Fireworks: Larry Elder vs. Piers Morgan On Rachel Jeantel, Zimmerman & Race


Larry Elder gets in a heated discussion with CNN's Piers Morgan about Rachel Jeantel and the Zimmerman trial.

MORGAN: You've been pretty scathing about my interview with Rachel Jeantel. Why?

ELDER: I was because you weren't doing her any favors by condescendingly trying to convince her that she's a victim. This is a young lady who didn't apply herself, a 19-year-old who is still in high school. Instead of saying young lady, take this as an opportunity to take stock of your life. You're treating her like she was a victim.

And that's how you're doing this whole thing about race and racism. Seven thousand murders last year, Piers, of black people, almost all of those were committed by black people. Since Trayvon Martin had his unfortunate death there have been 480 blacks killed in Chicago alone, 75 percent of those crimes have been unsolved. Where are the cameras? Where are the shows? It's outrageous to act as if black America should fear some non-black guy stalking some black kid at night. The likelihood of a black person being killed by a non-black person is extremely remote which is why this is became a big national issue in the first place, Piers.


MORGAN: Let's get back to my interview with Rachel Jeantel because you tweeted some ridiculous things. You tweeted at one stage, would I like Rachel Jeantel to fly my plane? Why would you say that?

ELDER: I'll tell you why I said that, Piers. I'll tell you why I said that because after you interviewed her you condescendingly went on television the next morning and called her one smart cookie. Bull. Why don't you hire her as a nanny? Let's see how smart she is. It's a condescending kind of thing that a lot of white people say --

MORGAN: Do you think she's stupid, Larry?

ELDER: -- to black people. I think you're stupid for saying that kind of thing to try to get black people against --

MORGAN: That wasn't my question.

ELDER: Race and racism is the --


MORGAN: Do you think Rachel Jeantel --

ELDER: When it doesn't.

MORGAN: Do you think she's stupid, Larry?

ELDER: Racism is not a major problem in America anymore, Piers. Racism is not a major problem in America anymore. The number one problem facing black people are the large number of black people born outside of wedlock, 75 percent. In 1960, 5 percent of all people in this country were born outside of wedlock. Fast forward, Piers, the number now is 43 percent.

You look at that for crime, dropouts, all that kind of stuff, it's connected. The other big problem facing black America, Piers, is the economy. One in two black men does not have a job and one of the heads of the commercial black caucus once said if a white person were in the White House we would be marching on the place because of the high unemployment, but we're talking about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman as if it's the number one problem facing black America? It is a remotely on the top 10 list, Piers.

MORGAN: OK, Larry. Larry, this isn't a sort of competition to see who can be the greatest filibuster in my show's history.

ELDER: I'm not trying to filibuster.

MORGAN: Let's -- if you could just get back --

ELDER: Make a commonsense about I'm not hearing on your show.

MORGAN: Let me just get back to the question I asked you and see if you can actually answer the question.

ELDER: Sure.

MORGAN: Do you think that Rachel Jeantel is stupid?

ELDER: I think that I would rather have a George Zimmerman living in my neighborhood and maybe if George Zimmerman was living my neighborhood we'd have a few fewer Ariel Castros. I thought we wanted people to be proactive.


MORGAN: OK. If I could jump in again. So just to clarify.

ELDER: Sure.

MORGAN: Trayvon Martin wasn't committing crimes in that neighborhood, was he?

ELDER: It was an unfortunate incident. Two people have preconceived notions about each other. It never should have happened. It doesn't make George Zimmerman a criminal. I used to work in the D.A.'s office, Piers. I'm telling you it was a dog case, a reasonable doubt case. Nobody I know would have filed the case.

MORGAN: Yes. We disagree obviously about that.

ELDER: Obviously.

MORGAN: I think it's completely wrong that George Zimmerman should get no punish at all for killing an unarmed teenager.

ELDER: He's got serious punishment -- he can't go anywhere.

MORGAN: If I can, though --

ELDER: Are you kidding me? He's a marked man. He's going to be sued civilly. He will never have a moment of peace. He killed somebody. Morally he's got to deal with that, Piers. He recognizes that. He's not --

MORGAN: Well --

ELDER: He's not a thief. He recognizes what he did.

MORGAN: Larry, if I may respond. If I may respond.

ELDER: Sure.

MORGAN: You know, some people would say that he's got it easy compared to Trayvon Martin who he killed. So as much people feel sorry for George Zimmerman not being able to live the life perhaps he wish he could, at least he can lead --


ELDER: Piers, wouldn't it --

MORGAN: At least he can lead a life.

ELDER: -- be nice to have had a George Zimmerman in your neighborhood.

MORGAN: At least he can lead a life.

ELDER: Wouldn't it be nice to have a George Zimmerman in Cleveland and maybe Ariel Castro --

MORGAN: I don't want George Zimmerman doing my neighborhood watch patrol, no, I don't. I don't. I've got three teenage sons, Larry. I don't feel comfortable having somebody like George Zimmerman marching around as some wannabe vigilante armed with a gun --

ELDER: No, you live in a -- you live in a wealthy area, a gated community.

MORGAN: Potentially killing my kids as they come home from a store with a bag of Skittles and a can of soda, no. I don't. I don't feel comfortable.

ELDER: You live in a wealthy neighborhood, a gated community, plenty of security, you don't have to worry about that. Live in South Central. Come down to South Central sometime. See what's going on down there. They're not worried about George Zimmerman, they're not worried about Mark Thurman (ph), they're worrying about the thug down the street coming from a single parent household and that situation had been created by the left-wing people like you who feel sorry for people and therefore you want government to take care of them.

You think government is the way to help in prosperity. Go to an Indian reservation sometimes and see how they live.

MORGAN: OK, Larry. Larry. I do feel sorry for some people. That is true. I wasn't aware that was a terrible offense. But let me get back to Rachel Jeantel again because you were scathing -- you were scathing --

ELDER: It's a very offensive thing if you recommend the wrong things to do, Piers.

MORGAN: Larry, let me speak. Larry.

ELDER: If you tell people, I feel sorry for you.

MORGAN: Larry.

ELDER: This person is a bigot. This person shouldn't have cross- examined you the way he did. Then all you're doing is creating a victim. You're telling Rachel Jeantel that she shouldn't have to work hard, she shouldn't have to work on her diction, she shouldn't have to improve her grammar, just have her wave the flag of victimhood and she'll be perfectly OK. It is an outrage that the left has done to black people and you are part of this parade.


MORGAN: Larry, thank you. If I could just bring you up to speed on Rachel Jeantel, this woman that you think is so stupid.

ELDER: I didn't say stupid, you did.

MORGAN: She actually suffered -- we checked this with her lawyer today before I interview you. Because this is why I booked you, of course, even though you're trying to pretend now this is the last thing you want to talk about, but that is why I booked you. Rachel Jeantel when she was young in school, had a lot of time off of school and fell behind because of illness. That was why she wasn't able to go to school. She's actually doing very well. She was a B grade at high school until her great friend Trayvon Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman. ELDER: Did she sound to you --

MORGAN: Your idea -- wait a minute, wait a minute. I haven't finished. I haven't finished.

ELDER: Did she sound to you like somebody you want to hire in any kid of (INAUDIBLE)?

MORGAN: Her grades -- her grades has since slipped to two something because of the stress that she suffered understandably from the death of her friend Trayvon. She's now been offered a chance by Tom Joyner and these people from his foundation to go to college. She wants to get those grades back up and make something of herself. Why would you --

ELDER: I think that's wonderful, Piers.

MORGAN: Why would you -- why would you be so scathing about Rachel Jeantel and so patronizing to a young woman who's clearly been through an appalling ordeal and who when I interviewed I found to be a smart cookie like I said. I found her to be fun, warm, engaging, street smart, and clearly from her educational background nowhere near as stupid as you'd like to think she is.

ELDER: Once again, I never used the word stupid. You did. She was the most important witness in a murder trial. It was -- she was standing between George Zimmerman and 30 years in jail and for you to act as if she was somehow abused by Don West whose job was to make sure his client didn't go to jail is outrageous.

And as far as education is concerned, I applaud Mr. Joyner. He's done a lot of work in the black community for education. And I would recommend, Piers, that we do something about the 50 percent dropout rate in the inner city and about the fact that President Obama opposes allowing parents to use vouchers to get their kids out of bad government schools and into a better school so they can have a possibility to get to the middle class.

That's what we've got to be talking about here instead of some abhorrent situation like George Zimmerman going to somebody that he thinks is suspicious and they have an exchange and there's an unfortunate death as if somehow that some sort of indictment of America and black people should look over their shoulders every night and act as if some white guy is going to jump out of a bush and get them.

It is outrageous. Hard work wins. Get an education. Don't pay attention to the negative people and stay focused and you'll be OK in America. That's why most of the people in the world want to come here. That's why you want to come here, Piers.

MORGAN: Thank you, Larry Elder.

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