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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
How Kids See Race; Assigning Blame in BP Oil Disaster; New Terrorism Threats
Aired May 20, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight: After weeks of agreeing with BP about the size of the oil leak and even saying it's not important to know, tonight, the federal government says they will investigate. But how come it took them so long? And, also, the EPA now demanding less toxic dispersants be used. You just heard the guy from BP on Larry King calling them basically like soap bubbles. They're toxic. How come it took the EPA so long?
We're "Keeping Them Honest," BP, the EPA, the Interior Department and the Obama White House, a lot of folks who need to be held accountable right now.
James Carville, Doug Brinkley join us in a moment.
More breaking news also tonight. We're still working to flesh this one out: late word of new threats against Americans here at home and overseas. The Pakistani Taliban, believed responsible for the Times Square attempt, could be trying again.
Also tonight: Do you remember the boy who fled to avoid cancer treatment because of his parents' religious beliefs, then came home and was treated and survived? Well, now there's a new chapter involving his dad, and it is a shocker.
And, later, how kids see race -- we will talk with singer/activist John Legend about race, skin color and whether people can really ever be colorblind.
As we said, the breaking news tonight, late word that the federal government is putting a team together to finally, finally do what neither they nor BP has tried to do for about three weeks now, actually measure the flow of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico from that broken pipe.
All along, they have been saying doesn't matter how much oil is actually leaking. Now they're admitting it does. All along, BP, the EPA, NOAA have been saying 5,000 barrels a day were leaking. Independent experts say it could be up to 70,000 barrels.
Well, today, BP said they were able to siphon 5,000 barrels of oil directly from the leak -- the leak. But if you look at the live picture -- you can see it, I can see it -- plenty of oil is still pouring into the Gulf. So, if there's only 5,000 barrels leaking a day, and they're siphoning 5,000 barrels, how come there's still oil pouring out? Clearly, they have been underestimating this thing. This new government team's going to try and determine how much oil is actually leaking. It took BP 23 days to release a 30-second clip of video of this leak. Today, for the first time, we got these live images, these live feeds. But these images were provided by BP only after weeks of prodding from Congress and the media.
And they weren't even released to the American public, just to Congress, which then put them online. So, we're going to keep these images on the screen while we're reporting the story as a reminder that, every minute of every hour, the spill is just getting bigger.
The White House is saying they're getting tougher. Their proof? This letter, a letter written by the EPA and Homeland Security Department. It says that BP hasn't been transparent enough, and it gives them 24 to 48 hours to put all the data online about the leak and its environmental impact. But how come it took them a month to ask for this?
Also, last night on this program, the bigwig from BP who you just saw on "LARRY KING" said the EPA had no problem with the dispersants they have been using. That's what he said last night. And, in fact, he compared them to soap bubbles. As I said, he did it again just a moment on a "LARRY KING."
Well, today, after a month of doing nothing about the dispersants BP has been dumping into the Gulf, the EPA told them to switch to less potentially toxic chemicals, some of which, according to the EPA, are even more effective.
White House correspondent Ed Henry is "Keeping Them Honest." Also, Ed Lavandera is on the Gulf Coast with the dispersants story. We are going to hear from each of them shortly.
COOPER: All right, let's dig deeper now with political contributor and Democratic strategist James Carville. He's in New Orleans. With us here in New York tonight, Rice University presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.
James, I had a guy on from the -- from BP last night, a high executive. And as I just -- around the same time I'm saying to him, you know, why aren't you using these other dispersants, and he's saying, well, the EPA doesn't have any problem with these dispersants, lo and behold, now we learn that the EPA contacts BP and tells them they have to find less toxic dispersants.
What's going on with BP, from your take?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that the government thinks they're partnering with BP. I think they actually believe that BP had some kind of a good motivation here.
And that's one of the sort of whole flaws is, they're naive. BP is trying to save money, save everything that it can. It knows it's going to get sued multiple times. It knows it's in multiple trouble, and they're trying to play this down and said, oh, it's just a little spill in the Gulf. It's no big deal.
But they won't tell us anything. And, oddly enough, the government seems to be going along with this. And they're not -- they -- somebody's got to, like, shake them and say, these people don't wish you well. They're going to take you down.
COOPER: What has the EPA been doing for a month, if now, just after a month after this thing, they suddenly wake up and say, oh, wait a minute, in 72 hours, you have got to get different dispersants?
I mean, people have been complaining, environmentalists have been complaining about these dispersants for weeks now.
Doug Brinkley, you have been talking about it on this program for weeks now. And Ken Salazar, I mean, what have they been doing over, you know, at the Interior Department? I mean, they basically gave oil companies permits without the right kind of clearances. They -- they had a number of inspections they were supposed to do on this rig that they -- they never did.
Doug, is the government just -- I mean, is it -- are they just too much in cahoots with BP? Or are they just incompetent?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes. It's not just with BP. I think there's that conflict between what -- and you can see it in MMS and Interior.
On one hand, the federal government needs to collect oil revenues -- $13 billion from offshore comes into our government kitty. We need the offshore energy so much. On the other hand, there are these environmental concerns. And I think the administration, for too long, has played it down the middle. They're trying to kind of stay out of it.
I did a bit of a sea change at EPA today, the fact that they denounced BP's use of these dispersants, said there are safer ones. We might be seeing the more energized BP, because this is becoming a political crisis now for the Obama administration.
COOPER: It's interesting, James, because, I mean, early on, conservatives were attacking the Obama administration, trying say, look, this is Obama's Katrina. And they fought back against that.
COOPER: But -- but, I mean, you know, you do have to raise questions about this Interior Department and this EPA.
CARVILLE: You absolutely do.
And I think I'm as good a Democrat as -- as most people. And I think the administration has done some good things. They are risking everything by this go-along-with-BP strategy they have. And it -- it seems, like, lackadaisical on this. And Doug is right. They seem like they're inconvenienced by this, this is some kind of giant thing getting in their way, and, somehow or another, if you let BP handle it, it will all go away. It's not going away. It's growing out there. It's a disaster of the first magnitude, and they have got to go to plan B.
COOPER: What -- what I also don't understand, just logistically and logically, is that, for three weeks now, BP and NOAA and the EPA have been saying it's 5,000 barrels of oil pouring out of this leak.
Now, today, BP is saying, we are collecting 5,000 barrels of oil into a tanker directly from this leak. There is way more oil than just 5,000 barrels. And that is what all these other experts have been saying now for weeks. And no one in the government or BP -- I mean, in fact, they have put out statements saying, it doesn't matter how much is pouring out.
BRINKLEY: You know, I think, Anderson, history's going to show these quotes by the -- BP and by Tony Hayward that are just so ludicrous, a future generation of Americans won't believe a head of a fourth largest company would say such a thing.
For a -- imagine a CEO in a crisis like this to say it's a tiny spill, when we can see it gushing out, we can see the blob. They said, oh, well, we have put in a straw that's now taking in a lot of the oil. Well, now we -- you have got the video running right now. It's still gushing out.
This notion of minimizing it, instead of being in crisis mode from day one, is going to be the problem. BP has been in cover-up mode. And there are going to be -- as James said, I think you are going to have criminal indictments against this company for the way that they have behaved.
CARVILLE: You know, hey, I was -- and I apologize to the people of my -- my home state. I didn't mean -- but, I mean, it's so ludicrous, the lies that they tell.
If it wouldn't be that we lost the lives of 11 people and we're losing -- we're going to lose some of the most -- the most high- quality, productive seafood areas in the world, not to say that -- that are -- if people lose faith in this drilling, we need the oil. I don't deny that at all.
But, right now, I wouldn't trust them to do anything, and nobody does. And they just -- in addition to being -- having criminal exposure, they are going to have a ton of civil exposure. And I sure don't trust BP to do the cleanup.
COOPER: We are going to have more with James Carville and Doug Brinkley right after this break.
A reminder: The live chat is up and running at AC360.com, so much on this story to talk about. It just doesn't make sense and, factually, just doesn't seem to make sense.
Also tonight: the big fight over what's in Texas schoolbooks, why it could affect what your kids will be learning and the big chunks of history some say are going to be missing, no matter where in the country you live.
Also, the latest on that possible terror alert, and the final eye-opening insights from our pilot study on kids and race. We will talk to John Legend on whether we will ever be free of friction over skin color.
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COOPER: Take a look at this. These are live images right now of -- of oil and gas that is pouring out from -- from several locations from this leak, these images part of the live feed, the pictures of the spill now available for everyone to see. This is the first day we're really able to watch this thing in real time.
We're going to keep this image on the screen whenever we're reporting on the leak as a reminder of just what is going on deep underneath the surface.
As we mentioned earlier, BP today, in so many words, conceding that the leak is bigger than they have been saying, also for weeks, after the Obama administration finally ordered BP today to post all data about the leak and the impact of it online, weeks after the rig blew and the oil started leaking. Why has it taken them that long, a lot of critics want to know.
More now on my conversation with James Carville and Doug Brinkley.
COOPER: It has took them 23 days to release a 30-second video clip of oil pouring out of this -- this pipe. It's only been since yesterday, after pressure from senators and -- and Congressman Markey, that they finally released a live feed.
And they didn't release that to the American people. They released that congresspeople, who put it on their own Web sites and released it.
It seems like, I mean, they have been -- they have had this live feed for weeks now. Why is it only after a month that we're actually seeing this?
BRINKLEY: Because BP operates all over the world. And, a lot of times, it's in Third World areas, places off of Nigeria. They have -- the man you just had on, Mr. Dudley, the long time working with Putin in Russia on doing Caspian Sea drilling. They had a big spill outside in the ocean in Australia recently.
The media doesn't cover it all the time. They announce it, that there's an oil spill, and then they go away. This is so menacing. And the way that the 24/7 news cycle works in America, we have been demanding to see it every night, particularly on your show, Anderson. Let's see the footage. We want to know how much oil is spilling in there.
They eventually were forced to capitulate to it, and then it's an embarrassment. How could Tony Hayward call it a little spill, and then on the other -- then we get to see that footage. He's obviously being disingenuous and lying. And when you have 11 people that were killed in an accident like this, to be acting like that is just reprehensible.
COOPER: And, James, he...
COOPER: And he promised -- I mean, he made this big public declaration that he was going to stay in the Gulf, he was going to stay there until this thing was fixed, and that -- you know, that he was a leader, he was a Churchillian leader.
We just learned -- I learned from the U.K. "Times" that he probably flew a private jet, but he's in England today for a board meeting, and according to the U.K. "Times," to celebrate his 54th birthday.
CARVILLE: Look, this is -- how many -- how many P.R. people does BP have? How many lobbyists do they have? This is a company that makes $2 billion a month.
There was -- their first-quarter profit was $6 billion over a three-month period. They are accustomed to buying everything. And them telling you that we are being -- CNN is being unfair to them? Well, what were they -- as Doug points out, what were they to the families of these 11 people that were killed as a result of their greed and their negligence? You cannot trust these people.
COOPER: It's -- it's -- and, again, we look at the oil, and it's pouring out at this very moment.
James Carville, Doug Brinkley, thanks for being on.
CARVILLE: Thanks. Thank you, Anderson.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: We should point out we -- we -- James was referencing that. We had invited somebody from BP on the program tonight. They -- they declined. They were on last night. We had been asking for a long time for somebody. We finally got somebody last night. And I guess -- I don't know -- we didn't get them again tonight.
A lot of questions for BP, the EPA, the Interior Department and the White House.
White House correspondent Ed Henry joins us now. He spent the day looking for accountability as well.
Ed, we have been hearing a lot from the administration about this boot-to-the-neck approach, which, I mean, it sounds good on paper, but, you know, they write this letter. It's not exactly a boot to the neck.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right.
And you had a Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer, today saying, look, she believes for the first time there's a cover-up here by BP and that the government could be complicit in that. And when White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked about the cover-up charge, he said, any charge like that is ridiculous.
So, I pressed him on, how could you say it's ridiculous for BP, when they have had so many competing claims and different statements? Here's how I pressed him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: This morning, a spokesman for BP, Mark Proegler, said that he now believes that it's actually spilling more than 5,000 barrels a day, but he couldn't say exactly how much.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
HENRY: And I think this gets back to the point these oceanographers were on the Hill testifying yesterday, saying that this government -- the Obama administration should be doing more to demand of the company this data and how much is really spilling...
GIBBS: Well, that's...
HENRY: ... out and how...
HENRY: ... four weeks later, we do not know.
GIBBS: That's why the letter -- that's -- that's one of the reasons the letter is going, is to find out more information. Ed, I...
HENRY: Do you really think a letter is going to force the company -- I mean...
GIBBS: Ed, Ed, listen, let me -- well, do you have a better idea?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, you know, there is actually a better idea. And -- and, I mean, I'm not an expert, but what's incredible is that, for -- for three weeks now, the EPA, the Interior Department, NOAA have been going along with this 5,000-barrel-a-day figure.
It wasn't until a guy from Purdue analyzed the -- the 30-second clip that -- that BP reluctantly put out after 23 days, and came up with a figure of 70,000 barrels that -- that people started to ask questions. I mean, it's completely disingenuous for -- for Gibbs, for Robert Gibbs there to ask you if you have any better idea.
I mean, the -- the White House could have been -- I mean, the government could have been, and the White House and the EPA and NOAA could have been trying to measure this thing or demanding the video be released so scientists could measure it. There are scientists who can look at these images and, with accuracy, measure the velocity of -- of things coming out of a pipe.
HENRY: And NOAA, the chief agency here that you mentioned, one of their ships that can measure this data was in -- off the coast of Africa when the spill first occurred. And there were reports on Capitol Hill yesterday in some of this testimony from the scientists that it took two or three weeks for the ship to actually be called to the Gulf.
So, there are all kinds of questions about the government response, of course, but also the company and how the government can be believing what the company is saying, when -- when the story has shifted.
I think Robert Gibbs did point out, though, that this is difficult circumstances. We all know that. This is happening 5,000 feet below. That's not easy. You have got the Coast Guard commandant, Thad Allen, who was supposed to retie by now, but has stayed on because he wants to finish this job.
So, we have to point out there are people who are working hard on this, but you're right. There are so many unanswered questions. And -- and -- and there's obviously an expectation of government oversight of this company, a lot of people looking for that, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, and, again, it has been four weeks now.
Ed "Keeping Them Honest" today at the White House -- Ed, thanks. We talked earlier about how the EPA today ordered BP to use a different, less potentially toxic chemical dispersant on the spill. After watching them use this dispersant for, you know, three weeks now, four weeks, experts have been questioning BP's initial choice for a long time now.
As Ed Lavandera discovered, BP had an alternative bought and paid for, ready to go, just sitting on shore since early this month. Again, the question is why.
Ed Henry -- Ed Lavandera tonight "Keeping Them Honest."
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds of containers are just sitting here in the Houston sun. To some, it's just another example of the mismanagement of the oil spill. The containers are full of a chemical dispersant calls Sea Brat 4. Why is it sitting here, and not in the ocean instead? No one really knows, especially since BP's on record as saying it would use the stuff.
DOUG SUTTLES, COO, GLOBAL EXPLORATION, BP: We also have a second product now identified to use called Sea Brat 4, which we will begin introducing into the -- the process as well.
LAVANDERA (on camera): That's what BP said almost a week ago. But we found the Sea Brat 4 just sitting here in an industrial park outside of Houston, Texas. You're looking at it, almost 100,000 gallons of the less toxic dispersant. Guess who ordered it? BP did, on May 4, almost three weeks ago.
JOHN SHEFFIELD, PRESIDENT, ALABASTER CORPORATION: This is Sea Brat. It's in totes ready for delivery.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): John Sheffield is president of the company that makes Sea Brat 4.
(on camera): Do you think it's weird that stuff's just sitting here in the Houston area?
SHEFFIELD: It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. You know, I think something's intentionally trying to stop us from getting our product in the water.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): EPA and Coast Guard officials say there's nothing stopping BP from using Sea Brat 4. Sheffield says that, by now, he could be making 50,000 to 100,000 gallons of dispersant a day.
But a BP spokesman will only say the company had to use what was readily available and stockpiled, and it has been asked to find alternatives to the current dispersant, Corexit, and that's what they're in the process of doing.
Getting a direct answer is even hard for Congress to get, as they grilled Lamar McKay this week about the issue. REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Who decided which dispersant to use? BP?
LAMAR MCKAY, PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN, BP AMERICA, INC.: I don't know the...
NADLER: You don't know?
MCKAY: I don't know the individual who decided which...
NADLER: I didn't ask the individual.
MCKAY: I don't...
NADLER: Was it the -- BP who decided, or was it the national -- the government who decided, or the national incident command?
MCKAY: I don't know. I don't know.
NADLER: You don't know. Could you find out for us, please?
LAVANDERA: Easier said than done. There's still no word on who's making that call, while 100,000 gallons of potential help sits hundreds of miles away.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Houston.
COOPER: So, I -- again, I'm no expert. I spent about five hours yesterday just reading all about dispersants and other stuff related to the spill.
And what's interesting, EPA has -- apparently lists about 18 dispersants which they have approved, 12 of which are actually less toxic, and some of those 12 are actually even more effective on Louisiana crude than the Corexit, the two types of Corexit that are being used by BP.
So, the EPA has known about the stuff that BP has been using now for -- for four weeks. And they know that there are ones that are less toxic and, in some cases, even more effective, and yet they haven't demanded, until today, that BP change the dispersants that they have been using.
Up next, the other breaking news tonight: what we are learning about a new terror threat here at home and who might be behind it. Ed Henry's been working his sources, is back with what he's learning about that.
And later: the defining chapter in our pilot study how kids see skin color, even at a very young age, 5 years old, how their views on race are shaped, and what parents can do about it. We will talk to singer and activist John Legend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LEGEND, MUSICIAN: I think society does give us messages about what's more valuable, what's less valuable in our culture. And, historically, and still to this day, there's still value to having white skin in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Breaking news tonight: Ed Henry joins us again from Washington.
Ed, CNN has learned that intelligence officials have new concerns about threats from the Taliban against the U.S.
What are you hearing?
HENRY: Yes, this is the Taliban in Pakistan, Anderson. We're told by a senior official that, basically, the information is coming apart from Faisal Shahzad, the -- the suspect in the New York Time -- the New York Times Square bombing attempt, and that, basically, that the Taliban in Pakistan is trying to strike both the U.S. homeland, but also U.S. targets overseas.
The backstory here is, this is why the U.S. national security adviser, Jim Jones, as well as the CIA chief, Leon Panetta, just went to Pakistan to deliver this -- some of this intelligence to the Pakistani government, and really shake them up, and talk about this threat, so they can crack down a bit more.
Also interesting that our national security producer, Pam Benson, is learning this information is not just coming in from Faisal Shahzad. It's also coming in from other sources that are corroborating what he is telling U.S. officials in private. That's what's got the U.S. government so concerned. It's coming in, this intelligence, from multiple sources -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, today, I mean, the director of national intelligence stepped down, leaving his post. Why did that happen? I mean, it certainly seems like bad timing.
HENRY: It certainly does. Dennis Blair, he was essentially forced out. He never quite clicked with the president, when you talk to senior officials familiar with this.
And they say the fact that Dennis Blair did not go on this trip to Pakistan, and instead the CIA chief did, when, clearly, Blair is higher in the chain of command, was a sign that he had lost the president's confidence.
In fact, I'm told as well that the president, some of his senior aides, have already started interviewing people in recent weeks to replace Dennis Blair, even before he offered his resignation today. That shows you he had lost confidence.
And the fact that they are changing him now, in the middle of this terror threat, shows they didn't have a lot of confidence that he could deal with this threat -- Anderson.
Ed Henry -- appreciate it, Ed. Thanks.
Up next: why young kids are not colorblind when it comes to race -- the final results of our pilot study.
Also, how the battle over schoolbooks in Texas could affect what your kids, no matter where you live.
COOPER: Tonight the battle over your child's education in Texas today. The state's board of education waged a bitter fight over its new social studies curriculum.
Now, conservatives say the new guidelines, first approved in March, are meant to correct a liberal bias among teachers who initially drafted the standards.
Critics, though, including former Bush education secretary, Rod Paige, say the proposal shows a lack of knowledge in our nation's history. The final vote is scheduled for tomorrow. And remember: Texas buys an awful lot of school books, and often what they want has historically influenced textbooks around the country.
Gary Tuchman tonight takes an up-close look at the debate.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The people on the Texas Board of Education are not professional historians. But that doesn't stop them from controversial and confident pronouncements.
PATRICIA HARDY (R), TEXAS BOARD OF EDUCATION: There would be those who would say, you know, automatically say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states' rights.
TUCHMAN: Most of the board members are conservative. And they're on the verge of changing social studies teaching standards in Texas. For example, students will soon be discussing whether the separation of church and state is a legitimate historical concept. That's the kind of debate board member Don McLeroy wants to see.
(on camera) Is there such a thing as a separation of church and state?
DON MCLEROY (R), TEXAS BOARD OF EDUCATION: There is such a thing as the First Amendment. And the First Amendment's been interpreted lately by judges in a different way.
TUCHMAN: No state-sponsored religion, but what do you think about the phrase "separation of church and state"?
MCLEROY: It's really been abused. It's swung way out of kilter is my personal view.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): People pushing for the new curriculum say it will dwell more on the positive America and less on the negative. Biblical values will be highlighted more. Free enterprise will be emphasized. The term "capitalism," which sometimes has negative connotations, not so much.
And yes, when it comes to the Civil War, discussions about states' rights.
(on camera) The board does this review every decade. The initial recommendations come from educators and historians. All agree the recommendations have never been changed this much.
(voice-over) And that has left many in the public who have come out to these hearings disenchanted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your actions have produced a series of curriculum standards which undermine the importance of multiculturalism and respect for alternative viewpoints. Foundations upon which America's society and democracy have been built. Our siblings should learn that America is not just a Christian nation.
TUCHMAN: But many Texans are very pleased.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to thank you for the work you do for the children of Texas and for the children in the other 49 states. You are a truly unique group of elected servants of the great state of Texas.
TUCHMAN: More than 200 Texans went on a list to testify about their feelings. The testimony went late into the night on Wednesday, finally ending just before the stroke of midnight after 14 hours. Some of the comments went beyond the scope of the debate and were quite derogatory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to tell you that Islam is coming, and Islam brings death. So I say repent, America. Repent.
TUCHMAN: The one Muslim member of the board told the man not only was what he was saying irrelevant, but it was also hateful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was very insulting to our population and everybody that we represent.
TUCHMAN: But not one other board member, Republican or Democrat, complained about it. The final vote on the recommendations will be made Friday.
COOPER: So Gary, I mean, is there any doubt about the outcome of the final vote? TUCHMAN: Well, there are five Democrats on the board, ten Republicans. And Anderson, of the ten Republicans, three of them are conservative. Seven of them are very conservative. So no doubt about the outcome at all.
However, as we speak, they're burning the midnight oil again. The entire board in the building behind me is talking about and voting on revisions and amendments. So we still don't know the exact final package, but they will be here into the early a.m. hours arguing about it.
COOPER: Gary, appreciate the reporting. Thanks.
Coming up next, kids and race. The sobering lessons kid are telling us and the new research that says a lot about the best ways to stop negative stereotypes.
We'll also talk to Grammy Award winner, singer John Legend, about reality of race in America today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Everyone likes to think that we live in a close racial society.
JOHN LEGEND, SINGER: Yes, we don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Also tonight, a father fought against chemotherapy for his son. You may remember that story. Now he's battling the disease himself. Will he fight it with the all-natural treatment he wanted for his son? Details on the story coming up.
COOPER: All week on "360," we've been focusing on our CNN pilot study on kids and race. And we found that white kids as a whole responded with a high rate of what researchers call white bias, identifying their own skin color with positive attributes and darker skin with negative attributes. African-American kids also responded with a bias toward white but much less so than white kids. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the dumb child.
(WHITE GIRL POINTS TO DARKEST CHILD)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is she the dumb child?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because she looks black.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the child you would like to have as a classmate. (WHITE BOY POINTS TO LIGHTEST CHILD)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you like to have him as a classmate?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's white.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the ugly child.
(AFRICAN-AMERICAN GIRL POINTS TO DARKEST CHILD)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why is she the ugly child?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because she's black.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the child that has the skin color you want.
(AFRICAN-AMERICAN GIRL POINTS TO LIGHT CHILD)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want that one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Show me the child who has the skin color you don't want.
(AFRICAN-AMERICAN GIRL POINTS TO DARKEST CHILD)
COOPER: Now, this was just a pilot study where researchers, trained psychologists, interviewed more than 130 kids, 8 different schools. It was an update on a series, a very famous doll test from the 1940s, where black kids were asked to choose between black and white dolls to measure the effects of segregation and discrimination. The test found the majority of black kids preferred white over black.
Now, those results were at the center of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case, Brown vs. The Board of Education, which, of course, as you know, desegregated America's schools.
So today, through research and discussions with parents, we also found that the less you talk to your kids about race, the more likely they are to internalize negative stereotypes, stereotypes they get from a lot of different sources.
So where do we go from here? I sat down with Grammy Award- winning singer, songwriter and activist John Legend for a frank discussion. Take a look.
COOPER: One of the things that surprised me about this study, this pilot study is just how quickly little kids seemed to pick, you know, what child they thought was the dumb child, what child was the smart child. It seems like little kids form a perception about skin color and about race early on. LEGEND: It was a little bit surprising but not super surprising, because, you know, I think society does give us messages about what's more valuable, what's less valuable in our culture. And historically, and still to this day, there's still value to having white skin in this country. And that's not just perceived value.
I think a lot of it is actually real because the outcomes, if you're black, are just different. You're less likely to go to a good school. You're less likely to have a higher income. You're more likely to go to prison. And these are societal things that have been in place for years and years. And I think kids are responding to those things. They see these cues. They see these realities, and they're not just perception. They're real.
COOPER: And it's interesting, talking to their parents, because a lot of the white parents were kind of horrified seeing their child make these choices.
COOPER: And, you know, even though they had -- you know, felt like they had had a conversation or two with their child...
COOPER: ... in the end they often were saying, "Well, clearly I need to talk more with my child."
LEGEND: I think kids need to be educated about history, about this country and, you know, kind of some of the things we don't like to talk about a lot of times. Because I think some parents want to live kind of a color-blind life and say, "I just want my kids to love everybody." And yes, you want your kids to love everybody, but you should also understand that this country enslaved black people for hundreds of years.
COOPER: Did your family, when you were growing up, I mean, did you talk about race? Was that something -- was that -- because in the study we found that more African-American parents seemed to talk to their children at a younger age...
COOPER: ... about race than the white parents did.
LEGEND: Yes, we talked about race to some extent. And we -- I think it was less a discussion about race and more a discussion about kind of being proud to be us.
And I would read about Martin Luther King and just be proud that there was a black guy that did this. I would see Bill Cosby on TV, and I'd be proud that there was such a cool black family on TV that everybody watched. And I was a curious kid. I used to read about the civil rights era. I used to read about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington. I was proud of the people that fought it. I was inspired by these people. It made me want to live a life that was, you know, that was worthy of their sacrifice.
COOPER: It's interesting. You know, you talk to some Caucasian people, and they will say, "Well, look, you know, we're all American."
COOPER: And you shouldn't be focused on division. We should be focused on the things that unite us.
COOPER: And yet do you find in your own life, I mean, do you still come -- come up against racism or against people who judge you differently based on the color of your skin? I read a tweet recently...
LEGEND: Yes. I had an incident in Virginia that wasn't very -- wasn't very encouraging. It was some older white gentlemen. Not exactly gentlemen. They weren't being very friendly and welcoming to me in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
COOPER: You asked -- you, what, asked -- paused to ask directions?
LEGEND: I asked for directions. They thought I was driving suspiciously.
LEGEND: Yes. And to be clear, I was driving in a way that suggested that I didn't know where I was going. So that was true to some extent. But they pulled up to me, and I was going to ask them for directions. They said, you know, "What the hell are you doing?"
And I said -- I said, "What are you doing?"
And they said, "Well, we're just protecting our neighborhood."
And I said to them, "Well, I'm looking for this address. Could you help me find this address?"
They said, "I don't know where that is. You just need to get the hell out of here." And the address was a block away. So they knew where I was going. They just didn't want me to hang around. And they didn't trust what my intentions were in the neighborhood.
And I ended up finding the person I was going to go see. And I had a good dinner.
COOPER: You're smiling, but I mean, that's got to be infuriating.
LEGEND: It was disconcerting, you know. And I've never actually had an incident like that in life. So I'm 31 years old. And I've actually never had a direct example of racism. I know racism is real in America. And I know it plays out in a lot more subtle ways. That was the first time it played out in a very direct way.
COOPER: And that was just recently?
LEGEND: That was two weeks ago.
COOPER: Everyone likes to think that we live in a post-racial society.
LEGEND: Yes, we don't. I mean, we -- and the thing is I don't know if the goal is supposed to be post-racial. I think we need to learn to love and value everyone for who they are individually. That doesn't mean we don't have to see race.
COOPER: So that notion of color-blind is not necessarily, in your mind, the goal?
LEGEND: I don't think that's the goal. Like I'm black, and I love being black. I don't want somebody to love me, despite the fact that I'm black or be blind to the fact that I'm black and love me. I want them to just love me for whoever I am individually.
But it's OK that you see me as a black guy, too. Like, I'm proud to be black. And that's cool.
And the only thing we need to do is make it so that black people, brown people, people of all colors, have opportunities to succeed. So when a kid, a white kid grows up, thinking that black people might not be as intelligent, there's all these examples in real life to show them, "Hey, President Obama's black, but not just President Obama, but a doctor, the pediatrician, the principal." We need all these examples, and people need to see that just in real life.
COOPER: It was -- I mean, some of the hopeful news from this pilot study we did -- and again, it's just a pilot study, and just one of many that's been done, but I mean, in the original doll test study back in the '40s, African-American kids had a very strong white bias. Even African-American kids would select white skin as the preferred skin.
LEGEND: Yes. Yes.
COOPER: That seemed lessened, though there was still some white bias.
LEGEND: Yes. And I think that's partly because, you know, our parents have kind of grown up with racism. So we understand how to talk about it a little bit more. And so, when you grow up in a setting where you experience the diversity of the black experience in America, then I think you have a little more nuanced view of what it means to be black.
And when you don't see that, when you just see maybe what's on TV or you just know one or two black people that your parents hang out with, you know, or zero black people that your parents hang out with, then that kind of affects what your perception of race is, as well.
COOPER: John, thanks for coming in.
LEGEND: My pleasure.
COOPER: Tomorrow night on 360, "360 FRIDAY," a special show we do on Friday nights. We're going to have an audience, terrific guests: guitar hero, conservative Ted Nugent, who calls himself a blood brother of Sarah Palin. He'll be with us. So will chef and best-selling author Anthony Bourdain. We've also got Democratic strategist James Carville, CNN's Candy Crowley, historian Douglas Brinkley, Dr. Drew Pinsky. A great discussion about BP, politics, Sarah Palin, and fascinating research on infidelity, who does it and why. That's tomorrow night on "360 FRIDAY."
You can also join the live chat right now at AC360.com. We're continuing to dig for details on the possible new terror threat. That's ahead. Fran Townsend, former White House security adviser joins us. We'll also talk about -- a little bit more about the spill and the great city of New Orleans.
And later, a tough day for Lance Armstrong. He wipes out hours after a former teammate accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs in the past. He responds. Details ahead.
COOPER: Quick update now on the breaking news. Possible new threats from the Taliban, the Pakistan Taliban against America. Ed Henry has been working this story all evening. He joins us now.
Also on the phone, CNN contributor Fran Townsend, who was the Bush White House homeland security adviser among other consulting work is now an unpaid member of the CIA's advisory board, along with other former senior government officials who meet occasionally and provide advice to CIA director Leon Panetta.
Ed, what do we know at this point?
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know is that U.S. intelligence officials are picking up new information suggesting that the Taliban in Pakistan is not only trying to strike the U.S. homeland, but it also is targeting U.S. assets overseas.
Not a complete shock. We know that they have been plotting, thinking about this for some time. But there's an urgency to some of this intelligence, the suggestion is, because this is why in part the CIA chief, Leon Panetta and the White House national security adviser, Jim Jones, went all the way to Pakistan earlier this week to deliver a direct message from President Obama to the Pakistani government to try to shake things up and say, "You've got to crack down."
We're told that this information is coming in partly from Faisal Shahzad, the man who is the suspect in the Times Square attempted bombing, but what's alarming U.S. officials is that this is coming in from other intelligence streams, not just from him. So it's not like he's just perhaps making something up. It's being corroborated by others, Anderson.
COOPER: Fran, do we know much about the actual capabilities of the Pakistani Taliban? I mean, clearly Faisal Shahzad's attempt in Times Square, you know, was technically not all that advanced. They have claimed credit for operations in Europe. How capable are they of projecting terror overseas or in Europe?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (via phone): Anderson, the thing about this, one senior counterterrorist official described it to me as the Pakistani Taliban has this attitude of fire and forget. What he means by that is they may have people like Faisal Shahzad, who are not very competent, but all you need is one of them to be successful.
So if you gather up lots of different people who have access to both targets here in the United States, by the way, and some capability, some training, one of them may get lucky and pop one of these off successfully. That's what the real concern is.
It seems to me that the current threats are more than mere chat -- intelligence chatter now. They really have multiple threat streams, as Ed Henry suggests, about targets here in the United States in the near term.
Cooper: Fran, does Pakistan itself take the internal threat from the Pakistan Taliban seriously enough? I mean, there are groups which, you know, a number of people I was talking to, David Roeth (ph) from "The New York Times," who was held captive in North Waziristan, who was saying he felt that the Pakistan government didn't go against some of these Pakistan Taliban groups.
TOWNSEND: Well, and I think that's part of the concern, Anderson. As Ed Henry mentioned, this was a trip to Pakistan that was supposed to be by John Brennan and Mike Morrell, who are the two deputies. And the president personally kicked this up to Leon Panetta and Jim Jones, because he wanted to make sure that we impressed upon the Pakistani government the urgency of this.
Now, my read from sources in the intelligence community is that Panetta and Jones come back and feel like they got more of a response from the Pakistan, more of an agreement to cooperate on things like surveillance than we've gotten before. But, you know, time will tell. They've not -- you're right, Anderson, they've not taken it very seriously up till now.
COOPER: Fran Townsend, appreciate it. Ed Henry, as well. Thanks very much.
Next, Lance Armstrong crashing during a cycling tournament in California, just hours after he was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs by a former teammate. Details on that ahead.
And five paintings, including a Picasso and a Matisse, were stolen last night from a Paris museum. Fascinating details on how that happened. More on the crime next.
COOPER: One more note tonight about the oil spill. I just got a note from a close friend of this program in New Orleans who said that today is the first day some New Orleans hotel owners have started getting cancellations because of this spill.
Now, that is a real potential tragedy. New Orleans is rising. It is back. Hotels are open. Restaurants are humming. And there's absolutely no reason to cancel travel reservations. New Orleans is not being affected by the spill. The air is fine. The food is fantastic. There's plenty of fish to eat. So there's no need to hold off on going to New Orleans.
In fact, this spill is a reminder of the need to support Louisiana in a time of peril for the coast.
Now, I personally spent this past weekend in New Orleans. And let me tell you, I had a blast. The five-oyster po-boys at Domalici's (ph) are as good as they've ever been. The lobster at Stella is great. Catfish at Brightston's is better than ever. My favorite bar, The Spotted Cat, is open and the band on Friday night was swinging.
So do not cancel your trip to New Orleans. Go. You will have the time of your life.
Let's check on some other stories we're following. Joe Johns tonight joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a major breakthrough in Wall Street reform. In a 59-39 vote, the Senate today passed a massive financial overhaul bill, a key victory for President Obama. That bill must now be merged with the House version, but it could reach the president's desk by July 4.
U.S. cyclist Floyd Landis today admitting using performance- enhancing drugs for years before being stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title. He accused teammate Lance Armstrong of doping, as well. Armstrong today denying those accusations. Hours later, Armstrong crashed during a race and suffered minor injuries.
And a brazen art heist in Paris this morning. A thief got away with $123 million worth of paintings after a broken security system failed to alert museum guards to a smashed window. The masked intruder took off with a Picasso, a Matisse and three other masterpieces. And that's going to be pretty hard to sell at a pawn shop, Anderson.
COOPER: That's crazy.
At the top of the hour, the government finally taking some action to measure the BP oil spill, but what took them so long? We'll be right back. .