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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Violence in Egypt; Number of Wounded Topping 4,000 in Cairo; Christie's Decision To Make Medical Marijuana More Widely Available; Interview with Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker
Aired August 16, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks.
Breaking news, the death toll climbing, the shock waves spreading from Egypt's day of anger. We're live with new developments.
Also tonight, with this little girl's health and life maybe her life in the balance, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie makes a decision on medical marijuana, but is it enough? I'll ask her dad.
And later, Anderson's conversation with Oprah Winfrey about race, justice, and the N-word.
But we begin with breaking news out of Egypt.
Late this evening the country's state for a Nile TV reporting new numbers, at least 33 new fatalities in Cairo and Alexandria, the two biggest cities, another 180 people wounded. The wounded now topping 4,000 since Wednesday. There are more than 600 people killed.
Also new on its facebook page, the Egyptian military saying they arrested 440 quote "armed men and terrorist" unquote. The fighting now widespread. Security forces clashing with Muslim brotherhood fighters. Reports of sectarian attacks on Coptic Christian churches.
A lot of conflicting information coming in and accusations that frankly cannot be fully verified because of the truly chaotic situation on the ground.
Some reporters there are calling it urban warfare plain and simple. As always, we are being very careful about our reporting and making perfectly clear which are claims, which are solid undisputed fact.
One such fact is that at least some opponents of the military government are clearly willing to die for their cause. New video tonight shows it may be very hard to watch. A man what we have highlighted unarmed walking straight into automatic weapons fire. Again, this is very tough stuff. You might want to turn away right now.
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BLITZER: Horrible situation. Very, very rough day on the ground in Egypt.
Joining us now, Fred Pleitgen, our man in Cairo. Also, joining us by phone a member of the opposition to the ousted President Morsy, a self-described moderate Ahmed El Hawary. And in Washington, Michael Doran, senior fellow at the Brookings Institutions, Saban (ph) center for Middle East peace, Middle East policy, I should say, and Arab analyst Robin Wright, senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson center.
Fred, let me start with you. In Cairo, so many on both sides' dead or wounded, squares of churches burned. What's the latest you're seeing on the ground?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well certainly, a terrible situation on the ground, especially at downtown Cairo and a place called Ramses Square. What happened as you said they called this the day of rage here. The Muslim brotherhood and affiliated organizations organized protests marches that were supported to go to this place, to Ramses square. And when many of them reached that square, that is when those clashes started and apparently live fires was used. The Egyptian government is saying that they were armed people among the protesters and some of them opened fire. Of course, the Morsy supporters are saying that it was the government forces that opened fire first, but the clashes went on for a very long time. There are a lot of people killed.
We are getting information, also, from some mosques in that area that there are dead bodies in the mosques. And apparently there is one mosque, actually on that square where apparently a thousand people are still trapped and they are surrounded by armed people, pro- government people and say they are afraid to come out.
So, it really was a very chaotic day here in Cairo. I saw some of these protest marches myself. They were gigantic. They went on for a very long time. And of course, there was a lot of confrontation and just, really, a lot of hatred in the air here throughout the better part of the day, Wolf.
BLITZER: Robin, the incredible violence, the hundreds from the Muslim brotherhood who have now been arrested. You're actually worried, Robin, and you and I have known each other for a long time, this country is descending into a period of civil strife, if not civil war, is that right?
ROBIN WRIGHT, ARAB AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think that is what we all fear now that the fact is both sides are polarized. And tragically, there is no middle ground. There is no group of politicians who are merging to create an alternative, to urge compromise, to try to broker between the two.
The international community had absolutely no impact. The U.N. is sending an envoy to see if there is any ground for compromise, anyway of the international community playing a role and ending the violence. But the danger is that neither side is willing to compromise right now and descends into what we saw in Algeria 20 years ago which was not just prolonged civil strike, but actually disintegrated into civil war. BLITZER: Mike, you say the Obama administration has been too passive in its approach. That it's got to be more concerned about what is happening. What should the U.S. be doing in Egypt? What should officials have done?
MIKE DORAN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, I think that we have to be very concerned about the fact that we are basically irrelevant to this process there. I think the first thing we have to do is take a much stronger line with general Sisi. On the one hand, the Muslim brotherhood was definitely taking the country in a bad direction. But it is very hard to see how these events are going to improve the situation. This is basically a return to Mubarakism. And Mubarak ran the country into a cul-de-sac. I can't see how this is possibly going to make things better in anyway.
BLITZER: Because it seems you could make a strong case the U.S. really can't make much of a difference either way, the U.S. influence in this current situation, Mike, is relatively weak.
DORAN: Well, this is something that one hears a lot behind the scenes from the Obama administration, but there is an absolutely certainty, an absolute certainty if you step forward and say I have no influence, I can't do anything, then you won't have any influence and you won't be able to do anything.
I totally agreed with what Robin said about the importance of developing a third path, and that's what the United States needs to define as its task. It needs to mobilize the international community and put pressure on Sisi and the (INAUDIBLE) organization and others to create the third path, which would be a process, a political process toward a more democratic future.
BLITZER: Ahmed, you were part of the movement that ousted president Morsy even though he was elected by the people and he get 52 percent of the democratically elected contest. You say there never was a democracy. There was an impeachment, not a coup. What do you mean by that?
AHMED EL HAWARY, OPPOSITION ACTIVIST (via phone): Well, to begin with, President Morsy first and only objective was to build the democratic process in Egypt and he failed to do that. There was an election but please do not refuse democracy into the election and the ballot box. Democracy constitutes that there is a constitution that is properly done and represents the organization. That there is a parliament, that there is a few political process that we can stop -- we cannot stop it, and secretary in policies that he was imposing without trying to -- without needing to go to the streets. That there was the elected officials that we would trust and do that for us.
There was no parliament. There was no due political process. He decreed himself above the law. He decreed himself a little bit constitution of force and the regular courts. And he ran through a constitution that is shameful to any nation through trickery and forgery. So to begin with --
BLITZER: Let me -- let me -- (CROSSTALK)
EL HAWARY: He was democratic. He was not running a democratic democracy. It was a solitarian government that was trying to push the country to the ground.
BLITZER: I know you said the military crackdown on the sit down was inevitable. And I know the Muslim brotherhood and supporters, they have used violence to be sure including against some of those Coptic Christian churches.
But here is the question. Does the brutality of the military crackdown seem like the right move? Even Mohamed ElBaradei, the vice president under the new interim government, he couldn't take it anymore and he quit.
EL HAWARY: Let's understand, the sit down was not disbursed by the military. It was disbursed by police force. And it was disbursed by the (INAUDIBLE) forces in the police force, not by the military at all. And we do believe that the police force are extremely brutal, and we have been fighting against the police and trying to inform the police for several years now.
But we have to remember one thing, the only person and the only authority that had the chance, a real chance of informing the police was Mohamed Morsy and Muslim brotherhood. But it was extremely clear that Mohamed Morsy, while they were in power, he did not want to reform the police force. He actually promoted all the corrupted leaders of the police force so he can use them against his political opponents. And he actually used the police and anti-right police against us, against any protesters and he was imprisoning a lot of activist. He was killing a lot of activists while with this supporters all with the police force. And now the police force doesn't have any kind of training or any civil disbursement of violence sit down that was happening with the Muslim brotherhood, had only the violence they were trained off and had only the tools that Mohamed Morsy allowed them to have before he was impeached. Mohamed Morsy was democratically impeached. It was -- it died democracy. We go down as a campaign as older opponents, we broad down because he went to the doorstep of Mohamed Morsy. We asked him himself to declare an early election but he refuse to hear the people.
BLITZER: Hold on, hold on, hold on --
BLITZER: Hold on a second. You say he was democratically impeached Morsy. A lot of people say this was -- he was removed by the military as part of a coup.
Let me bring Michael in. What do you say?
DORAN: Yes. I can't say how this can be called an impeachment. If words have meanings and there is now way to see that, this is a coup. And it is coup, plain and simple. And everything that Mr. Hawary just said has to make one stop and say where is this going to lead for Egypt or is it going to lead for the United States?
Obviously, the forces on the ground that are polarized right now in fighting each other, neither one of them is interested in a democratic future. Neither one of them is interested in any kind of compromise. It is going to up to people outside Egypt to define that path and to put pressure on the Egyptians to move toward it. The stakes for us --
BLITZER: Yes. Let me bring Robin in for a quick question. Remind the viewers, Robin, especially here in the United States, why the United States provides Egypt with a about a billion and a half dollars a year in various forms of economic and military assistance.
WRIGHT: Well, the vast majority goes to the military and it actually ends up a lot of the money back in the United States because it's for equipment and training of the Egyptian security forces. But this goes back to the Arab-Israeli conflict in the first peace process in the late 1970s and when Egypt began becoming one of the largest recipients of U.S. assistance.
The actual economic development is pretty small. But I think as the military cracks down even further, there are likely to be a lot of questions about the use of U.S. equipment, U.S. teargas, U.S. guns, tanks, armored personnel carriers, you know, other things that put into question what role or what culpability or responsibility the United States has in this and this will be a very tough, I think, in the fall when Congress comes back and has to debate the issue of aid.
I think administration will come under a lot of pressure from Republicans particular to reconsider how much aid, and particularly the kind of helicopters that have been used for security purposes and to try to control the crowds in Cairo.
BLITZER: Robin Wright, thanks very much. Fred Pleitgen, Ahmed El Hawary, Mike Doran, guys, thanks very much. Important conversation.
A lot more happening tonight, including late developments involving two little girls with their whole lives ahead of them and also a whole lot to lose. Vivian Wilson needs medical marijuana and the decision by the New jersey governor, Chris Christie, can pave the way. I will talk to her dad and our owned Doctor Sanjay Gupta.
Later, the case of little Veronica, a battle between her and her adopted parents and her birth father that's already been to the United States Supreme Court. Now, it could be at its final breaking point. The two sides squaring off today. We will bring you the latest.
BLITZER: Big, big decision for a sweet little girl.
Late this afternoon, the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, signaled he will make it easier for sick children like 2-year-old Vivian Wilson to use medical marijuana. Vivian has a rare and potentially deadly form of epilepsy. Regular prescription drugs have failed to control her seizures. Her parents believe that edible form of cannabis would help. And today, the governor, Governor Christie, said he will sign a bill permitting it with the condition that minors would need approval from a pediatrician and the psychiatrist with one doctor registered with New Jersey's medical marijuana program.
Digging deeper tonight with Vivian's father, Brian Wilson, and chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, who is acclaim documentary weed airs tonight, 10:00 p.m. eastern.
Mr. Wilson, you have been trying to convince Governor Christie to come around to your point of view for some time now. Today, he did indicate he would allow wider use of medical marijuana if the legislature were to make some changes to the bill, but you feel his decision does not go far enough. Tell us why.
BRIAN WILSON, VIVIAN'S FATHER: Well, right, Wolf. The -- one of the provisions was about the doctor's approvals. It makes the steps for the current law and what he is keeping as status quo, it makes heartache and headache for parents to go around, shopping around for doctors who understand anything about medical marijuana to get them to sign up for this.
So, you know, for parents, we are already going through a lot of trouble just with their children, they have to go through the extra step that you don't have to go through for any other medical condition -- or any other medication. Vivian already has her doctors. Our concern is for any other parents that might be needing this.
BLITZER: Tell us about how this decision in your opinion will affect your daughter. You're happy with some of the changes the governor's decision brings about, but because your daughter will be likely to get medical marijuana in a form that she can take, is that right?
WILSON: Correct. So, overall, you know, this was a victory for us but not all the patients in New Jersey. The lifting of the three- strain limits was a huge victory for us and for everybody in the state. The edibles was just really confounding decision on the edibles. We were not expecting that. I don't think anybody was expecting that. They are only allowing expanding edibles for children or for minors, that is. So you know, there is Jackson Storms up in New Jersey who is Vivian's exact same condition. He is 14-years-old. So, they are saying in four years he has going to have to smoke now. He can't really take a lozenges because he is on the same diet Vivian is. So, it is just really a bizarre thing. But a lift for Vivian, she is going to have what he needs.
BLITZER: Sanjay, I want to play some of the video we have of Brian's daughter and I want to warn viewers, it's hard to watch. In it Vivian is having a seizure.
Sanjay, will medical marijuana help stop these types of seizures?
DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there is a good chance that it could. I mean, look, I think both sides agree we need more research into this area, but that research has been hard to come by. It is -- you are dealing with a substance that is illegal at the federal level. It's hard to do research on adults, let alone children. But I'll tell you, Wolf, what Brian is describing with Vivian has something that is (INAUDIBLE) syndrome. It is a form of intractable epilepsy, just very hard to treat. Brian described Vivian has been on several different medications, I believe seven medications.
GUPTA: There is none of them really working. I have seen a similar situation and Brian knows as well with Charlotte Figi in Colorado when she was having some 300 seizures a week, and was able to benefit from medical marijuana, where she did not need any of the medication she was taking.
BLITZER: Based on the reporting you have done, Sanjay, for your documentary, what do you make of Mr. Wilson's concerns, particularly about getting a psychiatrist involved in prescribing this kind of marijuana? What do you say about that?
GUPTA: I will say that in July, from my understanding, Governor Christie, really, I thought was leaning very much the other way. He was saying he is going to let New Jersey become like Colorado or like California. So, I think, you know, this has been described as a victory of sorts in a way, and I think it is. When Brian talks about the fact there won't just be three strains in these dispensaries, that's actually very important, you know. When we talk about these strains, we talk about a specific sort of strain that can help Vivian, that has helped Charlotte that is high in CBD (INAUDIBLE) and low in THC which is the stuff that is psycho active. That's important. That strain is important. The fact it can come as an oil, instead of having to smoke it, obviously very important.
BLITZER: Brian Wilson, good luck to you and especially good luck to Vivian. Thanks very much. Sanjay, thanks as well.
GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.
WILSON: Thank you.
BLITZER: For more on this story, go to CNN.com. And a reminder Sanjay's remarkable documentary weed airs later tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.
Up next, where is Veronica? A judge ordered her biological father to bring her to court today so her adoptive parents could see her. He did not. A dramatic day of court hearings and high emotions in a heart-breaking custody battle.
Also ahead, the battle over New York City's Stop-and-Frisk policy took another turn today. We are going to tell you what happened.
BLITZER: "Crime and punishment."
In Oklahoma, a dramatic day over the battle of Veronica whose fourth birthday is now just weeks away. Her face and name is familiar to many of us by now and so is her story. Two families are fighting to raise this little girl. Both love her furiously. That much is very clear.
This custody fight is as complicated as it gets. It's spanning two states, two cultures and a federal law aimed at protecting Indian children. Veronica's biological dad is part Cherokee.
Today, after days of digging in and speaking only through their lawyers, the two families met face-to-face in a courtroom. Veronica was supposed to be in that courtroom, as well. A judge ordered her biological dad to have her there by 9:00 this morning but that did not happen.
Randi Kaye is joining us now.
Randi, we know almost all of the players were there today, but do we know what happened?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this was highly unusual and a very secretive hearing. So we don't know much. But as you said, the state ordered Dusten Brown to be there by 9:00 this morning. He was supposed to bring his wife and his parents and veronica. He was supposed to hand her over as the state ordered to the Capobiancos from South Carolina, her official adopted parents. Well, they all showed up, but no Veronica. He never brought Veronica.
Now, we don't know what happened at the hearing which lasted for hours because the judge said nobody could talk to the media afterwards. But I can tell you that Dusten Brown looked very sad after leaving the courtroom. His mother, Veronica's biological grandmother was visibly shaken by it. She was in tears, actually, when is they left. And then, adding to the drama, Wolf, were all the protesters outside. They were holding signs that the native American children aren't for sale and keep Veronica home. So, it was an interesting situation.
BLITZER: There was also, Randi, a second court hearing today in tribal court since Dusten Brown is a member of the Cherokee nation.
KAYE: Right. That hearing had actually been scheduled at the tribal court to determine guardianship, which was really a red flag for the Capobiancos because they see it as this case is over. They have officially adopted Veronica who needs to determine guardianships. So, they were very upset. That's why they got that emergency court order for that earlier hearing at the Cherokee County court. But they weren't even supposed to be at the tribal court hearing but were there because the county court set a mediation agreement. We don't know the details of it, but finally, Wolf, two sides are talking.
That hearing also lasted for hours. Dusten Brown left there looking very different, very stoked. He left there pumping his fists in the air holding these traditional native American sticks. When the Capobiancos left, they really looked worn out. I asked then, do you plan to see Veronica tonight and they didn't even answer me. And then, they were more protesters. They are making it very difficult for the Capobiancos yelling things at them like go back to South Carolina and Veronica doesn't belong to you. It is a pretty tense situation.
BLITZER: SO, what happens next?
KAYE: Simply put, it's unclear. I mean, right now this has somehow grown into a multi jurisdictional problem, a multi- jurisdictional fight. You have South Carolina and the Capobiancos who agree that the adoption is final and the Capobiancos should have this little girl. And then you have Dusten Brown and Oklahoma, he wants the Oklahoma courts to step in so that's another jurisdiction and he has a limited time to get them to act. And then, you have the Cherokee Nation because he is a member of the Cherokee Nation. They, somehow, think that they have a role in this and that they can get guardianship or it may be even control of Veronica.
So, everyone wants a piece of this little girl, no matter how the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, it's still growing and it is getting messier by the day, Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly is, Randi. Thanks very much for that report.
There is a lot more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks is here with the "360 bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the city of New York is appealing this week's federal ruling that banned the police department's Stop-and-Frisk searches unconstitutional. The judge said the policy unlawfully targets Blacks and Hispanics. The city officials say Stop-and-Frisk had cut crime.
In Denver, a gunman suspected of killing a woman and wounding another blew up a propane tank as police arrived on the scene. No one was injured in the explosion. Police shot and wounded the suspect.
In Moore, Oklahoma children went back to school for the first time since the devastating tornado back in May. The Ef-5 twister killed 24 people including seven students at one school. Two schools were completely levels, 24 others sustained severe damage in the twister and a storm that hit days later.
And yes, it is official, area 51 is real. A newly declassified documents the CIA has finally admitted the cold war era testing ground does exists. The document include of map but no mention of little green men or alien autopsy rooms. The expands of Nevada dessert, according to the CIA, was merely a testing ground for cold war aerial surveillance.
BLITZER: A lot of the conspiracy buffs will not believe that.
HENDRICKS: They won't believe it --
BLITZER: All right, Susan. Thanks very much. Coming up, Anderson's fascinating conversation with Oprah Winfrey about the use of the "n" word in her new movie. When she thinks it's appropriate, when it absolutely is not. That's next.
Also ahead, evidence found at the home of James DiMaggio that kidnapped 16-year-old Hannah Anderson including a handwritten note and handcuff box. More on what deputies found in the home, that is coming up, as well.
BLITZER: Tonight more of the big 360 interview. Anderson's candid conversation with Oprah Winfrey about race in America and the movie that brought her back to the big screen for the first time in 15 years. That movie opens in theaters today.
It's called Lee Daniels' "The Butler," and it's based on the true story of an African-American butler who served over three decades in the White House.
The story is told against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. And when Anderson sat down with Oprah and Forest Whitaker, the conversation turned to the state of civil rights in this country, past, present and future. Part of that conversation was about the meaning of words, the ones we use, and the ones we choose not to use. Look at this.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It's interesting. You talk about the N word in the film, it's used very early on. But what's fascinating, it's not just use the by the guys on the plantation, it's used by LBJ, which in those LBJ recordings, you hear him use it.
And in the film there is a scene where people in the kitchen are saying, see him on TV saying negro and somebody says like when did he start --
OPRAH WINFREY, ACTRESS: (Inaudible).
COOPER: When did he start to use that word? He always uses the N word?
So was that hard for you. I know you've spoken publicly about the importance of not using that word.
WINFREY: I think it depends on the context of the time in which you were raised. I was raised in the '60s and --
COOPER: (Inaudible) in Mississippi.
WINFREY: Yes, and I'm a -- not only that, a student of my history. And I've said this many times, it's not a part of who I am to use that word; I understand why other people do. It's impossible for me to do it because I know the history, and I know that for so many of my relatives, whom I don't know, who I don't know by name, people who I'm connected to, my ancestors, that was the last word they heard as they were being strung up by a tree.
That was the last sense of degradation that they experienced as, you know, some harm was caused to them. I just -- it's just not a part of the fabric of who I am.
So out of respect to those who've come before and the price that they paid to rid themselves of being relegated to that word, I just don't use it.
COOPER: I understand Lee Daniels said that he used to use the word, and you two had a discussion --
WINFREY: I said Lee, you ain't going to be using that word around me. Lee, no you're not going to use that word around me.
And I think it's used appropriately in the film. I mean, I think, you know, in the moment where the Clarence Williams character slaps the young butler and says don't ever use that word because that word is filled with hate, and my character -- this is really how I personally feel -- when my character is sitting on the sofa with that cad, Terence Howard, and says don't you call my son a nigger because he ain't a nigger, that's exactly how I feel about it. Don't you use that word because that's not who I am.
COOPER: Do you see the difference people that use the word with an A at the end of it as opposed to an R.
WINFREY: Oh, no. No. You're talking semantics. No. One of respect to who I am and where I've come from, I don't use it. Jay-Z and many others and I have agreed to disagree.
COOPER: Yes, when you hear it in songs --
WINFREY: Well, I'm not listening to those songs.
You don't think I'm going around listening to the songs where it's being played all the time. I'm not. I just personally am not.
FOREST WHITAKER, ACTOR: Very few other cultures have taken like this negative word you actually start to use it in the vernacular as a term of endearment. I challenge them for us to see that occurring in other cultures, and I think we need to, you know, to make ourselves strong and whole.
WINFREY: I can't imagine -- I don't know what the slang or the word was used by the Nazis towards the Jews -- I don't know what that word would have been -- but I can't imagine the Jewish culture now taking whatever that word is and dancing to it and making music about it. I just -- it would be -- it feels like it would be dishonorable to the people who made everything that you have possible.
COOPER: And to you it's the same thing.
WINFREY: Yes, and to me it's the same thing. But, you know, I've been --
COOPER: I would never -- obviously, I'm the whitest guy on the planet --
COOPER: I would never use it.
WINFREY: You couldn't use it.
COOPER: Yes, right.
WINFREY: You have no street credit whatsoever.
COOPER: I like to keep it real on my own street but, yes, no -- I mean, to me it's the equivalent of, you know, I'm obviously, gay; it's equivalent of somebody saying fag, that's not a word --
WINFREY: That you use.
COOPER: -- that I ever use in -- even among other gay people. The film, it really traces the movement for equality, civil rights for over -- I mean generations really.
WINFREY: Yes. Eight presidents.
COOPER: Where do you see that moving now? Do you -- there are some -- I talked to Julian Bond the other day, who sees the fight for gay and lesbian equality, for same-sex marriage as a part of the continuum of that.
Do you think it is?
WHITAKER: We have to look at any infringement, you know, whether it be religious issues, whether it be cultural, you know, profiling or anything of that nature, we have to fight against it so that we can become whole, so that we can release all our fears, so that we can become what we were suspected to be or hope to be from God.
This is -- this is our thing. Eliminate fear. Eliminate fear.
WINFREY: This discussion about racism will be over when we do exactly what Forest just said, when we eliminate the fear within ourselves and also about each other.
All the years of the "Oprah" show, one of the things that I understood very clearly, Anderson, was that when I would get criticism from the black community about, you need to be doing more shows about race and you need to be talking more about what black men -- I always knew that you did more to break down the barriers of racism if you were doing a show on parenting and you had a black father on who -- and you had videotape of him putting his child to bed and reading to his child.
I knew that you did more to help the gay movement by having gay parents on with their children, who were just like all the other parents, than doing a show about what it's like to be a gay parent. Because what people need to see, which is exactly what we do in this film, is that we really are more alike than we are different.
BLITZER: Fascinating conversation. Certainly a lot to discuss with my next guest. The BET editorial brand manager Michaela Angela Davis and Andre Perry, the founding dean of Urban Education at Davenport University, thanks to both of you for coming in.
Michaela, Oprah says the use of the N word depends on the context in the time in which you were raised, but you feel like this word is now a totally different word. Explain.
MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, BET EDITORIAL BRAND MANAGER: No, I feel like different generations see it as a totally different word, and I feel like this word particularly really articulates a generational divide when Rachel Jeantel made it very clear during the Trayvon Martin case how she and her friends felt about this word, was very different from those of us that have a historic and a different emotional attachment to the word.
So I see, I recognize this generation seeing this as two entirely different words, and I also recognize their perhaps sense of pride and some bit of pleasure in having power over a word that they know that they can say that white people can't say.
So there's -- it's a very complex -- it's -- no other word in our language has been this loaded, and we've seen black youth culture take words that were negative and turn them around like dope, ill, and gangsta are three of my favorite words to explain something good.
So we have this as a historic tradition of black youth culture really taking language and turning it on its head and making the generation before it clutch their pearls and making it cool, but no word has been like this word.
BLITZER: Andre, you've made a decision to personally not use the N word. So why is that important to you?
ANDRE PERRY, DAVENPORT UNIVERSITY: Because I formed an attachment and appreciation for the people who suffered under the systems that created that word. Now remember, the N word was -- was part of a system of oppression that included lynching, the fact that George -- segregation and a number of other devices used to oppress people.
And so when people don't form an attachment to the suffering, the very real suffering that people have experienced over decades, over centuries, the it shows a lack of appreciation for the history and culture that those words represent and the system that they represent.
So for me, it becomes very unlikely for anyone who understands the history of the word to use it so loosely, because it's not about using the word. We can use multiple words, but when you don't understand the etymology of words, you don't have a sense of its history, then you begin to use this loose language and you use language irresponsibly.
And that's why Oprah and people like myself and others cringe when we hear rap songs spew the word without a sense of history.
BLITZER: You do point out and you did during the debate about removing that word from the novel, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." You felt that keeping the word in the novel was, in fact, appropriate.
Why is that usage appropriate?
PERRY: Because it really allows people to see where the word came from, and the system of oppression that it came out of.
Certainly when I learned the N word, I read it in the context of "Huck Finn." We read the word aloud and it's said it 100-something, 200-something times in that piece of literature but it gives grounding of how black people are seen and how white people see blacks and it also gives you a sense of how you internalize those concepts.
The important piece here is particularly after the Zimmerman trial and Trayvon Martin tragedy is that when we talk about unconscious bias and racism that we understand the power of words. If we understand that words are vessels of culture and we truly want to change culture, we've got to change the words that carry it.
DAVIS: But I -- I think there is a real culture that the youth and hip-hop culture have, too. They have their own sense of history. They have their own sense of understanding, and I think what is missing is we're not having cross generational, cross cultural conversations with people that use the word and feel its sense of detachment or empowerment. We're looking down from privileged spaces often, not engaging them and becomes a class thing.
So when the Oprahs of the world or the Bill Cosbys of the world look down on a culture and say you shouldn't use that word, it's very difficult to take a word out of popular culture. It's very difficult to take a word out of the imagination of people.
What we do have to do is engage them and let them understand the context and then see what they do with it. But to just say that I read it in "Huck Finn" or that I read it in an educated or social space that the kids that use it or the generation that brought it back into public use aren't a part of that, we need to engage them.
And this is -- this word has created a divide and it could create a reason for us to really engage both cultures because it really has become a class divide, as well.
BLITZER: Michaela Angela Davis, Andre Perry, guys, thanks very much, a good discussion. Appreciate it.
Still ahead tonight, new information about the man who abducted 16-year-old Hannah Anderson after killing her mother and brother. What deputies found in his home. That's ahead. Also, a brewing tropical system could mean trouble for the Gulf Coast this weekend. We'll give you a live update. Chad Myers standing by in the Weather Center.
BLITZER: Florida got record-breaking rainfall in July and August. Things are looking a whole lot better. Another tropical system could bring even more heavy rain in the Gulf Coast this weekend.
Chad Myers is joining us now from the CNN Weather Center with the latest.
What is going on, Chad?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You can ask anybody in the Deep South about this summer, it has been wet. There has been no sunshine. My tomatoes never grew because they never saw sunshine. It's been a swamp down here. Some spots picking up twice as much rain as they should have for the summer so far.
More rain south of Atlanta into North Florida for tonight. For the next couple days, we have a stalled front across the South. And that means like a stationary front, like a stationary bike, things won't move. Where it starts to rain, it's going to rain for days.
Even tonight, there could be 4 inches of rain over from west of Tallahassee to Pensacola. Over the next five days, this red and pink, that's 6 to 10 inches of rainfall just from this moisture coming off the Gulf of Mexico and that's not even including the tropical system that you were talking about.
BLITZER: Well, what about this tropical potential? What is going on there?
MYERS: Yes, it doesn't have a name. If it gets a name over the weekend, it will be Fernand because Felix was used up six years ago and retired. That's where Fernand came from. It's from the west now of the Yucatan Peninsula. The computer models are all over the place from New Orleans back to Mexico.
Mexico is the best guess, at least for right now and it's the best possible scenario because it doesn't stay in the water very long.
My concern with this, Wolf, is if this stays in the Gulf of Mexico for 48 hours, it could be a big storm and then you roll that wind over places that are going to get 6 to 10 inches of rain, these trees will be falling over like dominos.
BLITZER: What a system. OK. Chad, thanks very much for that.
Susan Hendricks, once again she is back with the 360 bulletin. Susan?
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN HOST: Wolf, letters from kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson to her abductor, James DiMaggio, were found at his burned home. According to an affidavit obtained by our affiliate, KFMB. Contents of the letters were not revealed in the document. Now authorities also seized ammunition, a gas can, arson, wire and much more from that home.
The Senate Judiciary Committee says it will hold a hearing on new revelations about privacy breaches by the National Security Agency. New documents linked by Edward Snowden and published in "The Washington Post" show the agency broke privacy rules thousands of times each year since 2008.
A second former Steubenville, Ohio, football player convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl is now a sex offender. Malik Richmond must report to his local sheriff's office every six months for the next 20 years. Trenton Mayes (ph) was told to do the same back in June.
Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: All right, Susan. Thank you.
Coming up, have you ever heard a lion bark? Anderson is next. He's got "The RidicuList."
BLITZER: Have you heard the one about the lion at the zoo? It's "RidicuList" time. Here is Anderson.
COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight we're adding the lion exhibit at a zoo in China. Here it is. Check out the lion enclosure of this zoo. And there he is, the majestic animal himself, the African lion, the king of the jungle known for his clamorous roar, which someone actually managed to capture on video.
Yes, it's a dog.
Apparently the lion that's usually in that enclosure was off at a breeding center getting a little something, something, and the people who run the zoo thought maybe no one would notice if they just replaced it with a Tibetan mastiff.
There was also a dog in a wolf pen and a fox in the leopard exhibit. Oh, and just to weigh comparison, African lion, Tibetan mastiff. Now I know it's hard to tell the difference until one licks your face and the other one rips it right off.
Listen, if you're going to try to pass off a dog as a lion you could do worse than the Tibetan mastiff but you could also do better. Remember back in January when a lot of people were calling 9-1-1 about a baby lion on the loose in Norfolk, Virginia?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Norfolk 9-1-1, where is your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, I'd like to report a lion sighting. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I just saw an animal that looked like a small lion, had the mane and everything --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I just saw a baby lion in Collier Avenue and 50th Street.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this is a lion that ran across the street, a baby lion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh. OK, where -- ?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was about the size of a Labrador retriever.
COOPER: Now all those calls were in regards to what turned out to be a labradoodle, a labradoodle named Charles the Monarch, Man's Best King of the Jungle. You have to admit he's awfully lionesque with that haircut, even more so than the Tibetan mastiff, I would say.
But this all begs the question, if you are going to try to pass off a parking animal as a lion, why not at least use something from the feline family?
That, by the way, is a cat that barks until it notices it's being videotaped. That's right, it is finally happening, the animals are taking over. Get ready everyone. It is just beginning.
The next time your cat meows don't fall for it. And the next time you go to the zoo, remember you can't always trust the animals are who the signs say they are. They could be lion right to your face. Get it? Lion to your face....
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I got it. Anderson, thank you. Thanks very much.
That does it for this edition of 360. Tune in one hour from now, 10:00 pm Eastern for "Weed;" Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports.
Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer.
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