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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

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Date: June 16, 2015
Guest: Ann Morning, Angela Rye, Dana Milbank, Ryan Grim, Shira Center,
Amber Payne, Midwin Charles

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "Politics Nation" breaking her
silence. Rachel Dolezal says she identifies as black, but does that excuse
her deception? A cable news exclusive interview.

Also, he`s in for real. Donald Trump finally enters the presidential race
and is already causing headaches for the GOP.

Plus, the first lady makes a big splash across the pond in London.

Welcome to "Politics Nation."

Tonight, we start with the story that has people all across the country
talking about race, identity and deception. Rachel Dolezal breaking her
silence, speaking out in exclusive interview just the day after resigning
from the NAACP.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you an African-American woman?

RACHEL DOLEZAL, FORMER CHAIR OF NAACP: I identify as black. And this goes
back to a very early age with my self-identification with the black
experience as a very young child.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did it start?

DOLEZAL: I would say about five years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You began identifying yourself as African-American.

DOLEZAL: I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the
peach crayon and the black, you know, black curly hair, and know, yes.
That`s how I was portraying myself.


SHARPTON: She identifies as black. For millions of Americans, this was
the first time they`ve heard about this sort of thing. What exactly does
it mean?

In a cable news exclusive with MSNBC`s Melissa Harris-Perry, she talked
about her identity in greater depth.


of people ask you the question are you African-American or Caucasian. I`m
not going to ask it that way.

DOLEZAL: Thanks.

HARRIS-PERRY: Are you black?


HARRIS-PERRY: What do you mean when you say that? What does it mean to
you to assume the Mantel, the identity of blackness?

DOLEZAL: Well, it means several things. First of all, it means that I`ve
already gone there with the experience in terms of being a mother of two
black sons and really owning what it means to experience and live black,

HARRIS-PERRY: When you respond to my question, are you black, and your
response is yes, there are listeners who are enraged.

DOLEZAL: I understand.

HARRIS-PERRY: Not confused. Enraged. And many of those listeners, many
of those observers who are angry are black women. Can you understand that

DOLEZAL: Yes. And I would say in a -- stepping outside of myself, I would
probably be enraged. What the -- this person, how dare she claim this.
But they don`t know me.


SHARPTON: This story has sparked an emotional sometimes angry debate about
race in America. What does it mean to be black? To be white? Is it
really a choice? Can you choose your race the way Caitlyn Jenner chose her
gender? And if you do, do you have an obligation to tell the truth?

Well, let me bring in my guests. I have Professor Ann Morning from NYU and
the one and only professor MSNBC and my intellectual mentor, Melissa
Harris-Perry. Thank you both for being on tonight.

Melissa, in your exclusive interview, you came right out and asked Rachel,
are you a con person, are you a con artist. Let`s play that.


HARRIS-PERRY: Are you a con artist?

DOLEZAL: I don`t think so, you know? I don`t think anything that I have
done with regards to the movement, my work, my life, my identity, I mean,
it`s all been very thoughtful and careful. Sometimes decisions have been
made for survival reasons or to protect people that I love.


SHARPTON: A lot of people angry, as you said to her, a lot of black women.
I got it on my radio show today, a lot of people defending. How did you
assess it after having this -- really, you had the in department interview
with her?

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, I mean, I had about an hour with her. Before that, had
a legal time with both her and both of her sons. Look, I don`t think
anyone knows -- I mean, I wouldn`t marry someone after a first date for an
hour, right? So I don`t know that I know her.

My sense certainly was that there was no malice in anything that she`s
doing. There may have been bad decisions or decisions that are difficult
for us to understand. But that said, I also think, you know, a moment ago
you were talking about the idea of Caitlyn Jenner choosing her gender. And
I think that most transgender people would actually describe it as not
having made a choice.

SHARPTON: That`s true.

HARRIS-PERRY: That it is --

SHARPTON: That`s who they are.

HARRIS-PERRY: That it is who they are. And I know it is almost impossible
to imagine this for so many people, but my experience of her was closer to
that. Not that she was choosing or putting on blackness, but that that
felt like the authentic expression of herself. That when people were seen
and receiving her as a black woman, that it felt more true, more authentic
to who she was. And so, whatever we may think about that, that at least my
experience of her was that she was being quite honest when she says, when
I`m a black woman - you know, she go, I`m a black woman, but she believes
herself to be telling the truth when she says that.

SHARPTON: Well, I think the question, Professor Morning, is that you can
become culturally and even spiritually identify with a race, but then
you`ve got to also be free of any contradictions in that narrative. And I
think when she told Matt Lauer the story of the color with the crayon when
she was a kid, a lot of people could say, I get that. I know blacks that
passed as white in school or passed as white to get jobs. But then she
sued Howard university as a white woman. So that`s where the
contradictions come up. You sue a black university saying you wouldn`t let
me do my job because I was white, but I thought you felt you were black all
your life.

the story that`s really emerged here is a person who over time, over the
course of her lifetime has really gradually moved to embrace a black
identity. Because I think, you know, the story about the crayons aside, I
think it`s pretty clear that she was living as a white person. There
wasn`t a lot in her background that we have to go on that suggests that she
was really embracing a really straightforward way of black identity early
on. That is really something coming much leader in her college year or
after which is a pretty typical time when people - when Americans today are
exploring their racial identity.

SHARPTON: Her brother, Melissa, Ezra, he is African-American descent. He
said he doesn`t view his sister as black. Listen to this.


EZRA DOLEZAL, RACHEL DOLEZAL`S BROTHER: If you`re as white to pretend to
be black, I don`t really I never viewed her as black. I viewed her as
interested in African-American studies and trying to help with fixing
racism and stuff, but I never really viewed her as actually black. I
always viewed her as white.


SHARPTON: How he views her, how she views herself is two different things.
Whatever the contradiction, she was in the NAACP working. She was in the
community working, and she related to black people.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I guess I want to say a couple things. One, I want to
step back to the Howard case for just a second. So let me just say this.
I think that one is really complicated and there are some questions there
we need to ask, but let`s just say that when she talks about -- I heard
when she talked about it with Matt Lauer and she talked about it with me,
it actually sounds to me like a gender discrimination case. But for those
who know discrimination law, as I know you do, you actually can`t come in
with kind of both. So if you have a good smart lawyer who has to make a
decision how you`re going to win your case, gender discrimination cases are
much harder to win. If I`m a good lawyer I tell you to sue on race rather
than on gender. So let me - I don`t know exactly what`s going on. But I`m
just saying that may be a possibility.

SHARPTON: Well, I`ve done a lot of those, so I know lawyers do whatever.


SHARPTON: Bear the brunt of it.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So I just want to say we want to be careful. But
that`s part of, I think, what I want to say here, is that for me, part of
what`s interesting here is we should keep focusing on our reactions. So
there is this story of this woman and she fascinating and interesting and
she makes for good TV. But the fascinating part is us, our national desire
to pick this apart and think about it because my bet is just this. What
we`re actually policing is never blackness, but what we`re always policing
is whiteness because whiteness is the thing that comes with the privileges
and the goodies. And so, I just want us to be careful as we draw real
stark boundaries about who gets to have certain kinds of identities because
my bet is in the end it is not really about protecting blackness, that
there are - there is a set of values this is about protecting around

SHARPTON: But isn`t that really the issue even in the black community,
that we know about what is called white privilege, so therefore you`ve got
to be suspicious if you`re given a white privilege. There`s something
suspect about that.

MORNING: But we see that what she`s done, you know, is basically to put
her life`s work to, you know, furthering the causes of the NAACP. So,
that`s where the question of suspicion or her acting out of self-interest,
the whole story gets murky.

I agree with Melissa that really the interesting story here is why are we
all obsessing about this case? And I think it is because we are seeing her
-- she`s the embodiment of this collision course between old American
definitions of what race is and new ways of thinking about race. We`ve
got, on the one hand, the old one drop rule kind of system. You had a race
this you inherited from your parents biologically, you live with that your
entire life, it never changed.

But now, you know, that in fact, there is no such thing as racial blood,
there`s no such thing as back blood or white blood or black genes or white
genes for that matter. And so, we are left now grappling for new
explanations of what racism is.

SHARPTON: Within this era, Melissa, of redefining race, sex, in fact, a
poll of Americans who consider themselves multiracial shows that 29 percent
of them used to think of themselves as being of just one race. In other
words, their identity changed over time. We`re in an identity
transformative time now in America.

HARRIS-PERRY: And -- I want to remind people who may not know that NAACP
leadership in a local chapter is an unpaid position. Just, the number of
times that I`ve heard, she did it to get a job, I just want to point out,
that`s a volunteer opportunity, right? So there`s only a few people in the
NAACP that are paid, they`re not at the local level.

The second thing I want to say behind that, and I think that`s critical, is
we have watched the social construction of race on our own president. I
just want to point out the ways in which initially people said he wasn`t
black enough. And then people said actually he`s way too black. And then
this idea that he`s somehow foreign and not --

SHARPTON: Not American.

HARRIS-PERRY: And not American. And I`m just saying all of those things
are -- is she President Obama? No. But is there a similar set of
anxieties going on here.

SHARPTON: Same discussion.

Melissa Harris-Perry, Ann Morning, thank you both for your time tonight.
Make sure you catch more on Melissa in her cable exclusive interview with
Rachel Dolezal tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on "All In with
Chris Hayes." And be sure to catch Melissa Harris-Perry weekends starting
at 10:00 a.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

And what do you think about it? The conversation is heating up online.
Find us on Facebook and send us a tweet @politicsnation. We`ll feature
some of your responses later in the show.

Coming up, Donald Trump is running for president. It`s not a reality show.
And it could be a big problem for the GOP.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m really rich. I`ll share you
that. I will be the greatest jobs president that god ever created.


SHARPTON: Also the first lady`s trip to London is already making headlines
around the world.


SHARPTON: Donald Trump is officially in. Today the reality TV star
declared his candidacy for president. And it got me thinking, what might a
Donald Trump White House actually look like? The White House would most
certainly turn into the gold house, marine one might even bear a new name
on its side, and air force one would be known as a trump force one.

Coming up, we`ll talk about the very real impact Donald Trump will have on
the Republican Party. And what Oprah Winfrey has to do with it? That`s


SHARPTON: There are times we all remember in politics. This will be one
of them. Donald Trump is running for president.


TRUMP: Sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president,
I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and
we will make America great again.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United
States, and we are going to make our country great again.


SHARPTON: In a nearly hour-long rambling speech, Trump was, well, very
Trump. Confident, tough and original. But he did have the party`s
favorite campaign talking point.


TRUMP: Obamacare kicks in this 2016, really big league. It is going to be
amazingly destructive. We have to repeal Obamacare, and it can be -- and
it can be replaced with something much better for everybody. Let it be for
everybody. But much better and much less expensive for people and for the


SHARPTON: He went off script and at times it seemed like a Trump stream of
consciousness. Whatever popped into his head, he said.


TRUMP: Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might even be on one of
my courses. I would invite him. I actually would say. I have the best
courses in the world, so I would say, you know what, if you want to see, I
have one right next to the White House.

How stupid are our leaders? How stupid are these politicians who allow
this to happen? How stupid are they? And they don`t know. Are you
running? Are you not running? Could we have your support? What do we do?
But Mr. Trump, you`re not a nice person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t need nice!

TRUMP: That`s true. But actually I am. I think I`m a nice person. I
like China. I sell apartment for ten -- I just told an apartment for $15
million to somebody from China.

I don`t need anybody`s money. It`s nice. I don`t need anybody`s money.
I`m using my own money. I`m really rich. I`ll share you that. I would
build a great wall -- and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.

I will be the greatest jobs president that god ever created. I will find
the General Patton or I will find General McArthur. I would find the right
guy, I will find the guy that`s going to take that military and make it
really work.

So just to sum up, I would do various things very quickly. And I promise I
will never be in a bicycle race. That I can tell you.


SHARPTON: But he`s in this race. And here`s the thing. Donald Trump has
name recognition. He doesn`t hold back. And he will have impact because
he`s polling well.

In the Real Clear choice, in the Real Clear politics, average of national
polls, he`s in ninth place, which could land him on the debate stage
beating out other contenders like Rick Santorum and John Kasich.

That means that the lineup at the debate would be impacted by Trump just
because of his polling standing on name recognition. But let me tell you
this, I ran for president. You prep, you get ready for the debates based
on your opponents. He will change every one of the contenders, the more
serious ones have to prepare for the debate. He will change how the
journalists questioning them have to prepare to ask questions and handle
rebuttals. His presence on the stage, his reckless behavior, his not going
by protocol and decorum, him being there to come with the zingers because
he doesn`t know policy would change the nature of those debates. He will
impact this race.

The question is who can handle him on that stage and come off as an adult
that should be president or who does he go after and what does he do?
Don`t dismiss him. He already will impact this race if he goes all the

Who else would I want to talk to about this than political strategist
Angela Rye and "the Washington Post" Dana Milbank.

OK, team, it`s official. Dana, how long and how much noise will Donald

DANA MILBANK, THE HUFFINGTON POST: I thought you were going to say how
long have I been waiting for this. I was going to tell you my whole life.
You know, as somebody who covers absurdity in politics this is a very big
and important day.

But I think you are absolutely right. I would say there are nine billion
reasons to take Donald Trump seriously and that`s what he tells the world
his net worth is. You know, money is everything in politics, Reverend.
It`s not just getting in the debates and shaking those up. He can spend a
lot of money on ads. He can be there in the early primary states. He can
really shape the debate here.

He has nothing to lose. One suspect he`s in it for a lark to gain more
publicity for himself. But his motive really doesn`t matter. And you`re
absolutely correct. They`re all going to have to contend with him. And it
does make the serious candidates have to deal with this circus atmosphere
because now the guy, President Obama called a carnival barker, is indeed
going to be right there on the dance floor.

SHARPTON: And Angela, it is easy to mock and dismiss clearly that`s easy
and will be done. But the fact is serious guys pursuing this race and Miss
Fiorina are going to have to decide now how do they run against him.
Suppose he gets on the stage and starts mocking them. How do you prepare
for that?

When I ran you have to prepare how you`re going to deal with candidate b,
c, d. And how do you deal with trump and if he unleashes that money, how
do you deal with that and factor that into the terms of the appeal. I
wouldn`t be so quick to just pooh-pooh this away.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Right. I mean, he kind of pooh-poohed
to it himself, Rev., with this 45-minute speech about nothing. I think
that first we have to deal with the fact that the xenophobic rant he went
on and on about Mexicans and them being racists and criminal -- I mean, it
was horrible. But he also had a xenophobic rant about China. And
unfortunately, Rev., you`re talking about the serious candidates, some of
them are using and speaking from the very same book of talking points.

So as serious as some of them may think they are, we`re still talking about
a presidential candidate potentially who ran from green eggs and ham on the
Senate floor. That is Ted Cruz. So these folks aren`t all, you know,

I think the other thing that we need to talk about is the fact that this
birther guy now has to deal with something else. And I`m looking for the
discloser person who will be the thorn in his flesh to talk about not this
many page of accents he rolled out today but whether he`s really going to
file this financial disclosure. Because all of this may be for naught if
he needs to file what he has to file to be a presidential contender and
that`s the financial disclosure form.

SHARPTON: That is absolutely right. Going, Dana, to the 45-minute speech
that Angela referred to, he also went right after Jeb Bush. Listen to


TRUMP: Bush is totally in favor of common corps. I don`t see how he can
get the nomination. He`s weak on immigration. He is in favor of common
core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can`t do it.


SHARPTON: So in Trump`s eyes, Dana, Jeb Bush is the one to beat and he`s
going to be pounding on that. That can`t be helpful.

MILBANK: I think that`s probably right. I mean, he did take shots at the
others. In fact, he opened up with a veiled shot at Rick Perry talking
about how he couldn`t get the air conditioning working and how others
couldn`t get enough people to come to their kickoff events so how could
they be president.

But I think that and the Jeb Bush line is a taste of what you are going to
get from him in terms of ads if he runs them in terms of the debate if he`s
actually there on stage. I mean, Jeb Bush for all of them is the biggest
target right now. But I suspect you are going to be if Trump does last
through this, you`re going to hearing him talk about all the candidates,
but of course, mostly about himself. I counted from the transcript 229
references to himself made in that 45-minute speech, which is really hard
to do.

SHARPTON: Well, not for him.

But Angela, to show you how I`m saying you don`t know where he`s going,
moments ago in an interview with ABC, Trump said he would want his vice
president to be this -- well, let me show it to you.


TRUMP: Back in 1999 when you were thinking as running as a reform party
candidate, you told Larry King you`d consider Oprah for vice president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like Oprah. What can I tell you? Is she on your
short list?

TRUMP: No, she`s great. She`s talented. She`s a friend of mine. She`s a
great person. I think Oprah would be great. I`d love to have Oprah. I
think we`d win easily, actually.


SHARPTON: Somehow I don`t think Oprah`s going to be on the Trump ticket.

RYE: Not in the least bit. I think it`s nice that he`s considering Oprah,
but Oprah needs to consider him first and Oprah is already demonstrating
where her allegiances lie, at least in the past, we`ve seen her raging
endorsement for President Obama. And I just cannot see the fact that his
politics which is so vastly different from our current president, I can`t
see her even endorsing him let alone -- I don`t think he`s going to get to
this first debate, but we`ll see. Stranger things have happened.

SHARPTON: Well, thanks to my senior trump correspondents Angela Rye and
Dana Milbank.

RYE: I don`t want to be that.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, what if the Supreme Court ruling forces millions to
lose health coverage? Wait until you hear Speaker Boehner`s response

And the first lady sits down with Prince Harry.

Much more ahead. Please stay with us.


SHARPTON: Rachel Dolezal says she`s not a con artist and identifies as
black, but what does the public think? The tweets are rolling in. That
conversation is ahead.


SHARPTON: As we wait for the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare subsidies,
things are getting strange in the Republican Party. Over six million
Americans can lose their coverage. Let me show you what Senator John
Barrasso is saying.

"I want to do nothing to protect this law. I want to protect the people
who have found that they thought they were following the law and now find
the President is acting illegally."

The people are benefiting from the law. What is he talking about? He
wants to protect people from something that they`re gaining from. But if
you thing that sounds slightly bizarre, remember the tweet that Senator
Thune did last week. Senator Thune writes, six million people risk losing
their health care subsidies, yet quotas continues to deny that ObamaCare is
bad for the American people. That`s actually something he wrote. It makes
absolutely no sense. "They`re losing any form of logic because they don`t
have any plan on what they`re going to do with the over six million people
that would lose their health care if they win in the Supreme Court."

And the majority of Americans want these subsidies. Look at the fact that
in the recent poll that has now come out with the Kaiser Foundation, if the
Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare subsidies, should Congress pass a law
that people in all states can be eligible for financial help? Because this
is all about language of state and federal in the bill. Sixty three
percent say, yes. Sixty three percent. Then independents, 66 percent of
independents say, yes. Even when you ask Republicans 38 percent, over a
third of Republicans say, yes. So the American people want this. The
American people are standing behind it. Six million people are benefiting
from it. They have no plan when you ask them it`s going to be told by and
by later on. And they come with these incoherent statements like Senator
Thune and Barrasso. It is, in my opinion, politically disgraceful.

Let`s talk about it with Ryan Grim and Shira Center. Ryan, let me go to
you first. Could you understand Senator Barrasso trying to blame President

RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: You know, I guess? I mean, you know, he
doesn`t want to blame himself. You know, these Republicans are kind of
like the dog who has, you know, been chasing the car forever and now
they`ve actually accidentally caught the thing and they`ve got their teeth,
you know, in the wheels, you know, in the tire of this car and they don`t
know what to do with it. So, they`re kind of flailing around. You know,
but like you said, they don`t have an alternative yet. And one of the
reasons is that the GOP alternative would actually look like ObamaCare.

You know, a lot of people forget this was a heritage plan. You know, the
idea that you would create marketplaces, create competition among insurance
companies and then subsidize people to buy those plans, that was a very
conservative right wing approach to reforming health care that Democrats
looked at and said, hey, you know, this makes some sense, let`s go ahead
and implement this. It was only when, you know, Obama decided to implement
it following Mitt Romney that Republicans decided they hate it. And so, in
some ways, you know, that`s why they don`t have an alternative. Because
the alternative is the thing that they`re now trying to get thrown out in
the Supreme Court.

SHARPTON: Now, Shira, today Speaker Boehner, he was asked about the
republican plan if the Supreme Court rules against subsidies. Listen to


NBC NEWS: Is there any republican plan to give back the subsidies to the
millions who could lose this them if this ruling goes a certain way?


NBC NEWS: You`ll cover millions of people?


SHARPTON: This is what I was talking about. They have a plan but they
won`t tell us. You`ll know later, by and by. I mean, this is a trend
Shira, they will not say specifically what they`re going to do if they
cause over six million people to lose their subsidies on this little
technicality that they`re playing a word game on.

subtext of Speaker Boehner`s comments there were we`re going to let the
Senate deal with that issue first. As you mentioned the Senate has tried
to kind of propose a couple, you know, half measures plans here and there,
but there`s no consensus. You know, I used to think John Boehner had the
worst job in Washington. I think that title now belongs to -- that dubious
title belongs to now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to
corral his caucus into any kind of response to this pending Supreme Court
ruling. He is dealing with the presidential candidates on one end, all of
the senators up for re-election in blue states in 2016 at the same time and
it`s extremely hard when you`re dealing with those factions for him to find
any kind of consensus response to the Supreme Court`s pending ruling.

SHARPTON: Well, let me dig into that a little. Because Politico reports
today on tension in the GOP over a potential response to the Supreme Court
ruling. They write, quote, "The GOP senators running for president
starting but not ending with firebrand Ted Cruz, threaten to stymie their
leader`s carefully hatched plans." Quote, "Things can`t be turned on a
dime, said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas. People can run for
president, but we`ve actually got to solve a problem."

Ryan, how can they solve this potential problem when GOP senators like Ted
Cruz will make it their mission to stop them?

GRIM: Well, you know, they only need 60 votes to do it. And, you know,
you`re seeing a lot of unease within the republican caucus. And this is
before -- okay, let`s assume the decision comes down and it`s a negative
one and all of these people lose their health insurance. You know, a year
and a half ago, when people were losing just a handful of catastrophic
plans and they were able to replace them with even better plans on the
ObamaCare exchanges, it was total bedlam. You know, it was absolute
political chaos.

So, you know, if you extrapolate that out, a few people losing lousy plans
to six million people losing really good plans and actually probably more
than six million as it spirals out of control, you know, the political
pressure on the GOP is going to be something that they`re not going to be
able to bear and I think it would buckle and push it through the Senate and
the House. They will remember how to function. Ted Cruz can filibuster
all he wants but all they need is 60 votes to get him to stop.

SHARPTON: And to further elaborate on your point, Shira, not only do you
have the presidential candidates, you have the senators running for re-
election in some of these swing states and some of these states that have a
lot of people on this plan. So you have them fighting for their own
politics and you`ve got the presidential candidates, you have the Tea Party
crowd, you have the more moderate crowd, you`ve got a mess.

CENTER: Yes. And you know who is a perfect example of this contradiction?
It`s U.S. Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin. He was one of the first
Republicans in the Senate to kind of propose something that could fix
something in reaction to the Supreme Court`s decision and there`s a reason
for that. It`s because he is up for re-election in 2016 running against
the guy he defeated nearly six years ago. Former U.S. Senator Russ
Feingold and Ron Johnson is one of the most vulnerable republican senators
on the map in 2016. The reason he`s trying to preempt this is to protect
himself in his own state before his re-election.

SHARPTON: All right. Ryan Grim, Shira Center, thank you both for your
time tonight.

GRIM: Thank you, Reverend.

CENTER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, what you are saying on social media about Rachel
Dolezal breaking her silence. Everybody has an opinion.

Also, making a splash across the pond. How the First Lady is trying to
change the lives of millions of young girls around the world.



outside of myself, I would probably be in a rage. I would like what the
heck -- this person, how dare she claim this? But they don`t know me.


SHARPTON: That was Rachel Dolezal admitting that a lot of people are angry
with her calling herself black. Her story has sparked a lot of debate on
social media. Montel Williams writes, "The truth is she lied. She`s not a
victim on the basis that she finds the questions asked inconvenient."
Sherri Shepherd tweets, "She`s an intelligent woman. I just wished she
would have done what she did as a white woman. That`s a powerful ally. #
use your gift."

And on our Facebook page, fans have been weighing in. Neil Warren says,
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Beverly McIntyre says,
"It`s okay to identify and embrace another culture. It`s not acceptable to
fabricate and lie."

Well, let me walk over and ask my guests. I`m happy to have with us now
Amber Payne, who is the managing editor of NBC BLK and Midwin Charles.
Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Well, let me ask straight-out, Amber, you interviewed Rachel
today. You asked her if there was an element of white privilege -- we
talked about that a little earlier in the show -- that something she took
in choosing to be black. I want to play her response.


DOLEZAL: I`m willing to acknowledge that there is privilege available to
people with lighter skin that probably is a little more difficult to
transform for people of darker skin. And I`m trying to answer it from my
truth the best I can. Along a spectrum, I believe there`s a window of
privilege. Light skin and white for visible choices of racial


SHARPTON: So what did you get from that?

PAYNE: Well, it was interesting. She was talking about this window of
privilege and a spectrum, and she was including light skinned and white in
that spectrum. So, one thing I took away and what a lot of people have
been talking about online and communicating with us is this hijacking of
even the biracial experience. And Rain Pryor has been tweeting about that
this evening. And just the idea that, you know, for light skinned people
she set them back. Now they need to go and get their black card.


PAYNE: You know, I`m a biracial woman myself.


PAYNE: And I`ve had, you know, people question me.

SHARPTON: But you don`t get what white privilege gets.

PAYNE: Exactly. You know, I can`t, you know, I said it well, I mean, I
can`t just change my skin and my hair. You know, we talked about hair,
too, and hair being this assumption of, you know, she talked about going
through TSA and being part of that black experience. And it`s definitely
hard for me to grasp how she had assumed that mantel of biracialness,
mixed, black, you know, she kind of combined them into a lot of things.

SHARPTON: How do you react to this, Midwin?

MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY: Well, I just think that the fact that she
assumed this sort of identity, she says that she`s a black woman in and of
itself a form of privilege. The fact that she can actually go ahead and do
this at least to a point where it is convenient, right? I mean, in 2002
she sued Howard University as a white woman because she didn`t get an
opportunity that she thought she deserved. So it was convenient for her at
that point to be white, and then later on she decided, oh, you know what?
I think I`ll morph, I think I`ll shift and become a black woman because
there are certain positions that I want that are typically easier for black
women to get. And I think that`s part of the problem that a lot of people
have with this, is this sort of lie and this deception in order to retain
opportunities that typically black women had easy access to or easier

SHARPTON: You know, Amber in a piece in "Time" magazine, Kareem Abdul-
Jabbar, he writes this, "Lying to employers and the public you`re
representing when the lie benefits you personally and professionally is
deceit -- is a deficit, rather, in character. However, the fight for
equality is too important the all Americans to lose someone as passionate
as she is and who has accomplished as much as she has." How do you react
to it?

PAYNE: Well, Rachel talked a lot to me about just owning this black
experience and being moved by it and wanting to be an ally. I asked her
couldn`t you be a white ally? Couldn`t a white woman mentor black girls?
She talked about mentoring black girls in a camp for girls. And she really
kind of spoke of it in almost in a third person of, perhaps a white woman
could do that but she really felt like the Black Lives Matter movement is a
black-led movement and that to be a white person in that movement, you can
be with it but you can`t lead it. So, I got the impression that, you know,
she at an early age saw herself identifying with the black experience and
the black struggle and she wanted be a part of it and lead it. And that`s
how she sees herself now.

SHARPTON: As helping to lead it?

PAYNE: Yes, as helping to lead it.

SHARPTON: But the question is none of us are perfect. All of us have made
mistake. I`ve certainly made mine. And I`m sure anyone else out there in
the public has. They will bring -- it`s bad enough they rely on you is
worse when they can bring up half-truths or even something true to really
in many ways hurt your cause. In this situation, what you`re raising,
Midwin and all, can this be used to do more damage than good and that may
be why she resigned.

CHARLES: It may be. The problem is -- and I understood why the NAACP put
out that statement in support of her because if they didn`t, then they
would look as though, you know what? We didn`t do a good enough job
vetting her.

SHARPTON: But you`ve had white presidents of chapters before.

CHARLES: Of course.

SHARPTON: You had whites start the NAACP. We`ve had whites all of our

CHARLES: Absolutely. And that really isn`t the issue. The issue is the
lying and deception.


CHARLES: And if she`s willing to lie about that, what else is she willing
to lie about? Is this the type of person that the NAACP wants repping them
at this particular level? Someone who thinks it`s okay to lie.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to leave it there. Amber Payne
and Midwin Charles. Thank you both for your time this evening.

Coming up, some breaking news from Capitol Hill. Congressman Darrell Issa
escorted out of a Benghazi deposition, and he stormed off. The details,


SHARPTON: Breaking news from Capitol Hill where Congressman Darrell Issa
was escorted from a room where a former aide to Hillary Clinton was
undergoing a Benghazi deposition. Issa was taken out of the room by the
chairman of the Benghazi Committee Congressman Trey Gowdy. Issa was seen
storming off. Some reporters say, he was so mad he threw a soda can into
the garbage. We`ll be watching to see if there`s more to this story.


SHARPTON: London calling. First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters
were in London today. She went to Kensington Palace meeting with Prince
Harry, talking education and a shared interest in supporting veterans.
Then it was time to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron on a new $200
million partnership to educate young girls in developing countries. But
her most moving part of the day came visiting the mulberry school for
girls. For speech on women`s education, students screamed and cheered as
the First Lady walked in. Then she spoke personally about why education is
so important to her.


MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Girls like you inspire me and impress me
every single day. I`m here because when I look out at all of these young
women, I see myself. I may come from a country that`s an ocean away, but
you know, I`m a bit older than you all. Yes, I am. I know I don`t look
it, but I`m just a little older. But in so many ways your story is my


SHARPTON: Before her speech ended, she offered words of encouragement for
the young women as they pushed forward in their studies.


M. OBAMA: And maybe you read the news and hear what folks are saying about
your religion and you wonder if people will ever see beyond your head scarf
to who you really are instead of being blinded by the fears and
misperceptions in their own minds. And I know how painful and how
frustrating all of that can be. I know how angry and exhausted it can make
you feel. But here`s the thing. With an education from this amazing
school, you all have everything, everything you need to rise above all of
the noise and fulfill every last one of your dreams.


SHARPTON: To see a woman, the First Lay of the United States, sitting
there at the side of the president of the United States, the head of the
free world, telling young ladies you can overcome people`s perceptions and
biases if you educate yourself and believe in yourself, that`s the kind of
First Lady that we can respect and is admired all over the world.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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