The uproar over MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry‘s racial attack on an infant continued Monday as a black CNN host led a racially mixed panel in denouncing her for mocking former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s black grandchild.
CNN’s Don Lemon led a panel on Monday night on the hullaballoo over at MSNBC. In no uncertain terms, Lemon took a hard stance against Harris-Perry, saying, “They used the kid to mock Mitt Romney.”
Harris-Perry, who has a black father and a white mother, led an MSNBC panel Sunday in which the panel chuckled at the child for being the only black child in sea of whites in the Romney family photograph. Harris-Perry is the third MSNBC host to come under fire recently for questionable comments either on or off the air. Alec Baldwin‘s show abruptly ended and Martin Bashir resigned under extremely tense circumstances.
The panel of guests, most of whom were white, ridiculed the child, saying the scene depicted that of the Republican Party. “One of these things is not like the other,” a female guest sang as the others, including Perry, laughed.
On CNN, no one was laughing. “I’m not even sure what the threshold anymore is for MSNCB going too far,” said Ana Navarro, a contributor. “I did find it in absolutely bad taste. I think there is nothing funny about adoption, regardless of the color of the baby, regardless of the color of the family. At this time of year we should be celebrating the fact that there are families all over America that open up their hearts to give love to children that need it….Speaking personally, my mother is adopted. There’s all sorts of self-esteem issues that children and adults have. I think it’s just plain old mean. It is a mean segment.”
Another CNN Contributor, however, Marc Lamont Hill, who is black, strongly disagreed. “There is absolutely a line you shouldn’t cross. The line I think is you don’t make fun of people’s kids, you don’t make fun of people who are adopted, you don’t mock the vulnerable. They didn’t do any of those things.
This is when Lemon intervened, saying, “But Marc, they used the kid to mock Mitt Romney.”
Marc: “We use everything to mock Mitt Romney. Mocking Mitt Romney is a sport. And everyone mocks Mitt Romney across the aisle, I don’t see anything wrong with that. They also joked about the lack of diversity in the Republican Party. They’re absolutely right about that. …We are making much ado about nothing.”
Again, Lemon intervened. “What if this was on Fox? What if this same segment was on Fox? If someone on Fox saying one of these things is not like the other to a black baby and a white family.”
Narvarro: “By now, Jesse Jackson would be protesting.”
Marc countered, ‘Everyone mocks Mitt Romney across the aisle. … The point is, they weren’t making fun of the kid, they were making fun of the Republican Party and maybe even Mitt Romney.”
When she could get a word in edgewise, Navarro wondered, “Are you crazy? … I think you have to be in absolute denial was that there was a little black baby on Mitt Romney’s right knee.”
Marc conceded, “Was it the best joke? No. But it wasn’t inappropriate.”
Navarro said she emailed someone on the panel this afternoon, declaring, “Not a fan of that joke you told. … I think you have to be in absolute denial not to recognize that what they were calling attention to was the fact that there was a little black baby on Romney’s knee. I mean look at the transcripts.”
Her point: Make all the jokes you want, but don’t use a black baby to do it.