The Syllabus: What you need to know for the August 11 ‘MHP’

Updated
By Sarah Bernstein
Credit: AP Photo/Lacks Family via The Henrietta Lacks Foundation
Credit: AP Photo/Lacks Family via The Henrietta Lacks Foundation

When Henrietta Lacks lost her battle to cervical cancer in 1951, she did not know that her cells would assist in developing medical advancements that have and will continue to save lives for years to come.  Scientists took a sample of her cells, otherwise known as HeLa, before she died. Since then, HeLa has been used to develop vaccines and medications, and has been used in cancer and AIDS research.  Even though Henrietta Lacks has saved the lives of many people, her privacy was invaded when scientists took a sample of her cells without asking her or even her family’s permission.

But all that changed this week. A least a little.

Host Melissa Harris-Perry will be joined on Sunday by Ohio State Senator Nina Turner to discuss how if more women were involved in government, government may be less involved with women’s bodies.

When President Obama spoke on housing Tuesday, he spoke in particular of responsible home owners. Mr. Obama  announced a five-point plan that will deconstruct how housing will become more affordable and easier to attain.  In addition to his housing plan, President Obama spoke in support of a “bipartisan group of Senators” looking to shut down the two government-supported mortgage enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  However, Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, voiced his opinion, saying that going after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be heading in the wrong direction. Host Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel will discuss how President Obama’s plan and winding down Fannie and Freddie will affect the future of housing.

The golden age in the United States used to be 65, but a recent Gallup poll shows that more and more people do not expect to retire until well after they turn 65 years old.  Pension cuts have been part of the reason why people fear they will not be financially comfortable enough to retire by the age of 65.  But certain city governments are also citing pension plans as part of what is making their budgets unsustainable. Before reform can happen though, we’ll explore who will be most impacted by pension plan changes.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll this week showed that about 40 percent of white Americans are friends exclusively with other white people.  It is a reality mirrored back to us in popular culture through hit television shows like Friends, Sex and the City, and Girls. Harris-Perry sits down with socio-political comedian and FXX host W. Kamau Bell, Some of My Best Friends Are Black author Tanner Colby, comedian Lizz Winstead, and actor Carlos Andres Gomez to explore the answer to the question: can we (all) be friends?

Plus–white parents with black children and the particular complications they face. Yes, there is sure to be some more conversation about black girls’ hair.

Be sure to check out what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Saturday at 10 a.m. EST on msnbc! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.

The Syllabus: What you need to know for the August 11 ‘MHP’

Updated