PoliticsNation | December 05, 2012
>>> welcome back to "politicsnation." from her breakout performance in "do the right thing" to her oscar-nominated performance in "fearless," rosie perez has been one of the most distinctive
>>> voices inbican film. she's also an activist. she fought furiously at justice in inequality and served on president obama 's advisory board of hiv/aids and made headlines this year with a video mocking mitt romney 's claim that it would be easier for him to win if he were latino .
>> the advantage is obvious. think of all of our hispanic american presidents, from jorge washington to jorge bush and who can forget jimmy smith ?
>> welcome her to "politicsnation," actress, director and kt activist, the one and only rosie perez . rosie, thank you for being here.
>> thank you for having me. i've been a fan of yours and respect you immensely.
>> well, the feeling is mutual. both of us were arrested and jailed for protesting the navy bombing in puerto rico , causing environmental problems and you were arrested leading a demonstration here and i believe in the u.n. and i was in puerto rico . we have that in common but we also have in common looking at this last election and one of the things that you were very paying nate about is when mr. mitt romney said that the gifts to latinos and he gave african- americans and seniors. tell us why that upset you so.
>> it upset me because it's a prejudice statement, plain and simple . what is he implying? that every single african-american, latino -american is poor, is on public welfare ? i don't think so. and to categorize us and to make generalized statement like that, it just needs to stop. and i guess he did not learn anything from his loss. we are growing in numbers. we are recognizing our power and we are utilizing our power and we will continue to do so. i don't -- you know, i just don't what is the problem with gifts? i was a person who received gifts. first of all, they didn't feel like gifts to me. going to school on a lunch card was very hard. standing in line to receive a block of cheese was very hard. wearing hand-me-downs to school was very hard. yes, my aunt was on welfare. but am i? no i benefited from the program when carter was president. don't ask me how old i am.
>> i remember the seater program.
>> and i benefited from it and i worked hard for it and it was a program that offered employment for young people that were disadvantaged. and i bust my butp? for that. and i started that at the age of 12 and i never stopped working.
>> just like many americans worked in public works programs with roosevelt. they were not getting gifts or handouts. government has always helped americans and why are some called gifts? the immigration question, let me ask you about that. you've been passionate. you fought for fair immigration. now all of a sudden republicans -- i just showed a tape of president bush and others -- are talking more humane about immigration. but can you have it both ways? people say that they want gifts and are takers and all of a sudden you are going to flip is 180 degrees and say, after you talk about self-deportation all year long?
>> i just want to say this. it's kind of easy to kick them when they are down, the republicans. but i actually want to commend former president bush for coming out today and speaking on that. i think that he wanted -- well, we all know that he wanted immigration reform back in 2004 . am i correct?
>> and then he kind of went back into the closet and a lot of republican went back into the closet in 2004 because they didn't get what they wanted. it's time to come out of the closet. it's time to say, you know what, i ? really do not believe in ignoring the 47%. i really do not believe in doing away with any type of immigration reform . now is their chan. now is their chance to say, you know what, guys, you were right. and we want to work together. so these shows are fantastic because it brings the issue to the forefront and what we have to do is be very, very careful at this time when they are kind of groveling. oh, you want to go outside? now you do? we need to put away with the attitude and stop playing game. we need to get back to working for the american people , plain and simple . just stop.
>> so are you optimistic, then, that we can get some real immigration reform in the next four years if some republicans do come over, for whatever reason, if they just come over for votes, if we can get it done, do you think there's a possibility? are you optimistic about that in the next four years?
>> i'm very optimistic about it and i think it also goes back to latinos because we have spoken. 70%. we have spoken and our voices are being heard and i have to say this, i'm sorry, in regards to the immigration issue, it's also insulting to latin people because we are not the only people coming into this country illegally. you know, you have europeans, middle easterns, canadians laughing their butts off at our own prejudice. tje2%uz only concentrating on spanish people . let's all sneak in.
>> let's profile it. people ask me, why do i talk about immigration? certainly latinos but what about people from trinidad and where i grew up in brooklyn, there are a lot of immigrant. how would you advise -- because you seem to be very inclusive in your activism, always have been. how would you say as it's a growing community, as you say?
>> recognize us as americans and respect us as americans , plain and simple . for to you keep putting us in boxes and into categories, it's -- the insult is going to get so big that we might just attack back and you do not want that. you do not want that just plain and simple . give us the respect that we are a force in this country.
>> why did you play the video of you answering mitt romney if he had been latino , he would have done better or won?
>> because when i saw him on telemundo, he had a spray tan . i couldn't believe it. i was siting at home and saying, no, he did not. he didn't go for the spray tan . one of the greatest gifts that i've received in my life is is this. is the opportunity to have a platform to speak up and do something and that's why i did it and i ? also did it for the 47%. you know? because it's like enough's enough, man. for real.
>> you use your platform real, both as an artist and an activist. rosie perez , it's been an absolute pleasure. thank you for coming on tonight and being on the show. we'll be right back. the