Tag Archives: Melissa Harris-Perry

Video: Ta-Nehisi Coates Discusses Fear Of A Black President

Courtesy: The Atlantic.

By Arturo R. García

In “Fear of a Black President,” which appeared this past week in The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on the entirety of President Barack Obama’s approach to racial matters during his tenure. Or, as Coates defines it, his lack of an approach.

Confronted by the thoroughly racialized backlash to Obama’s presidency, a stranger to American politics might conclude that Obama provoked the response by relentlessly pushing an agenda of radical racial reform. Hardly. Daniel Gillion, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania who studies race and politics, examined the Public Papers of the Presidents, a compilation of nearly all public presidential utterances—­proclamations, news-conference remarks, executive orders—and found that in his first two years as president, Obama talked less about race than any other Democratic president since 1961. Obama’s racial strategy has been, if anything, the opposite of radical: he declines to use his bully pulpit to address racism, using it instead to engage in the time-honored tradition of black self-hectoring, railing against the perceived failings of black culture.

His approach is not new. It is the approach of Booker T. Washington, who, amid a sea of white terrorists during the era of Jim Crow, endorsed segregation and proclaimed the South to be a land of black opportunity. It is the approach of L. Douglas Wilder, who, in 1986, not long before he became Virginia’s first black governor, kept his distance from Jesse Jackson and told an NAACP audience: “Yes, dear Brutus, the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves … Some blacks don’t particularly care for me to say these things, to speak to values … Somebody’s got to. We’ve been too excusing.” It was even, at times, the approach of Jesse Jackson himself, who railed against “the rising use of drugs, and babies making babies, and violence … cutting away our opportunity.”

At the same time, though, he takes issue with Obama’s remarks following the killing of Trayvon Martin, saying his weighing in with empathy toward the Martin family and recognition that, if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon, took the case “out of its national-mourning phase and lapsed into something darker and more familiar—racialized political fodder. The illusion of consensus crumbled.”

As I’m still wading through the piece, I do feel the need to point out that, had Obama not said anything–or offered only encouragement that justice be served–that illusion would have crumbled anyway, from any direction. It’s not like Rush Limbaugh, The Daily Caller, or the conservative hate machine around them were waiting for that particular moment to bring out the torches; they would’ve just changed the vitriol to focus on some supposed callousness on his part.

“Trayvoning,” a meme too disgusting to dignify with a link, didn’t come about because of Obama’s remarks–it happened because there are thousands of people too insensitive and too emboldened by relative anonymity who can’t resist making jackasses of themselves online. No speech could have prevented it. As MacDaffy put it yesterday at The Daily Kos, “President Obama’s blackness does not ‘irradiate everything he touches.’ Racism does.”
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America Healing: Discussion on Current Racial Climate

This is a liveblog of “Discussion on the Current Racial Climate.”

Moderator: Melissa Harris-Perry, Host of “Melissa Harris-Perry,” MSNBC

Panelists:
Judith Browne-Dianis, Co-Director, Advancement Project
Ralph Everett, President and Chief Financial Officer, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Inc.
Benjamin Jealous, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Jacqueline Johnson Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians
Kathleen Ko, President and Chief Executive Officer, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Marc Morial, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League, Inc.
Janet Murguia, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Council of La Raza
Rinku Sen, President and Executive Director, Applied Research Center
Philip Tegeler, President and Executive Director, Poverty and Race Research Action Council

The Racialicious TV Roundup

Courtesy: Advocate.com

By Guest Contributors Kendra James and Jordan St. John and Managing Editor Arturo R. García

MSNBC’s Transgender in America: Hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry, this 20-minute segment started off with a bang when she gave a definition of ‘cisgendered’ on national mainstream media television and only got better from there, including taking time to speak about the CeCe McDonald case. If you still have a bad taste in your mouth from Barbara Walters’ 20/20 interview with Jenna Talackova (in which every question is somehow worse than the last and Donald Trump thinks he’s clever), Harris-Perry’s MSNBC segment might be just what you need to restore a bit of faith in the media. You can read Autostraddle’s full wrap-up here. - KJ

Glee: From 20/20 to MSNBC… to Glee? This episode of Fox’s musical dramedy couldn’t have aired with better timing. When Wade (a student from rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline, played by Glee Project runner-up Alex Newell, who is not a trans actor) comes to Mercedes and Kurt for performance advice, they discover she wants to perform as her female alterego “Unique.” While at first appearing male to the audience, she reveals to Kurt that she identifies as female. Perhaps this isn’t as much of a traditional learning experience as the MSNBC special but, for a show aimed at a younger viewing audience, it seems to be a fairly big step.

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Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Professor Blair L.M. Kelley

By Andrea Plaid

Courtesy: Southern Arkansas University Magnolia

On my Twitter Bucket List–stuff that I want to do with some of the incredible people I follow on it before I die–a couple of things I wanted to do are get on the bumper cars with historian Blair L.M. Kelley and do brunch with a couple of other women I admired. Professor Kelley responded:

“Hey, I want brunch, too!;)”

It is this brunch/bumper car combo that get the good professor the loved-up for the week. OK, not just those things…

Professor Kelley, like her best friend, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, took to the ‘net to think out loud with larger communities outside of the classrooms of North Carolina State University, be they on her own blog, on Blacking It Up, or in Twitterville. Encouraged by colleague Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, her moving her teaching to the online streets, she recollects, was actually frowned upon by her professional circles…at first:

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Voices: Justice For Trayvon Martin

By Arturo R. García

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And now, the waiting begins. Again.

Once again, a young person of color is dead, and hundreds of thousands of people are hoping for justice to be served. Less than a year ago, it was Troy Davis. This week, it’s Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Florida boy shot and killed by George Zimmerman, who remains free after authorities were criticized for allegedly protecting Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch aptain.

Tuesday night, the U.S. Justice Department announced it would investigate the slaying of Martin. And, especially in light of what we’ve learned about not only Zimmerman, but the social climate around him that enabled him to not only feel justified in an abhorrent sense of paranoia toward young black men, but to continue walking the streets after bringing about the worst possible outcome of that entitlement, the question comes to mind again: Will they get it right this time?
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Black Woman, Know Your Place: Cornel West Clings To His Privilege

By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said

Sexism from a brown face is still sexism. Male privilege with a unique cadence and sartorial style is still male privilege. Patriarchy is still patriarchy when perpetrated by doctorate-wielding black activists. Demanding that a black woman march in lock step with your agenda or be labeled “treacherous” and “a fake and a fraud” is to further the twin demons of racism and sexism that black women battle every day. It’s disgraceful.

Cornel West on Melissa Harris-Perry in the latest issue of Diverse Issues magazine:

“I have a lot of love for the sister, but she’s a liar, and I hate lying,” says West.

Harris-Perry’s scathing critique, West says, has more to do with the fact that the Center for African American Studies unanimously voted against her when she came up for promotion from associate to full professor, adding that her work was not scholarly enough. “There’s not a lot of academic stuff with her, just a lot of Twittering,” says West, who added that her book Sister Citizen, released last year was “wild and out of control.”
“She’s become the momentary darling of liberals, but I pray for her because she’s in over her head. She’s a fake and a fraud. I was so surprised at how treacherous the sister was.”

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MSNB-See Ya!: Pat Buchanan Might Finally Be Off Our Televisions … For Now

By Arturo R. García

Last fall, MSNBC told Pat Buchanan to go have fun selling his new book. Today, it looks more likely the network changed the locks behind him.

The network’s president, Phil Griffin, was content to leave Buchanan twisting in the wind this past weekend, when he told The New York Times,“The ideas he put forth aren’t really appropriate for national dialogue, much less the dialogue on MSNBC.”

Of course, it’s been apparent for years that Buchanan’s views weren’t “appropriate” for any place outside of the right-wing fringe. But despite what Griffin said, his latest book might not have been the only factor in his apparent dismissal.

It’s not like Griffin had any room to be surprised by Buchanan’s latest round of printed bile, called Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? Really, it’s the same tune he’s been singing since the 1970s. Because not much separates this speech:

There is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War itself. For this war is for the soul of America. And in that struggle for the soul of America, Clinton & Clinton are on the other side, and George Bush is on our side. And so to the Buchanan Brigades out there, we have to come home and stand beside George Bush.

From this passage in Superpower:

If that is what a nation is, can we truly say America is still a nation? The European and Christian core of our country is shrinking. The birth rate of our native born has been below replacement level for decades. By 2020, deaths among white Americans will exceed births, while mass immigration is altering forever the face of America.

At every turn, Buchanan has blamed the same groups of people – immigrants, LGBT people, Jewish people – for, in his mind, sullying his idea of what America should be. During his political career, the press at large gave giving Buchanan a wide berth, according to Slate:

Since Buchanan first ran for president in 1992, the press has largely treated him as a legitimate candidate rather than an extremist canker on American politics, á la David Duke or Louis Farrakhan. Part of the explanation for this is that he’s one of us. Though few journalists have any sympathy for Buchanan’s views, some find it hard to reconcile evidence of his bigotry with the friendly guy they know. For those covering his campaigns, there are other disincentives. Once you brand him an anti-Semite, a racist, and a fascist, it’s not much fun riding around New Hampshire with him in a minivan. What’s more, there is a dimension of self-conscious theatricality to Buchanan’s performances that makes his views easier to dismiss. He’ll uncork a zinger about not buying any more chopsticks until the Chinese quit dumping cheap imports, and then cackle at his no-no. You can write this kind of thing off as just Buchanan tomfooling around and building his brand for TV, rather than dyed-in-the-wool bigotry.

And that column was written in 1999, three years before MSNBC and Griffin gave him a national platform, where he would go on to claim that America “has been a country built, basically, by white folks;” that “only white men” died in the Battle of Gettysburg; and so on.

So what changed? According to an InsideCableNews column at Mediaite, it sure wasn’t Buchanan – it was the platform around him:

On the other hand, MSNBC has changed. It openly courts Progressive views and news. It puts out job ads asking for candidates with a progressive news background. Its pundit host class is all progressive and the network lets them show up en masse at the White House for off the record get togethers. The network is openly and aggressively courting the African American viewing audience so much so that it now notes how big it is in African American viewership in its releases.

Add all these things together and you now have a scenario where MSNBC, which used to be able to handle a Pat Buchanan and his intransigent controversial views, can no longer afford to do so without alienating core constituencies it covets.

The theory makes more sense now than it would have a few years ago: even after Keith Olbermann’s acrimonious departure, MSNBC has rebuilt a good portion of its’ talk show brand around Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Chris Hayes, and has added Melissa Harris-Perry, even if it keeps Joe Scarborough around in the morning.

Unfortunately, the nature of cable punditry virtually guarantees that even if Buchanan gets tossed on his duff by MSNBC, some other network will scoop him up and tout him as being “hard-hitting” or whatever the euphemism du jour is for reactionary bigotry. But even if this respite is brief, hopefully it leads to something better for his (apparently) former employers.

 

Announcements: Melissa Harris-Perry Has Her Own Show!

By Andrea (AJ) Plaid

The yet-to-be-titled show will start on Saturday, February 4, and will air Saturdays and Sundays 10AM to noon.

Well, Twitterville wasted no time in helping Dr. Harris-Perry christen her new program. Hashtagging as #NameMHarrisPerrysNewShow, some people chimed in with monikers tying into Rick Santorum’s ridiculous backtrack on saying people misheard him saying “blah people” instead of “black people” in discussing Black people and public assistance.

@cnmoffat Blah Like Me.

@paulhlin How about “Blah with Melissa”?

and even the R’s Managing Editor Arturo chimed in with:

Good Morning Blahmerica.

Other were inspired by her well-known love for New Orleans (and the city’s football team). Several chimed in with “Who Dat?” or some variation with the word “bayou.”

Some others came up with some play on popular vernacular:

@AngryBlackLady Is MHP Gonna Have to Choke a Bitch?

@AngryBlackLady Keepin’ It Real w/ MHP

@thesadredearth “S’up with Melissa Harris-Perry

@Besnaz Quit Playin’

@problemwiththat Hard in the Paint

or one that Dr. Harris-Perry said she likes: “Represent with Melissa Harris-Perry.”

Quite a few of us thought of phrases that reflects her role as an academic/writer/public intellectual:

@MagicLoveHose Surveying the Wreckage with Melissa Harris-Perry

@RandomExcess Front and Left

@RufferinAK Civil Discourse

@RLM1911 Politics 101

@Shoq Politics Matters, with Melissa Harris-Perry

@Besnaz Think Twice

A couple of people (including friend of the R Rob Fields) suggested using the name of her latest book, Sister Citizen. I came up with “The Intersection.” (I even have the opening sequence: panorama shot of Dr. Harris-Perry coming across a couple of literal intersection. It goes to aerial shot that follows her cross the streets and the words “race,” “class,” “gender,” “politics”,” and so on going by like cars that stop as she passes. It goes back to Dr. Harris-Perry enters the MSNBC studio and readies for her appearing on the air. The final shot is a close-up of the front of her desk with the show’s logo, “The Intersection.” Cut to live shot of Dr. Harris-Perry. And she starts the show.)

Any way we look at it, we think the show will be great.

Here’s what the good professor said about her new gig:

“This is an extraordinary opportunity…[a]ll I’ve ever wanted to be is a teacher. Phil Griffin and MSNBC are giving me the chance to have a much bigger classroom. I’m particularly excited to join the growing weekend lineup where we have a chance to take a longer and broader view of the week’s political news.”

We’re looking forward to seeing this work!

Photo credit: madamenoire.com