tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC October 26, 2014 7:00am-9:01am PDT
startup-ny has new businesses popping up across the state. see how startup-ny can help your business grow at startup.ny.gov this morning, my question, what do you think makes you white? plus, the dimming prospects for justice in ferguson. and sex between men, viola davis' hair and all of the feelings about shanda land. i need to talk about shadow classes at unc. good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. the university of north carolina's flagship school in chapel hill is legendary, as an institution that offers both academic rigor and athletic
achievements. when it comes to academics one of the country's top ten public universities. it is among the best 30 major universitied in the country, public or private. when it comes to athletic, unc chapel hill has won 40 ncaa division i championships, including men's basketball title five times, most recently in both 2005 and 2009. sent more than 100 students to the olympics. it's produced sports greats like nba superstar michael jordan and hall of famer lawrence taylor, even soccer star mia hamm. a rare combination of sports and academics. the university of north carolina is a tradition and it it is proud of. that's why it was a big deal when we found out this week that over the course of almost 20 years, more than 3,000 students, nearly half of them athletes, received artificially high
grades for fake classes. the report on unc's irregular classes was released wednesday by an independent investigator and former federal prosecutor kenneth waynestein. from 1993 until 2011, a school administrator, an office secretary, created and ran hundreds of so-called paper classes. according to the report, these were classes that involved no interaction with a faculty member, require nod class attendance, other course work than a single paper and resulted in consistently high grades that crowder awarded without reading the papers or otherwise evaluating their true quality. crowder designs and ran the paper classes herself, but she had the tacit approval and facilitation of the chair of the department she worked for. it is the biggest student athlete scandal ever uncovered. and it puts the school's ncaa championship titles at risk. the news is striking in this
moment, in recent months we have talked frequently about whether college athletes should be able to receive financial compensation for playing sports and generate billions of dollars for their universities. one argument against compensating players is they are, to quote the ncaa, student athletes, that is students first, the players already benefit the ncaa says, in the form of a college education. which unc can run $100,000 for in-state students and $200,000 for out of state students. but these paper classes disproportionately full of football and basketball students do not contribute to any kind of quality education. in a number of cases, students submitted papers with original introductions and conclusions, but with copied fluff text in between, because they knew crowder typically just skimmed the beginning and end of a paper before awarding a high grade. it gets to the very heart of the conflict between sports and academics, at schools like unc, that there is always this
conflict, when the school's mission is to both to provide a decent, maybe serious education, and promote academic rigor and critical thinking in all of its students and win a lot of trophies. then there's that other element to the scandal, the part that make me want to just bury this story rather than lead with it, the department in which these fake classes were given was the department of african and afro american studies. more than -- for more than five decades scholars have fought to win recognition and resources for african-american and other ethnic studies as legitimate fields of academic inquiry. it's a struggle that has included having to defend that the courses we teach are intellectually rigorous and substantively important for our students. it's a fight that has grown fiercer in recent years as college tuition continues to skyrocket, and parents and students and taxpayers reasonably demand evidence their significant investment in a college education is a good one.
in these days of leaner and lesser budgets, ethnic and gender and studies departments are the first to go under the budget knife. and now, now we have an unprecedented fake class scandal, originate in an african-american studies department, at a major university. but i figured, if a story raises uncomfortable questions about race, education and sports, well, then this is the program and the right place to talk about it. and the best person to talk about it with is joining me now, from washington, d.c., sports editor for the nation magazine. nice to see you, dave. >> good to see you. >> let's just start with the question i think this raises for a lot of us, are first-class sports incommensurate with serious academic goals at a university? >> absolutely. this is about the wrought of for profit.
first and foremost in the so-called amateur pursuits at unc of basketball and football, the head coach makes $2.1 million a year. that's more than any professor, that's more than the school president. the football program, which is not a storied football program by any means, their entire coaching staff makes a combined $4 million a year. and you said it before, i mean, the painful, ugly irony that this kind of let's face it educational money laundering of young, black men through the african-american studies department, that's what this is, we've talked about this before, that ncaa revenue-producing sports united states the organized theft of black wealth. the fact that it happened through the african-american studies department is particularly bitter. i've received e-mails this week from members of that department at unc just devastated by this for the very reasons that you said, because they devoted their lives to making african-american history part of a legitimate inquiry on a university campus.
to see it used and abused by the athletic department for the purpose of facilitating theft of wealth from young, largely african-american athletes is too bitter for words. one last thing, real quick, people have to understand the reason why there's an african-american studies department at unc, because students demonstrated for it, students risked their scholarships for it students sat in for these classes at unc. and so to see it used and abused and strip mined for these purposes incredibly inbittering. >> i appreciate you bringing us back to that point because it's key to recognize, not only unc, but universities across this country, african-american studies, ethnic studies, gender and year studies programs are the result of students requesting for classes on these topic and to discover these aren't real classes. i want to point out that something like 52% of the folks who went through them are not athletes at all and the fact the report suggests it's the
fraternity system, other than word of mouth, that was the single, largest feeder into these, and i presume they don't mean the african-american fraternity system though it's not completely clear, but the larger source of referrals was the from turnaternity network, incommensurate with getting a first-class education. >> this is not a unc problem either there are paper classes at every division i university that are geared towards athletes and revenue-producing sports and other students go along for the ride. i can't honestly say if when i was in college if someone said, hey, there could be an easy grade in this particular class, what do you say, if i would have had either the strength to say, gee, i don't know about that, i'm paying for an education i mean, talking about 18 and 19-year-olds making mature choices. >> i want to pause you there.
to me that is so important. the first impulse is to villainize the students themselves. they knew they weren't taking a real class, so it's their fault. but i keep thinking, you know, part of the responsibility of faculty, of administrators is, we know that given an option to make bad choices, young people often make bad choices. we have to provide good choices and opportunity for them. >> exactly. when i was in college, if someone said to me, you don't have to take this physics class that's required i might have had a physics book bonfire in my dorm room. you're 18 and 19, you are inclined to make choices that go for the road of just the least resistance and i have so many stories i could tell you of big-time, all-american athlete whose adults go to them and they say those words, you don't really have to take this class if you don't want to, there are other ways to do this, and it takes unique kinds of people to be able to have the strength to say, no, especially when being a big-time athlete in the 21st
century at these colleges is effectively like having a full-time job. and the most cynical part, the part that really breaks my heart, is that if you had a student, a young person who is saying, i'm going to use basketball to get a first-class education and they bust their butt in school and get those a classes but, gee, it affects them on the court, they would be bounced before you could say ncaa. >> right. and they -- i want to read, i think it's important, part of a statement from unc chancellor, carol folt, it's important to separate the past from the present and the future, mr. waynestein found the irregular tears confined to one department, ended in 2011, since first learning of this four years ago, carolina implemented numerous, additional reforms and continue to take action to builden the initiatives in place. is this just a thing of the past? is this just about one university? >> not at all. and the worst part about it, the ncaa is going to fly in and do all kind of sanctions at unc and
speak how there's a new era of law-abidinging academic rigor at the school and other schools and that's the equivalent of getting tony soprano taking care of the neighborhood drug dealer. you're making the enforcemented bodies that's the cause of this wrought. >> it's get to start off with coffee and dave. how shanda rimes continues to pleau our mind. i'm not done with students in north carolina. my letter of the week is next. the design of the ford escape is clearly intended to grab your eye. ♪ oh, and your foot. ain't that a kick? the ford escape with the foot-activated liftgate. ♪
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it's a fresh approach on education-- superintendent of public instruction tom torlakson's blueprint for great schools. torlakson's blueprint outlines how investing in our schools will reduce class sizes, bring back music and art, and provide a well-rounded education. and torlakson's plan calls for more parental involvement. spending decisions about our education dollars should be made by parents and teachers, not by politicians. tell tom torlakson to keep fighting for a plan that invests in our public schools. the 2014 midterms and voter suppression efforts are in full swing. the supreme court recently let
stand ohio's decision to slash early voting days, a change that will disproportionately impact black voters. and texas' new voter i.d. law, the law that a district court judge determined constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax, and it's estimated to disenfranchise 600,000 voters. many of them people of color. and then, there's north carolina, home to a hugely important senate race that could help determine the balance of power of congress. and a new nbc news marist poll shows that kay hagan and tom tillis tied in a heat in a massive suppression bill passed by the north carolina house while till list was its figure, north carolina voted same-day voter registration, sent the countdown clock for the strict voter i.d. laws to take effect in 2016. it's worth remembering that north carolina went for
president obama in 2008 and for governor mitt romney in 2012. and notice this county in the northwestern edge of the state, it is democratic blue in 2008 by 1,210 votes. then republican red in 2012, by just 753 votes and that county has been the site of one of the most contentious fights over student access to the polls this year. county tends to vote republican but it's home to appalachian state university where students tend to vote for democratic candidates. and those students are no inconsequential group. they make up one-third of the county's population, and have had an early voting site on their campus since 2006. in 2012, 35% of all early voters in the county voted at asu's on campus site. so when the state board of elections decided in august an
on an early voting plan that removed the asu early voting site, they were not just making it harder for young people to vote, they were restricting access to the polls for a third of the county. this is where it starts to get complicated. in august, no early voting at ap state, a decision that didn't set well with some in the county. september, seven voters filed a petition to restore the early voting site. now in september, no early voting at ap state but trying to get it back. then last monday, a superior court judge agreed that lawsuit and ordered state to make new early voting plans, including the asu site. he wrote in his decision, the court can conclude no other intent from that board decision other than to discourage student voting. so, october 13th, ap state have a voting site, maybe not. but then, state attorneys filed a petition asking the state supreme court for an emergency stay and appeal.
the argument said, and i swear this is a real quote that following the order to keep the early voting site on campus would cause irreparable harm. so on october 16th, maybe voting site, maybe not, and as of this wednesday, one day before the start of early voting, the state supreme court hadn't ruled on the petition. leaving open the possible that the campus voting site could be restored. hours away from the start of early voting, with no word from the supreme court, the board of elections called an emergency meeting to comply with the trial court's decision and voted to keep the asu early voting site. woo hoo! this wednesday we knew early voting at asu, whew. but 30 minutes after the board of elections voted to keep the site open the state supreme court made its ruling saying the superior court's judgment and opening the possibility again to eliminate the voting site. but with only hours until the
beginning of voting, the board announced they would keep the site open allowing students to vote early and on their campus. early voting began on thursday. and by friday, there were already more than 1,000 votes cast at asu student union, nearly half of all of early votes in the county. which brings me to my letter of the week and it's more of a postcard. dear north carolina student voters, over the past year you have seen fragility of your constitutionally protected rights under the weight of partisan-driven voter suppression efforts. in the long term, we are going to need a structural fix to ensure this basic tenet of our democracy, need a new section for the voting rights act, legislation that works to open the vote to many rather than restrict it to the view. but for now, you have nine days. nine days before voting ends in north carolina, nine days to determine who will sit in your state legislature, fill your
district's judgeships, represent you in the senate, you have been the targets of voter suppression efforts and for this election cycle, you prevailed. but the rash of voter suppression laws this year have made it clear your victory is not guaranteed for future. it will take more than one election. but in this election, your vote is critical. north carolina student voters, you have nine daysing make them count, vote. sincerely, melissa. ♪ ♪ "here i am. rock you like a hurricane." ♪ fiber one now makes cookies. find them in the cookie aisle.
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♪ i thought it'd be bigger. ♪ ♪ (dad) there's nothing i can't reach in my subaru. (vo) introducing the all-new subaru outback. love. it's what makes a subaru,a subaru. this morning, dr. craig spencer, physician in new york diagnosed with ebola, after returning from guinea, as entered a serious phase of the disease. this change was an expected progression of the illness. he's in isolation right here in manhattan. word of his diagnosis on thursday ushered in a new spade of urgent news coverage and headlines as it seems the story
of ebola in the u.s. was starting to fade from the front page. dr. spernsncer's fiancee return to their apartment, she and two others are home quarantined as a precaution. the story about ebola in the u.s. is about the response to the illness and those perceived as potentially infected. illinois, new york, new jersey imposed mandatory 21-day quarantine for medical workers and travelers returning to the u.s. from west africa who had contact with ebola patients florida ordered high-risk flyers monitored twice daily by health officials for 21 days. friday's screeners at newark international airport intercepted kaci hickox and shuttled her to an ebola isolation ward at a nearby hospital. she's a nurse who was returning home after working with doctors without borders to care for ebola patients in sierra leone but after -- but what happened after she touched down left her
frustrated. temperature taken and read 98, normal, but as she writes in the "dallas morning news," three hours passed, no one seemed to be in charge, no one would tell me what was going on or what would happen to me. four hours after i landed at airport an official approached me with a forehead scanner, my cheeks were flushed, upset being held with no explanation. the scanner recorded my temperature as 101. the female officer looked smug, you have a fever now, she said, when preliminary tests on kaci hickox came back negative for ebola, but because of new jersey's new quarantine rules she's not going anywhere until officials say she company in her piece for the "dallas morning news," she identifies the larger problem, i sat alone in the isolation sent and thought of many colleagues who will return home to america and face the same ordeal. will they be made to feel like criminals and prisoners? and more to the point, if health care workers are made to feel like criminals and prisoners,
when they return from countries suffering with an outbreak of ebola, will they go and provide their desperately needed services in the first place? the world health organization reports the number of cases of ebola in the west african countries of guinea, liberia, sierra leone has surpassed 10,000, nearly 5,000 people have died. this morning, u.s. ambassador to the u.n., samantha power is in guinea, she took off yesterday for the first leg of a high-profile visit to the epicenter of the outbreak. she'll visit sierra leone to draw attention to the need for more international assistance in the west african nations severely impacted by the current outbreak. joining me now, jeffrey wright, you may know him best as one of the star's "boardwalk empire" which has the series finale tonight and founding partner of the ebola survival fund. pleased to have you here. i want to take a moment to show a little bit of the psa of what
you're working on so folks know why you are here to talk about ebola. >> great. >> let's take a moment. >> ebola is not a death sentence. >> ebola is not a death sentence. >> no, no, no. >> i survived. >> vandy survived. >> this doctor survived. >> this man survived. >> eric survived. >> these two survived. >> survived. >> my countryman and friend, dr. phillip israel survived. >> okay, what good is star power in the fight against ebola. >> well, first of all, i think it's ironic that you know we talk about this and cut to the actor -- >> right. >> he does play a doctor on "boardwalk empire "but was i don't think that qualifies me as an expert in these fields. i do know sierra leone very well. i've traveled to the country
past 13 years, over 20, 25 times, largely in the eastern district of the country, that was first hit by the outbreak. we immediately when we heard that a doctor had succumbed to the disease in our area, we spoke to two groups, the world health organization and we spoke to community leaders there in a chief dom, they told us they needed chlorine and medical gloves to stave off the infection, further transmission. we pushed out $2500 of supplies to them. subsequent to that, we supplied a material to support 100 public wash stations within the community. since that doctor passed in may, they've lost no one since. so we acted -- >> we acted early in this community. we're helping adjacent chiefdom as well. >> wait. who cares about my question. when i hear you say that for
$2400 and early prevention, you can say in this community, the substantial community, no one else has been lost. >> correct. >> i think about the conversation about billions going and what feels look a kind of back end, so it's going to build the tents and do all of the work after -- after the ebola has already been transmitted and we have patients -- which is critically important, undoubtedly -- but are we missing the story about how to prevent on the front end? >> absolutely. i don't think there's any question, but that the global community responded late. national governments responded late. part of the reason for that is because the first outbreaks were way up in the countryside, about ten hours from free town, for example, by road, which is where we operate. the same in liberia, far in the northern part of the country but it wasn't until outbreaks and infections in the cities that the national governments really took it seriously. likewise, when the virus was
exported to dallas, we started to take it seriously in this country. however, i will say that the u.s. government -- i've been tracking this since may -- the u.s. government is far ahead of the public understanding and also the media understanding of what's happening here. dr. friedan of the cdc has visited sierra leone, liberia, guinea, dr. fauci had a meeting at the white house in and i saw this guy concerned about his security pass and the like and i realized it was dr. fauci, but it was august. they have been on top of this for quite some time now. i think the message the u.s. government is sending, right message if we want to protect ourselves here, we need to stop the outbreak in west african, sierra leone, guinea, liberia, where it's most impactful. >> to prove that has been the message, listen to the president saying precisely that for a moment and ask you how we might stop that outbreak. let's take a listen.
>> the best way to stop this disease, the best way to keep americans safe, is to stop it at its source in west africa. and we have to be guided by the science. we have to be guided by the facts, not fear. >> so, that underlines the idea, and yet still has a kind of medicalized way of thinking about it, that what we must do is stop an infectious disease in the way that doctors and physicians stop those diseases. but you have talked a lot about the fact that the preponderance, the way this keeps spreading has a lot to do with history and economics as well. >> oh, absolutely. the reason that dr. spencer here in new york could be in pretty good shape, it seems, again, not a medical expert, but i think, because he's in new york state, we've got 50,000 registered physicians in this state alone. we've got some of the finest medical systems, medical infrastructures applied, staff
in this state and in this in city that money can buy. in -- >> he's someone with health insurance who can access it. >> that's right. in sierra leone, my experience has been that one of the biggest medical -- one of the biggest initiatives that we undertook to bolster health care provision in sierra leone was the building of a road. >> yeah. >> basics. >> fundamental infrastructure. >> the highest infant mortality rate in the world existed in sierra leone after the war. one of the projects that we undertook to bill an 18-mile feeder road that served the community that we're most associated with. the way that impacts health care, you have pregnant mothers who are having complicated pregnancies but can't get to the next level, health care, because there's no road access for ambulances. so these are the types of basic provisions that will bolster the impact of quality health care there. let alone hospitals and medical
infrastructure that they the thing that we have to keep in mine, people ask, isn't there foreign aid that flows into countries? yes, it's true, but for example, in liberia, 571 million of morin aid flowed into the country in 2012. only 3% of that passed through national institutions. so, then the ministries of health don't have the capacity to build their health care delivery systems, hospitals don't have the state-run hospitals don't have the capacity to bill up their strength. so, we end up with a situation like this where though we have the international community there, just after the war to contain violence there, we're coming back ten years later because there's nothing done really to strengthen against an outbreak like this. >> it's a reminder that we both need the urgent response to the medical crisis but we need the much longer-term infrastructure building. >> thank you. >> thank you jeffrey wright for being here. coming up, the director of the new documentary series "the
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it's a fresh approach on education-- superintendent of public instruction tom torlakson's blueprint for great schools. torlakson's blueprint outlines how investing in our schools will reduce class sizes, bring back music and art, and provide a well-rounded education. and torlakson's plan calls for more parental involvement. spending decisions about our education dollars should be made by parents and teachers, not by politicians. tell tom torlakson to keep fighting for a plan that invests in our public schools.
♪ fans of shonda rhimes' shows know that one of the trademarks are steamy scenes that push the sex on network tv envelope about as far as it can go. now whether your team fit or team jake, hookups on "scandal" never fail to elicit a hashtag of yes from the audience. rhimes made sure that her gay and lesbian characters get in on all of the sweet action. that includes the newest series, "how to get away with murder," where conner, one of anna lease keatings law students uses sex as his secret legal weapon to
help score victories in the courtroom. the last episode following an episode where conner engaged in what another character described as an especially eye watering sect act, one viewer on twitter thought rhimes had taken things too far, tweeting the gay scenes in "scandal" and "how to get away with murder" are too much. there's no point and they add nothing to the plot. if you remember the twitter shade that miss rhimes threw at the new york times infamous angry black woman article you know that rhimes is no stranger to the defl delivery of a social media shackdown. rhimes responded, there are no gay scenes, there are scenes with people in them. if you use the phrase gay scenes, you are not only late to the party, but also not invited to the party. bye, fell leafelicia, #onelove. i love all of you twe.
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yyou think it smellspet fine, but your guests smell this. eliminate odors you've gone noseblind to with febreze fabric refresher. smells good. so you and your guests can breathe happy. whatever her critics on twitter may have to say, shonda rhimes isn't scared a guy on guy action and judging from the place her newest series, "how to get away with murder" has secured atop the ratings heap, it's clear most viewers aren't turning away from sexy scenes like this. >> take off your clothes. >> did you run over here? >> yeah. take off your clothes. >> i have to go to work and i'm a little worried that you might be a sex addict. there's a book "the develop rhett rage,". >> young red blooded american males, turning sex into a bad thing. >> but as rhimes pointed out in
her response to twitter criticism, this ain't her first time at rodeo when it comes to showing scenes of sage-sex love. 2012 when a commented, love your shows but why the gay and lesbian story lines, rhimeses fired back, where she name checked her predecessor, norman lear, writing i think same-sex marriage is the civil rights fight of our era, when a person of color won a civil rights fight people like norman lear put black people on tv and helped change some minds. it got to be paid forward. talking all things of shonda, senior fellow at center for american progress, and adviser for the center for american progress. also janet mock, transact everybodyist and author of "redefining realness, my path to identity, love and so much more" and jason lynch.
i want to start with you, fascinated by the idea that she see herself in the tradition of norman lear, because as i thought about that, i was like, lear put "sanford and son" on air "good times" on air. shonda's way of coping with this is not like the will will and grace of it all. it's less reputable but more real. >> it's so much real. like, it's so much more real than any other thing that we have ever seen before. i was watching it, i'm like, oh my god, this scene is epic. mainstream america has never seen anything like this. me, i used to watch queerist folk. but it's the first time you're seeing gay people as sexual beings. we've gone a long way to talk about gay people as full human beings, we talk about our love, commitment, but we in some way have like become eunuchs in that way where we have become
desexualized, we're the good sidekick, best friend but you want to see us do anything more than give us a stare or do a hand holding. but this full-on like yes in your face, we're going to be ripping clothes off and talking about "devel"velvet rage," i'm about it. >> she says marriage equality in that response, but this is not about marriage, right? this is about humanity in a different way. >> exactly. i think that we can't underestimate the fact that shonda's shows exist on the same network as "modern family," a huge to do about cameron and mitchell kissing. what love and lust actually looks like, right from conner getting it on with everyone to cyrus, right, cyrus paying for sex with a gigolo and viola being an active recipient, anna lise, an active recipient of please sure.
it canning shocking and steamy and i kind of love it. >> if i go back to your point about -- your point this is happening on abc, your point, if you have been watching, this is not something totally new, let me ask, is part of what happened here what it's come to network is something that was initially pushed in these alternate television forms, whether it is the hbo, showtime and the netflixes of it all, right? that is what has made this possible, made space for this? >> absolutely. "queer as folk" and other cable shows started this. this is back in the time where broadcast networks would say, two couples will have a same-sex kish kiss, let's hype it for weeks on end. finally we have shonda breaking down the door open in broadcast television, especially after "modern family" where cam and mitchell barely showed affection
for so many seasons. it's great to finally see this. >> i'm thinking, we're here, great sex, i can imagine, i'm trying to listen this from a different perspective, if i'm a cultural warrior on the other side, i'm thinking, oh, new york shonda rhimes just opened the pandora's box of demonic evil badness or continuing one when desi and lucy got in bed with each other for the first time. >> one, there is so much other ridiculousness on television, if you're a cultural warrior, you should be fighting against the violence that we see happening, particularly violence against women on television, there's a lot of other salacious sexual things going on. the thing that i love about shonda, she understands value of her art form and shifting culture, and transforming the way that we see ourselves, the way that we think about other people in our society, and she owns that, and she is comfortable with that. when she makes that reference to norman lear, yeah, i know that i have a responsibility to do what i can to shift attitudes because
we often want to downplay the power of culture in doing that. it's not politics that drives us forward a lot of the times, it's culture that moves us. >> and these have real world consequences. there are 12 states that have anti-sodomy laws, one of them louisiana, actively arresting people, in april of 2014, louisiana arresting somebody under the anti-sodomy law. and yet, also there's always good news. so coming up, viola davis did something extraordinary, it's all we can talk about around here. before that i want to take a moment because something amazing is happening in north carolina right now. i want to congratulate mary boardwine, and n. saliti, getting married in north carolina. we here wish you all of the happiness in your special day.
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shonda rhimes isn't only smashing conventions about what is possible for lgbt americans on television, she's used "how to get away with murder" to rewrite the rules for on screen representations of african-american women. last week, viewers were titillated into sticking around until the end of an episode by a promo promising nine last words that would have their jaws hitting the floor. what had mouths hang open and tongues wagging what happened in the scene before those final words. ♪ >> viola davis removing first the wig, then eyelashes and the thick layers of makeup that are her character annalise keating's arm against the worm. the final reveal of the episode for its rarity on network tv. african-american woman wearing nothing but her dark brown skin
as short undone kinky textured hair along with they're authentic self and millions of viewers, forget gay sex, black women's nappy hair i was beside myself. mattered but i was like, why it matters? >> can we say vie lola snatched that wig off and relayed with intimacy. her character's no longer performing. she's kind of in her own room at her vanity, revealing her most intimate safe and viola is allowing us to see her, right? >> yes. >> allowing us to see this less classically beautiful actress. >> yes! >> in a space. >> didn't it feel like she was speaking to "the new york times" piece. >> the creator talked about her idea to do this. when i was watch, i know it's her idea to do this. on the vulnerability and the breakthrough power of the scene alone i came up with nine new words, emmy award goes to -- >> and --
>> viola davis. >> indeed. that language that you use, vulnerability, the part of the show i wasn't buying, like i love the show for a lot of reasons but i wasn't quite buying the vulnerability -- she can't do the lip quiver thing that our beloved olivia pope can do, and it's like -- i never seen a human more vulnerable, as a black -- i'm responding to the black woman of it all as i saw it there. >> absolutely. as jen mentioned this was vie l viola's idea, this was her suggestion. for the first couple of episodes, they were great but i felt like they had forgotten that they had one of the best actresses on the planet. >> yes. >> best actors on the planet. >> graduate from julliard. >> yes, those is why you hire viola davis for this role, nobody else could do that, what she did. >> you know, we've talked about hair a lot, one point i'm working with the producer on the show, she's back in one of the hair episodes in 2012, right?
we've talked about it right. olivia pope has been natural haired, you know, on the beach, that kind of thing. but it's not -- right, there is a -- there's a social valuation to the gorgeous but also standard gorgeousness that is olivia pope. this was asking us to see a different kind of gorgeous in a black woman. >> right. >> go ahead. go ahead. >> there's just a level of realness that you get with viola davis. kerry washington, she gives us the beautiful, right? i remember one of the scenes from "scandal" having sex with fitz in the shower. i'm like black women doesn't have sex in a shower. >> if you have hair like that you do. >> it's so much, right? we've got to blow it out afterwards, we've got to retwist. too much going on. for her to take off her wig, so major because when people -- when she showed up on the show, everybody was like, why do they put viola in that wig?
why didn't they let her have her natural hair, be her fearness? the reveal was better than had she shown up with her natural hair to begin with. because you see all of the different levels of who this woman is and the forces that she's up against. and that to me is like this -- it happened. >> is it crazy town in 2014, with african-american first lady and two little black girls in the white house, that the just like your hair as it grows out of your head can be such a thing it can carry so much weight. >> i'm conflicted about the whole scene. i was going to say nothing during the segment because i don't know how i feel about it. so a couple of things. one, i appreciate her mirroring for me this shock and awe of being a woman who who has to put on armer to leave the house. as she started unmasking, i'm like, you're not going to do this i was feeling a lot of things inside, knowing i don't wake up like this and things i do to present in the world. about the natural hair piece it
troubles me that it had to feel tragic, the scene, of her natural hair. >> had to be oh -- your man cheats on you. >> now you've got -- you take it off and there you go, girl. i too, wish she had been presented as this fierce, fabulous attorney who had a natural coif. >> maybe she will. maybe she'll come into it. >> i'm hoping. remember when tamron hall this summer went on the "today" show with natural hair and had to create a segment for white folks to teach america -- she had johnny right on about her natural hair. >> if you're tamron hall, you can wake up -- >> she's stunning. >> she is so everything. whatever your hair is doing, fine, tamron. back in the next hour. thank you to danielle and janet. thank you for being here. and jason lynch as always. still to come, the man behind the documentary series "the whiteness project' and legend herbie hancock joins me live,
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you have no idea. at&t. the nation's most reliable 4g lte network. i'm melissa harris-perry. it is time to talk about ferguson because right now, plenty of people are talking about ferguson, even when it seem they shouldn't be. this week, there has been some substantial news of substantive links coming out, the grand jury investigation of the august 9th shooting death of michael brown. in st. louis county, missouri a grand jury is convening in secret, hearing testimony and considering evidence as part of the process to decide whether to indict ferguson police officer darren wilson. a decision could come in a few short weeks. but parts of the investigation, only pieces really, have been leaked to multiple news outlets. last week a leak was published by "the new york times," the first public account of darren wilson's testimony to investigators.
tuesday the "st. louis post-dispatch" published a teenager's autopsy report performed by the county's medical examiner. it included a narrative portion describing the moments leading up to brown's death, as provided by the st. louis county police department and a toxicology report that shows brown had a trace of marijuana in his system. the report author revealed, brown had been shot at close range as evidenced by material consistent with the discharge of a gun found in a wound in brown's thumb. these leaks, in a high-profile case that has turned the community into a powder keg has hasha ex-as ser pated eric holder. the selective leak of income is harmful to the process. people are trying to shape public opinion. i think public opinion would be best served doing the process as it is intended, which is to do things in secret, which is how grand juries always operate. the justice democratic is conduct its own investigation of
the shooting, and the entire ferguson police department for possible civil rights violations. as to for who is responsible for the leaks, darren wilson's legal team denies involvement, we were not responsible for any leaks to any media including those published in the new york times and st. louis times dispatch. we're not in possession of the closed report or the investigative report. the st. louis county prosecutor's office says it does not release any information while the case is being presented. still, many in the community consider this kind of information leaked, an indication that the officer will not be indicted. at the table, senior fellow at center for american progress, mark steiner, founder of the center for emerging media, associate professor at university of connecticut and contribute for thenewyorker, and joining us from los angeles, lisa bloom, civil rights lawyer, legal analyst and avo.com author
of the suspicion nation, inside story of the trayvon martin injustice and why we continue to repeat. lisa, remind folks who aren't themselves attorneys what a grand jury is and why there's a grand jury convened in missouri right now as opposed to any other way that this officer might have been indicted. >> well, let's remember that the prosecutor in ferguson, like prosecutors everywhere, had another choice, he could have reviewed the evidence, filed charges directly, had a preliminary hearing, which was generally a one day affair, and which is completely open he opted not to do that. he opted to dough gi way of the grand jury, which is true, secret proceeding. but what he has done differently decided to put all of the evidence out there and this excruciatingly slow process, one day a week, it's dragging on for months and we still don't have a resolution. >> stick with us. i want too come to the table for a second. to the extent of the leaks, lisa makes a good point, there's another way this could have been
done, swifter, open, transparent way but he picked a way that is meant to be silent and secretive. >> right. >> if there are leaks, is it a good idea to guess where they're coming from or not even play the game. >> only a few places where leaks can come from, from the grand jury office, st. louis county police, or st. louis county prosecutor's office. so it's a very -- we look at a limited subset. but the very troubling thing about these leaks, it's not just that the information is sort of seeping out, it's how -- what is insidious about the leaks is how it's reframing the debate because not only do these leaks all corroborate officer wilson's account of the events, look how they've shifted the focus of the debate. it's focusing on what happened in the car. and yet the fatal shots were fired when he was outside of the car, probably moving away. and so he did not have the right to use deadly force because, at that point, officer wilson would not have been in imminent danger, would not have been in imminent danger to others and yet the focus shifted on
whatever happened that struggle that went on in the car. and that plus the leak about marijuana use, relevant because we know when you use marijuana you become violent. >> and so few people use marijuana in this country. >> right. >> just to underline that point, mark, i think your point about the nature of the leak, mark i want to come to you on this, this is my colleague's reporting, it's long but important to read, the private autopsy conducted by renowned forensic pathologist dr. michael baden found that brown's wounds including a wouldn't to his right hand and suggested wilson had been one foot to 30 feet away when he shot brown, a distance not considered close range. the latest autopsy conducted by the st. louis county medical examiner shows that the wound to brown's hand was inflicted the a closer range. those finds support wilson's narrative gleaned by investigators that he had first shot brown during a struggle at officer's vehicle when brown reached for wilson's gun. this is -- this question of what's happening inside the car
becomes the central question and this issue of what does the wound mean be when you hear these kinds of leaks that are shifting the discourse, what does that suggest to you about what the goal of these leaks are? >> the goal is to turn this against michael brown, to defend the police department, and to shift the discussion away from issues of brutality and race and what goes on inside police departments and the relationship to the black community here -- ferguson and across the country. that's the mote vation here, because right now there's a ground swell in america, you're seeing it go to ferguson, you see young people who are organizing and changing the nature of what it means to be resistance movement, and that's what they're trying to stop. and by making dare not to be the victim, darren wilson, it becomes to shift the way people look at ferguson. >> can i add something to this ? we have two attorneys, a journalist, political scientist, history in, public policy person. all of us people who deal with
data and analysis of information, you can tell one thing that you know if you are doing this kind of work for six minutes, you never have data that entirely supports your thes thesis. >> exactly. >> you always have to deal with information that -- >> variables. >> always variables the preup preponderance of the evidence points to this. everything leaked supports the officer's version of this. which make me wonder just offhand, somebody who deals with data, you either withholding data or outright lying. >> lease, i think this is such an important point. >> yes. >> and jelani's making it from the part of social scientists, how we think about data. talk about being a trial lawyer in a similar way. does this all one-sided nature of the data, points being leaked, does that suggest there's a purposeful narrative coming out? >> there's no question that the government is trying to soften us up for a no indictment
against darren wilson. get real about that. but as a trial lawyer, of course i want to cross-examine these so-called half a dozen black witnesses who say that they support darren wilson's story, for example. because there's two part of wilson's story. the scuffle at the car that everybody acknowledges happened, and then there's the part where he shot and killed unarmed kid, according to six witnesses who had his hands up. do they support that part of the story? what do they say? we don't get to cross-examine them or even as journalists, we don't get the specifics. we get generalities which most people in the mainstream media take as true and they are already saying, well, i guess the case is over, i guess all of those people who said that mike brown was shot with his hands up are just lying. the last thing i want to say, how does mike brown, with his right hand reach into the car and reach for the officer's gun, holstered on the right side unless he's some kind of contortionist? he's only reaching for that gun if the gun is already out. it doesn't work right hand and holster on the right side.
>> i have another thing i'm going to do. i want to go out on that. when we come back, i'm going ask about this notion about we're deciding that there's going to be no indictment. lisa, do stick with us. we're going to come back on this question. i think there's another thing that we're not focusing on in this big story. doing himself starts with back pain... and a choice. take 4 advil in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. honey, you did it! baby laughs! come on! let's hide in the attic. no. in the basement. why can't we just get in the running car? are you crazy? let's hide behind the chainsaws. smart. yeah. ok. if you're in a horror movie, you make poor decisions. it's what you do. this was a good idea. shhhh. be quiet. i'm being quiet. you're breathing on me! if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. head for the cemetery!
when police clashed with protesters in ferguson, missouri, in august, amnesty international deployed observers to the scene. their findings were released this week in a new report raising numerous human rights concerns. chief among them, law enforcement's military grade weapons and the use of force. according to the report, so-called less lethal ammunition used by police in the streets of ferguson, tear gas, rubber bullets, still pose serious danger and can be potentially deadly. amnesty witnesses also reported
the use of sound cannons, sometimes referred to as el rads to force protesters to move. those instruments and yet loud sirens that can cause pain, loss of balance, eardrum rupture, perm hearing damage. the report concluded with the list of recommendations for agencies, from local to federal levels, calling for not only independent investigation of the michael brown case but revies of police procedures to make sure they complied with the u.n.'s use of force guidance. this is where i wanted to come. we've been talking about shifting the discourse to the car instead of the shooting of michael brown. i want to say, even if it turns out that officer wilson was fully in his right to shoot and kill michael brown, an unarmed teenager, if that ended up being true, that would not address the ferguson issue, which from my perspective he a whole set of things that occurred night after night after night, live broadcast on television, and the amnesty report is not about
whether or not officer wilson shot michael brown. it's about whether or not there was a police state instituted in the state of missouri in response to it. >> i think that's the problem, is that we now have this police culture accepted that is no longer about protecting and serving. remember the protect and serve? >> no. i don't. i don't remember -- >> i thought about it. >> moment when that is ever true of nature of the fundamental relationship. >> ever. that is what the problem is, you have police who think that they are a military and militia supposed to be controlling the public as opposed to protecting and serving the public and that's why we see everything playing out. until we have a fundamental culture shift, where it's understood that police don't always deserve the benefit of the doubt because they're not always serving, and they're not always safeguarding and protecting, then we're not going to be able to get anywhere. >> i just -- you got it both of you all. you got to hear what the ferguson school district sent out to its parents and
guardians, you have the document, right? so right after the leaks start coming out, they write, should an event occur during school hours, a decision will be made as soon as possible regarding any necessary changes to the school day schedule. we will evaluate whether bus transportation will be possible depending on several factors including road close sures impacting routes. in the event threat to student safety arises, students are transported, drive already make every attempt delivering students to the assigned stops. should road conditions prevent driver delivering students to the bus stops or school in the morning, students will be delivered to the nearist site and school will communicate with the child. they are prepping parents for riot activity. >> yeah. >> in the result that there is no indictment of the officer. i just -- who do they think started the first one? >> here's the thing, right? as a historian this is frustrating. do we ever learn from history? when the commission was issues
the report on civil disturbances in 1968 talking about the dozens -- hundreds of disturbances, small-scale, large-scale riots that occurred in american cities, saying this about the systemic collapse of opportunity and also the legitimacy of the structures and any black people were operating in interacting in society, saying if we have these sorts of problems they're going to culminate in civil disturbances. we failed to learn anything from this, because it's almost like ferguson is a case study, but lots of things. we can talk about all of the things it's a case study for. but certainly a case study for this idea that if you think that you can systemically exclude people from opportunity and then kind of arrogantly police them in these particular ways and not ai have social backlash, you're incapable of understanding the history of the country. >> i want to play for you the family's attorney, benjamin crump, in response to what has been going on. this is on my colleague joy
reid's show this week. >> it was to -- what's the use to having a grand jury if everything's going to be leaked out anyway? the family's frustrated. they believe these leaks are intentional and they are very, very heartbroken on top of -- insult on top of michael scherer injury for michael brown. they want justice for their child. >> how bad is this rift growing. >> i like to say that i do have faith in our system, our justice system, but it's really hard to see how they can turn this around at this point. i mean, i was -- we were talking earlier, i was saying talk to 50 lawyers and every lawyer can tell you, i would have done this, this is the way the case should be. in this instance, so much going wrong, seems to be going wrong with the grand jury. when you step back and look at larger environment that we're in, you know, gallup says 37,
40% of friend americans have faith in the police. >> that much? >> yes. 40% of plaqblack americans have faith in the criminal justice system, none. when you have that misinterrupt, it just reinforces what's already a systemic problem and so it's a powder keg you know exclusion reinforces that the perception. it keeps getting worse and worse. >> lisa, you have to leave us this morning. i want you to weigh in on this idea of sort of the moment but as your piece on the trayvon martin, george zimmerman issue, what does this tell us? what does it portend going forward for the issue of criminal justice in this country? >> well, we certainly have a problem. i mean, as a mountain of data, and it all goes in one direction, and that is our criminal justice system is broken when it comes to dealing with african-americans whether it's arrests, conconvictions, sentenci sentencing, or in these cases when african-americans are victims, we seem unable to get justice. certainly didn't do it for
trayvon martin. we're making mistakes in the mike brown case, a prosecutor refuses to bring charges against the officer himself and who is doing this ridiculous system of putting all of the evidence out there, implying to the grand jury this is complicated, those is difficult, he can't figure it out, maybe they can figure it out than suggests reasonable doubt to this grand jury. i think we're going to have the same, unsatisfying outcome. >> lisa bloom in los angeles, thank you for getting up early to join us. up next, i'll ask mark steiner what happens when things are done to good pumpkins. getting in a groove. growth is gratifying. goal is to grow. gotta get greater growth. i just talked to ups. they got expert advise, special discounts, new technologies. like smart pick ups. they'll only show up when you print a label and it's automatic. we save time and money. time? money? time and money. awesome. awesome! awesome! awesome! awesome! (all) awesome! i love logistics.
an unprecedented program arting busithat partners businesses with universities across the state. for better access to talent, cutting edge research, and state of the art facilities. and you pay no taxes for ten years. from biotech in brooklyn, to next gen energy in binghamton, to manufacturing in buffalo... startup-ny has new businesses popping up across the state. see how startup-ny can help your business grow at startup.ny.gov fires, streets rip from ground and pumpkins. lots of pumpkins. the pumpkin fest. it began last saturday according to schedule, family oriented convenient filled with jacko
lantern carving for a show but the situation devaulted. a dozen arrests and 20 injured. most were college students slashing tires, overturning dumpsters and smashing windows. police descend on the town in riot gear, tossing tear gas into the mob and using guns to fire sponge bullets. the militarized police response has similarities to that of the ferguson froeft bpropest but ho behaviors are perceive id is very different. pls a pumpkin fest riot. but as amnesty said in the context of ferguson, out come police with gear that seems to violate international norms. >> the thing about keen, as you pointed out -- >> that's right. what's with you people and the pumpkins? >> the thing that is keen to me what i read after it. what i read in the editorial, what i read in the newspapers,
because this one of the things said, that the police over reacted, and that what they should do is don't kick the students out, you know, make -- expose them to the families and communities who they are, what they've done. and the -- we -- the police should not overreact. so this press has a different vision of white kids getting drunk anding rowdy and what happens to black kids with white kids with them in ferguson, who peacefully demonstrate to resist the violence -- >> there's a great tweet underlying that. your media guide to #ferguson, #pumpkinfest. trying the community versus booze-filled revelers. >> to me, it's important the fact that they are now focusing on the united states, focusing on the very real issue of repression by police in black communities and making that an international public discussion. it's going have an affect on america. >> but there's a -- there's
historical precedent for black folks in the u.s. feeling they weren't getting justice here, trying to go to international community and didn't necessarily change things much. >> there's always like the canary in the coal mine, as talked about in the context, but african-americans have said this time and time again, going back to the formation of the united nations where walter white and w.b. deboyce trying to get the u.n. to look into racist treatment of black people in the united states, going back to malcolm x, we needed to bring up charges in the u.n. about what was happening with black people in racial situations in the country. that's not the first time. ironically, the commission on racism, the eradication of racism have a meeting in switzerland at time that ferguson detonated. there were people in switzerland talking about american race and its compliance getting rid of racism as people were being tear gassed the difference in that
tweet that you've sort of exposed here, has a lot to do with expectations of what certain kinds of bodies should expect and what we expect from the back end. having been on college campuses, rowdiness, drunken-fueled bonfires, watching that happen, but in part because the presumption is ur students will go on, youthful transgressions, student will go on to have good lives, yes punish them but -- >> it's about white people. >> but not all white people. >> for college student -- we saw this -- we saw this playing out with the football players who like raped a girl, right? we see this time and time again, white kids going off to get their education, there's this empathy, assumption they're going to be successful human beings. >> associated in that -- >> a boy -- >> part of what you're pointing to is privileges that sometimes they coincide exactly with race, sometimes they are about that
identity of football players, right, in class? >> but still when you look at black men you can be an educated african-american man and not be presumed to be someone who is doing the right thing walking down street. >> tell me about it. >> jelani, you have feelings about that? >> and a big guy, too, being a tall guy. there's a lack of empathy, though, that for people of color, it doesn't matter what you're doing, standing up for yourself, if you are right, thoughtful, educated, you must be up to no good because of who you are. >> that's the thing, when they draw comparisons with this to ferguson, at least in fefr, the ferguson, there's a legitimate cause. >> pumpkins. >> i'd be mad at pumpkins, toop those pumpkins were pumpkining. if it's not being scary, smash them. >> did anybody ask what music these students listen to? >> video games playing.
>> come from single-parent homes but that happens when it's people of color, particularly young people of color. >> they did bring out the tear ga gas like -- >> but they were rioting. >> granted. but there's some -- i also feel like that response -- i can simultaneously say, i think they were overresponding in ferguson, maybe inciting in ferguson and overresponsing in that moment that there's a way in which once the police show up, standing there, that encourages like it draws the line and says, i dare you to step over it. thanks. the rest of the panel will be back later in the hour. still to come, the music of the great herbie hancock coming to nerd land. first, things white people say in a new documentary series, "the whiteness project'. mark gets to stay for this conversation. goodnight. goodnight. for those kept awake by pain
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legislation nearly doubling the minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents an hour. earlier that year, he touted his plans in a speech before congress, every segment of our population and every individual has a right to expect from our government a fair deal. and for truman, that fair deal included a fair wage. in that same speech he declared, we have abandoned the trickle down concept of national prosperity, instead, we believe that our economic system should rest on a democratic foundation and that wealth should be created for the benefit of all. but creating that benefit would not be easy. then, just as now, the country's economy was struggling. then, just as it is now, there were considerable -- there was considerable opposition from raising minuimum wage from businesses. chris christie declaring he's
just tired of hearing about the minimum wage. in 1949, it was the chamber of commerce, declaring that government regulation of minimum wages has not been demonstrated conclusively to be in the public interest. there were also predictions that unemployment and inflation would rise, and that business activity would decline. but basically none of that really happened. so what did happen? once the minimum wage hike was in effect, according to one government study, 1.3 million people got an immediate raise, and the u.s. would go on to enter a period of economic prosperity that would last two decades. thanks in part to that landmark minimum wage legislation, signed by president harry s. truman on this daying october 26, 1949. introducing synchrony financial bringing new meaning to the word partnership. banking. loyalty. analytics. synchrony financial. engage with us.
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>> tired of being labeled. i'm an american, not an african-american, i'm an american. >> earlier pharrell williams addressed the concept of being black or new black. the new black, he said, doesn't blame other races for our issues. the nut black dreams and realizes it's not pigmentation it's eight mentality and it's either going to work for you or against you. and during a 2013 b.e.t. interview, zoe saldana had the following to say about ethnicity. >> i literally run away from people that use words like ethnic. it's -- it's preposterous, you know? to me, there's no such thing as people of color. >> so want to know if she literally runs away from people. but comments like those have sparked sustained dialogue about what it means to be black. yet the parallel discussion
about what it means to identify as white less frequently occurs. but one filmmaker, whitney dow, set out to initiate that conversation with his new interactive documentary called "the whiteness project'. inside the white/caucasian box. first installment released october 6th and launched on pbs's pov features 24 interviews with residents of buffalo new york who identify as white. his statement about the project, dow says he aims to engender debate about the role of whiteness in society and encourage white americans to be fully vested participants in the debate about the role of race in american society. order to achieve that goal, darrell filmed a series of conversation of people whoo identify as white and compiled material into vignettes like this one. >> i guess inherently there's never going to be a time where a person with lighter skin completely understands what a person with darker skin might go
through on a daily basis. >> every clip ends with the latest statistics to remind viewers of the cultural context in which the interview exists, like 75% of white americans say they come into contact with a few or no black people on a regular basis. or 60% of working class white americans believe discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against minorities. this combination of individual perspectives and statistics sparked a lively debate with some writers questioning the project's premise and others expressing appreciation for the honesty shown in each interview. joining my panel to discuss "the whiteness project', director and producer, whitney dow. thank you for being here and engaging in part because we see blackness talked about often. you had to think about the interviews as a whole, what is it that leads white people to think of themselves as white? how do they experience their whiteness. >> society doesn't put an
antecedent on you or you don't put one on yourself. people talk about white privilege and i think that's what white privilege is. >> i mean, people have been talking about white privilege in a real way recently, there's a big sort of cable fight around the issue of white privilege. weigh in on that a little bit for me, because it does seem part of what you're doing try to explore the identity piece without necessarily having to pack in -- you can't do the i didn't without the politics but it feels like a more full explanation of the selfhood, does that make sense? >> i've been making films on race for about 18 years now, i have a black producing partner, marco williams, who i've been working with and frustrated bit idea it's oppositional construct, white people able to look at things that happen outside themselves that racist white people do or bad things happening to people who aren't white and we need prescriptions for that as opposed to recognizing that people who
consider themselves, you know, just people, are part of paradigm and what they do actually impacts what happens on a day-to-day basis. >> mark, i see you nodding f furiously. >> i want to read this. >> i can't pronounce names. >> from her book "citizen" where this comes from, how deep it is, i love this quote. she says, you can't put the past behind you. it's buried in you. it turns your flesh into its own cupboard and that's what we're dealing with in america. this thing is so inculcated in our bodies, in our minds, our so souls part of the 2 1st trend struggle is to unleash this and get it out to purge america of what fuels it which is racism from the beginning, that's what's happening here. it's really cool. >> it's interesting you use the
language and invoke the language of the body, we heard in one of the speakers that notion of light skin versus dark skin, heard it in pharrell about the light skin. but that isn't what makes whiteness, right? one isn't white because you're light versus dark. we know a white person can be darker skinned than a black person. we know it's not straight hair or not. so do we have a sense of what actually allows the achievement of whiteness? >> right, so there's a great deal of scholarship about this, what race is, is race an ideology? how was it constructed? people from winthrop jordan to grace elizabeth hale, but fundamentally, this is i think the question that james baldwin tackled better than anyone elsewhere he said, this is a construct that allowed america to cohere. >> right. >> these are people who were able to come from their desperate european tribes and say this is what we have in common, this is the basis of our
i didn't and became so fundamental to become invisible. >> let me ask about that. you are in upstate new york, at least in this initial series of interviews and i'm wondering, let's say we go out to california and talk to white folks or north carolina where i live and talk to white folks, how do you think whiteness might be experienced differently in those racial context? >> it's going to be different everywhere. whiteness is no more monolithic than blackness or any other ethnicity. >> there are good white folks. >> but different ways to experience, something that you said is that i think also whiteness is mutable, when certain white people came to this country they weren't considered white. >> irish. >> italians. and they've become white over a period of time, become part of the power structure. and so, yeah, i think that everywhere you go, you're going to find a different way of processing. one of most interesting things, whenever you ask white people about whiteness they talk about black people. >> let's play a moment of that.
>> for some reason, some black people kind of hold on to the back in the day, the slave thing or they feel they're not being treated right. >> so part of the being treated -- because this -- if you watch your interviews, all straight through, it can feel like -- it can feel like maybe we're not being fair to those white respondents who are doing their best -- i feel like your lens is fair but part of what happened in the facebooking of it as it goes around, look how terrible and awful and silly these white folks are and that doesn't seem quite fair. >> i think it's unfair. one of the things that makes white people uncomfortable about the whole thing and watching it, i would defy any white person, the white people at this table, to look at those interviews and look at discomforting things that they say and they don't hold pieces of that somewhere
inside them. maybe not to the degree but we're all struggling with, our relationship, when people ask people about whiteness, they talk about blackness. the same a when i got a beautiful letter from a black woman saying it was cathartic she felt her blackness was defined by whiteness and seeing white people struggle with the same thing was cathartic for her. >> i wondered when i watched the interviews, one of the teams that many mentioned, i don't know if was a question posed, but they saw no benefit to particular -- particular benefit to being white. they did not see color. race did not matter to them. and yet it would segue from there to them talking a lot about black people or racial things. i was sort of struck by that dichotomy. i was also wondering -- i watched a dozen vignettes -- if you included latinos in your definition of white. latinos are overwhelmingly racially white.
>> i don't define who is in the series. i say i want to talk to white people about whiteness. i don't consider myself when it determine whose is white when you look at the census, 63% white. they're talking nonhispanic whites as opposed to 73% that includes hispanic white. this idea of whiteness -- i did another project in buffalo a few years ago and divided two rooms of students in the public school system, we said all white kids go to this room, all nonwhite kids go to this room and latino kids split. >> oh, split. >> they had a huge fight. why are you go into that room? >> where was this? >> buffalo. >> i more than anything else as a classroom teacher, i appreciate having more tools to work with and teach in clasp so whitney dow, thank you for this project. i hope folks will take a look at them. also thank you to mark steiner and also to jelani cobb and raul
reyes. mom, don't leave the room. the one and only herbie hancock is coming to nerd land. i know you don't want to miss this. i wish... please, please, please, please, please. [ male announcer ] the wish we wish above all...is health. so we quit selling cigarettes in our cvs pharmacies. expanded minuteclinic, for walk-in medical care. and created programs that encourage people to take their medications regularly. introducing cvs health. a new purpose. a new promise... to help all those wishes come true. cvs health. because health is everything. yei could come by your place. my place? uhh... um... hold on.
there's only one right answer to the question. do you like the music of herbie hancock. and the answer is another question. herbie hancock when? because you see, there is no single genre or sound or album or even decade that fully encompasses the music of herbie hancock. from 7-year-old pianist to co-creator with the likes of stevie wonder, carlos santana, joanny mitchell and miles davis. from acoustic musician to electronic composer. jazz to funk to hip-hop. an artist defined by possibility. and on thursday, he released a memoir entitled "possibilities." explores his musical innovations and sonic evolution and doesn't stop with the music.
hancock lays bear the possibilities of his own humanity. from his childhood on chicago south side to his encounter with the slain emmit till, through his battles with drug addiction, his embrace of buddhism and nearly five decade marriage to wife gigi. possibilities like all of hancock's work is deeply impactful. joining me now is the legendary herbie hancock. and somewhere in north carolina, my mother is having a happy heart attack. so, a jazz musician who has been married for 46 years. come on. >> oh, yeah. almost, actually almost 50. >> okay. tell me, then, what that relationship means as a stabilizing force in a career that is all about change. >> it's been an amazing kind of pillar that really helps solidify my journey. it's the rock that is -- you know, part of the rock that holds things together.
for one thing, she -- her sign is the opposite of mine. >> she's a libre, you're an ares. >> yeah. >> her weaknesses are my strengths and my weaknesses are her strengths. i need her strengths. >> i want to talk a little bit about this notion of change. it is for me what i always think of is definitional. and yet, i was so -- i want to read this moment from very on in the book where you talk about jazz and you say jazz is about being in the moment at every moment. it's about trusting yourself to respond on the fly. if you can allow yourself to do that, you never stop exploring. you never stop learning in music or in life. that definition of jazz is that human possibility to be in the moment and trust yourself to respond. that felt like if there's no other lesson to take from you, it should be that. >> well, you know what, human beings actually improvise all the time.
because we speak. we converse. and it's in the moment, in context, it's not separated from whoever you're conversing with. so that exercise is something we're accustomed to. but for some reason, we -- in music, people don't really associate themselves with being creative. and yet, in conversations we're always creative. it's part of being human. >> and yet, we're only creative in conversation if you allow yourself as you say here to be present in it. if you already have the script in your head of everything you're going to say, you actually, you can't respond. you can't call in responses you do in your music. the great thing about jazz is we actually respect each other. see, this is one of the attributes that's necessary. is respecting others and not just yourself.
and so, in that regard, we listen to each other. and we trust each other. but we trust ourselves to trust each other. we're also basically nonjudgmental. because being judgmental doesn't work when you're on stage and the music is playing because the music's going by and you start thinking, oh, i didn't like that note that the bass player played. the music's going to pass you by. so the great job, really, of jazz musicians is to take whatever happens and rather than judge it, to take it upon yourself to do what you can to make it blossom. if it's a seed, trying to get into a flower. that's a great lesson for humanity. >> that is actually a political and racial lesson. so, on the race piece -- early on in the career, there's the watermelon man. >> right. >> people have all kinds of feelings about because of the nature of that connection between watermelon and race.
and you write, i didn't like the fact that something as innocent and inoffensive as a watermelon had been so completely corrupted by racism, and i didn't want to give in to it. so, instead, you give us this beautiful -- and the people calling out, hey, watermelon man. you give us the melody and rhythm by taking away the judgment. >> well, what happened first is that i realized i was doing the same thing. you know, i was judging it at first. and judging it in terms of just those images that you're describing. you know, big white eyes and teeth -- >> yep. >> glistening, you know, eating a watermelon. and so i started to think, well, maybe i better not call it -- >> but you did and so doing, you gave us something powerful. and possibilities. >> i learned from that. >> and possibilities is powerful. thank you, herbie hancock for being here and for joining us. once again, the book is
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