'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Saturday, March 14th, 2015
Read the transcript to the Saturday show
Show: MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY
Date: March 14, 2015
Guest: Antonio French, Michael Eric Dyson, Cristina Beltran, Jonathan
Metzl, Phillip Atiba Goff, Marva Robinson, Monroe France, Aubriana Busby
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning my question, how would you
build a police department from scratch?
Plus race talks, the college campus edition.
And the thick fallout from a blurry ruling. But first, the ongoing manhunt
for a shooter in Ferguson, Missouri.
Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. Police in St. Louis are still
looking for the people responsible for shooting two police officers late
Wednesday night during a protest outside the Ferguson police station. The
bullets hit one officer in the shoulder and the other in the face. They
were both released from the hospital several hours later after the shooting
and are recovering now at home. Since then, Ferguson has handed
responsibility for protest security over to St. Louis county police and the
Missouri highway patrol. St. Louis County Chief Jon Belmar spoke to
reporters yesterday about the ongoing investigation into the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON BELMAR, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE: I said yesterday that that
investigation is our number one priority on the police department. You
know what, it`s critical. But really, the number one priority on the
police department right now is to make sure that we continue a tempo of
service and protection and relationships in the Ferguson area to make sure
that we don`t have a regression of everything that we have been able to
accomplish since last fall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: On Thursday evening protesters returned to the police
station for a candlelight vigil for the officers. The protest remained
peaceful and no arrests were made. The shooting came as Ferguson`s city
government struggles with the fallout of a damning Department of Justice
report. The DOJ found that the town`s police force and municipal court
regularly violated residents` constitutional rights and disproportionately
targeted African-Americans, all in the quest for more revenue for the city
budget. On Tuesday the city manager John Shaw resigned. And the city
manager is the most powerful official in Ferguson overseeing the entire
government, including the police department, running the city`s day-to-day
operations and hiring and firing all city employees.
The chief of police - Chief of Police Tom Jackson resigned on Wednesday.
The municipal judge resigned Monday and the state supreme court appointed a
circuit court judge to take over all of Ferguson`s cases and implement
Last week the court`s top clerk was fired and two police officers resigned
for sending overtly racist e-mails. City leadership is set to change even
further next month. Ferguson voters will choose three new city council
members in elections on April 7th. The state of Missouri is also
considering sweeping reforms, one bill would significantly decrease how
much of a city`s budget could legally come from traffic fines. The bill
would make it so cities around St. Louis could not make more than 10
percent of their general revenue from traffic violations. Any cities that
go over that cap would be forced to give up the access to a state education
fund and forfeit their share of St. Louis County`s sales tax pool.
If they don`t hand over the money, the county can hold a vote to dis-
incorporate the entire city. Now that bill proposed by a high ranking
Republican lawmaker was approved by the state senate last month and is
awaiting a vote in the House. Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday
that such steps are good faith efforts to make progress and said the
shooting of the two officers should not derail that progress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: What happened last night was a pure
ambush. This was not someone trying to bring healing to Ferguson. This
was - this was the damned punk who was trying to sew discord in an area
that is trying to get its act together and trying to bring together a
community that has been fractured for too long. This really disgusting and
cowardly attack might have been intended to unravel any sense of progress
that exists, but a hope that that does not in fact happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So, the house cleaning has begun, but will it be enough?
Joining the table now is Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC political analyst and
professor at Georgetown University. Cristina Beltran, associate professor
of social and cultural analysis, at NYU, and Jonathan Metzl, director of
the Center for Medicine, Help and Society and professor of psychiatry at
But first, I want to go to St. Louis and welcome back to the program St.
Louis alderman Antonio French. Alderman French, we just listened to
Attorney General suggest that whoever fired the shots at the officers, may
have been trying to disrupt the efforts of progress in Ferguson. If that
was the motive, were they successful?
ANTONIO FRENCH, ALDERMAN 21 WARD IN ST. LOUIS: I don`t think so. You
know, there are people who have been out here for a very long time and they
are very focused on creating systemic change here in the region. Not just
a few individuals being removed. Not just a few resignations, but actual
change to a system that the DOJ report really outlined. And so, the act
that we saw was both cowardly and not at all productive or helpful. And I
really hope that the police are successful in finding that individual very
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Alderman, I`d also like to read to you part of a
statement from the current acting assistant attorney general for the civil
rights division. This is Vanita Gupta. And she writes, or said, "The
division will continue to work with Ferguson police and city leadership
regardless of whomever is in these positions to reach a court enforceable
agreement that will address their unconstitutional practices in a
comprehensive manner. So, I guess part of what I want to add here,
Alderman French, we`re seeing big change in terms of the people in these
positions, but is changing the people enough to change what is happening in
FRENCH: Absolutely not. It`s, you know, what we saw in the DOJ report,
which really we confirmed what African-Americans have been describing as
their experience for a very long time in this region, was not just the
actions of a few individuals. It is a system set in place that really
preys upon African-Americans and poor people. And, in fact, what we know
here in St. Louis is that Ferguson is not even the worst. That there are
many municipalities around Ferguson that are even worse. And so the system
that it described where 14 percent of Ferguson revenue comes from ticketing
citizens, there`s some municipalities as high as 40 percent. And so, we
have to start with Ferguson and it has to start with a few resignations,
but those are just the first steps of a very long journey.
HARRIS-PERRY: Alderman French, stick with me for a second. I want to come
out to my table for a moment. And Michael, I actually want to come to you
because I think there`s some structural issues here that appear to be
nonracial in their relationship to how city government works, but
nonetheless, end up having the enormous racial effects. So, I just wanted
to quote Mayor Knowles, who was the mayor of Ferguson, which we now know
the city manager actually runs everything, but the mayor of Ferguson says.
He said I only make $350 before taxes for being the part-time mayor of
Ferguson. You want to hold me accountable for not knowing that some
employees were sending racist e-mails? I have no executive authority. I
have administrative authority. I have no administrative authority. The
charter doesn`t allow me to hire, fire or even give direction to city
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, as I`m reading that I`m thinking about how many Southern
states and localities, which have this discourse about we hate taxes, we
want small government.
HARRIS-PERRY: We don`t want these folks to be empowered and then you end
up with this situation where in fact the only people who are democratically
accountable, the mayor, that`s right, makes around $350 a month, there`s
like - I don`t run this place. That unelected guy, the city manager runs
DYSON: Right. Exactly right. That`s a great point. And it is nonracial
in its intent, but it`s racialized in its consequence. So, the reality is,
is that you`ve got all those folks there. The white people of Ferguson are
going to be relieved by this as well. Because the truth is that when you
relieve the suffering economically of those who are most vulnerable, you
also relieve the suffering of those who`ve got a little bit more stake in
the system. Martin Luther King Jr. tried to tell his jailer, he said,
look, you`re jailing me in Birmingham, but you and I are in the same boat.
The people running the stuff over there, they have none of our interests at
hand. So, I think that here, Ferguson reveals that, but it does also
reveal the fact that personalities do make a difference. Because very few
of us have access to power. Very few of us have access to strength and
rule, but we do have access to the clerk who will deny us access. And when
you do that, those micro-aggressions begin to tell the truth about the
power of the system. Never forget, neutrality favors the status quo. And
if you`re not in the status quo, you won`t be favored.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, I love that point. Neutrality favors the status quo.
Favors those who are in power. Let me come back to you for a moment,
Alderman French, and ask you in part about that. Because here is Ferguson,
a 70 percent African-American city that`s never had a black mayor. Has
only two black councilmen. Both were initially appointed, but an election
is coming up. Will this be a status quo election that will favor the
status quo, that will, you know, behave in this kind of - neutral way, or
is this going to be the first real change election? Will people show up
and will they pick different kinds of officials?
FRENCH: Well, that`s the question. And I hope that the answer is that
people are awakened by what we have seen these last few months, and there`s
a change in behavior where people do show up and vote in large numbers and
really turn that population majority into a voting majority.
There`s an opportunity here to get three new voices on the city council.
The city council is who selects the new city manager. And so, it is a
powerful body and influential. But African-Americans just being a
population majority alone does not turn into actually being represented in
city government. So, we have an opportunity in a few weeks to change that.
HARRIS-PERRY: And is there a sense of optimism in the city?
FRENCH: There is a lot of frustration right now. Frankly, a lot of the
changes, even these resignations, people feel should have come a long time
ago. They were necessary first steps. But that it took so long to get to
those steps, it has really delayed this process of transformation. So,
we`re hopeful and we will continue to do the hard work. Our organization
Heal-STL has registered several hundred new voters and we will encourage
each and every one of them to show up on April 7TH.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to Alderman Antonio French in St. Louis, Missouri.
When we come back, we`re going to go to exactly those citizens that Michael
Eric Dyson was just talking about. The white citizens of Ferguson. What
are they experiencing? What is it like to be a white citizen of Ferguson
right now? We actually asked MSNBC reporter, Amanda Sakuma to find out in
her report, and that`s right after the break.
HARRIS-PERRY: 67 percent of the population of Ferguson, Missouri is
African-American. And in recent months many have sought to understand the
experiences and attitudes of those black residents. Far fewer have asked
what is happening with the 29 percent of Ferguson who is white? How have
the protests, national media attention and DOJ report detailing the city`s
pattern and practices of racial inequality changed how they feel about
their city. MSNBC reporter Amanda Sakuma is in Ferguson in an effort to
find out. Amanda.
AMANDA SAKUMA, MSNBC REPORTER: Good morning, Melissa. There`s a great
deal of nuance to the climate here in Ferguson that many residents say is
being left out of the media reports that focus on the protest. But you
think out of those protests has been a sharp curve for many white residents
here who are a bit startled to find out that they may not have known their
community as well as they thought.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TANA COFER, FERGUSON RESIDENT: I have seen a lot of things happen, a lot
of things changed.
SAKUMA: Tana Cofer has lived in Ferguson for the last 50 years.
COFER: I have seen the city sort of slide down and then rejuvenate itself.
It`s a small town.
SAKUMA: Tana now volunteers at the Isle of Ferguson shop, a community
public space just steps from where protesters have gathered since the
shooting of Michael Brown. Many white residents like Tana say they were
not aware of the depth of racial tensions in Ferguson until the unarmed
black teen`s shooting by a white police officer.
COFER: For a long time I actually was unaware there was so much
unhappiness, and I feel very bad about that. I think I should have been --
I thought I was involved and apparently I wasn`t involved enough.
SAKUMA: Questions of racial tensions were at the forefront of a city
council candidates` forum this week, just after two police officers were
shot on the footsteps of the Ferguson police department.
SUSAN ANKENBRAND, FERGUSON RESIDENT: Obviously, you can cut the tension
with a knife.
SAKUMA: An audience of mostly white residents gathered to meet the
candidates one month ahead of the upcoming local elections. Many questions
were raised over how public officials should mend race relations.
ANKENBRAND: It`s just been very hard the last few months to be able to --
to find a way to sit down with each other. And I`m hoping that as time
goes on that the tension will dissipate and maybe that will give us a
chance to really talk.
SAKUMA: Many residents say they are searching for a way to make those
conversations happen, but it hasn`t been easy.
COFER: You do sit and you talk to your neighbor and you talk to someone
else and you get a completely different view of something that you had
absolutely no clue about. That, to me, is amazing.
SAKUMA: I think it`s fair to say that many of the residents here very
earnestly want to see change, but just how to achieve that and on what
timeline, I think, has been a real issue for many residents here.
HARRIS-PERRY: Amanda, we only heard from a couple of voices there, but are
those voices representative - I know you spoke with many other people,
pretty good white residents. Are those representative of the other folks
that you were hearing from?
SAKUMA: You know, I do think so, especially because many were concerned
about the media portrayal of how their area that they have lived here for
decades has been portrayed. I think this is a very tight knit community in
many senses that many white residents have a very tight knit community and
I think they want to see Ferguson go to a better place. I think where
there is a bit of tension, though, is what to do with the Ferguson police
department. One issue that was raised at that candidate forum the other
night, was there was some tension over some people wanted to see the police
department dissolved, but others were very concerned with the idea of
bringing in officers into their city and not really knowing the community.
They really like the idea of having officers recognizing people and knowing
people by name. And they didn`t know whether or not that is something that
can really happen here in Ferguson or really around the country anymore.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to MSNBC`s Amanda Sakuma in Ferguson, Missouri.
We appreciate your reporting.
Still at the table is Michael Eric Dyson, Cristina Beltran and Jonathan
Metzl. And Jonathan, I want to go to you on this. Because so much of your
research has been around these central questions of how white people in
America think about and process questions of race. What did you hear?
What was surprising or not to you in that report?
JONATHAN METZL, CNTR. FOR MEDICINE, HEALTH AND SOCIETY, VANDERBILT: Well,
I thought that that report just illustrated it very nicely. That there
really are two kind of layers of whiteness and white discourse going on in
Ferguson right now. One that`s probably the most obvious is this sense of
the citizens being unaware. Kind of I didn`t know this was happening and
how could this have been happening and, you know, just standard kind of
theories of racism talk about privilege, white privilege, as the ability to
be kind of unaware, you know. People in psychology and psychiatry
sometimes talk about racism as an invisibility syndrome. And I think
that`s particularly apt here. That you actually don`t see. And so, that`s
one level. That`s, I think, the citizens and the kind of everyday
practice. Then there`s the whiteness of the police. And I think that, of
course, that`s very, very complicated about the relationship to who they
are policing, but it was interesting to me to think, for example, about the
press conference right after the shooting of the two officers and the St.
Louis county police chief kept saying you don`t understand how hard it is
to be a police officer right now in Ferguson. And I think that`s true. It
probably is incredibly hard to be a police officer right now in Ferguson,
particularly white police officer, but I don`t think it`s because of the
black protesters. I think he was dead wrong about that. I think,
actually, it`s because it`s much harder because of particular policies that
have racial implications. I mean in Missouri right now, they have repealed
any kind of background checks about handguns. It`s easier to get on a
pierce (ph) of bullets. There`ve been terrible sequestration, which has -
eviscerated, you know, budgets for police departments. And so, they need
to kind of turn these counties into almost debtors` prisons in a certain
kind of way.
And so, in a way, the tension on white police officers right now is about
policies. It`s not about the people that they are policing.
HARRIS-PERRY: But then they identify potentially as the people that they
METZL: Exactly. Exactly.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, it`s interesting, because part of what happens when you
hear, oh, you just don`t understand what it`s like, right? Sort of on both
CRISTINA BELTRAN, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NYU: Yeah.
HARRIS-PERRY: You know, presumably, part of the benefit of this DOJ report
was that it confirmed from an official authority what black residents of
Ferguson had been saying for a long time. I want to listen to President
Obama talking a little bit about this last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And one of the
things that I think frustrated the people of Ferguson, in addition to the
specific case of Michael Brown, was this sense of, you know what, we have
been putting up for this for years and now when we start talking about it
everybody is pretending like it`s just our imaginations. We`re just
paranoid. We`re just making this stuff up. And it turns out they weren`t
just making it up. This was happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So, this DOJ report enter then into this difficult
conversation by providing a kind of evidentiary basis.
HARRIS-PERRY: Here it is, white folks of Ferguson, it is - and of America,
it is happening.
BELTRAN: This is real. We`re not insane. We are not paranoid. This
actually is happening. No, I think that ends up being a really crucial
way, in which you can expose something systemic. And the way you can -
people who have been experiencing something in a daily way can sort of feel
like there`s a validation there. And, you know, I think the other thing
that`s really interesting around whiteness is thinking about, this is
really a crisis of consciousness for white Americans in Ferguson and other
places as well, in really having to think about the anxieties they have, I
think, about is it going to be racial justice or racial inversion. Oh, I
think there`s a lot of anxiety that`s circulating underneath good
intentions. It`s also afraid - there`s a lot of fear of like black anger,
right, racial anger. And I think one of the really interesting ...
HARRIS-PERRY: And the shooting of the police officers kind of gives that -
BELTRAN: It - in this particular way. So, I think that there`s a really
interesting conversation to be had here about what does it mean to talk
about redistributions of fear, redistributions of anxiety? Different
populations that have been able to feel safe in a certain way, because
certain other bodies - suffered and the exploited and be heard with
impunity, and that redistribution is going to be a harder conversation.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s such a good point. I mean - Dyson and I were looking
at each other, when we heard Amanda saying, or, they were saying, they
don`t want outsiders policing their community. I was like, welcome.
DYSON: They are worried about stereotypes.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, and they worried about this.
DYSON: How is this being considered and so on.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right, how are they being presented by the media
HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome. Up next, I`ll be joined by the man who just might
have the answers to repairing police and community relationships.
Also later in the program, actor and producer Courtney V. Vance is coming
to Nerdland to talk about his star turn on the long chair episode on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The Justice Department`s report on Ferguson is practically a
manual of how not to run a police department.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The city relies on the police force to
serve, essentially, as a collection agency for the municipal court. As a
result of this excessive reliance on ticketing, today the city generates a
significant amount of revenue from the enforcement of code provisions.
This emphasis on the revenue generation through policing has fostered
unconstitutional practices at nearly every level of Ferguson`s law
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Our next guest has done the research on how police should
behave in relationship to their communities. Joining me now from Los
Angeles is Phillip Atiba Goff, president of the Center for Policing Equity
and professor of social psychology at UCLA. His research informed the
Department of Justice Ferguson report and the Center for Policing Equity
will be closely involved in a new DOJ program to test out community
policing models in six cities. So, Phillip, let`s talk about this. What
are the six cities and why them? What is it that you can do there that`s
so elusive in these other places?
PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, UCLA: So, we`re really
excited about the initiative because it allows us for the first time, to
take all the research that we know has worked to make police departments
more fair and put it together in sort of a delicious gumbo of justice.
So, we`ve got ...
HARRIS-PERRY: Justice gumbo.
GOFF: Justice gumbo. Trademarked, heard it here first.
GOFF: So, we have got six cities that are sort of representative of cities
from around the country. We have got regional diversity. You know, you
are seeing at there, Stockton, Minneapolis, Gary, Pittsburgh, Birmingham
and Fort Worth. And the goal is, this was a big sort of ask, it was a big
lift from DOJ because it wasn`t just justice programs, which is where most
of the money would come from. It wasn`t just national institute of
justice, it was office of violence against women, it was office of victims
of crime, office of juvenile justice, delinquency programs. All of them
put in and they said, this is a collaborative effort. We want to see
something that can affect all of these different communities and
subpopulations and we want all of the best science together. That`s kind
of how we are setting it up right now.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, so, there`s a part of me that likes this. This idea of
bringing in the academy, bringing social science, bringing the research
that you have done on the ground in these communities previously. I want
to listen for a moment to something else Attorney General Holder said this
week specifically about the Ferguson department. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: We are prepared to use all the power that we have, all the power
that we have to ensure that the situation changes there. And that means
everything from working with them to coming up with an entirely new
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And does that include dismantling the police force?
HOLDER: If that`s what`s necessary, we`re prepared to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So, to go there, to say we`re prepared to dismantle the
police force. So, if you got a blank slate, and you could build it from
the ground up, how - what would be your recipe for the justice gumbo?
GOFF: Right. Well, so, the justice gumbo is about the interventions that
we`ve got to make departments better. But to build it from the ground up,
I got to say, we have never had to try that before. We have had consent
decrees for, you know, 20 plus years, but what we haven`t done is taken a
department into receivership and said, you know, what we`re going to just-
blow the place up and start over. What we do know that does work, is you
have to have an administrator at the top that says I want to change, I need
to proactively go at issues of inequality and disparity in the way that my
officers treat the community. They have to go ahead and do full review of
policy. And then they have to go ahead and get the outside resources.
There`s no police department that can police the community by itself. It
can`t do it without the help of the community. But it also can`t do it
without external checks and balances.
So, I think the important thing that`s in this particular investigation and
the way it`s written up is the way that says you need better tools to make
sure you know that you`re living in parallel and consistent with the values
that you`re supposed to espouse.
HARRIS-PERRY: So ...
GOFF: That, I think, is the key to any Justice Department involvement in
any police department, any consent decree, which is not what we write yet,
but any consent decree, it gives tools to the people at the top to hold
themselves accountable using outside resources.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, so hold for me a second. Because, Jonathan, meanwhile,
while we are doing this work in these phases, while there`s a lot of
excitement and enthusiasm about it, meanwhile, there are still deaths
occurring at the hands of police officers. The one that was just shocking
for so many this week was the shooting death of Anthony Hill in Atlanta.
And Anthony Hill`s girlfriend telling us that he was being treated by a
V.A. doctor for bipolar disorder, but he stopped taking his medication a
week or two ago, because he didn`t like the side effects as many will know.
This man was unclothed at the time that he was shot by police officer. So
the idea that he was hiding a weapon is pretty unlikely.
METZL: Well, again, you pointed at this. I mean when just - reefing up
what Phillip just said, it`s not like we don`t have models for what an
effective police department looks like. Look at white men across America,
the police departments. And we have got plenty of police departments that
function very well. And I think that there are a lot of models for
supportive policing. In terms of the question of mental illness, this
shooting in Atlanta was just another example of the automatic assumptions
that police officers sometimes make. And it`s a broader problem,
obviously. It gets coded a lot of times, as automatic assumptions about
mental illness. So, after the shooting, as you know, of a naked unarmed
African-American man in Atlanta, the county police officer - department put
out a statement saying we need more mental illness training for police
officers. But in the research I do, I show how mental illness training for
police officers is not enough. It`s not just a question of mental illness
stigma. Because mental illness stigma intersects with stigmatization of
METZL: It`s stigmatization of mental illness is incredibly, incredibly
racialized and it has been historically. So, if you really want to train
police officers not to have those automatic assumptions, you also have to
train them about race and we have seen this not just in Atlanta, but also
in Chicago, the Albuquerque police department had a terrible problem with
automatic shooting. So, it`s really a very different kind of training
about race politics as well as mental illness.
HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back, first, let me say thank you to Phillip
Atiba Goff in Los Angeles. You know, we`re going to have you in Nerdland a
lot talking about how it is going in those six cities who are also
enthusiastic to know that you`ll be out there doing this work. When we
come back, we`re going to go to one of the voices on the ground who we have
been talking to since the Ferguson story began. I want to talk with her,
and with Michael Eric Dyson about this framework of healing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. TRACI BLACKMON, CHRIST THE KING UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: We came to
remember that we are all connected and until we recognize the humanity in
one another, we cannot heal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That was Reverend Traci Blackmon of Christ the King United
Church of Christ speaking at a vigil Thursday night in Ferguson for the two
police officers shot there the night before.
Joining me now from St. Louis is Marva Robinson, a licensed clinical
psychologist who has been checking in with us from the ground in Ferguson
since August. I feel like I ask you this every time, but what is it going
to take to heal in Ferguson? It feels like it keeps getting ripped open.
MARVA ROBINSON, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, you know, I think someone
spoke earlier about how the tensions have increased and the anxiety that at
an all-time high. But I think, it`s though, those tensions and anxiety,
which helped to force the dialogue. We need to continue to have these
communications. We need to host more training and we need certainly a
plethora of culturally competent mental health services to support those
that have been hurt by the tragedies that have gone on.
HARRIS-PERRY: Dr. Robinson, hold on for me just one second. I want to
bring Michael Eric Dyson in on this conversation, because I`m always of two
minds here. On the one hand, I want communities to be mentally healthy and
HARRIS-PERRY: And I care about healing. On the other hand, I worry that a
healing framework and discourse moves us away from a justice one.
HARRIS-PERRY: So that if the conversation becomes how do we heal, it`s
like how do we get black folks to get over ...
DYSON: That`s right.
HARRIS-PERRY: ... being marginalized as opposed to how do we stop
DYSON: That`s a great point. Martin Luther King Jr. said, charity is
great, healing is great, justice is better. When you`re on the Jericho
Road, you help the guy the first time. He gets beat up, you help him, the
thieves have attacked him. He said, pretty soon you are going to ask, why
is it that every time somebody goes out to Jericho Road, they get attacked?
That`s a structure.
DYSON: So, now we have got to talk about justice. And justice is what
love sounds like when it speaks in public. So, all these people who want
to talk about love, what is love translated? Healing framework say, you
need to calm down. You need to center yourself. You need to breathe. No,
allow me to breathe, get your foot off of my neck, get your hand away from
my throat and then I can breathe. So, we can achieve a kind of spiritual -
This is why Martin Luther King`s Jr. genius is so powerful. He said,
unlike Billy Graham, who said we should heal societies by changing the
structure - by changing individuals, Martin Luther King`s Jr. said, change
the structure of society and individuals can set up the conditions for
their own healing. I think that`s important.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I want to come to you on this. I really love the term -
run the structure and the individual in part because it`s relevant in this
DOJ context. So on the one hand, this DOJ report is an extraordinary
report about the structural patterns and practices. On the other hand, it
leaves the open wound of what feels like undoubtedly for the Brown family
unresolved justice questions about the death of their son. And I`m
wondering then about how those things operate for a community that says
we`re having people who are moving out, and new people who are moving into
these positions, but what about the individual case that in many ways was
the spark of all of this?
ROBINSON: Absolutely. The sentiment that I`ve gotten here is that while
the DOJ report puts on a larger scale what has been happening in Ferguson
and surrounding cities for decades, it did not bring forth any real charges
or any consequences, which is what everyone was waiting to see. And I do
agree with Michael Eric Dyson 100 percent that healing also has to include
social justice as well. So, you know, with the association of black
psychologists, the type of treatment that we`ve been doing incorporate
social justice as well. The two are very much paramount. You can`t talk
with someone in therapy or talk about healing without having a conversation
about racism and oppression and social justice.
So, you know, real healing will include all of those things. And that is
exactly what this community is waiting to see.
HARRIS-PERRY: Can you hold on for me - just for a second, Cristina? I
want to bring you in on this. To the extent that there was again, a harm
done in this community, the shooting of those two officers this week. How
much do you think that moves back the process of healing or of justice?
BELTRAN: I think the good thing that of a horrible set of situations is
that because Ferguson has gone on - this is going to - we have actually
been focused on a place for a while and thinking about the complexities, we
rarely sit with problems of racism and talk about the structural and the
individual brainy sustained period of time. So, we`ve been doing that with
Ferguson. So, you get the sense that I think the whole kind of commitment
to activism there isn`t going to let this one event becoming the completely
defining event. But I also think, the other thing about healing that`s
interesting, is there`s a relationship sometimes between healing and
silence. Right? So, when people protest out of pain, that`s what
democratic moment, where they actually get to be heard. And so, sometimes,
the discourse of healing feels like a discourse of - like, so, now we`re
good again you can stop. So, how do you maintain voice and healing? How
do you maintain like an ongoing dialogue that doesn`t have to be about like
the newest injury but can be about a long-term conversation?
HARRIS-PERRY: And undoubtedly, Marva Robinson, you there in St. Louis,
Missouri, and the work that you have been doing in Ferguson and the
surrounding areas is about maintaining that voice in the consequence of all
that. I`m sure we`ll speak with you again as this process continues.
Michael, Cristina and Jonathan are all going to be back in the next hour.
But up next, the coolest Legos I have ever seen.
HARRIS-PERRY: You were clicking around online this week, you may have come
face to face with the legal justice league. Lego figures representing the
three current and one former women members of the Supreme Court. Now here
in Nerdland we thought it was pretty awesome. These versions of Justicies
Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sandra Day O`Connor and Elena Kagan
were created by Mya Winestock. She works for the news office in MIT and
says she likes to tackle feminist-friendly projects in her free time. And
for a minute there, I`d hoped that actually be able to buy these mini-
justice maven for my daughters, for example.
After all, in August Lego released a set of three women scientists and it
was insanely popular. The astronomer, paleontologist and chemist sold out
in a matter of days. No such luck this time. According to Winestock, she
already floated the idea of past the company and was told no. Apparently
Lego has a policy against representing current politics or political
symbols in brick form. Never mind you can construct a model of the White
House - Abraham Lincoln or that constitutional definition of Supreme Court
is apolitical, so yes, Lego`s stated policy, put a damper on that
celebration of women`s empowerment.
However, a different corporate policy is giving some women reason to cheer.
Vodafone announced that by the end of the year, all women working for the
global telecommunications giant would be offered a minimum of 16 weeks
fully paid maternity leave. That may not be a big deal for employees in
Turkey or France, where this is standard practice, but in the United States
where companies are not required to grant any paid leave, Vodafone`s policy
is welcome news. And it didn`t stop there.
The second part of the announcement, and frankly the one that seems truly
revolutionary, is that once new mothers return to work they will only be
asked to put in 30 hours a week for the first six months. But they will
receive full-time pay. What`s behind the change? I would love to say it`s
simply compassion or a sense of concern for employees. It actually turns
out it just makes good business sense. Vodafone reports that 65 percent of
women choosing to leave the company following maternity leave do so within
the first year, and it costs more to hire and train someone new than it
does to pay for maternity leave and reduced hours. Now, the question is,
will other companies see this calculation and overhaul their maternity
policies? Here`s hoping. If they don`t, maybe one of these ladies can
talk to them about it.
HARRIS-PERRY: Members of a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma are
facing the consequences of their action this week after this video was
posted to YouTube showing them participating in a racist chant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFED PEOPLE: (chanting)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: After the young men in the video were identified as members
of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, the university severed all ties with
the organization and expelled two students who led the chant on the bus.
University of Oklahoma president David Boren said the decision reflected
the school`s zero tolerance policy towards racist behavior and that he
hoped it would be a learning opportunity for both those students involved
and the campus community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BOREN: At the university especially moments like these should be
teaching moments. They should be teaching moments. And as we ended to
have set here, I think that we have to really think about how we can do
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: But doing better in response to this moment isn`t only about
teaching racial tolerance to the individual students involved in this
incident. It also requires colleges and universities to examine the
lessons they are teaching about the value of racial and economic diversity
on campus all the time. But what lessons are we teaching students of color
and low income students when we preach the value of diversity, even as we
steadily dismantle the policy that was designed to cultivate it? And what
lesson does it teach their white classmates if we allow discourse that
says, those - and diverse students are the beneficiaries of some kind of
1965 President Lyndon Johnson deployed the language of affirmative action
to enforce the policy with his own executive action aimed at correcting the
effects of past and present discrimination. Before issuing the order, LBJ
laid out his vision of government acting affirmatively to pave the way
towards equal opportunity as a moral imperative when he delivered the
commencement address at Howard University.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDON JOHNSON: You do not take a person who for years has been hobbled by
chains and liberate him, bringing up to the starting line of a race and
then say, you are free to compete with all the others, and still justly
believe that you have been completely fair. Thus, it is not enough just to
open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to
walk through those gates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Soon after LBJ issued his executive order, colleges and
universities across the country enabled that ability for all Americans when
they adopted policies of affirmative action. After just a decade in
practice, affirmative action doubled the number of African-American
students attending colleges and universities. In 1998, the fruit borne of
those policies were documented in "The Shape of the River", a ground
breaking study of affirmative action written by the two former Ivy League
presidents, William G. Bowen of Princeton University and Derrick Bok from
Harvard. Together they found that the legacy of the policy was less about
righting past wrongs and instead was much more about creating pathways to a
better future. Not only for African-American students, but also for their
But in the 50 years since affirmative action was enacted, the policy has
been steadily eroded in courts, at ballot boxes and in state legislatures,
and faces more resistance now than ever before. Today, racial preferences
in public universities admissions are banned in eight states, which
according to an estimate from the Century Foundation, are collectively home
to more than a quarter of all students. In 1978, the question of
affirmative action and higher education became a national flash point when
it was first taken up by the Supreme Court in Regents of University of
California v Bakke. In that case, the court split decision in Bakke ruled
racial quotas unconstitutional, but also held that race could be considered
as part of the criteria for college admission.
University of California schools would become one of the most acute
examples of the consequences of dismantling affirmative action in 1996.
That year, voters decided to ban the state`s public universities from
considering race in admissions and financial aid decisions. While the
referendum was branded as a colorblind policy, the result of that vote for
African-American, Latino and Native American students applying for
admission to UC schools was immediate and profound. Admission rates for
freshmen from those three groups declined throughout the UC system, but
dropped off most sharply at the most prestigious of California`s public
universities, UCLA and UC Berkeley. The year the policy was instituted,
African-American, Latino and Native American admissions to Berkeley dropped
by more than 50 percent.
In 2003, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in Michigan`s
undergraduate admissions, ruling that it violated the Constitution`s
provision for equal protection. Last year, the University of Michigan was
again at the center of a case in which the Supreme Court dealt another blow
to affirmative action policies across the country. The court`s decision
last year followed on the heels of its ruling in 2013 in Fisher v
University of Texas. While the justices stopped short of outlawing
affirmative action, they raised the bar for using race as part of the
admissions program in Texas, and together the court`s decisions over the
past two years might finally push public universities to abandon
affirmative action in favor of other ways to promote diversity.
Meanwhile, efforts to sidestep racial preferences by focusing on
socioeconomic diversity have failed. It failed at least in promising
students from low-income backgrounds. In 2014, a Pew survey found that
barely more than half of low income high school graduates are enrolled in
college, compared with 81 percent of their high income counterparts. And
according to a report from the Brookings Institute, selective colleges with
the endowments to contribute to financial aid have still fallen short of
reaching high achieving students who would qualify for admission but can`t
afford the cost. So while a video may have exposed the diversity practices
of a single fraternity, the systemic dismantling of affirmative action
speaks volumes about our country`s failure to commit to diversity in higher
education. And that is the race talk discussion that we are going to have
HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. Yesterday, the
Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma hired
a high profile attorney after this video showing some of their members
participating in a racist chant got the chapter kicked off campus.
HARRIS-PERRY: After the chapter was closed, the university expelled two of
the students that it determined had leadership roles in the incident. And
the University of Oklahoma president David Boren had a strong message for
the other students who were involved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BOREN, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA: Would I be happy if they
left the university as students and were no longer our students? You
betcha. I`d be happy. We don`t have any room for racists and bigots at
this university. I would be glad if they left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: The National SAE Organization supports the university`s
decision and is moving forward with plans to permanently revoke the
membership of all members of the suspended chapter. The organization has
also disputed statements from the expelled students that they were taught
the song by other members of the fraternity.
Attorney Stephen Jones, who previously represented Oklahoma City bomber,
Timothy McVeigh, was hired by alumni members who served on the board of the
local SAE chapter, which has severed all ties with the national
Jones said, the university`s decision raises legal questions about First
and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the students and that the chapter is not
ruling out legal action against the school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN JONES, ATTORNEY FOR OU FRATERNITY CHAPTER: It was President Boren
himself who said who said in a recent case that the University of Oklahoma
believes every student deserves a second chance. We certainly think that`s
true for the members of the SAE house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: In response to the video, University of Oklahoma students
this week sent a message of their own assembling in a diverse coalition to
protest and rally at the SAE frat house.
Joining me now is Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC political analyst and professor
at Georgetown University, Cristina Beltran, associate professor of Social
and Cultural Analysis at New York University, and Jonathan Metzl, director
of the Center for Medicine, Health and Society and professor of Psychiatry
at Vanderbilt University, and Monroe France, the assistant vice president
for Student Diversity at NYU.
So Monroe, I wanted you here in part because, for me, what happens on the
SAE bus in the moment is deplorable. But all of us are at universities and
I keep thinking, man, our kids are not -- we have a responsibility to these
young people and so much of what our universities have taught them is that
people of color are not the same.
They are to be a little devalued. That they are not like the rest of us,
and if we teach that, how else can we expect anything but other outcomes?
MONROE FRANCE, ASST. VP FOR STUDENT DIVERSITY, NYU: That`s why I really
believe that we have to go beyond zero tolerance policy and sort of really
think about holistically what are we doing as an institution to make
certain that our black, Latino students, our under represented students of
color, LGBT communities, our disabled communities are humanized.
That the white students know that these students matter as well and that
they have an understanding of that these students have a right to be on
campus. Their lives matter too. Black lives matter. So I think not just
zero tolerance policy, but what`s our accountability as an institution to
ensure that these students get educated as well.
HARRIS-PERRY: That zero tolerance policy made my ears go up. OK, but when
you say there are no room for racist actions at a university, I`m like are
you serious? What do you think that racism is? So it just felt like in
this moment that racism equals public utterances of the "n" word.
I wonder whether or not they hire staff in a way that is the kinds of labor
policies that we see of staff. What have these students been taught about
staff of color?
BELTRAN: It`s amazing, right. It becomes really about the evil intent
versus impact, structural inequality, ongoing dynamics on campus and I also
think we need to really think hard about this language of educating them
because here`s the thing. This drives me crazy.
These students on the bus, I think it`s like they pooped themselves. But
the labor that`s supposed to happen at that point is people of color,
students of color are supposed to drop everything we`re doing and go get
the wipes and deal with this.
I think it`s really important that universities are places of intellectual
life. We have to become multicultural ambassadors and students of color,
you know how much time it`s taking from them to write their papers, to do
There`s a loss of intellectual time to do this kind of multi-cultural labor
so I really I think we need to rethink some of the logics here and really -
- I want them to wear white arm bands and like black lives matter study
HARRIS-PERRY: I want them to have a (inaudible), Cristina --
BELTRAN: I want them to say to white students, you need to talk and figure
out your stuff. We`re here, but we`re not going to let you drag us into
your drama. This is the drama of white supremacy. Think about it. Work
it out. Let us do our work too.
HARRIS-PERRY: But the point there, I want them to have study groups.
Maybe expulsion is right. I`m not a fan of expulsion because what happens
when you kick someone out of your space, now you lose an opportunity to be
engaged in that space.
That said, if they are going to stay, could we get a syllabus, can we get,
some reading, it`s a university. Let`s engage. We don`t do much. We read
books. We talk about things and try to intervene ideas.
DYSON: You`re making a great point. On the one hand, he`s saying zero
tolerance for that racist bigotry. It doesn`t mean that they don`t have a
second act. It means if he doesn`t do this first act, there`s no reaction
and then we have this conversation.
But secondly, you`re absolutely right. You know, when you teach classes
here, we are challenging the implicit bias and the white supremacists
unconscious that has collectively shaped the mindsets of our students.
So when we stand there embodied as people of color, we are repudiating the
logic of our inhumanity. But secondly when we begin to speak and challenge
some of the prevailing ideas then white students get discombobulated.
I see it. They get discombobulated and I create tension in my classroom to
create an atmosphere where all white students and black and brown and red
students, and gay and lesbians and so on, can feel a safe space but also to
be challenged in that space and that what`s we do. What we do now, we
scapegoat these white students as opposed to -- our systemic perpetuation
of the legacy of inequality.
HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, so how easy is it to take these students and say,
there is American racism rather than to say that when we got rid of
affirmative action at University of Michigan, black enrolment went down by
30 percent. So if the state courts show up and reduce -- say look, all
these people of color who are here aren`t qualified to be here, we don`t
want them here.
Students appear on a homogeneous campus with mostly rich folks, with mostly
people of the same racial category and then racially bizarre things come
out of their mouth. This is not a surprising outcome to these policies.
METZL: It`s remarkable that Michael`s point is right on. It`s amazing how
quickly we mobilize around explicit racism. And the thing is the people
who say that stuff, it`s not really that acceptable to say that kind of
We are very good at mobilizing that. That pushes people into implicit
racism. We actually do the opposite. We don`t mobilize able implicit
racism. I also think that the point about affirmative active is incredibly
I think you`re right that it`s not just about the diversity of the student
body. Even in Oklahoma after the affirmative action ban they changed the
racial makeup of the staff.
People graduate from those schools and get jobs so there are fewer
physicians of color, fewer people working in Oklahoma. So actually an
affirmative action ban in a college changes the entire community and the
employment of the entire community. So the whole community --
DYSON: It hurts the white community. The lack of affirmative action hurts
white people because they were already ways in which you play difference.
Let me see, you`re from Nebraska and you play the violin. We need you in
Colleges and universities have often determined access and admission
predicated upon difference. The racial difference or gender difference or
sexual difference is one among many.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s one among them that has particular historical
resonance. So much more to say on this topic and still to come this hour,
actor and producer, Courtney Vance on that lawn chair episode of scandal
that everybody is talking about.
But when we come back, I`m bringing in a University of Oklahoma student
right into this discussion.
HARRIS-PERRY: If you have been following the fallout from the University
of Oklahoma racist fraternity chant video, you may have seen images like
this one, of students or faculty wearing tape over their mouth with the
word "unheard" written across it.
This silent protest is intended represented the way that the needs of
African-American students on OU`s campus are met. The genesis of this
protest predates the release of the now infamous video.
In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, a group of students got together
to talk about how to make black lives matter on their campus and created
demands for the OU administration. The Unheard Organization was one of the
first to receive and immediately disseminate the SAE fraternity video.
Aubriana Busby is one of the group`s founding members and she joins me now
from the OU campus in Norman, Oklahoma. It`s so nice to have you. Can you
talk to me a little about why you started Unheard, what it represents?
AUBRIANA BUSBY, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA: Unheard really represents
just we wanted -- we understood what was going on in Ferguson, Missouri,
but we understood that could have been Norman, Oklahoma. We understood
that there are things that were on our campus at the University of Oklahoma
that we could make better for not only African-American students, but other
students as well. Those are some of the things we`re pushing for in our
formal letter to the university.
HARRIS-PERRY: Aubriana, tell me maybe the top two things or top three that
are in that demands that you presented to OU.
BUSBY: Black representation and executive hierarchy and retention rates
are some of our biggest grievances that we ask for.
HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with us, Aubriana, because I want to bring Monroe
France here. You`re an AVP around these questions and you heard the very
first thing that the students are suggesting is representation in higher
administration. What difference does that make?
FRANCE: I think it makes a huge difference. First, I want to commend the
students for their activism and also say that it`s not their
responsibility. The institution has to make these decisions and strides
and not wait for students to say we need these things. We need to have
representation. We need to have inclusion.
We need to have these classes and have senior leadership. I think it makes
a huge difference for all students. I was just in China meeting with our
students at NYU Shanghai and the difference it made for me being in this
role as a black man in China are students to see me and know someone that
is working on these issues.
Chinese students, students from other races and nationalities and
backgrounds, who are so excited to spend time and to talk about these
issues that otherwise may go unheard if we don`t have people in these roles
doing this work.
But along with that, not only people doing this work, but many different
disciplines. It can`t just be people of color work on race and diversity
issues. You have to be across the board so students know and also the
institution knows that we can represent our all types of disciplines.
HARRIS-PERRY: In fact, Aubriana, let me come to you on that, in the wake
of this video, have you experienced a different level of solidarity with
students who are -- who maybe before when you were launching the Unheard
campaign, maybe didn`t hear what you were saying or weren`t standing with
you. Has this video changed who your constituency is, who is supporting
BUSBY: Yes, ma`am, it has changed. In the beginning there were some
faculty that stated they didn`t necessarily know that racism had occurred
on campus or black students and other students from other minority groups
that they didn`t know they experienced some of these racisms.
But now that it`s in everyone`s face and the video has been shown, people
are more understanding. So a lot of people are binding together and trying
to support one another in this time.
HARRIS-PERRY: You made me smile when you called me ma`am. Stick with us.
Don`t go anywhere. She`s a good southern girl. Interestingly enough, I`m
thinking we know the rules of discourse. We know how it is that one
demonstrates respect on a campus.
We also know that young people make young people mistakes and part of what
a university is meant to do is to be laboratory for democracy. I guess my
angst is in a democracy, you`re going to be with people who are going to
say mean things about you and disagree.
What I love where there`s already a social movement at OU to respond.
There`s a part of me that want to let the laboratory play out.
DYSON: You have to have the ugliness of the experiment in order to enjoy
the fruits of the process. And in this case, it is ugly because these
white guys saying the stuff we said and saying we`re shocked. We put it
all on their backs.
Not on the liberal professor who is are silent in the face of white
supremacy. Not only on those of us who are complicit in the process by
refusing to speak up so that our systems which perpetuate a legacy of
inequality are not held accountable.
So we`d rather hold those 19-year-old boys accountable than hold our
institution which is 119 years old, 120 years old, 200 years old
accountable. And so we end up scapegoating them and we refuse to look in
the mirror of our own self-reflection. If you can`t do it in the
classroom, where else can you do it?
HARRIS-PERRY: When you have tenure, there`s no other place that should be
capable of revealing our own frailties and weaknesses and insufficiencies
in part so it`s a learning experience for our students.
Aubriana Busby in Norman, Oklahoma, I appreciate your courage in the face
of both the pre-existing structural issues that you were talking about. I
also see you as such a model of my own students at Wake Forest University
who have been active at campuses across the country. You all just keep it
Up next, millennials, race and the data we didn`t see coming.
HARRIS-PERRY: The scenes of large crowds gathering at the University of
Oklahoma campuses to protest the SAE fraternity were a heartening contrast
to the representations of OU students that we had seen in the now infamous
racist chant video.
That kind of overwhelming response to acts of over racism fits with our
general understanding of how younger generations understand race and
racism. News organizations have provided plenty of polling that show on
issues ranging from interracial marriage to receptiveness, to immigration.
The so-called millennials are more tolerant than their predecessors. The
truth is more complicated than that and these facts and figures appear to
show that. It`s pointed out in the "Politico" magazine when it comes to
support for programs aimed at furthering racial equality like affirmative
action or government aid programs.
Millennials aren`t as progressive as we think. Among white millenials, the
support for these programs is not much different than their parent`s
generation. Black millenials maybe even more conservative than previous
generations in their support for proactive policy change.
All this means that while millennials have an easier time looking at the
chanting fraternity video and denouncing it as racist, they are also not
necessarily more cognizant of the deeper structural context in which that
behavior is occurring.
And so I guess, Jonathan, for me the question is so whose fault is that?
METZL: Well, you know, I was -- let me answer that.
FRANCE: You`re the white man. You tell us about it.
METZL: In that case, I`m going to take the millennials will save us line.
That piece was terrific. I wish the millennials would save us. The
millennials are only going to save us on dating web sites because it seems
like they are more.
Progressive about who date, but in terms of a much bigger economic
phenomenon, which is that millenials are growing up in an era where there`s
a tremendous amount of economic imbalance. It pushes racial differences
It`s also important they are growing up in an era where there`s less trust
in the structures that created equity. If you look in the 1960s, the polls
were unbelievable. Trusting government was almost 80 percent in the 1960s.
People believed in the institutions that made society more equitable, but
voting rights, other kinds of economic initiatives. Trusting government is
about 20 or 30 percent. To me, it seemed crazy that we were going to ask
them to ask a world that is the opposite.
DYSON: It rearticulates the personal resolution. There`s a disparity
between anatomical and structural. Just because you like a big black
behind doesn`t mean you`re behind blacks in a big way.
BELTRAN: It speaks to an interesting and important moment we live in now
which is that there`s enhanced racial presence, but not enhanced racial
justice. We have more diversity and this table embodies that. But what
there isn`t, is you know, ongoing real efforts or there`s enormous
structural inequality that gets masked by enhanced diversity. The students
feel like they live in this diverse space and they don`t want to think
about the prison industrial complex.
HARRIS-PERRY: But I think it depends on which millennials are which
because I want -- what we talked about at 10:00, that wasn`t because Eric
Holder was like I think we`ll go to Ferguson and figure out how to fix it.
It`s because millennials were like, excuse me, this is what it looks like.
They are changing what the world is.
DYSON: Race makes a difference. Even though some of those younger black
people are conservative, black people who are young came up with black
lives matter. They are the ones who recapitulated the logic of an earlier
generation. I think they are pushing us and pulling us.
This is the only thing I disagree about education. It`s my responsibility
as a black professor, there`s extra stuff I do they don`t pay for me, but
it`s on my vocation. Black students I said, yes, it`s unfair. But it is
Martin Luther King Jr. didn`t get paid for that either. You have to take
up the cross of educating. If you don`t educate them, somebody else will
mis-educate them. As a result of that, they are going to be misinformed.
FRANCE: What`s the accountability of older generation to pass on to
younger people that racism still exists. It might look different. You`re
not going to hear the "n" word.
HARRIS-PERRY: Me and the millennials, good night, but it`s not like they
don`t get -- it`s the millennials after all who are saying I, too, am
Harvard. I came up at the one golden little moment when there were
affirmative action policies, active effort to make sure we were
diversified. We were fighting, but these young people on campus and in the
streets have been like, let me explain to you, I`m not happy here. This is
FRANCE: Some young people. Not all of our young people.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s never everybody. Despite the fact that in Selma
everyone claimed that all of them were there, it`s never everybody.
BELTRAN: It`s always a community of activists at the van guard of the
moment. The kids who invented, those are the vocabularies that activists
are creating. We do not know what they are going to create and that`s
HARRIS-PERRY: Let me say this. For me when I think about the value of
college, college should make you encounter hard things, if you made it
through college and only happy and excited, your college failed you. If
you had things that were hard and had to work through them, that was the
preferable experience especially if you spend a lot of money on it.
Michael is sticking around. I want to say thank you to Cristina Beltran,
Jonathan Metzl, and Monroe France.
Up next, the blurred lines between creativity and procreation.
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