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Larry Elder vs. Marc Lamont Hill: "Racism Is Not A Major Problem"

BALDWIN: Let's get back to it, Larry Elder, Marc Lamont Hill.

Here's what is bother me. Here is what no one really is talking about. And this is what I want to ask you both about. There was a shooting just a couple miles from that burned-down QuikTrip in Ferguson. A 23-year-old African-American man was shot and killed by police officers. Police say it was suicide by cop. And according to police, this young man was saying please kill me, please shoot me.

I'm not questioning the suicide-by-cop part. What I'm wondering, why no one is talking about this, is the mental health of that young man. And I was talking with a friend last night who saying, why is no one discussing mental health of young men of color in this country?

And I'm wondering, Marc Lamont Hill, why.

HILL: I think there are a few reasons.

I think, one, just as a nation, we don't talk about mental health. We mock people for going to see therapists. We call people crazy. When you look at even pop culture with the haunted house with the psychos inside, there is this whole culture that stigmatizes mental health illness.

I think, also, with young black mean, because they're seen as being prone to violence, being prone to irrationality because they're seen as unintelligent and often immoral, when they display behaviors that are clearly crying for help, we dismiss it as just a normal -- as part of their normal everyday pathology.

And then I think oftentimes within the African-American community, we also stigmatize mental health issues. We tell people to take it to the church, take it to Jesus. We don't go to see therapists even at the same rate as our white counterparts.

And then on top of that, when you're in the context of racism and white supremacy, you engage more trauma. When you live in a war zone like Chicago or in this case Ferguson, you're surrounded by death and violence and harassment. And so you have more triggers.

And we need to deal with that in a very substantive way.

BALDWIN: Larry Elder, I would love to hear your voice.

ELDER: Well, I think the media perceives, Brooke, racism to be a far bigger problem in America.

That's why we spend so much time on people like Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy. And before that, it was Paul Ryan who said some things --


HILL: I think the question was on mental health.

ELDER: -- racially intemperate.

I think we have been training black people to think that racism is a bigger deal. And I think the reason that the left wants that is because of votes and power. As long as black people believe that race and racism are the major problem in America, you have got that 95 percent monolithic black vote, without which the Democratic Party cannot survive.

So you have the Jesses and the Als and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Harry Reid constantly bringing up race cards, talking about Republicans raging a war against black people and so forth. So black people have been trained. Surprise, surprise, people in Ferguson believe that the racist criminal justice system is oppressing them, because Barack Obama and Eric Holder have said statements that have given that impression.


BALDWIN: Are you saying that racism is not a major problem in this country?


ELDER: No, it is not a major problem in this country. No, it is not.

My father was a janitor. He was born in the Jim Crow south. Fast forward. My father in his late 40s started a small business, got a little bit of property. This is what happens in America. Raised three boys, educated them.

We have a thriving black middle class. If black America were a country, Brooke, it would be the 15th wealthiest country in the world. For crying out loud, this is not your grandfather's America. We ought not act like it is.

HILL: Yes, but, Larry, I don't -- two things. One, I think your earpiece could be broken, because the question was on mental health, and you once again go back to the pathologies of the black community. That's stunning to me.


ELDER: Why do you have to insult me all the time? Why can't you address what I said, rather than insulting me?


ELDER: Why is that necessary? Can't we have a discussion as two black men without insulting each other? Is that possible?


ELDER: Can we try and do that, please?

HILL: Larry, I haven't insulted you.


HILL: Larry, I'm not insulting you.


ELDER: Of course you have. You said I'm sounding a dog whistle. Why do Republicans always use a dog whistle?


ELDER: Why don't you deal with what I said, the merits of what I said, for a change, Lamont? I watch you all the time. You talk over people. You don't listen to the merits of what they say.

HILL: You're talking over me.

First of all -- OK, a few things. I never said dog whistle. Second, you're saying engagement.


ELDER: Sure you did.

HILL: Let me finish. I didn't. When you rewind this, you will realize you were wrong.


HILL: What I just spoke about was mental health --


HILL: What I just spoke about was mental health in the black community. And you responded by talking about black people believing that racism still exists.

You totally didn't acknowledge my question or respond to my comment.


ELDER: I wanted to have perspective and talk about what's important, but you won't do that.

HILL: OK. No. Well, you don't get to decide what's important. We all have opinions here. I made a comment. I wanted you to respond to it.

But I will respond to your comment.


ELDER: You think the problem of unarmed black people is a major problem in America. And I don't. I don't.

HILL: OK. Let's -- OK.

Well, let me tell you what I think, now that you have spoken. There are two issues here. You mentioned black-on-black crime. You say that that's a problem. I agree with you that it's a problem.

ELDER: It's a huge problem. It's a massive problem.


HILL: Larry, Larry, I agree with you.


BALDWIN: One voice, gentlemen. One voice.


HILL: I agree with Larry Elder that black-on-black violence is an issue. I absolutely agree with him. So let's not argue about what we both agree on. I agree.

But if this study bears out -- and it does -- that at least one -- that every 28 hours, an unarmed black person is killed, then that also is a problem. Is it as big a problem --


ELDER: That means if less than 2 percent of the total, Lamont, less than 2 percent of the total -- 7,000 black people killed every year, less than 2 percent are killed by police officers in an unarmed way.

So why don't we talk about the 98 percent? And many of these murders in Chicago are unsolved. At least we know what happened in the Michael Brown case.

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