tv News Nation MSNBC February 25, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PST
but an appeals court later found it constitutional. lawyers for the state will argue the law prevents voter fraud, while opponents say it restricts voting, particularly among minorities, also the elderly. the challenges to the law were filed by the ncaap and by the league of voters, joining me now, elizabeth mcnamara, also judith brown, who is the co-director of the advancement project, which is a civil rights organization. thank you both for joining us today. >> thank you. >> thank you for having us. >> judith, let's start here with where this stands at this point. the argument, obviously, is that laws that exist in wisconsin and other parts of the country, which we discussed especially before the november general election, that these laws by design are meant to keep minorities, as well as perhaps even some elderly people, who let's face it, tend to vote more for democrats. keep them from the ballot. what proof of that exists at
this point in that state of wisconsin? >> well, in the state of wisconsin, in fact, the advancement project had a separate case that we're in the federal courts right now, where we showed that african-americans are 1.4 times more likely not to have the voter i.d. that's required. latinos are more likely 2.3 times more likely not to have the i.d., so we know that there are disparities, and we know this creates a barrier. we had one witness in our case that actually had to pay $2,000 in order to get a birth certificate. she's elderly african-american woman who was not born in a hospital, so if we're creating these kinds of barriers to voting, when we actually know there is no fraud to be solved, then we know that what this is really about is a partisan attempt to manipulate the vote and the outcomes. >> judith, that data is key in that you have many that say, listen, this is all made up by democrats to create a smoke and
mirrors issue, when, in fact, you need an i.d. to fly, for example, and for so many other things, but you have data. this is more than a, quote, feeling of potential discrimination. >> that's right. in fact, in pennsylvania, where advancement project and the aclu won their case, the court said there was nothing but vague stories about voter fraud, and we're going to see the same thing in wisconsin. there is no voter fraud that they are trying to solve, there is no voter fraud that is the problem, but instead, what we know is that these laws were surgically crafted to hit the people who vote democrat, african-americans, latinos, young voters, and the elderly. >> the justice department is suing north carolina and texas over those states' voter i.d. laws, and elizabeth, let me bring you in, because the league of women voters was among the first to challenge the requirements that all voters present government-issued photo i.d. why was the organization quick to get in, and, in fact, as i
pointed out, one of the first here? >> well, in wisconsin, the wisconsin constitution is very clear in the qualifications for voters, for voting, and the league's lawsuit, which is based entirely in state law, challenges the constitutionality under the wisconsin constitution of adding an additional requirement that in addition to age, citizenship, and residency, you also have to produce one of a very, very short list, very restrictive list of government-issued photo i.d., and that's the basis of the league's lawsuit in wisconsin. >> well, we know a county circuit judge sided with the league in 2012 and invalidated the law, but later a state appeals court upheld the measure. where is your confidence this morning as you are facing another legal hurdle? >> well, we feel that we've got a very strong case, and we are extremely proud of the fact that thanks to the league's lawsuit,
the implementation of the state's photo i.d. law has been injoined and no voter in wisconsin was disenfranchised in the five elections that have occurred in 2012 and 2013. that we feel is a real triumph, but we also feel we have a very, very strong case under the wisconsin constitution. >> lastly, judith, governor scott walker signed this law in 2011, he faces a number of other difficulties in his administration right now. with that said, what kind of pressure is being placed on him to recognize these concerns, or is it now past the issue of the governor? >> well, i mean, you know, it is past the governor. the governor wanted this law. we have to understand, we have to put this in the context of what's happening in wisconsin. he's up for election in 2014, if you're able to put i.d. in place, make it harder for people to vote, then the outcome might be swung in his favor. we know it will be a hotly contested election, so he's in favor of it, but we're going to let the courts deal with this.
we know that the right to vote is fundamental and that the wisconsin supreme court will find in their favor and then we also have the federal court case, which has gone to trial and we're awaiting a decision and we think we'll win there, too. >> thank you both for your time, judith brown and elizabeth mcnamara, thank you both, appreciate it. our other top story in a federal courtroom in downtown detroit, where a trial got under way today in a case challenging michigan's ban on same-sex marriages. this case was brought to federal court by a lesbian couple, who's barred from marrying or adopting each other's children. u.s. attorney general eric holder said today, that the state's attorneys general, who believed marriage law in their states are discriminatory, are not obliged to defend them. >> i believe that we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation and must endeavor to uphold and advance
the values that once led our forebearers to declare unequivocally that all are created equal. >> unlike attorneys generals in nevada, california, colorado, and virginia, who declined to defend their state's marriage laws, michigan's attorney general has been a staunch supporter of his state's ban. in a legal brief in the case, he says the case hinges on the state's argument that same-sex marriages are damaging to children. he said, quote, the understanding of marriage as a union of man and woman equally involving the rearing of children born to their union is age-old universal, and enduring. justice correspondent pete williams joins us outside the supreme court. pete, you have some a.g.s, particularly in wisconsin, who say it is not attorney general eric holder's job to give them advice on defending the constitutions anymore than it is their role on giving advice on how to do his job. that's one reaction from a
republican attorney general on what mr. holder had to say. >> good morning on a snowy supreme court day. this snow makes my hair look like it's turning gray, and it's really not. i think the attorney general would say he's not trying to advise the attorneys general, he's just telling what his view of the law is, but the trial did start today in michigan, and one of the two women who's suing spoke briefly outside court before it started today. >> we love our children. this started out as our children, this is still about our children, although we reap the benefits of being able to get married in the state of michigan. we want to be recognized like everybody else. nothing says family like the marriage license that says that we are a legally a family and that's what we're hoping for. >> this started as an adoption case, the two women wanted to challenge the state law that restricted them from adopting, because they are not married. and the judge basically said, you know, you could challenge the marriage law, and that's
what this case has become, so there are some people who say the judge is, in a sense, telegraphing his view of what the law in michigan is, that he may end up ruling that the law is unconstitutional. if so, it would be a latest in a series of court rulings, since the supreme court ruled last june, striking down a part of the federal defense of marriage act. now, what that ruling said is, the federal government has to recognize marriages in the states they are already legal, but the language of the ruling, talking about the dignity of same-sex couples and the lack of substance of the arguments against allowing legal recognition for same-sex couples, that language has been used by other judges to strike down same-sex marriage laws in utah, in virginia, and in oklahoma, so the question here is, will michigan be next? >> and i want to get you out of the snow as quickly as possible, pete, but i do want to bring up
the extra, i guess, emotional part of this particular issue. in addition to marriage equality, this also involves children and you have one editorial that points out, when it's over, michigan voters may be left wondering why with so many demands on the limited law enforcement resources, that michigan's attorney general spent so much time and money to make sure two loving parents could not adopt each other's special needs children, so, of course, we always have the law and that is separate from emotion, but here again, this issue of marriage and this also involves children. and the adoption of them. >> right, and here's where the law comes in, discrimination against anybody is unconstitutional, unless the state can show a good reason, and what state attorneys general who have defended their laws have been saying is, this is the reason for preserving marriages between opposite sex couples, because that's the best way to raise children. so expect in this trial to see a lot of testimony from both sides about what the evidence shows,
what the social scientists have learned, about children who are raised in opposite sex and same-sex households. >> pete williams, thank you very much, and your hair doesn't look gray, it looks much better than mine if i were standing out there, let me tell you, it would be afro time, no one wants to see that. thank you, pete, great pleasure. good morning to you. governors across the country are heading back to their states after wrapping up the winter meeting of the national governors association. their busy agenda included a meeting at the white house for talks with the president and vice president, but as civil as that meeting was, tensions rose when the subject of raising the minimum wage came up. the topic led to a verbal sparring match outside the white house between louisiana's republican governor bobby jindal and connecticut's democratic governor dan malloy. >> instead of declaring this economy to be a minimum wage economy, i think america can do better. >> one second, until a few moments ago, we were doing down
a pretty cooperative road. you just heard what i think ended up being probably the most partisan statement that we've had all weekend. >> if that was the most partisan statement he's heard all weekend, i want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement. >> this morning, governor malloy defended the push to raise the minimum wage. >> it is baseless to equate talking about the minimum wage with the white flag and somehow we're becoming a minimum wage society is ultimately ridiculous. >> meanwhile, at least one lawmaker is not relying on just rhetoric to make his case on why we should raise the minimum wage. democratic congressman from nevada recently went undercover, donning the famous brown ups uniform as he delivered packages, getting an -- a from the ground perspective, excuse me, for working -- hansburg
touted ups as an example of a company doing the right thing by paying workers well above $7.25 an hour. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you, tamron, good to be on. >> listen, we've seen lawmakers in the past, for example, try to live on food stamps for a short period of time to bring attention to what life is like for those people who have to live day-to-day on so very little here. ups drivers' average pay $32.50 an hour, entry level, $11 to $12 an hour. what were you attempting to prove by working as a ups person for that period of time? >> well, sometimes being here in washington, members can be a little -- feel a little disconnected from their constituents, and i wanted to have an on-the-ground perspective of what it is like to work every day for a living and to really focus on the needs of middle class workers, and so i spent the time at ups serving
as a driver, alongside mark, as his apprentice, learned some new skills, and i'm fighting to increase the minimum wage. and for me, it's not about partisanship, it's about people and lifting 30 million americans' wages by increasing the federal minimum wage. >> obviously, you know there are a lot of jokes to insert as you say as a congressman you wanted to get out and work, maybe not you personally, but people in america believe there's little happening in congress, that's why the approval is just about 9%, because not enough work is getting done. with that said, for example, jack in a box is saying, at least not in full support of raising the minimum wage. according to them, if they raise the minimum wage $8 to $10 in 2016, prices would go up 1% in california. when you hear businesses say, like a jack in the box, that raising the minimum wage to $10
would, in the end, effect the consumer, how much we pay for jack in the box burger or fries, what do you say in response to that? >> well, look at the states that already have a higher minimum wage. my home state of nevada, for example, we have a minimum wage that's higher than the federal minimum wage, and that is not the case. prices are not higher in my state than they are across the state border where there is not a higher minimum wage, and so raising the minimum wage is good for workers. 30 million americans would have their wages lifted. 900,000 people who are currently living in poverty would be closer to the middle class by raising the minimum wage. it's good for the economy, it's good for consumers, and it's good for business. >> you know, of course, i must ask you about the cbo report regarding raising the minimum wage. it's been a hot button issue and something your colleagues on the other side of the aisle have pointed to, according to analysis, increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 would lift, yes,
900,000 workers out of poverty, but they say would cost some 500,000 jobs. your response to that long-term conclusion of the cbo report. >> well, we can't cherry pick certain provisions within that cbo report. within that report it also said 30 million americans would see their wages increase substantially, providing more disposable income for them to go out and buy a refrigerator, buy a new washer and dryer, maybe buy a new car. that's going to grow the economy, because in the end, it's about the middle class growing the economy from the middle class out. it's what we need to be doing here in washington, and that's why i'm ready to work on behalf of two-thirds of americans who believe it's time to give americans a raise. >> thank you so much for your time. we appreciate it. quite an experience you had. thanks. up next, new fallout from the major budget cuts at the
pentagon. one military wife says the move, quote, screw whoever it hurts. but does the size of the military matter in our modern world? and developing now, president bill clinton will make his first campaign stop of the season, just minutes from now, he's in the great state of kentucky. backing senate candidate alison grimes, who wants to take the seat of senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. what happens when clinton campaigns? and after today's show, i will be answering your questions in a live google plus hangout. you can watch live on our website, newsnation.msnbc.com. send your questions now to our website. we're asking you use #tamchat on twitter and i promise to answer your questions. let me talk to you about retirement. a 401(k) is the most sound way to go. let's talk asset allocation. sure. you seem knowledgeable, professional.
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welcome back. military families are outraged this morning over the pentagon's plan to slash the military's budget. the pfeiffer-year plan would cut up to 90,000 soldiers. it closes bases and cuts some benefits to families, including housing, commissary, and raises some health care fees. defense secretary chuck hagel says he needs to make the cuts now or we'll pay later. >> we will, inevitably, have to either cut into compensation even more deeply and abruptly, or we'll have to deprive our men and women of the training and equipment they need to succeed in battle. this plan balances the need to protect our national security with the need to be realistic about future budget levels. >> the founder of military
spouse magazine says, quote, this is essentially the secretary of defense's own version of the sequester. let's just cut it off at the knees and screw whoever it hurts. that's not a very wholistic approach. joining me now is colonel jack jacobs, medal of honor recipient and msnbc analysis and debra blabbert with blue star families. blue star families is also speaking out against the cuts. thank you both for joining us. debra, let me first start with you, because i think you talked to many families on a daily basis. what was the initial reaction to this that prompted blue star to come out with a statement before the day ended yesterday? >> well, tamron, one of the things we do each year at blue star families is an annual survey of military families and last year, even before the sequester took place, we found about 65% of our families out of
5,100 that we surveyed were reporting some type of financial stress, and so this year we're fielding the same survey again right now, and we expect that number to be even higher this year. >> some of the emotional reaction that you got, i mean, we often, and you hear people say, we are there for our military, you know my dad was in the army for nearly 30 years, and we hear the rhetoric, but when you see and read these types of cuts that are proposed and perhaps they have a larger good down the line, but i think it gives a sense of abandonment amongst military families. >> yeah, i mean, i think every family is a little bit different, but what we're hearing is a very high level of uncertainty among military families. i like to call it consistent uncertainty, because there are so many changes happening at once and it's very hard for families to process them, and i think military families, just like civilian families, want to know what's in their pocket today is also going to be in
their pocket tomorrow. >> colonel jack, let me bring you in, chairman martin dempsey says this budget helps us remain the world's finest military, modern, capable, and ready, even while transforming to a smaller, more affordable force over time. a former nato supreme ally commander in europe said, whether it's smart or not is yet to be seen, but i think it's necessary to do, given the constraints that we face fiscally within the united states. >> you start with the premise that you need to make the military smaller and, of course, everything else comes from that. if you're not willing to sustain a force large enough to protect the united states, then you can do just about anything you want with the force that remains. there is no constituency, or the constituency is much smaller for benefits and so forth. if you don't have to attract the people you need to defend the country. the interesting thing about all this downsizing is the people
who are making the decisions now, to make the military establishment much smaller in terms of people -- >> shrinking the army to pre-world war ii levels. >> they'll be distressed to think they are the intellectual step children of donald rumsfeld, who thought you could replace people with machines and win all the wars we need to win, and that's just not true. >> what about those who point to the inflated budget, that some of the lists of things the military says they need at one point in time, we find they don't use. i want to read briefly, politico points out, if congress doesn't like it, hagel said they should try sequestration, fall back into place as they would in 2016, under current law, the air force would also lose all of its extender tankers, block 40 model global august drones and slow purchases of its f-35a, lose
more ships, including aircraft carrier, and delay it's 5-35c. there are some things most people don't know what they look like, some of those things are not needed. >> that's true, but most people don't realize the genesis of those kinds of programs are not in the military establishment, but in the congress. there are lots of villains here. what we have to make sure is we have a balanced force to meet the requirements of a country that's in a very dangerous neighborhood. >> but does this compromise our safety? >> i absolutely believe that it does. don't forget we're going to have to rely on the national guard and the reserve, we don't have enough people. we'll have to have multiple deployments of the people on active duty. this is going to be an extremely difficult time. >> despite an assertion this does not compromise our safety, our ability to be the world's power, you disagree with that. >> i disagree, yes. >> colonel, thank you so much for your time. thank you, as well, and thank the spouses and those that have
served this country and are affiliated with your organization, we greatly appreciate it. thank you. up next, governor jan brewer will return to arizona today to decide the fate of a controversial bill that would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. we're now learning some new details. sources close to governor brewer may have given us a little bit of a tip of the hand on what she might decide. plus, how do you define blackness? is it the color of your skin? from mixed to multiracial, to african-american, a new book that's getting a lot of attention and drumming up a lot of controversy explores how blackness is about much more than skin. what does that mean? and here's a look at what's happening today, february 25th. at the top of the hour, the house returns to a break, the senate returned at 10:00 a.m. this afternoon, chris christie
will reveal a budget proposal. the president will unveil new manufacturing institutes in chicago and detroit. the institutes will train workers and help companies advance. we'll be right back. ♪ 800,000 hours of supercomputing time, 3 million lines of code, 40,000 sets of eyes, or a million sleepless nights. whether it's building the world's most advanced satellite, the space station, or the next leap in unmanned systems. at boeing, one thing never changes. our passion to make it real. ♪ it's not for colds, it's not for pain, it's just for sleep. because sleep is a beautiful thing™. ♪ zzzquil. the non-habit forming sleep aid from the makers of nyquil®. dominique wilkins, are taking charge of their type 2 diabetes
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welcome back. new protests in arizona just yesterday and more are expected today over a controversial measure that would allow business owners to refuse based on their religious beliefs to serve gays and lesbians, but we now have late word, several people close to governor jan brewer tell nbc news the governor is likely to veto the so-called religious freedom restoration act, which opponents have dubbed "the right to discriminate bill." the governor has been under intensifying pressure to use her veto power. that pressure is coming from big companies, including apple and american airlines. arizona's two republican senators, john mccain and jeff flake, and even three republican state senators who voted for the
measure. however, cathy harris of the center for arizona policy is defending the bill she authored. >> i don't buy the arguments on the economic impact. i believe, again, this is about protecting people of all faith, protecting religious beliefs, and the politics, the outcry against the bill, has nothing to do with the actual merits of the bill and merits of the bill. it's simply a political tactic the last few days. >> joining me life, legislative and politics reporter for "the arizona republic newspaper." thank you so much for joining us. >> and to be here. >> this comes, of course, four years after arizona passed the controversial immigration law, that caused protests and was struck down by the supreme court in 2012. here we are now, though, getting some information that jan brewer could be ready to veto this. what are you hearing there? >> the signs would point to that if the governor were to veto this, she'd have broad, broad support to do so, and as you've
noted, she's been getting a lot of encouragement to take that very action. there are parallels with senate bill 1070, the controversial antiimmigration bill, but inlike that one, there isn't a strong support for the bill, at least we're not hearing those people, as we did with 1070. most is strong opposition from community groups, faith groups, business groups. >> obviously, let's talk about the politics and what's at risk here for jan brewer. what political, i guess, repercussions is she facing that gives a different landscape than what we saw during the immigration battle? >> four years ago, she was a candidate for governor, had become governor after the previous one had left to join the obama administration, so she was going to run in her own right and 1070 turned out to be a great way to get elected. she is term limited. although she maintains she might have the right to run again, she's probably not going to
be -- >> sorry to pause you there, but that is key here, she maintains she might not be term limited here. >> she and one other attorney in the state, you know, believe that. it's sort of the joke in the capitol, everyone expects the governor will retire after this term, and if she were to push that she's entitled to another term, that's going to set off a court battle. >> but overall here, again, the latest development is that it appears that she's ready to veto. those who have supported her in the past and she's, as you know, highly controversial figure. do you believe that they will abandon her, some of the staunchest conservatives in that state? >> i think the immediate concern is that if she were to veto, and again, i don't think you should presuppose what she's going to do. it might weaken support for her agenda in this legislative session, more local issues, but she's trying to revamp the state's child welfare agency, for example, and it might make
it rougher sledding because the leaders in the house and senate both strongly support sb-1062. >> thank you so much for joining us this morning. we'll see and keep our ear out for developments today. thank you. >> sure. coming up next -- >> i believe very strongly that as a white person, it's not my place to police or talk about or judge how black people choose to talk to one another. i think this is one of those white people stand back moments. >> well, dave zirin returns to finish his thoughts on why he believes that, quote, white people should stand back and not comment on a new nfl proposal, which would penalize players for using the "n" word or other racial slurs during the game. zirin's return next. which rewards her for responsibly managing her card balance. before receiving $25 toward her balance each quarter for making more than her minimum payment on time each month. tracey got the bankamericard better balance rewards credit card,
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bill clinton is attending his first campaign event of the year. mr. clinton is headlining in support of alison grimes, the 35 year old has a close connection with the clinton family. her father, jerry lundergan, is a former state party chairman and long-time clinton friend. at 14, grimes attended bill clinton's first inauguration and presented him with a bouquet of flowers. grimes is facing nominal opposition in the democratic primary and is expected to face mitch mcconnell in november if he moves on to that point. joining me live, nbc news senior political editor mark murray. so, mark, the event hasn't started yet, so let's first talk about the landscape right now. looks like mitch mcconnell, despite early belief that it would be a tough battle for him, he's looking good at this point, pollwise. >> well, he's looking good in his primary race, tamron, that's against matt beavan, a tea party challenger and seems mcconnell
has momentum on his side heading into that may primary, but the general election is a whole different story and that race remains competitive. we're going to see which force is more powerful in the state and that's kind of the anti-obama, antidemocratic force like a race in kentucky, or are people so frustrated with congress and its leaders, mitch mcconnell is a senate minority leader, what does that weigh out, and right now those two forces are hitting each other. this may be a very close race to watch come 2014. >> this brings me to alison grimes. she won handedly, here she is in a primary like mitch mcconnell where it appears she's doing very well. but at this point, you have now bill clinton in the equation and rand paul yet again the headline here with senator paul saying he
doesn't believe clinton represents kentucky values or kentucky families. >> well, tamron, that's one of the more other great angles of this whole race, the 2016 overtones. it's possible and likely hillary clinton, bill's spouse, ends up running for the presidency in 2016. rand paul, the republican senator from kentucky is also someone who's on our 2016 radar, and rand paul has been making shots at bill clinton, reviving a lot of those 1990s monica lewinsky scandals. in some ways i think to beef up his own conservative credentials as he might be preparing for a 2016 bid, but that's all a backdrop today and as we mentioned this morning, tamron, bill clinton, 22 years after first winning election 1992 is still on the campaign trail, putting that in perspective, 22 years, he's had such a staying power as somebody who goes and stumps for democrats and campaigns and that's something that's pretty unusual in american politics. >> well, it's so amazing, you
put it in perspective this way, this would be the equivalent of ronald reagan being able to stump for republicans through 2002 and obama campaigning for democrats 2030. that's the extent of length of time we're looking at. >> absolutely, and can you imagine 2030, that barack obama would be campaigning for future democrats? 2030 is a long time away and shows you how long bill clinton has been a post-president surrogate for democrat candidates, just like alison grimes today. >> mark murray, thank you very much. we'll see you tomorrow. we'll keep an eye on kentucky and bring you details from that, as well, once the former president starts to speak. well, the nfl is getting a lot of attention this week for the combine wrapping up and reports the league is considering a penalty for players caught using offensive slurs, but new reaction today signalled the rule is unlikely to pass. since the league already has a rule against abusive language, there's word the nfl would instead make racial and homophobic slurs a point of
emphasis to the rule already established. the proposal would include a 15-yard penalty for players caught using offensive slurs and possibly an automatic ejection for a second infraction. was not well received to begin with. well, as "the new york times" points out, several nfl draft prospects expressed concern over the need and apathy of penalties and the freedom of speech questions. they say the idea raises. the nation's sports editor dave zirin joins me now. dave, this is a to be continued conversation that we had yesterday. first off, does this rule, if it were to be implemented, would it apply to all players, or was this simply about african-american players and the exchange between those players? >> well, of course, it would apply to all players, but the impetus of it was the fritz pollard institute, an organization that tries to work to increase minority hiring in the nfl front offices and their concern it was used in between african-american players, as both terms of affection and
derision on the field, but let's take a step back for a second. how is it even possible, though, that the nfl can talk about this and not talk about the fact there is a team in washington, d.c. that's named after a racial slur? a dictionary-defined slur. will they get a penalty every time they take the field? and if the nfl cared about hate, why aren't they threatening to move the super bowl out of arizona if jan brewer signs the law you were talking about in the previous segment? i'm going to tell you why, changing the name of the washington team name is about disciplining ownership, yet their focus is about disciplining players. far too often that's the nfl's m.o. >> you are making an excellent point there, and it's interesting because the league already has this rule against abusive language, so if they wanted to, and they say this is the consideration here, they'll just emphasize that players should not use racial and homophobic slurs, which brings
you back to the washington team and its name being a racial slur. the league says it has a rule against it, that they are willing to look at the players, which by the way, 30% white, 66% african-american, fewer than 1% representing latino, asian, and what they refer to as other. >> no african-american owners, as well, creating the prospect that we talked about yesterday of 99% white ownership, one owner of color in jacksonville, and an overwhelmingly white referees policing speech between african-american players, not dissimilar from the concussion issue, where the nfl has levied steep penalties on players for hits, while at the same time trying to push for an 18-game season and more thursday night games. the hypocrisy runs through ownership/player relations. >> not to mention putting the refs in this position, as well, when as you point out, the league itself, the higher ups, should be doing some soul
searching regarding at least the washington team. >> oh, absolutely they should. instead, roger goodell has gone out of his way to defend the washington team name, as he did right before the super bowl. that is the shame. i'll ask again, will they get a penalty every time they step on the field? >> and that's why a moment of levity, thank god for the dallas cowboys. >> yes, i agree they provide levity. they are always good for a laugh, tamron. >> i do my best, dave. see you later. up next, another hot topic out there, the other side of blackness. many usually discuss the disadvantages of having dark skin, but a new book explores the struggles for people, black people, of all shades. we'll talk with the doctor and author that's getting so much attention for her conversation on the definition of blackness. ♪ aflac, aflac, aflac! ♪ [ both sigh ] ♪ ugh! ♪
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nation reflects on racial strides made throughout the country, but as we continue to have that discussion on how far we have to go, it's also important to examine how the so-called black identity is constantly changing. a new book does just that, by challenging how people view race. the book is called "one drop: shifting the lens on race." it delivers candid narratives from nearly six dozen people, many from different ethnicities and backgrounds but many seen by society as, quote, simply black. the doctor of the book joins me now. thank you so much for joining us, dr. blake, thank you so much. i saw a write-up on your book recently and it stopped me in my tracks and i called my team immediately and said we got to bring her on. i want to read an excerpt by a woman identifying herself as biracial or mix. "i always wanted to be darker because i didn't want to have to tell people that i'm black. i just wanted them to be able to tell.
now i say that i'm biracial, just because i think it's important to embrace cultures, and i think the language of biracial reflects everything that i am." you had people really open up here in this book. >> book. >> absolutely. it's about giving them a platform to tell their personal stories and personal connection to their own racial identities. >> how do we push this conversation forward? when we look at the census information, dr. blay, 13.1% of the people out there identify themselves as black or african-american. 2.4% identify themselves as two or more races. do we push this conversation forth by eliminating this so-called definition of blackness? my colleague soledad o'brien did an amazing series as it relates to that. how do we move this conversation forward with so many people identifying with different definitions if that's fair to say it that way? >> i think self-identification is important when we look at
something like the census or other applications that will ask you to fill out a box. we also need to understand those boxes translate into resources and so for me, it's interesting to see how people align themselves and why. so this conversation is really about checking in with folks about how it is they come to frame their own identities. many of us think about racial identity as something that is given to us and we meet it. i want to have a conversation about what that means for us. >> absolutely. and you obviously in the selection of the title, one drop, that that would bring a flurry of emotions, many painful for african-americans but you have someone identified as andrew. he writes, i've never been put in a situation to have to think about how i identify. i don't exclude my biracialness. when i'm home ak and looking at my mom and dad and siblings, i don't see a black or white
family. i just see my family. but we know in some cases, people from biracial backgrounds feel they have to side with one group or the other. and that does make for a painful childhood for some. >> absolutely. and so i think parents do have an immense role in this in terms of helping their children to frame their identities. what's also interesting about andrew's narrative. later on he says when i'm walking down the street i'm clear that folks don't see me as a white person. he understands that part of his racial identity is also about the experience he has in the world. >> what is the one question -- i just interviewed mariah carey not long ago and we were talking and one of the painful parts of her childhood. she talks about being there when a boy at school was bullying her on a bus because of the color of her skin and feeling persecuted so often because of her multicultural background. what is the one question you
believe we should ask ourselves at this point? >> the questions are multiple. i'm not sure if there's one question. but we do have to question what race is because historically race has been about what it looks like. i should be able to look at you and tell whether or not you are free or enslaved. in 2014 what role does race play? folks in this books are having an experience of complete strangers walking up and saying what are you? once you get that answer, now what are you going to do? it speaks to the extent to which we really aren't post racial. we're in a space where people still need to be able to put people in boxes so they are able to then do something with them. >> dr. blay, thank you. tremendous book. people should pick it up. thank you so much. we'll be right back. t much, youk except it's 2 percent every year. t much, youk does that make a difference? search "cost of financial advisors" ouch! over time it really adds up. then go to e*trade and find out how much our advice costs. spoiler alert. it's low. really? yes, really. e*trade offers investment advice and guidance
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports," clinton country, the former president is the big attraction in kentucky for democratic senate hopeful allison grimes not all that eager to have the current president come to the blue grass state for her. >> i want to ask you about president barack obama, would you want him to come down and campaign for you? >> this race is one that's about putting the people of this state first. and i speak for myself and don't need any other surrogate to do that. >> unless bill clinton is there. now the fugitive, ukraine's former president still on the run. we'll have the report from richard engel following the trail in kiev. senator kirsten gillibrand joining me after another setback to get