowners to flee. the earth gave way opening up and swalg a line of

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