Funny how little outrage there was over Melissa Harris-Perry insulting Romney’s black grandchild
This article was first published in the Guardian January 2, 2014
Apparently, African-American MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry thinks it’s OK for her to have a white mother, but she mocked Republican Mitt Romney for having a black grandchild. Displaying the height of hypocrisy and racial intolerance, panelists on Harris-Perry’s 29 December show derided Mitt and Ann Romney’s adopted black grandson featured on the couple’s Christmas card as not belonging in the picture with the rest of their white grandkids.
Harris-Perry laughed throughout the segment as her guests, one after another, made racist remarks about the photo. One said:
One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just isn’t the same.
Imagine if an innocent black baby had been referred to as a “thing” by Republicans. But since a liberal television show does it, we should accept it and move on? Another panelist went a step further and suggested one of Romney’s sons adopted the black baby out of some affirmative action policy to have a token black in the family. He compared it to the GOP’s inclusion problem:
It sums up the diversity of the Republican Party and the RNC, where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.
Imagine if President and Mrs Obama had an adopted child who was white or Asian and a conservative TV host or pundit said this? The media would be all over this, demanding they be fired. The reality is that insensitivity – and stupidity – happen across the political spectrum in the US. Harris-Perry and her guests’ classless behavior do not surprise me. During the 2012 presidential campaign, the same liberal reporters mocked Congressman Paul Ryan, then the Republican vice presidential candidate, for having a black girlfriend in college. The Root reporter Keli Goff implied that Ryan only dated her to inoculate himself against racist charges in the future.
But somehow the same rules of decency don’t apply to Harris-Perry. When Rush Limbaugh said Sandra Fluke should pay for her own sex – that is, her own contraception – advertisers pulled the plug on his radio show and he was dragged through the media hot coals for weeks.
In contrast, no one in the liberal media has demanded MSNBC take any action against Perry that is fire her or much less suspend her. Because of the outage expressed largely from conservatives, Perry issued five half-baked apologetic tweets on 31 December for something she should have never said in the first place.
The first tweet was:
“I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification. I apologize to the Romney family.
If she was truly sorry “without reservation”, why did it take her two days to apologize? And for why didn’t she Harris-Perry call the Romneys and issue a formal statement through MSNBC? (The “statement” that appears on the MSNBC website is simply a compilation of Harris-Perry’s tweets). That would have been sincere. Instead she used her apology tweets as a publicity vehicle by creating a hashtag #MHPapology and using the newly in vogue term “transracial” to describe “mixed or bi-racial” kids.
I apologize to all families built on loving transracial adoptions who feel I degraded their lives or choices.
Really Melissa? You can do better than that. Yet, the priceless tweet was when she admitted she was a little black baby born into a white Mormon family.
“As black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity w/ Romney family pic & never meant to suggest otherwise.
Interesting, so what’s good for Harris-Perry isn’t good the Romneys? It’s hard not to read this as a case of: because Melissa is a Democrat, her Mormon family exhibits inclusion when they have a bi-racial child but Republican Mitt Romney’s family shows “tokenism” when his son adopts a black child. Food for thought – and disgust.