Return to Transcripts main page


Racial Biases in Children; Interview With John Leguizamo

Aired May 14, 2010 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, thank you very much.


COOPER: Thank you very much.


COOPER: Thanks.


COOPER: Thank you very much.

Welcome, everyone. Thanks for joining us.


COOPER: Welcome to 360 FRIDAY. It's kind of a late-night edition of 360. It is a news show, however. This is not Oprah. No one's going to get a car, sadly. I apologize for that.


COOPER: I know. Very sad.

We're going to -- we're going to be talking about some of the biggest stories of the day with a smart, interesting mix of people. We have actor, author, comedian John Leguizamo is here.


COOPER: Also one of the sharpest political minds around, Mary Matalin, who worked in the Bush White House, of course, and the campaigns of Bush 41 and Reagan.


COOPER: We also have actress, playwright and Pulitzer Prize nominee Anna Deavere Smith with us.


COOPER: She's also on the new Showtime show "Nurse Jackie."

But, first, the big topic tonight: What do your kids think about race? What do your kids think about skin color?

Now, I know a lot of us out there, a lot of parents like to say, well, look, my child doesn't see race. I don't see race. Everybody's the same.

And that certainly sounds good, but is that really true? I want to show you something. Take a look at the images behind me. Which of these is the dumb child? Which of these is the ugly child? Which of these is the smart child?

Now, I know the questions are unfair and they're uncomfortable. And you probably say, well, look, I can't answer that question. I mean, the images are all identical, other than the skin color.

But what is interesting is, if you show these pictures to kids and you ask them those questions, they answer, and they answer quickly. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the ugly child. Why is she the ugly child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because she's, like, a lot darker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the good-looking child. And why is she the good-looking child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because she light-skinned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the good child.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Why is he the good child?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the child who has the skin color most children don't like.


COOPER: It's pretty striking stuff. This is all part of a pilot study that we commissioned, designed, and the results analyzed by a renowned child psychologist and researcher named Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer. She's a -- she's with us in the audience tonight.

She's a leader in the field. She will be joining the discussion a little bit later.

Spencer's team of psychologists tested more than 130 kids in eight different schools, half in the North, half in the South. Now, the schools had very specific and very different racial and economic demographics. And there were two different ages of kids tested, 4- and 5-year- olds and 9- and 10-year-olds, and two races, African-American and white.

Now, this was first done in a series of very famous doll tests from the 1940s. Two psychologists named Kenneth and Mamie Clark pioneered studies on the effects of segregation and discrimination in schools by asking African-American kids to choose between black and white dolls.

And what's interesting is, they found that the majority of black kids preferred to play with white dolls, and that the kids considered white the nice color, but that the black doll looked bad.

So, those results were at the center of a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case, which you have all heard about, Brown vs. the Board of Education, which desegregated America's schools.

So, nearly 60 years after desegregation, we wanted to know what has changed. Has anything really changed? How do kids see race today? How do your kids see race?

Now, unlike the original study that only tested black kids, we tested black and white kids, and we're going to show you the results in a moment.

But, first, we want to you introduce our panel.

Donna Brazile is here. She worked on the Clinton campaign and others...


COOPER: ... and owns her own political consulting firm.


COOPER: Donna, welcome.


COOPER: Thanks so much for being with us.

BRAZILE: Good to see you.

COOPER: Nice to see you. Have a seat.

Also joining us is Po Bronson, author "NurtureShock," a "New York Times" bestseller. It's about how many of the things we think we know about parents are wrong.


COOPER: Po, welcome. Thanks so much. Have a seat.

PO BRONSON, AUTHOR, "NURTURESHOCK": Thank you, sir. COOPER: All right. So, there are -- there are basically three main findings from this study that we did, what kind of bias white kids have, what kind of bias black kids have, and what impact parents can have on kids' racial biases.

So, let's get to the first finding. We found that white kids as a whole responded with a high rate of what researchers called white bias, which is really identifying their own skin with positive attributes and black skin with negative attributes.

Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the dumb child.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Why is she the dumb child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because she has black skin.


Show me the bad child. Why is he the bad child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because he's really dark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the dumb child. Why is she the dumb child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because she looks black-black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the good child. Why is she the good child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because she looks whiter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the child you would like to have as a classmate. Why would you like to have him as a classmate?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because he's white.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the child who has the skin color most adults like. And show me the child who has the skin color most adults don't like.


COOPER: Donna, I saw you sort of shaking your head when you were watching that.

BRAZILE: Well, Anderson, I believe we're shaped by experience. We are shaped by the cultural factors that are presented to us at a very early age. I grew up in the segregated Deep South. In fact, the only white people I came in contact with was the mailman, who showed up once a day six days a week, and, of course, the people I saw on television. They were all white. We didn't see -- we didn't see and get a chance to interact with white people.

COOPER: But did it surprise you to see, I mean, little kids, 5- year-old kids, so quickly pointing to, you know, the dark skin color as the ugly child, or as the smart...

BRAZILE: No, I'm not surprised, because what -- every day, they are watching television, they are walking to school, hanging out with their parents and their friends. And they don't interact with black people. They don't interact with black children.

And the perception of black people, Hispanics or others, it's negative. It's always negative on the news.

COOPER: But a lot of these kids do go to actually racially diverse schools. And we're going to talk about it in a moment.

Po, I just want to read some of the results of this. Five-year- old white kids, when asked to point to the dumb child, 77 percent of them pointed to the two darkest skin tones. When asked to the mean child, 66 percent pointed to the darkest child. And 66 percent pointed to the darker skin colors when asked the skin color that most kids don't like.


COOPER: I mean, not to demonize any individual child, but we saw this across the board. Why is this happening? What is that?

BRONSON: Just so you know, there are many studies from Dr. Spencer's laboratory and all of her proteges that confirm the finding of your pilot study. So, our audience shouldn't think your study is an outlier here. It's confirming.

And I have seen the data. For three years, I have been studying this. But to watch the videotapes right now tonight is heartbreaking, to see this stuff.

We thought that sending kids just to diverse schools might be the answer. It's not the only answer, because, within diverse schools, kids are self-segregating.

And, in fact, work by James Moody out of Duke University looking at 90,000 kids, 120 representative schools, showed that, as school diversity goes up, went up, self-segregation was also going up. So, the odds of having cross-racial friends was going down in diverse schools, not going up.

The crucial variable here is what parents say to their kids. White kids can grow up, and they can grow up whether they're exposed to other black kids and other black families or not, but all kids are getting mixed messages. The question is, how do parents counteract those mixed messages to set them straight, so they don't answer the questions...


COOPER: Dr. Spencer, you said that -- that the kids in the study were -- were -- I want to get the quote right -- were mirroring the unfinished business of adults. What did you mean?

DR. MARGARET BEALE SPENCER, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: What I meant was kids are basically like sponges. They're like mirrors on what they're exposed to.

So, what they see and what they're exposed to, they simply represent. And the fact that younger children are 4-year-olds and kindergarten children are also what we call sort of normally self- centered, you know, they just think about how they feel and what they experience, and they share it to -- in that sense with whomever asks the questions of them.

So, this is what you have here in terms of the -- you notice the sort of animated responses. You ask children questions, and they're excited to give you answers in terms of what they're exposed to.

COOPER: When we come back, I want to show you the findings of when we asked the same question to African-American kids, how it compares also to the answers from the original doll study back in the '40s.

We will be right back.




COOPER: Welcome back to 360 FRIDAY.

Donna Brazile has been very saucy during the break. So..


COOPER: Before the break...


COOPER: Before the break, we showed you how white kids have, as a whole, a higher rate of what researchers call white bias, meaning that they had more positive things to say about their own skin color and more negative things to say about black skin.

But what our pilot study -- what -- we wanted to know, what did our study say about African-American kids? Do they have a bias? Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the ugly child. And why is she the ugly child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because she's black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the good-looking child. And why is she the good-looking child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because she's light-skinned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And show me the skin color you believe most teachers think looks bad on a girl.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I don't think they think it matters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't think they -- they don't think it matters?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Like, it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside. It just matters what you look like on the inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you show me the child that has your skin color?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Show me the child that has the skin color you want.



Show me the child who has the skin color you don't want.

Show me the child you would like as a classmate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You like all of them as classmates?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you say all of them?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because I don't really care what color they have.


COOPER: It's interesting. That brings us to the second big finding from the survey, that black kids also have a bias toward white, but much less so than white kids.

And our research suggests that black kids have come a long way from the original doll test, when they overwhelmingly chose white over black. The CNN pilot study was -- was designed, as I said, by child psychologist professor Margaret Beale Spencer. She's with us, as well as Donna Brazile and best-selling author Po Bronson.

Donna, what do you make of that, that -- that black kids still have a -- something of a white bias?

BRAZILE: Again, it wasn't surprising, but a little shocking, given, again, the -- the innate cultural factors that kids grew up with.

Again, I go back to my years of the paper bag test. Anderson, I knew when I was a kid that I was black. And, often, my grandmother would tell me, don't go outside, Donna, because you can get black. I'm like, well, I'm black. What is wrong?

But they were afraid that I would become too black.

COOPER: The paper bag test, people would actually hold up a...

BRAZILE: A paper bag.

COOPER: ... a brown paper bag.

BRAZILE: And, apparently, some blacks could not get into nightclubs because they were too dark. And the lighter-skinned, high yellow, cream, they had -- we knew that they had better advantages than darker-skinned black people. We knew that at an early age.

COOPER: And, yet, there has been, it seems, progress, Po.

BRONSON: You know, there are other studies on biracial and mixed-racial kids as well, not as robust a science. But it shows that, sometimes, they are doing just fine, and they can pick the best of both worlds, but many of them feel caught in a double-bind.

As long as they're in an integrated environment, they are fine. But in a mostly white or mostly black environment, they feel quite rejected and pressured to not be -- you know, white enough or black enough. This isn't a problem. It doesn't affect those kids as well.

COOPER: There were some African-American kids who answer with what researchers called a more Afrocentric or black-leaning bias. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the smart child. And why is he the smart child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because he's black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the good-looking child. And why is he the good-looking child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because he's black. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And show me the child that has a skin color most children don't like.

Show me the child you would like as a classmate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why would you like her as a classmate?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because I like her color.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And show me the child who has the skin color most adults don't like.


COOPER: Dr. Spencer, why didn't we see more black kids with -- with black-leaning biases?

SPENCER: Because, as Donna shared, black children are exposed to the same biases that white children are exposed to in our society. And parents differ, themselves, on the time available to engage in cultural socialization, to engage in activities that help to offset the stereotypes that children are exposed to in this country.

And this is a task that white parents don't have. White parents can focus on, you know, skill acquisition, you know, cultural exposures. But black parents have to always be engaged in wedging or offsetting the negative stereotyping that their youngsters are -- are exposed to.


SPENCER: And, obviously, there are differences in availability of time to engage in that activity.

COOPER: And we're going to talk about what parents are talking to their kids about race about, and, also, should they talk more to their kids about race in the next segment.

But, Po, when you see a young white kid pointing, you know, to the darker-skinned dolls as the dumb child, I mean, is that -- is that racism, or is that just a child identifying with his own skin color and putting attributes onto his own skin color, which is something, probably a natural inclination?

BRONSON: It could be -- it could be racism. It could be an innocent observation a child is making because of what happened in school that particular day.

But there is a trait, a process called essentialism, where...

COOPER: Essentialism?

BRONSON: Essentialism, where children naturally want to categorize the world, and they tend to make this wrong assumption that people who look like them share the same traits they like, and, therefore, they want to like people who look like them.

And they could use skin color or gender or height or shirt color. And this is one of, but not the only, factor that's contributing to this.

COOPER: And that's the same reason or one of the reasons that, even in a diverse school, kids kind of self-segregate?

BRONSON: The -- the problem with self-segregation, when kids get older, is different. And it's very -- it's very complex. And it is something, though, that we shouldn't tolerate. Just sending our kids to diverse schools is not alone the answer.

We must stop letting them just self-segregate once they get to school.

COOPER: So, what can parents do? That's next on the program. Where are the kids getting these ideas from, getting these messages from? We will talk to their parents. Some -- some were actually stunned by seeing their kids take this test.

We will also talk later on about Arizona, the birthers, the oil spill. We have got John Leguizamo, Mary Matalin, Anna Deavere Smith here to go over the big stories of the day.

We will be right back.



COOPER: And welcome back to 360 FRIDAY.


COOPER: We're talking about a study that we commissioned, a pilot study, really, that reveals what white and black kids think about skin color and race, and what they think about themselves.

As our study shows, white kids, as a whole, responded with a high rate of what researchers called white bias, which is identifying their own skin color with positive attributes and black skin with negative attributes.

So, the second major finding of our study is that black kids also have a white bias, though not to the degree of other -- other studies have shown in decades past.

So, we wanted to know about the parents. How do they factor into their kids' racial bias and what do they think about their kids' answers?

One thing our pilot study indicated and Po Bronson research supports -- and we will talk to him about that in a moment -- is that white parents talk to their kids much less about race than black parents do, and there are consequences for that. So, we got some parents together and had them watch their kids take the test. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the dumb child. Why is he the dumb child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because he's really black.


Show me the nice child. Why is he the nice child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because he's the whitest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the mean child. OK. Why is he the mean child?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Because he's -- he's darker than these.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's disappointing. I should be disappointed. I mean, I -- it makes me think I need to be doing a better job at home. I need to teach him -- you know, it's -- it's -- really , it's upsetting.

I have spent 15 years as a teacher trying to teach first-graders about all different societies and cultures and -- and racism. And here's my own child, his finger went so quick to the white side. It was -- it -- it's fascinating.


COOPER: Yes, she was definitely upset.

Joining us again is child psychologist Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer, CNN contributor Donna Brazile, and best-selling author Po Bronson.

What about that, Po? I mean, it does seem, from the study and from other research, that -- that white parents don't talk to their kids as much about race. People want to believe we live in a colorblind society and that -- I mean, race is a topic that makes people uncomfortable.

BRONSON: And -- and they want to give their kids this sort of post-racial future when they're very young, and they're under the wrong conclusion that their kids are colorblind, as, clearly, that -- that mother's child was not.

Seventy-five percent of white parents are supposedly never, or never -- almost never talk about race. They think they talk about race, because they say, God made us all the same or everybody is equal. But kids don't understand these messages. The science is clear that it works best when it's overt, when it means risking talking about skin color, and then diffusing the skin color...


COOPER: So, how do you talk about skin color?

BRONSON: It's -- you say to children from the time that they're 1 or 2 years old...

COOPER: That young?

BRONSON: And, in African-American families, they would start talking to kids about skin color very often when they're six months old or nine months old.

BRAZILE: I look at my brothers and sisters and their children, and they talk about race, but they talk about it in a way that is positive, it reinforces them. It takes away some of the stigma, so that they can go out there with their heads up high and not feel that, because of the color of their skin, they are going to confront any different challenges.

I think we need a new vocabulary, a way to talk about race so that we don't, you know, create more drama and more tension. But we need a way that will allow us to heal some of the racial divide and give parents a way to make their children feel good about themselves, regardless of the color of their skin.

COOPER: I want to show you one young African-American child, her answers, and what her parent thought of it. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the skin color you want as your own.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I like the way I am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And show me the skin color you believe most teachers think looks bad on a girl.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I don't think they think it matters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't think they -- they don't think it matters?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Like, it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside. It just matters what you look like on the inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's my child.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, no, I think, you know, her sentiments are kind of what we try to instill in both of them.

You know, it's unfortunate you cannot just not accept that race is a factor in all of our lives. But, you know, you try to raise your kids as best as you can to overcome those obstacles and then -- and do the best they can as individuals.


COOPER: Dr. Spencer, you were saying it's not just for parents talk -- to talk to their kids about race, but also through actions.

SPENCER: Absolutely.

I think that, in families, it's easier to talk about issues of gender. So, on the one hand, you notice that, you know, white parents and, you know, black parents can talk about gender very easily, in terms of reading a children's book to a child. And the parent can say, oh, look, this author, you know, he doesn't know that girls can be doctors, too, and this book only shows boys as doctors.

So, there are lots of, you know, images that, you know, confuse possible roles that are in children's books that parents engage in, that discussion of unpacking.

But, when it comes to race, there's an uncomfortableness about race and color in this country, which means that parents need to prepare to discuss issues of race. They must be prepared to live in a way that always communicates their values, because, otherwise, there's -- there -- these are subtleties, and the kids will miss them.

COOPER: But, I mean, just logistically, what does that mean? If you send your child to a school that's racially and ethnically diverse, what -- what more are you supposed you do?

BRONSON: You must also tell them, we don't choose friends on the basis of their skin color. We like people no matter what skin color they might have.

COOPER: And they have -- and -- and you need to have friends over to the house to show that message to them. It's not just enough to say, we have friends of all...


BRONSON: Absolutely, and -- and help facilitate that as well.

COOPER: It's a fascinating discussion. We're going to have more of it on 360 next week.

I want to thank child psychologist Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer.


COOPER: Thanks very much.

CNN contributor Donna Brazile and best-selling author Po Bronson, thanks very much.


COOPER: We're going to -- as I said, we're going to have much more on this topic next week on 360.

Coming up: smart talk about serious subjects, Arizona's immigration law, the oil spill on the Gulf Coast. The birthers are back. And we're taking on those top stories with our guests, John Leguizamo, Anna Deavere Smith, and Mary Matalin. They will be with us right after the break.

We're also going to ask them about this video.

Have -- Kevin, have you seen this video?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not yet, Coop. What do you got?

COOPER: It's -- it's -- it's kind of -- I think it's really creepy, 7-year-old girls grinding and dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies."

We will be right back.



RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Rick Sanchez in New York.

We're going to be getting back to 360 FRIDAY in just a moment.

First, some important stories that we're following for you tonight.

BP is going to make another attempt to stop the oil from flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. In the next day, the company is going to try to insert a tube into a ruptured pipe. Look at these pictures. The hope is that it will somehow send the oil to a ship instead of, obviously, spilling all over the gulf.

Europe's economic woes continue to hammer Wall Street. Today the Dow took another hit, down 163 points. A glimmer of good news: gold. For a time, it hit a record high today.

And a picture-perfect launch today for the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Atlantis and its six astronauts are going to bring equipment to the International Space Station. This is the shuttle's final planned mission.

I'm Rick Sanchez. "360 Friday" continues after the break.


COOPER: All right. Welcome back to "360 Friday." A lot to talk about in the news. You know what's going on in Arizona, the boycott over the immigration law. And then that oil spill is pretty unbelievable. Nobody seems to have, really, any idea how to stop it. In fact, they're now actually talking about plugging the leak with golf balls, rope and old tires. It's like the Clampetts are actually running BP.

We're also going to have more of those birthers who want proof that the president is a U.S. citizen. So please welcome actor, author, comedian John Leguizamo. His one-man show called "Diary of a Madman" will be touring the country this summer, and he also just wrapped up work on a film called "Vanishing on Seventh Street."

John, thanks for being with us.

JOHN LEGUIZAMO, ACTOR: Good to be here. I've got lots to say.

COOPER: All right.

LEGUIZAMO: Opinions.

COOPER: Also joining us, an actress, extraordinary actress, professor, playwright. Her one-woman show, "Let Me Down Easy," starts later this year. She's also starring on Showtime's "Nurse Jackie," which I love. Anna Deavere Smith is here.

Now, in case you all didn't know, Anna Deavere Smith won a MacArthur grant, which is the Genius Award which means she actually rarely appears on cable TV news shows. Far too qualified.

Also, our third guest worked in the George W. Bush White House. She's a political commentator, analyst. She's also the co-host of both sides now, a nationally syndicated radio show, the wonderful Mary Matalin. Thanks for being here.

OK. A bunch of things to talk about. I want to start off, though, with Arizona. City council members in Los Angeles have now voted to boycott the state, to ban government travel to the state. One councilman actually said that what's happening in Arizona, it's equivalent to the beginnings of what happened in Nazi Germany, the beginnings of the Holocaust, as well as the internment and deportation of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Do you boycott the state?

LEGUIZAMO: Yes, but that's already a known fact. A lot of Latin comedians and performers are not going to perform in Arizona. Which is tough, because that's a big -- I want to make money. Is that why they're applauding?

COOPER: Are you sure this isn't designed (ph) by George Lopez to corner the Latino market in Arizona?

LEGUIZAMO: "John, you don't go there. You've got to boycott it. It's a terrible thing." Meanwhile, cha-ching.

COOPER: All right.

LEGUIZAMO: No, I mean, yes, I go there and perform. That's a big audience for me, too. Because there's a lot of Latin people and Native Americans there that are my fan base. And...

COOPER: Won't that hurt, I mean, Latinos in the state?

LEGUIZAMO: It does. But I mean, how do you send a message to Arizona and to other states to stop this nonsense? I mean, we're a big asset to this country.

COOPER: People of color and Caucasians, their view often of the police is radically different.

ANNA DEAVERE SMITH, ACTRESS: Right. White friends of mine have told me that they think the cop is there to help them. And often African-American and other colored people feel endangered.

But I want to say two things that sort of tie together this notion of comedians, and also the idea of what the cops will or won't do. You know, in a way, Arizona doesn't need comics right now. Because the best comedian in the country is Sheriff Arpaio, Sheriff Joe, right?

So Sheriff Joe -- Sheriff Joe has Tent City, which is -- everyone is in the heat of Arizona in a tent, segregates the immigrants, illegal immigrants, so-called illegal immigrants from others. There's a great big sign over the jail that says "vacancies."

He puts people in black and white prisoner costumes, paraded around so-called illegal immigrants, actually made a parade. Makes men wear pink underwear.

And so the activities -- and he has a posse that seriously, you know, grabs people, throws them down, roundups. So the problem I see is that these theatrical kinds of behaviors are now validated by the law.

And even though they're law-abiding police officers, right? -- sensible police officers -- it also validates the behavior of the kinds of militiamen who are sitting on the border in lawn chairs with guns and binoculars. It's inflammatory.

LEGUIZAMO: It's not against cops. It's not against cops or the government.

COOPER: There's a serious problem with illegal immigration. I mean, so...

MARY MATALIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You've been on the border. You've been on the border. I have hitched a ride with border police. This is a federal failure of over three decades, where a rancher whose family had been ranching there, Robert Krentz, since 1907, was murdered on his own land. When the incidence of kidnapping in Phoenix is the highest in the country. OK, so here's a larger problem.

LEGUIZAMO: ... than that, because who discovered this country? The Spanish people. Who did we discover? Ourselves, because we're all part Native American. And who was there? The Mexicans. And Manifest Destiny came to Texas, Nevada, which is a Spanish name, Arizona, which means dry zone.

MATALIN: So what's your point, John? I mean, I came -- I came second generation.

LEGUIZAMO: Aliens. They're the first illegal aliens.

MATALIN: Everybody in this country is an immigrant.

LEGUIZAMO: The Latin people and Native American people, because we're all part of --

COOPER: Mary, doesn't this law allow...

LEGUIZAMO: We're the ones that keep this country going. All the illegal aliens are working in the worst jobs that no American wants.

MATALIN: That's right. This is a form of horribly...

LEGUIZAMO: We're in a recession because of this very illegal system.

MATALIN: These immigrants, these illegals are living in squalor. They're doing jobs that are insecure. They can be left...

LEGUIZAMO: They keep the economy going.

MATALIN: And that's not right. That is absolutely not right. We shouldn't force workplace, at the workplace. That would stop it. Right? We should secure the borders.

So much about this in your earlier conversation, you're hearing not what I'm -- this is not a criticism. It's not what people are saying. It's what you're hearing. I learned this from my friends of color, from Donna and Roland and everybody.

You have a preexisting notion, and you've said it, too, that black people are more afraid of police and white people think they're there to help you. There's something -- there's some way that we have to have a different conversation here. Those kids, watching those kids breaks your heart.

And you're listening to me thinking, "She's an anti-immigrant bigot. Right wing..." No, I'm not. Help me help us have this conversation where we're acknowledging there's human trafficking at the border and the drug thugs and the murders. And that we are -- we are an immigrant country. My people came here from the old country, both sides and proud to be here, and learned English and all the rest of it. There's something wrong in the conversation that we go as quickly as we do to not hearing -- I'm not trying to be a goo-goo about this. But you know...

SMITH: I know what you mean. And I think that it's all disturbing that this particular bill, right at the heels of it, we have another law which is going to possibly prohibit ethnic studies. I'm not sure to what extent. But certainly in some public schools in Arizona. And the fact that that has happened is very, very destructive. With the argument that it separates people. And really, the goal of ethnic studies was to enrich the American narrative. So that we could...

COOPER: We've got to take a break. We're going to have more on the oil spill coming up. Also this video that a lot of folks are talking about all around the country, 7-year-old girls dancing and grinding to "Single Ladies." We'll be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back. After the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, BP cannot stop the leak. As I said earlier, they're talking about trying to plug it up with old tires, golf balls.

Let's bring back our 360 panel: John Leguizamo, Anna Deavere Smith and Mary Matalin.

I was going to ask you guys also about the birthers, but I just can't bring myself to do it, frankly. I've been interviewing them all week, and I'm sort of done with it with the subject. Moving on. I think we're all on agreement on the fact...

LEGUIZAMO: Yes, he was born here.

COOPER: Mary, you live in New Orleans. Is this...

MATALIN: The whole town's atwitter. Anderson's coming down to do a convention speech.


MATALIN: Brand-new speech.

COOPER: Brand new -- yes. That's the sad part. I have to write a brand-new speech.

But should this be a wakeup call that stops offshore drilling?

MATALIN: It's going to stop it, because even people who are for it, every one of the members of the Louisiana delegation are saying, "Whoa." Because it's clear there was no -- they didn't know the pressure that was -- why they're doing this junk shot is because...

COOPER: The junk shot is literally shoving golf balls. It's like a joke. Its shoving golf balls into the well.

MATALIN: The pressure was such that they didn't anticipate, that it blew cement. So I don't know how it blows cement and mud out, that it's going to be stopped by golf balls.

COOPER: It's clear BP didn't really have a plan for this. Nor was there government oversight.

MATALIN: Or a cleanup in the government oversight which has been in place, on the books for decades, is not enforced. How is that -- how is that enforcement? And I'm sure we'll figure out a way in this conversation to blame Bush.

COOPER: But are you in favor of...

LEGUIZAMO: Because Halliburton was a part of it. You knew what I was going to say. Who was behind the drilling? Halliburton. What a surprise! Who sanctioned it? Bush. Another surprise.

MATALIN: And who's been in office for a third of his term and gave the permit with no environmental impact study to this particular rig?

LEGUIZAMO: Not Bush, was it?

MATALIN: No, it would be President Obama in this case.

COOPER: What do you drive?

LEGUIZAMO: I drive a bicycle. That's right. I'm saving enough money for you and your kids. I drive a hybrid. A Toyota. I know. I'd rather buy American.

COOPER: Have you checked the brakes?

LEGUIZAMO: I made it here. I really fastened myself in, and I drive with a pillow.

COOPER: I wanted to talk about this video that a lot of folks around the country, it's gotten hundreds of thousands of hits. It just showed up on YouTube. It's these little girls, 7-year-old girls, like grinding away to Beyonce's "Single Ladies."

LEGUIZAMO: Can you say those two words in the same sentence?

COOPER: Well, I know. Take a look at this thing. It's a dance competition.

LEGUIZAMO: Do we have to look?




COOPER: What do you make of that? I mean, John, you're a parent.

LEGUIZAMO: Well, I don't know who those parents are, but they should be slapped. Because it's ridiculous. If my daughter, she's going to be in a burka. I mean, that's -- that's -- I mean, to sexualize -- I mean, the kids aren't doing any physical moves that are really, you know, suggestive. But it's still how do you put a kid in a G-string? I mean, that's... SMITH: Dr. Spencer, you know, alludes to this problem in the earlier segment that you just had. The children are incredible mimics. They're going to do what they see. And when I see them being able to reproduce those moves, I think, well, why not have them reproduce something good? Because they have...

COOPER: They're clearly talented. It's not a question of that.

LEGUIZAMO: I don't think it's the moves. I think it's the way they dress -- how do you dress your child, a 7-year-old child, in that suggestive outfit?

COOPER: It's very similar to, like, the JonBenet Ramsey, you know, little beauty pageants. Little kids dance around to "Let's Get Physical."

LEGUIZAMO: But it's something crazy, that allows kids to be sexualized like that. And you're the one who's doing it.

SMITH: ... sexualized, as well.

MATALIN: But to that point, I showed the thing to my girls. One's 12; one's 14. Their first response was, those outfits. That's an insult to Beyonce, who is their hero. They made me watch Beyonce: look how cool her outfit is. So they thought it was tacky.

But they're not -- they're old enough to understand it's sexualized, but they were insulted because they think that song is about, "Cool, you're going to marry me." They didn't think it was about sex. Because they said, this is an insult to the empowerment of women. They went right to the feminist point.

COOPER: When -- when we come back, we're going to test everybody's news knowledge, how closely you all have been following the news of the week. You can play at home. You can play here, as well. As we do go to break, I just want to show you the 360 crew a couple months ago. They taped their own "Single Ladies" version. This is theirs.





COOPER: All right. Before we end the show, we want to just kind of test everyone's news knowledge, how closely you all have been following the news this week. It's "The 360 Challenge."

Anna Deavere Smith is glaring at me right now.

SMITH: I'm not.

COOPER: Yes, you are. LEGUIZAMO: She was. Disqualified.

COOPER: All right. It's simple, really. A series of multiple choice answers. It's America, so of course, the goal is to win and crush your colleagues at the same time while doing it.

LEGUIZAMO: That's not fair. She's a genius.

COOPER: I know, she's a MacArthur grant winner. So...

LEGUIZAMO: ... money in America. Hit me.

COOPER: Although I was on "Jeopardy!" recently and I lost to Cheech Marin. So you never know.

LEGUIZAMO: So I'm doomed (ph)? Is that what you're trying to say?

COOPER: I mean, I figured, you know, you wouldn't have any synapses left. But he does.

All right. Let's begin, shall we? All right. Here we go. Write your answers on the little board. Also, Jack Gray is going to be playing along, our producer here. More competition, more competition.

All right. Here's the question. An out-of-control satellite that broke loose from its orbit may threaten, multiple choice answers: A, the International Space Station; B, cable TV programming; C, wireless communications; or D, Snooki's pouf.

Feel free to write your answers -- all right, got to write your answers on the board. There is a time limit. We've passed it.


COOPER: Any ideas? All right. Somebody write something. This is like that "Jeopardy!" on "Saturday Night Live." No celebrity writes anything.

LEGUIZAMO: Looking at my answers.

COOPER: All right. John, what is your answer?

LEGUIZAMO: All right. This may not be the right answer, but...

COOPER: You say it's A, the International Space Station. All right. Anna Deavere Smith? C, wireless communications. Mary Matalin, you say A, International Space Station.

Jack Gray, what do you say?

JACK GRAY, CNN PRODUCER: I said Wolf Blitzer's beard.

COOPER: All right. The answer is cable TV programming.

Wow. This really is going to be like "Jeopardy!" on "Saturday Night Live." All right. Let's look at the...

MATALIN: How do we know that's the right answer?

SMITH: We don't.

COOPER: We're -- we're the most trusted name in news.

All right. Delta Airlines lost a man's dog this week. This is a really horrible story. Lost a man's dog. What did it offer him for his loss? Is it A, to reimburse all expenses associated with the missing pet; B, $500 credit for any future flight; Two round-trip tickets anywhere around the world. That would be C -- please write your answers on the board. D, Dog the Bounty Hunter.


COOPER: Please write your answers on the board. Delta claims that the dog actually broke out of its case and went running away.

All right. Anna Deavere Smith, let's see your answer. You say C, two round-trip tickets. John?


COOPER: Sticking with A. Reimbursed all expenses. Mary, A. A. The answer is A. You actually -- John, you were right, and Mary, you were right, as well.

All right. BP released this video showing the massive oil leak in the gulf. The question is, how much oil is leaking? Is it 160,000 gallons a day, A? B, 210,000 gallons? C, 380,000; or d, 500,000 gallons a day?

MATALIN: I think nobody agrees what it is.

COOPER: There is actually sort of an agreement.

LEGUIZAMO: Just a guesstimate.

COOPER: Just a guesstimate? All right. Time's up. John?

LEGUIZAMO: I want to go with D.

COOPER: Five hundred thousand gallons.

LEGUIZAMO: Five hundred thousand gallons a day.

COOPER: Anna? C, 380,000. Mary? B is 210,000. That's the answer. And the last one...

MATALIN: I got it.

SMITH: You got it.

MATALIN: I know. I live there. GRAY: This is where you put me, over in the audience? I was talking to Mary. I'm going down to New Orleans. I'm going to be her cabana boy. All I've got to do is rub a little oil on Carville, and we're good to go. So this is the last time I'm here.

COOPER: All right. John has one point. Mary has two. Anna, you have no points. You have not done anything right. This is very sad.

All right. This is the final question.

MATALIN: That is not true.

COOPER: This is actually a word scramble. So if you're dyslexic, you're out. This is where South Carolina governor Mark Sanford said he recently reunited with his Argentina lover.

LEGUIZAMO: It's a new place, so it's not...

COOPER: An Argentine lover, I think. No, it's not in Argentina. It's -- here's the word scramble.

MATALIN: We need a clue.

COOPER: What do you mean? It's a word scramble. It's -- I'll give you a clue. It's a state in America.

LEGUIZAMO: Oh, yes, yes. I'm on.

COOPER: So sad I have to give you that. John says Florida. Anna says Florida. You say Florida, Jack?

GRAY: I said Tiger Woods' mattress.

LEGUIZAMO: You always say that.

COOPER: The answer, of course, is Florida. There you go.

All right. The winner is Mary Matalin. And you win -- a donation will be made based off the CNN "Impact Your World" Web site to a charity, on one of the charities on the site.

MATALIN: Oh, good.

LEGUIZAMO: What did second place get?

MATALIN: I want Jack.

COOPER: You want Jack? You can have Jack.

GRAY: I'll be down there. We'll be in the pool house. Don't worry: me, you, Nancy Grace.

COOPER: You know, Jack has more than, like, 1 million followers on Twitter? More than, like, I think more than me. Probably more than Britney Spears. GRAY: Because I'm America's sweetheart, Anderson.

COOPER: He is America's sweetheart. The reason we have Jack is because he's up for a raise and we don't really want to give him a raise. So we figure put him in the audience and he won't ask for more money.

We want to thank everyone in the studio for being here. And I just want to thank John Leguizamo, Anna Deavere Smith and Mary Matalin. All our guests on the show.

That does it for "360 Friday." We'll see you next week.