Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 07/26/15
RICHARD LOUIE, MSNBC HOST: Well, this morning, our question, what is the
purpose behind the insult?
JANET MOCK, MSNBC HOST: Plus, family members of Sandra Bland continue to
push for answers.
LOUIE: And the difference between a slogan and a movement.
MOCK: But first, President Obama`s historic trip to East Africa.
LOUIE: Hey, good morning. I am Richard Louie.
MOCK: And I`m Janet Mock. Melissa is off today. We have to a lot to get
to. But first, earlier this morning, President Obama spoke to thousands of
people packed in a stadium in Nairobi, Kenya as part of his visit to the
east African nation, the first ever by a sitting U.S. president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am proud to be the first
American president to come to Kenya. And, of course, I am the first
Kenyan-American to be president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOCK: Joining us now for more on the speech from Nairobi, senior White
House correspondent Chris Jansing.
Chris, what struck you about the president`s speech this morning?
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have to
say, Janet, first of all, he has never called himself a Kenyan-American.
That`s what they call him here. So you saw that got him a big ovation.
But this was always expected to be sort of the highlight of his trip, this
return to his ancestral homeland. And so, part of it was very personal.
He talked about his father and grandfather, his first trip here when he was
27 years old and when the airline lost his luggage, of course, he joked
that`s not something that happens on air force one. They always know where
his luggage is.
But he also used the popularity that he has here to push again against
corruption. This is a country where there is rampant corruption, and he
had a pretty sobering statistic that $250,000 according to one study goes
to bribes, and think of all the jobs that could create here.
In addition for the first time, we heard him talking about how this country
needs to change its attitude towards women and girls. Let me play a little
bit of what he had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Any nation that fails to educate its girls or employ its women and
allowing them to maximize their potential is doomed to fall behind in the
global economy. A sports center, imagine if you have a team and you don`t
let half of the team play. That`s stupid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JANSING: He described this country at being at a crossroads between
progress and peril. And clearly, it is trying to push it in the direction
of democracy. And he is on Air Force One right now. He just left. He is
heading to Ethiopia, a country where in the most recent election the prime
minister got 100 percent of the vote. So they have even more serious
problems than what we saw here.
But I also think that he left on a hopeful note, promising that he would be
a friend, promising that he would return. And in my most amusing discovery
of the day, when Air Force One landed on Friday, there were reports in the
local media that two out of eight babies who were born in one remote
village were named Air Force One Barack Obama and simply Air Force One -
MOCK: Perfect touching details. NBC`s Chris Jansing in Nairobi, thank
LOUIE: Thanks a lots, Chris.
Now, we turn to a key issue in the 2016 for you. And the most out spoken
presidential candidate right now, that`s Donald Trump, who brought his
campaign to the border town of Laredo, Texas Thursday. His brief tour of
the U.S.-Mexico border there marked the culmination of a series of events,
mostly centered around his stands on immigration and border security. And
he brought his hardline immigration rhetoric to the goggle or reporters
that greeted him. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You keep saying there is a danger but the
crime along the border is down. What danger are you talking about?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is great danger with the
illegals, and we are just discussing that, but we have a tremendous danger
on the border with the illegal scamming in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIE: Now Trump certainly bring the issue of immigration to the fore
front right now. But in his unique media courting, Donald Trump way, with
his focus on the U.S.-Mexican border, other aspects of the immigration
debate are being over shadowed issues like the use of detention centers for
immigrants here in the United States. There are three family detention
facilities in the country, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. These
centers house a segment of the population that remains very much in limbo.
The detention centers were open last year after the U.S. saw a surge of
nearly 70,000 parents and children fleeing violence in Central American
seeking asylum here.
This month, U.S. immigration and customs enforcement, also known as ICE,
reportedly (INAUDIBLE) city facility in Texas was housing 100 people while
the Deli facility in Texas was housing about 2,000. There, more than half
of the detainees are children. However, new development that occurred late
Friday may change all of that and quickly.
A federal judge in California has rejected the Obama administration`s
arguments for holding these families. Judge Dolly Gee ruled the detention
of the children and parents caught crossing the border illegally is a
serious violation of a long-standing court settlement and the families
should be released as quick as possible.
Now, last week, President Obama became the first sitting president to pay a
visit to a federal prison. And though the president received kudos for
taking his reform message to a prison cellblock, some of these programs the
U.S. have called upon the president to also visit a detention center. In a
certainly been done by members of his cabinet and Congress.
In June department of homeland security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited the
Karnes Texas facility. Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio also
made a congressional visit last month to Karnes. He also visited the South
Texas family residential center in Dilly, Texas.
Now, last week, during our program, one of our viewers tweeted to us, this
request you see right here. Please have Joaquin Castro on the show to
discuss recent trips to immigrant detention centers and facilities in Texas
#nerdland. Now, Nerdland devotees, know when viewers ask for something, it
is listened to and is responded to.
Joining us right now is U.S. representative Joaquin Castro from San
Antonio, and joining us here in New York, Alina Das, associate professor of
clinical law and code rec of the immigrant rights clinic at New York
University School of law.
We`ll start with you, congressman. And so, since we were just talking
about you hosting that delegation of members, visiting one of the
facilities, what did you see there and how is it being talked about since
we are eluding to Donald Trump`s visits but necessarily he has not
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: Yes. Well, good morning, Richard and
Janet. And thank you for having me on.
This is an important issue that has been overshadowed by the larger
conversation on immigration reform and more recently by Donald Trump`s
rhetoric. But we visited several of us from congress, Luis Gutierrez
(INAUDIBLE), Stany Hoyer, (INAUDIBLE) and a few others. And we saw the
folks at Dilly and Karnes. And what you see there is kind of a mini prison
camp, people that are in secure areas. They are not allowed to go into
certain areas. There are head counts at different times during the day,
sometimes the women were complaining that they were being kept from their
kids or being kept in isolation.
And so, I am glad to see that judge Gee in California made her ruling. And
also that the department of homeland security and Secretary Johnson have
taken heed. We met with Secretary Johnson the next day after we got back
from those visits and he was very receptive to the conversation and made
clear that they were going to change their policies. I am glad to see that
they have done that and that they have started to in mass put these folks
in alternative arrangements.
MOCK: Congressman, we have video of your recent visit to the center in
Dilly. And I understand that many of the people you met greeted you with
chants translated as we want liberty and want to be free. What was your
reaction to hearing those chants?
CASTRO: It was very striking, I think, a very emotional for folks. What
you see in those videos is people who are very desperate. Remember, a big
part of the reason that we objected to folks being kept in these
conditions, in addition to the fact that they are kids, is that they were
coming seeking asylum in the United States. These are people that were
fleeing incredible violence in the northern triangle countries of Central
America. And we didn`t think it appropriate to house anybody that way when
they are essentially coming to our nation seeking asylum. And so, it was
mothers and kids, many of them who, of course, looked very worn out. Many
of them had given up hope.
We met a few who had been there for, I think, just over a year, close to a
year. There was a woman that we met with, that the group met with, and two
days later she tried to kill herself, the same thing had happened a few
weeks before. And so, these folks are people who are really in a desperate
LOUIE: Alina Das, as we look at these family detention centers, it is so
important no doubt to Latinos and Latino-Americans, but also Asian-
Americans if we look at family immigration, but these are family detention
centers, and we have Dolly Gee in California, we have the detention centers
in Texas. What does this mean for the country?
ALINA DAS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: Well,
it`s the hope that this decision will mark the beginning of the end of
family detention in the U.S. The court decision is actually very clear
that the government should have been complying all along with the consent
decree that you mentioned and that`s aimed at protecting children. We know
that detaining children harms their physical, mental development even for a
short period of time. And we know that detaining vulnerable populations
can re-traumatized them. And these are asylum seekers as the congressman
So, what we need to see here is a reliance on true community-based
alternatives to detention. None of these children and mothers need to be
detained. They didn`t need to be detained in the first place, and there
are community organizations that are available to insure that they are
aware of what their rights are. That they are able to go through our
LOUIE: Are the alternatives legal and how are they different in what you
are talking about?
DAS: Sure. So the alternatives that are available have been studied
overtime. These involve placing immigrant families in connection with
community organizations that provide them with case management assistance.
I mean, asylum seekers are already prone to want to comply with the law.
They have stake in the system. They can get asylum status and protection
here and the alternative then is being deported to a country where they
often face violence.
LOUIE: So it`s driven by law?
MOCK: Well, it seems really - the details seems so intense, I opt to
always wonder what are the alternatives in a situation like this? But the
way that they are detained, is this, for the women and children, is this
against U.S. law and policy?
DAS: Absolutely. There`s a consent decree that has been in place for 18
years that says that children are not supposed to be detained. They are
supposed to be released to a parent or an adult guardian. And if no such
person is available, then they have to house in a non-restricted setting
that is actually licensed to care for children. But instead what we have
seen here is that the government circumvented this ruling to actually house
people in this prison-like settings that are restricted and are completely
unlicensed in the care of children.
LOUIE: Congressman, turning to you here, last month as you, homeland
security secretary Jeh Johnson announcing changes to shorten the length of
stay for most women, most children that are in the centers, the pace of
releases, though, picked up. Are these reforms enough to fix the problem?
CASTRO: Well, you know, as long as they continue releasing people and
doing it in an expedited fashion. And I think it is also important that
next time, if this happens again, and of course, you know, we commit more
resources to border security than we ever have before in this country, the
number of border crossings overall is much lower than it was ten years ago
or 24 years ago. And also, remember, these folks were not, most of them,
trying to sneak around border patrol. They went up to border patrol and
presented themselves as seeking asylum.
But if this happens in the future, we want to make sure that there are not
detention centers being set up again. They shouldn`t been set up this
time. And my sense is the administration wanted them to use them as
temporary centers. But when you are keeping people there several months or
up to a year, that is beyond temporary. So I think the important thing
going forward is that we don`t make the same mistake twice.
MOCK: Thank you so much, congressman Joaquin Castro in San Antonio.
LOUIE: And Alina Das right here in New York, thank you as well.
MOCK: Up next, the art of the insult.
LOUIE: That`s right. Donald Trump may be the king of the campaign
zingers, but which candidates have the best comebacks to those insults. We
will find out. Stay with us.
LOUIE: And welcome back. Even if nothing else comes from Donald Trump`s
2016 presidential campaign, we will have the insults.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Rick Perry should have to have
an IQ test before getting on the debate stage. Here`s what happens with
President Walker, whose state, by the way, is a disaster, but I won`t say
that. And then I watch this idiot Lindsey Graham on television today, and
he calls me a jack ass. He is a jack ass.
He`s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who are not
By the way, he is registered zero in the polls, zero. He is on television
all the time – Lindsey Graham.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIE: That`s just some of them. Let`s talk about the insults, right?
What they mean and what they do to us and when and why they hurt us. And a
piece for “Time” magazine, philosophy professor William B. Irvine writes
this quote. “Those playing the social hierarchy game trying to score
points by insulting others who respond with counter insults. Game players
also spend their days saying, doing and even buying things calculated to
gain the admiration of other people. Such attempts are likely to fail,
though, since people rarely want only to admire preferring instead to be
admired. It`s a recipe for social strife and personal misery,” end quote.
Now at the table today, Jonathan Meltzer, professor of psychiatry at
Vanderbilt University and director of its center for Medicine, health and
society. Danielle Moodie-Mills, contributor to NBC and co-host of
“Politini.” And joining us now from Columbus Ohio is William B. Irvine,
professor of philosophy of Wright State University, and author of “a slap
in the face, why insults hurt and why they shouldn`t.”
So professor, since you are the expert of insults, we go to you first. And
we just looked at Donald Trump`s insults, and he uses many devices, one of
which is to say, I don`t mean to say, but – what can we learn by what he
WILLIAM IRVINE, PROFESSOR, WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, I have been
following his insults in the recent days, and one of the things that`s
strikes me is that for the most part these are playground level insults.
They are not very clever. You can find other politicians who had much
better insults than that.
LOUIE: What is a better insult?
IRVINE: My favorite example would be Winston Churchill who said of one of
his opponents that he was a sheep in sheep`s clothing. That at least has
some wit to it.
MOCK: I know. And speaking of wit, right, like we know within the
community where a lot of people say that there`s a read or shade involved,
So Jonathan, why is it that the insults with the grain of truth, why do
they hurt the most?
DR. JONATHAN MELTZER, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR MEDICINE, HEALTH AND SOCIETY: I
like that we just heard Trump has to up his game in the insult category.
Insults are not that quite a Churchill level yet.
But, you know, I would say that, you know, taking – at first, I guess
there`s a standard psychological or psychoanalytic perspective on this.
You know, there is something about an insult that is very personal, not
just to the person that is receiving the insult, but the person who is the
So if you take a kind of (INAUDIBLE) stands, an insult is a projection.
You are taking something that you yourself are in secure about. And then
you put it on somebody else. So it would feel very personal because it is
personal. But it`s not just personal about the person receiving the
insult, it`s actually the insecurity of the person who is giving the
insult. And in this case, you know, if you wanted to do a psychological
profile of Trump –
LOUIE: Go, go.
MELTZER: I mean, there are many very practiced politician, something that
Republican fields whether you agree with them or not. And so maybe there
is a level of insecurity about what Trump is going through right now, and
in a way projecting this, you know, in a way it puts him on top of the
false hierarchy in a way but it`s probably based on something deep within
LOUIE: Donald is pretty good at this insult.
MELTZER: I tell you.
LOUIE: So Danielle, I want to get your perspective, but there is also the
response, right? And so, we have a couple of responses to Donald Trump.
And I want to start with John McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Joe, I put all that behind me. For me to
look back in anger at anyone is nonproductive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIE: And then we got Rick Perry. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let know one be mistaken, Donald
Trump`s candidacy is a cancer on conservative and it must be diagnosed,
excised and discarded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIE: So we have, Danielle, you know, John McCain is saying I`m not going
to engage. Rick Perry saying I am going to insult.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, NBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that`s part of what prof.
Irvine said in this piece. He said the in order to deal with insult that
you need to pacify them. Or you need to really look at yourself and kind
of make a joke about yourself.
I think that Trump`s idea, what he wants his campaign strategy is to
alienate and humiliate his – the other candidates so that he can show
himself as the alpha dog. That`s what he wants and then them to be behind
the pack. That`s his goal. But it not going to get him to the White
House, though. Just saying.
LOUIE: Well, let`s just saying.
MOCK: William, let`s bring you back in here, professor. What is the best
way to respond to insults?
IRVINE: The best way, the easiest way is to do absolutely nothing and
response to them. You just carry on as if nothing had been said. It`s
really effective. The other person wonders whether you heard them and they
may try to repeat the insult in which case you can say, well, I heard you
the first time and just press on. And even better way, if you have your
wits about you, is to follow an insult against you by an even bigger insult
of yourself. So you engage in self-deprecating humor. Because what they
just did, the insulter, is the insulter hit you with what he or she thought
was her best shot and you are just laughing it off.
LOUIE: Why do we like the insult quickly here, professor? We are talking
about it today.
IRVINE: We like the insult – actually, it`s a curious thing. First of
all, some insults are actually benign insults. I have joking
relationships, I have friends with whom much of conversation is devoted to
Within a relationship there is going to be a certain level of insults
because they are a way to defuse what would otherwise be tension between
the parties, you know, sore points. And then there are other times when
you are simply trying to assert your social dominance over another human
IRVINE: Yes. It is also possible to insult scaringly possible to insult
somebody without even realizing you are doing it. One way to insult
somebody is by saying or not doing something and a sensitive person will
take that as an insult.
LOUIE: Well, we are glad, professor because we take everything you said
LOUIE: Sir William Irvine who called us in Ohio, thank you so much for
joining us this morning. Jonathan and Danielle, you are stick around.
MOCK: Yes. Still to come, my first ever letter of the week. Can you
guess who I am sending it to?
Before we go, a moment with Senator Lindsey Graham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am curious as to what you think about potentially
not having a place in the debates? We had a pretty –
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it sucks. Brad
Pitt would be in the debate in August, and anybody with any celebrity would
be in the debate. I think this is a dumb way to weed out the field.
Donald Trump, you`re fired.
He`s a jack ass.
Without being jack ass. You don`t have to run for president and be the
world`s biggest jack ass.
If my numbers go up it`s because I called Donald Trump a jack ass. But you
want give him the new (INAUDIBLE), maybe you put them on the Internet.
If all else fails, you can always give your number to the Donald. This is
for all the veterans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIE: Tonight, another vigil is planned for the two women killed and nine
others injured when a man opened fire in a movie theater in Lafayette,
Louisiana. Funeral services for 21-year-old Mayci Breaux and 33-year-old
Jillian Johnson are scheduled for tomorrow.
Meanwhile the investigation into what motivated the alleged gunman John
Hauser that continues.
MSNBC reporter Jamie Novogrod live in Lafayette this morning for us.
Jamie, and what is the latest?
JAMIE NOVOGROD, MSNBC REPORTER: Richard, good morning. As you said,
police have not been able to figure out a motive and it`s puzzling them. I
could even say it`s haunting them. They are very interested in figuring
out a motive because it`s important from an investigative standpoint, but
also from an emotional standpoint. They say that they owe it to the
Tomorrow, as you say, there are funerals for the two young women who are
killed here. Police today say that they discovered a journal inside the
hotel room that the shooter John Russell Hauser, rather, had been living in
for weeks prior to the shooting. They say, Richard that in the journal, he
mentioned the exact time and place of the film screening where the shooting
took place, which means that there was an element of premeditation there,
Police are also working to confirm that Hauser visited at least three other
theaters, one in Lake Charles, one in Baton Rouge, Richard, and another, a-
third here in Lafayette.
LOUIE: And again, the vigil tonight there in Lafayette. Thank you so
much, Jamie Novogrod in Lafayette, appreciate it.
Still ahead for you, Janet`s letter of the week, and her interview with
Laverne Cox of “Orange is the New Black.” Stay with us, much more to come.
MOCK: So running for president is hard. Every word is dissected.
Candidates are hit with questions of every variety day after day, and
sometimes, well, they kind a blow it. Not because of a misinterpreted
response, but because they gave a really bad answer.
Take for example, Governor Martin O`Malley who misfire at last week`s
(INAUDIBLE) nation conference. When a candidate steps in it that badly,
the best thing to do exactly what O`Malley did, move on, apologize and at
least try to move on.
But - then another former governor turned presidential hopeful weighed in,
and he said that apology wasn`t necessary. Which is why I am sending a
letter this week to that candidate. Former Florida governor, Jeb Bush.
Dear governor Bush, it`s me, Janet Mock. Let`s start with what you
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are so uptight and so politically
correct now. You apologized for saying, lives matter. Why just precious?
It`s a gift from God. I frankly think it`s one of the most important
values we have. In the political context, it`s a slogan, I guess, and
should he have apologized? No. If he believes white lives matter, which I
hope he does he shouldn`t apologize to a group that didn`t seem to disagree
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOCK: Governor, if anyone is clear about what a slogan actually looks
like, it is you. After all the slogan on your campaign posters, Just Jeb,
is clearly meant to distract from let`s call it complicated associations
with your last name.
So you should know when you see and hear black lives matter that it`s not a
slogan. Black lives, because black lives matter is not asking anybody to
ignore facts but it`s challenging us to actually face them. You see, when
we have long – what we have long recognized in this country is that black
labor matters, the economic foundation of this country was laid upon the
backs of enslaved people whose value as human being was defined solely by
their worth as commodities.
The civil rights movement forced us to acknowledge that black suffering
matters. By putting their bodies directly in the line of fire, they left
no choice but for the nation to confront and respond to the injustice of
Jim Crow. More recently we acknowledge that when the fault lies with the
single racist gunman instead of a system of racist news tuitions, black
It took the murders of nine African-Americans praying in their church to
finally make the state of southern - I mean, South Carolina recognize the
folly (ph) of flying a single traitorist flag. And as popular artistic
appropriators made clear, we understand that black culture matters.
But governor, our historic and ongoing inability as a nation to recognize
inherent value and humanity of black bodies contradicts what you said about
our nation`s values, because the truth is in the United States, all life is
not treated as precious. If anything, black life has been largely regarded
disposable which makes a distinct declaration that black lives matter. A
radical act that calls for radical action, action that must dismantle the
criminal justice system that leads to the over incarceration of black
bodies at the rate of six times of that of white bodies, action that must
wrecked of a system of economic injustice that has left a legacy, a legacy
of a black unemployment rate more than double at the rate of white
employment. And with a history of housing discrimination that is
contributed to a persistent gap in wealth between White and Black
households. Action that would not see another precious life added to a
list that already includes (INAUDIBLE), Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie
Gray, Tamira Rice, Sandra Bland and so many more.
Governor, to openly proclaim that black lives matter, a boldly embrace and
center blackness is to make a statement in defiance of all of these
injustices. And for you to dismiss it, signals your privilege, something
you know a bit about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: In this country of ours, the most improbable things can happen as
well, take that from a guy who met his first president on the day he was
born, and the second on the day he was brought home from the hospital.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOCK: Indeed, Governor Bush. An improbable thing has happened, because
after a very public reminder from the movement for racial justice, your
democratic opponents realize that not only does black life matter but it
will also be an unavoidable issue in the 2016 election. So, you may want
to get ready because the movement is going to want to hear what your
campaign truly stands for and I really don`t think that just Jeb is going
to cut it. Sincerely, Janet Mock.
LOUIE: You might have heard about this last month. Caitlyn Jenner
introduced herself to the world, and tonight she will make her television
debut in “I am Cait.”
Now in the clip released before the show`s premium, Caitlyn discusses the
violence some Trans-Americans face. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAITLYN JENNER, ACTOR: I feel bad that especially young people are going
through such a difficult time in their life. We don`t want people dying
over this. We don`t want people murdered over this stuff. What a
responsibility I have towards this community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIE: Caitlyn has plenty of reason to worry here, the epidemic of
violence against Trans people, especially trans women of color shows no
signs of color here, 13 trans women were killed in 2013 and all but one
were black or Latina.
MOCK: And we`re only halfway through the year, and already 11 are dead
according to the LGBT news magazine, “The Advocates.” That`s why this
morning, I want to make a point of saying these 11 women`s names, Papi
Edwards, Lamia Beard, Ty Underwood, Yazmin Vash Payne, Taia Gabrielle
Dejesus, Penny Proud, Kristina Gomez Reinwald, London Chanel, Mercedes
Williamson, and as of this week, India Clarke and K.C. Haggard. On Tuesday
morning, India Clarke was found beat into dust in a Tampa Park. She was
25. And on Thursday night, 66-year-old K.C. Haggard was killed on the
sidewalk in Fresno.
According to a local trans activist who view footage of the incidents,
Haggard sought help after being stabbed but, quote, “no one stopped.” She
collapsed on the sidewalk and in many pedestrians just did nothing but look
at her body on the ground as she bled out.
Joining us now are Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU LGBT and aids
project and in Cleveland, Alicia Garza, special projects director at the
National Domestic workers Alliance and co-creator of the #blacklivesmatter.
Alicia, thank you so much for joining us. You are in Cleveland for the
movement for black lives national convening where organizers are being
intentionally intersectional about addressing anti-transgender violence as
part of the work, right. So what do you see as the connection and
commonalities between black live matter and the violence disproportionately
facing Tran`s women of color?
ALICIA GARZA, CO-CREATOR, #BLACKLIVESMATTER: Well, just to say I think at
the relationship between Black Lives Matter as a movement and the violence
that is facing trans women of color and black trans women in particular is
that it`s an important conversation for us to be having, especially within
the black community. What we are seeing here is not only is there an
epidemic of violence against black bodies, but certainly within black
communities there`s an incredible epidemic against black trans-bodies, And
when we talk about black lives mattering, we have to make sure that we are
talking about all black lives. And certainly, we are pushing within our
movement to insure that black trans-women and their experiences are
centered, because quite frankly, when the average life expectancy of a
black trans-women is 35-years-old in this country, we have a lot farther to
LOUIE: Chase, 35 years old. What can we do policy wise? What can we do
legally in law?
CHASE STRANGIO, STAFF ATTORNEY, ACLU`S LGBT AND AIDS PROJECT: So thank you
both for having me today and for naming all of the people who have been
murdered this year. I think just as an initial matter as we conceptualize
what this violence means, we have to think about it both in terms of
violence perpetrated by individuals, but also the systemic violence
perpetrated by the state that makes it so that black trans-women in
particular have a limited life expectancy that subjects them to premature
And so, when look at our legal landscape, we have to understand that all of
the violence exerted on black bodies that Janet was speaking about in her
letter to for governor Bush that we had to understand that is the same
violence targeting black trans-bodies. And that we have to understand that
our legal interventions must be holistic. We must decrease barriers to
healthcare for trans-people. We must decrease barriers to access to
housing, to employment, but we also critically must interrupts the cycles
of the violence that we just disproportionate incarceration for trans-women
of color and black trans-women in particular.
LOUIE: So legally, what is the one thing you want to see legally?
STRANGIO: Legally, the one - I mean, I think it`s impossible to pick one
thing because when we are looking at the systems it`s all interconnected,
but the base of this violence has to be located in the criminal legal
system and we have to end mass incarceration and we have to disrupt the
criminalization of black bodies and black trans-women in particular.
MOCK: It`s so powerful, right, we talk about legalities and on the books
do we want to see in order to push this conversation forward. But we also
know that the other piece of it, not just policy change but also culture
change is also important. So I feel like the media`s representation of
trans-women, you know, black trans-women is necessary to change it. What
do you think about the landscape particularly right now with trans-women of
color in media?
MOODIE-MILLS: You know, what I think is – the first issue is that we need
to stop misgendering people in the media. And there needs to be some type
of fine that is put into place for outlets, for media outlets whether they
be print, online, radio or what have you that decide that they are just not
going to call people by their name, right? And that they are going to
misgender them just because they can. And that`s what we saw with K.C.
Haggard, we saw in the press, we have seen it all over the place and it`s
There are guidelines that have put in place by GLAD, right, that have been
put out to all press outlets. And if you don`t follow them, you should be
fined by the FCC. It should be that serious.
MOCK: Well, that`s a powerful point to make. I think that there is so
much to it. We talk about who gets proper treatment in the media and who
Alicia, I want to bring it back to you. One person that is getting a lot
of attention in the media and whose story is told, and obviously a very
celebratory way is Caitlyn Jenner, and you know, reality TV and television.
Do you believe that that will – her story will help change the discourse
around this issue?
GARZA: I think what it will do is it will provide more exposure to the
experiences of some trance women. What I would love to see is more
exposure for black trans-women and trans-women of color who certainly don`t
have cameras following them, right, but are experiencing extreme and in
some cases very painful conditions.
What we saw, for example, in the case of K.C., right, is that someone could
be murdered on the street and be standing there asking for help and nobody
would reach out, right? So you know, I am interested in seeing how those
images get populated throughout the media, but I am more interested in
thinking about how is it that we visibilize and make visible the
experiences of a trans-women of color who are not, you know, living with
the level of prestige. I think that`s where we really need to dig in.
MOCK: Alicia Garza in Cleveland, thank you so much. And our thanks to
Chase Strangio here in New York. Danielle will be back with us in the next
LOUIE: And coming up on this topic, Laverne Cox on the vulnerability
facing some in the Trans community.
MOCK: And I had a chance to sit down with the “Orange is the new black”
star. I will bring you that conversation when we come back.
MOCK: Before Caitlyn Jenner publicly proclaimed her transness, the most
widely recognizable Trans woman in America was actress Laverne Cox who
appeared on iconic “Time” magazine cover declaring the Trans move it the
next civil rights frontier.
Laverne`s portrayal of Trans prisoner Sophia Versed (ph) in Netflix`s
“Orange is the new black” is a key part of the success of the series, now
on its third season. He is also key reason why the show was nominated for
an Emmy for outstanding drama series this year.
While Laverne`s reach extends far beyond the small screen, the path-
clearing actress is also a fierce advocate for trans-people who lack both
the spotlight and the privileges that fame affords her.
On my show “So Popular” on MSNBC.com`s Shift Network, I had a chance to sit
down with Laverne recently and we talked about what it will take to protect
the lives of trance people, particularly women of color. The impact of
Caitlyn Jenner`s transition and story in visibility and the importance of
trans-visibility in popular culture.
LAVERNE COX, ACTRESS: I am hearing so many more stories out of transcript
that a friend of mine is doing in (INAUDIBLE) here in New York. That is
about taking the experience from the lives of the real trans-people in
elevating those stories. So for me, that`s really what it`s about. It`s
about elevating more of our stories and telling more of our stories and
more of us being visible. And the visibility piece, (INAUDIBLE) reminded
us in his trans 100 key note that visibility, unfortunately, my visibility,
your visibility because it would be so many brilliant trans did not save
lives, did not save all the trans-women of color who being murdered with
impunity. So then we need hearts and minds have to significantly change.
That even with all the talk, obviously, we need public policy, we need
anti-discrimination protections, but we know just because we have public
policy that that does not mean that people are still not being murdered and
people still not experiencing discrimination.
So the hearts and minds of people have to change. That though that would
be attacker who is going to, and this is really (INAUDIBLE) about
patriarchy. How do we - patriarchy has to be dismantled because -
homophobia and Trans about patriarchy. It is about that patriarch`s
imaging around what it means to be a man, how his manhood may or may not be
threatened by the existence of somebody else. So that is a really key
And then we need policies in place to protect our students, for example. I
love ab1266 in California. I know a lot of Tran`s students felt so much
safer to be themselves because of that public policy. Obviously, these are
choosing to be enforced and need to be accountability when they are not
MOCK: One of the greatest moments that I think is probably going to shift
so many hearts and minds as you mention is Caitlyn Jenner. Public
revelations of her identity. I think about, you know, she was one of the,
I think one of the first, probably, public figures who the experience isn`t
necessarily affected, who explicitly said black trans-women are being
murdered with Diane Sawyer piece. And I wonder what do you think the
impact of that story will have on these necessary policy and culture
COX: What I always believed is that it`s about multiplying transgender
stories, and it`s not just about one Tran`s story. That we have Caitlyn`s
story now. We have my story. We have your story. So we are beginning to
- we were able to see the diversity of experience. And because of
Caitlyn`s, the reach of her public platform, so many people – I was in
Paris at a club. I need to have fun, too. In Paris at a club last weekend
and I met this guy, and he was like he had seen what I had written on my
Tumblr about Caitlyn. And he didn`t know that I was on the cover - he is a
fan of “Orange is new Black,” but didn`t know that I was in the cover of
“Time” magazine. His alleged family doesn`t read “Time” magazine. I don`t
think there is anyone who does not know that Caitlyn has transitioned. I
really I don`t know if there is anybody who is now - he has not entered
that consciousness and to their awareness. And so, the conversation is
like being ignited in a very different way. And I think it`s really always
about how we have the conversations, how we raise critical awareness around
these issues, but I think I am very excited to see what Caitlyn does next
with this amazing platform that she has. But I think that kind – this
kind of awareness that she has created is - I mean, you can`t buy it.
MOCK: It`s vast and wide and it`s a Kardashian type of thing, too, which,
you know, they have a call in media that is just so strong.
COX: Whether people who watch “Keeping Up with Kardashians,” are not being
know Kim Kardashian is and they know who Caitlyn Jenner is and that`s
MOCK: That`s was just some of my interview it Laverne Cox of “Orange is
new Black.” And you can see more of our conversation on my show, “So
Popular,” on MSNBC.com.
LOUIE: Great interview.
Coming up next, we will talk to the family of Sandra Bland as her name
continue to be a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.
MOCK: And on a lighter note, we will get into that twitter beef that
nearly broke the Internet this week.
More “Nerd Land” at the top of the hour.
MOCK: Welcome back. I`m Janet Mock.
LUI: Yes. Welcome to the second hour of “Nerd Land” here. I`m Richard
Lui. Melissa is off today. You can probably tell Janet and I are in
Yesterday, hundreds of people gathering and some waiting in line for more
than an hour to say a final farewell to Sandra Bland at the suburban
Chicago church that she attended for much of her life. During a funeral
service before an overflow crowd at the DuPage AME Church in Lisle,
Illinois, Bland`s family and friends celebrated her life and remembered her
dedication to fighting for social justice. Her mother Geneva Reed-Veal
spoke at length during the service about a road trip she and Bland recently
took together. She said of her daughter, this. Her purpose was to stop
all injustice against blacks in the south.
Bland died two weeks ago in a Texas jail just three days after traffic stop
ended with her arrest on charges of assaulting a public servant. On
Thursday, a Texas prosecutor said, the medical examiner determine the cause
of Bland`s death to be a suicide by hanging and said, the autopsy found no
evidence of a violent struggle before she died. Now, during yesterday`s
service, Bland`s family and friends remained insistent in their disbelief
that she took her own life. The circumstances surrounding Bland`s death
and arrest drew increased scrutiny this week in the wake of new information
released from Texas authorities. A dash cam video provided by the Texas
Department of Public Safety shows the encounter that begins with Officer
Brian Encinia stopping Bland for failure to signal a lane change before the
interaction escalates when Bland questioned his request to put out her
cigarette. Now in that recording, Bland initially refuses Officer
Encinia`s demand to exit her vehicle before leaving the car when he
threatened to use his taser against her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN ENCINIA, TEXAS STATE TROOPER: Get out of the car. Get out of the
SANDRA BLAND, FOUND DEAD IN A JAIL CELL: Why am I being apprehended?
You`re trying to give me –
ENCINIA: I said get out of the car.
BLAND: Why am I being apprehended –
ENCINIA: I`m giving the lawful order, I am going to drag you out of here.
BLAND: So, you are going to drag me out of my own car!
ENCINIA: Get out of the car! I will light you up!
ENCINIA: Get out of the car!
BLAND: For failure to signal, you are doing all of this for failure to
ENCINIA: Get over there!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: Jail booking forms, you see here, released by the Waller County
sheriff`s office have also been called into question for what appeared to
be conflicting answers given by Bland about her mental health history.
Both a traffic stop and Bland`s death in the Waller County jail remain the
subject of ongoing investigations by the Texas rangers who are operating
with the assistance of the FBI. And in the meantime, her family and
friends, joined by supporters across social media are still awaiting a
definitive answer to the question of what happened to Sandra Bland?
Joining us now from Chicago is a member of her family, Sandra Bland`s
sister, Sharon Cooper, she is joined by their family Attorney Cannon
Lambert. Also here in New York, Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center for
Medicine, Health and Society, professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt
University. And Danielle Moodie-Mills, contributor to NBC BLK and co-host
of “Politini.” Thank you both for staying with us.
Sharon, we will start with you on this. And I know that the times are not
easy, services were held yesterday and we just played some of the sound
which is difficult for many to listen to.
SHARON COOPER, SANDRA BLAND`S SISTER: Uh-mm.
LUI: How are you doing? How is this service yesterday? How is the family
coping with this?
COOPER: I don`t mean to sound trite, and thank you for having us on this
morning, the service was great and it was overwhelmingly heartwarming to
have so many people to come out and celebrate Sandra`s life.
COOPER: To be in a position where the church was filled to capacity and
that sometimes folks had to be turned away simply due to the fact that
there was no parking or no seating, it was just overwhelmingly joyous for
my family and I to put her to rest in such a peaceful way, and it was
celebratory in nature, and we just – the gratitude that we continuously
express just cannot say thank you enough and the family is doing still as
well as can be expected in light of the ongoing investigation surrounding
MOCK: Sharon, thank you so much for sharing pieces of Sandra`s life with
us, and I just want to ask you about, you know, what has been consistent is
your family`s belief and your belief that Sandra did not take her life.
MOCK: Can you tell us what you believe happened and about the skepticism
of what the Texas authorities have said about Sandy`s death?
COOPER: Absolutely. As you can imagine, with the home going services
scheduled for yesterday, I have to tell you that I went off the grid, the
social media grid for about two days. Late Friday afternoon, you know, to
formerly grieve Sandra`s passing and imagine my surprise when I, you know,
fully re-engage in the investigation in the matter today to find that there
is new dash cam video with a different angle, which is just surprising to
me, because when we initially met with the lead investigation from the
Texas rangers, we were expressly told that there was one dash cam video
only, and so I am now at the point where I simply do not trust the
investigation. And that is why we have been calling along with senators
around the world, Senator Dick Durbin expressed yesterday that we are
calling for the involvement of the DOJ because we simply cannot trust the
Texas rangers at this point in terms of their level of authenticity with
MOCK: You know, Sharon, I – first, I want to express my heartfelt just
condolences to you and your family. One of the things that you have said
on many news outlets is your thanks to social media for kind of keeping the
story going, and holding traditional media`s feet to the fire, frankly.
How should we proceed next in getting justice for your sister? How should
we proceed next? What do the next steps look like?
COOPER: I will tell you, the tweets that I have received thus far, they
are just virtual hugs, if you will. The fact that it`s not just our family
that is still right, and Sandra has been gone for almost two weeks as of
tomorrow, and we don`t have answers, we`ve made attempts to get them and
you have people on social media who just don`t understand as well, who have
collectively joined that conversation. So, every tweet that I continue to
get, every Facebook post that I continue to get is the world standing in
solidarity with our family to say, this does not make sense to me either
and I want some answers as well.
MOCK: There are so many questions and Cannon, I want to bring you in here,
what has the family been told about the progress of the investigation? I
know we`ve been kind of told that there may have been reports about a
second autopsy being ordered. We would love some clarity around the
CANNON LAMBERT, BLAND`S FAMILY ATTORNEY: Yes. The investigation, as we
understand it, by the Texas rangers and by DPS and the like is still
ongoing and it`s not complete. I think to echo what was said earlier,
though, is that when you have U.S. senators asking for DOJ involvement and
because of some of the discrepancies that we have gotten in terms of the
information that`s been displayed to us. You know, obviously more
questions have to be answered. When you ask what can the media do or what
can people do in terms of the next step, and the next step is, continue to
ask the questions that are standing in front of us. So that this family
can kind of begin getting closure.
LUI: Sharon, as we finish this conversation, what was it like for Sandra
to be at home, to be in Illinois? Give us a sense of what that was like?
COOPER: It felt like she felt an overwhelming sense of peace, peace and
joy, and I just felt that for her. The outpouring of love, it was truly
something to be part of, and it was an honorable thing to be part of, and
there was just a feeling of amazement and wonderment there. It was greater
than anything that we could have imagined.
LUI: Sharon, thank you for your strength and for being with us here today.
We definitely appreciate that. Cannon Lambert as well in Chicago.
Appreciate you both.
MOCK: Thank you both.
LUI: Jonathan and Danielle will stay with us.
MOCK: And stay right here, we will have more on this story when we come
LUI: And later, we will get into that Twitter feud that had everyone
taking sides this week. Stick around.
MOCK: The arrests and death of Sandra Bland has raised questions about the
perception of black women in America. In an article for “The Huffington
Post,” the episcopal priest and Professor Kelly Brown Douglas writes. “The
caricature of black women as angry as the female version of the criminally
dangerous black man. Both stereotypes portray black people as hostile and
as a threat to wider society. Both suggest people who need to be
controlled. Both images have been subtly insinuated into the American
psyche, so that to see a black body is to assume it is guilty of
In the “New York Times,” Roxane Gay, author of the bestseller “Bad
Feminists” writes, “There is a code of conduct in emergency situations.
Women and children first, the most vulnerable among us should be rescued
before all others and in reality this code of conduct is white women and
children first. Black women, black children, they are not afforded the
luxury of vulnerability.”
So Danielle, the stereotype of the angry and hostile black woman is one
that is so prevalent to this day that I believe that many people who may
have read or at least seen the Sandra Bland video may perceive it in
different ways than black women would actually view the video.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, CO-HOST, “POLITINI”: The whole idea around
presenting black women as angry is the way to detach them from their
womanhood. If we can be seen as the emotional and hysterical people, then
it would obviously be assume that authorities needs to tame us, right?
That a society needs to tame and temper our behavior. And so you see a
video of Sandra Bland who was asking the right questions, right, of an
officer who refused to answer her, who refused to see her humanity. So he
can dismiss her as being belligerent, so he can dismiss her as being, you
know, as being offending his character and his authority. And that just
allows them to tame us. To take whatever action they deem necessary in
order to keep us subservient and submissive.
LUI: And those points, Loretta Lynch just on ABC was discussing that
dynamic. And I will play a little bit of that, and then Jonathan I`ll get
your reaction to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think that it highlights the
concern of many in the black community that a routine stop for many of our
members of the black community is not handled with the same professionalism
and courtesy that other people may get from the police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JONATHAN METZL, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Well,
you know, I think that there is kind of symmetry between the conversation
we were having with Miss Cooper before, particularly about the question of
mental health and mental illness in this case and the question of violence
and stereotypes of violence. And as a psychiatrist, I am often like many
psychiatrist asked to weigh in on cases like this and I am very, very torn
in this case, because on one hand I think that the Texas kind of
demonstrated a casebook of whatnot to do if somebody indeed does have a
history of depression or trauma or some of the things that are being vetted
around. On the other hand, we know particularly from the angle of race
that systems themselves produce insanity, they produce a particular kind of
structural violence, produces mental illness in a way. And so, I really
want to resist this question about Ms. Bland`s own mental state because I
do think that what is being lost here is that there is a long history of
structural violence like what we`ve seen here producing mental illness.
LUI: You are on the stand, you got to ask the question that Danielle is
asking. The removal of personhood and humanhood –
LUI: – by bringing this dynamic of the angry black woman. What do you
METZL: I say that when we bring this question of mental illness into it,
we get the system off of the hook in a particular way. In other words, if
we just make it about an individual person`s psychology, we don`t have to
take seriously the bigger question that somebody was here pushed against
the ground, they were treated in a particular way, and so in a way I would
say that I would keep telling the structural story here to say that the
stereotype is not one that is coming organically from people of color`s
biology or their mind, it`s coming from a system that once treat them in a
particular way and not take seriously the bigger context.
MOCK: And right, you bring up very enter, it`s an enter laying and enter
sectional issue, right, Danielle? Do you think that the Sandra Bland case
will – in her arrests specifically in her death, will it spark a larger
discussion about the unique needs to center not only black people but also
black women within our, you know, the way in which we talk about police
MOODIE-MILLS: That has been one of the major questions around Black Lives
Matter even though it was started by three black women is, where is the
conversation around black women`s lives. And I do, I do think that in an
awful way, right, the purpose of this conversation and us continuing to
fight for justice for Sandra Bland is us continuing to fight for justice
for black women and how black women are presented in the criminal justice
system, which is in mass. And so, you know, one of the things – I am not
a doctor, right, but I have said many times whether if you are on Twitter
on what have you, that we are suffering right now as a black community from
post-traumatic blackness disorder, right?
Where we are seeing every single headline, every single day, is something
that is awful, it is a killing, it is a murder, it is hearing that Casey
Huggard (ph) was stabbed. And people literally walked around her body and
thought that that was something that you do. You stop and you do
something. But when people see black bodies maimed or pulled out from
something, it`s a justifiable sense that they deserve that because there`s
something wrong with our blackness and it comes back to this idea that we
need to be tamed and to be put down because we are threatening, we are
emotional and we have two much energy that needs to be restrained.
LUI: Danielle, Jonathan, thank you so much for that.
Up next, new charges for the man accused of killing nine people inside a
MOCK: We will dig into the important issues of these new charges and what
Attorney General Loretta Lynch had to say about them.
LUI: And welcome back. Tomorrow the man accused of killing nine people in
a Charleston, South Carolina church will be arraigned on new federal hate
crime charges and the immediate aftermath of the June 17th shooting, there
was some debate about this, Dylann Roof`s motive. Even though a witness
said, Roof stood up, declared he was at the Emanuel AME Church to quote,
“shoot black people.” But his indictment on federal hate crimes charges
Wednesday, makes it clear that what federal authorities believed was his
motivation. Roof already faces nine counts of murder in state court but
South Carolina does not have a hate crime law. And by mounting a federal
case, the Justice Department is spelling out its belief the killings were
rooted in racial hatred. Here`s Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have here a defendant who was
alleged to have harbored discriminatory views towards African-Americans, to
have sought out an African-American house of worship, one that was
particularly noted because of its age and significance and he also sought
out African-American parishioners at worship, implicating several hate
crimes statutes and we think that this is exactly the type of case that the
federal hate crime statutes were in fact conceived off to cover. Racially
motivated violence such as this, is the original domestic terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: And joining us now to talk more about the hate crimes charges, Vince
Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Vince,
as we look at what Loretta Lynch was saying here, the original terrorism.
VINCE WARREN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Yes.
This is a classic example of the federal government stepping in where
actually where state law does approach the – make the right approach but
doesn`t quite get to the nature of the problem here, and the problem is not
that he just intended to kill people, but he intended to kill black people
in a church. Those are two things that are typically associated with hate
crime laws and that the federal government is stepping in because South
Carolina is one of five states that doesn`t have any hate crimes
MOCK: What is the importance of putting that particular distinction on
this – like you know, this nine-person murder?
WARREN: Well, let`s be clear that under state law, he is already being
charged for nine murders and attempted murders, but the reason why hate
crimes happen is because, number one, it`s supposed to detour the type of
behavior that is targeting people because of who they are, protected class
two, these types of crimes tend to send a message to communities more than
regular murders do. And three, that is really, it`s looking to create some
sort of healing in communities through this type of prosecution.
MOCK: So, the message that it would send to extremists communities, right?
And what would lead a young person to develop those kinds of extreme views
that leads to that kind of violence.
METZL: Well, I would like to pick up on what on what Vince are saying,
because I mean, the goal here, I mean, you couldn`t have a more guilty
person right now. It`s very, very clear. I think the purpose of calling
this a hate crime is several. One is that there is a tendency,
particularly when a shooter is white to individuate the problem. We`ve
very often say, oh, this is just one bad apple, this is one person who had
a particular meant to illness. And what a hate crime does is it allows us
to put a crime within a particular social context, almost like terrorism to
say there`s a bigger politics to this.
And it leads us to not only put it in the political context, it also lets
us talk about race. I think the worry in South Carolina was that if it was
not a hate crime, the racial aspect even though it was clear as day here
would not have been at the fore. And the last part is, it doesn`t let us
just talk about the race of the victims, it also lets us talk about
whiteness in a particular way, that there`s a particular race at play here,
not just in the victims but at the perpetrator of these crimes. And so, I
think it`s very important because it allows us to tell the bigger cultural
story which helps us to address the question that everybody wants to know
which is why did he do it.
LUI: So, that`s on the outside you`re talking, this on the inside as we
look at hate crimes or look at motivation and laws, look at intent
certainly. But to understand hate within itself, how does that work? You
are in there pushing for a case, pushing for your client, and it seems –
how does this come about?
WARREN: Well, you have to look at the facts and circumstances.
WARREN: So, it does matter that there was a witness there that said that
he uttered those words and that is evidence that is going to be used to
show that this crime was motivated by trying to kill a particular group.
But, you know, there`s actually a broader concept here which is that hate
crimes, while they are very important and I think that they are necessary -
WARREN: We`re still in a situation where we are trying to prosecute our
way out of a social problem, and the other side of this is while it`s very
well and good that the prosecutions are moving forward, we have to ask
ourselves if the government expands itself to have this type of power
either in the terrorist context or the hate context, while we might agree
in this particular case, it`s a lawful use, if that was a good thing. Now
everybody is like, why is the government spying on us? So, it`s also a
challenge when you passed laws and you used political motivation in the
context of a particulars.
LUI: So, how do you improve hate crimes?
WARREN: Hate crimes have to be improved in two ways. Number one, we have
to make sure that the prosecutors are using the right evidence to be able
to prosecute particular crimes based on evidence that we can all agree on
is hateful. We have to be careful about using these types of cases in
celebrated cases where there`s a tendency to over prosecute based upon
large groups that the government wants to investigate. I think it`s fine
to prosecute individuals but if we think about this, if the shooter had
been Muslim, it would be an entirely different conversation, and they would
be infiltrating the entire Muslim community and not trying to really
assuage the black community. So, this type of power can be used for good
but we have to be very, very careful about how we use it.
MOCK: But it doesn`t continue to just kind of uphold the ways in which we
then, you know, say that, white victimhood is one in which we are going to
prosecute, you know, people of color, more harshly?
METZL: Well, it`s also been important to note that our current hate crime
legislation comes out of the civil rights era, out of the, you know, 1968
legislation. So, in a way, there is a racially protective aspect and you
are taking care of groups of people that have not been treated fair under
the law, so I agree with you, it`s a balance.
MOCK: So, what does it all say about Loretta Lynch`s approach to racial
justice in her work?
WARREN: Loretta Lynch is I think approaching her position with all of the
brilliance that we expected her to approach it with. But I think also with
a certain amount of heart that you don`t always see in attorney generals,
which I find very refreshing. She seems to be quite clear from the
comments that we have seen, number one, what the prosecutorial authority
is, but I think also what that authority means in the context of the
current situation. So, it is not nothing that there is no hate crimes
legislation currently in South Carolina, just like it`s not nothing that a
flag was flying over the capitol.
LUI: Jonathan talked about that. Federal versus state hate crimes and why
that makes a difference here?
METZL: Sure. But I mean, you know, I do wonder very often, you know, if
Ed Meese was the attorney general right now, would we be having the same
level of intervention from the federal government. I completely agree that
in a way, the federal government comes in at times when the state
government is not – potentially not paying attention or doesn`t have the
infrastructure to pay attention to the particular aspects. Like I actually
wanted to ask Vince if he was surprised that the attorney general used the
word “terrorism” in her description of this?
WARREN: Yes. I was not surprised. But I do find the aspect of it
problematic, because we really should not start conflating heinous crimes
that are committed with terrorist crimes. They are separate and distinct,
although it might field to the community when that targeting is happening
that it`s the same thing. But they are separate in this thing. And that`s
a road that I think we need to be concerned about. But I do think if we
think about federal intervention and state laws, this goes back to the
strategies in 1950s and the `60s, where in the south there were no state
mechanisms to get justice.
And that civil rights lawyers and advocates really looked to the federal
government in things like this. And so, this is a long continuation of a
battle. But what I think is interesting, is that South Carolina seems to
be tipping a little bit, this discussion about the flag, and the chance
that after six or seven tries that the hate crimes might actually pass this
time. I am not suggesting that we have a complete ground shift, but it`s a
different strategy that I think can be deployed moving forward.
LUI: And when you look at states that do or do not have hate crimes in
place, what does that tell us about those specific states?
WARREN: Well, I think it tells us, number one, that these laws get passed
by legislators and so that the legislators are responding to communities
that see these things as important. I would venture to say the reason why
South Carolina has not had hate crime statutes is not because people have
not put them forward but because whatever the values are that those statute
represent had not really sunk into the value system of the legislature
METZL: I think it would be interesting in Louisiana where we had just
another tragic shooting, that seemed to be at least at some level connected
to hate ideologies, but the victims were white and it was a different kind
of shooting. Louisiana does have hate crime legislation. And it will be
interesting to see what plays out there in light of the case also.
LUI: All right. Jonathan Metzl, Vince Warren, great conversation. Thank
you so much.
MOCK: And we do want to note this one correction. The arraignment for
Dylann Roof has been moved to Friday, July 31st. Still to come, President
Obama is on his way to Ethiopia this morning.
LUI: Why it`s another important first for the commander-in-chief. We`ll
tell you about that after the break.
LUI: President Obama continues his trip in East Africa today, starting the
day with a speech in-front of thousands in Nairobi, Kenya. And then
participating at a town hall style meeting about civil society before
heading to Ethiopia.
NBC News senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing is traveling with
the President and filed this report for us from Nairobi.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Richard and
Janet. Well, today`s speech was always supposed to be sort of the
highlight of his visit to his ancestral homeland but it really was an
opportunity to see the enthusiasm of the crowds and motorcade on the way
in. Thousands of people lining the streets. Some could not contain
themselves and they were actually chasing after it and shouting his name
and we saw after the 45-minutes speech, people were pushing so hard to have
a chance to shake the hand of the leader of the free world that the secret
service actually hustled him back on to the stage and off. That`s the
popularity that he wanted to use in the speech to push for change here, a
country that is seen economic growth, the move towards democracy but it is
still at the crossroads of progress and peril.
He again reiterated that this is a country that needs to move away from
corruption, it`s costing too much. And for the first time we heard him
really pushing for women and girls and saying it`s not acceptable for them
to be second class citizens anymore, and they talked about the areas of
cooperation, like counterterrorism and ways in which he expect the United
States and Kenya to move forward. He now has gone on to Ethiopia, a
country with many of the same problems with things like terrorism, with
corruption and even a more difficult challenge with democracy and there are
a lot of people who suggested that the President should not go there in the
last election, the prime minister got 100 percent of the vote, but as his
aides point out he goes to places like China, and that you don`t always go
to places where you agree with the leadership but you go there to push for
our democratic values – Richard.
LUI: All right. NBC`s Chris Jansing there. Thank you so much for that in
Nairobi for us.
MOCK: Up next, before they worked it out, it was an all-out Twitter feud.
LUI: Oh, yes, it was. What Nicky and Taylor tell us about feminism, pop
culture and body politics?
MOCK: Tuesday, MTV announced the nominations for the video of the year.
And then the internet broke. As you might know, Nicki Minaj whose video
for Anaconda broke the Viva record for the most views in 24 hours last
August took issue with her exclusion from the video of the year category.
She tweeted this, “When the other girls drops a video that breaks record
and impacts culture, they get that nomination.” She followed with, “If
your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated
for vid of the year.”
Taylor Swift who is highly publicized start-studded that blood video topped
the viewing record set by Anaconda apparently took Nicki`s criticism
personally. The former country music star tweeted Nikki her take on the
issue. “Nicki Minaj, I`ve done nothing but love and support you. It`s
unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your
slot.” The two continued to tweet back and forth with Swift eventually
making this offer, “If I win, please come up with me. You are invited to
any stage I am ever on.”
Nominees Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran decided to jokingly join the apparent
feud by ribbing each other. Artists like Azalea Banks and Katie Perry, the
woman who allegedly inspired the bad blood video also jump in with tweets
of their own. And then came think pieces with reminders that feminism
fully inclusive, egalitarian feminism is about so much more than girl grow
crew love. Take journalist Jill Filipovic for example who wrote, “Even
among some of the most fortunate and famous women in the world, womanhood
is a different experience when you are a woman of color, and women who
deviate from straight white American norm are sidelined by the same people
who claim to be advocates for women generally.”
Now, Taylor Swift or Taylor was swift to apologize for her – I mean –
“I thought I was being called out. I missed the point. I misunderstood
and then misspoke. I`m sorry, Nicki.” Minaj accepted the apology on
Twitter and during her Friday “Good Morning America” appearance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICKI MINAJ, SINGER: She was, you know, super, super sweet and she
apologized, she said, you know, look, I did not understand the big picture
of what you were saying and now I get it. So, we`re all good. But yes, I
was just saying, I posted something on my Instagram, and it showed the
stats of other videos that had been nominated previously, and there just
seemed to be a little funny business going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOCK: Legendary side eye. Twitter talk it over and artist is back and
forth calls into question industry bias, feminism in the music world, and
the success of women in color in popular culture.
Back at the table, Danielle Moodie-Mills, contributor to NBC BLK and co-
host of “Politini.” And joining us, journalist and lawyer who we just
quoted, Jill Filipovic. Jill, did Taylor Swift finally get the point or
maybe her missing the point initially, culture fans get the point.
JILL FILIPOVIC, JOURNALIST AND LAWYER: I hope so. I was glad to see
Taylor apologize. I was glad to see her say, you know what, I
misinterpreted, this wasn`t about me, this is about a bigger issue. And
I`ve been really pleased to see that every time Nicki Minaj was asked about
it, she gets one sentence that Taylor Swift twitter beef, and then she gets
right back on the topic of racism and sexism in the music industry. And I
think that pivot, I mean, having that conversation on “Good Morning
America” is a huge deal and it`s really important and it`s really excellent
that she keeps refocusing on her point and making the conversation about
this much more important topic than just the Twitter beef.
MOCK: Richard, I really want to know what do you think about this whole
LUI: You are the expert on this.
MOCK: I am the expert.
LUI: You are the expert on this. Yes.
MOCK: Okay. So, what I find interesting about this conversation is how
the men kind of jumped in a little bit, and I wonder was that trivializing
the intense conversation that Nicki was trying to have.
MOODIE-MILLS: Yes, it absolutely did. And once again, we have men that
comment and trivialize something that is a very important issue. And I was
absolutely annoyed by it. Like here`s Nicki Minaj talking about the music
industry and talking about how women of color are traditionally sidelined
unless of course they are backup singers for white artists, which we have
seen. We start Janelle Monae able to collect an award because she was a
back-up singer for, you know, for fun. And so this idea that, oh, here is
something serious, let`s then, you know, pivot to like –
MOODIE-MILLS: – poke fun at each other misses the extreme point, which is
that there is racism and misogyny in the music industry in America, and
this is just one area where, its example, where you can see it, a spotlight
being shined on it because of these two big stars.
LUI: And going at the level lower into the table here is, when we look at
feminism which really bring me up in the lead up to this conversation, is
how feminism is different for those who – and this is obviously a topic
discussed at length, how it`s different but exhibiting itself here in this
Twitter feud, how it`s different between white women and black women or
women of color, and that difference, when we talk about the idea of what
MOCK: Yes. I also wonder how do we keep everything intersectional, right,
when I am talking about my own feminism, I`m constantly trying to think
about the spaces in which I am not speaking at all. Right? Ebolism
sometimes, you know, I have often speak what trans mess and being a woman
of color, being a black woman and what all those speak about. So how do we
have these conversations because they bubble up over and over and over,
right? And we saw it with Amy Schumer recently as well.
LUI: And discuss how it is different for those who may not be at that
level, because when we talk about men or others engaging in the
conversation, it could be that they just don`t understand that there are
some distinctions there.
FILIPOVIC: Definitely. And I mean, that`s part of the reason why I think
we really cannot make celebrities feminist spokes people, I think that`s
great. That Taylor identifies he`s a feminist. I think it`s great that
Nicki Minaj I don`t think publicly identifies he`s a feminist, but it`s
this very publicly independent strong, you know, self-assured woman, I
think all of that was incredibly important. You know, but if you have
somebody like Taylor Swift who just had her identifying as feminist a year
ago and probably is not super well versed in feminists theory and maybe it
doesn`t know what the word intersectional is. I don`t think you want her
to be the spokeswoman for a feminism. I think that she can be a great
entry point for feminism. And I hope that by, you know, publicly
identifying as a feminist publicly kind of screwing up here.
It does opens up this greater debate where people that are Taylor Swift
fans that many have also never heard the word intersectional can see on
Twitter that this, you know, sort of debate is blowing up. They can click
if they want to read the, you know, tens of think pieces that have been
written about it. And hopefully then broaden their understanding, and that
people like you, Janet, who is much more educated in what feminism means,
who comes to it, from a very different place than somebody like Taylor
Swift does. And can say, oh, feminism does mean all these different
things, and it means different things for different women and you know,
Taylor Swift feminism is not the beginning and end of what this movie –
MOCK: And that is also what I love about popular culture as an accessible
tool to talk about this deeper issues and hopefully educating enlighten
people about them. But I have to talk about the EW, the Entertainment
Weekly online story that reported on the Twitter feud between these two
women, right? When – I did not really see it so much of the feud but
that`s a whole other thing. But I want to talk about the –
LUI: Tell us.
MOCK: You know, they had – kind of replace – they were forced to replace
the story after they used a very interesting photos that kind of skewed the
way in which Nicki Minaj was portrayed within.
MOODIE-MILLS: And you came back with your own pick stitch which was
brilliant, because of course, again, we have the angry black woman troop
that they were using in this time instead of, in words, they were using the
imagery, right? And so they had this very, you know, beautiful angelic
looking Taylor Swift, you know, like this, and then Nicki Minaj with this
crazed wide-eyed, you know, probably a stamp from a video, and here is the
split. And you are like, well, wait a minute, Nicki Minaj was the one
having a very intellectualized conversation about how she says herself and
other women in the music industry and why they are not being recognized.
And I think one of the best things that they have said and I think it`s on
the cover of “Ebony” right now, and the man – Sandburg (ph) said it, when
she was talking about Caitlyn Jenner is that, you know, you have these
white women who love black culture but dismiss the understanding and the
cultural weight that black people have to actually go through. So Nicki
Minaj is having a conversation about how black women influence the music
industry like nobody else and then are pushed aside because as not seeming
mainstream. But you appropriate black culture than you`re getting an award
LUI: All right. Thank you.
MOCK: Yes, thank you so much, Danielle Moodie-Mills and Jill Filipovic.
Up next, making a splash and busting nets.
LUI: That`s right. The piranhas are in “Nerd Land.” Stick around for
MOCK: Growing up in Hawaii, I spent a lot of time in water. It was kind
of hard to avoid when you`re on the island, right?
LUI: You`re bragging.
MOCK: I am. I man. But this isn`t the case for many black people. The
USA Swimming Foundation found that 70 percent of African-American children
cannot swim. And according to the CDC, black children ages five through 19
drown in swimming pools at rates five-and-a-half times higher than those of
white people. But a group of Brooklyn youngsters on the Bed-Stuy YMCA
Piranha Swim Team are defying those statistics or schooling their
competition in the poll. The Bed-Stuy Piranhas had been making a splash
since the `90s, and 18 of their 45 swimmers qualified for state
championships this year.
LUI: Joe Piranhas go wide. Joining us right now, 11-year-old Ashley
Renwick, one of the Piranhas that qualified for the state championship in
the 50-yard free style. Yes, we also have her younger brother, team-mate
eight-year-old Matthew, and then the guy behind all this, Dordy Jourdain,
the executive director of the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA –
DORDY JOURDAIN, DIRECTOR, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BEDFORD-STUYVESANT YMCA:
LUI: Welcome all three.
JOURDAIN: Thank you for having us.
LUI: Ashley, favorite stroke, what is it, free style, I guess?
ASHLEY RENWICK, BED-STUY YMCA PIRANHA SWIM TEAM: Yes.
LUI: Yes. Why?
A. RENWICK: I qualified for it in state championship.
A. RENWICK: And I placed 11th.
LUI: Eleventh? Congratulations. And we`ll have this picture of you right
here, right? That`s you and – you must be fast.
MOCK: So, what got you started swimming? What made you want to get in
A. RENWICK: Well, we started when we were eight-months-old.
MOCK: You`ve been doing it forever basically.
A. RENWICK: Yes.
LUI: Do you start when you`re eight months as well?
MATTHEW: No, I started when I was one. Because –
LUI: You are an old guy. One-year-old, come on. Joking.
JOURDAIN: That would be our shrimp program, that`s you`re (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEW RENWICK, BED-STUY YMCA PIRANHA SWIM TEAM: Yes.
MOCK: What are some of your favorite swimmers that you see like in the
Olympics, or on the national stage?
A. RENWICK: William Neil and Olia Atkinson.
MOCK: She`s from Jamaica, is that correct? And how about yours?
M. RENWICK: Michael Phelps. Because he`s good at butterfly, and butterfly
is also my favorite stroke.
MOCK: And I also hear, you left, you`re going to leave track to dedicate
full-time to swimming, is that true?
M. RENWICK: Yes. Because I`ve been doing swimmer much longer and I`m
better at it. And I just started track. Yes.
LUI: You can do everything. You`re kind of like an all-fielder is what we
like to say. Daugherty, I`m a big Y fan, 20-year-old, I shouldn`t say 20
year old – for 20 years –
MOCK: For 20 years.
LUI: Yes. For 20 years. I was a Y kid. This is so important. Talk
about the swim programs. We have the dynamics that Janet was describing in
terms of that 5.5 likelihood to drown for African-Americans versus non-
JOURDAIN: Right. Well, first of all, we are incredibly proud of our
Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA Piranhas. They`re success in the pool, they`re
challenging of the myths around young black people and swimming. It takes
a real amount of dedication and hard work to swim at the level that they
do. And the fact that they exhibit these values at early ages is really
truly wonderful. Swimming programs at the Y, we feel it is vital that
swimming skills are incredibly vital to young people and their success.
And their ability, the challenges related to drowning.
LUI: A couple years between the two – the three of you, when you were
growing up, and when you look at here Ashley and Matthew, different
experience from when you were growing up.
JOURDAIN: Absolutely. Growing up for me, swimming wasn`t a part of the
activity that we participated in. I had been a city kid. Black –
basketball, the community pool which is only open in July, in August. It`s
not recommended for learning to swim. So, those were challenges. This is
where – a community based organization that provides swimming, structural
swimming year around for young people.
MOCK: And Ashley, what advice would you give to other kids who maybe a
little scare to learn how to swim?
A. RENWICK: You just should relax and not be too tense.
MOCK: Just relax and not be too tense. Matthew?
M. RENWICK: Yes. Because, like, if you get, like, scared, it`s not going
to help at all. And later on you`ll see that you`ll really like it.
MOCK: And it`s a lot of fun, I`m sure, right? Ashley Renwick, Matthew
Renwick and Dordy Jourdain, thank you so much for sharing your story with
LUI: Good piece of advice for us. Right? It could be that every day.
Just like, relax, breathe. You know, you could do that every day before we
go on TV. That`s our show for today. Thanks for sticking around with us.
Janet myself enjoyed it.
MOCK: Yes. And Melissa will be back next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.
And you can catch my Shift show, “So Popular” Fridays, at 11 a.m. Eastern
on MSNBC.com. Now, it`s time for preview of “WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT.”
ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, “WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT”: Appropriately named, “So
Popular.” I love that show. You should know that. Thank you guys. Good
to talk to you both.
And for all of you out there, coming up at the top of the hour, has the
criticism aimed at Donald Trump hurt his campaign for president? We`ll
show you a new NBC News poll about how he`s doing in the early voting
Also, the arrest of Sandy Bland. Were the state trooper`s demands legal?
And what legal recourse remains for her family? I`ll speak with Defense
Attorney Tom Mesereau.
And tonight, a story about acceptance and transformation. There is for the
first time, what we can learn from “I am Cait,” and Caitlyn Jenner`s
Don`t go anywhere. I`ll be right back from Los Angeles.
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