NOW with Alex Wagner | October 10, 2012
>>> america for all races. there are no victims when you have racial diversity. there are only victims when you stop racial diversity. if we depend on those that broke up the american union and the diversity of america to ep force and implement diversity we will never have diversity.
>> the reverend al sharpton speaking outside the supreme court in support of affirmative action policies. nine years after the court upheld the use of racial preferences on campuses the justices are revisiting the issue again in major case involving a caucasian student who claims she was rejected from the university of texas because of had her skin color . this the supreme court has had a lot on its plate in the last year and this next term proves it will have hot ticket items as well. affirmative action is a really almost -- it's such an incendiary topic in today's world. the atlantic had a cover story or feature on affirmative action making the case it wasn't serving minority students because they were effectively mismatched in competitive colleges and sort of almost to their departmenttry meant. should have been put in equally good schools. i'll read the quote. i'm doing a terrible job paraphrasing.
>> some part of this rings icky, don't go to dartmouth, go to community college , shouldn't we be mending the fabric around education and communities so that these students aren't so unprepared to go into higher education .
>> exactly. i think george w. bush would have called that the soft bigotry of low expectations. instead of saying let's look at the structural problems before you get to the point you're applying to college and go back. when we live in a society where the unemployment rate for college educated people is 4% and people without a high school diploma is 11% and when african- american latino unemployment is what is causing our unemployment rate to be near 8% because if you look at white unemployment, white female unemployment it's 6%. when you understand the core of the problem starts in preschool where children are not prepared and by third grade, black, hispanic and white students begin to diverge not because there's something wrong with the black and hispanic students but communities where --
>> dr. dyson --
>> thank you. the appropriate acknowledgement.
>> when you have poverty, i've talked to people in education who say i cannot get kids to pass a standardized test when they're falling asleep on their desk in the morning because they're hungry, haven't had breakfast because they went to bed at 11:00 last night not because the parents are bad parents but mom is working overnight to pay the rent, parents are working two and three jobs. not the 47% because they're lazy. they're not able to make a living. all the factors that ignores.
>> affirmative action has become a dog whistle for getting this takers makers thing. rush limbaugh said something last week that was -- he's always inflammatory but this was sort of beyond. almost beyond. let's take a listen.
>> the part is if he got a "c" at harvard somebody gave him an "c" if he needed in harvard law somebody greased the skids. he's a black man and favored because he's a black man and the way has been paved for him.
>> that notion whether or not -- conservatives don't give voice to that belief the way rush limbaugh did, but the core concern over affirmative action in certain circles is that, this isn't fair you're getting a leg up because of your skin color .
>> it's apparent he's sharing the viewpoint widely shared but people don't want to say publicly. there's a kind of infear yorty going on here and poor people , the statements you read is so damaging with the explanation of joy reid because of all she said don't send them to harvard as opposed to saying let's deal with the standards that need to be elevated in the process leading up to college education so people can compete number one. what about all the mediocre white people who get a chance to do all the things they do. babe ruth did not compete against willie mays . all the play was rigged, the field rigged. affirmative action means we're going to give a shot to michael jordan to play basketball because if affirmative action doesn't exist michael jordan is playing in [ inaudible ]. the retort not all players are michael sw jordan, you ain't either. why do black people have to be geniuses and white people mediocre to compete against the geniuses and the presumption of intelligence is the mediocre and not the genius. white people don't run all networks they haven't had 43 1/2 presidents, they're not the chieftans of industry, most of the fortune 500 companies. the complaint is when we mess up and acknowledge we've messed up we have to pay the price for it. you tell america as black people pull yourselves up. acknowledge what you did for 250 you got free labor, black intellectual power was used tore your advantage now hook it up, a white woman who has benefited more than anybody else from affirmative action you're not going to talk about your gender you're going to talk about your race and when you put together white women and other abled people, white people benefit more from a policy aimed toward african-american uplift than anybody else. that's the sheet calling the white price.
>> i'm getting told we have to end the segment and with --
>> who could have anything to say after that.
>> that's a verbal shut down. the case will be interesting. we do know that justice kennedy is likely to be the swing vote on that.
>> not really a swing vote on this.
>> who knows.
>> we don't know.
>> who knows. john roberts --
>> never voted to uphold an affirmative action program.
>> 313/911. a sober warning describing conditions in their city as deplorable dangerous and warlike. the look of the madness in the motor city next in