Guest Post by Clifford Crestodina
I am not politically active. As a multi-racial adoptee I am calling for the termination of Melissa Harris-Perry.
I am an adopted child of a mixed race family. I too have felt the kinds of racial bigotry expressed by Melissa Harris-Perry. Throughout my childhood I regularly heard the comments that, “I didn’t belong in a white family”. How nice to find final confirmation by MSNBC.
What right do she and MSNBC have to determine “racial purity” in a family?
This is a disgrace.
This woman, clearly showing herself to be a bigot, did even more than pronounce that the Kieran Romney didn’t racially fit into the family. She went far beyond that. She went so far as to redefine the metaphysics of a person into a “thing”. Has the management of MSNBC lost all of its sense of social responsibility?
In the MSNBC campaign of Lean Forward she is quoted as saying that children belong to the community. This is a view and can be her own. But she doesn’t have the right to define family along ethnic lines. She doesn’t have the right to declare that if you don’t share the same color as your parents you aren’t even a person – you are, in her words, a thing. Of course she can make this declaration but in doing so she has surrendered her right to represent MSNBC.
Without going too far astray it would be instructive to understand which collective “thing” Kieran Romney belongs according to Harris-Perry.
Harris-Perry attempts to couch her characterization of the baby as part of a “comedy” segment. Let’s not be shy here. Harris-Perry is simply dissembling. Immediately following these personally and extremely offensive comments she presents a “skit” of racism in review. Contemplate, if you will, as to how she would react if a person not sharing her political views were to characterize the racism segment as comedic.
Is a “tweet” healing? Have we now succumbed to understand sincerity as the soothing massage of a smartphone message? Observe in contradiction that there are some times in life when good people do good things because they have good a heart. Melissa Harris-Perry is making Kieran Romney a victim when clearly the defect is her own as she promulgates racist views to a gullible public. She then feels an entitlement to immunity of racial criticism because why? Because she is a black person on television who owns a smartphone and is entitle to” tweet” to redemption?
What right does she have to determine who are deserving parents? Or that white parents can’t adopt a black child? What happened to the notion that they adopted a person and not a color? What a profound lack of sophistication and decency on the part of Harris-Perry and by association MSNBC.
Is she now given air time to hijack the family rights of parents wanting to adopt and replace their good will with a form of indecent tribalism? Shame.
There can be no double standard here. She requires termination. Shakespeare has observed that, “No man is suddenly base.” The cavalier manner to which she tossed out her comments to denigrate the decency of the adoptive parents – not to mention the dignity of the child – demands that her pulpit be terminated at MSNBC.
What further mitigates against her apologies and reason for employment at MSNBC? Consider that she was headlining and moderating a program – indeed guiding development of the conversation and debate where it’s a moral imperative that the presenter either be upfront and present their bias or intend to present as aspect of the truth. Where does representing a baby of different color as a “thing” fall in this continuum? A good deal of the public might point out to Harris-Perry that the Kieran Romney is still genetically a human. And a human who neither touches nor smells the decay of racism. He reaches out and touches his mother to be re-assured that he is loved and safe. That is the truth.
Conversely, Melissa Harris-Parry’s comments spoke to her preference for racial purity in a family. However, sensing the dangers of her self-revelation she begins her apologetics citing the ethnic sensititivies she developed as being part of a large, white Mormon population. These sensitivities apparently didn’t include any lessons in civility, social justice and longing for the rights of all men and women. She is not a child or some disadvantaged just-dropped-in from-Mars space ranger. She is one of those rare individuals that have a special responsibility at the end of, “Lights, Camera, Action!” to put a stake in the heart of tribal dogmas.
It is instructive to note that MSNBC’s first community rule (Code of Conduct) is Respect Others. The rules further state to “Be responsible for the content you post” and the presumption here is for what you say. Melissa Haris-Perry has certainly failed the respect others mandate which is part of the MSNBC corporate culture. Which cultural values I might add went into hiding as MSNBC did not post this story on its website. It could have found a home in Latest, Democrats, Republicans or perhaps – Equality. How about on her profile page under “In the News”? Shame.
I would conclude by reminding the management of MSNBC of my own experience as a victim of racial discrimination enhanced by being an adopted child into a racially mixed family and that I speak from first hand experience. I know intimately the damage to a child’s development, aspirations and self-image resulting from Melissa Harris-Perry’s primitive notion of racial purity in a family. Television gives her support of these terrible ideas (and illegal in this country) a special authenticity. Sadly, she is a participant in helping to calcify the most primitive of ideas in others.
This is not a time for corporate apologetics, one-more-strike or explaining the complaints of her behavior away as the ignorant interpretation of an uninformed public. We know what she said because we speak the English language. This is a matter of corporate governance for MSNBC.
Finally, we are presented with a tearful apology where she informs us that she was out of bounds by taking on the family. “Families are out of bounds.” This is the triumph of the form over the content as this wasn’t a small, fragrant out-of-bounds. Like all television, her show is planned, it has a producer and people approved of the content for “Nerland plays Caption That!” This was not a mistake and that fact that she is from a mixed-race family does not inoculate her from the demands of decency. What happened here was premeditated to damage the family fabric due to tribalism. Shame.
We can applaud Mr. Romney for being gracious and we have to wonder how we have come to this. In the end, she should be terminated for cause because we know the difference between right and wrong. Ask Paula Dean.