Skip to main content

tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  April 28, 2013 7:00am-9:01am PDT

7:00 am
this morning my question. how does talking about women change the immigration conversation? . plus the trouble when ideology meets adoption. bird of pair daradisparadis. how i became latina. first, you are what you eat from your head down to your feet.
7:01 am
good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. if you are a person who cares about your health, then eating right is at the top of your list. think for the 1990 nutrition labeling and education act, any food in a package must have labeling consistent with health and human services definition. so the label ons bag of chips. honestly, it tells me, girl, don't even think about it. at least that's my translation. and on this bag of cookies, yeah, it also tells me that even though i might like to eat the whole thing, it is not going to make up for nutritionally balanced meal. reading labels is what a responsible consumer does. but what if there are no labels. take this apple for instance. i mean, it seems perfectly fine, nutritious. that's what an apple is supposed to be. it grew on a tree. it's anapple, for goodness sake. i don't need a label.
7:02 am
i know what it is. maybe i do need a label because sometimes an apple is more than meets the eye. when it comes to our food, even if it is not in a package, it is important to know what happens from the seed to your table because not all foods are created equally. many foods we consume daily are genetically engineered more modified. under the current law, if a food is genetically modified, it does not need to be labeled. it begs the question, if a food isn't labeled, how can consumers be responsible? especially when some of the biggest commercialized genetically crops in the crops include soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets. zucchini, yellow squash. if you know what it was, you might, just maybe might think twice about eating it. gmos result when genes from one species are forced into the genes of another animal or plant. most interesting than what genetic engineering is though, is how it's accomplished. using viruses or a bacteria to
7:03 am
infect animal or plant cells with new dna. firing it into cells a special gun injecting new dna into fertilized eggs with a needle or using electric shocks covering sperm and forcing dna through the holes. to date, there have been no human clinical trials of modified foods. the one human feeding study showed material put into genetically modified soy and contued to function. gmos studies are done on lab rats. >> they've been linked to sterility, toxic and allergic reaction in the animals. here's the deal. the foods are not required to be labeled. it was under the administration of president george h.w. bush that the fda promoted -- the policy states the agency is not aware of any information showing that the foods derived from the
7:04 am
new methods differ from any other foods in any meaningful or uniform way. seriously, if a food grows faster and bigger than its cousins, it is different. not only are they growing faster, but so are the profits, forecasts at the companies. "the new york times" recently reported that monsanto, the largest seed company raised the full-year profit forecast on wednesday after reporting better than expected earnings in the second quarter, drefb by strength in global corn and herbicide business. the last part is the important point. you have super plants, you have to have new pesticides. if your company is creating both the seed and the pesticide, you're making out pretty well. those in favor of gmos, note they are positive possibilities, providing food for the growing population. lessening the agricultural impact on the environment. creating more sustainable foods. while those are admirable goals, this is not just about providing for the world.
7:05 am
it's also about providing consumers with information. barbara boxer and peter did he faze yoe introduced right to know act. people have a right to know what they are eating so they can make informed choices about what they're putting in their bodies. labels might help us to accomplish that, or not. at the table, tom click yoe, the chef and owner of kraft restaurants and head judge on bravo's top chef. the author of the infinite resource, the power of ideas on a finite planet which i spent all night last night working on. the director of the food and environment program. marian necessary he will professor of public health at new york university. thank you all for being here. >> thank you. this is a tough one for me. i have been trying to read in -- i have a thousand books on the table today trying to think through it. marian, let me start with you. dhou we balance between our very
7:06 am
real concerns about genetically modified foods on the one hand and our -- the realities that gmos seem to create really positive impacts on the other. >> i don't see any problem with reconciling it. i was on the food advisory committee of the fda in 1994 when the fda approved gmos. as a consumer advocate on that committee, we said go ahead, try it. but for heavens sake label it. consumers need a choice, consumers want a choice. if you don't label it, you're going to raise all kinds much questions about what are you trying to hide. i think they're trying to hide plenty. that's really what the problem is. >> what do you -- do you agree, they're trying to hide something? >> whether or not they're trying to hide something, i think this is really about freedom. we fight wars in the name of freedom. we send our kids to fight in the name of freedom. we export freedom around the world. yet we don't have the freedom of
7:07 am
choice to know what's in our food. i'm looking at this as a consumer, as a father, three kids. i want to know what's in nair food. simple as that. >> it does feel to me like that most basic question, of just okay, if you're going to have gmos, fine, we'll make that choice. that's the freedom of entrepreneurship, the freedom of ideas in part. but why not then give consumers the freedom to know this information? >> i think before we talk about labeling, we should talk about gnos, what they are and safety. the reason they don't require labels is the rules say if it's chemically identity al to the other food, it should be labelled the same way. they can't -- safety studies, every major scientific body in the world, the national academies of science, the american medical association, the european commission and the french supreme court ruled that they can find no evidence of any harm to humans, no credal evidence from theuneds of
7:08 am
studies that have been done. that's why we haven't required labels thus far. >> that notion that an apple that is not or in this case, it's ubl a seed, right, that is corn or something that ends up often in our packaged food is simply not different. also seems to fly in the face of the very idea that the reason we do the genetically modified foods is to make them different, make them resistant to pests, make them more nutritionally valuable. i mean, that's the entire reason for them. they must in fact be different. >> well you're quite right. the basic premise is that you're crossing the species barrier with genes. the important thing to understand technically, what the gene will do is create a -- you must ask what is that protein going to do. the protein could be an allergen. in extreme cases it could be a toxin. the key thing is we know what to test for. we can only find what we're looking for. as you pointed out, these are novel organisms with the dna.
7:09 am
we must be aware of the fact that with new organisms, without the experience we must be aware that there could be unintended consequences. that's the precautionary. the question of labeling, let me push on that hey little bit. you're saying to me we can only look and find potential -- you can't sort of ask is it harmful. an allergen is different than a toxin for example. what are the questions we ought to be asking scientifically before we get to -- what is the science set of questions we need to be asking about genetically modified foods? >> so you need to ask what is the product. and then test what this product could potentially do. you also need to test for the system effects and those are the ones that are most difficult to track because you are -- you have any number of things that you need to pursue and track over time. the important thing is that once you begin to deploy these
7:10 am
technologies, you strdevelop a track record and you can see how it performs against the claims. >> how far back in the food chain should i know about it this? if my cow which is going to become my steak ate genetically modified feed, is that important to me or only if my actual piece of corn on the cob is genetically modified? >> you have to go back to the soil. what's happening when tons and tons of pesticides are being dumped to get rid of weeds. what's happening in the soil is pretty much killing everything that's in the soil. we're looking at a real unhealthy sort of ecosystem. we're using all these chemicals for the food. part of the fda sort of ruling was that it doesn't need to be the same genetically. it needs to look and appear the same. you picked up an apple, now there's a newark particular apple that doesn't brown. now we have something that
7:11 am
doesn't look the same anymore. >> i think that will be branded in tt way. you want that -- >> stay with us. because i want to actually come to in question on are we just being science fearful, which is part of what i read in the text last night. our fear of the new holding us back as a civilization or real questions to be answered when we come back from break. [ coughs ] [ angry gibberish ] i took something for my sinuses, but i still have this cough. [ male announcer ] a lot of sinus products don't treat cough. they don't? [ male announcer ] nope, but alka seltzer plus severe sinus does it treats your worst sinus symptoms, plus that annoying cough. [ breathes deeply ] ♪ oh, what a relief it is [ angry gibberish ] [ breathes deeply ] ♪ oh, what a relief it is when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost.. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this
7:12 am
with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. but i wondered what a customer thought? describe the first time you met. you brought the flex in... as soon as i met fiona and i was describing the problem we were having with our rear brakes, she immediately triaged the situation, knew exactly what was wrong with it, the car was diagnosed properly, it was fixed correctly i have confidence knowing that if i take to ford it's going to be done correctly with the right parts and the right people. get a free brake inspection and brake pads installed for just 49.95 after rebates when you use the ford service credit card. did you tell him to say all of that? no, he's right though... with the innovating and the transforming and the revolutionizing. it's enough to make you forget that you're flying five hundred miles an hour on a chair that just became a bed. you see, we're doing some changing of our own. ah, we can talk about it later. we're putting the wonder back into air travel,
7:13 am
one innovation at a time. the new american is arriving. just seem to fade away...? now start vibrant, stay vibrant! new vidal sassoon pro series has an exclusive hydrablock system that helps fight fade out -- for up to 8 weeks. vidal sassoon pro series.
7:14 am
. when we talk about engineered food, a few companies have cornered the market. the company with the largest market share of the crops is none other than monsanto. while their earning portfolio may be good, their public image has taken a few hits to say the least. in february, the supreme court
7:15 am
heard arguments in the case that patent rights. whether monsanto has a right to limit reproduction of the seeds after the first generation. as of january, monsanto has filed 144 lawsuits involving farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 different states. here it feels to me is at the crux of it. if this is about feeding the world, the profit-driven aspect of this and particularly the big agribusiness that is monsanto and the profits they earn from it starts making me nervous that it is not a feed the world project. >> it's fun to poke at monsanto. they're a very, very easy target. your life is full of things that were developed for a profit motive. your iphone, your eyeglasses, everything that you do was made by someone who wanted to make a profit. the real question is, what's the impact on these things on
7:16 am
people's health and sight ens is clear that there's no evidence of health. on the environment, the science is also fairly clear that these gmos have reduced negative impact -- >> oh, i don't think the science is so clear. >> tom talked about pesticides. what the national academy of sciences found was that the planting of round up ready soy reduced the toxicity to fields because roundup replaced much more toxic pesticides that we used to use. >> you don't think the science is clear. when you tell me there's no human health risks in terms of what we know from the science, but there is a ton of findings around animals, thousands of sheep and buffalo and goats in india died after grazing on the bt cotton plants. mice eating gm have smaller and fewer babies. there are animal studies. the animal studies certainly aren't human studies. but they should give us much more pause. >> animal studies from one laboratory in france where the head there is sort of a fringe i scientist, if you will. if you look at the hundreds of
7:17 am
studies that have been done, those have found by and large, the overwhelming majority, 99.9% that there's no harm to humans. and even the other guests here, marion agrees with this. the national academy of sigh senses, even in france, the french are anti-gmo. but the french supreme court threw out the ban on gmos because the government could produce no credible evidence of harm to humans or the environment. >> yeah. but this isn't about safety necessarily. even if gmos are safe, they're not necessarily acceptable for a whole range of other reasons. it's those reasons shall the right to know is the most obvious one that make labeling so important. if they had labeled this from the first place, i don't think we would be having this conversation now. but the industry did everything it could to make sure that nobody knew that this was happening and that nobody could
7:18 am
identify. you look at all of these fruits that you have out here, you have no way of knowing that any of these is gmo or not. the tomato is the most likely suspect. i suspect it's not a gmo variety. but it's impossible to tell. >> so let me ask about this idea. the thing that we're upset about is the lack of knowledge, right? the lack of the right to know. we're talking about the packaged foods, right. if i start reading this, it is full of crap. and crap that is sort of not good for us if we eat a lot of it. but we've decided it's fundamentally safe for human health. i can look and say i'm making in choice to eat these ingredients. how do -- is this just about the right to know or about doing things to our food supply that can have meaningful environmental effects that are not positive, but are potentially negative? >> let me speak to that. i think you started this line of
7:19 am
discussion very productively. so the very premise that one of the reasons why we need to depend on lofts external inputs which makes our food system actually a very expensive food system is that we have an urgency to deal with the issues of the poor and hunger in the word. we all agree with that. no question with that. the problem with this, though, is that the food system and the agricultural system of the rich have zero relationship with the problems of the poor and why they're hungry. if you really wanted to deal with the problems of the hungry and the poor, you would deal with their poverty. you would deal with why they're poor to begin with. the spigot at the end of the food system of the rich does not aim at the poor because it's not a philanthropy. you need to be able to pay for what the system produces. it's very expensive of the problem with the modern food system, we create collateral damage because of that. we overproduce and produce too much of the wrong stuff. according to usda guidelines, we need to eat more of in stuff
7:20 am
and -- >> we're eating more of this stuff. >> producing lot of junk food or at least the ingredients for the junk food and propelling with the technologies. that makes the point. >> we eat the junk food because it's profitable. the reason you produce so much of it is because it's relatively -- >> it's highly subsidized. we're paying for that. >> it's an argument that gmos feed the world. they've been around for 20 years and hunger has increased. >> that's not true. the rate of hunger has gone down. >> it's gone way up. >> in this kun fri it may have a little bit. >> gone up a lot. >> half the frequency that it used to be. >> also, if you look at a bacteria devastated the rice crop in asia in the americas in australia, mid-africa, there was a geneticist working for u-davis that isolated a rice, found a
7:21 am
genetic marker for it, put it into other rice crops and today it sits on a shelf at uc davis because there's no way to profit from it. if the issue was saving the world, we're not doing that because there's no profit in it. you know, what we did in this country is put public health in front of profit. >> in europe, it was the other way around. i any that even though it's confusing to say that there's no health -- we don't know. >> pause right here. take a quick break and come right back on this topic. [ female announcer ] switch to swiffer 360 dusters extender,
7:22 am
and you'll dump your old duster. but don't worry, he'll find someone else. ♪ who's that lady? ♪ who's that lady? ♪ sexy lady, who's that lady? [ female announcer ] swiffer 360 dusters extender cleans high and low, with thick all around fibers that attract and lock up to two times more dust than a feather duster. swiffer gives cleaning a whole new meaning. and now swiffer dusters refills are available with the fresh scent of gain.
7:23 am
7:24 am
are proven to be effective pain relievers. tylenol works by blocking pain signals to your brain. bayer advanced aspirin blocks pain at the site. try the power of bayer advanced aspirin. by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. fun things happening in the commercial break, i get in my ear that monsanto is watching and sent us a statement. as soon as that's ready, i will read it for you. let me start by asking this question. tell me the golden rice story and what it is and what it does.
7:25 am
>> tom was talking about how we developed gmos out of a profit, that's not true. there are gmos in development that can help feed the world. one of the big problems in the developing world is vitamin a deficiency. about 250 million kids don't have enough vitamin a. every year about half a million go blind because they don't have enough vitamin a in their diets and about half of those die. a long time ago when biotech was just getting started, some scientists got together and said what if we could put vitamin a in a food that everybody eats. that's rice. it take on a yellow look. normally it produces vitamin a in the leaf, now it's in the seed as well. it's in testing and hopefully in the next couple of years it will be approved. the reason it's not approved so far is because the regulatory process is incredibly complicated. >> why would this be anything other than good? the world eats rice, we put vitamin a in rice, it addresses a fund mental nutritional
7:26 am
deficiency? >> it's a poster child for public relations for the gmo industry. i was fascinated -- it's beta carotene. it has to be converted in the body to vitamin a. for that you need a diet that's adequate in protein and adequate in all other nutrients. otherwise, kids can't do the conversion. beta carotene is in every single one of these fruits and vegetables that's on this table. it is enormously common in the food supply. the reason that people aren't eating it is because of cultural reasons, they don't think the kids should be eating vegetables or some reason like that. or it's because the kids are sick and have worms and can't do the conversion. >> is it potentially also because of global -- part of the problem that we have in terms of feeding the world is also just about the environmental realities that mean that these sorts of things grow in some
7:27 am
places and not others. >> they grow in the regions where the highest level of vitamin a deficiency. the reason is social. socioeconomic and other conditions in society make it difficult for poor people to get the kinds of foods they need and to be healthy enough to be able to use them properly. that doesn't change with golden. >> pause me for a moment. i want to read the monsanto statement. it came in live. our primary focus is on enabling both small holder and large scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. we apply modern day agriculture sciences such as plant breeding biotechnology an other agronomic practices to develop and support other farmers around the world. you can see the full statement at
7:28 am
91% of people in this country want their food labeled. it's a basic right that we should all have to know what we're eating. that's a great statement. i applaud most of that. i just want to know what i'm eating. >> i got to say, that feels like the piece where i'm like okay, if there's nothing to hide. why are we hiding something? if that -- just from a scientific perspective, is that an accurate way of talking about what a genetically modified crop is? >> yes. as far as the technology is concerned. very important thing about this statement that we just saw there. monsanto is the world's number one ago biotech company. if you want to examine the claims of that industry, obviously, you start with number one. so we have actually taken a close look at their claims, such as for instance boosting productivity, boosting yield such as helping with environmental impact by making plants more efficient in terms of nitrogen utilization, most
7:29 am
recently helping to help plants deal with drought. in every case, our examinations have showed that the claims don't bear up to scrutiny. the key thing to know about the yield curve that the agronomic world has been pushing the last few years is that it has not been affected one bit by any of the traits we're talking about here. the traits were not off productivity. the best that we can say is in some instances with insect resistance, when you have insept secretary infestation, they help to stabilize. the protection against drought is contextual. the evidence is that it mild help in cases of mild drought. obviously, it doesn't deal with the urgency of drought when it's extreme. >> we're going to take a quick break. that flies in the face of some of the things you claimed in the book. i want you to respond to that and think more about this question. if you are trying to feed the world, what is it that we need no fix. i'm here at my house on thanksgiving day,
7:30 am
and i have a massive heart attack right in my driveway. the doctor put me on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. go talk to your doctor. you're not indestructible anymore.
7:31 am
7:32 am
go talk to your doctor. limit yourself to one shower or bath a year. just one and we can conserve like a zillion gallons of water. or you can just take shorter showers. you'll still save a ton of water and smell mighty fine. the more you know. what? there's a reason no one says "easy like monday morning." sundays are the warrior's day to unplug and recharge. what if this feeling could last all week? with centurylink as your trusted partner, it can. our visionary cloud infrastructure and global broadband network free you to focus on what matters. with custom communications solutions and dedicated support, your business can shine all week long.
7:33 am
there is real hunger in the world. 870 million people in this world do not have enough to eat. 98% of the hungry live in what we would call developing nations and $3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age kids. so hunger is a real issue. what you suggested is that these kinds of genetic engineering processes don't address that. your text makes the claim that they do. >> they do. gmos have bigger impact in the developing world. one of the things they do, they make it so you don't have to spray the pesticide in the case of the corn. in the future, we see a big challenge and big opportunities.
7:34 am
the challenge is, not just hunger today but over the next 35 years, we'll have to double the amount of food that we grow to keep up with demand how do we do that? lots of ways. it won't fix themselves. there are promising ideas there. one is if you look at a field of corn, versus rice or wheat, the corn grows about 70% more food per acre. one idea on the table that's being worked on, the bill gates and melinda gates foundation is funding is taking the genes from corn that let them use sunlight marginally and grow much more food per acre, that would be given out freely to anyone in the world to plant on their land and replant. >> also, in new orleans, which is a food city, we're a city more than anything we eat and believe in what our food. people are hungry not because the wheat didn't grow high enough. they can't -- the foods do not exist in their neighborhoods. they cannot buy them in local grocery stores because they don't have a local grocery store.
7:35 am
if they did, the prices would be very high. >> they will never address food distribution. >> you better solve the social issues. it's one tool in the toolbox. we'd be a fool not to use that tool. >> what i would add to this, in the world, we already have enough food to feed everyone. that has actually been the case during the entire industrial agricultural period. if we are arguing in order to solve the problem you've raised, we need to produce more, we're there already. either extraordinarily ineffective in terms of doing this or our theory is wrong. 40 years of evidence that says our theory is wrong. we need to deal with the purchasing power of the poor and what comes along with all these technologies is a system that agriculture which does not have long-term viability. so for instance, one of the things that i should mention is that while we can always talk about the dreams that we have for the future, there is a track record for this technology. the track record of the
7:36 am
technology now has enabled methods of agriculture that have severe collateral damage as i mentioned before. primarily the environmental damage. this is not the way to go. the way to go is to find ways to produce the food we need and make it affordable and simultaneously work on the purchasing power. >> you said legal social issues. but they're political ones. >> absolutely. >> part of the politics here is it's not just that there's monsanto and whatever decisions they're making that are good, bad or neutral. they are clearly working our government. they're working our policy makers. the democrats, the republicans, george h.w. bush, all the way to president obama have been deeply impacted by the kind of policies that are promoted by this big company. >> uh-huh. i got to see that in action 20 years ago when the fda was first approving genetically modified foods and monsanto sent dozens of people down pretending to be independent people to testify in favor of the technology.
7:37 am
and it was interesting, the fda insisted that people say who had paid their transportation or paid their way down and people had to get up one after the other and said monsanto had paid their way down. otherwise, they didn't want to disclose that. >> i love that part of the story. that's labeling. basically what would require in that moment was okay, mr. person or mrs. person here, you have to label yourself. who actually sent you. they said monsanto. >> that's what we want as consumers is that kind of transparency in our labeling. >> the argument that the fda doesn't label foods with processes is also specious because we say whether it's made from concentrate, for example. we have the -- whether it was previously frozen. why not gmo. there are plenty of places that label it. i have a candy bar from great britain saying it may be made with modified soy corn or sugar. >> the world hasn't come to an end. >> one thing i agree with, with
7:38 am
all of these fine folks, we're going to get to labeling. it's clear that enough consumers want it that we'll get there. my advice to the farm industry and biotech industry is get to labeling yourselves. there's a difference between a label which says warning, invalid, no evidence of harm and a label that listed the ingredients. i support voluntary labeling. >> no one is asking for a warning label. you know that. we're just asking sort of the idea that there is gmo material in this food. that's it. it's simple as that. no one is looking for a skull and crossbones. i find it interesting that 85% of the $20 billion of the crops that we subsidize is corn. so, you know, 1% goes to fruits and vegetables. we know why they're cheap, it's no wonder why the crops that are -- that are affected by gmos come out of the crops -- >> this has a lobbyist and this doesn't. >> absolutely.
7:39 am
>> thank you to my entire panel, tom, ramez, ricardo and marion. i love the idea of food politics. we're going to stay on this undoubtedly over and over again on this program. later on the program today, the investigation into the push among evangelicals to adopt. up next, sister citizen. it's my book. here it is. by the way, it's out in paperback now. go get it. [ female announcer ] are you sensitive to dairy? then you'll love lactose-free lactaid® it's 100% real milk that's easy to digest so you can fully enjoy the dairy you love. lactaid®. for 25 years, easy to digest. easy to love.
7:40 am
i need a new recruit! dawn? you won't last. [ female announcer ] a drop of dawn has active suds that stay stronger longer, so you can clean 2x more greasy dishes. dawn does more. [ sponge ] so it's not a chore.
7:41 am
but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can help make this a great block party. ♪ [ male announcer ] advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking advair. ask your doctor if including advair could help improve your lung function. [ male announcer ] advair diskus fluticasone propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder. get your first prescription free and save on refills at
7:42 am
get your first prescription free the math of retirement is different today.ek. money has to last longer. i don't want to pour over pie charts all day. i want to travel, and i want the income to do it. ishares incomes etfs. low cost and diversified. find out why nine out of ten large professional investors choose ishares for their etfs. ishares by blackrock. call 1-800-ishares for a prospectus, which includes investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. read and consider it carefully before investing. risk includes possible loss of principal. check out the world war ii psychologists became interested in field dependence. subjects were placed in a crooked chair in a crooked room and asked to find the true up and down. some people were able to get themselves straight even if everything was off kilter in their visual field. many people could be tilted by as much as 35 degrees but feel as though they were straight up
7:43 am
and down because they were accommodating all of the crooked images around them. when i first read these studies, i thought whoa that's like being a black woman in america. sisters are trying to do the work of being american citizens but must navigate the persistent race and gender stereotypes that create a crooked room. our politics is an exercise of trying to stand straight in a crooked room. my recent book, sister citizen, shamed the stereotypes of black women in america addresses the personal and political consequences of black women's crooked room. tracing the history of shaming and derogatory images like jezebel, a stereotype rooted in the hot and tot venus that women are hyper sexual breeders who refuse to control their own reproduction. an image of black women as certificate vial domestics. >> a stereotype so powerful that
7:44 am
hat at this mcdaniel became the first black woman to win an oscar when she played the role in gone with the wind and the angry black woman, stereotype enshrined portraying women as irrational neck rolling and hateful. >> sister citizen asks us to look through the lens of black women's complicated and sometimes painful experiences in this country. i tell stories as distant of a free black woman who was arrested and publicly beaten in 1853 virginia for supposedly stealing a white man's chickens. even though there wasn't much meaningful evidence against her. i also analyzed more contemporary figures like shirley cher ard and first lady michelle obama. because these women help us to understand how modern black women find their true north in a room still made crooked by shaming stereotypes. the book is now available in paperback. i'd love to hear from you in nerdland about what you think about it.
7:45 am
i'll be hosting an online book club about it in coming weeks. read it now, we can talk about it soon. when we come back, i want to expand the sister citizen framework beyond the experiences of black women. what happens to the immigration debate when women are put at the center. what are the specific challenges facing the women. who wants to be our new sister citizens. okay. this, won't take long will it? no, not at all. how many of these can we do on our budget? more than you think. didn't take very long, did it? this spring, dig in and save. that's nice. post it. already did. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. dig in and save with vigoro one-quart annuals, four for just ten bucks. her long day of pick ups and drop offs begins with arthritis pain... and a choice. take up to 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. all aboard.
7:46 am
♪ all aboard. but i wondered what a customer thought? describe the first time you met. you brought the flex in... as soon as i met fiona and i was describing the problem we were having with our rear brakes, she immediately triaged the situation, knew exactly what was wrong with it, the car was diagnosed properly, it was fixed correctly i have confidence knowing that if i take to ford it's going to be done correctly with the right parts and the right people. get a free brake inspection and brake pads installed for just 49.95 after rebates when you use the ford service credit card. did you tell him to say all of that? no, he's right though... by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's.
7:47 am
7:48 am
when i wrote sister citizen, i wanted to examine the ways in which the universal desire to be recognized as a citizen could be understood in the lens of african-american women's struggle. to carve out a political identity. as we hopefully move towards passage of our first major reform of the nation's immigration system in three decades, i want to broaden that lens to include the women who are the inheritors of that struggle. at the intersection of immigration reform and women's rights are our sisters who are trying to become citizens. immigrant women. women make up more than half of
7:49 am
america's undocumented population. they're rendered and the concerns specific to their lives are largely invisible. economic development and the work of undocumented men over families helped -- relegates women seeking citizenship to second class status. as michelle chen wrote this week. at a time when more american women are asking why they can't have it all, immigrant women endure a much crueller work life balance, mostly often without papers and largely latina, they're exposed to chronic poverty, the threat of deportation and sexual trauma. it's inscribed on their bodies and reproductive destinies. it pushes the concerns of immigrant women to the periphery would be better served at the center. women are most likely to be the initial shea tors of the citizen process for their families. their state entitles them to a voice in policy decisions
7:50 am
that -- they're to be ushered fully into the american citizenship story. it will require -- with me today, jane jun, political scientist and author of the upcoming book, race, immigration and public opinion. jelani cobb. and campaign manager for drop the i word, ann raquel is he paid a. >> i spent the morning reading your new manuscript. part of what you talk about is this idea that immigration has to be under the racial prism of american belonging. talk to me about that. >> it's always been the case that people who have come to the united states have been welcomed conditionally on the basis of race and ethnicity.
7:51 am
in particular, through the 20th century as well. we've constructed our immigration policy around race. in 1965 when we changed that to be occupational preferences and family reunification still has a relationship to race and ethnicity and in particular for asian americans with the changes in only the 1950s taking away the exclusion, the full exclusion of asians from naturalization and entry into the united states. >> occupational preference sound like a racially neutral basis, but it is in fact not. tell us why, again. >> people now think that asian immigrants are all well-educated. part of the reason they are is because that's a requirement to come to the united states. china was on the northern border and not canada, you would see stereotypes similar to the 19th century when asians were considered to be -- >> on exactly that, that idea that there's not a single thing, either american or not, we talk about citizenship in this binary
7:52 am
way. i wanted to sort of ask a little bit about that. this very notion of being an american citizen, how that is framed differently for latino versus latinas. we sort of just don't tell the story of women. what are the specific challenges facing latinas as we start to think about this notion of citizenship? >> the problem with latinas in particular is that one story narrative as well. we're going through what our black american sisters went through for generations and generations where you just fit into one kind of place and that is that of being illegal, having anchor babies. it's all these really hyper stereotype kind of issues that we have to deal with coming in here. a lot of us come to this country well-educated and sometimes have to take jobs. i've met women cab drivers who have doctorates in their homelands, all across the america they're driving cabs to take care of their children,
7:53 am
sometimes with their kids in tow. i mean, we have to change that. >> this language of anchor babies is interesting, andrea. as i've been thinking of the sister citizen text which is really just about black women. but that language of the notion of who is the mam i has shifted. it was in the early 20th century about black women domestic, now latina domestics, right? when we think about who doesn't control their fertility, it was the welfare queen and still is. now also the anchor baby language. what can we learn from each other's struggles moving forward in this debate? >> i think we need to learn is the idea that we struggle together. and that we have similar struggles. not the same struggle. let's not use terms of, well our blues is like mine. sometimes our blues aren't like each other's. at the same time, we need to recognize that as for example
7:54 am
african-americans have migrated internally. we're talking about the great migration. now we have our undocumented sisters who are migrating into this country and they have their struggles too. we have to be able to say that their struggle is part of our struggle. that we need to be able to be in solidarity with them as they do what they need to do to become citizens. >> your solidarity lately has been about this drop the i word campaign. you were just at "the new york times." the a.p. just accepted they're no longer going to use illegal to describe undocumented workers and immigrants in this country. you've been fighting around making "the new york times" do the same thing. >> absolutely. what happened is "the new york times," we have spoken with "the new york times" on drop the i word on our partners such as present the national association of hispanic journalists to persuade them to drop the i word. we had an action we delivered.
7:55 am
i word is illegal, not immigrants. >> even though it could be a double i word especially the way "the new york times" likes to use it. we sent a petition of 70,000 strong to say to "the new york times" to drop the i word completely. that was on tuesday. this past tuesday. what happened was they said we're not going to drop it. we're going to use it in conjunction with other words that are more precise. be reasonable for them to do this because we don't want to take sides. unfortunately, when you use the i word, you are taking a side. you're taking the wrong side. that's what we were trying to let "the new york times" know, is that you are taking the wrong side. >> jelani, i felt a segment like this bams a racial grievance segment. you're saying mean things about us, calling us mamie, jezebel assuming we're not educated. it's not an emotional grievance. it has political consequences. >> absolutely. the one thing we have to understand about immigration
7:56 am
policy and law is that it has inordinately be concerned with the preservation of whiteness in this country. that is the beginning point. you talk about the chinese exclusion act and the japanese ex clues act and when we talk about really what we're dealing now is the legacy of the 1924 immigration restriction act. so that act set the quota, that was what first said, we'll be accepting people based upon national origins and backlog it 30 years to the 1890 census meaning your people weren't here, you couldn't come here. what happened in 1965 was that this was changed, it was reformed. but there still is a whiff of that. in terms of its impact, there's completely this relationship analogous -- the status of an undocumented person leaves millions of women vulnerable to sexual exploitation. >> that's exactly where i want to dig in as soon as we get back. the question is when does the ex
7:57 am
employ takes look different for women of color. remember, it's a two-hour show. we're back at the top of the hour. i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin. [ designer ] enough of just covering up my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months, and keeps it clearer through 6 months. [ male announcer ] enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections.
7:58 am
serious, sometimes fatal events, including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders, and allergic reactions have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. you should not start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure, or if you have symptoms such as persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. if you've had enough, ask your dermatologist about enbrel.
7:59 am
as well as they could because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d. it's the only calcium supplement that can be taken with or without food. my doctor recommends citracal maximum. it's all about absorption.
8:00 am
welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. when seeking to understand the ways in which immigration policies reinforces gender disparities for women, we need only remember the story of one person. an undocumented immigrant from mexico was pregnant and pulled over and ticketed for careless driving by a police officer in the nashville suburb of davidson county. when she couldn't produce a drivers license, the officer bypassed the standard procedure in tennessee which is to issue a citation. instead he followed an immigration agreement between the federal government and davidson county that gives immigration enforcement powers to county officers. she was arrested and put in county jail for six days. during her time in custody, she
8:01 am
gave birth. with the sheriff's officer standing guard in her hospital room where she was shackled to the bed throughout her labor. i'm back with university of southern california's jane junn, the university of connecticut andrei plat and raquel cepeda. bird of paradise how i became latina. this felt like an example of what you were talking about jelani in terms of potential sexual exploitation. it's about her giving birth in this situation. but it's also about the fact that if she's -- for latinas working in agriculture, the rates of the likelihood of sexual assault and then not being able to go forward with it and tell anyone because they're more worried about deportation than about the person sengs ully assaulting them being arrested. >> this is what happens when you create two separate categories of labor. we understand this because it's precisely what happened with african-americans. you create a group of people who
8:02 am
can be hyper exploited and sexual exploitation is almost impossible to separate from this. it does remind me coincidentally of a narrative of black women who would give birth because they were not allowed to be in segregated hospitals and a different type of segregation. >> jane -- >> it's not only women who work in agriculture. i've seen undocumented women working at restaurants being groped. i've seen it. it's pretty disgusting. but you have 5 million children living with undocumented parents. they're in danger, their sisters and brothers are danger, their families are in danger and they exploit them. that's why we have a high rate of latinos in prostitution rings. >> part of what you just said there is so important to part of what i was read not guilty the text, jane, is this idea that once i know that this is the kind of vulnerability that i'm potentially open to. if i'm latina and i know there's
8:03 am
a stereotype of being sexually available and i don't control my sexuali sexuality, i have all these babies and undocumented, even if i'm an american citizen, i might not go forward and talk about my domestic violence or report the sexual violence because i recognize how the stereotypes will say what the interaction with authority will be like. >> it's consistent with the points you make in the book. even if you don't feel that you fit that stereotype and you know that you don't fit the stereotype, if you have the sense that other people do, you're always worried that putting it forward, making it seem as if you might be there in that particular situation will end up reflecting negatively on you. people will stay silent. people pull back. that is part of what stops in particular women of color from being the citizens that they can be. >> i wonder in part also about
8:04 am
when you're a community of people who are racially identifiable, even if it's inaccurate, the behavior of any one person in the community, particularly if it's a negative behavior and it is highly publicized, then has the shaming impact and a silencing impact on the entire category of people. so that you end up not pressing for your rights in part because you're just trying to manage the shame that is associated with it. >> secondary -- >> that's okay. >> it's called what we call secondary embarrassment where one person does something wrong and then the entire group is thinking, for example, the most recent example of what happened in boston with what happened with the young men who bombed the boston marathon. also, there is this thing of please let it not be us. it goes into the secondary embarrassment of they know the stereotypes about us and please don't let that person behave
8:05 am
badly so it reflects badly on all of us and we suffer the repercussions. >> this becomes a way basketballwise is about shaming the entire category for exam of the black women. >> i cringe. i wouldn't cringe because there are women that exist. if there was more biological and economical, all kinds of diversity that show latin women and asian women and black american women as complex as we are, but it goes right back down to that one note. even terrorist rs getting wind of this of how ridiculous they are. let's recruit people who typically look white, who become white when they move here. russian immigrants, they become white ee vntly. their kids or grandkids. they become white and privileged. when latino americans, other immigrants of color kind of become black if you will. >> it's an interesting point. it has been associated with this angst about chechen americans in the context of a post boston
8:06 am
moment. but it didn't get read as chechen or russian or certainly not as caucasian. it gets read as islamic, as muslim. >> i think the fascinating thing about this is that when we saw that riveting moment where the uncle came out and gave that first talk about what he thought of his nephew's behavior. he said they brought shame upon chechens, he didn't say muslim, he said chechens. most of us don't know where chechnya is. >> exactly. >> the ambassador coming out and saying no, it's not czechoslovakia. the fascinating thing is having spent some time no russia, people of chechen dissent are not considered white there. many of the epithets that are used to describe chechens are used to describe africans. they move here and they're placed in a different context in terms of race and identities.
8:07 am
>> jane, you talk about this process a little bit when you are citing christina beltran and you say that she writes latina -- latino is a ver be, it's a way of becoming. there isn't an identity that's latino, it's a thing that create among people. >> you don't become asian american until you arrive here. it is a process of racialization. the people internalize and understand those stereotypes that are attached to the classification influence the behaviors and attitudes people hold. the recognition that everybody who is not white is underneath in terms of political status, citizenship, belonging, these are all conditional parts of citizenship that alter the way that we think about ourselves as americans. >> how is this especially gendered. as i thought about this for race in terms of passing on blackness, what happens in the american context around slavery is that you take on the race of
8:08 am
your mother in the context of slavery. the first gift that an enslaved black woman gives to her child is the status of slavery. we made reproduction it th th process of enslavement. for women who made -- it ends up being a more difficult thing. we hear anchor baby on the one hand. for latinas. if immigration is racialized, how is it also gendered. >> there are lots of examples. i think it's 1875 which specifically is designed to stop chinese women from coming to the united states because of the idea that they would come and then repopulate the united states with more little chinese babies. as a result, you also think about the moves against the 14th amendment and the citizenship clause to eliminate birth rate citizenship and change that from the right of soil and to right of the blood. there are many ways they may not be specifically coded or written as gendered laws.
8:09 am
in many ways, they are the opposition to the birthright citizenship is the basis of that. is in the idea that women are going to come over here and drop their babies. >> you also see that with latina american teenagers, the children of these immigrants who have the highest rate of suicide ideation attempt in the country. three times more likely than their white american counterparts and twice as likely as black american counterparts. i'm working on a documentary with a group of young teenagers from a program in the bronx. they tell me that i don't feel aside from the pressures of being domesticated and wanting to go to school, i don't feel i fit into white society or black american society, i'm in limbo. i'm living in limbo. that creates a community that's very shaky. >> as most course in the emotional space. you're in that crooked room at the same time you're trying to do the work of american politics. thank you to jane junn, jelani is going to hang out and raquel
8:10 am
is going to stay with me. we're going to talk about her memoir, bird of paradise. before we go to break, i want to send well wishes to dr. maya angel angelou. she's the author of the -- she's recovering at home in north carolina after being briefly hospitalized. dr. a, we here in nerdland wish you a speedy recovery. i know you're facing this challenge with the same courage and spirit you inspire in all of us. wrash. we'll be right back. the magic eraser clean up that crazy kitchen mess? it was like super dirty, super clean. how? wish i hadn't. [ sniffs ] what's that amazing smell? it's mr. clean with the amazing scent of gain. wow! you know, if i had a team, you'd be on it. [ gasps ] our mascot could be a cleanosarus rex. you're off the team. [ male announcer ] dirt and grime have nowhere to hide with the mr. clean clean team on your side. [ male announcer ] dirt and grime have nowhere to hide
8:11 am
for sein a whole new way. for seeing what cash is coming in and going out... so you can understand every angle of your cash flow- last week, this month, and even next year. for seeing your business's cash flow like never before, introducing cash flow insight powered by pnc cfo. a suite of online tools that lets you turn insight into action.
8:12 am
by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
8:13 am
we've been talking about the politics of recognition. immigrant women face in their quest for citizenship. for latina immigrants and latina americans, construction of identity is crucial in creating a sense of belonging to a larger
8:14 am
community. creating identity is complex because being latina is not truly racial or cultural or experiential. it's a combination of all of these. back with me is author of the new book, bird of paradise, how i became latina. who literally did the work to find her identity. thank you for the book. talk to me a little bit, we were talking during the break about dr. maya angelou. how is it that a personal memoir helps us understand a bigger process? >> because we deal with universal themes, family dysfunction, sometimes unfortunately abuse, what it's like to be a women, feminism, relationships with men, with our children. i think all of these universal themes allowed me to talk to a greater -- to a bigger, larger audience. >> family dynamics in the book are breathtaking. i've known some of your work. but i didn't know your personal story until i read the text.
8:15 am
i want to read one piece in particular where you have this interaction with your mother when you're very young. you say to her, mommy, i have to go. i'm sorry, i say. i want to have a better life. she says to you, what do you know what a better life is? and you say to her, i know what it's not, mommy. you've shown me that much. she says to you, go to hell. i hope you die, it was april 1981 and i'm almost eight. she says this to you when you're eight. >> yes. >> how impactful is that in shaping who you are? >> well, i never really got a chance to know her well. i used to see her as a sister figure. i grew up thinking -- maybe hoping that my aunt was my birth mother. my mother's words never had a lot of weight because like all children do, judge her by her actions and not by her words. didn't really have many words in
8:16 am
between us. not when i was living with her. >> that sense of distance and actually ends up being a protective barrier. >> yes, it's never really hurt me. sometimes people read it, like i remember you said you knew my work but not about my life. even when my husband read is was shocked beyond belief. we were best friends before we were married. he said i didn't know you went through this. to me it's a thing. it's more about the search of identity. >> it's interesting that you say that. on the one hand, there are shocking moments but it doesn't feel like i'm flogging through this struggle. instead, i'm peeling back the layers of identity. tell me about -- for folks who haven't read it yet, tell me about the decision and the way that you become latina. >> well, it was going to not be memoirs. it was going to be about looking at latina identity. sometimes when you add your own personal story, kind of like i said before, appeals to more people. and i want to show that we are just as american as everybody else.
8:17 am
we had the same struggles and dynamics in our families. so the first part of the book was like a memoir and actually bird comes from, i know why the caged birds sing. the second part, how i became latina is a chronicle about finding out how exactly literally i became latina. how did i become latina before i was dominican american. what happened for me to become latina. who intermingled. what i found out was remarkable. >> when you find out, part of it was the tracing of the family story. the other part is the dna. tell me about that part. >> it was incredible. i mean, i saw dr. henry louis gates jr. do his work and i thought it was really interesting. i feel like it would be interesting to do this with the latino community. as greenspan, when you're dealing with latinas, it's a genetic crapshoot. you can't guesstimate what's going to happen.
8:18 am
because of dominican republic where my parents come from, all of the americas, it was the first place that had a successful european colony, the first place that had slaves brought in, african slaves and the indigenous american slavery movement and all of these other people, new orleans before it was new orleans. >> yes. >> you just don't know. you just don't know who mixes in. what i did was took a dna test. i started with myself. then i had my dad take a dna test and from then on, starting meeting family members i didn't know existed and had them help me create the branches on a tree. >> i'm so appreciative of the book. it's the science of the dna. it's the personal narrative of the finding of the self. it's a little bit of hip hop thrown in there. >> of course. >> it's all those different things. it really is a lovely book. thank you for joining us today. >> thank you. coming up next, a four-year long investigation into adoption. the impact of a conservative christian agenda. changing the world is exhausting business.
8:19 am
with the innovating and the transforming and the revolutionizing. it's enough to make you forget that you're flying five hundred miles an hour on a chair that just became a bed. you see, we're doing some changing of our own. ah, we can talk about it later. we're putting the wonder back into air travel, one innovation at a time. the new american is arriving. i took something for my sinuses, but i still have this cough. [ male announcer ] a lot of sinus products don't treat cough. they don't? [ male announcer ] nope, but alka seltzer plus severe sinus does it treats your worst sinus symptoms, plus that annoying cough. [ breathes deeply ] ♪ oh, what a relief it is [ angry gibberish ]
8:20 am
glass on floors. daily chores. for the little mishaps you feel use neosporin to help you heal. it kills germs so you heal four days faster. neosporin. use with band-aid brand bandages. why are 8 million people sleeping better tonight? why are 8 million people
8:21 am
they went to a sleep number store. the only place in the world you'll find the sleep number bed with dual air technology. it allows each of you to adjust to the support your body needs. you'll only find sleep number at one of our over 400 stores nationwide, where queen mattresses start at just $699. and for those who sleep hot or cool, now save $500 on our temperature-balancing memory foam bed set. sleep number. comfort. individualized.
8:22 am
when you think about adoption, we often have a picture in our head of a childless couple who want so much to start a family but can't or of a parentless child in need of a home. recently, with the publicity of a-list celebrities adding to their broods, adopting across and abroad has become increasingly popular and aligned with humanitarian causes. in fact, the history of trans national adoption has been rife with abuse. five years ago, guatemala put a temporary moratorium on adoptions, after years of reported abuses like child thefts and coercion of birth mothers. since then, trans national adoptions moved to other parts of the world with very similar outcomes. as international adoption in recent years has evolved into an evangelical movement, charges of abuse have unfortunately, only grown. preaching the gospel of
8:23 am
adoption, american evangelicals have an outside-sized role in overseas adoption. reportedly of some 200 accredited adoption agencies listed with the state department, 50 agencies including some of largest are explicitly christian and evangelical. katherine joyce lays out the global reach of these agencies in her new book, the child catchers, rescue, trafficking and the new gospel of adoption. she joins me now. thank you for being here. >> thank you so much, melissa. >> talk to me. what is orphan theology? >> in the last few years what you started to see at a lot of churches was an emphasis on the idea that christians really had to get involved in orphan care and adoption and they were saying that this is a way that adoption is mirroring the christian salvation experience. just as god adopts christians, christian parents need to go and adopt children.
8:24 am
>> it's also the other side of the abortion debate, right? it's not that we're against abortion, we're for adoption. an alternative for women who feel like they can't carry a pregnancy all the way to term? >> absolutely. i think adoption has always been very involved in the abortion debate. now this has become a way for christians to be what they call more whole life, we don't just care about children inside the womb but after they're born as well. >> the challenge is that the anti-abortion policies are domestic and the adoption is largely happening globally. trans nationally. why is that? >> afro -- after roe v. wade, it dropped dramatically. now more around 1%. so for years, there have been many more willing prospective
8:25 am
adoptive parents than domestic available for adoptions. now they've been helped along by the idea that overseas, there are hundreds of millions of orphans in need of adoption. >> this was tough for me. i entered into reading about adoption, thinking about my friends, thinking about colleagues who either are themselves adopted or have adopted and did so out of such a great largess of heart. then i'm learning that the individual people may be making loving choices is a system that is as far as i can tell in many countries taking children from -- perhaps not what we think of families, certainly from communities that could have been providing care for those children. >> absolutely. i came across families in countries like ethiopia who had relinquished children for
8:26 am
adoption, siblings, thinking they were providing a great educational opportunity for their children. a thing we need to understand that is united states our definition of adoption is not universal. in other countries there are traditions of adoption, it looks more like guardianship or a sponsorship where you send your child it a wealthier relative to give them better opportunities in life. >> people might think, i'm allowing you to adopt, i'm giving an opportunity to go to boarding school in the ugs. they don't realize they're losing parental rights. >> right. some of them think their children will return in a couple of years. some think that this is a way for the whole family to advance a little bit and become a little bit more stable. you are investing in this one child to go and get a better education and then they will return. so it's just not the same idea that we have of a complete transference of parental rights. >> one of the key stories you tell about abuses is immediately after the haitian earthquake.
8:27 am
many people of goodwill took this as opportunity to scoop children out, people who had living parents or grandparents. tell me the haiti story. >> right after haiti there was an incredible emphasis on adoption. i feel like this is a way american media approached the story was not necessarily looking at the entirety of the tragedy. but looking at it through the lens of americans who were connected to haiti because they were in some -- in some part of the process of adopting from haiti. a lot of the media attention focused on how do we get the children matched with american parents out and a lot of the attention went there. with that, there started being some probably incredibly well-intentioned but vigilante missionaries who went down there. a a lot of people remember the story of the missionaries from idaho who went and were caught at the border of the dominican republic trying to transport 33 children across the border. so this is the way, i mean, that was a sloppy example but this is the way that frequently very
8:28 am
good intentions can fall into serious problems. >> it's also the example, the exact that it wasn't as though america said haitian people, adults and children. let's just save the kids. stay with us. we'll add a few more voices to the table and i want to continue on this conversation. >> thank you.
8:29 am
8:30 am
8:31 am
we've been discussing the evangelical mission for trans national adoption which has become a movement among some did he voit christian families. a movement of hundreds of individual families, parents and children in this country each with their own individual and particular stories. joining my table are two people who have been involved in the trans national adoption process. karen moline is a mother who adopted her son from vietnam in 2001 and is a board member for the parents for ethical adoption reform and tyreke was adopted at
8:32 am
age 13 from theethiopia. the struggle with two failed adoptions. university of connecticut historian jelani could be. when i say failed adoption, what does that mean? what is your story? >> when i was 13, my two younger sister and i came to america to adoption. they told us that we were going to america for educational exchange program and once we got to america, we found out that we were adopted. we didn't know what that meant. so our family told us that american family told us that they are our forever family and i reacted with a lot of grief and anger because i didn't want a new family. i have family in ethiopia. >> how do they respond to your reasonable grief and anger? >> i think they didn't really react that well because they wanted to adopt a child who was
8:33 am
an orphan and that adoption agency told them false information. and it was kind of my word against the adoption agency and plus they just spent all this money. they're like we can't take you back because like you're our kid by law. so my sister and i just lived there for a while and later on i found out that they changed our names too, that's one of the reasons why the adoption fell i think. i was angry and i grieve over my name changed because i didn't want a new name. we already have ethiopian given name. they stopped us from speaking our native languages. >> and you at this point were 13. you weren't an infant who someone changed their name. you were a young woman. >> yeah. >> your story is the kind of
8:34 am
story you tell in the book that is so hard for me to even comprehend how such a thing happens. how the set of public policies or individual decisions allow a child who has a family, a community, even a name to be ripped out of that around a sort of missionary notion of it being better in the united states. >> absolutely. i think what happens in a lot of cases, as in her case, there is so much emphasis and there is so much enthusiasm for adoption in the united states and especially in the description of the adoption movement, a lot of people are deeply moved by the idea that there are hundreds of millions of orphans in need and so if agencies are going out there and saying, sometimes they're taking videos of children and presenting these children sometimes in your case, giving false fact stories saying these children are destitute,
8:35 am
these children are about to be completely orphaned, they might end up in a terrible circumstance and prostitution or something like that, this sort of misinformation can start at the very local level. then it comes across the ocean and parents here, prospective parents here are seeing that and are deeply moved. they move forward with an adoption and there have been lies and misinformation kind of seeded in from the very beginning. >> then what is a parent, someone who does feel moved, maybe even has a sense of purpose as is part of the language often around the evangelical part of the movement, how do you find an ethical way to be engaged in adoption? >> i think what you have to do first is examine your motives of going internationally. you know, what i say often if you're dealing with a corrupt country with corrupt practices in every aspect of its business, why would you assume that the adoption business is exempt from the same sort of practices that
8:36 am
taint other industries? and when you have a very emotional process, which is the need and the want to be a parent, coupled with a business model that doesn't work, you have in clash of not knowing what to do. i think because the stories that like we've just heard are not the -- isolated examples. if anything, i've learned over my years since i adopted in 2001, corrupt stories are more commonplace than the noncorrupt ones. it's very, very difficult for honest, ethical well-meaning people to believe the depth of depravity that take place in this business bringing these children to this country. so the root of it, as it says in the bible, of all evil is money. there are staggering sums of money paid to these countries, and it's not that the money shouldn't -- some form of sum shouldn't be paid for child care, for bureaucratic
8:37 am
processing. but there is absolutely no transparency where the funds are going. if you're paying tens of thousands of dollars to a country, you should see something for your money. you should see orphanages with decent care and schooling and nannies, you should see just people taking care of these children and you don't. you have starving babies and starving children. so getting back to your question, i personally would not recommend adopting internationally now because you have no control over the process. i would recommend foster to adopt in this country. the problem is there aren't babies. there are very few young children as katherine said. there aren't -- most children in the foster care system in this country are older children, four and older. i'm not sure what the actual statistic of the average age is. so when you also have a religious fervor driving your
8:38 am
intentions and some of the worst abuses unfortunately, have come from faith-based agencies, i think in part because the parishioners, are not morally capable of believing that somebody who was a godly person, a prayerful good person is not just lying, but is stealing children, is harming innocent victims like the one sitting right here. they cannot believe it so they won't believe it. >> stay right here. i want to talk a bit more about how it does happen in our own country across a different kind of international line. that's the international line of the u.s. state and other questions. when we come back. i'm sorry. it's a lot. a whole new way. for seeing what cash is coming in and going out... so you can understand every angle of your cash flow- last week, this month, and even next year. for seeing your business's cash flow like never before,
8:39 am
introducing cash flow insight powered by pnc cfo. a suite of online tools that lets you turn insight into action.
8:40 am
oh, boy. [ groans ] ♪ ♪ [ engine revs ] ♪ ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. ♪ so today, i'm finally talking to my doctor
8:41 am
about overactive bladder symptoms. [ female announcer ] know that gotta go feeling? ask your doctor about prescription toviaz. one toviaz pill a day significantly reduces sudden urges and accidents, for 24 hours. if you have certain stomach problems or glaucoma, or can not empty your bladder, you should not take toviaz. get emergency medical help right away if your face, lips, throat or tongue swells. toviaz can cause blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness and decreased sweating. do not drive, operate machinery or do unsafe tasks until you know how toviaz affects you. the most common side effects are dry mouth and constipation. talk to your doctor about toviaz. in 1978, after decades of gross overreach by some state child services agencies who were ripping native american children from their parents and putting them up for adoption, the indiana child welfare act was
8:42 am
passed. the law provided custodial preference to native american parents ending in what an example of minnesota was the forced adoption of one quarter of native american babies less than a-year-old. last week, oral arguments were heard at the u.s. supreme court for the case adoptive couple versus baby girl. the issue a baby girl conceived by a nonindian woman and she was adopted by a south carolina couple who raised her as their own for more than a year. the biological father invoked the indian child welfare act to reclaim his daughter. the south carolina supreme court sided with him. the girl has been living with her biological father since early 2012. her long-term fate rests with the u.s. supreme court. joining us now is jacqueline paid a, executive director of the and a member -- >> i want to put this in the context of this adoption piece.
8:43 am
i don't really want you it adjudicate this particular case, the baby girl case. explain to me why the act exists. >> in the years up to 1978 when congress passed this law of the indian child welfare act, there were like a third of our children were in foster care and outside of our communities, 90% of them were in homes outside of our communities and we had the highest adoption rates in the country. 8% nationally, some states were double, more than double those rates. and the tribal leaders were very concerned about the loss of our children to our communities. and we also had studies that said our children outside of their communities were not, didn't stick to their culture, they were -- we had suicides. we knew that the trauma of our children leaving our communities was both on the families and on the children coming up. >> it feels to me, jackie, like
8:44 am
part of what i hear you saying and part what i want to include this is we're talking about the trans national adoption. but to the extent that indigenous tribes in the u.s. are their own nations, this is a kind of trans national baby snatching that was happening here within the u.s. borders. >> we had a lot of policies that have actually removed children from our families. we had the boarding school era, we had those other kinds of eras. but it's shocking still today. how many native students, how many native children are in the foster care system and placed outside of our tribal community. so the indian child welfare act was one that says let's shore up, make sure that the family gets the children first, the extended family gets the children, the tribe gets the children or another indian family gets the children before you look at others outside entities. >> it feels to me like the thing that is similar with your story as we were talking in the break,
8:45 am
it's better to be in america. you should feel grateful. which is the same language used for indigenous children. >> they were saying they saved us from a horrible life in africa. and how we should just be grateful. and that's -- like a lot of people have attitude about that. but i was living in the middle class family in ethiopian standards. i had extended family, i had a community that could have taken care of me. my father was told by the adoption agency, it's only for educational exchange. so he wanted us to get the american education and come back. he didn't want us to get a new family. >> because you had one. >> uh-huh. >> jelani, i mean, you're here at the table because when i recall the history and even the present reality of indian -- american indian tribes and then i hear the story of taking
8:46 am
13-year-old children from the continent of africa, changing their name, separating them from family, i mean, slavery is the only word that comes to mind. >> yeah. i mean, there are probably people with problems with this. that's just what it is. it's very difficult to hear your story and remain composed. the analogy that comes directly to mind, the sort of cultural arrogance is the worst form of americanism. the belief that everyone would be better if they were like us and will bestow upon us the gifts of society even gets your will is the same logic at the bottom of the slave trade. >> jackie, the other piece of logic that was part of the slave trade and part of the adoption story is part of the missionary aspect. this idea that you're not only saving this child from the subpar culture but saving them through connections to the gospel. >> correct. in indian country, the missionary effort, they divided
8:47 am
it and said okay, certain areas will be certain religions and we have a great deal of influence of religious various religions in our communities. we have a great cultural revival which is part of the healing process of bringing our families back together from the boarding schools, the christian boarding schools and trying to be able to shore up those children for the next generations and keeping this act in place is a tool that will help us keep our children at home. >> karen, what are the other policies that we need? part of what the indian child welfare act is about the fact that we needed policy to address this. we see internationally other countries stepping in and saying, you know what, america, you simply cannot adopt our children. what are the domestic policies we need? >> the domestic policies are much more severe regulations of adoption agencies. part of the problem with international adoption is that the state department issues the visa for the children to come to this country so that's federal.
8:48 am
adoption agencies are state regulated. states do not have the money to look after domestic adoption, foster care and other child care services. international adoption agency problems are at the bottom of their list. to be fair to them, they don't have the budgets to oversee this. adoption agencies know it. adoptive parents have problems with ethics of their agencies have very little recourse aside from suing, which is a very long process. the hague standards which were supposed to combat or lessen corruption and trafficking are in my opinion a joke and travesty. most were written by adoption agencies. if you file a complaint, the agency gets a copy of the complaint. from day one, you're sort of screwed in the middle of the process. you don't know where your money is going, you don't know who the mi ploy ease are internationally. you have very little resource. people don't believe r you. you're harassed and threatened
8:49 am
as we have as brave adoptive parents who dared to speak out. agencies are threatened and a has rad and sued by adoption agencies. it starts at the state level with better regulation of adoption agencies and there must be transparency where the sums of money are going. >> where the money is going. katherine, i felt like part of this as i was reading this, this is the other thing that kept feeling like slavery to me. somebody is making a lot of money off of this process. >> right. international adoptions are hugely expensive. on average, they're about $30,000. sometimes it ranges up to even $60,000. it's not as though that money is going in one lump sum to any one person or any one agency. it's broken down into different parts. but agencies depend on these fees in order to stay in business. when countries tighten their regulations, you see agencies going out of business. that happened just in -- >> they jump countries. >> and if they can't find a country with enough adoptable
8:50 am
children, they go bankrupt. their business model is based on having enough children. also what we saw in countries like ethiopia in the early days of adoption there, when agencies did not have all the orphanages set up yet, they were working directly with what are essentially child finder, a fixed fee to people who could go out to the rural understandings, and bring them in under whatever sort of circumstances. jackie, i want to end with you on this one. i got in a trouble for a lean forward commercial where i suggest add community responsibility to children. part of what people said to me is, o. this is about the state wanting to snatch your kids. i thought there is one group who has a right to field actual threat and concern and that is in the context of this country native-americans. so again, if you could tell us just one more time. not for adjudicate this particular case, but is the indian child welfare act itself potential going to go away,
8:51 am
depending on how the supreme court decides this custody decision? >> i'm afraid there will continue to be challenges on the act, just because there are adoption agencies that are looking for, you know, children, but the most important thing in this particular case is if the law was followed, we wouldn't have had this case. the law was very clear, the attorneys knew what the responsibility was, and this is not just one case, we see it across the country, where the states or the lawrence don't follow the law and go first to the family and make sure that there's a -- to see if there's a family member who would like the children. >> thank you so much, jackie in washington, d.c. also catherine, for thank you for the book, which i think sheds important light. and thank you to both of you for spending some time with us. last night was prom nigh, twice. it was a good night for in other words.
8:52 am
8:53 am
there's a reason no one says "easy like monday morning." sundays are the warrior's day to unplug and recharge. what if this feeling could last all week? with centurylink as your trusted partner, it can. our visionary cloud infrastructure and global broadband network free you to focus on what matters. with custom communications solutions and dedicated support, your business can shine all week long.
8:54 am
8:55 am
it's prom season. last night there were two programs that we have been anxiously anticipating. the first was washington, d.c., officially the event was the white house correspondents another. spend the evening rubbing elbows. it's become known as nerd prom, with the second tear of labor and folks like msnbc cease thomas roberts. in fact, they're highly unscientific assessment of this year's attendees put the ratio at about 19:1. if only the mhp show team had
8:56 am
attended, i'm sure we could have upped the nerd factor. i did make an appearance at the after-party. not me, but there was a cool ben and jerry flavor developed just for the occasion. rachel maddow was tending bar and they got to enjoy the melissa harris-berry extravaganza. but nothing made us happier than the other prom last night. all that changed last night, thanks for four students, two
8:57 am
black and two white and all their dedicated friends and classmates who garnered national attention, raised money and threw a party that was open to all students, regardless of race. i may not having in attendance, but as far as i'm concerned, it just doesn't get any better than integrated nerds. that's our show for today thanks for watching. "weekends with alex witt" is next live from washington, d.c. . but with so much health care noise, i didn't always watch out for myself. with unitedhealthcare, i get personalized information and rewards for addressing my health risks. but she's still going to give me a heart attack. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. ♪ ♪
8:58 am
[ male announcer ] this is a reason to look twice. this is a stunning work of technology. the 2013 lexus es and the first-ever es hybrid. this is the pursuit of perfection. try align. it's the number one ge recommended probiotic that helps maintain digestive balance. ♪ stay in the groove with align.
8:59 am
eye ♪ [ agent smith ] i've found software that intrigues me. it appears it's an agent of good. ge has wired their medical hardware with innovative software to be in many places at the same time. using data to connect patients to software, to nurses
9:00 am
to the right people and machines. ♪ helping hospitals treat people even better, while dramatically reducing waiting time. now a waiting room is just a room. [ telephone ringing ] [ static warbles ] [ beeping ] red or blue? ♪ . the boston bombing suspect, new details today on where he is staying and more information on the actions of his mother. dangerous flooding, sudden rising waters leave some drivers stranded and the worst may not be over. amanda knox just days before her book comes out. s


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on