MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry seeks forgiveness.
On a recent program, she participated in discussion poking fun at Mitt Romney’s Christmas card, which featured him holding his new adopted African-American black grandchild. The race of the newest Romney was key focus of the jokes.
Days later, and after a firestorm of criticism, Harris-Perry tweeted an apology for the insensitive remarks. A tearful on-air apology followed.
Fine, but the problem is that Harris-Perry didn’t apologize for the worst offense.
Melissa Harris-Perry’s career is rooted in discussing, writing about, and advocating for African-American issues. Someone claiming such expertise should not only have known better, but instinctively realized at the time that such comments are offensive. Instead, she participated in the offense.
Just as a Newtown, Connecticut parent shouldn’t be expected to abide a tasteless joke about Sandy Hook, an authentic advocate for African-American issues should not tolerate — much less moderate — a discussion essentially demeaning mixed-race adoption. While not as tragic as Sandy Hook, the discrepancy of adoption rates for black foster children face deserves more coverage than making light of a successful adoption by the family of a prominent Republican.
According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services figures, about one in 100 black children in America’s foster care system awaits adoption — more than double the rate for white children. Additionally, the average foster care stay for black kids is 29 months, versus 18.3 months for white youth. These discrepancies are wide, but reportedly improving.
While Harris-Perry could use her soapbox to laud the Romney family for their decision, she chose otherwise.
Harris-Perry’s lack of judgment is secondary to a disturbing pattern she and so many other liberal commentators exhibit.
Liberal pundits have seemingly exchanged altruistic concerns for hyper-partisanship. In this case, Harris-Perry later apologized for using “poor judgment” in targeting an adopted black child to attack those with whom she disagrees politically.
But Harris-Perry also recently compared the term “Obamacare” — a term embraced by some supporters of the president’s health care takeover, and the president himself — to other “code words” meant to stoke racist animosity. Idioms based on presidential names — Hoovervilles and Reaganomics, to name a few — appear throughout history. Rather than pointing this out, she introduces race into the discussion.