MSNBC host Thomas Roberts on Monday said his network was not doing enough to dispel myths that women who used birth control were "sluts," immigrants just came to the United States to have "anchor babies" and LGBT people were pedophiles and disease carriers.
In the wake of the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict, Roberts was joined by MSNBC hosts Melissa Harris-Perry and Toure on Monday to discuss what the case's racial aspects meant for the social contract in America.
Roberts noted that defense attorney Mark O'Mara had asserted over the weekend that Zimmerman never would have been charged if he had been black.
"That is the most absurd assumption that we have heard throughout this," Toure pointed out.
"Trayvon [Martin] wouldn't be dead if he were white," Roberts agreed.
"If George Zimmerman had been black, well, he would have been dealing with the mass incarceration of black people that we have in this country when we're over arresting -- we can talk about stop-and-frisk in New York, that policy goes out, throughout the nation, many other places -- over arrested, over prosecuted, over convicted, over sentenced once convicted," Toure observed. "I mean, this idea that if George Zimmerman were black then suddenly he would invoke, what, black privilege and not have to go through all this? That's absurd."
Roberts then used the Zimmerman verdict as a platform to launch a larger discussion about the way "others" are treated in the U.S.
"When we talk about these laws, don't we need to do more about our social contract with each other in this country when it comes to being 'others'?" the MSNBC host asked. "Because when we look at this we can use this as a great pivot point to talk about race relations in this country. But being an 'other,' whether it's LGBT -- because you're then suspected of being a pedophile and a rabid disease carrier. And if you are a woman, well, you certainly don't have a right to your own body and your own reproductive health. Because if you do then you're just a slut who wants to sleep around and use abortion as birth control. And then if you're Hispanic, you're just a taker, you're not a maker, and you want to come here and have anchor babies and you just want to lay off the land [sic]."
"And I want to challenge this network," Roberts continued. "We have to have an 'I am other' agenda and have a forum for it because 'others' need to unite to talk about this and figure out where we're going as a country. The social contract we have currently negotiated that is so wrong, and how this is happening in a country where we have this huge group of people that supposed to be a melting pot that we treat each other with such disdain that it's not even funny."
"Amen!" Toure replied.
"I will absolutely take you up on that challenge," Harris-Perry noted. "If we can convince the folks where we work, I will happily co-host with you a long-term town hall special around around this or anything else."
"Let's do it!" Roberts exclaimed, later concluding that that the Zimmerman verdict would "damn well" lead to deeper discussions about race in America if the MSNBC hosts had their way.