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First of All with Victor Blackwell

Sheriff Race In Caddo Parish, Louisiana Decided By One Vote; Biden-Harris Campaign Launches Ads Targeting Black Community; Biden Campaign And Touts Economic Message To Black Voters; U.S. Defies Appeals To Back U.N. Resolution For Urgent Gaza Ceasefire; College Board Releases Revised Course Material After Backlash; Rules Of Menthol Cigarettes Delayed Due To Politics; Minorities Expect and Prepare for Unfair Health Care. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired December 09, 2023 - 08:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, first of all, it is refreshing that a political campaign's outreach to young black men is about something other than prison and policing. The Biden-Harris campaign launched a new ad focused on black men and the economy. But a new poll shows that more than any other group young black voters are less certain they'll vote in November than they were this time four years ago. So today, why? Two insiders tell us what works to turn that around. Plus white candidate in Louisiana who won by a single vote to be Caddo Parish's first Black sheriff will have to run again after a Judge voided his victory. That candidate Henry Whitehorn is with us and civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis joins us to explain why he supports the delay in banning menthol cigarettes despite the health concerns, his warning about political backlash from black voters. I'm Victor Blackwell. Let's start the show.

We begin this morning with the new appeal from the Biden-Harris campaign aimed at young black men. A new CNN poll shows Biden's approval rating is 72 percent among Democrats, 63 percent among self- described Liberals, but only 47 percent of Black Americans approve of his job performance. Black voters in several polls say Biden's key economic policies have not helped them. Now this new ad airing in battleground states looks to flip that narrative.


DARREN RILEY, ENTREPRENUER: My community is usually last on the list and receive any type of funding. When Joe Biden started passing laws like the Infrastructure Plan and Inflation Reduction Act that was really huge for us. The policies and things that he puts in place are striving to make a difference for things that matter, how to put food on the table for our kids and our families, how to get the next job, how to skill up. Joe Biden is actually doing stuff that helps everyday people. President Joe Biden's got our backs because he's not only thing about our President but also our future.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLACKWELL: Is that message an effective one? Let's talk about this now

with Cameron Trimble. He was the Biden-Harris campaign's Director of African-American paid media in 2020. And Tharon Johnson is a strategist and former South Regional Director for the 2012 Obama-Biden campaign.

Gentlemen, you are the right people with whom to have this conversation. Thank you for being with me. And Theron, I want to start with you with just the numbers and as it relates to young Black people and the intention to vote. The latest Harvard Institute of Politics poll shows that there's been a big drop off in those who have intentions to vote.

In fall of 2019, it was 50 percent who said they will definitely vote. That's now down to 38 percent. If -- if the Biden team starts at a 12- point deficit, should this have started focusing on young black voters, young black men earlier?

THARON JOHNSON, FMR. SOUTH REGIONAL DIRECTOR, OBAMA 2012 CAMPAIGN: Well, the -- if you look going on at the Biden-Harris administration, if you look at the policies, they have been focused directly on people of color, particularly young black men and Hispanic men and women as well. But the thing that is really encouraging to me, Victor, is that this is an unprecedented investment of $25 million, and very early on in a campaign with little less than a year out to specifically focus on this constituency group. And so while the numbers are still early, I think those numbers will get better. Polling this early really doesn't necessarily dictate what the outcome would be. But I know that if you look at the Biden record of success, particularly around the economy, encouraging black men to basically give them the resources they need to provide for their families, the good things that they've done around public safety, but also embracing entrepreneurship.

I mean, if you look at the level of small businesses, unprecedented numbers of record high of new small businesses that have been created by Black and Latino-led businesses, I think that is something that is going to really resonate with these voters. But look, I believe this. Even if these polls that you just quoted Victor wasn't out, the Biden- Harris campaign was going to make this investment anyway. But the one thing that we can't leave this show and not sort of highlight is that how early it is, and it's in key battleground states that's going to be a part of that Biden winning coalition.

BLACKWELL: All right. I want to come back to as you talked about the content, the economic message, because as I said at the top, it's refreshing that the first words out of a campaign to Black man is not about policing or prison reform. It's about growing small businesses. Cameron, let me come to you because this is your wheelhouse reaching Black voters. The effectiveness of a television ad of this style of ad and is this the right approach for the reelection campaign?


CAMERON TRIMBLE, FORMER DIR. OF AMERICAN PAID MEDIA, 2020 BIDEN-HARRIS CAMPAIGN: Thank you, Victor. Yes. Yes, this -- ads like this are great because Black people I'm definitely young Black men have had legitimate questions about what the administration has done with rising goods and prices and student loan interest rates and -- and so many things really impeding on the wallet. And young Black people are really wanting to make sure they have the same opportunities their parents and grandparents had. But ads like this are effective not only on TV but also really on digital because black people, we're all over the internet. And this is really -- this is a really good first step in investment in really getting that message out there early and often.

BLACKWELL: And you know what I found interesting, you told Cameron, one of my producers, and this is going to stick with me, as it relates to Black voters. We are not a monolith. But we are an algorithm, explain, that.

TRIMBLE: Algorithm. Yes, yes, black people are not a monolith. But we are an algorithm. There's a way to really reach us, surround sound across the Internet, across social media, to really break into the feed, and to really break into the feed. And I think the Biden campaign by launching this not just on TV but across digital platforms, across social media. And again, getting out there early, often, and really showing up.

So what -- so when people go online, when they go on social media, wherever they have that surround sound, and really are getting this message, because that's really the -- the problem the administration has had is really breaking through. So people can actually receive here and receive the message and know what's -- know what the President and Vice President had done for them.

BLACKWELL: And Tharon, let me go back to this poll from Harvard Institute of Politics, where they say -- they show that in this poll among likely voters, Biden's advantage over Trump is exactly where exit polls show that it ended up in 2020 -- 20, four points ahead of former President Trump. However, when the independents, Cornel West and RFK, Jr. are added, even Joe Manchin, who's not in the race, that league is cut by a third down to 16. So winning the youth vote is not enough. He's got to win it big. Your concerns about the -- the presence of these independents. Tharon?

JOHNSON: Well, if you look at the last few elections that we have for President of the United States of America, each candidate, he or she put together a broad coalition. But the one consistent thing that we've seen within the Democratic Party is that young voters are an essential part of their success. And so those numbers you just quoted, I believe that Joe Biden will basically get back to those numbers and possibly exceed them because right now, we're not in sort of a head- to-head race between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and whoever the Republican Presidential nominee and vice president nominee will be.

However, Victor, the independence, it gives the voters an opportunity to look at a another candidate. Now would those independents be able to make the ballot and will they be on the ballot in November of next year? Maybe, maybe not. But ultimately, I believe that once it sort of becomes a head-to-head match-up between President Joe Biden and whoever the Republican nominee will be a possibly a third party candidates or independent, I think the voters will basically pay more attention to those candidates. And that's where the Biden campaign record of success will shine.

BLACKWELL: I will say, though that RFK Jr., has shown some double- digit strength in these early polls that the independents in 2020, even going back to 2016 did not show and it's holding that double- digit strength.

Cameron, let me come to you on more than the ads and showing up. Your thoughts on Biden-Harris campaign showing up in this community, are you seeing what you did or did not see in -- in 2020? Are they coming in and making the case in person?

TRIMBLE: Yes, I think in 2020, obviously, we were all locked into place -- locked in place due to the pandemic. And the only way we really could communicate was through visual and audio. But the President and Vice President have really been going around the country showing up in communities continuing to show up there and then with ads like this to layer on top of that. So when they see the President and they see the Vice President in those communities, they also are then hit and seeing this on TV, hearing this on radio seeing this on social media feed. And then also that message is being carried not just by the President and the Vice President, by people -- by everyday people who are been affected and who've -- who've seen the benefits of some of their policies, both in their lives and in their communities.

BLACKWELL: All right, Cameron and Theron, thank you both.

TRIMBLE: Thank you.


BLACKWELL: So this is the 2023 race that proved every vote counts. You might have heard about this one. This is the Sheriff's race in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Henry Whitehorn, former Shreveport police chief defeated his opponent John Nicholson in a runoff by one vote as you would expect in a race that close there was a recount, and after a few additional votes for each, that margin held, one vote win for Whitehorn. The count was certified according to CNN affiliate KTBS.


Well, Caddo Parish had elected its first Black Sheriff, but Whitehorn opponent claim that some of those votes were illegally cast, and he asked to be declared the winner or hold the new election, a do-over. Well this week, a Judge agreed, and Henry Whitehorn's victory has now been thrown out.

On Facebook, Nicholson's campaign celebrated this decision saying, "The Court's ruling is a victory for election integrity, and we should be -- should all be confident that in March voters of Caddo Parish will make their voices heard definitively on who should be the next Sheriff of our Parish." Joining me now is Caddo Parish Sheriff Candidate Henry Whitehorn. Sir, I don't know whether to call you candidate or sheriff-elect, because this is all over the place. Thank you for joining me this morning.

Let me start here with this. The -- your opponent, John Nicholson, and his attorneys and the judge agree that the two people voted twice, five absentee mail-in ballots should not have been counted, did not comply with the law, claims about missing signatures for invalid votes, were the case by interdicted persons. Do you dispute the claim that the votes were illegal or is your concern that this vote was certified and it's done regardless of what happened before certification?

HENRY WHITEHORN, CANDIDATE FOR SHERIFF IN CADDO PARISH, LOUISIANA: As the -- good morning. We won the election. We won the election not once, but twice, actually and it's been certified. So we're confident that the election integrity was in place, the hard-working people at the registrar's office, the clerk of court, the election supervisors certified the election. My opponent asked for the recount that happened, and I won by one vote. You know, I have a team of attorneys that's working to ensure that the Court process is fair as well. But that's going to play out in his own time.

Right now, I'm still looking forward to serving the people of Caddo Parish as the top law and chief law enforcement officer in Parish.

BLACKELL: And here's what the -- the law that was cited by the judge, and let's put up on the screen if we have it. If the trial judge and an action contesting an election determines that it is possible to determine the results of an election or impossible I should say, or the number of unqualified voters who were allowed to vote by the election officials was sufficient to change the result of the election, if they had not been allowed to vote. The Judge may render a final judgment declaring the election void and ordering a new primary or general election for all candidates. So that's the law that allows this. I wonder if you'd been on the other side of a single vote margin and you'd lost this by one vote. And there was evidence that people voted twice or there were legal votes, would you have sued to start over?

WHITEHORN: No, I would have not sued during this election process. I trust the integrity of the election process and it was fair and we want the election, fair and square. And my opponent only started to challenge this election after he realized it (inaudible). And so I wouldn't have challenged it myself because I know the -- the process works.

BLACKWELL: You in your statement responding to the Judge's ruling to hold another runoff, you said this, it seems as though the rules of the game are different depending on who the players are. What do you mean by that?

WHITEHORN: You know, I've always been told that one vote whether you win, the -- the person with the most votes whether it's by one vote or thousand votes. And so one and -- and the margin was one vote. But that has always been the case. All of a sudden, the rules are changing because it favors someone that doesn't fit -- fit that particular mold.

And so now we're having to go back through this process again and try to generate the -- the motivation to continue -- to have people come out and vote. And -- and, you know, everybody's talking about these elections and why they -- it doesn't matter if they vote, one vote does matter and we proved that in this election. And so we're encouraging folks to -- to stay with that and to come out if there's a new election. But I have faith in the court system as well and I don't know if is even get to another election.


BLACKWELL: So -- so let me ask you this. If these votes, let's say two because the two, one is enough to flip this result, they were cast illegally. Are you comfortable, satisfied with a win that includes those illegal votes?

WHITEHORN: Well, let me say this, the -- the record show that those two votes probably went to my opponent. Those were two Republicans that voted. One of those individuals we know was the former chairman of the -- the local Republican Party here in Caddo parish and-- and so we know who the voters are. So chances of them voting for me is slim to none.

BLACKWELL: All right. CNN cannot confirm that specific detail. You'll be back in court on Monday. Henry Whitehorn, we will continue to follow this election. Thank you so much for your time this morning.

WHITEHORN: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up a closer look at a relatively small group of voters that could have some serious influence on the 2024 race and they got some new attention this week at the White House, Native American voters. Plus what do you wear to your doctor's appointments? If you've never thought about it here who says that they must dress for respect.



BLACKWELL: A group that we don't discuss nearly often enough in the context of voting power is Native Americans. Now one might expect that considering they're just 1.3 percent of the U.S. population. However, it's where these voters are and the influence they could have on swing state outcomes that's especially relevant in this cycle. The state of Arizona has the second-highest population of Native Americans in the country. And remember, in 2020, President Biden's margin of victory, there was fewer than 11,000 votes.

On just the Hopi and Navajo reservations in Arizona, more than 60,000 votes were cast, according to the Native American Rights Fund. So I got my attention this week when President Biden hosted a tribal nation Summit. He rolled out a series of new initiatives. He calls them a new era of relationship after quote, years of neglect by my predecessor.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's hard work to heal the wrongs of the past and change the course, and move forward. But the actions we're taking today are key steps into that new era of tribal sovereignty and self-determination. A new era are grounded in dignity and respect. It recognizes your fundamental rights to govern and grow on your own terms. That's what this summit is all about.


BLACKWELL: Well, now, will this new relationship be reflected in a new focus on these voters, not just to turn out the indigenous vote but to ensure that they have access to the vote. My next guest says that both political parties have been negligent Jacqueline De Leon is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Native American Rights Fund. She is also an enrolled member of the Isleta Pueblo tribe.

Jacqueline, thank you so much for being with us. You know, I had not really had an appreciation for the challenges for Native Americans accessing the polls until to be transparent, I read a piece that you were part of for NPR, in which you describe the hours it takes some time for Native Americans to get to early voting locations. Just for people who aren't aware, what are the challenges, the access battles that Native Americans are fighting?

JACQUELINE DE LEON, SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY, NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS FUND: Well, thank you so much. You know, the Native American Rights Fund conducted a series of field hearings across Indian country, where we asked the question, why is it so difficult to vote? And we got a remarkably consistent answer across Indian country. And the truth is, is there are structural barriers that make it more difficult for our communities to vote.

Unfortunately, because of the poor roads, lack of infrastructure, such as lack of residential addresses, the lack of mail delivery directly to homes. But Native Americans have just more difficulty getting to the polls. And those polls, unfortunately, are often located off- reservation. And Native Americans have to travel to get to those polling locations and registration opportunities in a lot of instances. And that travel isn't small.

I think it would be surprising to most Americans that Native Americans sometimes have to travel upwards of 50 miles to get to a polling place, to get to a registration opportunity. Anytime you have to travel those distances, it costs a lot of money. And so you'd have to take a car if you have one. You have to travel poor roads in the wintertime. And you have to have a vehicle that can traverse those distances. And unfortunately, across Indian country, we have of abject poverty that makes it more difficult to vote. And so these structural barriers all keep Native Americans from voting.

BLACKWELL: Is it clear -- I mean, we've talked about voter suppression in the black community in the Latino and Hispanic community on this show. Is it clear why politically there would be any advantage to keeping the -- the access to the -- to the ballot from these -- these native communities?

DE LEON: Native Americans vote for Republicans and Democrats across the country. However, Native Americans have also flexed their political power and shown preference for candidates across the country and what we see is when Native Americans flex their political power, there's a corresponding backlash. So for example, in a place like North Dakota, Native Americans elected or responded -- you know, were held responsible for electing then Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

In the very next legislative session, North Dakota passed a voter ID law that required addresses on IDs when they knew that Native Americans in North Dakota, some of them didn't have addresses on their home, essentially, a literacy test make it impossible for Native Americans there to cast their ballot.

And I think that we've seen that Native Americans have that power across the country in key states, all across the country.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Well, you certainly have it now in Arizona. I should also say the numbers in Michigan, as close as these states are. Jacqueline De Leon with the Native American Rights Fund, thank you so much for just letting us kind of in on some of the challenges that our Native American brothers and sisters are fighting as it takes this effort to get to the ballot box. Thanks so much.

Well, after backlash from conservatives like Florida's Governor, there are now new revisions to an AP African-American studies course. We'll walk you through what is in and what is out. Plus, we've got an update on the men charged after that Brawl involving a Black riverboat captain in Montgomery, Alabama. Stay with us.



BLACKWELL: The United States is facing criticism this morning for vetoing a U.N. ceasefire resolution in Gaza. The vote was brought to the U.N. Security Council during the growing concern about the massive civilian death toll there.

The resolution called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire unconditional release of all hostages and ensuring humanitarian access to Gaza. The U.S. was the only country to vote against the resolution and faced immediate backlash from Palestinian officials and human rights organizations.

A bipartisan group of more than 70 lawmakers is demanding the removal or resignation of the presidents of some of the country's top universities. The presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and MIT have been under intense scrutiny since a congressional hearing, where they said that calls for genocide of Jewish people did not explicitly violate rules against harassment and bullying.

Harvard's Claudine Gay and Penn's Liz Magill have both since clarified their remarks Magill said that she should have been more forceful in her condemnation of hate speech. And Gay said that she was sorry.

Two men involved in a now viral bra on the riverfront dock in Montgomery, Alabama. They pleaded guilty to harassment charges. They must complete a year of probation and 100 hours of community service. A warning the video you're about to see that maybe you've seen before is disturbing.

This fight made national news in Augusta -- in August rather, I should say, when a cruise ship tried to dock but found a private boat in its space. Allen Todd and Zachary Shipman and other they were in a private boat. They started fighting the cruise ship captain when he confronted them about moving and then the fight grew largely broke down along racial lines.

There was an update now on the Advanced Placement African American studies course you remember this one. This was the pilot version that got a lot of attention early this year, and especially after Ron DeSantis criticized the curriculum, and then it was stripped down.

Well, the College Board says that was unrelated. But now there's a new framework. There are four major units. Origins of the African diaspora, freedom, enslavement and resistance, the practice of freedom and movements and debates.

Now, high school as well. So see more images of the Tulsa race massacre, maps of redlining, sections on African Americans like the Tuskegee airmen who fought in World War II. But there's important material still left out that Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis especially did not like.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): The College Board was the one that in a black studies course put queer theory in, not us. They did that. They were the ones that put in intersectionality. They put in other types of Neo Marxism into the proposed syllabus.


BLACKWELL: Well, the Miami Herald reviewed the new framework and found that the College Board decided to exclude topics on the black queer experience topic that DeSantis has singled out in his criticism and only include the Black Lives Matter movement and the reparations debate as optional, meaning they will not be required and they will not be included on the final exam.

The lead author of the framework says the course is a vibrant introduction to a dynamic field that offers a broader perspective. The College Board which oversees the course and test says an estimated 13,000 students across the country are currently enrolled in a pilot version of the course it is expected to launch in the fall.

Well, critics say politics is behind a delay in the decision to ban a cigarette flavor popular with black smokers. Next, civil rights leader Benjamin Chavis joins me to explain why he agrees with holding off despite the health concerns.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR JUSTIN BIBB, CLEVELAND, OHIO: We must urgently focus on how menthol cigarettes really affects marginalized communities of color.

MAYOR STEVEN REED, MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA: They are mayors across the country that and support.

MAYOR HILLARY SCHIEVE, RENO, NEVADA: We're all together. We're all united on this.

MAYOR MICHAEL COLEMAN, COLUMBUS, OHIO: No longer about the profits of big tobacco. It's about people's lives.

MAYOR VICTORIA WOODARDS, TACOMA, WASHINGTON: This should clearly signal to the Biden-Harris administration, that we've got your back and we want this stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So if you're committed to racial equity, bad mental.


BLACKWELL: So those are current and former mayor's working with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids pushing the Biden administration to end the delay in banning menthol flavored cigarettes. Federal rules were originally planned to be finalized by August of this year than the end of the year than January. Now, it's not expected until March at the earliest.

And some say the delay is not regulatory but political. And here's why. Because a study in 2020 found that while 43 percent of all smokers smoked menthols, more than 83 percent of black smokers did, only 30 percent of white smokers.

Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr. supports the delay. He's a civil rights leader, former CEO of the NAACP, and President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Dr. Chavis, thank you for being with us. Let's start here.

You're calling for not just a few months but maybe a years long delay. Why?


DR. BENJAMIN CHAVIS JR., PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION: Thank you, Victor. It's always good to be with you. On behalf of the National Newspaper pubs Association, we support the fact that the Biden administration has decided to pause the FDA ban on smoking or extra advantage on selling menthol cigarettes, because we believe this is going to have negative consequences. Even if the consequences are unintended. They're going to have negative consequences in the black community.

For my long years in the civil rights movement, I'm against all forms of racial targeting, all forms of racial profiling. In your clip that you just showed, it shows that disproportionately blacks and Hispanics who smoke prefer to smoke menthol cigarettes. So, if you want to reduce smoking, and harm from smoking, you do that

through education, not to bans, bans do not work. So, one of the things that the Biden administration don't understand, let's put a pause. Let's get more facts. And we call for a racial impact study. The FDA did not do an impact -- a racial impact study on the consequences of this new proposal.

BLACWELL: Well, several things I'll say here, you say that you're against racial targeting. The supporters of the ban would say that it is the tobacco companies that have targeted black communities with their advertising, with their money and trying to get young smokers by adding this menthol flavor to get more black people to smoke cigarettes.

In 2009 all other flavors were banned, except for menthol. Not suggesting a conspiracy, but is the one that is preferred by black people. So, I'll add that.

You said negative impacts. I want to read something you told The Washington Post where you said the ill-advised timing of an FDA ban on menthol cigarettes will have a negative impact on how black Americans vote in 2024. Are you suggesting that they should hold off to help them win the election not to save lives in the black community?

CHAVIS: No, obviously, we want to save lives in the black community from health disparities, but we also want to save lives in the black community from police brutality, from disproportionate disparate impact. We don't want another Eric Garner, who was choked to death in New York City by police to people because he was selling loose cigarettes.

If you put this ban is not the answer. We need more education. We certainly need more facilities to get people to have harm reduction from smoking, but to target the cigarettes that the people who smoke from African American Latino communities to target that segment is going to cause disparity. And I don't, you know, so I understand goop on the other side. But look, both sides agree that we should pause this now to get more facts.

BLACKWELL: Well, both sides do not agree on that. Now, I'll read to you from the Congressional Black Caucus who supports the ban on the production of menthol cigarettes, they say that the rule would address as it would manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers and retailers, quote, these proposed regulations do not include a prohibit -- prohibition on individual consumer possession or use.

And those who are on the side of the band say that this is the line of the tobacco companies that there would be some greater interaction with law enforcement because simply holding smoking or buying it would not be banned. It's the production and supply side that would be. To that, you say what?

CHAVIS: To that and say, that's not quite accurate, Victor, is this about the selling of the cigarettes? Yes, production of it, but those who sell it with this ban would be illegal. And if you do something illegal in America, the police arrive, just going to cause an illicit underground market, if you put this band in place.

I agree, I don't smoke. But I want to see harm reduction done in an appropriate way, not in a way that's racially targeting blacks and Latinos.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about the money here. Executive Director of the Center for Black Health and Equity said the tobacco industry has paid some black spokespersons in the community to advocate for delay in this finalizing the rule to ban menthol flavor.

You represent about 200 newspapers that serve as the black community, RJ Reynolds advertisers in these newspapers, how much if at all does their advertising support guide or influence your decision to support the delay in the ban?

CHAVIS: Very good question. I represent 250 African American newspapers and Reynolds in the past have probably advertised in less than 10 percent of those papers. So they're advertising in a small group of parents has no way influence what we take on a position.


In the black press, we defend the overall interests of the black community. We report the news but we are an advocate also for civil rights. So an advocate for racial justice. And we again oppose. This is like stop and frisk. You remember the victim when they passed their crime bill in 1994 everybody was clamoring for it, including some people in the Congressional Black Caucus. Look what happened. It had an unintended devastating consequence on black and brown communities.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I will also say as the -- those who support the ban say that these cigarettes have a devastating impact on the black and brown communities. Dr. Benjamin Chavis --

CHAVIS: Agree. The question is what to do about it.

BLACKWELL: I get it. I get it. Thank you, sir. I appreciate the engagement.

So we should expect a medical care when we're visiting the doctor but a new survey finds that when people of color, seek health care, a lot of people are preparing for discrimination and insults and being dismissed. That conversation is next.



BLACKWELL: A new wide-ranging survey on how racism and discrimination affect American Life finds that minorities in this country expect to face discrimination when they seek health care. They not only expect it, they prepare for it.

KFF, a nonprofit group focused on health care policy says that many Hispanic Black, Asian and American Indian and Alaskan Native adults in the U.S. believe they must modify both their mindset and the way they look to stave off potential mistreatment during health care visits.

60 percent of black people surveyed, 52 percent of American Indian and Native Alaskans, 51 percent of Hispanics, 42 percent of Asian said that they prepare to hear insults, or they feel that they have to take care of extra care with their appearance in order to be treated fairly, at least some of the time.

Joining me now to talk about this is Samantha Artiga, KFF's Director of Racial Equity and Health Policy. Samantha, thank you for being with me. This implicit bias does not come as a surprise to some people. But to those who have are new to this. Explain what you've learned about the different ways that whites and minorities in this country say that they experience healthcare differently.

SAMANTHA ARTIGA, VP AND DIRECTOR, RACIAL EQUITY AND HEALTH POLICY PROGRAM, KFF: So overall, I think the survey findings really highlight how persistent and prevalent racism and discrimination remain in the U.S. today, and how those experiences extend into health care affecting people's experiences, seeking health care, as well as ultimately their health and wellbeing.

As you mentioned, our survey findings, highlight how experiences with racism begin to affect people's experiences, even before they get to the doctor's office with them taking steps to prepare for these visits, concerned about facing insults from a broader or office staff, and also being extra careful about their appearance in order to be treated fairly.

But even when folks get into the health care doctor's office, we see them take being treated unfairly, more frequently due to their race and ethnicity, and also saying that they have more certain negative experiences in the doctor's office because of their race and ethnicity.

So things like a health care provider not taking their concerns seriously not answering a question or responding to a request, blaming them for a health issue, or not prescribing pain medication that they thought they needed.

BLACKWELL: You know, what's interesting, I found in this survey is that the minority respondents didn't think that it would be any better if the health care providers shared their race or ethnicity. So this is not a white provider, black patient. It is the medical services industry. It is the medical profession. And the patient as it relates to minorities. Explain that a bit more.

ARTIGA: Well, it's interesting, even though survey respondents said that they didn't think they would get better care if they had a health care provider who looked like them. What we actually see in the survey findings is that when adults of color, have more visits with a health care provider who shares their racial and ethnic background, they report having more frequent positive, respectful interactions with their health care provider.

So the survey findings actually do point to some potential opportunities and benefits from increasing efforts to improve the diversity of the healthcare workforce. But we also see that the survey findings are pointing wildly to the importance of continued training and education programs to root out the bias and discrimination that are reflected in the survey.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and I think we take that finding and mirror that against what we see in some states, specifically in Florida with Governor Ron DeSantis, who defunded DEI, the Diversity and Equity and Inclusion programs aimed at schools at learning institutions, defunding the implicit bias training at these places, so that any plan any effort to lessen at least what we're seeing through this survey, in some states is really facing some major challenges.

ARTIGA: Overall, I think the survey findings really point to the importance of continued action to address racism and discrimination, particularly in health care. They show that racism and discrimination are not just a social issue, they are a health issue, and beyond the findings reflected in terms of impacts on people's experiences seeking healthcare.

They also highlight the strong link between discrimination and health and well-being so people who report more experiences with discrimination in their daily life. If which remains frequent are more likely to report certain negative health impacts like increased feelings of anxiety depression and loneliness.


So there are health impacts also tied to these experiences with discrimination.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but more than experience and discomfort, it's about outcomes for these communities as well. Samantha Artiga with KFF. Thank you so much.

ARTIGA: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: So what's the atomic mass of the element Tennessine? I don't know. I don't even know if I pronounced that the right way. But there's a six-year-old genius who does and that's next.



BLACKWELL: What were you up to when you were six years old playing with toys, yes, painting, drawing. Sure.