IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Sunday, September 21th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Sunday show

September 21, 2014

Guest: Roxane Gay, Camelo Ortiz, Jacqui Lewis, Bomani Jones, Stacey
Patton, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Jo Marie Payton, Cori Murray, Kevin Fallon;
Rebecca Traister; Judith Shulevitz; Rob Christensen; Earl Catagnus Jr.;
Chantelle Bateman; Matt Southworth

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning my question, is Shonda
Rhimes an angry black woman?

Plus, the "Cosby Show`s" CEO joins Nerdland.

And how child abuse is the last acceptable form of domestic violence?

But first, the mission of war.

Good morning, I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.

If there is one thing President Obama wants us to know about the fight
against ISIS, it`s that our troops will not be involved in a combat


returning to combat in Iraq.

As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat
mission. We will not be dragged into another ground war in Iraq.

I want to be clear. The American forces then had been deployed to Iraq do
not and will not have a combat mission.


HARRIS-PERRY: Now, it may sound a little dust protest too much it. But
give the president a break. They have a reason to worry that the American
people may need some convincing to believe that this mission of airstrikes
and training will inevitably evolve into something that looks a lot more
like an all-out ground war. Considering the fight has evolved and
expanded, just over the course of this summer. On June 16th, the White
House told Congress that it will be sending 275 U.S. military personnel to
Iraq to provide security for the embassy in Baghdad. On June 19th,
President Obama announced 300 more.


OBAMA: We had advisors in Iraq through our embassy and we are prepared to
send a small number of divisional American military advisors, up to 300, to
assess how we can best train, advice, and support Iraqi`s security forces
going forward.


HARRIS-PERRY: On June 30th, another 200 to provide security, and on
September 2nd, 350 more to protect diplomatic facilities and personnel.
And on September 10th, the president announced not only an expanded
airstrikes campaign but more troops.


OBAMA: We will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq.


HARRIS-PERRY: That puts the number of U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq at

Secretary of state John Kerry which held this week to explain to the senate
foreign relations committee, the administration strategy and to once again
emphasize exactly what the strategy is not.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: U.S. ground troops will not be sent into
combat in this conflict. I want to be clear. The U.S. troops that had
been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.


HARRIS-PERRY: Now, as you can see, members of the anti-war group code pink
were there to protest the U.S. military action in Iraq. And they made
themselves known at the beginning of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, and Secretary Kerry acknowledged their presence in his opening


KERRY: I understand decent. I lived it. That`s how I first testified in
front of this country in 1971.


HARRIS-PERRY: He was, of course, referred to April 22nd, 1971 when a 27-
year-old John Kerry who served in Vietnam as a lieutenant with the navy
testified before that very same committee against the war in Vietnam.


KERRY: We, veterans, can only look with the (INAUDIBLE) on the fact this
country has not been able to see that there is absolutely no difference
between a ground troop and a helicopter crew and yet people have accepted
the differentiation feed by the administration.


HARRIS-PERRY: A very different sounding John Kerry. Of course, testifying
about very different conflicts, but are there similar concerns to be had

This morning, to discuss this country`s latest mission and what it seems to
be an ongoing war growing in scope, three guests will understand what it
means to take on the mission of war firsthand.

Earl Catagnus Jr., assistant professor of history and security studies at
Valley Forge Military College. He is also an Iraq war veteran who was
wounded in Fallujah. Chantelle Bateman, who served in Iraq as a member of
the U.S. marines and is a member of Iraq war veterans against the war, and
Matt Southworth, an Iraq war veteran who is currently working for the
Friends committee on national legislations.

For all of you, when you see John Kerry 1971 and then you see secretary of
state John Kerry, what does that prompt for you -- Chantelle?

think of the long history of service members entering the war and seeing
what it`s really like, coming home and telling the truth about it. To
major general Smedley Butler wrote something called "war is a racket," you
know, after returning home from World War II and seeing how problematic it
was. And it is very interesting to hear someone go from that rhetoric to
what we`re talking at now which is starting the path to war. The idea that
we`re not going to have troops on the ground seems false to me since this
is the pattern we have been on and repeat it for many years.

HARRIS-PERRY: So Earl, you know, when we were together last week, part of
the reason I wanted to assemble this panel is because of the intensity of
what occurred between you and another guest, when you -- you over trying to
talk about sort of what does it mean to be a veteran, and what does it mean
to be an infantry man. And you very clearly said no matter what, these who
have volunteered for the position will take on whatever mission they have.
But that is not quite the same thing as beating the drums of war.

I absolutely not. I think we have a great panel here to show that clearly
difference between what an infantry men has then other who military
occupational specialist. Infantry, and again, go in knowing they`re going
to fight. That`s their sole reason for being. That`s their -- they live
for it. It is something that people don`t understand who have never
experienced, that it never been around it, never been inside of it. So, it
doesn`t matter who it is. And they truly believe in their leaders. If the
president says we`ll go here. They will do it, And they will do it well.
And that`s what General Mattis said this week in Congress. He said that
there is no problem if do put boots on the ground. That we can do it and
we will do it surgically and we will do it professionally at the same time.
He said that de didn`t advice, but we shouldn`t say that we are not going
to do it.

MATT SOUTHWORTH, SERVED IN U.S. ARMY: Well, this is a matter of priority
when it comes county to it. The U.S. spent roughly $60 billion a year on
its military for the last several successive years. We spend about $50
million fewer than that on the U.S. State Department engaging other
countries diplomatically and so on. I bet if we reverse those budgets we
would be better at something else.

No doubt in my mind, we have a very well trained fighting force that is
willing to follow orders. The question is, are these orders the right
orders? And I don`t think they are. I think at the end of the day, this
is more of the same. We have been bombing Iraq for 24 years and it has not
helped Iraq become a more stable place.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK. So let`s -- there are two things that you framed there
that I want us to dig into. One is the question about the cost. And on
the one hand, I absolutely appreciate the value of talking about what it
costs us personally, what is cost us as a nation, what is cost us
financially. ON the other hand, I wonder if we have a special
responsibility no matter what it costs, as a result of our intervention
being part of what the nation is now facing.

CATAGNUS: I think you`re exactly right. This is part of a larger
conversation that the country needs to have in public. It`s a debate
where, and we were talking earlier, that if the United States is going to a
hedge amount of power, we have to be a hedge amount of power. If we are
going to be one that is reduce then sit back and low things and be -- I
don`t like to use the word isolation, that`s in (INAUDIBLE), but taking a
measured approach not actually employ military power. At what cost, then
we need to have that public debate.

And I think people will get behind whatever is decided in the long run
through the politicians but there is no longevity to any of the strategic
planning. There -- it is the I caught the new term reset (ph), the new
president reset. It`s the only country in the world where foreign policy
completely changes because opinions all change once the new president comes
in. There is no consistency which is OK if we have a strategic plan that
eventually can be changed and tweaked and everything.

HARRIS-PERRY: Chantelle?

BATEMAN: I don`t think you can see a long-term strategic plan for this
type of invasion and war. We went in last time with this idea that we
could start something. And we had a plan to cut t off. And we even
declared the end of the war but we`re still there.


BATEMAN: But we`re still there. I mean, ISIS, you know, grew up while
troops were still in Iraq. We have not fully divested our interest from
that country. We never fully left. Even if we pulled out from the war and
began securing the nation. So the idea that we could, you know, ramp up
and that would somehow calm things down just being --.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK. So then you have taken us to the second -- I will come
back to you on, but then that question when you say ISIS began to brew,
begin to emerge even as we were on the ground there. I wonder -- I guess,
part of what I am suggesting is, then doesn`t that, whether is a military
strategy, whether there is a diplomatic strategy, doesn`t that give the
U.S. particular ownership? And I don`t mean even in the (INAUDIBLE). I
mean, in a like sense of responsibility decently erupt. Perhaps, some ways
are different eve than Syria.

SOUTHWORTH: Right. Well, you know, no one is saying do nothing about the
Islamic state. We are just saying don`t bomb the countries of Iraq and
Syria. No one declared war on former military farmers like Timothy McVeigh
after he blew up the Oklahoma City building because that would be
illogical. What we have is a criminal group committing criminal
atrocities. And they are atrocities. But that doesn`t mean they can be
solved with more violence.

The Islamic state came to being because of the conditions set forth by the
U.S. invasion in 2003 in Iraq and that extended to Syria. Those groups
which experienced more zones, refugee camps, and disenfranchisement will
not become rolled in to the political process through U.S. bombs which just
doesn`t work.

HARRIS-PERRY: Good. See, we are going to take a quick break and when we
come back that`s exactly the topic I want us to kind of move on which is
the strategic question, whether or not any of the strategies that we are
currently talking about are the ones that will bring about the kind of
resolution that they are hoping for. So hold on for me. I`m going to ask
whether or not the commander on-chief and his top generals are, on fact, at
odds about that question of strategies next.


HARRIS-PERRY: Despite the president`s promises, military leaders
acknowledge there may be a time when it becomes necessary to send the U.S.
troops on combat missions in Iraq.

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff told
Congress just as much this week.


GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS: If we reached the point where
I believe our advisors should accompany Iraq troops on attacks against
specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president.


HARRIS-PERRY: And he said that other and over again. But I do want to
come with a strategy question. So, you know, part of the key that makes
the U.S. what it is, is that civilian leadership for the military which
means that there is political resets. On the other hand, military leaders
are then the ones who advise these civilian leaders and being military they
look for military solutions.

SOUTHWORTH: Right. No question, when the president calls at a cabinet
meeting or a meeting of his advisors, the military is there. And when he
say, who has got the logistical capabilities to do this? It is always the

But as I said earlier, you know, it is a matter of priority. It is the way
we funded the military versus other agencies of the government. We`re
giving $500 million to train Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia. $500 million.
It would only take $100 to run the State Department`s complex crisis fund
which is the fun that would actually respond to this crisis which they are
brewing not after they were happening.

This is not crisis prevention that we are talking about now. It`s crisis
response. If we want to get smart of how we engage the world, we need to
start holding up those mechanisms of peace building.

HARRIS-PERRY: So I want to listen to Gates. This is the former secretary
talking about what would be necessary to achieve the objective. Let`s
listen for a moment.


ROBERT GATES, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: They`re not going to be able to
be successful against ISIS and strictly from the air or strictly depending
on the Iraqi forces or the Peshmerga or the Sunni tribes acting on their
own. So there will be boots on the ground. If there is to be any hope of
success and the strategy, and I think by continuing to repeat that the
president, in effect, traps himself.


HARRIS-PERRY: So there is a former defense secretary speaking on PBS who
talks about they`re not going to be able to be successful. And that
question of success I guess is really the question -- so here the president
said degrade or destroy, but does success always necessarily mean a kind of
military destruction in order to constitution success?

CATAGNUS: One, I think, we have to really get back. The military
commanders don`t always choose the military options especially Vietnam,
even Iraq, there was a big Bush back because they didn`t want to fight a
counter insurgency fight. Believe me, military commanders do not want to
get in to a counter insurgency because it is very muddy. It is very
difficult to do. And it`s not what they want to do. The army has gone
through this big phase where they are getting rid of counter insurgency
doctrine and try to refocus on the conventional threat. So for them to
suggest it is very big.

At the same time, I have to disagree with defense secretary that I think
given the right support, the Iraqis and the Pesh can do that, can push them
to the border. Now Syria, again, I said this over and over, a completely
different thing. But we have been requested by the Iraqi government. I
think the president was smart by forcing the political change that occurred
in Baghdad. And hopefully re-enfranchisement of the Sunni tribal leaders.
And trust me, when a Sunni Tribal leaders say we are done with ISIS, there
will be heads in the streets similar to what happen in Anbar. This is an
autocratic society that when they say the word, it`s done, it is. There is
no question yet.

HARRIS-PERRY: That language of heads in the street, obviously at this
moment, right, is in part -- it feels to me will gone Americans, myself
even, feel very differently leap this week than even a month ago about
engaging ISIS, largely as a result of the atrocities against civilians,
British and Americans.

But I keep wondering if we are we downplaying the cost of war for those who
will be on the front line? We want to protect these civilian lives whether
they are Iraqi or Syrians, or in this context, American or British
civilians, but the cost for the men and women who will fight.

Well, not even just for the men -- well, the men and women who are or were
fighting are still paying the costs of the last ten years. The VA had to
condemn an entire building because the floor was about to cave in because
there was waded with file cabinets holding backlogged veteran claims. Like
we are not even dealing with that cause of war.

There are people who are still dealing with, you know, effects of my first,
last, and only deployment and let alone people who rotated two, three, and
plus times. And those people are still serving will be part of this next
rotation if they are to push for work. And then there is what the people
of Iraq are dealing and this idea that we can help people in Iraq by
rooting out ISIS with the military solutions. We already know military
solution completely destroy the country. People in Iraq have less access
to water, less safety, less food, less infrastructure less security than
they did ten years ago. And the idea that we could rinse, wash, and repeat
sounds, you know, obscene to me.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you all for being here. I hope that I can continue to
call on you as we walk through this process particularly if there is this
mission this mission creep that we keep talking about and sort of trying to
think through what any of that means and what it means for all of us.

Thank you to Earl Catagnus Jr., to Chantelle Bateman and also to Matt

Still to come this morning, Malcolm Jamal-Warner joins us live, not to talk
about war. Roger Goodell in damage control causing even more damage and
bad feminist author Roxanne Gaye.

But up next, the good news nobody is talking about.


HARRIS-PERRY: Remember the Affordable Care Act, the president`s signature
domestic policy achievement? Well, we have not heard much about it lately,
not in politics anyway. Well, it might be because the ACA is working. New
numbers from our federal study considered the gold standard of its time
were released this week and found that the number of uninsured Americans
fell by eight percent to 41 million people. That is about 3.8 million
people who have insurance now who didn`t have it before.

There is, however, a major caveat. A lot of people who left out. D.C.
provides full federal funding for states to expand Medicaid coverage to
those earning up to 133 percent of poverty line. In states that have
decided to expand Medicaid under the ACA, the share of uninsured fell by
three percentage points. But in states that did not expand Medicaid,
mostly states politically dominated pi Republicans, the uninsured rate
dropped by just one percentage point. A decline so small that it is
statistically insignificant.

It is the issue of Medicaid expansion that has sparked massive protests,
even movements in some states because it is outrageous that a state would
decline to offer an essential service, a life or death service to its most
vulnerable people when it won`t cause the state a penny at first. It could
actually save a substantial money in the long run.

Now the outrage has been especially fierce in North Carolina. The Moral
Mondays movement has inspired thousands as it has fought back against North
Carolina`s right-word lurch, protesting week after week for Medicaid
expansion and assume of other progressive issues.

And that is why it is North Carolina`s Senate race between a Democrat who
rose the president wave in to office in 2008. And the leader of the same
North Carolina state House that has refused Medicaid expansion and
instituted the most restrictive voter laws in the country and stagnated
teacher pay, that is the most important Senate race in the nation. And
that I up next.


HARRIS-PERRY: Let`s talk about North Carolina. It is a unique southern
state whose statewide and national election behavior is a bit unpredictable
from a partisan perspective. Although it tends to be identified with the
Carolina blue of the state flagship college, it is a typically a bash (ph)
of Democratic blue. But in 2008 you would have been hard pressed to tell
the difference between North Carolina and a true blue state like say New
York just by looking at their electoral outcomes.

That year, North Carolina voted for a Democratic president, a Democratic
U.S. senator, and Democratic governor. None of whom were incumbents.
Also, none of whom are white men. The results have a lot to do with the
record 72 percent of black voters who turned out in that election.

This year, for the first time since she earned office in that stunning 2008
campaign, senator Kay Hagan will be up for reelection. And she is running
against Tom Tillis, the state`s Republican speaker of the house who has
presided over the passage of everything from the country`s most restrictive
voter suppression laws to anti-reproductive rights measures tucked into
motorcycle safety bills.

This time Barack Obama will not be on the ticket, but he is, in many ways,
at the heart of the race. Tills has tried to tie Hagan to the president
and she in turn has tried to walk a fine line between embracing the
president and distancing herself from his policies.

But in this state that is practically a case study in the importance of
voter turnout is that really such a good idea. There is a lot on the line
because the winner of the North Carolina race could determine control of
the U.S. Senate.

Joining me now from Raleigh, North Carolina is Rob Christensen. He is
political reporter for the news and observer out of Relight. Nice to have
you this morning.


HARRIS-PERRY: So we`re looking at polls out of Elon College showing that
the race between Hagan and Tillis is just razor thin, 45-41. She has got a
bit of an edge, but with almost a five percent margin on each side there.
So tell me, what kind of voter turnout does Hagan going to need in order to
win this reelection.

CHRISTENSEN: Well, to a large degree, the selection will pivot on voter
turnout. It`s a problem everywhere, of course, in midterms. And we don`t
have the appeal of a presidential race. But it`s also, it is in part
because both the senate campaign, neither one of them are charismatic,
either Hagan or Tillis. Neither one of them really have strong appeal,
emotional appeal to their political basis, not Hagan to the party`s most
liberal base. And neither Tillis to the most conservative base despite the
fact that they have a pretty conservative record with the legislature.

And so, even though this race is important, and it could determine a U.S.
pivot this whole Senate, it could pivot on one of the Democratic or
Republican on it, it has not really generate a lot of water cooler talk
here. Even though, they spent about $30 million.

So it`s a real problem for both political parties in trying to get turn
out. So even this weekend, for example, today at a congressional black
caucus, they`re getting a program this weekend to try to energize African-
American votes. Last weekend in Charlotte, there was a big rally for
conservative evangelicals. They tried to turn them out to get to Tillis.
So turnout is really critical in this election.

HARRIS-PERRY: It`s interesting that you make that point bout the not being
particularly charismatic. You know, I live in North Carolina which means
I`m getting bombarded by all the commercials. And most of the commercials,
in fact, don`t even have candidates in them, most of them are teachers,
right? So either a teacher is saying, Tom Tillis did terrible things, or a
teachers saying what you are hearing about Tom Tillis and what he did to
education is not accurate. And n fact, it is Kay Hagan who is the problem.
Why is education at the center of a Senate race? It is actually a little
bit surprising.

CHRISTENSEN: Well, though I think the way to really look at this race is
the Democrats want to localize this race and make this about North Carolina
issues and in particular about the legislature, essentially make this the
Democratic tea party moment because the Democrats are very angry. This has
been traditionally a very moderate state and its legislature and its
governor. They are going to pretty sure up turn to the right. And the
Republicans want to do the opposite. They want to nationalize the race and
they want to make it about the president and about Obamacare. And so, that
is what the ad has been about. And --

HARRIS-PERRY: I`m sorry, because when you said -- it is interesting,
because I just made the counterargument earlier when I was saying that part
of Hagan`s problem is she as an incumbent senator, she is easily linked
with D.C., and that part of what Tillis wants to do is bring it back to the
North Carolina. Of it all, he was talking about his kid of personal
narrative and his story of, you know, having, you know, been a paper boy
and where he lived. So it felt to me like he was the one trying to make it
North Carolina. But in your -- you see this as Hagan making it about North

CHRISTENSEN: Yes. So I mean, that`s why, for example, the issue that
really has been the cutting issue, and the reason that Hagan right now is
up in almost all of the polls is that the ad that has really shown some
movement for Hagan is the teacher issue. Right now, North Carolina ranks
46th in the country in teachers` salaries. And that is the issue that is
so far moved voters and it is really people blaming Republican legislature
even though it is a local issue, not a national issue. But it has been
able to tie Tillis in with Republican legislature. And the question which
in North Carolina which is more popular, the president is not doing very
well in polls in North Carolina, or the Republican legislature which is
also not doing very well in the polls in North Carolina.

HARRIS-PERRY: Which politician and which political group do you hate more
and how does like hating a political group get you out to the polls.

Rob Christensen in Raleigh, North Carolina. Thank you so much.


HARRIS-PERRY: Up next, Beyonce, feminism and the big debate.


HARRIS-PERRY: I`ll never forget that August moment when I felt a certain
double consciousness heal when two worrying (ph) identities were reconciled
to a public display I never thought I would see in my lifetime. No not the
August 2008 Democratic presidential nomination of Barack Obama. I`m
talking about the August 2014, just last month when Beyonce, during her
performance at the MTV video music awards appeared before them (ph)
feminist label. It was a little victory probe with feminist members of the
(INAUDIBLE) who hoped to reconcile our adoration of king being with our
commitment to gender equality progressive politics.

And it was a symbolic act of the stunning main streaming of feminist as a
public identity. Now, that is just one of the topics in a recent new
published copper (ph) story debate between journalist, Rebecca Traister and
Judith Shulevitz, both senior editors at the New Republic entitled
"feminism has concurred the culture, Now, come the hard part."

In the piece, Traister leads off why they in part quote "I don`t think that
in my lifetime, I`m 39, I have seen public popular feminist discourse more
robust than it is now. When I was in high school, college, and first in
the professional world, feminism or any open interest in what was ones
called the women`s movement was totally scorned. The conversation is
getting broader, deeper and more diverse every year. And a good deal of
the credit for this goes to the Internet."

Of course, Shulevitz counters and her response writing in part quote "I
mean, sure." She writes "it`s better have this the beautiful people think
that word feminist is cool than to have the smear at it. And there is
something thrilling about watching Beyonce stand militantly in front of a
lit up back splash of the term at the MVA. So it is also joined to have
the word with jarring to have the word reduced to a fetish object by a high
priestess of the misogynistic cult that is American pop music, especially
when she has just finished a pole-dancing number.

But feminist Internet discourse doesn`t do much for me, no matter how
robust it may be or how much money it gins up for the people and causes
that happen to have gone viral on any particular day. People talk -- and
talk -- about everything on the Internet, but that doesn`t mean the talk
changes anything.

The debate in the piece only grows from there. And I encourage you to read
the full writing of the New Republic. But right now, I have them live as
Rebecca Traister and Judith Shulevitz join me here in the studio.

So why is pole dancing inconsistent with feminism? I mean, I love the
partition. Let me just be clear. I love the partition not just as a
representation of pop culture music, but because I think in the partition
video, Beyonce is doing an interesting feminist work when she says I`m in
control of my sexuality because I`m going to put up the partition or I`m
going to put it down based on what I am consenting to do.



SHULEVITZ: There really are two parts to it. There is part that starts
off with the feminism, and it goes to near to all kinds of the song
"flawless," and the quote from (INAUDIBLE) and it goes to a song to blue
ivy and it`s wonderful. What comes before? I actually watched it with my
10-year-old daughter who is a huge Beyonce fan. Although, she has not seen
her many videos. And what are some of the images we see in the first half.
We see bondage, we see women bound up in leather, including on their face.
We see women lying on their back with their feet up with the camera looking
straight at their private parts. We see women backup singers who are
dressed in outfits that make them look completely naked. I man, Beyonce is
glad that they looked naked and they are pole dancing. Right after that
she splashes up the word feminist.

So to me, there is a jars disjunction. And I asked my daughter what she
thought after the 18-minute video was over. And she said well, I thought
the first half was really weird because she didn`t get the references. She
didn`t get the pornography, pornographic references. And I don`t want my
daughter watching that and thinking that`s how women should behave. So I
have a big problem with that.

Well, I would respond by saying I`m not sure that this is -- you are right
that there are all of those elements there. I`m not sure that there is not
also critique there, right? I mean, I think that part of what we`re seeing
in a lot of Beyonce`s performance and her song includes a critique of the
very thing she is participating in, right? That is complicated. May a 10-
year-old girl isn`t getting all that. Maybe lots of us aren`t getting all
that. And I don`t think the critique is, you know, I don`t think there is
not a reason to point these things out.

all of this stuff about Beyonce. I`m thrilled. I love Beyonce`s music, I
love her video, I love her work, I am inspired by the things that she says
publicly. It is not just this feminist thing. She talked about economic
inequality, about men having power determining what is feminine, what is

But I also think we should be talking about this stuff. These questions of
pole dancing, what is objectification, how does feminine to get portrayed
in the pop music industry. And that`s not a bad thing. The fact that she
is making us talk about those things is part of a feminist discourse
because the culture and pop culture happens around us.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So here is part of the -- I mean, we can debate
Beyonce all day. I would give you the whole second hour to do it. But
part of what I want to do is enter this into the pop culture aspect of it
because this is part of where the debate, you know, really is between the
two of you which is the question of, so what is the value of it? Because I
agree with this sort of concern about fetishizing (ph) it. What does it
mean if it`s just a label versus having some content.

SHULEVITZ: Let me just say, I think she is the most talented pop star of
her generation. She is amazing. And the arc of her career, if that had
been what we were talking about, has taken power, control, she has agency,
she is an amazing figure. If she is performing a critique, it was not
being performed in the video we were actually talking about in my opinion.
Though, if you look at her work as whole, I think you are right.

But to normalize that kind of behavior, that kind of pornographic imagery
as something that should be is part of the general pop culture, I do have a
problem with that.


SHULEVITZ: Let me just say to answer your question. The role of pop
culture is hugely important and it sort of socializes us. But does pop
culture and does endlessly talking about pop culture, which is what we
intend to do on Internet. There like you are going to find 50 pieces on
girls for every piece of day care, right? That`s what we`ll talk about.


HARRIS-PERRY: So let me back up to another kind of icon moment and the use
of the kind of feminist term, potentially even as fetish. And it wasn`t in
pop culture. It was during an election and this was, you and I talked
about this before, Rebecca, this was the kind of title nine version of
feminism that Sarah Palin gave us. Where Sarah Palin says, of course, I`m
a feminist, right? I am a title nine feminist, basically, I`m a feminist
who recognizes my ability to play basketball and run for vice president is
all related to the fact that girls need opportunities.

And so in a certain way, not quite standing there with the emblazing
feminist behind. But in a similar way making use of the word.

TRAISTER: Right. Well, the word is up for anybody that wants to use it,
by the way. It is an anti-feminist myth that there is like a club with
membership cards that you can get thrown out ad everything.

HARRIS-PERRY: I have been thrown out with actual feminist groups before,
but not out of feminism.

TRAISTER: Right, out of feminism. Right? So the word is always up for
debate. It is always changing, meaning, it is always changing its level of
inclusivity and exclusivity and ways that are really fascinating through
our history. So, anybody can call themselves a feminist. But then, once
you do you enter what has always been through the history of the women`s
movement, and all the other social movements that intersects with, a huge
debate about what it means, right? And that`s why I think it`s good that
we are talking about it in regard to pop culture because you know what, we
talk about pop culture all the time. And it`s good there is feminism in

HARRIS-PERRY: I also wonder if part of the reason why the internet and the
pop culture aspect, is because that`s where women of color and young women
overwhelmingly find the capacity to have voice that is not determined by
gate keepers at all of the officially sanctioned places to have debate
about this. So I mean, I guess as, you know, I have angst about twitter
too, lots of angst, and yet, it also feels like well, but that`s where a
lot of people who don`t have a show get to say what they want to say.

TRAISTER: And there is -- we don`t have to like everything that comes into
the conversation. Let me say -- go back to Sarah Palin for a moment. She
is right. She is a product of feminism. And that doesn`t mean, we don`t
love all the product of feminism. Not everybody loves all the products of
feminism tight?

But the point us, she was obviously correct. She is a product of title 9.
And that her existence on -- I mean, there is all kind of anti-feminist
forces at work there too, but you know, complicating the conversation is
not a bad thing. And that`s something that people like Beyonce or in a
corporate round, somebody has gotten a lot of scrutiny from feminist,
Sheryl Sandberg who has come in and talk about gender inequity in the
corporate world.

HARRIS-PERRY: Sheryl Sandberg, Beyonce, Sarah Palin, Melissa Harris-Perry.
We are feminism enough to hear.

Rebecca and Judith, thank you so much for joining us.

Up next, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, almost certain not a feminist.
But in damage control mode, does he just doing more damage?


HARRIS-PERRY: Tuesday, the NFL players union appealed the indefinite
suspension of former Baltimore Ravens player, Ray Rice whose original two
games suspension was extended by the league when elevator surveillance
video surfaced showing him punching his then fiancee now wife, Janay Rice.

The humanist are calling for the selection of a neutral arbiter to
determine what the NFL knew about the incident and when the organization
knew it. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed that question from a
press conference on Friday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you still believe that to the best of your
knowledge no one in the NFL office has seen the Ray Rice video before if
surfaced on TMZ?



HARRIS-PERRY: Later that day ESPN released a report accusing Goodell and
the league of taking a passive approach of finding out what happened that
night in the elevator and revealing what it called a quote "pattern of
misinformation and misdirection employed by the Ravens and the NFL."

According to the story, details of which NBC News has not independently
confirmed, just hours after running back Ray Rice knocked out his fiance,
the Baltimore Ravens director of security, Darren Sanders, reached an
Atlantic City police officer by phone. While watching surveillance video,
the officer told Sanders who just happened to be a Ravens fan described in
detailed to Sanders what he was seeing. Sanders quickly relayed the
damming videos play by play to team executives in Baltimore.

Now, the Ravens organization released this statement in response to the
report quote "the ESPN got come outside the line, article contained
numerous errors, inaccuracies, false assumptions, and perhaps
misunderstandings. The Ravens will address all of this next week in
Baltimore after our trip to Cleveland for Sunday`s game against the Browns.

When the dispute over the indefinite suspension leaves the future of Ray
Rice`s professional football career hanging in the balance, it seems the
fate of Ray Rice`s professional football jersey has been sealed. This is a
line stretching the length of two football field for a Ravens fan waiting
for the opportunity to rid themselves of the Rice`s number 27 jersey.

For two days starting Friday, the team extended the offer for fans to come
to the Baltimore`s MNT bank stadium and return their Rice jerseys and
turned them in to an exchange for another player on the Raven`s active
roster. At the end of two days, more than 7,000 have shown up to make what
some says was a decision based on principal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His shirts were like not worth anything now. Nobody
wants to wear Ray Rice shirt out. So we just thought we would exchange it
for anything, we don`t care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re teaching him about hitting and not hitting so
we`re going with somebody not doing shoes sort of things right now.


HARRIS-PERRY: Joining me now from Miami is Romani Jones ESPN commentator
and co-host of ESPN 2`s "highly questionable."

I want to make it clear, Romani, that you`re with ESPN, but you`re not part
of that reporting team for the story regarding when the Ravens organization
knew the violence details. That said, just how much sort of, let`s say
fumbling is the NFL doing in this moment around the Rice issue.

gotten a single thing right. It`s so bad for the NFL that you read that
investigative story and the only person that comes out looking better than
he had beforehand is actually Ray Rice. That`s the lovely (INAUDIBLE) that
the NFL has happened to have. And then what is going on with the Ravens
themselves. Everyone seems to have made all of these decisions just like
point a to point b with no idea of anything larger of what they are going
to like they`re lost.

HARRIS-PERRY: You know it feels to me, I keep -- I`m having this angst.
Because on the one hand Ray Rice`s actions are abominable. That said, the
way that the NFL is acting as an employer is deeply troubling to me.

JONES: Yes. Well, there are two separate issues I think. I think there
is the issue of what took place in the elevator. And that gets its own
level of commentary that is not a lot of dispute that you can have about
right or wrong on the one. But after that happened, there is a certain
thing where you have to be fair in how you deal with Ray Rice. And when
they decided the two-game suspension, we had decided that that was unfair.
It was too light.

After that, when the NFL bugged up, they decided you can put all the weight
on Ray Rice because he was the guy that nobody would root for. So
everything has come down on him. I mean, indefinite suspension for
something that no one had ever thought an indefinite suspension was
necessary before. Then everything went from there. Ray Rice lied to us.
Ray did this. Ray did that. And now that seems to be falling apart.

HARRIS-PERRY: Even listening to those fans as they return those jerseys,
which I get, but that notion of like OK, so now we will make this a problem
that is exclusively kind of Rice problem rather than a league problem.
That as long as I exchange my jersey, I mean, even to hear an NFL fan say I
want to teach my son not to hit, I mean, it`s football. Like hitting is
what they`re actually what they are paid to do. And so, I just wonder if
there is a way in which we all get to cleanse ourselves by being against
Ray Rice so we don`t have to address the larger issues of violence.

JONES: Yes. I think that is what they are trying to do. And I think we
see this is a lot of cases. The Penn State case was another one. They
gave you an example of there is an obvious evil to combat so everybody can
like up all that side. The Ray Rice thing creates a dilemma because if you
take your jersey and exchange that for Torell`s such jersey, given the
domestic violence incident that he had a few years ago, what are you
actually doing.

HARRIS-PERRY: My favorite cleansing is occurring in beer. So you know, as
we are seeing a lot the NFL advertisers and sponsors having angst about
this, the fact that Anheuser-Busch is actually indicating that they no
longer or that they have concerns that they have apparently an opt out
pause. That this could fan out (ph), Busch can opt out altogether. And I
am thinking, an alcohol company is mad about violence when we know to
extent which alcohol is often associated with individual act of violence.

JONES: Well, that company though has historically head an ironic set of
politics given how it is that they make their billions of dollars. But
that is where it gets weird. The beer company is telling you we don`t know
how we feel about what it placed in this guy who was drunk in an elevator.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, yes -- I mean, OK. So drink Busch products instead of
whatever it was that Ray Rice was drunk on?

JONES: I guess that`s what they got. Look, I`m not here -- I can`t answer
the hard questions. I can give you stuff that --

HARRIS-PERRY: Ok. I have got a hard question, Romani. Did Goodell
survive this and should he survive it?

JONES: Well, the answer whether he should survive of this is of course
not. The fact that they had a press conference this weekend and you knew
there was not a single thing he could do to make it better. If the leader
in the face of your organization is literally incapable of saying anything
to make it better, then generally you need a new leader.

The issue though, is that the owners by in large really like Roger Goodell.
And one of the interesting stuff check of the future (INAUDIBLE), was the
favors that Goodell has done for certain owners and they go back and forth
and they have his back. But when the billions of dollars start talking and
then the media turns in the way that it has, you have to wonder if the
people that would be necessary to force Roger Goodell out are kind of
saying hey, "if it happens it happens."

HARRIS-PERRY: Romani, just in case people think you are being unfair when
you say that the commissioner really couldn`t say anything. I just want to
listen for a moment when one of the reporters asked him about justifying
not having any African-American women part of the new domestic violence
group. I just want to listen for a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Can you justify not having an African-
American as part of that group of women that you hired to look into sexual
assault and domestic violence.

GOODELL: Well, that`s not true, we have internal experts that have been
working on this welcome people of color, that are women and men. And they
have been involved with this process from the beginning.


HARRIS-PERRY: We have internal women and men working on the process.

JONES: Look. He basically said I have a binder full of women and I`m
assuming one or two of them is black. Like all the things that they have
to deal with the NFL office, I imagine they got to the end of the week,
they put together this committee and somebody said well, you know we don`t
have a black woman, and they`re -- fine, we just got to do this.
Everything that has gone so wrong and so badly, that`s the one detail they
wouldn`t got to, I imagine they were just like would be. Well, people will
just have to be mad.

HARRIS-PERRY: Romani Jones from Miami, hold on for me because there is
going to be much more on the NFL and their beleaguered commissioner next.

And not only we are angry that there are no black women there, we are going
to talk about the issue of angry black women. I know you have heard about

We are also going to talk to Malcolm Jamal Warner who is joining us to look
at the fall TV season.

There is so much Nerdland at the top of the hour.


HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. On Friday, NFL
Commissioner Roger Goodell went before the press to do damage control after
a recent spate of NFL players involving assaults against women, casting
national spotlight on the league`s domestic problem with domestic violence.

Goodell announced a number of changes that the NFL would be undertaking,
including overhauling the league`s personal conduct policy, supporting
Domestic Violence Prevention Organization and mandatory education and
training in preventing abuse for all players and staff. He also made it
clear that there was one thing that would be remaining the same.


QUESTION: Have you considered resigning at any point throughout this?

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I have not. I`m focused on doing my job
and doing the best of my ability. I understand when people are critical of
your performance.

But we have a lot of work to do. That`s my focus.


HARRIS-PERRY: The work the lies ahead for the NFL expanded to include not
only addressing domestic assaults against a female partner but also
domestic violence against children after Minnesota Vikings player, Adrian
Peterson was charged with injury to a child after he used a wooden switch
and a belt to spank his son. Now, here is what Goodell had to say in
response to a question about Peterson at the press conference.


QUESTION: What`s your message to the mother with the two kids who has
Peterson jerseys and doesn`t know what to tell them?

GOODELL: Well, the first is that we`re like a brother society in -- in
several ways. We`re like a microcosm of society.

While I`m disappointed in what Adrian Peterson was involved with, we want
to see the facts. But I think what we see so far is tragic.

It`s hard to look at. I have two daughters who are 13. It`s very difficult
to see. And I think what we have to do is allow those facts to proceed.

But the important message I think for all of us as parents is that our
children are going to make mistakes. They need to learn how to take
responsibility and be accountable for those mistakes and deal with those.


HARRIS-PERRY: But Goodell doesn`t have to look far for the facts he wants
to see because we know at least one fact that Peterson himself has admitted
to in a statement, quote, "I have to live with the fact that when I
disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury
that I never intended or thought would happen." Adrian Peterson punished
his four-year-old child with enough force to cause him to be injured.

That is the fact. And yet, so are these, a fact. A majority of Americans,
nearly 70 percent, according to the University of Chicago`s general social
survey, support the use of corporal punishment to discipline a child, fact,
although there is a somewhat higher percentage of African-Americans who
support corporal punishment and is also a fact that -- that supports -- or
corporal punishment is not, in fact, discriminated by race.

A 73 percent majority of White Americans also think spanking a child is an
acceptable form of punishment. Other racial groups are only slightly less
likely by a matter of just five points so White Americans to approve of
spanking, which leaves us with this final fact.

The national consensus around violence against women, our collective
agreement that it is not OK to use unprovoked physical force, especially
against a smaller, more vulnerable person, does not apply to the smallest,
most vulnerable people among us. Joining me now is Camelo Ortiz, who is
Associate Professor of Psychology at Long Island University, who runs a
private practice at Long Island, where he treats both adults and children.
The Reverend Jacqui Lewis, who`s Senior Minister at the Middle Collegiate
Church, Dr. Stacey Patton, who is Founder of the Child Advocacy Group,
Spare the Kids, and Senior Reporter for the "Chronicle of Higher Education"
and from Miami Florida, here is (ph) Bomani Jones, ESPN Commentator and Co-
Host of ESPN2`s "Highly Questionable."

So here is my question. Is corporal punishment the last form of acceptable
domestic violence?

Well, I think it is. You know, the -- the stats that you mentioned are
pretty breathtaking, even -- even though 80 to 90 percent of parents
actually do it, a good 70 percent of them say that they support it.

So you have a have a very small group of people who use corporate
punishment who actually think they`re doing anything wrong. So this is a --
you know, it`s hard to get this type of agreement on almost any issue.

HARRIS-PERRY: It was, for me, stunning to see the difference between the
Ray Rice reaction of ordinary people who were like that`s clearly wrong to
the Adrian Peterson reaction which was, hey, my mama beat me. Why do you
think there was such an emphasis on sort of making a claim about the
violence that people had experienced in their own childhood?

PATTON: Because I think there is a kind of nostalgia that`s at operation
here. You have Ray Rice participating in that nostalgia of saying this is
how my mama raised me.

I`m successful because of -- of the whippings that I got. Our own President
has participated in that nostalgia when he`s commented about how once upon
a time, if you were acting out, somebody in the community could snatch you
up and whip you.

And then when you got home, your mother did it as well. I mean, I heard
that as a kid. And I thought, thank god, you can`t do that anymore.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Clearly, your nostalgic golden age past is -- is a --
is a violent one.

But so Bomani, let me come to you on this because we hear the commissioner
saying, well, we are just here in the -- in the NFL. We are just the
microcosm of society, although the Nfl was tax-exempted, most of society is

But that said, I wonder, is there any more likelihood that sort of
punishment of one`s children using spanking or switches is more or less
like to be supported among NFL players?

JONES: Well, I think it`s given that that`s something that`s more supported
by the general society as you noted that yes, there`s a good chance that
the people that we`re talking about there hear this and don`t understand
what the issue is. Most people didn`t understand what the issue was on this
until they saw the photographs that has been interesting, that has been
turned into a broader discussion of corporal punishment, when even if you
are a supporter of corporal punishment, there`s no way that you could look
at those pictures and think that that was anything appropriate.

HARRIS-PERRY: So let me -- let me come to that -- that kind of peculiar
(ph) question because it does feel to me like the conversation around
domestic violence against one`s female partner, which is mostly how that
conversation has gone, is an absolute. Men don`t hit women, full stop.

But it is apparently perfectly fine for full-grown adults to weigh (ph)
along children as long as they do so by what -- who would -- one would`ve
called a rule of thumb, right? So with -- with -- you know, with a violent
instrument that is only so harsh or heavy.

LEWIS: Only so violent.

HARRIS-PERRY: .only so violent, why the distinction?

LEWIS: I think -- I think what happens is that`s the psychology of
violence. That`s what happens. Look, I grew up -- I come from people who

You know, my mom and dad came from Mississippi. They were whipped with
switches. They spanked us with belts.

The one time that I got beaten by my dad was the most terrifying day of my
life. And when I had a chance to spank my little brother who I babysat, I
terrified him.

I`m convinced that there is a -- an epidemic of violence around the globe.
And I`m convinced that it starts in the home. And there`s a way in which
faith-based people think that somehow, the scripture justifies this kind of
treatment of our children.

You know, spare the rod, spoil the child, which by the way, is not in the
Bible, not at all.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right, right. No, no, what`s in the Bible is -- is suffer
the little children that come on to me. And of course, Jesus has not then
begin to beat them with a switch.

In fact, you want to just point out that as much as this -- it turned into
kind of a race conversation, that somehow, this idea that Adrian Peterson
was engaging in sort of racial practices, then when we look at it, there`s
actually a regional gap on spanking, that -- that in the south, there is a
much higher percentage of people kind of across the time that the GSS (ph)
was asking who support spanking, and there is a religious gap.

So the born-again Christians are more likely to support spanking than are
those who don`t see themselves as born-again Christians.

LEWIS: And I think that`s about the interpretation of scripture. You know,
you can look in the scripture and find anything that you want to support
what you want to do.

But I`m convinced that the only way we were to change the spiral of
violence is to start in the home and to have an educated and important
conversation about what the scripture say. The word rod means authority.

So the -- a rod that is authority, that is loving, that is gentle, that is
compassionate, that believes in timeouts is a different kind of authority
than literally a switch or a spank or a spoon or a fist. And those kinds of
violences only play -- pay it forward.

If a child is beat, a child is going to learn to use might. If a child is
kicked, a child is going to only learn to use violence.

HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, so that`s it, Bomani. I want to bring you one last time
here before you have to go. On this topic, I wonder, though, for -- for a -
- a profession that needs people to use violence and force, I mean, you`re
not going to chat with the offensive linemen about whether or not maybe he
will get out of your way. That`s not how that works in football.

If, in fact, there would be reasons to think that in the context of this
sport, there are more people for whom that is, in fact, a -- a way to solve

JONES: No, it does seem reasonable because they do, in fact, make money
solving problems in that way. And I thought that led to a fascinating
element of Adrian Peterson (ph) because Peterson has an understanding or a
concept of what abuse is because he said he never beat his kids with an
extension cord because he remembered how much that happened to hurt (ph).

Would you imagine being Adrian Peterson with a threshold of pain that
Adrian Peterson has and that he`s translating this over to dealing with
children and seem to have absolutely no clue to what he was doing was so
completely out of bounds and out of control, like a lot of what we`re
talking about fits I think with people who would think that Adrian Peterson
would think and would see. And I think that`s part of why people got
really hopped (ph) up about this issue because their thought was, oh, my
god, what if Adrian Peterson was the guy beating me with a switch?

HARRIS-PERRY: Right, right. Much less if I were four years old. Bomani
Jones in Miami, Florida, thank you for joining us. I`m going to come back
and have more with my table on this question when we come back.


HARRIS-PERRY: We`re back and talking about parenting and corporal
punishment. And I guess part of, you know, whether there`s an ethical or
moral claim against it, I`m wondering about the efficacy claim.

In other words, how much does corporal punishment, spanking, whatever form,
work in the short term versus the long term?

ORTIZ: So this is the problem. And this is really the problem that
underlies lots of dysfunctional parenting is that it works amazingly well
in the short term.

So if you hit your kid, he will stop doing what he`s doing.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right, in that moment.

ORTIZ: OK, in that moment.


ORTIZ: And so parents are kind of very understandably suckered in by that
train (ph). They want whatever is happening to stop now.

But we know that in the long term, the effects are quite the opposite. And
so research has really looked at it in three different ways.

We`ve looked at externalizing problems, which means aggression and then
acting out. And we know that kids who are subjected to corporal punishment
have higher levels of that, although it`s not a huge difference.

But it`s definitely there. And we look at things like anxiety and
depression. And even that is also elevated in kids who have been subjected
to corporal punishment and even cognitive effects.

So how will they do in school? So we know there`s all sorts of negative,
you know, effects of -- as great as it works in the moment, we -- we try to
get parents to think a little more long term.

HARRIS-PERRY: And yet part of what happens when we start to hear those
numbers of that research is especially -- and so all that we know that
corporal punishment is not a black thing, it is not racialized in a
particular way, there is, particularly for African-American men, raised by
single moms, they will say, my mom had to do this.

She had to do this to protect me. And part of what they`re also saying is,
men, there is so much pathology put on to black women, and particularly,
black single moms, don`t call this thing that she did to me also

I just -- the stakes are high for us.

PATTON: Yes, the -- the stakes are high. I mean, there is a tradition of
praising black mothers. We hear it in hip-hop music.

You know, remember 2PAC said, although you were a crack fiend -- I don`t
know if I`m getting it right, but you always were a black queen. There`s
this celebration of the black mother.

She can do no wrong, even when sometimes she damaged us in -- in the
process of trying to do the best that she could. So that`s part of the --
the kind of cultural narrative there.

And I think when back people are questioned about using corporal punishment
against children, we get defensive because we are operating in a racist
framework. We`re -- we`re raising children in a society that fundamentally
devalues them.

And so in response, as a way to protect, as a way to show love, we view
this sort of thing as responsible parenting.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. And -- and we want to be able to say hey, don`t be mad
at me for using the switch against my kid. Be mad at the officer who shoots
my unarmed child.


HARRIS-PERRY: .right, like so we recognize the ways in which that kind of
discussed pathology will be put onto relatively powerless black women in
the circumstance (ph). But they`re not onto, you know, officials with an
enormous amount of power.

PATTON: That`s the contradiction. It`s like we see all of this righteous
indignation about black people, you know, maybe brutalizing their children.

But at the same time, we live in a country that doesn`t call out the prison
warden the police.


PATTON: .the -- the, you know, neighborhood watchmen.


PATTON: .who shoot our kids in the street.

HARRIS-PERRY: So how then do we engage in the parenting because it -- it
feels, too, like this great challenge that builds a hedge of love, respect,
humanity around our children who are vulnerable to such violence in the
context of a racist, sexist, homophobic classes, society in which they are
emerging. Sometimes, that abuse enlarges (ph) because those parents,
themselves, are experiencing the aftereffects of -- of that violence on

LEWIS: I think that`s right. I think the first important thing to do is to
just acknowledge that parenting is hard. It is really difficult work.


LEWIS: Everybody -- everybody ain`t called to do it. If you do it, praise
god for you. And I think this concept that -- that parents are holding
children on behalf of whatever they think their god, their higher power, so
there`s a way in which the ethic of love, which you spoke about a little
earlier, this -- how do we -- what does love look like?

And I think what love looks like -- it needs to look like parents need
support. It takes a village to raise a parent, you know.

Parents need support. What kind of communities they need to be in so that
they can learn how to use the best kinds of skills, timeout, take time,
pull the child out of the environment, speak slowly, touch the child and
then tell the child what you want to do.

That takes practice. And it takes time. We have to have grace when parents
make mistakes and invite them to try new behaviors.

HARRIS-PERRY: And I`ll also mentioned that if it takes time, and it takes
the patience, maybe also it means that you`re not working three jobs, that
you`re not worrying about health care, that.

PATTON (ph): Exactly.

HARRIS-PERRY: .they`re not worried about whether or not you can (ph) put
food on the table, like that -- that all of those policy decisions that we
make actually make it harder or easier for parents to do that kind of
conscious parenting.

Thank you to Camilo Ortiz, also to Reverend Dr. Jacqui Lewis and also to
Stacey Patton. There is so much more on this.

But we have got a lot more in this show today as well. Still to come this
morning, Roxane Gay is coming to (ph) -- if you don`t know Roxane Gaye,
you`re going to want to know this bad feminist.

But first, did you hear the one about Shonda Rhimes and what she should
call he autobiography? Twitter, have you heard? Any thoughts to be heard?


HARRIS-PERRY: By now, you`ve likely heard about The New York Times piece
about the new ABC series "How to Get Away with Murder," written by
Alessandra Stanley. The article purports to offer an analysis of the new
Shonda Rhimes production that will premiere this week, titled, "Wrought in
Their Creator`s Image."

It begins when Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called
"How to Get Away with Being an Angry Black Woman." From there, it gets

Now, the article has prompted many smart and careful responses, including
Kara Brown`s on the feminist site, "Jezebel." She writes, quote, "It`s just
boggling that a "New York Times" television critic is unable to write about
black women without calling upon three of the oldest racist stereotypes
about black women.

And Margaret Lyons at "Vulture," who reminds us there are just so many
things wrong with "The New York Times" Shonda Rhimes article. Lyon goes on
to carefully enumerate each of them.

And of course, Ms. Rhimes, herself, who seem to more bewildered than
enraged when she took to Twitter to fact check the times. "Confused why
@nytimes critic doesn`t know identity of creator of show she`s reviewing,
@petenowa (ph), "Did you know you were "an angry black woman?" Yes, Rhimes
is not, as Stanley asserts, the angry black woman creator of Anna Lee`s
(ph) Keating (ph). That honor belongs to Pete Nowalk, a white guy, which is
why Rhimes was clearly cracking herself up with this tweet, "Apparently, we
can be "angry black women" together because I didn`t know I was one
either," @petenowa, #learnsomethingneweveryday, with so many smart
responses already recorded.

I thought it might be valuable to try something different. What if we
rewrote part of Stanley`s article nearly word-for-word about another hotly
anticipated show in the fall lineup?

Imagine this, "Wrought in Their Creator`s Image." When Aaron Sorkin writes
his autobiography, it should be called, "How to Get Away With Being an
Angry White Man."

This week, HBO announced that Mr. Sorkin`s "Newsroom" will return for its
third and final season on November night. It is yet another series from
Sorkin that showcases a powerful, intimidating white man.

This one, Will McAvoy blustering monologue-prone workplace bully, played by
Jeff Daniels, who won an Emmy for the role in 2013. And that clinches it.

Mr. Sorkin, who rocked Dan Rydell on sports night and Toby Ziegler on "The
West Wing" has done more to reset the image of white men on television than
(ph) anyone since Dr. Phil. Be it Jeff Daniels on "Newsroom" or Martin
Sheen on "The West Wing," Sorkin`s white men can and do get angry, although
not written for TV.

One of the more volcanic onscreen meltdowns in TV history belongs to a
Sorkin white man, the "You can handle the truth," Colonel Nathan Jessup
character, played by Jack Nickolson in "A Few Good Men." Mr. Sorkin has
embraced the trite but persistent character of the angry white man,
recasted in his own image, and made it enviable.

Here is our not like the bossy, mouthy, salt of the earth working classmen
who have been scolding and fuming onscreen ever since Carol O`Connor (ph)
Archie Bunker on "All in the Family." They certainly are not as benign and
reassuring as Chris Trager, the athletic and energetic bureaucratic on
"Parks and Recreation."

Just think of how Trager was literally laying the foundation for the vice
presidential campaign of Paul Ryan. As Will McAvoy, Jeff Daniel`s 59 is
sexual, even sexy in a slightly menacing way.

But the actor doesn`t look like at all like the typical star of a network
drama. Ignoring the narrow beauty standards some white men are held to, Mr.
Sorkin chose a performer who is older, punchier, and less classically
beautiful than say, Patrick Dempsey of "Grey`s Anatomy" or Scott Foley who
plays Jake on "Scandal."

Nobody thinks Aaron Sorkin is holding back. He and his characters are
walking and talking all over the place. I`m just hoping they encounter some
angry black women in those corridors.

Now, that would make for the TV.


HARRIS-PERRY: Thirty years ago, NBC aired the pilot episode of the show
that became a national sensation, a family comedy that brought viewers
eight seasons of family rituals, relatable sibling strife, and plenty of
living room dancing. I`m talking of course about "The Cosby Show."

Now, "The Cosby Show" became the number one sitcom for five years in a row,
won six Emmys, two Golden Globes and the love of viewers across the country
for things like this one.


(UNKNOWN): Hey, I know.

COSBY: You know what?

(UNKNOWN): What`s she going to say? And it`s under control. So no problem.

COSBY: No problem, right, right. How do you expect to get into college with
grades like this?

(UNKNOWN): No problem. See, I`m not going to college.

COSBY: Damn right.

(UNKNOWN): I am going to get through high school, and then get a job like
regular people.


HARRIS-PERRY: For those of us that grew up watching the Huxtables every
Thursday night at 8:00, the show provided a sort of unity. As I wrote in
the opening pages of first book, "Barbershops, Bibles, and BET," I thought
of myself as part of the cosmic generation and has long been intrigued by
how the show quietly challenged racism by normalizing the Huxtable`s

Although it ended in 1992, the show had a lasting impact on pop culture and
possibly even politics. In 2008, when President Obama, theorists who posit
that changes in pop culture proceed (ph) major social and political
changed, used the phrase, "the Huxtable effect," suggesting the show helped
changed the racial attitudes of the children who grew up watching it and
who are now of voting age.

Thirty years since its making, just how much has "The Cosby Show"
influenced our social, political and cultural understanding of black
families. Joining me now to help answer that question is Cori Murray,
Entertainment Director at "Essence Magazine." Jo Marie Payton, who you
might Kevin Fallon, Senior Entertainment Reporter at "The Daily Beast" and
in Boston, Actor, Director, and Producer with an extensive resume in
television and theater, but will always have a special place in the heart
of us `80s kids as "The Cosby Show`s" Theo, Malcolm-Jamal Warner.

So nice to have you this morning.

WARNER: Hey, thanks for having me. I`m glad to be here.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, so no doubt you now get, as an adult what the cultural
impact of the show was. But when you were 18 on this show, were you in that
moment aware of the breadth and depth of the impact of the show?

WARNER: You know, it`s always difficult when you`re in the middle of it to
have, you know, a full appreciation of everything that`s going on. But the
thing that -- that always stood out was, you know, while we were getting
criticized for, you know, the show not being a real portrayal of black
families, we were getting tens of thousands of letters from people thanking
us for the show, you know, people saying, you know, we are the Huxtables.

My father is a doctor. My mother is a lawyer. Thank you for representing
us. So you know, there was definitely the understanding that we were not
just, you know, being an entertaining sitcom.

But we were -- we were making a social -- having a social impact because of
course, just like my experience with the Tuskegee airmen, you know, nothing
is legitimatized until it gets on television.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, well, so -- OK, so that`s nice (ph). But you know, it`s
so interesting you say that because it has been -- it has been an
interesting experience for me having a show as someone not from a media
background, how powerful even a few minutes on air can be.

But I wonder if it`s changed. I mean, the land of cable and of NetFlix, and
of On Demand is very different then in the -- in the `80s and `90s when you
had to watch it at that moment.

So everyone was talking about, you know, the episode the night before, and
whether or not you were going to get that golden trail (ph) the next
morning because we get to all see it at the same time on Thursday night.

WARNER: Sure, sure. I think there`s definitely a difference in the impact.
But I think also, we`re also not seeing the type of programming that is,
you know, that -- that still has that kind of social impact.

I think now, when we talk about shows that we have on DVR, it`s more for,
you know, the entertainment effect.

HARRIS-PERRY: So hold for me a second, because Jomarie, I want to talk
about the entertainment effect for a second. I mean, "Family Matters," the
Huxtables -- they first must entertain.

If they`re not good shows, if they`re not funny, if they`re not
entertaining, they`re not enjoyable, people won`t watch them. So a bunch of
like high-minded role modeling simply does not make people tune in and

MURRAY: Well, you`re absolutely right because we started out, I think, with
a different kind of vehicle when we initially started with the central
family, the mother, the father, the grandmother. They had (ph) all of that.

And then we brought in the Urkel character. And I always tell people, we
were a good soup (ph) brewing. And then Urkel came in, he was a salt to it
to make it better.

But people had (ph) effect that they wanted. They wanted that -- that
funny, you know, that -- that -- that lover (ph) thing in there and -- and
it turned into another animal.


HARRIS-PERRY: But people -- and people had angst about it. I mean, just as
much as Malcolm (ph) was making the point about the criticism of the class
bias of the Huxtables, there was a criticism of the -- of the kind of
racial pantomime that some people saw in the Urkel character within kind of
the whole thing in (ph) "Family Matters."

PAYTON: Absolutely. We got a lot of mails (ph). And matter of fact, I got
mail -- personal mail when he got to a certain age, you know. And people
didn`t actually want to see him with his pants lifted up that high, you

And -- and then -- I`m serious. His business (ph) was there. You know, I --
I remember having a conversation with his mother.

She came in for lunch one day and I`m going to make this short -- came in
for lunch one day and she said, I don`t know what to do about Jaleel. I
said, well, I don`t know what to do either, she said, because, you know,
he`s going to get stuck here.

And I said, we haven`t switched to chase (ph). So when he turned into that
Stefan Urkel (ph) character, I wanted him to kind of just make him evolve.

But it wasn`t my show, you know.


PAYTON: I wanted them to make him evolve as opposed to putting him in a
machine and have him come out to be the same person. But he was so funny as

And he was so popular. He`s an icon like (ph) Kevin (ph).

HARRIS-PERRY: You know, I also -- you know, in this context, we`ve -- we`ve
just been talking about Shonda Rhimes. We`ll talk more about her.

But it`s also true that for me, some of the earliest shows that were black
family shows that -- well p8 bring (ph) them (ph) there (ph).

They were good times and "Sanford and Son." And these images of -- the
verge of an authentic black familyhood that we hadn`t seen before, and I
mean, I -- quite honestly, I will take a Norman Lear over a Tyler Perry
everyday of the week and four times on Sunday.

FALLON: I mean, there`s a lot to say. I mean, guest (ph) portrayals (ph)
were a nuance. Not every representation of the black identity was
represented in these TV shows.

But there was something really important about the fact that Cosby
occasionally has story lines about what it was like to be a black person at
the time. And as -- and it was still the most popular watched TV show in
the country.

It wasn`t (ph) airing on BET British (ph) audience.


FALLON: It was airing in front of everybody. And that -- yes, that didn`t
solve racism. But it got people to stop thinking about stereotypes and to.


FALLON: .maybe change people`s minds a little bit, even if it was just

HARRIS-PERRY: So Malcolm-Jamal Warner, you did not solve racism. You are
President Obama, it turns out.

But I -- but I am wondering, like sort of in this moment, as you -- as you
reflect on what our current offerings are, some of them, really exciting
new offerings around race in television, some of them, you know, feeling

But is there something to be said for just the number of faces, just the --
the sort of multiplicity, of the possibilities of what we can see on air?

WARNER: Well, I think there`s, you know, there are always possibilities.
And you know the, whole diversity issue is, you know, the -- the -- the
topic of the day.

But the thing that -- that I`ve always maintained was what was -- you know,
what made, you know, the Huxtables and what made "The Cosby Show" special,
it wasn`t, you know, just that they were upper middle class. It wasn`t just
that the parents were professionals.

There was the execution of the comedy. The comedy mixture (ph) was not
predicated on being black in America. There were no episodes that talked
about how hard it was being black in America.

They were a family. They just were. The show was not a -- the show was not
about a black-loving family. It was about a lovely family that happened to
be black. So.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. And -- and was -- and was black music and black art on
the -- I mean, there was a lot of blackness, even without necessarily race

WARNER: Sure, very much so. They -- they just were. They did not have to
wear their blackness on their sleeve. They didn`t (ph) have to, you know,
act black.

They just were. And I think the issue with a lot of the way, you know,
people of color are written on television, they`re written through a
certain filter so they can have all of the black affectations. But that`s
not what made Cosby special.

And I`ve always maintained that if you give black characters, you know,
higher economic status, if you give them a profession -- a profession, but
you still have them act in the same stereotypical ways, you`re not saying
anything different.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, of course, I always thought it was terribly subversive
that Dr. Huxtable was an OB/GYN, given the whole history of, you know,
black men and white -- and also -- also worth pointing out, Dr. Huxtable
never beat the kids.

All right, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, currently starring in "Guess Who`s Coming
to Dinner" on stage in Boston, thank you so much for joining us. I`m going
to bring in the rest of this panel when we come back.

I am talking to my "Essence" colleague about the fall TV of 2014 and how it
is now in color.


HARRIS-PERRY: So we`ve been talking about "The Cosby Show," the sitcom that
made waves in national television for its portrayals of (ph) American
family. And -- but what I want to talk about now is 2014`s lineup and how
once again, TV is fully in color.

What are we looking to see?

MURRAY: Well, over at the "Essence" office, we are quite excited. We love
Shonda Rhimes. She could do no wrong for us, ever.


MURRAY: But I just got a sneak peek at "How to Get Away With Murder." I`m
all in.


MURRAY: Like you`re all in within like 30 seconds. And the way she ends it,
like you`ve got -- I`m already ready for like for the week of October, the
first week of October so I can see what happens next.

HARRIS-PERRY: So if, you know, when you bring up Shondra Rhimes, and so
"How to Get Away With Murder," and you know, of course, around here, we
love Kerry Washington`s "Scandal," these are images of African-American
women that don`t fit the kind of role model uplift all good girl kind of
thing that -- that was so frequently pushed onto shows previously.

Is that a good thing do you think?

PAYTON: I think it`s wonderful because it gives you a wide scope of the
fact that we are different. We are not pigeon-toed (ph) into that little
circle that they want to put us in, you know.

Well, the thing that I dislike most is the comparison said (ph), why to
always make (ph) with us, you know. Even like with our show, and going back
to "The Cosby Show."


PAYTON: .the comparison between me and Phylicia, or Shelley (ph), with (ph)
Moesha (ph).


PAYTON: We -- you know, you all -- you take with you in a character some of
what you learned. I took some of my mother and my grandmother was with me.
I`m sure Phylicia`s mother was with her, and some (ph) with (ph) Shelley
(ph) with her.

We are not all the same.

HARRIS-PERRY: You don`t all -- didn`t have the same black mama.

PAYTON: Absolutely, absolutely in the same (ph) situation. So when I see
these different women on TV and all these different roles and all these
different professions and things, I`m happy and excited to see it, you
know, because we are -- even some of the Tyler Perry stuff, I know some
characters just like some of those people on those shows.


PAYTON: I`m like you. But I still -- I know some people just like -- and
there`s nothing wrong with us being different, you know. And you know,
people experiencing that we are this varied group of people that are in
different brackets as far as financial and economic and everything else.

Enjoy us. We are who we are. It`s what it is.

HARRIS-PERRY: So I want to play a little moment from the -- the -- the show
that my daughter is most looking forward to because I don`t think she`s
going to get to watch "How to Get Away Murder."

But -- but this one is one we`re going to be watching in the family,
"Blackish." Let`s -- let`s play just a little bit of "Blackish."


(UNKNOWN): My name is Andre Johnson. I have a great career, a spectacular
house, and a loving family I`m surrounded by everyday.

Listen up, I`m going to need my family to be black, not blackish.

(UNKNOWN): Daddy is scaring me.

(UNKNOWN): Why don`t we take a black break and go get some white yogurt.


HARRIS-PERRY: So my kid, right, growing up in a, you know, post-racial, you
know, Obama world is really looking forward to a show that`s going to
apparently be playful around the question I`ve raised.

FALLON: Yes, and so the first thing of (ph) "Blackish" is that it`s
really, really funny.


FALLON: It`s really smartly written. And the best thing about it is that
it`s airing after "Modern Family," which is the biggest comedy platform
that ABC has. And that says that ABC has that much face in the show, that
it`s going to appeal to a broad audience, not just a black audience but a
mainstream wide audience and that everyone will enjoy and that the message
that the show is sending is actually something that -- that (ph) audience
should be listening to.

HARRIS-PERRY: I wonder about the "not just a black audience" caveat that
happens. So on the one hand, I think about the kind of Cosby effect
narrative, which is also a "Will and Grace" effect narrative, right, this
idea that Will and Grace helps to kind of pave the way for changing
attitudes around marriage equality.

But I guess there`s a part of it also thinks and if it was just for black
audience, that`d be all right, too. Apparently, they were the only ones
watching "Girlfriends" and a-ha.

MURRAY: Watching "Girls."

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, I want it back, like (ph) right now.


MURRAY: Tracee (ph) -- then Tracee Ellis Ross has this role to come back to
because you realize in watching the show how funny she is and how missed
she is. She`s a great actor.

And this show -- I totally agree with you, it`s totally fun. One of my
favorite lines and (ph) when he gets me the president of the urban
division, he was like, I`m -- I`m just president of black stuff now?

So it`s just -- you know, there are so many little nuance things and also
what Tracee Ellis Ross has been talking about, it`s really based on the --
the creator, Kenya Barris, like that`s his life.

And again, it goes back to those letters that, you know, Malcolm-Jamal
Warner talked about, is these are (ph) my life. This is my story right now.

HARRIS-PERRY: Although part of then the danger of the -- the creator`s
image, as what we saw in "The New York Times" this week with the angry
black woman narrative cast on to Shonda Rhimes, in -- in reflection of this
new piece, I just want to play just a little bit of "How to Get Away With
Murder" in case people don`t know what this show is. Let`s play just a
little bit.

And I`m going to come back and ask you about this, what.


(UNKNOWN): How to Get Away with Murder.

(UNKNOWN): Here we go.

(UNKNOWN): I will not be teaching you how to study the law or theorize
about it, but rather how to practice it, in a courtroom, like a real


HARRIS-PERRY: So this extraordinary tenured law professor who also is doing
this were like, so I`m looking at her like "yes." And then she gets written
about as some kind of weird reflection of the creator, who`s actually a
white guy but saying that Shonda Rhimes, in that they`re all angry.

And I wonder like, if there`s a way in which black women on television
standing in our power just look mad to everybody else?

PAYTON: You know something, I don`t think they look mad to everybody else.
I think they look mad to -- to some white folks -- to some white folks, not

I think -- I think whenever you`re -- you`re an independent black woman and
you -- you vocalize your opinion about something, you know, the truth does
hurt some people and all because it`s a slap in the mirror face, OK? And I
think sometimes, they -- they can -- they think we`re -- we`re angry when
we`re just -- with -- a lot of times we are angry.


PAYTON: But most times, we`re serious and we want you to understand and
listen to what we have to say.

MURRAY: That`s right.

PAYTON: You know, sometimes, we are not as safe as -- as some men would be
or some other women would be.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well -- and you know, being angry might mean you`re angry
about something.

PAYTON: Absolutely, absolutely.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you -- thank you to Cori Murray, to Jomarie Payton down
to Kevin Fallon.

Up next, author of "Bad
Feminist," Roxane Gay is here next (ph).


HARRIS-PERRY: After years and years of working to be a good feminist, I
just read a new book that was helping me embrace being a bad one. And
Roxane Gay`s new book on essays, 12 essays, she redefines the rules for

She writes, quote, "I`m not trying took say I`m right. I`m just trying --
trying to do support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this
world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself."

A woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass
off to music, she knows -- she knows is terrible for women and who
sometimes plays dumb with repairmen just because it`s easier to let them
feel macho than it is to stand on the moral high ground.

"Bad Feminist," now a "New york Times" bestseller is bringing the
conversation to a wider audience. In her collection of essays, Gay
playfully crosses the borders between pop culture consumer and critic
between serious academic and lighthearted sista (ph) girl between despair
and optimism, between good and bad.

And really, she had me in "Sweet Valley High" and competitive scrabble.
Joining me now, "Bad Feminist" author and possibly the new empress of nerd
land (ph), Roxane Gay.

GAY: Hello.

HARRIS-PERRY: I`m so happy to have you here. I want to talk to you about
everything. But I actually want to start with "Sweet Valley High" only
because we -- we really keep getting this narrative that our girls, our
children have to see very (ph) particular images of themselves in order to
sort of full come into their womanhood.

And I keep thinking, I ate a lot of junk food in terms of popular culture.

GAY: Yes.

HARRIS-PERRY: I turned out OK.

GAY: Yes, yes. I turned out OK, too. I mean, I somehow got a PhD. But I
think it`s totally fine. You know, I read "Sweet Valley High" as a kid.

And I wish I could have seen girls that looked more like me. But it was
just cool to see girls that I wanted to be like and I wanted to be popular.

And I wanted to be a cheerleader. And I wanted to date Todd Wilkins from
the basketball team. And so it was totally fine.

And I think we do need more diversity in young adult literature. But what
we have -- at least we have something.

And we have something that young girls can read.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, one of the things that strike me about the book is the
level of vulnerability that you have in it. You really sort of undressed
and unmasked yourself from your struggles to your high points -- all of
those things.

And I wonder about the safety of doing that, particularly in a world of
social media and as a woman of color.

GAY: You know, I honestly write as if no one`s going to ever read anything
I write. That`s the only way I can put myself on a page like that.

I genuinely delude myself. And it`s getting harder to maintain that
delusion, case in point.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, but it`s a "New York Times" bestseller.

GAY: But I also think it`s important. I think it`s important to tell these
stories. And whenever I go to events across the country, young women come
up to me and say, thank you for talking about this, whether it`s eating
disorders or body image or sexual assaults.

And we need more voices out there, telling their stories, no matter what
those stories are, whether they fit a convenient narrative or not. And none
of my stories fit a convenient narrative.

And so I`m just doing one small thing in this world as a writer that I can

HARRIS-PERRY: I find it different in this particularly social and political
racial moment to be black feminist, straddling my angst about the
vulnerability of black men, in the context, for example, of Ferguson.

GAY: Yes.

HARRIS-PERRY: And the vulnerability of black women at the hands of black
men as we are saying, for example, in the context of Janay Rice. How -- how
do we start trying to navigate that difficult position where we stand?

GAY: I think we just look at nuance (ph). And we have to understand that
life is difficult for all of black people. And we cannot forget the
struggles of black women just because the news prefers to tell the stories
of black men because black women get stopped all the time by the police.

The lord knows I do.


GAY: .because I happen to be driving while black. And so it`s important
that we continue to prioritize these stories.

And we can also critique ourselves. We can`t just let anything go. Ray Rice
did a bad thing. Adrian Peterson did a bad thing.

And so racial solidarity is well and good. But we achieve nothing if we
allow the worst of us to rise.

HARRIS-PERRY: In a world where TV is so powerful, does writing still

GAY: Absolutely. Writing matters more than ever. And I have to believe that
so I can keep making a living. But I also know that words matter because of
the impact that I`ve seen my book have and because of the impact, quite
frankly, that books have had on me throughout my life.

HARRIS-PERRY: Roxane Gay, thank you for writing. And thank you for joining
us today. And that`s our show for today. Thanks to you at home for
watching. I`m going to be back next Saturday, 10 a.m. Eastern.


Copyright 2014 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>