tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC October 11, 2015 7:00am-9:01am PDT
does joe biden have a lane to run in? plus the government gets ready to release thousands of prisoners and comicon in all of his glor why you but first is there anyone that can bring this house to order? >> good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry and the house of representatives is in chaos. no idea who its next speaker will be. on thursday house majority leader kevin mccarthy who was supposed to be a shoe in to replace john boehner stunned everybody by announcing he would not seek the speakership. mccarthy said he couldn't get to the 218 votes necessary to win. >> the one thing i found in talking to everybody, if we're going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that. so nothing more than that. i feel good about the decision.
>> so who will be it be in 218? nobody knows. mitt romney is reportedly asking if not down right pleading with congressman paul ryan. romney's 2012 running mate to seek to speak. only ryan with his budget slashing prowess and national profile can win over both the party's moderates and the right-wing. but all ryan can say to their pleas is, not it. not it. >> my statement stands. i haven't changed anything. i'm just -- >> so that means -- >> nothing changed. right now i'm just going to catch my flight so i can make it home for dinner. >> well, at least publicly he is saying no. there are reports that amid all the praise ryan is now reconsidering. but there is really no other con tender that stands out. the congressmen who have thrown their hats into the ring like daniel webster of florida who only sponsored one bill this congress are all pretty low
profile. and speaker boehner was planning to split at the end of the month but now says he'll stick around until a new speaker is chosen. who knows when that will be. sorry, john. so who is responsible for all this chaos? well, we here at mhp show have a theory about one man in particular -- this man. don't start tweeting me angrily saying i'm blaming president obama for the house's dissent into chaos. that's not what i'm saying. what i'm saying is this, mccarthy was derailed by one group of 38 or so hard right representatives. the house freedom caucus. to its members mccarthy would have been another boehner. just too darn accommodating to the president. they said they would all vote against mccarthy. so even if every other republican voted for him, it would leave him short of the 218 need ford a majority. here the thing you really need to know about the freedom caucus. 4/5 of the members have been
elected since president obama took office on the anti-obama, anti-obamacare tea party wave and the aftermath. a third were elected in the tea party heyday of 2010. and its members include david brat who defeated house majority leader eric cantor in a shocking primary win by claiming that kantor was not fighting president obama's agenda hard enough. this is eric cantor who led house republicans to oppose just about every last thing the president tried to do starting vet day the president was inaugurated. kantor was boehner's protege and very likely would have been the next speaker if brat hadn't stepped in. without president obama, there's no obama backlash. and there's no world in which john boehner, eric cantor and kevin mccarthy are somehow too liberal to lead house republicans. so, you know, thanks, mr. president. joining me now, kristina belltran, professor of social and cultural analysis at nyu, robert george editor at the new
york post. grace main, democrat representing new york's sixth district and julian zelozar, public affairs at princeton university and the author of "the fierce urgency of now." okay. so let me start with you, congresswoman. you actually work in this maddening little location down there in d.c. what do you see as kind of the root causes of the particular leadership chaos? >> i was fortunate enough to have a front row seat to all the chaos that was going on in washington, d.c., and it was truly amazing and almost historical week. i think it's really just emblematic about something that has been happening and has continually been bubbling up. the stagnancy caused by the members, the freedom caucus members who essentially even in the pledge for what they want the next speaker to adhere to, one of the lines is to literally
a promise to derail obamacare. so 60 plus votes wasn't enough. they want to continue what they're doing. >> so this idea that there is, you know, just under 40 members of a party who are at this point causing chaos in the entire house, i keep wondering if this is the moment. i've been wondering it for five years. so maybe it's not. but is this the moment when we finally see that partisan realignment that we were due 20 or 30 years ago? is this the moment that republican party splits along this sort of fraction line? >> not yet. i don't think there is as much of a difference between where the freedom party is and where a lot of the leadership is in the gop. i think we talk about this great civil war going on. they're all pretty conservative. >> yes. >> so part -- >> what makes it so stunning, right? eric kancantor, john boehner, t liberal. >> how far right do you go? part of what the freedom caucus wants is to strip the speaker of his power.
and they're demanding a series of reforms right now saying you take the job but you only take the job if you're going to have even less control of the rank and file. and so that's a hard deal to swallow for a lot of the leaders. >> have we seen something like that historically before? >> in the 1970s, democrats did it. then the committee chairs were the ones with power n 1975, the watergate babies passed a series of reforms and they give power to the speaker. so now they want to reverse what happened in the '70s. >> a lot of this has to do with it's a process. yes, they are all very ideological. but boehner, however, stripped actually some of the members of the power, some freedom caucus members who had either chairmanships for not voting on procedural matters. so that's one of the reasons
they want to streep the speaker of the power to do that. if you were a leader and speaker, you need to figure out ways to discipline your members. that's true whether you're a republican or a democrat. and for them to be doing this, i think, is kind of overstepping their bounds. >> so it does make me wonder then. i have been wondering, why wouldn't you want to be speaker of the house? right? i get it. i get that it's kind of a tough time. but if you are somebody with presidential aspirations, it's kind of like jordan with -- like give me the damn ball. don't you want to lead? >> it's because you -- it's because somebody like a paul ryan has presidential ambitions is why he wouldn't want to be speaker. there is only one person in history who managed to go from president to -- >> we don't let congressmen as presidents anyway much he's going to have to go through vp. >> i think this speaks to a larger -- this is a longer history of this. i all think of goldwater's conscious of a conservative. there is a long history of the
republican party turning on its establishment. i mean that text says almost as much about eisenhower as it does about democrats. so i mean there is actually -- you have 1994 and the contract with america. there is a long history of going after the leadership. something we have to think about is that this is the freedom caucus doesn't measure political success right now in term of legislation passed. but in terms of leadership taken down. and so their sense of political agency is really on break things. it's a logic of throwing a wrench in the works. that's when they feel powerful and empowered. it's the pleasure of break things. who wants to ged in the middle of that? why would paul ryan want to get into that? >> because leaders lead. so the answer for me is because a job is hard, give it to me. >> the most vital part of the electorate is the tea party. >> but congresswoman, is this what your experience is particularly with the freedom caucus numbers? it isn't about political policy
ajae agenda they're trying to pass. >> i agree. this is a group that does not believe in the traditional function and role of the congress. and of government. however, i think that the moderate republicans, they can use this opportunity like we did at the end of last week where 218 republicans and democrats signed this petition that we got together. this hasn't happened since 2002. and that was tremendous. and if we can do that on other pieces of legislation oh, like comprehensive immigration reform -- >> export and import bank. >> correct, yes. >> poor boehner now, he has to stick around the job longer. we need to get him free john boehner bracelets. i promise more. up next, donald trump took credit for kevin mccarthy exiting the speaker's race. but we have a different theory on a different presidential candidate behind the whole thing. bring us your aching
on thursday, when house majority leader kevin mccarthy pretty much blew the collective mind of the political world by dropping out of the speaker's race, he was asked about the time he said this. >> let me give you one example. everybody thought clinton was unbeetable, right? but we put together a benghazi special committee. a select committee, what are her numbers today? her numbers are dropping. >> that was mccarthy answering sean hannity's question about what his party accomplished in congress. and so inchoiring minds want to know. could that moment have had anything to do with his decision to step aside? >> that wasn't helpful. yeah. i mean, i could have said it much better. >> yeah. because hillary clinton was able to take mccarthy's parent admission of politicizing at the
benghazi committee and turn it into a weapon against not only mccarthy but the whole republican party. >> this committee was set up as they have admitted for the purpose of making a partisan political issue out of the deaths of four americans. i would have never done that. >> do you think it should be disbanded? >> well, i have to say that now that they've admitted it's a political partisan committee for the soul purpose of going after me, not trying to make our diplomats who serve in dangerous areas safer, that's up to the congress. >> hillary clinton en fuego! she was just about it, right? we haven't really seen -- you want to make hillary clinton angry, get a special commission like that. right-wing, you know, conspiracy. and all of a sudden, this very strong candidate we haven't seen emerged. >> yeah. this wasn't the only issue that took down kevin mccarthy. it was a big issue. you don't give -- you don't give
your enemies a sword. and that's exactly what -- >> and show them exactly where to stick it. >> no. that's exactly right. and for those of us over the years who criticized hillary clinton for her, you know, vast right-wing conspiracy kind of things, you think great. you manifest exactly what she did. i will say this. >> just because you're paranoid does not mean that people are not out to get you. >> there is another issue, too. back in the day when i was working for newt gingrich, newt was a very, very smart guy and very, very tactical. he would occasionally go over the line in making certain statements which would then come back and bite the other members on the butt. they would have to defend what he had to say. and i don't -- i think some members didn't want to go into that direction again where you have -- if you're a speaker, you have to speak very, very clearly about what the apes of the conversation are. >> yep. in fact, let's take a listen to some of the republicans talking
about precisely where they want ryan to be speaker. that is reflective of the comments here. >> paul ryan got into the race, of course i would support him. he would be the kind of person that i could get excited about. >> paul is looking at it. it's his decision. if he decide to do it, he'd be an amazing speaker. >> he has stature that nobody else has right now. >> i did everything except carry his gim bym bag trying to get ho do it. >> whatever else is happening, you still -- the speaker needs to carry a certain gravitas. >> for sure. you know, since the 1980s, the speaker has been a public figure. it's not just about back room deals and whipping the vote. and so he or she is the party spokesperson. and kevin mccarthy, you know, there is one article in the "washington post" that this is the best thing to happen to the republican party. he couldn't get the vote. he couldn't get votes as majority leader. he's not good on television. so now there is an opportunity to get someone like a ryan who could be much more effective in
the public domain as well. >> is there any chance -- i always feel like sometimes you think critique things that happen in the media. that is just not how it works right? so whenever i'm talking about congress, there is part mef that thinks i might be getting this wrong because i haven't served time. >> right. >> but i guess one of the questions i have is whether or not this is all genuinely happening or if some of this is stagecraft in order to produce, for example, a ryan speakership which is don't throw me in the briar patch which that is precisely where you want to go. >> it's true. i think what i've been seeing on the media is accurate about -- can you see the development of the events as they're happening hour by hour on capitol hill. it's real live republican civil war much it's a real life soap opera, drama unfolding in front of our eyes and so, you know, time will only tell next few showers, next few days what will happen. >> the real house members of capitol hill.
>> yeah. honestly though, it does make me wonder. it is not a small thing to run for the u.s. house of representatives. it's expensive. it's time consuming. it's extraordinarily difficult on your family. and then to show up and have it feel like that, it always makes me wonder if, you know, to have someone like john boehner say i'm out and i can't anymore. it makes me worried for the quality democracy in a broader sense. >> i think it is a real issue. i mean there is no sense of leadership here. there seems to be such a pandering and anxiety about the electorate. the way they behave in term of how they talk about governing or not governing, they actually produced the very electorate they fear. there is a way in which they made this monster by promising they can just stop the democratic process. so they're playing on the civic illiteracy and producing a really dangerous electorate and then they pander back to. >> we'll take a quick break. want to come right back on the topic of hillary clinton's strategy though. she may have just boxed out joe biden from the race.
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tuesday the democratic presidential candidates will finally face off in their first debate. the one person getting the most attention in the democratic primary race right now, won't even be on the stage. vice president joe biden is spending the weekend huddled with his family in delaware trying to decide if he will or won't run. and there are enough signs pointing in either direction that at this point it really is anybody's guess. what is more unclear is what aspects of the base he can tap into to drum up support. after all, hillary clinton picked up endorsements for nine governors and 30 senators and more than 100 from the house of representatives, including influential congressman john lewis. hollywood is also jumping in line. katy perry announced she rally supporters at a clinton campaign stop in iowa later this month. she joins stars like beyonce, amy fuller, carol king and jennifer lopez who all said that they are ready for hillary. that's on top of bernie sanders
who last month pulled out more than 100 celebrities who are pushing clinton further left. she's come out against keystone, pushed further left than sanders on guns and this week she flipped on the trans pacific partnership, the tpp. biden thought he could make a play to clinton's left as if the current front-runner has infectively boxed him out. before he's even had a chance to step on the court. i mean katy perry and john lewis? is she now unbeetable? >> that's a lovely combination. it's a 1-2 punch. the interesting thing with biden is that he's incredibly likeable. people feel this fondness for him after what he's been through. at the same time, our policies roo now are so polarized that i just think that it's not about compromise and finding a middle ground. it's really about build mag jort that's can defeat majority and minorities. i mean if you want to win on climate change and women's preproductive rights and on gun
issues, it's not about forging a compromise as much as defeating a far right minority. in that sense, hillary can talk about herself as -- she's a determine naturor. she can describe herself as relentless and i'm the general for this battle. this is going to be a war and i'm the general. >> i don't think she can frame herself that way. >> where do we think the battle is? a recent poll was showing in florida, in ohio, in pennsylvania, vice president joe biden and oddly enough, ben carson are actually the best general election candidates. we saw some similar data from a somewhat less reputable organization out of carnolina. i wonder if we actually are confused about where the battleground is. >> yeah. >> everyone likes the guy who is not there. biden ran twice and didn't do well. he wasn't a good candidate. he had many gaffes and didn't energize any lekt relectorate.
>> but he wasn't obama's vice president. >> he was. that's a great asset. i don't think biden is polling now isn't the biden we'll be thinking about. >> they could build on hip much his senate history is something they'll go back and look at. >> i think there are two things you can take a look at. keep in mind -- remember people like richard nixon and ronald reagan both ran twice before they finally pulled through. there is that. one area that i think on the democratic side where i think biden may have an edge over hillary and may do to her what bernie sanders has done on economic issues is actually foreign policy. if you go back, biden was the one who said, you know, iraq should be split in three and things like that. and was against the war. she is possibly vulnerable in the democratic primary. >> right. this was the article in the "new york times" yesterday. they were saying exactly. this the one place where joe
bide ken split is around foreign policy. given a con sensous about the obama administration having lots of successes around foreign policy, he can kind of -- on your point about gaffe though, i have to play this moment of the vice president making a joke about secretary of state and then recognizing he had done a bad thing. let's take a moment. >> we need to move. and if i don't move, i'll be demoted to secretary of state or something like that. >> that's a joke. that's a joke. that's a joke. thank you. >> he was like, no, wait a minute. what did i just say? and, yet, that's also it feels like to me in a moment when donald trump is leading the republican side, it may be that what we think of as gaffes is now actually the things that make an electable candidate. >> make no mistake, the comments coming out of the mouth of donald trump and ben carson are not mistakes. they're intentional plans.
>> that is a good point. >> joe biden is a great man. he is loved as a vice president. everyone adores him. hillary clin is ton is on the r track. she's on the right side of the issues she knows to show what her stands are for the democratic primary which is the first hurdle that they have to clear much she's on the right side. she is someone who is not taking any vote, any constituency for granted. >> you know, i keep thinking that hillary clinton constitutes far and away the best primary candidate in the democratic race. right? for a wide variety of organizational reasons and everything else. but i keep being worried that come general election time, so you know, you're point about biden if his previous runs had not been able to energize a base. but similarly, the ease with which hillary clinton has been undermind by various folks over the years with key constituencies among democratic general election voters including black women, young
people. you know, right now young people are feeling the burn and i jujust like i'm worried she can't do it. >> even with mccarthy's benghazi gaffe and her aggressive pushback on that, her numbers kept falling over the last couple of weeks. and you saw she's underwater in a number of key swing states. and that's a big problem in the general election. >> yeah. >> i actually think, i mean, i think that's a concern. it's a real one. i also think that this election is so much about who you're against. this is not a romance election. this isn't like i love my candidate. i think this is an election about i'm scared of the other guy. and so i think in that sense, this is going to be about voting against them and i think this sends her as kind of relentless. i think she's a terminator. no matter what you hit her with, she comes back. i think people will sort of say, you know what? she's a fighter. we need a fighter. i do want to have lunch with her? maybe not. i don't care. >> i'll tell you who i don't want to have lunch with, i do not want to have lunch with dr.
ben carson and the popeyes, that's for sure. we're going to talk about why. it was a scary sight... how often we were changing the roll. it really started to add up. so we switched to charmin. with more go's in every roll, charmin ultra mega roll equals mega value. each sheet is 75% more absorbent so you can use less with every go. which means charmin ultra mega roll lasts longer
aleve pm. the only one to combine a sleep aid... plus the 12 hour pain relieving strength of aleve. be a morning person again with aleve pm. last week was a busy one for dr. ben carson. just saying that brought a joke. the presidential republican presidential candidate took a break from the campaign trail and made the rounds giving several interviews to promote his new book. carson continues to rise in the polls. but each event brings new controversy. especially the comments about guns and the recent shooting in rowsburg, oregon. on monday, during a facebook q&a, he replied to one question writing "there is no doubt that this senseless violence is breath taking. but i never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away."
the following day dr. carson appeared on fox news where he was asked what he would do in a situation similar to what the oregon shooting victims faced. >> not only would i probably not cooperate with them, i would not just stand there and let them shoot me. i would say hey guys, everybody attack him. he may shoot me. he can't get us all. >> take action? >> absolutely. >> later that evening, he was back on the network where he lab rated on his remarks. -- elaborated on his remarks. >> in a time of great stress like that, one might not know exactly what to do. and to judge them, to sound like you're judging them -- >> not judging them at all. but, you know, these incidents continue to occur. i doubt that this will be the last one. i want to plant the seed in people's minds so that if this happens again, you know, they don't all get killed. >> then on wednesday, came an
interview with sirius-xm radio. >> i had a gun held on me when i was in a popeyes organization. a guy comes in and puts the gun in my ribs and i just said, i believe that you want the guy behind the counter. he thought i was -- >> in that calm way? >> in that calm way. >> okay. >> he said okay. >> then on thursday, it was on to cnn whether dr. carson invoked the holocaust when asked about gun control. >> the likelihood of hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people were armed. >> they have a powerful military machine, the nazis. >> i understand that. >> they could have go in and they did wipe out whoul communities. >> but realize there is a reason they took the guns first, right? >> you believe that if they had guns, maybe it could have been eased. is that what you're saying? >> i'm telling you, there is a reason that these people take the guns first.
>> i just -- i have nothing. >> it's become the say anything primary. and, you know, i think the phenomena, the remarks and either remarks we've seen from various candidates, there is no barrier anymore to what candidates are saying. part of this is driven by twitter environment where these candidates know they have to get the pop just like headlines. they're looking for. that but part of it is xwust ju internal take of what is legitimate and what is not legitimate. we've seen this with trump and the party has to take hold of this. >> so congressman, let me ask about that. i -- i'm with you that there are clearly structural incentives now built into our media and social media for kind of aggressive overreach. but then i also take very serious what you said that these do not appear to be gaffes. these appear to be reflections
of very clearly thought out ways of seeing the world. and, in fact, perhaps seeing dr. carson across that whole week sort of repeating it in different spaces, looks like, no, that's what he thinks. >> i know this is politics. part of what a leader says and does especially a candidate for the officest preside of the pre the united states is to be a good role model. to say things that show your conscience and what you would do under stress. now whether it's the words that he said at popeyes which is basically kill the other person or his advice on what to do at a shootout, would he have given that advice to the little children from newtown? >> actually, yes. hold on for a second. let's play that. because that was -- right. let's play what he said about kindergarten. >> i personally, if i had a little kid in kindergarten somewhere would feel much more comfortable if i knew on that campus there was a police
officer or somebody who was trained with a weapon. i would feel more comfortable. >> the teacher? >> if the teacher was trained in the use of that weapon and had access to it, i would be much more comfortable if they had one than if they didn't. >> kindergarten teachers. >> i think, you know what? the congresswoman said is true. this is a message about opposition to gun control. it comes at a moment we're having this debate because of the shooting. and he says this in dramatic ways. he says it in ways which just got him a bunch of clips on tv. but he is saying a policy which is deeply rooted in republican policy is right now. >> i know. i agree. and this is something that is really important. the politics of gun control right now, i was saying before there is about build mag jorts that can defeat minorities. when the politics at the right of this point is really about guns, i mean any effort to do any kind of baseline level gun control is a form of dictatorship, akin to nazi germany coming and disarming the population. if that's the debate we're going
to have about gun control, then no kind of legitimate reform is even possible. >> i want to interject. one other aspect it to. wherever one sits on gun control, in terms of policies, let's just say that the immorality of a leader in particular, really of any person saying i had a gun pulled on me and my response was to redirect that person to another innocent bystander is so -- like i don't really know how you talk about having values or morals or ethics when your response to -- like again, if you are the leader, then your response is to stand in front of innocent people, no the to put innocent people in front of you! >> i don't have -- i have less of a problem with ben carson having an absolutist position on the second amendment. that's not the real problem here. something that ben carson's problem is -- it's actually surprisingly something that's a problem that donald trump does not have. ben carson doesn't know as a
first time candidate, he doesn't know how to get into the media position and then stay on message. he ends up going off on these weird fantasies bringing in the gun control and the holocaust and things like that. donald trump, you know, say what you want about him. when he goes -- when he goes on, he stays on his message. he may say some outrageous things that people kind of shocked at. he knows what he wants to talk about. >> i can understand why from a strategic position saying, you know, not being able to stay on message is a problem. it is the substance of who dr. carson said that i find most distressing. kristina and robert will be back if our next hour. thank you to the congresswoman and to julian selozar. jeb bush is weighing in on another key topic, voting rights. here's what jeb bush had to say when asked at a campaign event in iowa whether he supported reauthorizing the voting rights act. >> i think that if it's to
reauthorize it to continue to provide regulations on top of states as though we're living in 1960, because that's when the rules were put in place, i don't believe we should do. that there is dramatic improvement in access to voting. >> nope. no, sir, the strend goitrend is the opposition direction. since 2010, 21 states put new voting restrictions in place. but there is some good news in voter expansion. yesterday california governor jerry brown signed a law that would allow californians to be registered to vote whether they go to the dmv to get or renew a driver's license. that could have major implicateses in the nation's most popular state for the six million californians eligible to vote but unregistered. the process will be offered after work on a new registration data base is completed which should be around june of next year. right around the time of
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rupert murdoch sent the social media on fire with his comments about ben carson. ben and candy kars son, terrific. what about a real black president who can properly address the racial divide and much else? mur doch followed up the next day with apologies, no offense meant. personally find both men charming. also this week, new york magazine asked, as the historic administration nears its final year, african-american leaders debate did barack obama do enough for his own community? his own community? raise your hand if you think this article is an assessment of how hawaiian schoolchildren or ivy league undergrads or university law professors of residents of the state of
illinois have fared during the obama administration. no hands? of course not. because you and i both know that new york magazine has defined the president's own community as african-americans. and they, like mr. mur dodoch a measuring obama by a metric of blackness n 2004 while campaigning against state senator obama, allen keys, he told abc's george stephanopoulos, "barack obama and i have the same race -- that is physical characteristics. we are not from the same heritage. my ancestors toiled in slavery in this country. my consciousness who i am as i person is shaped by my struggle, deeply motional and deeply painful with the reality of the heritage." so authenticity, suspiciouses followed senator obama to the president shmtial primary contest against hillary clinton. prompting responses like that of columnist stanley crouch who wrote, "when black americans refer to obama as one of us, i
do not know what they're talking about. while he is experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own nor has he lived the life of a black american. if we then end up with him oz our first black president, he will have come in the white house through a side door." side door, huh? look, it is flawed political logic to assume president obama has unique responsibility for addressing america's legacy of racism and racial inequality because he's black. indeed as a black man, he does have the historic opportunity to simultaneously occupy the nation's highest office and to wholly embody blackness with all the disprivilege and history and disquieting symbolism. and president obama has done that repeatedly. when he outlined the tenants of liberation theology in philadelphia, when he stooped to let a preschooler rub his head just so the young man could see if his president had hair like
mine. when he reminded america i could have been trayvon martin, when he is saying amazing grace over the slain bodies of the charleston nine. but these symbolic opportunities are different from making a claim to a special policy responsibility. i mean it is a little hard to imagine mr. murdoch asking whether or not mr. trump or miss fiorina is properly address the racial divide. kint find the new york magazine piece produced about the legacy of president obama or clinton or reagan in the final months of their administrations. yes, president obama's affordable care act, federal minimum wage increase, extension of fair housing rules and sentencing reform have disproportionately and positively affected black communities. at the same time, his administration has been unable to erase the yawning unemployment earnings and wealth gaps affecting black folks. and this is the lesson of the obama years. even though president obama is black enough and does genuinely
care about black people, he has not been able to simply magically fix racial equality in america. it turns out that it is basically criminally naive to believe that systemic racial inequality, reinforced by centuries of entrenched white supremacy and perpetuated through complicated interlocking systems of oppression can be wiped away if only we would elect a president black enough to fix it. addressing america's racial divide is not the unique responsibilities of its black president. whether that be mr. obama or maybe some day mr. carson. untangling the intergenerational evils of racism rests firmly with every president, every elected official, and every citizen. the question isn't whether president obama's black enough. the question is whether or not we are. ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪
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last wook a high school student in texas noticed something odd in his world geography textbook. a caption on the section of immigration said that atlantic slave trade brought millions of workers to labor on southern plantations. well, once his mom caught wind of it, she put it on facebook creating a social media firestorm that pushed the textbook's publisher to take action. mcgraw-hill, one of the largest tex book publishers in the country issued a statement saying they would change the digital version and provide corrected textbooks upon request. admitting that they made a mistake. but it wasn't their only mistake. the idea that the slave trade brought millions of africans to the united states is in fact false. the true number was closer to 289,000. how did the pop lagts to enslave people come to reach four million by the dawn of the civil
war? breeding, systemic breeding used to destroy black families and to increase the capital of the ruling slave holder class. it's a part of the american story that often falls by the way side but a new book places it at the very center of our nation's history. joining me now is ned sublet, co-author of the book "the american slave coast: the history of the slave breeding industry." thank you for being here. this text created a circumstance for one of my producers who was reading through it to just write across it, nothing is clean. everything is slavery, right? just that sense that the centrality of the economic aspect of slavery to the contemporary american system. >> that's right. slavery is at the center of american history. it's not a sidebar. but people often talk about slavery as though it were only labor. and slaves were not just workers. they were merchandised. they were collateral.
they were credit. they were money. >> that idea of human beings being money, being actual currency, talk about what that looks like. you talk about it indepth in the tempt. >> well, you know, an economist tells through are three categories of -- three things that something has to -- three classes you have to satisfy to be money. means of exchange, retains the value over time. unit of account. slaves were often used to settle a debt when there was no gold or silver around. so they were a means of exchange. they weren't the most common money. you could always sell a slave if you have to. retains the value over time. that's why slave owners had to have the children. >> right. and so this -- this purpose around breeding and sort of the jeffersonian piece of it, jefferson framed ending importation of persons. so ending the slave trade as a humanitarian act and many
historians treated it that way. it was not. ending the african slave trade was protectionism on behalf of virginia. it kept out the cheaper african imports so as to keep the price of domestically raised people high. it is an appalling sentence in the sense that we thought about kind of domestic importation in this way around humans. but it's also so critical to see that. >> that's right. that's right. i think jefferson who wrote at the age of 77, i consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more productive than the best man of the farm. what she produces is an addition to the capital. or his labors are disappearing mere consumption. >> how much when we talk about slavery do we fail to think about its gendered nature and the very specific experiences of women slaves? >> this is where race meets gender meets the logic of capitalism.
enslaved women were expected to be pregnant constantly. as early as possible, as long as possible. until their bodies gave out from child bearing. and it was expected that the children could be sold. a child, an enslaved child is worth 7500 or $100 at birth depending on place and time. that didn't mean that a baby was going to be sold. there was no market in babies. but it meant that the slave owner was worth $75 or $100 more on paper. and could borrow that much more which was so to say new money was created. so the world from 389,000 africans to four million enslaved april can americans in 1960 was itself an economic expansion. >> the book when you sat down i was saying the book is enormous. it is literally hefty. that is a physical manifestation of how hefty and weighty this issue is. thank you for the text, "the american slave coast."
thank you. coming up next, the 6,000 federal prisoners wlol soon be released. but then what happens? and the rocking comicon this year. there is more at the top of the hour. how do you stay on top of your health? ahh... ahh... cigna customers have plan choices and tools to take control. so they're more engaged, with fewer high health risks and lower medical costs. take control of your health at cigna dot com slash take control.
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and the next great idea could be yours. the obama administration continues to forge a new course on criminal justice. the issue of our overcrowded prison population has reached a flash point. last week senate republicans and democrats introduced a broad measure that would make sweeping changes to criminal justice in the united states. sentencing reform remains a key issue in the presidential election and this year both the president and the pope visited prisons. this week, another key development. the justice department is preparing to release roughly 6,000 inmates from federal prisons over a three day period later this month. now the release are the result of new guidelines about it u.s.
sentencing commission which in 2014 voted to retro actively apply an amendment reducing penalties for many nonviolent drug crimes. so who are those soon to be released inmates? according to the u.s. sentencing commission data report, they are mostly black and hispanic men, many in their mid 30s, about 7% are women. the average time served is nine years. but some have been behind bars for as long as 25 years. 79%st cases involved either cocaine or methamphetamine. and they are most likely to be returning to southern states led by texas with more than 2,000 released inmates. after their release, two-thirds of them will go to halfway ho e houses and home confinement before being put on supervised release. a thirdst inmates are actually foreign citizens and are likely to be deported. though the large one time release is an important step in our depopulating prisons, the long term impact is yet to be
seen. just last week on our show, we featured an msnbc original report on a former inmate using his crucial first three days of freedom. now very rarely do we get to see a newly released civilian adjust to life outside. here's gregory finney leaving louisiana's prison after 16 years. >> it's beautiful. >> yeah. >> it's beautiful. >> that beeping, is letting me know i don't have my seat belt on. >> yeah. >> it wasn't doing that when i left. >> see, that's a remote that lets new the car and also as long as it's close to the car, it can start the car up. and this is the backup camera for folks who can't back up. so you can see what is behind you? >> yeah. >> this must be an expensive car? >> this is a regular car, bro. >> mr. finney is far from alone if his effort to re-enter.
more than 10,000 ex-offenders are released from state and federal prisons every week. and more than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison every year. a five year study by the bureau of justice statistics found they were rearrested within three years and many state prisoners also leave prison in debt. according to a report by 2004, approximately one-third of county jails and more than 50% of state correctional systems instituted pay to stay fees, charging inmates for their own incarceration. joining me a professor of social and economic studies. our chief legal correspondent and the reverend vivian nixon. her organization helps women to help gain access to higher education. >> this is significant in that it is something of a cease-fire in what we've seen in a federal
war on drugs in many years. the numbers don't suggest any drastic difference in the approach when you say someone who is on cocaine or methamphetamine, you say instead of a roughly 11 years you get roughly nine. so that change isn't going to change their lives. the step if a policy perspective shows we are the first time arguing and going in a different direction. >> 6,000 sounds like a huge number. in fact, it is actually not in the sense that many thousands of americans are getting out of jail or out of prison on a regular basis. we often don't think about the process of re-entry. want to listen to former attorney general holder testifying in front of the sentencing commission about this for a second and then come you to, vivian. >> recent years they're supported by the department's justice reinvestment initiative and led by both parties. they directed significant fund ago way from prison construction and toward evidence-based
programs and services like supervision and drug treatment that are proven to reduce recidivism while improving public safety. are there resources for this back end, in order to reduce recidivism? >> there are more resources recently. those resources are largely geared to making sure that people get access to job training, transitional jobs, transitional housing. substance abuse treatment. but that's been going on for many, many years. the game changer, my organization focuses on, is postsecondary education which up until 1994 was available while people were incarcerated, giving them at built to re-enter society with some type of real knowledge, educational background that helps them get jobs. >> that great story about the prison debate team that beat the -- that was incredible story this week. >> incredible.
>> because people get opportunities to get education, they're mind is no longer on survival in the street. it's about how can i use this new found education to provide a long term life in the community that's really meaningful? so while these initiatives are great, i hope that you ask later whether or not we're doing enough because i think there is more that we can do. >> clearly. and, in fact, my biggest concern -- are we saying this is a kind of moment where we're seeing a change. it's not everything. you're saying, okay, we have more resources. they're not quite enough. at the same time, my biggest fear is that right now there's this discourse about policing and there's a discourse about a rising crime and election year and, again, 6,000 people's actually tiny but i just keep thinking if i'm on the right, i am tracking everybody because what i want to be able to do is say they've released these criminals on to the street. >> right. >> from a pure political --
>> think about what happened with donald trump. >> it's already in your inbox. >> donald trump right away that, was the idea. one undocumented person that committed a crime. so there are still a deep logic of deportation and some of the folks are going to be deported. >> a third. >> and there's a story the on going criminalization of populations and the kind of punitive logics. the thing that concerns me is are we going to invest in people afterwards? one reason why conservatives are committed tocheaper. can we have a public commitment to something? at nyu, we're doing a prison program through my department. it's a university wide program. it's being spear headed by my department. it's one of the really exciting moments where prison education is becoming a social justice issue that is really resonating with multiple populations. it's really exciting. >> keep in mind, the one deportation -- the one defor tee she is referring to was a murder
in san francisco. that was a major issue. you're right that what's kind of interesting on this is that the president is sort of in a sense the trailing actor in this. because some of these changes were happening at the state level even texas which, of course, has a reputation of, you know, being the big executer in the country. they actually started changing some of these issues in terms of -- >> but i think it matters for the president to show up in federal prison and, i mean, you know, reverend if we were together at the white house recently when the vice hbo thing came out about the president and, like there is a language coming out of the department of justice coming out of the white house and surprisingly coming out of both of the republican and democratic sides saying we see something here. >> mike lee and corey booker and the senate have both been leading this. lee who is like on the far right in the senate works with ted cruz on a lot of the things. working with corey booker.
so it's kind of -- it's somewhat ironic that given all of the anarchy going on in congress the last few years that prisoner reform is the one area that they've actually been able to come together. >> yep. >> the thing is that while we are coming together, we're coming together on -- in a very limited way. i appreciate everything that has been done. i think the obama administration has been very good on these issues. but this conversation about only the nonviolent drug offender is so misleading. 650,000 people coming out every year. they're not all nonviolent drug offenders. and when you look at the data in sections, actually the people who residovate least are the people that have the most violent crimes. often one time crimes of passion or self-defense or -- >> and i also want to point out. one thing that we have talked
about is that idea of violence. we immediately presume murder, rape, sexual assault, something. but often it's just a legal designati designation. if you take a backpack and push them down while you do it that, can constitute violence. >> or a capital murder charge when you're in a car and someone else got out of that car and killed someone which is terriblen that person you might have gone in for a long time of murder. we have a federal system where if you sat in that car while that happened inside, you're charged with. that so when we say under the law you've been convicted of a violent crime, it does not actually mean that you as an individual did an act of violence. interestingly to your point, that's something senator hatch was saying. he wanted meantal requirements in this criminal reform bill to deal with some of that. that is something that conser conservatives said if you don't have the mental intention of that act, maybe you shouldn't be on the hook for it. there's a lot more to do for sure. >> before we go to break, in cleveland, the koupty
prosecutor's office reloosed two reports in the tamir rice investigation. the two separate reports were done by witnesses chosen as experts by the prosecutor. they found that officer timothy lowman acted reasonably under the law when he shot and killed 12-year-old tamir rice last november. rice had what turned out to be an air or pellet gun. entire encounter took less than two seconds and the perfect aror says his office is not drawing any conclusions from these reports. it will be up to a grand jury to evaluate. the prosecutor also says his office has commissioned additional reports and those will also be released in the public at some point. stay right. there up next, a case that sparked national outrage. why did a judge bee rate a domestic violence survivor? then... wham! a minivan t-bones you. guess what: your insurance company will only give you 37-thousand to replace it. "depreciation" they claim. "how can my car depreciate
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individuvideindividuavideo c violence victim failing to show up. back if april the alleged victim called police after she says her husband choked her, quam at her with a knife and slammed her head into a microwave oven. the husband was to face trial but the alleged victim who is the mother of a 1-year-old child did not appear to testify. here's some of her exchange with the judge and we should note that woman's voice has been altered to protect her identity. >> why didn't you show up to court? >> i just -- my anxiety and i was just -- >> you think you have anxiety now? you haven't even seen anxiety. we had a jury, six people there ready to try mr. [ beep ]
who has a prior criminal history of domestic violence. >> now the woman continues to explain that she had attended a class for domestic abuse survivors and dropped the charges in the attempt to move on with her life. and here is the judge's response. >> i hereby find you in contempt of court and sentence you to three days in the county jail. >> turn around. >> so we want to engage this video in part because it feels to me like it goes -- like the one celebrating this release of federal prisoners and this idea of nonviolence, but even three days in a county jail for a woman who is a domestic violence survivor with a 1-year-old at home who did not expect to go to jail when she arrived at court. so who knows where her 1-year-old is in that moment. just everything about it is -- feels revealing about the problems in our system. >> for me, it reveals how
addicted we are in this society to punishment. it's really part of the air we breathe. and the work that we're doing in the criminal justice system right now doesn't feel to me like it's about public safety at all. it feels like identifying people we don't like, people we're mad at and punishing them. people who don't deserve to be punished, this woman didn't -- did all right. so she didn't show up to court. >> right. >> but she's a human being and there were real extenuating circumstances here that the judge totally ignored. >> and it felt to me, honestly, that we say that, like people were mad at and the fact this is about contempt of court, not about any belief about an act of violence or drugs or anything on her part. >> yes. >> it feels to me like had some of the interactions we have seen in tapes of officers where the issue is about are you sufficiently subservient to my role? and if you are not, then you'll be punished for that. >> yes. this is a culture of sort of a
culture of subserve yenlt and hostility if people are not immediately obedient. this is about a real culture of poor people and desire to police what is seen as certain kinds of marginal communities that they have to be rigorously policed. this is an interesting thing you see on conservative media. why didn't that person just get on the floor? people shouldn't be losing their lives for this kind of thing. there is a logic of just if you don't obey -- there say culture of obedience that is clearly part of the culture of pleatsol that has to be fundamentally changed. >> so i'll throw this out. i feel that is what we saw in the sandra bland videos. that part of what makes that so difficult to watch is the sense that this is a kind of, you know, low level interaction that for whatever reason this young woman is dead because what she's doing is simply disrespectful. and that is enough. right? >> i don't know why that -- why
that judge is still in that position. >> i think she is an elected judge. >> in that case -- congress, florida. but that's a problem. because, i mean, yes, the woman should have shown up for court. but she is a witness. two, she is a -- she's a victim. so in the interest of justice, the judge should be trying to figure out a way to get her, you know, yes to get her to testify. but to contempt of court, i mean, it's ridiculous. >> one more quick thing i note, that's a woman judge. i think this tells us something about the importance of changing a culture and not just changing the faces. >> right. you can't just put new bodies in the same system and expect it to be fundamentally different. >> and sometimes elected women want to show that they are as tough as a man would be in that same position. some of them are running for president. sorry. >> thank you. that seems like too much. we don't know that that is -- >> so all right. i do want to come you to on this. i think respect for the law, for systems matter.
but again, to listen to a judge say we have these six people sitting here as though the inconvenience to six people for serving on a jury is somehow more relevant, and i think, again, it bee trays our sense that, like what courts are meant to be is about the pursuit of justice an then feeling as though that's not what's happening. >> people around the country are outraged by this result. the notion that this woman is a victim of domestic abuse and the response in the court system is to put her behind bars. >> yep. >> i get. that i also would dissent from this outcome. having said that, it's not exactly black and white. this judge who i think acted inappropriately was coming from a position which was they went well down the path of convening a jury to try to hold a trial of the defendant who allegedly, physically abused her. very serious. and so the judge's frustration, i think, taken out completely wrong way and more of the video is available online will see
more inproent. however, wasn't coming from nowhere. it was coming from her attempt to say it is difficult to get participation of domestic violence witnesses. the system doesn't work well. >> and, in fact, this is -- >> that's the content. >> i was going to say. that survivor then -- this woman actually did speak to nbc and said "i knew i did wrong when i missed the trial. but i wasn't expecting her reaction. i think after everything that's happened, i would most likely not call the police at all." if her goal was to get kblins of a domestic violence survivor, her actions did the opposite. >> briefly this goes to the point is punishment the only response? particularly in these difficult cases, the court system should adjust to try to encourage and support testimony knowing how difficult it can be, knowing as you point out on this show that women take a risk when they do it. and there's got to be a way to incentivize that. >> thank you. all right. sticking around. still to come this morning, the big changes to the comicon and
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♪ ♪ 6,000 people will be released on friday and it is worth noting that some men and women in the overly packed prisons are people who maintain they have been wrongfully convicted, people like jarrod ada adams, a man in his 30s that was wrongly convicted at the age of 17. nbc's chief correspondent spoke with adams about the legal system and the work he hopes to do as an attorney. >> for jarrod adams, leading a clinic on criminal justice goes beyond the professional, it's personal. when he was 17 years old, he visited a college campus with
two friends where they were accused of sexual assault. >> i maintain my innocence from the beginning because i was innocent. >> but adams court appointed lawyer did not offer a defense at trial. >> it's as if, you know, i'm looking at myself in a courtroom, you know, while the train is coming down the tracks. you know, getting ready to hit me head on. >> living behind bars, a cell mate told him to stop playing basketball and to fight for his freedom and justice instead. adams taught himself case law and wrote to the wisconsin innocence project. >> we got the letter from jarrod in time to allow us to do a federal appeal. we had powerful new evidence that had none been presented to the jury. >> after nine years in prison, adams' case reached the top federal court in the midwest, in a unanimous vote, the justices threw out his conviction ruling he didn't receive an adequate defense. >> the day that they overturned my conviction, i was taken down out of my cell to a phone room.
they said, jarrod, you won. and hearing that brought tears to my eyes. >> this is a human system. it's fallible. it's bound to make mistakes. but it also tells us that when we make mistakes, they are catastroph catastrophic. >> with his maintaining his innocence and refusing a plea deal, prosecutors decided not to retry him. he was free but he was a 26-year-old man with a life paused at 17. >> when i went to prison, there was e-mail or google. i had to figure out a way in which i could catch up with the world to be able to just have a shot at life. >> he set a losty goal. law school in public service. >> jarrod adam. >> he earned that law degree this past spring. >> jarrod has his passion for using his legal education and his talents to right wrongs in
society. >> and his mission didn't stop there. adams won a fellowship to clerk on the seventh kishgt court of appeals. the very court that overturned his conviction. we asked former federal prosecutor mike monico if he's ever seen that happen. >> no, i never have. i mean jarrod is remarkable. >> for someone to argue before that court is a really big deal. for someone to clerk for that court is an even bigger deal. i'm very proud of him. i'm as proud as if i was i had mother. >> adams says his story is just getting started. >> i say to myself, the story of jarrod adams won't be remembered as, you know, personal wrongly convicted got out. no. story of jarrod adams is going to be person wrongly convicted got out and worked each and every day until he gasped his last breath to change the criminal justice system for the better. >> all right. what is next for jarrod? >> jarrod is doing this
clerkship at the court. he has another clerkship lined up in a federal district court in new york. and when we spoke about him is his desire to change the way the prison systems operate, the reenare triprograms. he makes the point that he's able to do public service but we're locking up so many people who can't contribute to society. another thing i wanted to raise is as we look at this is something his lawyer mr. finley talked about. what it means to fight for long shot odds in this terrain. take a listen. >> jarrod's story has affected me in a number of ways. one of which was it has sort of reconfirmed this notion that it's very hard for people to hold on to that despite all odds, it's worth the fight. it's worth continuing. i will admit that when my students came to me and said let's file this habous petition, i said i know what the standards are. i know what a long shot it is. we had very little time. i thought it probably wasn't worth the effort. and i learned from this that
it's -- that's not an excuse we should rely on very often. you never know when you're going to be successful in achieving justice. >> yeah. i mean it's extraordinary insight. as is just recognition of how incredible this young man is and it's xwust a reminder how many other people like him and their brain power and capacity and passion were just locking up. >> exactly. one of the points he made to me is he said you can be locking up to cure for hiv. you could be locking autopsy all sorts of people bau you don't have the re-entry. another part of the story we touch on is while he was incarcerated, he did disciplinary appeals for other inmates. he won 17 of them. helping people get lost wages, helping people get taken out of solitary confinement. he believed in that work and he had the mindset that would help him practice as the lawyer he wanted to be for himself and hopefully for others. he also, melissa, is someone who
obviously has seen the dark side and the fallible side of our criminal justice system. but he is, as i think you saw, there someone who says he's not defined by that anger or that problem. he wants to go out and make positive change. it's nice sometimes in our system to see a story like. that. >> plus, it's going to be nice to watch that story unfold. i have a sense we may some day be voting for mr. adams. thank you. >> thank you. >> tomorrow, ari and jarrett adams will host a twitter chat, 5:00 p.m. eastern. be sure to join in and to tweet any questions you might have with the #jarrettadams. up next, the center of the nerd land universe this week. we're going to take you inside new york's comicon. bring us your aching
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that's right, nerd land went to new york comicon. >> hey nerd land, it's me. i'm standing here at day one of new york comicon. you can see, the streams of participants coming in, the lines are all the way down the block. expected attendance over 150,000 people. the largest pop culture convention of its kind in north america. all of these folks are here coming to see over 500 exhibitors, panelists, actors, artists, everything around sci-fi, fantasy, comic books, all here for the next four days. new york city's comicon. >> we're going to go see comicon. >> this is my first time coming, yeah this is my first time. >> we really love super heroes. >> yeah. >> and i'm kind of part of this group. i don't know. >> it's really important for young girls to have people to look up to, women to idolize for things other than just their appearance. for their strengths, for their
power, for their intelligence. >> as women, would you to see more women represented here? >> yeah, i'd like to see a lot more women of color and they can dress up how far they want. this is time for you to act crazy and do what you want. >> why is representation important? >> i mean you start to feel there is something wrong with you if you don't see yourself reflected. you feel like the only one. i mean the characters that i'm printed on are the characters that had flaws and virtues that i had. you don't feel alone. >> you just been growing along with the world. and our characters have been growing along with the world. so i think it's an amazing thing to see. you can see it no better place in this show which is reflected around you. we used to come to the shows and it would be 80% men. >> things have changed. minorities and comics have changed. a lot more -- there's a lot more inclusion now than there was when i was reading comics. and, you know, there's just a
sea of white dudes making and reading and stuff. now it's a lot more different. it's like now they -- the industry woke up and is like, 51% of the audience don't look like 49% of our audience and we could be getting their money as well. >> when you were a kid growing up, kid of color, most of your entertainment is very white. in that lack of reflection, it's omission and through that omission it becomes a level of oppression. and that level of oppression comes in the form of young people not being able to activate their dreams, see themselves as super heroes. >> what does the industry need to do to actually fully flekt the experiences of people of color and women of color? >> hire us. if you see us out there and you see we're doing a good job, take a meantal note. send us an e-mail. send us a paycheck. i'm really serious. we're out here. we represent what other people
want to see. so i think the smart thing is to hire us. >> i approach comics and everything that relate to that medium the same way as a white male or mexican male, whoever. at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is a good story. >> up next, the colorful gender inclusive and utterly changing nature of our super heroes. with my diabetes. i do my best to manage. but it's hard to keep up with it. your body and your diabetes change over time. your treatment plan may too. know your options. once-daily toujeo® is a long-acting insulin from the makers of lantus®. it releases slowly to provide consistent insulin levels for a full 24 hours. toujeo® also provides proven full 24-hour blood sugar control and significant a1c reduction. toujeo® is a long-acting, man-made insulin
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well, it's my first day in comicon. i really want to go. it seems -- >> look at the camera, baby. >> seems packed with it. so it's really fun. i heard it's really fun. >> yes, it's my first time to comicon and really excited. i like all things like marvel and avengers and stuff like. that so it's a fun time to nerd out and enjoy. >> would you consider yourself in other words? >> yeah. >> yes. >> sure. >> we're more like geeks. >> no, more like geeks.
those are the fans attending this year's comicon. the name of the game of this year's conference was diversity. and featured a list of panels of the hero from black face to black panther, the evolution of the depiction of people of color in comic books, graphic novels and film and women in geek immediate yashgs secret identities creating transgender characters in comic books to name a few. why it is important that our pop culture reflects our diverse society? joining me is "the new york times" best-selling author, attorney comic book writer for image and marvel. the new book is set to be released in november. robert george, you saw him earlier. he changed. he is the associate editorial page editor for "the new york post." jamie is managing editor and podcaster of black girl in other words. and drew grant who is senior
editor for the new york observer. thank you for being here. >> thank you for inviting us. >> so what has changed in the land of comics? >> oh, my gosh. when i first started writing comics in 2007, i was one of a handful of women writing mainstream comics. and by mainstream, i mean marvel d.c. super hero comics. i was probably maybe one of the only women of color. and so -- and girls come up to me at conventions and say, you know, i really want to write comics but people tell me i can't because i'm a girl. and that was heartbreaking. and so fast forward to 2015 and because of social media, because of, you know, women like jamie, you know, because we've got this increased discussion about representation, women, people of color, folks from all different backgrounds are standing up and saying, okay, we exist. our voices must be heard. and we've seen changes. we've seen real changes. >> so i love hearing you sort of
give that description at the same time you were sitting next to robert jordan. >> hello there are things we learn about regular guests. >> then i also think about that about the republican party. >> so talk to me about -- i'm a conservative reporter by day zplchlt yes. >> talk to me about what it is, what this thing is, why is it so attractive and interesting and compelling? >> well, i've been a comic book geek, nerd, whatever you want to call it than a lot longer than i've been a republican. but, no, it's just something -- i was -- when i was 7 or 8 years old, i was like jumping up on the bed with my batman cape. it was just attracted me into
it. and i was -- and i've been -- back then, when i would go to comic bookstore, i was like usually the only black kid who was picking up the comics. that's definitely changed over the decades. >> and so a part of what is interesting to me is you say in my batman cape. you're able to associate with batman despite the nakt batman is not racially the same. i can remember feeling like the girls were the sexy kind of add ones to the super heroes. they weren't the super heroes themselves. part of what is so exciting to me as an adult raising girls is now the girls are the super heroes. they don't have to just be at dor -- the adornments. >> that's true. one of the biggest changes is the change in diversity. that change is becoming more apparent as more and more franchises and more studios come in and they're looking for seats to fill their theaters. marvel is looking for people to watch their tv shows.
and they're alienating a large swath of their audience without, you know, without good female strong female lead or a strong female director. so you know this year we have jessica jones. we have agents shield and we have a bunch of shows. we have "super girl" coming up. we'll see how that z you walk into comicon now and it's a jurassic world. what does that have to do with comics? not very much. >> i'm sorry. >> i want to pull you in on this. i think that was one of the things, some of the producers are comic in other words and others are like what is comicon? what one of the nerdy producer is saying pop culture in the broadest sense. >> right. i think what's really important about comicon is it shares phantoms for all different kinds of people. it's not just for comic fans. it's people that are into sign fiction fantasy and animation. so it brings in people from all over diverse backgrounds. that is very important to illustrate. because, you know, before when
we saw a lot of the comicons, it was white male predominantly represented. now you see women of color. you see people of lgbtq backgrounds. it's go to see comic books illustrate them and showing them behind the scenes as creators. >> everybody always seems to be an atlantic reader. the number one name drop going on at comicon is tonya hessy coats. go. go. go. he's now going to be do the new panther. en that idea that coats who is kind of the, he's the voice off our generation. he is doing panther, right? >> yes. he's doing panther. and then also david walker and sanfordgreen is doing the iron fist and power man comic. so it's great. i would love to see some black women names being added to the list. i would love to see -- i know that one of the comics coming
out soon is blade is going to be having a comic with his daughter. so a good friend of mine, she's going to be working on that. and then we featured in the segment ashley a. woods that is doing the niaobi comic. want to see more women in the background doing things and shoutout regina nelson. black women, women of color illustrating, writing, editing, creating their own comic book companies. its important. >> stick with us. coming up next, the reinvented mrs. marvel. ...but they couldn't miss the show. so dad went to the new safelite-dot-com. and in just a few clicks, he scheduled a replacement... ...before the girls even took the stage. safelite-dot-com is the fast, easy way to schedule service anywhere in america! so you don't have to miss a thing. y'all did wonderful! that's another safelite advantage. (girls sing) safelite repair, safelite replace.
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>> when i started working in the industry i was one of the few women working in comics and definitely one of the few brown women working in comics. i really wanted to make sure that, you know, we were telling stories that were, you know, not only interesting and entertaining but also, diverse and interesting. kamalakan is girls from jersey city. she is the only daughter in a very conservative household. she doesn't know who she is and she sees these really amazing, beautiful, powerful heroes flying all over and saving the world every single day and she wants to be just like them. >> we wanted to make sure that we were vending or, you know, disrupting stereotypes, if you will, but at the same time we wanted to make sure that this wasn't a story just for young
muslims or young south asians. it was truly a story for anyone who felt like they were going through their own sort of identity struggle. >> the new liz marvel series has received critical acclaim. a top spot on "the new york times" best seller list. best selling digital comic of 2014. >> it's good to hear stories like this. i was talking to a very high level executive from one of these production houses who put on these super hero movies about what has changed, why in 2006 we only have two super hero movies in the entire year and 2014 had six of them. he said the big thing about franchises, doing the marvel super hero franchises is the international market and putting an eye towards international markets, what kind of stories do they want to see? good versus evil, easily translated.
this might be the only entertainment they can do with their family. you have to pick a kind of story that's going to play internationally and maybe think, yeah, but it's all about white guys. >> to that point. it's no longer just marvel and dc, you've got image which does a lot of creator owned work, such as marjorie's working on. also, in fact, bagalion has a completely separate super hero universe. they have divinity where the star of it is a black cosmonaut who has come back to earth and has all of these powers. he's been away for decades. he thinks communism is still a thing but it's translated into powers. your' seeing a lot of the diversity that is coming in. definitely a lot of women but a lot of african-americans, russian americans. black russians.
>> this is part of the possibility, right? that if, like, we're not constrained by having to even -- i mean, if people want to fly, if all things are possible, then all things are possible in space where we can start to open up our imagination of what the world can be? >> yes. i have to say the one beautiful thing about the segment you just showed is that it proves how important structural change is because it's one thing to have it's awesome, it's awesome that we have a female sword and black captain america. those are optics. we need to have structural change. the optics will not last. >> everything there is to know about american politics. >> american culture -- >> american politics, film, television, books. everywhere we go i turn on the tv, i don't see asian-americans. now am' beginning to. it's required time and push. >> one of the biggest things was
into the bad lands this year. they're hoping afc will do for martial arts what they did for walking dead. starring a chinese american backstage. like you said, it's being produced and directed by these people of diversity and that's so important because women doing tv shows, they're so much less. >> the comparison -- >> let me let you go. >> also in the digital age i think it's really important to acknowledge the fact that there are bloggers, podcasters. we're social media bffs. people that are bringing attention to these underserved communities and these independent comic creators. >> this is part of the structural change when those barriers to entry are lowered and you don't have to wait for a marvel or dc to hire you, right, you can build audience ground up with social media. >> absolutely. there's not enough asian-american representation there. then you've got websites like nerds of color that are doing
great things. >> absolutely. another thing to make that comparison between politics and pop culture overlap. the author of ms. marvel, g. willow wilson happens to be a muslim convert. >> right. >> actually. so she hasn't -- she's got an authentic voice just like say bernie sanders. >> oh! >> authenticity, yes. >> thank you. that is our show for today. thanks to you at home for watching. i'm going to see you next saturday at 10:00 a.m. for watching. coming up, "weekends with alex witt." the beautiful sound of customers making the most of their united flight. power, wi-fi, and streaming entertainment. that's... seize the journey friendly.
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countdown to the democrats' debate and at least one candidate is giving a hint of potential strategy. who stands to gain or lose the most on tuesday. two more reports on the shooting of a cleveland 12-year-old. they both say a reasonable amount of force was used by police. we'll get reaction to that. donald trump's southern swing. it included