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'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Saturday, March 16th, 2013

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MELISSA-HARRIS-PERRY
March 16, 2013

Guests: James Martin, Nancy Giles, Michael Peppard, Maureen Fiedler, Albert Cutie, Michael Skolnik, Eric Adams, Vince Warren, Stacey Honowitz, Zerlina Maxwell, Irin Carmon, Don McPherson, Andrea Pino, Annie Clark, Nina Perales

JOY REID, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning my question. Does this selection of
a new pope present a chance for institutional change? Plus, another
installment of this week in voter suppression.

And baby zinc shot and police under fire. How to walk the fine line when
protecting our streets. But first, the rape case igniting a national
conversation and turning one small town upside down.

Good morning. I`m Joy Reid filling in for Melissa Harris-Perry. A note of
caution for parents watching this morning. We`re getting started with a
very sensitive story, so you may want to send children out of the room.
This week two high school football stars from Steubenville, Ohio, went on
trial after being accused of raping a 16-year-old girl from just across the
Ohio River, in nearby West Virginia. Now a crime and justice story in a
small town like Steubenville isn`t usually the makings of national news and
the alleged events on the night in question sadly aren`t remarkable for
their rarity. Because we know that one in six American women is a survivor
of an attempted or completed sexual assault. And we know that 44 percent
of sexual assault and rape survivors are under the age of 18. But thanks
to an unusual aspect of this case, we also all know now in graphic detail
some of what happened in Steubenville on the night of August 11th, 2012.
We know because the defendants and witnesses to the alleged crime
documented their actions on social media.

And although the trial just began on Wednesday, this case has already been
tried in the court of public opinion with posts to Twitter, Instagram, and
Youtube standing in this evidence. The intrusion of social media into the
criminal justice system is just one of the many complications swirling
around Steubenville. There is also the supremacy of football in a
struggling town where the high school team is a shining light. And where
ex-players are held as heroes. Both the county prosecutor and a juvenile
crime stud recused themselves from the case because of ties to the team.
And then there`s the question of consent. Whether an incapacitated girl
still maintains the capacity to be a willing participant in a sex act. The
case`s digital footprint was amplified to national prominence by a crime
blogger who collected and posted the tweets and this Instagram photo of the
defendants holding the accuser on the night of the alleged assault. A
December "New York Times" article on the unfolding case caught the
attention of hacker collective anonymous. Watch this 12 minute Youtube
video of a former Steubenville High School baseball player joking about the
incident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s deader than a door nail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Now that student wasn`t even at the party and later apologized.
According to police accounts, after a night of heavy drinking the accuser
woke up with no recollection of what had happened to her the night before.
Her parents told the authority that she found the next day the same way as
the rest of us by reading about it on Twitter. She filled in the details
when she read a story in the local newspaper later that day. On the
morning of August 14th her parents took a flash drive loaded with the
tweets, the Instagram photo and a Youtube video to police. A week later
17-year-old Trent Mays, a star quarterback on Steubenville High School`s
Big Red football team and the teen standout receiver, 16-year-old Ma`lik
Richmond were arrested and charged with rape and kidnapping. The
kidnapping charges were later dropped.

And in an October pretrial hearing, one witness testified that he
videotaped Mays assaulting the alleged victim in the back seat of a car
while on route between parties. But the witness says he deleted the video
from his phone. Another testified to seeing Richmond assault her in her
home basement later that night while she was naked and unmoving on the
floor. And this, the condition of the accuser, not the tweets or the
photos or the video, was the main question before Judge Thomas Lipps in the
Jefferson County juvenile court this week. Now, under Ohio law, an
offender is guilty of rape if the alleged victim`s ability to resist or
consent is substantially impaired. Attorneys for the defense plan to argue
implied consent on the grounds that the accuser willingly drank and
accompanied the boys and because "she didn`t affirmatively say no." The
judge will have to weigh that against the prosecution`s argument outlined
this week in opening statements that an unconscious girl is incapable of
affirmatively consenting to anything. With me today at the table are
Zerlina Maxwell, a political analyst and a contributor to the Grio.com,
Michael Skolnik, the political director to hip hop pioneer Russell Simmons
and the co-president of Global Grind.com. Former NFL and college football
player Don McPherson, who is now president of Don McPherson enterprises and
Irin Carmon, a journalist and commentator, who is now a staff writer at
Salon.com. But first, I want to go to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where we`re
joined by prosecutor Stacey Honowitz, she is the supervisor of the sex
crimes and child abuse unit of Florida`s state attorneys office. Stacey,
thanks so much for being here.

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY`S OFFICE: It`s my pleasure.
Thanks for having me.

REID: Now, Stacey, we`ve learned that the accuser will potentially testify
in this case. Maybe even as early as tomorrow. First of all, how
difficult is it as a prosecutor to put an accuser on the stand. This is
obviously one of the most difficult, if not most difficult moment of her
life. And the sensitivities involved are clear. Just walk us through how
you prepare an accuser to get on the stand and confront her accusers in
this way.

HONOWITZ: Well, you`re 100 percent right. This is going to be a
monumental day. And it`s a very difficult day for most rape victims, and
that`s why we hear that a lot of rape victims don`t ever want to come
forward, because they have to take the stand and all of their history with
regard to the sexual events that took place that night is going to be
known. And so, as a prosecutor, sex crimes prosecutor you not only act as
the attorney. You act as the psychologist and the therapist and the
cheerleader in order to get them to come to court. So, what happens is,
that person has to be mentally prepared to be able to talk to a jury of
people made up in the community and tell them about what happened. And in
this case it`s really made difficult because she does not remember what
happened. All of the events that she learned about came through social
media. So the bottom line is, she has to take the stand and she does have
to tell the jury, and in this case it`s the judge, because it`s a juvenile
case, that she was drinking, what happened and that she doesn`t really
remember what happened after that.

REID: Right.

HONOWITZ: So while it is difficult, it is something that has to be done in
order for victims to come forward and to be able to show that they need to
take a stand.

REID: Right. And Stacey, it`s made even more difficult because obviously,
part of the issue when somebody is a victim of sexual assault, is a victim
of rape, is the humiliation of just having to talk about what happened to
you. In this case that humiliation is compounded by the fact that there
are pictures. That there was social media sharing of images and video.
That she was already in a sense publicly humiliated. And now she has to
walk through all that again. And so, so -- can you tell us a little bit
about how social media has changed sort of the construct of cases like
this?

HONOWITZ : Well, listen, you know, before we had social media and Instagram
and Twitter, the victims would take the stand, and they still do -- the
victim of a sexual assault would take the stand and would have to explain
to the jury about what happened that night. And if they remember what
happened, then they had to talk about the sexual acts that took place. And
that can be very difficult, as you can imagine. In this case, she didn`t
know what happened. She found out like everybody else should be -- We have
to come into court and to have to identify yourself, that is me in the
photograph. That is me passed out. That is me not knowing what happened.
It is humiliating. But it`s something that has to be done. You cannot try
these cases without having a victim. So she has to really mentally
prepare. The attorney has to prepare her. That it`s one day and it`s one
day that hopefully is going to get her justice. So they know when they
walk into court, they know what is going to happen. A prosecutor will
prepare a person to know. That they are going to try to be -- smudge your
reputation, that`s what happens in rape cases, they want to be able to say,
you consented. You knew what you were doing, you actively participated.
You voluntarily drank. So, they have to be mentally prepared to be able to
answer those tough questions. Why, when and how.

REID: Right. And, you know, and I want to get a little bit into that,
Stacey, because obviously, what the defense has to do here is they have to
essentially paint a picture of a girl who consented. A girl who
essentially was drinking. As you said, they have to go after her
character. What is the line between somebody who admits to being at least
partially impaired, admits to having had something to drink? Had some
alcohol? What`s the line for consent? The legal line that has to be drawn
whether or not she consented?

HONOWITZ: Well, listen. Well, here`s the situation. I mean certainly, if
someone takes the stand and says, I did not drink. I didn`t take any
drugs. I don`t know how I got in that condition, their credibility is at
stake. No one is going to believe that. In this case, you have to be able
to say, yes, I ingested alcohol. I passed out. I did not consent to
anything. How could I consent voluntarily and intelligently and make that
decision when I`m in that incapacitated state? And based on the
photographs, the tweets, some of the text messages, it was obvious to
everybody in that vicinity that she was not capable of intelligently and
voluntarily saying I want to actively participate in the sex act. And
that`s what you`re going to see when all this social media facets come into
the case.

REID: OK. I want to say thank you very much to Stacey Honowitz in Ft.
Lauderdale, Florida, and I want to turn now to the panel in studio, because
we merely want to talk about some of the broader implications of this case.
This case is so packed with implications. Not just it`s the nightmare that
it is for every parent sending a kid to college. The nightmare for every
girl who is taking (inaudible) for stepped out on her own. And it`s not
even the nightmare of the stranger in the dark. These are people that you
know. This is taking place on a college campus. I do want to start with
Zerlina, because you are survivor of sexual assault. You obviously can put
yourself sort of in the place of this young woman. What are the
disincentives to come forward? Isn`t this obvious that the humiliation ...

ZERLINA MAXWELL, POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

REID: The fact that you have to talk about it publicly. Do the
disincentives cause most women just to not bother?

MAXWELL: I think so. I think there`s a very high level of fear. Of not
being believed. Of being blamed. I think the defense here is implementing
a victim blaming strategy. I call it, victim blaming 101. And that`s the
reason why women don`t come forward, because, you know, too many people
question why did you do this, why you do that, and instead they should be
looking at what the boys did and the focus should be on them, and why did
they take this girl who seemed to be impaired around with them from party
to party? So, the questions are just on the wrong person in the case.

REID: Right. And, you know, I want to talk a little bit to you, Irin,
because you`ve written about rape in the age of social media. And I think
that`s what is compounded here, and I guess I`m fixated on this idea that
before she even got a chance to come forward. Before she even made her own
affirmative decision to tell her story, her story was already out there.
And it was basically being used as a joke. Like these guys actually
thought it was funny to put these pictures out. How does social media
complicate and in a sense, does it encourage almost the behavior that we
are seeing from some of these guys?

IRIN CARMON, SALON.COM: Well, it tells you a lot about the mind set that
these people around her have. That they thought that it was something that
they could take a picture of as a spectacle as opposed to something that
they wanted to intervene in. And I think this goes both ways. Because on
the one hand there`s a re-traumatizion of the victim. There have been
several cases, including the tragic case of the 11-year-old gang raped in
Texas Savannah Dietrich who broke a restraining order by tweeting. She
found out about her assault as well from a video and from images. A lot of
these blackout situations unfortunately, they learn the details, but the
flip side is as much as that is an incredible violation in the creation of
nonconsensual pornography, you might call it, from this violation, at the
same time, they function as evidence. So, of course, feminists have been
talking for years about rape culture. But it`s this idea of, you know,
they just -- people don`t believe it exists. And just look at those images
and look at the impunity that was implied by people creating those images,
here is evidence in a legal sense and in a cultural sense.

REID: Right. And I definitely want to talk more about that. And we do
want to let our guys -- we`re going to let you guys actually weigh in on
this as well. But when we come back, there`s so much more to talk about.
So, stay with us, and when we come back, Zerlina is going to talk to us
about how talking about a story in the process of that she became a story.
More of (inaudible) after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Last week one of my guests appeared in Fox News to debate the idea
of arming women with guns as the solution to preventing rape. Here`s a
little bit of how that went.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAXWELL: But I don`t think that we should be telling women anything. I
think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation
there ...

SEAN HANNITY: But criminals are not going to listen to that.

MAXWELL: No, but ...

HANNITY: I agree with you.

(CROSSTALK)

MAXWELL: We`re talking about if there`s some faceless, nameless criminal.
When a lot of times it`s someone that you know and trust.

HANNITY: Well, I`m saying that women need to know that these situation
arise. And we`ve got to -- evil exists in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: That was Sean Hannity, totally missing the point. And for her
troubles, Zerlina was bombarded with racially charged rape and death
threats on Twitter. Many so explicit we can`t show them to you on
television, all in response to her attempt to make this very simple
statement a fact: fewer women would be raped by men if fewer men raped
women. We would like to give her the chance to expound upon her point on
interrupted today. So Zerlina, I want to give you a chance to try to make
the point that you were attempting to make on Fox News. As you can do that
now.

MAXWELL: Essentially, my point was that, you know, the premise of the
segment is that give every woman a gun, that`s rape prevention. And I`m
saying, hey, that doesn`t seem like a good idea. I mean it`s not
effective. People are raped by someone that they know, 80 percent of women
are raped by someone that they know. So, you`re not going to be on a date
with a gun out on the table, you know, just in case you wanted to do
something, I`m ready for you. You know, that`s just not how social
interactions happen. And so, my point was, is that maybe we should be
looking at who is committing the rapes and why and what condition they`ve
had throughout their lives and maybe we can start prevention by preventing
the situation at all from happening so then you don`t even need the gun.

REID: Right.

MAXWELL: So ...

REID: So you social -- you`re talking about socializing men. And you went
in on amny.com (ph), you wrote about five points ...

MAXWELL: Yes.

REID: ... that we could promote to teach and educate men about sexual
assault. And I just want to go through them really quick. You said teach
young men about legal consent. Teach young men to see women`s humanity.
Teach young men to express healthy masculinity. Teach young men to believe
women and girls who come forward and teach males about bystander
intervention. And it seems to me that, you know, a young man going into
college ought to already have that (ph) culture raised at home, but if he`s
not getting it, maybe a little reinforcement of that in the college
atmosphere would be helpful in preventing --

(CROSSTALK)

MAXWELL: Absolutely. And, you know, one of the groups I cited in the
interview (inaudible). And studied on one of the workshop, it was a
bystander intervention workshop last winter. And one of the things I left
with was this needs to be a part of basic sex education. Because we need
to know what consent is. It`s not that men don`t know that rape is wrong.
It`s that a lot of them don`t know how to identify what rape is. And I
think that, you know, many of the bystanders in Steubenville, for example,
saw something happening and they didn`t understand that what they were
seeing was rape.

REID: Right.

MAXWELL: And I think that maybe they would have been more willing to
intervene. And that`s where the bystander intervention comes in.

REID: Right.

MAXWELL: If you know what you`re seeing is rape, then maybe you`re going
to say, let me, we should get this girl a cab. We should get her away from
these guys. Even if you don`t know her. I think it`s just -- it`s a
responsibility on people to intervene. To make sure something bad is not
going to happen.

REID: To protect the friend. And that was one of the aspects in the case,
Don, that the young woman actually was texting to some of her friends. If
that was happening to me, why didn`t you do something about it? And I
think, you know, you played football. You understand sort of the culture
that`s around young men who are athletic. Isn`t part of the problem here,
that young men aren`t being acculturated this way? They`re not being
taught sort of respect women`s humanity. They are being taught, you`re
superman. You can do whatever you want. Anything you do in this group of
other young men who are athletic and who are the stars in this campus,
anything you do is OK.

DON MCPHERSON, FMR. NFL PLAYER: I think it goes far beyond just the
culture of athletics and the culture of in this case, of a football team.
It is the culture of masculinity. It is the culture of men. I took to
Zerlina`s point.. We are raised in a culture that says that women and
girls are less than. That`s the whole charge of -- when I talk about --
when the charge between guys is, you throw like a girl, or you run like a
girl. It seems like an innocent statement that we hear at a very early
age. But it does two things. One, it creates a sense of masculinity, that
is a very narrow understanding of masculinity. You point about this
broader sense of what it means to be a man. But the second thing is, it
says that women and girls are less than. And whether it`s in the culture
of sports or in a lot of other cultures where women are on the (inaudible)
-- I was just coming in here, saw the "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit ad,
right. Women are (inaudible) to experiences of men as a group. And so,
that`s part of the rape culture that says women as objectified sexual
objects. (inaudible) experience together. And I think whether it`s sports
or any other kind of environment where men gather. And in this case, these
are boys.

REID: Right.

MCPHERSON: You know, high school boys. These aren`t men. There are high
school boys ...

REID: College.

MCPHERSON: No, the high school.

REID: High school. High school.

MCPHERSON: These high school boys who learned from a culture around them
that women are meant and that we have as very voyeuristic way, in which we
experience our early lessons around sexuality. And so, that they`re taking
in all of this from media that is very humiliating in a large sense. When
you look at how boys experience their first understanding of intimacy,
sexual behavior and sexual interaction, it is not loving and caring and
nurturing. It`s not those broad lessons of humanity. That`s the question
we should be asking, here is -- where is the humanity of these boys who
said ...

REID: Right.

MCPHERSON: There`s another human being. When is my responsibility as a
human being to look after my fellow human being?

REID: Right. And I mean, and Michael, you talk a lot about sort of the
culture that surrounds particularly young black boys as they`re coming up
and sort of being that sort of universal suspect, right, and having to
carry that burden, even as young as in high school. But now you have these
other, right, you also have athletic boys who are sort of heroized and
lined, think they were given permission to do things that otherwise would
be considered criminal. I mean it took other boys to tell the -- one of
the two accusers here, hey, man, you`re a felon. But that was only one. A
lot of other people just shared these images and thought that they were
humorous.

MICHAEL SKOLNIK, GLOBALGRIND.COM: Sure. I think that the -- and I played
football when I was in high school, I was not as good as Don was, but I
tried my best to be the football star as I could. But I played football
and I saw a lot of this culture just in the locker room. I think, for me,
which was deeply troubling about this case is the focus again, Zerlina is
pointing out, is how do women avoid rape? And the conversation should be
how do men not rape? So, we talk -- we have this conversation with our
girls about, you know, what you should wear. How you should walk home at
night. What you should do. But we never have a conversation with our boys
about how not to treat a woman with disrespect. How not to take advantage
of a girl who might be intoxicated. How not to do things that we should
not be doing as young men. And that conversation as Zerlina pointed out,
should be the focus as you move forward. So rape is not one in five. But
zero in five.

REID: Yeah.

MCPHERSON: OK, by the way, that point of we tell women what not to do is
exactly why they become -- it`s your responsibility, right? And that`s why
they get blamed. Because haven`t we told you all these things? It`s your
fault, you didn`t do these things. You didn`t carry your gun to the party.

REID: Right.

MCPHERSON: You didn`t do these things, and it was your fault that this
happened.

REID: Exactly. We`re going to -- I`m going to let you make those points
after the break.

Some of the nation`s most elite universities participating -- are they --
participating in the coverup of sexual assault on campus? More of this
debate and that debate, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Sexual violence survivors seeking justice on college and university
campuses, are instead finding themselves victimized a second time when they
report the assault to school administration. That`s what happened at the
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill according to three students, and
alumni and a former dean who have filed a formal complaint with the
Department of Education`s Office of Civil Rights on behalf of themselves
and 64 other assault survivors. The complaint alleges that the university
responded to report the sexual assault with hostility towards victims.
Failure to adequately respond and investigate the claims and hearing
committees that were poorly trained to handle sexual assault cases.
Joining our panel now from San Francisco, California, are Andrea Pino, a
current, and Annie Clark, a former student at UNC Chapel Hill. They are
both survivors of sexual assault and are two of the women bringing the
complaint against the university. Andrea and Annie, thank you for being
with us.

ANDREA PINO, SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR: Hi, thank you so much for ....

ANNIE CLARK, SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR: Thank you for inviting us.

REID: So, you know, `I really appreciate you guys coming forward. And
obviously a lot of women are now coming and being a part of what you`re
doing. What do you hope to accomplish with your complaint?

CLARK: So, with our complaint, on a very basic level we hope to hold
certain administrators accountable, even see and change policies and make
sure, you know, we`ve implemented that practice. But since coming forward,
as you know, this has become much bigger than about a singular issue
campaign. We start to connect universities and notice trends and patterns
that have happened, you know, nationwide. If you look at Occidental
College and you look at Yale, you start to notice the same things. And so
what we`re looking at is not only procedural change and holding
administrators accountable, but having larger conversation about sexual
assault. Exactly what, you know, Zerlina and Don were talking about, how
we treat each other in this country. And so it`s a much larger issue. And
you want to chime in on that?

PINO: And I think it`s also definitely creating a forum for survivors to
come forward. You know, so often times we`re being told that our story is
one of a kind. It`s something that, you know, it`s our fault that we could
have prevented it. And we hope that, you know, not only with our
complaint, but also by coming forward and sharing our stories that we let
others survivors know that they`re not alone. That it`s not their fault,
and it`s their time to come forward as well.

REID: Well, starting with Andrea, can you just walk us through what the
response was specifically from the university when you came forward with
your complaint? When you initially came forward, how did they respond to
you?

PINO: Yeah, so again, you know, I was sexually assaulted March 2012. So
it`s been about a year as of last week. And right after my assault I had a
very difficult time kind of adjusting academically and just finding
support. I had actually used Annie`s blind report system, which allowed me
to report anonymously because I didn`t know who my assailant was. But
since I was employed by the university and was a very active student
leader, I noticed that our policies were not very survivor friendly. And
they were also not very clear on what the procedures were for really coming
forward and finding support. So I mean I was definitely -- I was hearing
dozens of stories a week. And I realized that my story was one of many.
So I was telling all these administrators, you know, my concerns and really
wasn`t being met with any sort of answers. It was very much we`ll get to
it. You know, it`s something that will eventually need compliance, but it
was never -- we`re going to do something about it. So, I mean Annie --
Annie is a good friend of mine and also, you know, when she reported her
assault, you know, she dealt with the same issues in 2007. And, you know,
we realize that, you know, these many years later things were not really
changing. So, you know, we decided to write. And initially we were going
to write an article. I am a political science major, I was doing some
research online. And I was writing an article with Annie. And when we
found out we could file a complaint, you know, talking to students at
Amherst and Yale, we told the university we were going to do something
about it. And that it was very much, well, you`re not really going to do
anything.

REID: Right.

CLARK: They very much said, you know, don`t do it. We can handle this
internally. Are you sure you want to go public with this? There was --
and I think just after years of fighting the same battle and seeing Andrea,
you know, go through what I went through and not -- you know, some has
changed and some has definitely gotten better, but the somatic issues are
still the same. So, we had to do something about it legally.

REID: All right, I want to read a statement -- the university did issue a
statement saying "We will respond appropriately to the office of civil
rights request for information and cooperate fully with the investigation."
So I want to make sure that we get that statement in. One more question to
you, ladies, a former dean of students is actually joining you in the
complaint. What was her experience, and why did she join the complaint
with you?

CLARK: I think she`ll have to speak to some of that. I`m not going to
speak on her behalf. But I can tell you , she, Melinda Manning (ph) has
been an amazing, and one of the few people at the university of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill who has supported survivors and has fought, you
know, tirelessly for them. And I think, after, you know, years of doing
that and not receiving much support, that it was on (ph) us. After I
reported my assault in 2007 and was met with the now infamous football
quote, I went to her. And I was like, this has got to change. And she is
one of the ones who helped me rewrite and recreate some of our policies.

REID: All right. Well, I want to thank Andrea Pino and Annie Clark in San
Francisco.. We have a lot more from the panel and I will let them get
right to it after we come back in this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: We`re back talking about the high school sexual assault trial now
under way in Steubenville, Ohio. And I want to bring out panel back in.
Inevitably what happens in a case like this where you have a football
program that`s so deer to the community. I mean I lived in Miami where
basically football was one and then maybe God second, right? And, you
know, there are towns where this is important. Is that you have a certain
percentage of the community that actually closed ranks around the boys, and
the girl ends up sort of isolated among other women activists (inaudible)
all over the country. But there is a closing ranks. So is the risk here
in Steubenville that you`re going to wind up having families closing ranks
around this vulnerable families who are worried about civil lawsuits and
everything else, or about the future of these boys, If they`re convicted
they would be locked up until they`re 21. The closing ranks aspect of this
case. And I will start with you, Irin.

CARMON: I would say certainly it was in a community, that is a depressed
community and doesn`t have a lot of hope, a lot of hope is being put into
the football program. But I would also say that a lot of the media
coverage that should know better that is national, does also end up closing
ranks and worrying so much about these boys` dreams. We saw it in the
coverage of the Texas gang rape. 20/20`s report, frankly, I found very
victim blaming. Very concerned about these boys, where in this case we
have a lot of evidence. So, I think -- I think it is absolutely true that
institutionally people close ranks, but I also think in our broader culture
we have anything, but thinking about the victim. We have, what about those
poor boys. And that definitely has to change.

REID: And Zerlina, isn`t that getting back to what you were talking about.
Because even at the back of people`s mind, when they are thinking about
this case, at the back of their minds, it`s like the Mike Tyson rape case.
They are thinking, but she went to that party.

MAXWELL: Right.

REID: She was drinking.

MAXWELL: Right.

REID: She had to have had something to do with it, right?

MAXWELL: Right. And the thing here is that Trent and Ma`lik were making
choices also, right?

REID: Right.

MAXWELL: And so, that means to be the focus of all of these cases, I mean
the end of their football career is not as important as really the tragedy
and the trauma that this victim is going to have to overcome. And that
should be the focus, right? We need to talk about what the choices that
the boys made. Not the choices that she made and put herself in that
situation to quote one of the coaches that was quoted in the media.

REID: Right, especially, since part of the choices that are being made by
-- not just these boys, but you`re seeing it with fights being posted on
Youtube. You`re seeing it with this whole culture of abusing someone in
some way and then turning it into entertainment.

SKOLNIK: Certainly. And I also want to point out that this story was
being swept under the rug. And it wasn`t going to be talked about. And --
just give a shot to anonymous, and all the required controversial. Without
them, this story would not be talked about at all. So, they were the ones
who had brought it to the national attention. I think look, it`s a sad
statement of our country, of our culture, of our love of sport that we
would put any football program before the humanity of a child. Of a young
woman. That we put the humanity -- the future of two men who were
potentially raped a young girl as holding them and helping them and saving
them, and looking at this young girl as the one who possibly asked for it
or was too drunk. That is a sad comment -- an argument as a nation, and as
a country we should be surrounding this girl with warmth and with love.

REID: Right. Even when just when we talk about the case. I mean I think
we talked about assault. We talked about -- always getting around to be
our wording, not really even wanting to address it. And isn`t that part of
the reason that boys don`t understand the five points that Zerlina was
saying. Because rape is just not even on the menu of things that they`re
thinking about. They`re thinking about fun, they`re thinking about
partying, obviously, they`re thinking about sex. But boys are not being
trained to even think about or to, you know, ruminate about the notion of
rape.

MCPHERSON: Not at all. Boys are not even being socialized to even talk
about being human. Just talk about humanity, right, it`s a very narrow
understanding and a very narrow definition. And I think that`s one -- the
broader problems, as you started the show off by saying parents, this may
be too sensitive for your children. The problem is, their children are
being exposed to this kind of humiliating behavior on a regular basis
through media that they consume in the absence of parents. And then we say
when it becomes a much more mature or dangerous behavior later on, we say
that this is a women`s issue. And therefore, it`s women`s responsibility
to deal with this, and not men`s responsibility for us to talk to our sons
about what it means not to do these things, if you will. Let - but even
beyond not to rape, not to assault. But how to love each other. How to
really truly care for each other in a society where we`re accountable to
one another. That`s not happening with our boys. And they are taking in
from a media culture of humiliation. Of this is what it means to be a man.
And it`s not just in sports or in these areas, but I think it`s across the
board of how we talk to one another. When we don`t listen to each other,
we don`t talk to each other. And we all see that your issue is my issue.

REID: Right. Right. Right. And then we`re also sending these boys, who
were being acculturated this way in high school, then we`re sending them
off unsupervised to college.

MAXWELL: Right.

REID: And just to read a couple of statistics, once these children get to
college, and we just had those two young women on from the University of
North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In colleges, college women, 19 percent have
reported experiencing sexual assault. That`s one in five. And 42 percent
tell no one about the assault. We`re looking at a 2008 survey that found
that one in six female undergraduates reported nonconsensual vaginal
penetration. Rape, essentially. And what we are talking about, is boys
who are already by high school being taught, you know, what, I can kind of
do whatever I want. These girls are just objects or just accessories to
me, what frightens me as a parent, is then we`re sending our girls off to
college with these same boys.

MAXWELL: Yeah.

REID: Who really haven`t learnt anything about women, respecting women or
rape. OK, there`s really just so much more for us to get to on this issue.
We are going to have to switch tiers next. I want to thank Don McPherson
and also Irin Carmon. Zerlina and Michael are staying for more. And up
next, my letter of the week. Reince Priebus, please allow Nerdland to be
the next stop on your listening tour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: This week Republican National Committee Chairman Reinhold Reince
Priebus held an African-American listening tour. It`s part of the GOP
leader`s attempt to figure out what went wrong in 2012 and how to bring
more voters into the Republican tent. Monday`s stop brought Priebus to
Brooklyn where he huddled with the select group of black Republicans at the
Christian Cultural Center, which boasts 37,000 members and a pastor Rev.
A.R. Bernard who has flirted with running for New York Mayor as a member of
the GOP. The backdrop -- exit polls showing President Obama won 93 percent
of African-American voters and 71 percent of Latino voters in the last
election. And while minority voters made up 28 percent of the electorate
in 2012, by 2020 30 percent of those going to the polls will be nonwhite.
Given that, you would think Priebus would take the time to listen to a
tough question or two from those of us in the media who got a chance to
hear from him before they went behind closed doors. And that if maybe even
-- I don`t know -- answer? Not so. And that`s why my letter today is to
RNC Chair Reince Priebus.

Dear Reince. Can I call you Reince? It`s me, Joy. Your program was
really instructive. Specifically, New York state GOP chair Ed Cox who
appeared alongside you instructed us about the history of your party,
reminding us all that it was it was a Republican, President Lincoln who
signed the 13th Amendment. And that another Republican, Chief Justice Earl
Warren wrote the majority opinion in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education
decision. All true. But Cox said that in answer to a question about what
the GOP has to offer black voters today. And 1865 and 1954 were a long
time ago. Neither you nor Cox could come up with an example of the
Republican Party`s proud racial history more recent than the early 1970s
when President Richard Nixon enacted school desegregation. And even he did
that kicking and screaming. Speaking in front of the black audience this
week, you displayed masterful insight, acknowledging that Mitt Romney`s 47
percent remarks did not help your party last November.

But it was your party who selected the one percenter as your standard
bearer. And in answer to my question about how your party would deal with
its more recent history. You know, those voter I.D. billboards including
in your home state that were designed to make minority voters feel like
they were being followed by the police. Those early voting restrictions
that disproportionally impacted black and brown voters, the right-wing
media who disparaged African-Americans as lazy welfare cheats, but members
of your party are too afraid to stand up to. You know, recent Republican
history. Now, what you said on Monday is that to win over minority voters,
quote, you`ve got to show up. In fact, you said that a lot. You used the
phrase nearly a dozen times by my account. Reince, you came to Brooklyn
because last November it was minority voters who showed up. Your party`s
efforts in the last election cycle to suppress the vote galvanized African-
Americans to turn out in higher numbers than in 2008. And I hate to break
it to your, but chatting with a group of African-Americans who are already
Republicans won`t do much to change that. And neither will reminding us
what your party did for us in 1865 or 1954 or in during the `70s. Even if
you show up and say it at church. Sincerely, Joy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the voting booth,
ah-ha, think again. The assault on your right to vote continues, which is
why we in Nerdland bring you another installment of -- this week in voter
suppression. And this week in voter suppression new shenanigans include
potential photo I.D. voting requirements in North Carolina, which the
Republican majority looks to move next month. Then there`s the Arkansas
photo I.D. voting requirement, which the state house passed on Wednesday.
Now, the bill goes back to the state senate for approval and must then be
signed by Democratic Governor Mike Beebe. And this Monday, the Supreme
Court will hear its second voting rights case of the year. Arizona versus
the Intertribal Council of Arizona. This case tests whether Arizona can
add its own state measures on top of the federal requirements for voter
registration. So, joining us at the table is Nina Perales, vice president
of litigation at the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund,
which served as lead counsel in the original Arizona case, and also social
commentator and my pal Nancy Giles. And still with us political analyst
Zerlina Maxwell and Russell Simmons` political adviser Michael Skolnik.
So, I want to start with you, Nina. Can you walk us through just a little
bit about the Arizona case that we`re going to be seeing before the Supreme
Court on Monday?

NINA PERALES, MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE & EDUCATION FUND: Yes. Thank
you. Well, the Arizona case is about a very simple conflict between a
state law and a federal law enacted by Congress. 20 years ago, Congress
looked around the country and saw that people were not participating in
federal elections. They weren`t registered to vote. And it was largely
because of a very confusing patchwork of state laws. Lots of barriers of
lots of different types to voter registration. And Congress decided to
safeguard the integrity of federal elections by making sure that in
addition to whatever states did they had to do some additional streamlined
registration procedures. And part of that was a wonderful mechanism called
the federal voter registration postcard. And that means that no matter
where you live anywhere in the United States you can go and get one of
these postcards, fill it out, it`s simple, it`s straight forward, send it
in and you can be registered to vote for federal elections. This has had a
tremendous wonderful impact in increasing voter registration in the United
States. And by contrary ...

(CROSSTALK)

PERALES: In Arizona law that there`s -- no, you can`t.

REID: Right.

PERALES : We won`t take your postcard ...

REID: OK.

PERALES: Unless you add additional things that Arizona wants to add to the
voter registration at the kitchen..

REID: They want you to bring in a birth certificate. They want you to
bring in proof of citizenship, they`re putting their own layer ...

PERALES: That`s right.

REID: 1070 (inaudible) kind of layering on top of it.

PERALES: That`s exactly right. And the reason it`s as B-1070 is that it`s
allegedly proof of citizenship. But it`s really what they want is a
document from a list that they have set out, and what Arizona is doing is
grafting its own requirements on top of the federal voter registration
form. And as a result, in the first couple of years of implementation over
31,000 people were rejected for voter registration in Arizona.

REID: Wow. So, now if the Supreme Court were to rule in favor of Arizona,
wouldn`t that just sort of open it up now, open the flood gates of states
being able to say, you know what -- we`ll add our own requirements. We`ll
have you have a gun license before you can get registered to vote. Pretty
much anything that a state would want to do.

PERALES: That`s absolutely right. What states could do, is, say, well, in
addition to your voter registration postcard, we want a note from your
doctor to say you`re mentally competent.

(LAUGHTER)

PERALES: Because mental competency is a requirement, or we want a letter
from the court saying you are not (inaudible) by a felony conviction. Or
we want proof that you actually live where you live. So we know we can put
you in the right precinct.

REID: Right.

PERALES: There is no end to the type of paperwork that states could layer
on if the Supreme Court decides that Congress`s enactment and the National
Voter Registration Act has to yield ...

REID: ... to the states and what really should happen and why we`re
confident of winning this case, is because the constitution says state laws
must yield to federal ...

PERALES: Now, I thought, and Nancy, when, you know, we sort of laugh about
all of the things that could be come up with in a conservative potential
state, right? Before that you can ...

NANCY GILES: What about the number of jelly beans in a jar?

REID: Exactly.

GILES: We can go right (inaudible). Where I get confused is -- and I`m so
happy that you said that you reminded people of how the Constitution
functions, which is the feds outdo the states. But it almost reminds me of
like a really bratty child who keeps going to the different parents, saying
can`t I? Can`t I?

REID: Right.

GILES: You know, and maybe hoping that someone will trump what`s actually
been said. I mean it`s just -- it galls me. And all of these voting
obstacles have literally given me palpitations. I mean I cannot breathe at
the thought of thinking about what could happen.

REID: Right.

GILES: And in fact, at one point before the election in November, I
remember tweeting Charles Blow and saying something like, OK, so, if
they`re successful in blocking people who don`t have IDs, let`s call
Beyonce and Jay-Z and get some cars ....

(LAUGHTER)

GILES: ... and they are forgetting the I.D.s ....

REID: Right.

GILES: ...and birth certificates and just get the stuff. You know -- It`s
so frustrating.

REID: But that`s a good point, though. Because, you know, and it reminds
-- of the things, among many other things, writer and the activist, you`re
also a Democratic strategist, right?

MAXWELL: Yes.

REID: So I mean a lot of this is about trying to prevent constituencies
tend to vote Democratic.

SKOLNIK: Right.

REID: You`re trying to reduce their presence at the polls. So is the
right response, what Nancy just said, say, OK, if this is happening, if
there is a risk that these laws could be upheld, should people be changing
their focus toward just getting I.D.s?

MAXWELL: I think that`s part of it. But then also, too, I mean you saw in
2012 that black people went out in mass. Right? And you see when they
come after our rights -- we`re like, no, we have got to go line up and
early vote. We need to bus people to the polls on Sunday. And so I think
that the key here is that, you know, when our rights are infringed, we go
out harder for -- to exercise those rights. And I think that the problem
is that they are not putting forth policy that encourages people to vote
for them. They`re just trying to strip away our rights.

SKOLNIK: Exactly.

REID: And quickly, Michael, is the worry, though, that people are that
proactive because they personally are motivated to vote for Barack Obama.
Take Barack Obama off the equation. Will there still be the motivation?

SKOLNIK: I think there will be the motivation. Because I think Barack
Obama has laid the ground work for that motivation. But I think all of
this nonsense ....

REID: Yes.

SKOLNIK: ... is just to muddy the waters so folks are confused.

REID Right.

SKOLNIK: So I need I.D., (inaudible), I need jelly beans in a jar, I need
...

REID: Right.

SKOLNIK: Letter from my doctor. I need -- my girlfriend got to come with
me.

GILES: Right.

SKOLNIK: I just like to confuse people who don`t have access to
information. And then they don`t show up. But I hope that, you know, out
of all of this, especially in the local elections in 2014, we go to the
poll, because that`s when the state houses are figured out.

REID: Exactly.

SKOLNIK: And we have to vote them in.

REID: That was in 2010. Nina, I want to give you the last word. Do you
expect -- is it your expectation that the Supreme Court will uphold or
overturn the Arizona law?

PERALES: It is our expectation that it will overturn Arizona law or say,
rather, that Arizona`s law must yield where there is a federal mandate to
accept the postcard. You know, that the ninth circuit court of appeals
agreed with us. We have a very strong welcome in our site. And most
importantly, we don`t think the Supreme Court is going to buy ...

REID: Right.

PERALES: ... this election fraud fiction that Arizona is putting forward.
Arizona says it needs to safeguard the integrity of its elections.
Congress has the right to safeguard the integrity of its elections by
making sure people don`t face artificial barriers.

REID: And well, you think, they are not going to buy it. Even Tony Scalia
-- well, we`ll see about that.

(LAUGHTER)

REID: I want to thank you very much, Nina Perales and also, Zerlina
Maxwell, Michael and Nancy are sticking around. And coming up next, is the
new pope really a chance for change? Plus, when police are accused of
hurting the community they`re supposed to protect. More Nerdland at the
top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOY REID, GUEST HOST: Welcome back. I`m Joy Reid, in today for
Melissa Harris-Perry.

A leader for the world`s 1.2 billion Catholics was chosen this week
in a confidential vote witnessed by none but the 77 men who decided who
among them would be the, quote, "vigor of God." We only knew the outcome
when we saw the white smoke billowing from the chimney place atop the
chapel, just after 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday.

After only a two day conclave and just in time for Easter, a new pope
had been chosen. Soon after, we knew his name or names, Cardinal Jorge
Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. A 76-year-old Jesuit from Argentina,
and the crowd went wild.

Pope Francis is historic. Like more than 40 percent of the world`s
Catholics, he`s from Latin America, specifically Argentina, making him the
first in a millennium not to be born in Europe.

But for all the demographic significance of the selection, and
despite the fact that no other known entity, especially one this large
chooses its leaders like this, the decision of who will be pope is
intensely political.

For instance, Pope John Paul II, elected in 1978, continually took
his message on the road, travelling to more than 100 countries. And he
took what can only be described as political positions of some of the
biggest issues of the day. He spoke out against the arms race, capital
punishment and the Iraq war 10 years ago. He advocated for many forms of
social justice while also opposing abortion, homosexuality, birth control
and espousing various other conservative positions.

After John Paul`s death in 2005, his successor, Pope Benedict XVI,
was more preoccupied with his own house, most noticeably the child abuse
scandal plaguing the global church. That brings us to Pope Francis.

Being the first Jesuit pope and the first pope from Latin America,
his very selection symbolizes change. But what remains to be seen is if he
will follow the model of John Paul II, of Benedict XVI, or if he will chart
his own path.

Joining me now are Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, editor at
large of "America" magazine, and author of "The Jesuit Guide to
Everything." Nancy Giles, writer and contributor to the "CBS Sunday
Morning". Michael Peppard, theology professor at Fordham University. And
Sister Maureen Fiedler, host of "Interfaith Voices" on public radio.

So, I want to start with the question of what kind of pope we expect
Francis to be. Is he going to be more of the sort of political, almost
world evangelizing pope like John Paul or more of a house cleaner? What do
you think, Father?

FATHER JAMES MARTIN, JESUIT PRIEST: Well, my sense is he will be a
pope of the poor. The first and most important decision a pope makes is
his name, and by choosing a name of Francis of Assisi, he sort of started
at that direction.

Also this morning, just this morning, he said, how I would like a
church of the poor and for the poor. So, I think that`s one of the great
direction we`ll see the church move in.

REID: Yes, and that`s been one of the things the church is
criticized for is moving away, Georg, from that -- I mean, Michael, from
that being first and foremost about caring for the poor.

MICHAEL PEPPARD, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Absolutely. I think one of the
aspects of him coming from the global south will be his connection to vast
income inequality and understanding that at a very deep level.

And his quotes this morning, quoting from the life of St. Francis, or
alluding to the life of St. Francis also talked about caring and guarding
for creation. And as we all know, environmental degradation
disproportionately affects the poor. And so, from his life in the global
south, coming up through those ranks, I think he`s very close to those
issues.

REID: And, you know, Sister Maureen, also, there is the issue of how
the church relates to women in the church. And, you know, we`re hearing
mostly about this mission and mandate to go back to talking about the poor?
But what about the role of women, do you expect any change? Is there any
history that you may know about the former Cardinal Bergoglio suggests that
he might be more open to expanding the roles.

SISTER MAUREEN FIEDLER, SISTERS OF LORETTO: Well, I scoured the
sources because I`m really interested in this. I haven`t been able to
detect anything specific about women. I don`t expect them to ordain women
to the priesthood next week.

I do expect there may be incremental change because he`s already said
some things that have just blown me away. Like a church of the poor and
for the poor. Whoa, that sounds suspiciously like the gospel.

(LAUGHTER)

FIEDLER: You know? That was just fantastic.

And, again, I also hope he`s a pope for the environment. But we`ll
have to wait and see.

I think there is one change he could make fairly easily. And again,
I don`t think he has a record on this -- he could change the requirement of
clerical celibacy. He might decide that it`s OK for priests to marry.
That`s not a doctrinal issue. That`s an issue of practice. He could
change that easily if he wanted to.

REID: Well, you jumped a whole segment ahead. We have a whole of
that coming up. You`re going to want to stick around for that.

But I want to get back just for a moment to this whole idea of what
he might change.

And, Nancy, you know, people who look from at the church from the
outside looking in, see it --

(CROSSTALK)

REID: You know, me, too --

NANCY GILES, CBS SUNDAY MORNING: Yes.

REID: I haven`t been Catholic since I was 6 years old -- look at the
church and see a ridged institution that`s all about what, you know, the
former Cardinal Ratzinger did was. Don`t take that birth control.

GILES: Oh my goodness.

REID: Always policing the faithful and maybe not speaking to global
issues like poverty. But John Paul was a hero to me, whether you are
Catholic or not, because he did seem to look outward at bigger global
issues.

GILES: Well, as the honorary non-Catholic at the table, I never was,
not even when I was 6.

The first thing I want to say is how fun it was to be in the green
room with these guys and hear the excited chatter about what did you hear
what he said? Which was really great.

They are all things that as a non-Catholic, like I`m really happy to
hear. The conversations on poverty in this country we don`t talk about
enough. So, to have someone like a pope make that a big issue is huge.

There are two things I have a question about, though. I want to
answer your question but just in case people don`t know, because I`m never
sure about this. What is a Jesuit -- what does being a Jesuit mean? And
also, why do you think this pope is 76 and maybe not 66? What`s with that?

REID: Well, it just so happens we have a Jesuit at the table. Let`s
go to him.

Tell us, what is it in the Jesuit tradition that makes it different
from sort of greater Catholicism?

MARTIN: Sure. Jesuits, well, we`re Catholics. We`re Catholic
religious order. We take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. We`re
known mostly in the United States for our educational institutions,
Georgetown, B.C., Fordham, and places like that.

But I think, you know, because the pope did not come up through the
diocesan model, you know, parish priest, bishop, those kinds of things,
he`s a little bit of an outsider. He also part of the Jesuit world view is
social justice and working really closely with the poor.

And this pope, when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, was really
affiliated with the poor. You see pictures of him cleaning the feet of the
poor.

And so, he`s bringing a whole kind of fresh look, a new kind of
spirituality, and a real love for the poor.

All the popes love the poor, but it`s a certain emphasis on it that I
think the Jesuits may bring.

REID: And he already seems more accessible, right? He held the
(INAUDIBLE) congress. I don`t even think I`ve heard of anyone doing that.

FIEDLER: He`s not only accessible, he seems to have rejected a lot
of the pomp and circumstance around the papacy.

GILES: The Prada slippers.

FIEDLER: Right, the red shoes will go, I suspect. Yes.

But when he came out on the balcony that first night, all he had on
was the white cassock. He didn`t have any brocade or anything really
fancy. He`s rejected that. He even took the bus the first day to go back
to where he stayed.

This is really unheard of. And I think it bodes well.

I think that every nun I know in the United States would cheer this
emphasis on the poor.

REID: He might --

FIEDLER: He might get on the bus with my friends Sister Simone
Campbell. He may do that.

I don`t think he`d be a fan of the Ryan budget either.

REID: I have a funny feeling he wouldn`t.

Michael, I`m fascinated by this. I mean, the Catholic Church has so
many beautiful pieces oaf art. It`s so vast and grand. But it is sort of
distant from Jesus and the teaching of the gospel was about, which was
simplicity, which was dealing with the poor, which was not rejecting women
but actually bringing them in --

FIEDLER: That`s right.

REID: -- who are event outcast in society.

REID: How did the church go from the Jesus tradition to the grand
tradition?

PEPPARD: Wow, you`re asking a historian a big question.

REID: It`s hard question. Answer it in 30 seconds.

PEPPARD: One thing I would say about this new Pope Francis which
does very much imitate Christ is the way he sought out the poor and sought
out those on the margins and not just waiting for them to come to him.

So, for example, the photo that`s been going around of him washing
the feet of AIDS patients in Buenos Aires, reminds us so much of the gospel
of John, of the commandment to wash feet. And even kissing the feet I
noticed in one of the photos, which goes beyond the commandments and shows
his love for the poor.

In terms of how the church became rich, that is a long story. But
you`re absolutely right. That in the first few hundred years of Christian
history, this was a church that was mostly meeting in homes, mostly meeting
with not very organized organizational structures. And it was only after
the conversion of Constantine, the emperor in the fourth century that all
this money started flowing in to the church.

And at the time, in the fourth and fifth centuries, they were
confused about what to do then. Well, how does -- how can you be a good
Christian and rich? That was a new question they had to deal with.

And Medieval Europe is sort of the result of their answer to that
question. But yet there are still ways to channel charity into the church,
so it would go out for the poor.

REID: Right. But we haven`t talked about it, we haven`t touched on
it, but it is sort of the elephant in the room (INAUDIBLE), the question of
how -- you said he`s an outsider, Francis -- what does that mean for his
dealing with the sex scandals that have rocked the church throughout the
world?

MARTIN: Well, I think it gives him sort of a free hand to really
address it squarely. I don`t think any cardinals in the room that don`t
know this is the number one issue facing the church, and that they needed
to find someone who had the sort of perspective and the toughness to do
this.

Now, as a Jesuit, I know that when he was a Jesuit, he was very tough
and he was not afraid to ruffle feathers. And so, I think that this is a
guy who can make hard decisions and who also as an archbishop and bishop
knows, you know, what the sex abuse crisis is all about in the parishes and
in the dioceses.

So, I cannot imagine that he`s not going to address this. He has to.
I mean, in order to make the rest of his message credible.

REID: And Sister Maureen teed it up for us. So we are going to talk
more about the other thing that he potentially could theoretically change.
And we`ll talk more about why, because when we come back, what the pink
smoke at the Vatican was about, and the case for ending celibacy rules for
priests.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Before Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis, before we
saw the white smoke, we saw pink smoke floating over the Vatican. Yes,
pink. Protesters in Rome reportedly organized by the women`s ordination
conference set off the smoke to call for a greater role for women in the
Catholic Church, including ordination in the priesthood, ordination that
would, presumably eventually, put women in contention for the job that Pope
Francis got the following day. And I know you`re happy -- you`re happy
about that this morning.

As we -- sorry -- as we discuss how a new pope presents an
opportunity for change, we ask what the new pope may mean not only for the
Catholic Church`s gender politics but also for centuries long policy for
celibacy for its priests and nuns.

Joining our panel now from Miami is Father Albert. He used to be a
Roman Catholic who left the church in order to marry and is now an
Episcopal priest. He`s also the author of "Dilemma: A Priest Struggle with
Faith and Love."

Father Albert Cutie, thank you for being here.

FATHER ALBERT CUTIE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST: Thank you so much. I`m so
happy to be able to join you this morning.

REID: Now, you left the church after a relationship you had with a
woman who is now your wife was disclosed, so that you clearly had broken
the vow of celibacy in the church. Did you feel that the vow of celibacy
gets in the way, did it get in the way of your ministry when you were still
a Catholic?

CUTIE: Well, I think the values are very valuable especially in the
case of religious men and women who live in congregation or communities,
religious orders, you know, like Pope Francis. He`s a Jesuit.

So, I wouldn`t say that you have to abolish that. We have actually
many religious men and women in the Anglican Church, is in the Episcopal
Church. We have sisters and brothers and nuns. But I got to tell you --
for secular priests, which is a majority of us, parish priests, diocesan
priests, who don`t take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, but in
the case of Roman Catholicism who make promises of celibacy and obedience
to the bishop, I think it should be optional, like it was the first 12
centuries.

And most people are not familiar with that, but the first 39 popes
were actually married men. And Jesus chose among the apostles mostly
married men.

So, married men are serving as priests in the church and all the
eastern rites and they are under the pope and they are now serving as
former Anglican priests who became Roman Catholics. So, the fact is that
it`s not incompatible for a man to be married and to be a good parish
priest.

REID: Right. And I do want to bring in Michael in because that is
true, right? You were talking about the church as well. It wasn`t the
idea of priests not being able to marry, or popes not being able to marry,
in part because of trying to eliminate the ability to pass down that vast
wealth onto sons.

PEPPARD: Right, that`s one of the issues. There are several phases
in the celibacy question at the very beginning, there was a kind of
apocalyptic ideal -- meaning that the world is about to end. So, celibacy
makes sense. Why are we going to have a bunch of kids in these families?

But that later on, and when the world didn`t end, transferred to what
you might call and ascetic ideal, people who voluntarily renounce things.
And this became especially keen for the virtuosos of the church, people who
wanted to seek a greater spiritual unity with God. And this was a
paradoxically to our mind a kind of sexual liberation movement for a lot of
women in early Christianity.

REID: Yes.

PEPPARD: That they could be freed from the domestic duties in order
to seek a life of learning and a prayer through sexual renunciation.

But you`re absolutely right that over time, there was difficulty with
how to pass on property. And that`s one of the issues that arose in
medieval Europe that ultimately led to mandatory clerical celibacy in the
12th century.

REID: Right. And I`ll throw it to out to either Father Jim or
Sister Maureen. I mean, what would it change do you think in the church if
you did have the option to marry? Obviously, you might have a bigger pool
of people who want to become priests, but would it change the functional
role of the priest to have him have that option?

MARTIN: It probably wouldn`t. I mean, as the Father Cutie was
saying, there are already some married priests in the Catholic Church in
the eastern rites, but also former Lutheran or Anglican priests that join.

I think one of the things that`s gone sort of unremarked on is that
it would make it a little more difficult for the church to support, you
know, the families of the priests. So, I think that`s -- for people who
are in favor of it, I think that`s something we tend to overlook. In other
words, they would need bigger salaries, which in a church that is already
paying priests very much, so I think that`s an unforeseen problem that it
might happen, yes.

REID: Well, I want to bring Father Cutie back in.

I mean, is that an issue? Could adding married priests to the church
in a sense make things worse? Then you are bringing in issues of potential
divorce, relationships that don`t work out, children, the church is already
struggling with financial settlements because of the sex abuse scandals,
then happening to maybe pension, the widows of priests. Could it actually
make things worse?

CUTIE: Well, I think the only way you can make things worse is if
you look at the present behavior of priests and if you`re satisfied with
that, what`s happening. And I`m talking about the women who write me
almost every day from every corner of the world who have fathered children
of priests, priests that are promiscuous, either heterosexually or
homosexually, priests that are involved in a bunch of different situations.

I`m not saying that all priests are not faithful to the celibacy.
But for a good number of priests, celibacy is not working out. So, to try
to ignore that as a reality -- I mean, we can`t ignore it.

Now, I think financially people have to be taught to be responsible
with their church. I can tell you, in the Episcopal Church, congregations
are smaller. Some congregations struggle financially. But for the most
part, they support and sustain their priests and their families quite well
because priests are independent people who have to be responsible for their
own families and their own situations.

In some cases, they have a full time job in the church. In some
cases, they work in other things and make money in other places.

But the fact is that just saying oh, let`s keep celibacy because that
way, finances will be OK, I think that`s very irresponsible.

REID: Right.

I think Father Jim had a response that he wanted to give.

MARTIN: Yes, I was going to see. I don`t think that you asked, you
know, what would the consequence be? I`m not saying that`s the reason to
abolish celibacy, but that would be a consequence.

I do think it`s important to say that you see these cases of priests
breaking their vows and religious breaking their vows. You know, the vast
majority of people in religious order are keeping their vows of chastity,
you know, like sister and I and the vast majority of priests are living
celibately.

So, I think that even though there are some outliers and some sinful
people, it`s important to sort of underline that. Even though it may be
difficult for them, they are keeping their vows. So, it`s not widespread.

REID: Sister Maureen?

FIEDLER: Right. What I think would make a difference is a little
pink smoke, and the introduction of women to priestly roles in the church
and more leadership roles in the church. Now, that`s a more difficult
issue on which to change things. But, you know, I`ve been watching this
pope now just for a couple of days.

When you`re a pope, you`re not just an archbishop. You`re a lot
freer. Now, maybe you can do what`s in your heart of hearts.

And I keep getting the feeling in watching this pope is that his art
is overflowing in ways that maybe it wasn`t in Argentina. So, if he has a
heart for a place of women in the church, and increased leadership of
women, maybe there`s an opening there.

REID: Do you have a quick comment Nancy?

GILES: Yes, I was going to say that add women and I love the idea of
adding married priests. Of course, you know, I`m the honorary non-
Catholic. But it just -- as a matter of priests advising families and
understanding how a family works and parenting and maybe having a different
approach to things like birth control. Not saying, hey, let`s do it. But,
you know, that`s a very responsible way to bring that into the church.

REID: I want to give you the last word, Father Cutie. Now that you
are in the Episcopal Church, which is more liberal on some of these things,
do you feel that your role in the community is easier, made easier by the
fact that you yourself are now in a family situation?

CUTIE: Well, I got to tell you that I really do believe that the
people in the parish understand the married priests in the way they did not
understand the celibate priest, and there`s a connection, because they too
have families. They too get up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning to change
diapers. They, too, have to worry about some of the basic things.

And I really do believe that there`s a connection. And I also see
that priests are able to say to people directly, hey, you know what, your
struggles are my struggles. Right now, priests are very much protected in
the Roman Catholic Church by the big institution, by holy mother church.

In the Episcopal Church, priests are more like the rest of us and I
think that that makes it very positive.

REID: All right. Well, thank you. I appreciate you, Father Cutie,
for being here, from Miami.

And I also want to thank Father Jim, Michael Peppard, and Sister
Maureen Fiedler.

Nancy is staying with us.

And coming up, how the ongoing Chicago gun violence claimed its
youngest victim.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: This was a big news week for the world`s 1.2 billion Catholics
who now have a big pontiff. Argentinian Jorge Bergoglio appeared on the
balcony of the Vatican Wednesday evening rechristen as Pope Francis and
making history as the first pontiff from Latin America.

Stateside, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan made news with an
unveiling of his own. As House budget chairman, he proposed a budget for
fiscal year 2014. Ryan`s plan in theory would eliminate the annual deficit
by 2023, by cutting projective spending to the tune of $5 trillion,
lowering taxes and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

It`s pretty much the same Ryan budget that Paul Ryan has been
proposing for years. And predictably, it isn`t going anywhere.

That frustration might have led him to dismiss Democratic Senator
Patty Murray`s counter budget proposal.

On Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference,
Congressman Ryan said that if you read the Senate bill you will find that,
quote, the Vatican is not the only place blowing smoke this week.

Also making headlines this week with a more cordial attitude,
President Obama continued his so-called charm offensive with congressional
Republicans in hopes of reaching a deal on the budget and ending the
sequester now in its second week. We`ll have to wait and see if the
efforts yield any results.

With all the politicking as usual this week, it`s understandable if
you missed this news item. On Monday in Chicago, as a young father changed
the diaper of his 6-month-old baby girl on the seat of a mini van, a gunman
opened fire. The young father, Jonathan Watkins, was hit three times as he
witnessed a bullet tear through the body of his daughter Jonylah who later
died. Watkins was released from the hospital on Thursday night, able to go
home after being treated for multiple gunshot wounds, able to go home but
without his baby girl.

Instead, he went to the police station hoping to help the
investigation to find his daughter`s killer.

As gun violence like this continues to wreak havoc on our cities and
towns, the police response can be key but also controversial.

More on this when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: The shooting death of a 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins in Chicago
one Monday comes on the heels of what had been encouraging signs that the
epidemic of gun violence in the city was on the decline. According to the
Chicago Police Department, February`s homicide rate was half of what it was
a year ago and its lowest monthly level since 1957.

Some have attributed this reduction to an increased police presence
and a renewed focus on public safety in recent months. And yet, concerns
remain about the collateral damage done by ramping up policing in any of
our nation`s cities.

Just last weekend, two undercover New York police officers shot and
killed a 16-year-old boy in Brooklyn. According to the NYPD, the officers
were forced to shoot because the teen, Kimani Gray, pointed a gun in their
direction.

But some witnesses say the young man was simply adjusting his belt
when the officers opened fire.

In response, members of the community have gathered in memory and
protest of the slain teen each night this week. With tensions running
high, the police`s conduct in handling demonstrators has also been called
into question.

Many claim that excessive force has been used to subdue protests,
which speaks to larger concerns about the policing of our urban
communities.

New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, who represents the
Flatbush section of Brooklyn, addressed this very issue in a statement
about the demonstrators this is week, saying, quote, "This action that some
are calling an up rising was not about the details of one shooting. It
spoke to the overwhelming frustration that people are living through day
after day."

This frustration and its life and death consequences is all too
common in many of our cities and towns across the country.

With me now is Vince Warren, executive director of the center for
constitutional rights, which is currently bringing a federal class action
suit against the city of New York on the police department`s controversial
stop and frisk practices.

And right next to him is Eric Adams, a former New York police officer
who`s now a state senator and a candidate for Brooklyn borough president.

Still with us, social commentator Nancy Giles, and Michael Skolnik,
the political director of hip hop pioneer Russell Simmons and the co-
president of Russell Simmons Hip Hop Action Network and co-president of
GlobalGrind.com.

Thank you all for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

REID: This is the case -- this is a situation I think that presents
the fundamental tension in what we want in urban communities. And I think
you guys sitting next to each other is actual ideal, because on one hand,
we`re so outraged when we see a case like the Jonylah Watkins, which
whether or not it is gang-related, is tragic. We`re outraged when we see a
Hadiya Pendleton, who`s an innocent bystander, who`s shot to death because
some gang member was potentially looking for someone. It was mistaken
identity.

At the same time, the urban communities are saying to the police, get
in there and do something about it. But when police go in, the way they
respond, the more force that`s used, the more confrontation with members of
the community, we`re not happy with that either.

So, how do we find that balance?

I`ll start with you, Vince, because you guys are bringing the case.
You`re saying stop and frisk is not the way to find that balance.

VINCE WARREN, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: That`s exactly
right. You know, the most important thing is that what any community,
including black community, wants is that they want the police to police in
a way that gets guns off the street. That targets the criminals.

The problem is, is that this increased police presence, and we`re
seeing this in New York as well, is they`re policing entire communities
where everybody in the black community, everybody in the brown community
becomes suspect.

And that`s how you see situations like Kimani Gray, which I point
out, this is the classic narrative. We don`t all know what happened. But
this goes back to the Harlem uprising in 1964 where a young black teenager
was shot, to Amadou Diallo in 1999, where a young man was shot for just
having a wallet. The police narrative is that we shot him because had had
a gun. The community narrative is that he did not have a gun and the
police shot him in cold blood.

And the outrage and the tension that is being -- that`s happening in
the communities now, this is not new. This didn`t happen last weekend.
This has been at least a 50-year cycle that we`ve been in. But I think the
point is, is that police officers need to police guns. They need to police
in a way that protects the community and not to police the communities
themselves.

REID: Well, Eric, Senator Eric, talk about that a little bit,
because police officers that I know will tell me, OK, you want us to get
rid of the gang problem. But you don`t want us kicking in doors, you don`t
want us stopping people who may look too much like a gang member.

Is it a situation where police are being told, damned if you do,
damned if you don`t?

ERIC ADAMS, NY STATE SENATOR: I`m a (INAUDIBLE), I`m a visual
person. Violent crime in our communities, those are the berries. Civil
rights, these are the grapes. You can hate the berries and still want
grapes. But we don`t have to trade off. No other community has traded off
the two.

And so a young mother called me, she`s a nurse. She called me and
said that`s terrible what they did to this young man who may not have had a
gun. Why are innocent Brooklynites or New Yorkers or Americans no longer
trusting police? Not because of a particular incident. It`s what happened
leading up to the incident.

When you`re stopped and disrespected throughout your entire time in a
particular community, then you`re going to start no not only dislike the
berries, you`re going to dislike the people there to protect you against
those berries.

REID: And you know what? I know you guys want to get in here. But
I want to read a few statistics, because I think it is actually pretty
shocking when you look at sort of the results of stop and frisk and how it
impacts people in the communities.

Looking at the NYPD stop and frisk policy -- in 2011, we have a stat
about who -- what were the results of people who are being stopped.
Eighty-eight percent of those stopped were innocent of any crime, according
to statistics, 87 percent were African-American or Latino.

So, we know the stop and frisk is targeting a particular community.
What we don`t have is evidence that these people are actually committing
any crimes.

MICHAEL SKOLNIK, GLOBALGRIND.COM: But as Vince said, 780 guns were
taken off the street in 2009 because of stop and frisk, that`s 0.19
percent. We would have a better job if we had random checks than stop and
frisk.

But I think this leads back to what the senator was talking about,
about this is a 40-year problem or 50-year problem. You said, Vince, this
goes back to the war on drugs. We started a war against our own people for
40 years ago with the war on drugs and it didn`t work. It simply did not
work. We decimated black and brown communities and we destroyed the
relationship between the police and the community.

The police`s job is not just to protect the community, but to serve
the community.

REID: Right.

SKOLNIK: Protect and serve.

GILES: That`s what it says on the cars. I know.

I mean, I remember when I was growing up, like I grew up in Queens,
there was a young man named Clifford Glover, who was killed back in the
`70s. And it`s so -- that`s right. And I mean, right near my neighborhood
and it was a really sobering thing.

ADAMS: Not far from me.

GILES: Oh, we`re both from Queens? I didn`t know that. Represent.

But it`s so very layered, you know? There are all kinds of questions
that I always had. You`re a former cop. And I always wondered. Why does
it seem the police are trained to shoot to kill and not just disarm, maim,
shoot someone in the leg? Get them down. I don`t understand that.

ADAMS: That`s not possible. Here`s -- I`m going to explain it to
you.

GILES: Please.

ADAMS: But here`s the sense is. No innocent child should be
approached by a person with a gun. It doesn`t matter if they`re wearing
blue jeans or a blue uniform. The problem is it`s an oxymoron to some to
say black child and innocent in the same sentence.

REID: Right. And I think about the Patrick Dorismond case, do you
guys remember that, from a while back during the Giuliani era where you had
undercover police in a lot of ways people felt were terrorizing the black
community. They were undercover. People didn`t even know they were cops.

And in this case, an undercover officer attempted to buy drugs from
the young man. He said he didn`t have any. We don`t know what happened
but he wound shot by the undercover officer.

GILES: And killed.

REID: And killed, yes.

So we`re worried about is that, yes, we do want people not shooting
randomly. We don`t want people dying in drive-bys. But at the same time,
police don`t seem to have developed an approach to young black men in the
communities that they don`t feel threatened by the cops.

WARREN: Joy, this is -- you`re hitting the nail on the head. Back
in 1990 Amadou Diallo was shot. And he was shot for nothing more than
being black, standing in front of his building and having a wallet, which
the police thought was a gun.

And that time, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a
litigation seeking to challenge the street crimes unit, which was an
undercover group that was randomly stopping and frisking folks. We settled
that case. The unit was disbanded and the police promised that they would
never do that again.

And here we are from 2002 to 2011, 600 percent increase in stop and
frisks. That the numbers we`re talking about: 685,000 people were stopped
inn 2011, 500,000 stopped in 2012, 87 percent black.

REID: Right.

WARREN: Here`s the thing. The thing is that it`s not about the
number of stop and frisks. It`s that they`re not stopping the people.

SKOLNIK: The fact that, as a white guy at the table, the police
aren`t shooting white people.

REID: Right.

SKOLNIK: Name one white person who they killed.

REID: Right. And if you think about it, it`s (INAUDIBLE) that you
say that, because we were just talking even before the show that you don`t
have the police going after Emo-looking, young, white men with duffel bags
trying to stop massacres, even though the profile would suggest that.

We`re going to have much more on this when we come back. The
question is, the New York City Police Department, is it in violation of 5
million people`s civil rights?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: This week, the New York City Police Department passed a unique
milestone. According to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union,
the department has conducted 5 million stop and frisks under the tenure of
Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This controversial police practice of stopping
and searching people who they deem suspicion has attracted intense scrutiny
because the vast majority of stops have not resulted in my discovery of
wrongdoing.

Of the millions of stops conducted, 88 percent did not result in any
arrest or summon. And 87 percent targeted were African-American or Latino
in a city where young black and Latino men make up less than 5 percent of
the population.

On Monday, the stop and frisk practice will be on trial in a federal
class action suit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf
of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers allegedly illegally stopped.
Meanwhile, the controversial policy is being considered by police
departments in cities around the country.

And back to my panel, I want to do a couple other stats here. There
was a study that was conducted and this is the source of this is "The New
York Times" in Brownsville. They looked at it and found that 93 percent of
residents of Brownsville in 2009 had reported being stopped, wondering if,
you know, what kind of crime reduction that resulted in.

And then you look at the weapons that are actually found. And,
Michael, you made this point. I don`t know the break up before, but you
have to make it during the show, that weapons aren`t often found in these
cases of stops.

So, in 2011, you had African-Americans, 1.9 percent of the African-
Americans or Latinos who were stopped were found to have a weapon, 3.8
percent of whites who were stopped were found to have a weapon, according
to the New York Civil Liberties Union.

So, basically twice as likely to find weapons on whites who were
stopped, but African-Americans were far more likely to be stopped.

SKOLNIK: As I`ve said before, we`ve got a better chance of finding
weapons at a random check point. So, this stop and frisk nonsense does not
work. There is no study -- the police cannot provide a study, the city
can`t provide a study that proves that stop and frisk has reduced crime.
It doesn`t exist.

REID: Right.

And, Vince, talk a little bit about the lawsuits, because, OK, you
have -- what claim are you making? What remedy are you seeking?

WARREN: This is a lawsuit that is seeking to vindicate the people
who have been stopped over these numbers.

REID: Getting their records expunged?

WARREN: Well, no, vindicate them in the sense that they are innocent
folks who have gone through the stop and frisk process. Some of them have
been -- very few of them have actually been arrested. But what happens is
this is not an un-intrusive thing. It`s not just about a minor
inconvenience. People feel violated. These are terrifying stops for
folks.

And there`s no mechanism by which people can speak out and say, I am
an innocent person. I can`t do down to the corner store for a quarter of
milk or my kid can`t go down without me having to teach them how they`re
going to have to survive, stop and frisk.

GILES: On that point, just to the description of stop and frisk --
stand your ground is just one step beyond that. And this whole idea of, if
I deem you suspicious, I can stop and feel you up, or I can shoot you.
It`s ridiculous.

ADAMS: And I think it`s so important that we don`t allow people to
describe us as just being bleeding hearted liberals, you know? I am pro-
public safety. And for young person of any age is in possession and
they`re using it to harm our communities, they need to be incarcerated. If
they are an immediate threat, then police should take necessary action to
stop the threat.

And that is not what we`re talking about. Those are the berries.
We`re talking about human beings not being treated as second class citizens
in a first class country. You can`t create an environment where children
are growing up one way and treated one way, and then you treat other
children another way.

REID: But aren`t you also creating a difficult situation for police?
I mean, you`re a former NYPD officer, because they are now essentially
being trained to treat every black male as a suspect.

To think of them that way, to regard them that way, does it degrade
their ability to actually serve that same community if they just think of
it as a blanket criminal.

ADAMS: And let me tell you what I`m interested in here. The Police
Benevolent Association, they are stating this is not right, enough of this.

Commissioner Bratton who started the concept of broken window theory
said we`re going too far.

All the experts that are looking at how we`re treating a particular
community realize this is wrong. And let me tell you this, the people
they`re ignoring. This is bad for business. The Rodney King riot,
billions of dollars lost. The riots in Newark, New Jersey, millions of
dollars lost.

All these riots that you see that destroy cities are based on police
related interaction. It`s a bad business decision.

REID: Quickly.

SKOLNIK: If I could equate this with the Iraq war. I`m pro-police,
but anti-police, some police tactics. I`m pro-U.S. soldier. I`m anti-U.S.
tactics to go to war in Iraq. Going to war in Iraq we know was wrong.
These tactics don`t work.

We can be pro-police officer but know the tactics that they`re being
asked to use are wrong.

GILES: Well, then, I`m confused because I have actually heard press
conferences where Mayor Bloomberg will look at the camera and say, stop and
frisk is effective. And you just showed the stats that show that twice as
many white people have guns and they`re not even getting stopped.

REID: And less than 5 percent of them. So, essentially you`re
finding almost no weapons but you`re creating this really ugly situation
with the community --

GILES: After searching 87 percent of us.

REID: Exactly.

WARREN: Let me break that piece down quickly. The lawsuit is
challenging unconstitutional stop and frisks. We want people to stop
people with guns and not stop the communities and most of the people --

REID: At large.

OK, more of this in a moment. But, first, it is time for a preview
of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT".

Hey, Alex.

ALEX WITT, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hey, thanks for making time. That was
getting along, like, hey, over here.

Anyway, I mean, it`s the final day of CPAC, everyone. And also
coming up at noon, Sarah Palin takes the stage. What kind of headlines
will she make at CPAC this time around? We`re going to take you there
live.

A new bill could right a 33-year wrong. Fifty-two American hostages
held in Iran. They could finally be compensated for the time they spent
there. We`ll explain all that.

In office politics, I talk with Michael Isikoff about what he
uncovered in his exclusive on the Obama administration`s controversial
drone policy.

And scientists say they found the elusive God particle and why this
discovery could land a Nobel Prize. But not surprisingly, Joy, the
scientists don`t particularly like the name the "God particle".

REID: Yes, because why do we want to do that and invite all that --
never talk about religion and what the other conclude (ph) or children or
something like that.

WITT: Whatever, (INAUDIBLE).

REID: All right. We appreciate it. Thank you very much.

And up next, the endearing tale of the daddy, the daughter, and
"Donkey Kong".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Our foot soldier this week is a dad whose dedication to his
daughter could open up a whole new world for little girls. He`s Mike Mika,
a video game designer from the Bay Area in California.

As a true gamer dad, Mike has been trying to get his two young kids
interested in his passion for video games. While his son refused to be
torn away from his toy trains, Mike`s 3-year-old daughter Ellis, has been
gaming since before she could talk.

Mike would set little Ellis on his lap to watch as he played the
classic Nintendo game "Donkey Kong" on an old arcade machine.

Now, she plays the games herself, enjoying other classics like Pac-
man and Super Mario Brothers, too. But "Donkey Kong" is still her
favorite.

In case you haven`t played in a while, in the original "Donkey Kong",
Mario must ascend the ladders and levels to rescue Pauline from a scary
gorilla. But last week, during a round of Donkey King, Ellis wanted to
flip the script. She turned to her father and innocently asked how can I
play as the girl? I want to save Mario?

That`s when Mike decided to take a stab at hacking the classic game.
As he worked through the night tweaking the game, he posted his progress on
Facebook for his gamer friends to see. Unbeknownst to Mike, his work was
being shared around the world by the Internet. He posted a YouTube video
of the hacked game featuring a new hero, Pauline, his game`s version of the
Super Mario Brothers character Princess Toad Stool.

Mike didn`t tell Ellis about his marathon effort to basically remake
a video game just for her. He just let her play, but this time as Pauline.

Ellis noticed and flashed a big grin before diving into her favorite
game. In Mike`s behind, that was it. Case closed.

He likens the experience to a father putting a bicycle together for
his kid on Christmas Eve, but when he went online, his e-mail was
overflowing with questions on how he did it and requested for him to do the
same for other people`s kids.

In less than a week, that YouTube video has received more than 1.5
million hits. Mike says he wasn`t trying to make any grand statements
about gender equality in gaming. He was just trying to do something nice
for his daughter. But his simple act sparked a massive reaction and opened
the eyes of the gaming community.

So for changing the game for Ellis and other little girls, Mike Mika
is our foot soldier of the week.

And that is our show for today. I want to thank Vince Warren, Nancy
Giles, Michael Skolnik and State Senator Eric Adams.

And thanks to you at home for watching. I`ll be back tomorrow
morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern when we dive deep in the president`s upcoming
trip to Israel and the 10-year anniversary of the war in Iraq.

And coming up, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT."

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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