Texas critical race theory law extends to Holocaust. Anti-CRT parents try to ban Ruby Bridges book. Tennessee parents try to ban book that depicts male seahorses carrying eggs. Party of personal freedom restricts academic freedom.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thank you. There it is. I don`t know people can hear, fall back. And that`s what I`m going to do. My time is up. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts now. Hi, Joy.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: A perfect Friday. All you need now is a delicious fish dinner.
MELBER: You got it.
REID: Okay, perfect. Have a great weekend.
Good evening, everybody. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with an academic freedom fight of Texas-sized proportions. In a Lone Star State a law signed by abortion bounty hunter Governor Greg Abbott limits conversations about race in history in schools with one school administrator using that law to urge teachers to include opposing viewpoints on the Holocaust?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINA PEDDY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION, CAROLL ISD, SOUTHLAKE TEXAS: Make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspective --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you oppose the Holocaust?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?
PEDDY: Believe me, that`s come up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The Superintendent of that school district has since apologized but the Texas law is still in the books helping to embolden parents who oppose any idea or even conversation on anything that might make white people feel bad.
Elevating just one group, white Christian America`s feelings over the facts about history, as if Jewish children haven`t had to process their feelings about facts like the state-sponsored persecution and murder of 6 million Jewish people by the Nazi regime, and as if black children for the entire history of this country haven`t had to process their feelings about facts like the kidnapping of millions of Africans throughout the new world who were forced to endure the soul-crushing torture of slavery followed by a century of lynching and Jim Crow, if they were even taught about those facts in our whitewashed daughters of the confederate-dictated public education system.
But apparently non-white children are just expected to suck it up and, sorry, Asian-American kids, all you get is the Chinese built the railroads in Hiroshima. But they just need to deal with that, right? Just deal with that, facts, not feelings.
But somehow, white kids, according to the American right, just cannot be expected to handle hearing about non-heroic white people in history, breaks their little spirits. Tennessee also has a law restricting teachings about race, empowering parents to ban books like Ruby Bridges Goes To School, written by one of the first black children to integrate schools in New Orleans.
And no, no, the irony is not lost on us, how a mob of angry white parents is trying to ban a book that describes an angry mob of white parents, but alas, here we are. In Tennessee, books on the chopping block also include one about Martin Luther King Junior, too divisive they say. Even a book about seahorses, seahorses, because God forbid we speak of any male carrying the eggs.
The party that`s supposedly all about the personal freedom to stay unvaxed and infect others and die is more than willing to take away the rights of others, in this case, the right of teachers and students to pursue knowledge in any direction they please. It`s called critical thinking. Try it out. It`s also called academic freedom and once we take that away academic freedom, well, it is a slippery slope from there toward another thing called fascism.
Oh, and it doesn`t end there. The bedrock of academic freedom tenure is now at risk in Georgia, where the public university system will now let college administrators remove a tenured professor with little or no faculty input.
All of these, the book banning and both side of genocides and slavery and segregation, the expectation that our schools portray white people only as the master benevolent race, it`s being framed as a parental rights issue. But those parents are the pawns. This is an election strategy to wipe up the fury so that those very parents will elect Republicans. Look thought further in the governor`s race in Virginia, where Republican Trump-endorsed nominee Glenn Youngkin is beating the anti CRT drums every day to gin up votes.
Joining me now former Secretary of Education under President Obama John King Junior, who is running for Governor of Maryland, Dean Obeidellah, Host of the Dean Obeidallah Show on SeriusXM and who is an MSNBC Columnist, and Tom Nichols, Contributing Writer for The Atlantic and Author of Our Own Worst Enemy, The Assault From Within Our Modern Democracy.
Tom Nichols, I`m glad that your available today, because you talk a lot about how people sort of sense of whiny, entitlement and boredom instead of creating this sort of mantra of I need to feel good all the time. My kids need to feel good. It`s just going to hurt their spirits if they hear about slavery. That`s too much, too much, too much. What do you make of the idea that has gone so far that people are objecting the teaching about Holocaust?
TOM NICHOLS, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: One of the things that should tell you is that, these are people who think they are on the losing end of a culture war and have completely lost any sense of self confidence about the things they believe in.
One of the things that I think characterized the conservative movement 35, 40 years ago was that it was almost overconfident that there was that kind of sunny optimism that our ideas are just so good that we don`t really have to explain them. They`re just that good and they`ll win in the marketplace of ideas.
Now, you have people basically saying you have to shut down the marketplace of ideas, you have to destroy the universities, you have to implement censorship because deep down, and this is always the case, you know, John le Carre said it about fanatics in one of his earlier books, every fanatic harbors a secret doubt. And this is the reaction of a group of people, who I think, yes, they`re board, yes they want to be entertained, yes they feel entitled, but also deep down inside, they`re fearing that maybe they`re wrong and that`s what really scares them.
REID: You know, and that is an interesting explanation, Dean, because it is very hard to figure out what is both sides that you can do on the Holocaust, right? Like there isn`t like another side. I mean, I`m old enough to remember when the Bush administration would put out like Holocaust Remembrance Day, messages with not mentioning Jewish people, you know what I mean, and sort of did a little both sides weirdness during administration, but there actually isn`t another side.
So, how do you explain, in your view, what is this about, this desire to hold white kids in this little bubble where, apparently, their parents think they`re not strong enough to handle hearing that white people were the slave owners?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, MSNBC COLUMNIST: Well, I think the Texas Republicans have created this white Disneyworld over there for white fragile people. They do anything they want. Only the base is happy. Look, they ban mandates on vaccines and on masks but they mandate women who are raped to carry the fetus of the rapist and they mandate people who are on both sides of the Holocaust. There are no two sides to the Holocaust. This is a despicable movement.
And one thing, Joy, is really important. That conversation you played of the sort of the lesson, the explanation was because days before a fourth grade teacher had been publicly reprimanded by the school board for daring to have in her library at school a book on anti-racism. She didn`t even teach it but how dare you, because the white fragility, it`s not -- do you think an 11-year-old kid is fragile? I mean, a kid wants to learn. They go home and talk to their parents and the parents feel guilty, like, uh-oh, now we`re going to have that awkward conversation about her uncle and what he did. That`s what is going on. It`s personal fragility of the right white.
REID: You know, just to go through some of the things, John King, just a few other things, this is starting with two for my producers, the number of states that have banned race and gender conscious education, Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona, South Carolina, all banned, banned by state boards of education, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Utah. You have a Texas school district that has now reinstated a book by an author of a book called New Kid and it literally is just a book about new kids trying to fit in at a school where they`re of a different race. They had to go through and look at it to make sure it wasn`t do critical race theory.
Houston Chronicle talks about because of a challenge -- because of his challenger, Governor Abbott, and under his auspices, has removed a web page with a suicide hot line for LGBTQ youth because, apparently, that`s too dangerous to have. Black student suspended in Georgia for planning a protest against the confederate flag, so you may not protest to a confederate flag. I can just go on and on and on with these examples.
As somebody who yourself has a history in terms of education, what do you think the threat is here? Because if parents are allowed to say, I don`t like that Dr. King book because there is no other sides to the civil rights movement, you`re not giving the other side of the story, so take that Dr. King book out. What do you think that threat of that is or taking away tenure in Georgia?
JOHN B. KING JR., FMR. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: I mean, this is a war on teachers, it`s a war on teaching and, ultimately it`s a war on truth. And it`s very dangerous to the health of our democracy. Look, I`m talking to you from Silver Spring, Maryland, about 25 miles from where my great grandfather was enslaved in Gaithersburg, Maryland. That happened. That`s real. That`s the truth.
And so many of our challenges today are tied to that history around slavery and segregation and red lining. We can`t wish it away. We can`t bury it. And if we do, we risk undermining our ability to improve our society. And that sadly, I think, is the hope here that we sort of freeze our society in the systemic racism that has plagued us since the beginning.
REID: Yes. I mean, I believe the place where John Wilkes Booth hid out was in Maryland, Harriet Tubman, Maryland, that`s where she was enslaved. You can`t escape it. This is actually just is the history. You know, and it`s strike me, Tom, that some of it is just purely disingenuous.
We had Christopher Rufo on the show a couple of months ago. And he pretends to be a scholar in critical race theory, which he`s not. Okay. He is not. He is the guy who has a political agenda to try to use this issue to get more people to vote Republican.
And he actually admitted that. What is helpful is that he did this thing at the Claremont Institute, which is one of the agencies that is behind these parents doing this, doing these uprisings in schools. Here he is admitting that he actually really doesn`t care about these issues at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER RUFO, DIRECTOR OF INITIATIVE ON CRT, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: There is these, like, very kind of pathetic and very, you know, angry graduate students that, you know, try to fight me on these highly technical, you know, haggle (ph) interpretations. And it`s like, I don`t have time for this. I don`t give a (BLEEP) about this stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: It isn`t even real, Tom.
NICHOLS: No, and, you know, I think one of the things that people out there should stop doing is stop taking the bait for a lot of these bad faith disagreements, you know, about do you really understand Marxism, or do you really understand communism. What is socialism?
These are just trigger words. These are meant to constantly trigger a kind of rush of cortisol and anger hormones in people to keep them -- really, you know, part of it is an electoral strategy also, but it`s also just a huge grift to keep people`s eyeballs glued to television sets to say, you must constantly be afraid and unless you listen to us, unless you watch this broadcast, unless you read this website, they`re coming to your children and they`re going to turn them into Marxists, whatever that is. It`s terrible. And no one really knows what it means but it will -- that`s what they`re going to do. And they`re going to turn your children into that, and that`s not you. That`s just something different from you.
And so -- and it is refreshing when folks out there on -- in these movements simply say, yes, we don`t really care about any of that stuff, but it makes them no less dangerous because the whole point is to keep people in a state of rage constantly.
REID: And, Dean, it has worked in talk radio for generations. That was Rush Limbaugh`s game, keep everyone constantly afraid and on edge. It works at Fox News as well.
OBEIDALLAH: Are you accusing me of doing that on my show, Joy? I can promise I`m not doing it. Maybe a little bit. You know, Joy, George Orwell said that in 1984, whoever controls the past controls the future, and that`s what we`re seeing with the GOP. They`re rewriting the past that help them.
Everything, Joy, everything the Republicans do, everything is about power. It`s about acquiring it or retaining it. So whatever they`re doing in rewriting history, creating a white mythology that doesn`t exists, that Rick Santorum`s idea that this county was founded by European Christians and people -- slaves don`t matter, Native Americans don`t matter, all of that is for power. The same thing Tom talked about getting people worked up is about power. It is tyranny of the minority. And we`re going through difficult times.
And, Tom, I will say, when I see the GOP is no longer a political movement, it`s a fascist movement, I don`t say that to get my fellow liberals worked up. I say there`s a warning for what we`re seeing in this country. We`re one step from book burning going on in Texas. Let`s be blunt. We`re in a dangerous place right now as a nation.
REID: Yes, we absolutely are. And, John, I`m going to give you the last word on this. Because if you grew up like I grew up, we didn`t have -- our feelings were not taken into account when all we learned about being a black person in America is slavery, that that is your identity almost. Is that you`re the people that were enslave and then they jump forward to, oh, I have a dream and Dr. King was really nice to white people and that`s it.
And for, you know, Asian-American kids, we have Dean Obeidallah here, there is nothing about Muslims in this country in education. Asian-Americans get almost nothing and all these other kids are expected to just deal with that and try to on their own when they get to college figure out the real history of their people. I think it`s actually insulting. These parents are insulting their children, these white parents who think their kids are going to break like glass if they learn history. Your thoughts?
KING: Yes. Look, we need all of our kids to appreciate the diverse contributions of different folks to our history. I wrote a piece recently that folks can find on John King for governor.com about my uncle who is a Tuskegee airman. He persevered through incredible discrimination to become a pilot and serve this country. He put out his flag every day. He was a patriot. He helped us win World War II. And he also realized that there was discrimination in our society and had a critique. And we are big enough as a country and as people to both admire the principles of democracy and equality and also have a critique of the ways we have fallen short. We can do that as a society. Our kids can do that and that`s what should be happening in our social studies classrooms.
REID: If we are prepared to be grownups and to love democracy.
REID: Tom Nichols, Dean Obeidallah, and former Secretary John King Jr., thank you all very much, have a great weekend.
Up next on THE REIDOUT. Breaking news, moments ago President Biden weighed in on what should happen to those who defy subpoenas of the January 6th committee. Congressman Adam Schiff, who is a member of the committee, joins me next.
Plus, why the 2020s are starting to look like the 1920s, with exploited workers dealing with greed, inequality, shortages and other major challenges.
Plus, the growing political power of Latino-Americans and the progress that still needs to be made. The Castro brothers, Congressman Joaquin Castro and former Secretary Julian Castro join me tonight together.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: On Tuesday the select committee investigating January 6th will hold a vote to refer Steve Bannon for criminal charges of contempt after Bannon refused to comply with the subpoena on yesterday.
Just moment ago, President Biden was asked about witnesses, like Bannon, who have defied the committee. And here what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What`s your message to people who defied congressional subpoenas on the January 6th committee?
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable criminally.
QUESTION: Should they be prosecuted by the Justice Department?
BIDEN: I do, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Likewise, the chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson, made clear on this show last night that, once that criminal referral is submitted to the Justice Department, Attorney General Merrick Garland must do his job and bring charges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): We will put this before the United States House of Representatives, asks for a criminal referral. If we get the votes, the speaker will then transmit that document to Merrick Garland.
And he has to do his job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: If prosecuted and convicted, Bannon could face a fine of up to $100,000 and a one-year sentence in federal prison.
It`s another sign that, by the standards of most congressional investigations, this committee is indeed working at breakneck speed. Over the last month, they have issued subpoenas for documents and testimony from 19 individuals. That`s in addition to the numerous witnesses who are providing information voluntarily.
Yesterday, Congressman Adam Schiff did not rule out subpoenas for higher- profile witnesses like Mike Pence and even Donald Trump.
Joining me now, Congressman Adam Schiff of California, a member of the select committee on the January 6 attack and the author of the bestselling new book "Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could."
Congressman, thank you for being here. Congratulations on the success of the book.
And let`s get right to that last point. In your view, if the Justice Department does not fully hold accountable Steve Bannon to show up and honor these subpoenas, would you agree with me then there would be no hope of ever being able to obtain testimony from people like Senate -- I mean, House Minority Leader McCarthy?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, it`s very hard to see how we can get timely information to protect the country if we can`t enforce our own subpoenas.
So I do view this as an early test of whether our democracy is recovering, a test of the principle that no one is above the law, that the law applies equally to everyone. And I was very encouraged to hear what President Biden said today, that he thinks our committee should go after those who don`t comply and he believes that they should be prosecuted.
And I`m also very, very impressed that the Biden White House is not asserting privilege to prevent us from interviewing top Justice Department officials, not asserting privilege to prevent us from getting the records we need to help inform the public, another sign, I think, that the Biden administration really is committed to restoring our democracy and the principle of the rule of law.
REID: Larry Tribe, Laurence Tribe, Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard University, constitutional law scholar, he and others have expressed some concern, I have expressed some concern on this program, that Merrick Garland, our attorney general, may not have -- may not have the small-C constitution, the fortitude, or may be too nervous about the broader implications of going after the former president of the United States for any role he may have played in the insurrection, and even on down to his supporters.
Do you have those concerns?
SCHIFF: Look, I think, on the natch, although I don`t know the attorney general personally, I think that he is a very forward-looking person.
And, while I admire that, we cannot ignore what`s taken place in the past. We cannot ignore, for example, that the former president of the United States, among many other acts, was on the phone with the secretary of state of Georgia urging that secretary of state to find 11, 780 votes that don`t exist.
I think practically anyone else who did that would be under indictment already. Now, there may come a time where you make a decision, is it in the best interest of the country to prosecute? But you still have to do the investigation before you can even ask that question. And it does concern me that I don`t see any signs of some of the wrongdoing of the former president even being investigated.
But I am very encouraged, on the most immediate need of our committee, that the Justice Department, Merrick Garland`s Justice Department, is allowing us access to very top-level people and not standing in the way. And I think that`s enormously important.
REID: Let me read a little bit from your book. I`m going to read you to you for just a moment.
And this is what you write in "Midnight in Washington."
You write: "Our system of government depends on two functioning parties. And now we had only one. The GOP had become an anti-truth, undemocratic cult organized around the former president. For a brief moment, when emotions around the insurrection were high and public sentiment against Trump was powerful and deep, McCarthy, Kevin McCarthy, and Mitch McConnell had flirted with casting him aside. But like a candle in the breeze, their flirtation with truth quickly flickered and died.
"And when that small light was extinguished, prospects for a swift recovery from the damage inflicted by the most grandiose of liars died along with it."
We had Tom Nichols on earlier in the previous segment, and he`s talked about this party as sort of late-stage Bolshevism. And what that involves is sort of functionaries within the government who have power, but who choose instead to commingle with the autocrat, to give in, to go along, to co-conspire.
Are you concerned that the Republican Party is so far gone that there really is almost no one left who is willing to stand up to those fascistic, autocratic impulses of the former president?
SCHIFF: You know, there are people who are showing great courage and standing up, defending the truth, defending our elections, I think Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger among them, and those are very important voices within the Republican Party.
But you do see this dangerous more than flirtation with authoritarianism now among top leadership of the Republican Party. You see it in the celebration of wannabe dictators like Viktor Orban in Hungary, the scheduling of conservative conventions in Budapest, the celebration of that as a model they believe America should follow, and most pernicious, these efforts at home to strip independent elections officials of their jobs and their responsibilities and give them over to partisan boards and legislatures.
This is how democracies die, when the instruments of democracy are used against democracy itself. There may be another attack on the Capitol. The president is pushing out, the former president, the same big lie that led to the first attack.
But I`m confident, if there is another bloody attack on the Capitol, it will fail like the last one. But what may succeed, Joy, are these efforts around the country, this insurrection by people in suits and ties.
REID: If the elections next year go as history suggests, and Kevin McCarthy winds up with the speaker`s gavel, in your view, what would be the consequences of that?
SCHIFF: Well, look, if Kevin McCarthy had been speaker during the last presidential election, they would have decertified the results.
And we would be in a state of constitutional crisis. Someone like that unwilling to uphold their oath, unwilling to fulfill their constitutional duty, can never be allowed to have that kind of position of responsibility.
Moreover, if Kevin McCarthy is speaker, then, functionally, Donald Trump is speaker, because McCarthy will not stand up to him, no matter how unethical the demand. And this is why, as long as the GOP and its leadership are a cult, an autocratic cult around the former president, there`s no -- there`s no accommodating that.
They just need to be beaten at the polls.
REID: I cannot say I disagree with you, sir.
REID: Congressman Adam Schiff, I thank you for all that you have done to try to defend this democracy. I can just give you an amen on this Friday.
REID: Thank you very much. I appreciate what you do. Thank you, sir. And best of luck with the book.
Coming up on THE REIDOUT: It is starting to feel like we may have gone back to the Roaring `20s, between today`s worker strikes, wealth disparities, and postal delivery slower than a horse and buggy.
We will be right back.
REID: OK, do you guys remember reading Aldous Huxley in high school?
He wrote these searing novels about the era when the Roaring `20s meant riches and a surge toward capitalism for the rich, with a hidden underbelly of inequality and horrible working conditions for the poor, a dystopia dressed up as utopia, as "The New York Times" described Huxley`s "Brave New World."
The right loves the 1920s. I mean, think about it. This was the era of exclusionary immigration policies to the point that "The New York Times" declared in 1924 that the America of the melting pot has come to an end. There were historic labor strikes after World War I. The `20s were very anti-union because of sentiment that unions were communist. Sound familiar?
The rich got richer, partially thanks to the huge tax cuts, and many Americans got much, much poorer. Not so different today, with COVID only exacerbating our issues with inequality.
We`re seeing workers throughout the country unionizing and going on strike to make their voices heard. They`re fed up with bad working conditions and jobs that don`t pay enough for them to afford child care, with a record 4.3 million people quitting their jobs in August.
That`s led to a shortage of truck drivers, which has contributed to a huge supply chain problem, raising prices and delaying shipment of goods. And on top of all that, there`s a Postal Service slowdown that could also delay your packages, thanks to Trump appointee Louis DeJoy, who still has financial ties to his former company that had stakes in post office competitors, and now has a huge contract with the post office itself.
Of course, the right wants to blame all of this upheaval on Joe Biden and on the pandemic stimulus, which actually significantly decreased poverty in the United States.
But, as Michael Tomasky wrote: "Talking heads who blame government handouts for the labor shortage are missing the point. People are sick of crap jobs and crap wages."
I`m joined now by the author of that piece, Michael Tomasky, editor of "The New Republic," along with Dr. Julianne Malveaux, economist, author and dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at Cal State Los Angeles. Thank you both for being here.
And, Michael, long time no see. Great to talk to both of you.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, EDITOR, "THE NEW REPUBLIC": Thanks, Joy.
REID: Let`s start with some -- thank you -- with some breaking news.
Speaking of jobs that there are in many ways just killer, the coal industry is a tough industry. A lot of people -- it`s in some ways one of the few ways that you can make a really decent living in some states like West Virginia, but it also is detrimental to the health. There`s black lung disease. There are all of these issues that have to do with the health of the people doing the job.
This is some breaking news that just happened very recently. It appears that, because of Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, he has told the White House he strongly opposes the clean electricity program that`s in the sort of super infrastructure bill, according to three people.
As a result, White House staffers are now rewriting the legislation without that climate provision and are trying to cobble together a mix of other policies that could also cut emissions.
So this big bill that they`re trying to negotiate down from $3.5 trillion on down is now going to have nothing, nothing, nothing to slow down coal. And I just am curious to hear your thoughts.
TOMASKY: Well, I`m not happy about it.
Joy, I`m from West Virginia, and I grew up there. I know a lot about the politics, a good amount about the politics and the economics of that state. There aren`t nearly as many coal miners as there were when I was a kid.
When I was a kid, there were about 150,000 coal miners in the state, 120,000 unionized good jobs. Now I think there are about 10,000, mining, by the way, the same amount of coal because of automation and technology and these massive machines they have the cut the tops off mountains. So it doesn`t really affect as many jobs anymore.
And, by the way, news flash, this did not start under Barack Obama. This actually started in the 1980s. And it was really driven by technological changes. It wasn`t Ronald Reagan`s fault either. It`s driven by technology. And now it`s driven by the search for sources of energy other than fossil fuels.
So it`s a long-term thing. And we do need to move away from fossil fuels. I think even most people in the state of West Virginia, if you have got them in an honest moment, recognize that. But it`s very easy for politicians to say this is a great threat to our way of life, and so on. And many people do feel that emotionally, and steps do have to be taken to help the workers who are displaced by this; 10,000 is still 10,000.
And there are associated jobs that go along with that. So things have to be done for those workers and for the communities in Southern West Virginia, which are in horrible, horrible shape. I want to be the first to say that.
But a change does have to come. And Joe Manchin is going to have to reckon with that one of these days.
REID: But, apparently, he doesn`t want to.
Dr. Malveaux, thank you. Great to see you as well.
And what I -- what strikes me about this era is that we do seem to be going back to -- I have often said that people claim the right wants to take America back to the 50s. But it`s really the `20s that they want. And I have had people, conservatives, say it, that it was the golden era, because you`re talking about no income taxes, none or very little.
You`re talking about even child labor being legal, which some of them have said maybe we should bring that. You`re talking about workers having almost no rights, union rights being minimal, immigration being cut off from any non-white countries. It`s sort of ideal.
And it feels like workers right now are in a similar struggle. They`re calling this Striketober, so many people are on strike, because they`re fed up with low wages, poor working conditions, et cetera. Your thoughts? 2
JULIANNE MALVEAUX, ECONOMIST: Well, Michael`s point in his piece is spot on. Crap jobs at crap wages. Nobody wants that.
But what happened is that COVID essentially allowed people to reassess their lives. You have people who would rather have a lower-paying job with benefits, the contract job that pays very well, but has no benefits and they have to cover all of their health care themselves.
This notion of a labor shortage is basically, for want of a better word, bass backwards. In other words, if you pay people more, they will work. It`s very, very simple. You can`t say we have a labor shortage. Of course, you have a labor shortage when you`re paying people even $15 an hour; $15 an hour is $30,000 a year.
That is just at the poverty line for a family of four. It`s about $27,000 for a family of four. So you`re just right there. And you have very little wiggle room. Moms have rethought -- four million people left the labor market last month. Moms were more than half of them. Women were more than half of them.
Why would women stay home? No child care. Delta variant. The list is as long as my arm. I mean, there`s so many reasons that people will say, oh, we have not paid attention to workers in a very long time. We haven`t paid attention to something I used to write about in the `80s, family-friendly policies for workers.
Only 3 percent of employers have any kind of child care provisions on site. So, you`re a nurse. Your child has the sniffles. You don`t want to send her to school. What do you do? Either you don`t go to work or, if your hospital very rarely has emergency child care, you take them there. But most places just don`t.
We are treating people like they`re donkeys. We are expecting people to work until they drop. And a lot of people are saying, oh, no, I`m not going there. And it`s not that they have the unemployment benefit. Of course, that did help a little while. But that was $300. And it`s now gone. It`s not because -- it`s because people have had it. People have basically had it with the terms and conditions of work.
In some cases, people are striking. If you look at the Hollywood strike, they`re not -- they want more money, of course, but some of these people say they work 12-hour days, and without a meal break.
MALVEAUX: That`s absurd. That`s inhumane.
Nurses, same thing. They`re saying, we want longer breaks. Yes, they want more money. The Kaiser strike out in California, they`re asking for a 4 percent increase. Well, they`re asking for longer breaks. And that`s not an unreasonable thing.
MALVEAUX: We look at what`s been happening with overcrowding in our hospitals.
But these little penny-pinching, micromanaging, predatory capitalists want to extract all the extra value out of people`s work. And people just had enough.
We need to have a longer conversation about this. So we`re going to invite you both back.
Michael Tomasky, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, thank you very much. We`re going to invite you guys back to have a longer conversation about this very important issue.
OK, Joaquin Castro and Julian Castro, two of America`s most prominent Latino public figures, join me next on the growing political power of Latinos and what can be done to address the under-representation of Latinos in the media and elsewhere.
Stay with us.
REID: OK, I want to tell you a quintessential American story about two brothers from San Antonio, Texas.
They grew up on the west side in a predominantly Mexican-American area. Their Texan routes trace back to the 1920s, when their grandmother, than 6 years old, immigrated from Mexico. Their mother, Rosie, a Chicana political activist, instilled civic engagement when she brought them as kids to events.
They rode the bus to public school because the family didn`t have a car. They finished high school in three years and headed to Stanford, relying on scholarships, grants and loans.
That is the story of Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro, who now represents Western San Antonio, and Julian Castro, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former HUD secretary.
It`s a made-for-television story. But here`s the thing. Not enough of those stories about Hispanic Americans are being told, stories of people like Dolores Huerta, the American labor leader and human rights activist, or Julia Alvarez, the critically acclaimed author, or Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the former -- the first Hispanic woman to go to space.
All remain mostly unknown to the majority of Americans. Latinos make up 18 percent of the U.S. population, but, according to a new government report, they receive only about 5 percent of all speaking parts that appear on screen. They receive even less political representation, holding just 1 percent of local and federal elected offices.
In order to bring some light to the disparity, the White House, partnering with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, hosted a series of discussions yesterday to highlight Latino contributions across the nation`s media ecosystem.
And with me now is Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. He was at the White House yesterday, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, host of the "Our America" podcast.
Thank you both for being here.
And I know -- I have the secret to telling you guys apart, I know what it is.
So I`m going to go to Joaquin first with the beard. Ah, see?
REID: Julian told on you, because he -- last time he was here -- yes, Julian told him told me how to do it, so now I figured it out.
REID: Tell me about -- tell me about this meeting at the White House. And what do you think needs to change in the way that the media represents people who share your heritage?
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): Well, first, I`m glad that President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the White House made the effort to put on this forum, which is, I think, for them going to be the first in a series of discussions about representation.
This was about the Latino community during Hispanic Heritage Month, and the absence, really, and exclusion of Latinos from many media platforms. You think, for example, about Hollywood, and the fact that it`s still, in American society, the main image-defining and narrative-creating institution that we have, and yet Latinos only get 3 or 4 percent of the rolls in front of and behind the camera.
And the Latino narrative is really missing in American society. And that`s a very deep problem, not because it represents -- not only because it represents cultural exclusion, but also because I think it`s very dangerous when a community is unknown and defined by stereotypes and by malicious politicians who would abuse those stereotypes for their own political gain.
I mean, speaking of that, Julian Castro, the previous president literally opened his presidential run saying that Mexico isn`t sending its best, it`s sending rapists and criminals here. And that actually helped him do better, because it`s so easy to demonize Latinos as a way of getting, unfortunately, votes from some conservative white voters.
Can you talk a little bit about the way that politics is playing out in a place like Texas, that has 39 percent Latino population, but where the new gerrymandering, let me get it right here, is only giving Latinos 20 percent of the districts?
So you`re already seeing this push to take away even more power in your home state. Your thoughts?
JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER U.S. HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY: Well, I mean, Donald Trump certainly lit the flame, exacerbated these stereotypes and ill will toward the Latino community.
But it`s clear people have taken the baton now and are taking it to a new level and putting it into law and practice. That includes Greg Abbott here in Texas, as well as the Republican leaders of the Texas legislature, through their gerrymandering, through their voter suppression legislation, through their attack on Critical Race Theory, not wanting people to learn about everyone from Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, to Martin Luther King.
And so they`re trying to create this society where black and brown families have less of an opportunity to succeed. And that`s on top of the challenges they already faced that you pointed out, a couple of them, Joy.
So, the irony is that Texas really represents what the America of tomorrow looks like, but the leadership is trying to take it in the completely opposite direction and play to a smaller and smaller mostly white base of Texans, and just juice that out as long as they can to hold onto power, even though you have a changing state.
It`s amazing and also frustrating and dangerous.
REID: Well, and a changing state and a changing America.
I mean, Joaquin Castro, I mean, look at the -- there was just a sort of redo of "Cinderella" with a Latina as the star. Like, the marketplace understands where this country is going. The rising majority is black and brown and Asian American.
And it`s a huge opportunity, I think, for media, for news media, for everything to sort of look at this new young demographic and say, hey, let`s do something different.
What do you -- why do you think that people are not doing that more aggressively, given how big this market is?
JOAQUIN CASTRO: You know, it`s hard to say, Joy.
I mean, it`s really surprising, because Latinos, for example, overindex when it comes to buying movie tickets, right? Pre-pandemic, they bought 25 percent of the movie tickets, even though we only make up about 18 percent of the population. We overindex on streaming, on Netflix, on Amazon, on Hulu.
So it`s weird, because, usually, when somebody doesn`t try to sell you a product or doesn`t include you in what they`re doing, it`s because they argue that you`re not their market, right? But, here, the weird thing is, you`re already a fundamental part of their market. And, in some ways, you`re overindexing, so you`re carrying them, and still the institution itself tries to exclude you.
And that`s why -- and that`s true across different platforms in media, Hollywood, but also in hard news and journalism. In fact, you probably saw today that only like 200 and maybe 90 or so of these different newspaper -- and I don`t know if it was just newspapers -- I think so -- organizations submitted back diversity information in a major study on this issue.
So there`s still a lot of reluctance, and the media has got to decide that it`s going to be more inclusive, and that it`s going to change.
REID: Yes. Absolutely.
JULIAN CASTRO: Well, and I will just say, Joy...
JULIAN CASTRO: No, I was just going to say, the stakes for this are as high as they can be, because the census just reminded us that already about a fifth of our population in this country is Latinx, that more than a quarter of the children in America are Latinos or Latinas.
So the destiny of our country is intertwined with the destiny of Latinos like never before.
JULIAN CASTRO: We`re going to do as well in this country as this community does.
REID: And let -- do you think the Democratic Party fully understands?
I`m going to stay with you for a moment, Julian, because you made a lot of people uncomfortable when you went real hard during your presidential run and said, this whole Iowa-New Hampshire thing, that`s not it, that we need to change and we need to start looking at the more diverse states and making them earlier.
Does the Democratic Party fundamentally understand what they need to do in order to make these changes?
JULIAN CASTRO: You know, I have been pleased with the news of late that it`s -- I believe it`s likely that Iowa is no longer going to go first.
Iowa is a wonderful place. New Hampshire is a wonderful place. We were treated very well in both of those states, but they simply don`t reflect the diverse America that we have today or certainly the diversity within the Democratic Party. And so it needs to change.
JULIAN CASTRO: I think the Jaime Harrison and the DNC leadership recognizes that. I think they`re putting a process in place to make sure that whatever the primary calendar does look like actually reflects the party and the country.
And that`s actually easier said than done, because, once you say it`s up for grabs, every state out there wants to be the first one to get it.
REID: Yes. Yes.
JULIAN CASTRO: But they have put that process in place.
REID: Yes, OK. All right.
Well, we`re going to hold you guys, because, look, the Castro brothers, you guys are going to stick around, because, up next, we`re going to have you guys play "Who Won the Week?" And we`re going to let you guess who`s going to be -- give you a more fun "Who Won the Week?"
So, we will see. Don`t miss it.
REID: All right, congratulations. We made it to Friday once again, folks.
So now it is time to play our favorite game, "Who Won the Week?"
Back with me are Congressman Joaquin Castro and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, our first twin "Who Won the Week?" It`s never happened before on this show or on any show.
REID: So I`m going to go first to Julian, because he ran for president, so he gets to go first.
Julian Castro, who won the week?
JULIAN CASTRO: Well, and, Joy, also, I`m the firstborn.
REID: Oh, Well...
JULIAN CASTRO: So I always got to get the first word.
REID: You`re always going first. There you go.
JULIAN CASTRO: That`s right.
JULIAN CASTRO: The 10,000 John Deere workers that are on strike right now, who are standing up for fair wages, fair benefits, who have been working their hearts out, like so many other employees, so many other workers, during this pandemic and for many years.
And at the same time that John Deere is getting record profits and paying huge bonuses to their executives, they`re shortchanging these workers. They won the week for standing up, not only for themselves, but for workers throughout this country that deserve a raise and deserve to be treated with respect.
REID: Amen. Amen. I like that one.
OK. All right. Well, Joaquin Castro, I am also a younger sibling, so I feel your pain, first of all.
REID: And now I will give you the opportunity, my fellow younger sibling, to tell us who won the week.
JOAQUIN CASTRO: Well, I`m going more lighthearted here.
And I`m saying it`s Alex Padilla for that tortilla roll while he was eating his taco in California.
JOAQUIN CASTRO: This is a man who won the hearts of every Mexican-American grandmother and grandfather in California. He`s up for reelection. He obviously knows what he`s doing. That was incredible.
But, Joy, let me tell you, don`t let those Californians fool you. Tex-Mex food is way better than Mexican food in California.
JOAQUIN CASTRO: So, you have got to come to Texas, for sure.
JULIAN CASTRO: You just started a fight there.
REID: That is not a lie. That is real.
Listen, I came from Colorado, so I know me some really great Mexican food, but Texas, the food is amazing, amazing, amazing.
JOAQUIN CASTRO: There you go. There you go.
REID: Congressman Joaquin Castro, former Secretary Julian Castro, thank you for playing. We really appreciate you guys. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month. Thank you for joining us. This is awesome.
And, by the way, Congressman -- Congressman Castro will be joining Tiffany Cross tomorrow morning for her special "THE CROSS CONNECTION: The Latino Landscape."
Tiffany is live in Miami and will explore the battle for voting rights, immigration policy, the Afro-Latino experience, and the lack of Latino representation in the media and in entertainment.
You can watch Tiffany`s special tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. right here on MSNBC. You`re going to love it.
That is tonight`s REIDOUT, everybody. Have a great weekend.
And now you can watch "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" right now.