Featured, Race & Politics

Why You Need To Care About What’s Happening To Melissa Harris-Perry

The cover photo from my Facebook profile is a screenshot of my appearance on Melissa Harris-Perry last August. I don’t get anxious much when meeting new people; at least not anymore. But I was anxious then. Partially because it was my first time on national television, and I hoped my dad and my aunts in Cincinnati would approve of my suit, posture, and hand placement. But mainly because of Melissa Harris-Perry’s status as an intellectual powerhouse — Ta-Nehisi Coates once called her “America’s foremost public intellectual” (a bold claim I happen to agree with). Basically, I didn’t want to get up there and look stupid. Also, although I was very familiar with her work and her writing and her show, I had no idea how she’d be in person. I didn’t know if I’d be meeting Miranda Priestly. (Adding another layer to this anxiety lasagna is how the show is structured. You don’t meet or even see her until 60 seconds before your segment will air.)

Fortunately, I didn’t embarrass myself. My segment — a discussion about Meek Mill and Drake that segued into a conversation about hip-hop and misogyny — was lively, quick, fun, and funny. That it worked so well was largely due to us (Penny Wrenn, Toni Blackmon, and Sean Malcolm were the other panelists) being ourselves. Well, as much as yourself as you can be with millions of people (and Kerry Washington) watching. And us being comfortable enough to argue and debate and joke was largely due to Melissa Harris-Perry’s direction and personality. As soon as we stepped on set, she was immediately welcoming and disarming, telling jokes and riffing on our replies like we were at a happy hour or game night and not an MSNBC studio. And that’s how it continued to feel, like I was having a conversation with one of my wittiest and quickest homegirls.

Even the pic we took together afterwards reflected this. I’m standing there doing my best “I’m in a suit and I was just on TV, so I’m a be serious” pose, and she’s mean-mugging. (If I would have known she was going to mean mug, I’d would have taken another pic. My mean-mug game isn’t a game. Unfortunately, I didn’t even look at the pic until I’d left the studio.)

mhp

Today it was revealed that Melissa Harris-Perry is removing herself from the air; a result of MSNBC jerking her schedule and her show around and providing her no reason for these decisions.

From her letter to her staff, emailed to Jamil Smith and published at Medium:

Here is the reality: our show was taken?—?without comment or discussion or notice?—?in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive.

The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover for MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.

Of course, I do not know everything that has happened and is happening here. I’m sure more information will find its way public soon. But even when that happens, I will not know everything. What I do know, however, is that if you’re a person who claims to care about having a media that’s smart, shrewd, diverse, determined, accessible, relatable, and dependable — a media with the intellectual acuity to deconstruct the news and the integrity necessary for it to be trusted — you need to care about what’s happening to her and her show. And also — and I’m speaking specifically to the Black people reading this — you need to care because she is one of us. She is one of our best and brightest. A homegirl who just happens to be a Ph.D. A sista who just happens to be a star. An academic who just happens to be a staunch advocate for us. A Black woman from Virginia who just happens to be TV’s most popular nerd.

This is more than just “not cool.” It should be acknowledged and regarded as what it is. An insult to her and her work. Which, by proxy, is an insult to us.

 

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. And a columnist for EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't.

  • Me

    That exit letter was everything though. It’s how I envision every real (not new) black public figure would make their exit when they get #shittedon on behalf of the entire black community. Principles over everything. Who gon’ check her, boo? I bet she got plenty up her sleeve, so I’m not worried. Black women like her don’t exit without a plan, even if it hurts.

    • Quirlygirly

      I thought the same thing. She has a plan and if and when she is ready she will let us know what it is. Just like Damon said more information will surface and I will be there to listen. It is hard being on the frontines of change but (not to sound clichéd ) the strong survive and live to tell the story.

      • Shirley Rojas

        ?my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….two days ago new McLaren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Here!!b89????? http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsTime/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:::::!!b89…….

      • Michelle Warren

        ?my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….two days ago new McLaren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Here!!b735????? http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsCrowd/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:::::!!b735…….

    • Janelle Doe

      When I read on behalf of the Black community I immediately thought of HTGAWM and Annalise being told not to let her people down. *Stupse

  • chivalrous1won

    This makes me wanna fight air and hunt some (I repeat) some people

  • PaddyfotePrincess

    “I am not a token, mammy or little brown bobble head.”

    Tell ’em sis!

    • cakes_and_pies

      I do believe the brown bobble head is a direct swipe of Harris “I Can’t Move my Face” Faulkner.

      • PaddyfotePrincess

        It’s plausible. I haven’t kept up with Harris since she left MN. She’s also on Fox News, so there’s that.

      • SirKnows DevoidofPunk

        Ain’t she a living breathing chocolate cupie doll?! Like I think her eyeballs will hurt if anybody asks her to think beyond FOX talking points.

        • cakes_and_pies

          YOU DID NOT just call her a chocolate cupie doll. I’m at work on a Sunday literally laughing my a s s off.

  • Betty’s Babygirl

    Not only is she “One of Us” we embrace her as “Belonging to Us”. Unfortunately, she’s become the latest causality of their FEAR and understanding that they are and have ALWAYS been the minority. Even in the face of MSNBC’s bullsh$t you remain unbowed and unapologetic.

  • Thornton Hall

    Cable news is dying. She needs to join John Oliver and Samantha Bee in the ongoing process of totally reinventing “the news”.

  • NoGames

    I just saw this on my news feed. My husband and I LOVE. HER! She is brilliant, real, and talented! Her show is NECESSARY during this craziest of all election seasons. I am more than concerned about this situation. However, I am SURE she will find another vehicle for her voice (and our collective voices) to be heard.

  • Dmaclee

    My two nerd dreams are:
    1) Give a TED talk
    2) Be a panelist on MHP-any show nicknamed “Nerd land” is a place that I need to be.

    This is a bull. They are silencing our voices because they know that this process is a farce and the talking heads are just as complicit in this deceit as everyone else. I’m pissed but her email was the best thing I’ve read all week.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    Al, Ed, and Melissa Harris-Perry have all faded to black without notice. Watch out Rachel Maddow

    • Overtymer Adio

      You think MSNBC wish to piss off that particular demographic?

      • uhhuhh

        What is “that particular demographic” supposed to mean?

        • Overtymer Adio

          I have to spell it out for you? Ok. The LGBT demo. That particular demographic.

          • Zurinayeem

            uhh…the LGBT demo also watches MHP, Chris Hayes, Al, Ed and all of the hosts who have been sent packing. Not all LGBTs are White folk stanning for Maddow. Some of us are black and of color and are proud members of Nerdland etc. so no, we are PISSED if Maddow goes. But we are QUITE pissed that MHP is basically gone.

            • Ess Tee

              “MHP is the main reason Black folks even BOTHERED to watch MSNBC. Now? I won’t be watching anymore….”

              I know that this was true for me. I only started tuning in for her. I did end up enjoying Chris Hayes’ show when he was on Up before Nerdland, but then he moved on up to the big time with a weeknight show five nights a week, and I couldn’t keep up. I’ve been tuning into MSNBC now solely for Melissa Harris-Perry for the past couple of years.

              • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

                Indeed.

            • Mary Burrell

              I started watching MSNBC for MHP

          • uhhuhh

            Rather than “spell it out,” you should cut the sneering anti-gay comments.

    • CL Nicholson

      Rachel is safe for now, she’s more or less the face of the network at this point. Maddow is the only host with any strong following over at MSNBC Chris Matthews is much like Joe Scarborough or Brian Williams at this point, it would cost the network more to fire him than just let his contract run out. O’Donnell and Hayes would die on a vine of RM wasn’t there to hold the audience.

      MHP, Al, Ed never had her numbers and only broke through the media noise machine when they said something really bonkers and far out in left field (pun intend).

  • ChokeOnThisTea

    Honestly, I haven’t looked at her the same since she defended Rachel Dolezal. I know Melissa is only half black and can only relate to black womanhood but so much, but da mn, it was a tragic moment in television history.

    • SirKnows DevoidofPunk

      Rachel Dolezal made a fool out of MHP… MHP got too “black elite intellectualized” for her own good and needed to just use some regular blackass common sense and tell that lying two-faced spray-tanning raggedy jamband braided heffa where to go.

      • ChokeOnThisTea

        I hear you, but to a degree. Melissa is a biracial woman which no matter how anyone wants to spin it is not the same as a black woman. Two black parents matters. Lol! That moment was a wake up call for me though. Maybe it was my fault for putting my black girl hopes and dreams in a biracial girl who can only relate but so much. I saw Rachel’s antics as another attempt to erase black women from certain spaces just as biracial women are often used to do the same.

        • SirKnows DevoidofPunk

          agreed. that dolezal chick just had me wanting to cuss out every brother that ever souped her head up into thinking this was cool. cuz you know it was some bruhs who caught on early but kept they lil amber rose dreams going thru her.

        • PaddyfotePrincess

          Uggghh. Spray Tan Rachel is the worst. She didn’t even bother to Teena Marie the game. You ain’t gotta to lie to kick it, lol.

        • NoGames

          If MHP gets pulled over she will be having a fully Black woman experience. When the “majority” flipped past her show it was because they saw a BLACK woman on the screen. Just like they are waiting for the BLACK president to leave. It seems as if we are the only ones providing biracial bothers and sisters with a half Black experience. Obviously, MHP is having a FULLY BLACK experience as they are systematically trying to silence her.

          • ChokeOnThisTea

            Maybe. But let’s not pretend ethnically ambiguous/bi-racial/fair black people don’t assimilate better in American culture or rise up the corporate ladder faster than those of us with two black parents. Hence, what arguably helped Obama and MHP appeal to the white folk who helped them secure their positions….you know, the positions you say they’re treated so “fully” black in.

            • Ess Tee

              There’s no denying that light-skinned privilege exists, but Melissa Harris-Perry still gets treated as a Black woman (who happens to be light-skinned). Much like President Obama, she self-identifies as Black while still acknowledging that one of her parents is white.

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                To a degree. They get treated like house negroes. Yeah, they’re still slaves. But they in the house. Don’t forget that.

                • Ess Tee

                  I mean, but…being in the house wasn’t a cakewalk, either. We can’t act as though enslaved Black women working in the house weren’t subject to rape and sexual assault by the plantation owners as well as psychological torture by said owners’ Miss Ann.

                  Like I said, light-skinned privilege is real, but it doesn’t render them exempt for mistreatment for being Black just the same.

                  • ChokeOnThisTea

                    Those were never my words. By asserting “They’re still slaves” I was acknowledging that they were still subjected to hostile and in humane treatment. By noting “they in the house though” I’m pointing out while their experience was still bad it was different and not totally comparable to the treatment of the slaves in the field. Much like the experiences and opportunities of biracial people are not totally identical to those of darker skin black people. And before anyone comes at me with the “it’s not a matter of which was worse” b.s., there ain’t soul in here who’d rather pick cotton in the heat over serving tea in the shade. Goodnight.

                  • KNeale

                    Agreed. And just want to add not just sexual abuse and psychological abuse independent of actual physical whippings, mutiliation, etc. but IN ADDITION TO! Also, the house vs plantation slave is something over dramatized by people (especially Malcolm X followers). Not every plantation was large. And on smaller plantations, slaves had to play all roles meaning (the majority women) who worked in the house ALSO had to work the fields as well. Just wanted to contribute to your black history moment. =)

                    Also in regards to MHP. I don’t know why she defended Rachel Dolezal but I personally stopped being a fan at that point because I was DEEPLY offended and disappointed. I would never say she doesn’t experience racism but maybe I’ll say she fell and bumped her head until she sheds some light on what went wrong there? But that doesn’t mean that I don’t see the significance of her show as a platform for herself as a black woman and a platform for black intellectual thought. Sorry to see this happen to her.

                    • Ess Tee

                      Yeah. I don’t know what MHP was thinking when she sat down with that fraud azz chick. Like someone said earlier in the comments, even her explanation when she was on Another Round was lacking.

                      Sure sure, MHP tried to intellectualize what that fraud azz chick did, but it didn’t sit well with me. For me though, I still continue to ride for her, that huge misstep aside. I didn’t agree with her and felt that it was unfortunate that she gave even a semblance of legitimacy to that fraud azz chick, but MHP’s show still added an alternative POV that I’ve been missing with all its preemption.

              • fxd8424

                That white guy that accosted and threatened her at the Iowa caucus didn’t seem to care about her light-skin “privileged” status. He knew enough about her to question how she was credentialed enough to be on MSNBC

                • NoGames

                  SAY. THAT. All colors are COLORED to those who are not.

                  • TeeChantel

                    exactly my point.

            • NoGames

              Just two Black parents? Or two darker parents of lineage that won’t allow for a DNA anomaly to occur and lead to the birth of a child who is less than biscuit brown? Sounds a bit like the paper bag test in reverse. Those in the majority are NOT here for us…caramel, coffee, cornbread, or cocoa COLORED. We should be here for each other… especially for those like MHP who clearly try to give voice to the things that impact our community.

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                reverse paper bag test in reverse? Nah. MHP does do a great job of trying to give voice to our community in spite of the Rachel foolishness, so I agree with you there. I’d never try to take that away from her. Biracial isn’t just black and there’s really no counter argument to that no matter what a person feels, thinks, or experiences.

            • TeeChantel

              I think you should check out Misty Copeland’s documentary on Netflix soon. She is fair-skinned so one would assume she would have had an easier time assimilating, too. But her story is eye opening to say the least.

              • Ballet is still UBER UBER white.

                • TeeChantel

                  True, but using ChokeOnThisTea’s logic, Misty would have had an easier time assimilating into that industry. I’m saying she is still viewed as a black woman. Her “fair skin” does not give her a “pass” there.

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                For a second I thought you were referring to that borderline insulting and comical “Light Girls” documentary and was really about to tell you about yourself. Lmao!! My bad. Again, and this is the last time I will state this, not once have I suggested fair skin biracial women don’t face any prejudices, but to broad paint their experiences as identical to that of the darker black woman is delusional.

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                Mistie made it in before a black girl did….hardships and all. Point proven.

                • NoGames

                  She is a black girl.

                  • ChokeOnThisTea

                    Biracial. And it matters.

            • Helga G.Pataki

              No.

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                Yes. And goodnight.

            • PDL – Cape Girl

              I’m in corporate, dark all my life, and have had a number of promotions…..over lightskint folks too. What you’re saying is way off. If you’ve EVER worked in corporate, as in corporate for real, you’d know discrimination is discrimination. Yes it exists, just not color coded like you believe. I’ve been on my team for almost 6 years, and at the company 19 years next month. I know my experience ain’t everybody else’s, but it’s not quite what you’re saying. I have though, had black managers that favored those that look a certain way.

              Differences made in light versus dark was mostly black folks’ issues. More so a couple decades ago versus now.

              Wez all n1ggaas.

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                No. It’s not way off. And I’m just as much the exception to the rule as you are, but this myth that colorism is only carried out by blacks is just that–a myth. Nonblack people perpetuate it against us too.

                • PDL – Cape Girl

                  I didn’t say nonblacks don’t discriminate, I said when they discriminate is not light vs dark, usually it’s just black folks, period.

                  • Wild Cougar

                    That’s actually not true. There are a number of studies showing skin color matters.

                    • PDL – Cape Girl

                      I didn’t say skin color doesn’t matter. I was refuting the belief that light fair better in corporate than darkies. There aren’t “more fortunate” victims. All blacks are victims. THAT was my point.

                      Plus for me, “studies” tend to be skewed. I don’t put stock in that when I see stuff play out in real time.

                    • Wild Cougar

                      I’m not going to argue with you. The study I’m talking about is unconscious bias based on photos of the same person with lighter vs darker skin and association with positive vs negative qualities. That’s hard to skew. If you need to believe white people treat light skin equal to dark skin, keep on. Doesn’t matter to me that much.

                    • PDL – Cape Girl

                      Good and okay and thanks and tata

          • fxd8424

            We are, as you state, (unfortunately, but expected) the only ones having a half-black experience. When that cop pulls her over, she’ll be black as the ace of spades. Her alleged half-black experience “privilege” won’t mean jack.

          • PDL – Cape Girl

            This….and esp the first line….all day everyday

    • TeeChantel

      Can only relate to black womanhood but so much? She wears micro braids and kinky twists and plaits on national television for crying out loud. The only woman I’ve seen sport braids on national TV is CNN reporter Athena Jones. Nah, she one of us.

      • ChokeOnThisTea

        And so did Rachel Dolzeal. What’s your point? Lol. Nah, two black parents matters, homie.

        • TeeChantel

          How you gonna mention Rachel Dolezal during the last weekend of Black History Month? You know that’s a sin. LOL. But, what I’m saying is there’s definitely a common struggle that is shared between BW and sporting hairstyles like box braids, twists, kinky twists, micro braids around 2520s and in the workplace. Sheesh, I experience every time I switch up my hair style. I know MHP dealt with it. The black delegatation aka Damon declares she is one of us. FIN

          • ChokeOnThisTea

            And I appeal and rebuke that decision in the name of all black holiness. Lol! Ol girl can sit with us for sure, but she don’t know a da mn thing about having a black mama. Case closed.

            • TeeChantel

              so I guess you’re gonna tell me next Halle Berry, Tracee Ellis Ross, Rashida Jones don’t know nothing about the black woman experience, too, right?

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                Nope. What’d I’d tell you is they know a thing or two about the biracial black girl experience– what it means to walk in the privilege of “good” hair, relatively fair skin, and being considered inherently “better” simply because they don’t have two black parents.

                • fxd8424

                  I can’t hold their biracial black girl experience against them. I ain’t mad if they got the “privilege” of good hair, fair skin.

                  • ChokeOnThisTea

                    The issue isn’t about being mad as much as it is about a nuanced and somewhat different experience. That’s all.

                    • fxd8424

                      We don’t all have the same experience either. But I’m sure you know that.

                    • ChokeOnThisTea

                      Touché. Obviously this is “generally speaking”. You know, what we do when we can’t survey every single person.

                • TeeChantel

                  I don’t agree with that. But I’m gonna keep sippin’ this drank. I’ve realized that black women tend to go through similar experiences regardless of our skin tone. I’m not sure if you’re a man or a woman.. but, I’ll say this: a few of my light skin friends have gone through the same experiences as me and I’m brown.

                  • ChokeOnThisTea

                    Drank on, sista. Drank on. Lol

              • blogdiz

                IMO, Viola Davis can act rings around all of these women yet it took her until she was darn near 50 to get any where near the opportunities that these women received
                @chokeonthis is not discrediting the experiences of light/biracial women but just pointing out even in their hardship there is some privilege.This is why I loved Lena Horne she always said dont get it twisted regardless of what she looks like White people see her as black with all the disrespect / rejection that comes with that BUT she also acknowledged even though she was talented /worked hard a lot of the doors that opened for her was because she was the ” right kind of black “This kind of honesty , balance & self awareness is just missing from the discourse today

                BTW: do you know Tracee Ellis Ross ( who I love ) has an older very dark sister (Diana first kid with Berry Gordy )who was acting long before her and from what I have seen similarly talented yet her career hasn’t quite taken the trajectory that Tracee’s has but I am sure its just a coincidence.

          • Wild Cougar

            One dude with a crush does not a Black delegation make. Sorry. No.

        • fxd8424

          You can’t help who your people are. I’ve seen folks with two black parents who can’t relate to black womanhood and anything else black.

          • ChokeOnThisTea

            Nah. Believe me….those types make a concerted effort not to relate.

            • fxd8424

              How you gonna paint all with the same broad brush? We’ll never come together as a people. Too many things divide us.

    • Actually, I think she was being intellectually consistent.

      If one truly believes race is nothing more than a social construct and had no bearings in biology, then if they have any intellectual honesty at all they are obligated to defend Rachel Dolezal’s desire to identify herself as black (don’t have to defend how she went about doing it). MHP underwent something that a lot of smart people go through and most tend to ignore because it’s painful: they are presented with the reality of their ideas in human form, only to find out that they don’t match up.

      • ChokeOnThisTea

        “She was [attempting to be] intellectually consistent”

        I can buy that explanation and I agree that’s what she was probably doing moreso than anything. I just can’t relate to her sentiments because my feelings of seemingingly being “replaced” yet again wouldn’t allow me to intellectualize Rachel’s antics. I just didn’t have the privilege to do that.

        • This supersedes privilege…it’s being honest to what you actually believe.

          MHP was a professor. She taught students that race is a creation of society; she went on TV multiple times to defend this belief:
          http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/melissa-harris-perry-on-race-as-social-construct-44132931793

          She couldn’t believe in that, understand it and teach it and then not apply it to Rachel Dolezal without being a hypocrite. Even if many people disagreed and didn’t see the connection, she would.

          Many people believe different things in their heart but different things in their minds. When people believe in things in both their minds and their hearts, they go through what she went through. Either they continue to believe something that has been shown to them as being wrong, or they have to accept they were wrong and start all over again.

          • ChokeOnThisTea

            Out of all the counter-arguments presented so far, I dig yours a little more. What you said is somewhat true, but privilege does not supersede beliefs. You can’t separate your beliefs from your experiences (Privileged or not). Where we sit is where we stand. For example, I could be wrong but Melissa can’t relate to the angst a lot of us dark skin black women feel when biracial black women are seemingly delegated as the “go-to” black woman for a lot of imagery in media. A lot of us felt as though Rachel’s antics fell in line with the “black girl erasure” trend. I’m making the assumption that maybe MHP’s privilege as a fair skin biracial woman gave her the ability to intellectually empathize with Rachel because she does not know what it feels like to be heralded above the light, biracial, AND white woman.

            • When I say, it supersedes privilege, I’m saying she actually believes it herself – on her own. I’m sure there are certain things you believe in that not everyone else who has had similar experience to yours would as well.

              Privilege is about power. Belief is about truth. They don’t occupy the same realm. You could be the darkest person on the planet, hate Rachel Dolezal, believe in a black girl erasure movement, but if you believe that race is a social construct, then there’s no way you could convince yourself that Rachel Dolezal wasn’t black…unless you never truly believed that it was a social construct.

              Which is why you’re wrong to simply think this was her intellectualizing something, or making it more complex than it actually was. There was another light-skinned woman who was way more light-skinned than her who was completely against Rachel Dolezal and was near-moved to tears at the fact that her blackness was even open to discussion.

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                “I think she was being intellectually consistent” <——— um, those were your words. I just agreed by saying I think that's what she was trying to do– trying to make her feelings about transracial be consistent with her feelings about transgender. Anyway, privilege IS about power and beliefs IS about "your" truth. But the two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Your privileges shape your beliefs. HOW they shape them may vary (hence, the two different reactions to Rachel in which you noted) but they definitely shape them. Anyway, no offense to you or anything, but I'm getting bored. Goodnight.

                • Lol, ok.

                  Question though: Do you actually believe in truth itself (not yours or mine)?

    • TheOtherJerome

      If Rachel says she’s Black, then so be it. I’ll never understand why a persons sense of self worth could be challenged by some other separate person wanting to be more like and become, them.

      Rachel is whomever she says she is. It doesn’t affect my Blackness one bit.

      …… and it really IS just a social construct.

      • ChokeOnThisTea

        It’s erasure. End of discussion.

        • TheOtherJerome

          We can’t be erased. I hope you know that. They certainly have tried.

          • ChokeOnThisTea

            *long sigh*. Erasure in terms of opportunities and representation, Jerome. ?

            • Quirlygirly

              I read all you comments and I definitely understand what you are saying however it seems like you are splitting hairs or being a little devisive. Yes being interracial may have gotten her in the door but it sure did not keep her there. At the end of the day, MSNBC is removing the black oriented programming. And her show was getting the shaft like the rest.

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                I feel you on all that, Quirlygirly. As a matter of fact, I feel you on a lot of the comments you make on here (u’re definitely one of my favorite commenters), but I CANNOT accept the “being divisive” argument anytime I point out colorism. To me, it’s too similar to white folks argument of “being divisive” anytime one of us points out racism. It’s not divisive. It’s just speaking the truth. My truth.

                • Quirlygirly

                  First..thank you for the complement! Second, your truth is just that. I certainly did not mean to sound like I was dismissing your comments as being divisive – BTW thanks for that spelling assist. I been messing up words all week.

            • TheOtherJerome

              So Rachel Dolezal filled my Affirmative action quota spot? :-/

              Is “erasure” what women say when a transgendered (formally male) person gets hired?

              We’ve (at least most of us) have come to terms with the concept that a woman who has been born genetically female, could identify as male, to the point that she undergoes surgery to rectify the situation.

              And thats GENDER

              Our concept of ethnicity is a social construct.

              So why is it completely impossible for a white woman to feel that she is and identify herself as, a black woman?

              Because technology hasn’t caught up enough to make the physical changes a reality?

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                Because it’s completely impossible for a black person to feel and identify themselves as a white person. Just ask Michael. As for the rest of your comment, no offense brother, but I just don’t have the strength and energy to go there tonight. Goodnight.

                • KNeale

                  Just popping into say I know you’ve gotten a fair amount of opposition so far and I don’t necessarily agree with everything you’ve said but I want to acknowledge you. I feel frustrated by some of these comments too. I just feel like we’re back tracking. Its okay for people to be upset about whats happening with her show and still be highly upset with her position on Rachel Dolezal. And seeing people on this thread defend Rachel Dolezal now feels like a backtrack and I just wanna let you know that (again, even though I don’t agree with all of your comments on the entirety of this article’s thread) that I feel you. And you’re not the only one feeling agitated by this conversation.

                  • ChokeOnThisTea

                    “It’s okay for people to be upset about what’s happening with her show and still be highly upset with her position on Rachel Dolezal.” <—– thank you. I still stand behind the notion that perhaps her being a biracial black woman with a white mother may have helped her empathize with Rachel. Or like another user mentioned, perhaps she was just trying to be intellectually consistent with her thoughts on transgender-ism. Either way, I'm still mad about it AND her show being canceled, so thanks for so eloquently stating that it's possible to do both. #MultitaskingIsPossible

              • Honestly, I disagree.

                I actually did giggle when I saw Melissa defending Rachel, I already knew a lot of her followers were going to eat her alive, and a lot of black women in particular weren’t going to tolerate her defending her. I always thought the idea that race was nothing more than a social creation was and has always been politically powerful but didn’t have any bearing in reality (geography, biology, mythology, survival, diet etc pretty much all get shafted), and not only that, that most black people do not believe it, though many will use it to criticize white people.

                This is where the divide between black political activists and black progressives usually finds itself, and it’s been like that since the black power movement. You have the black progressives who believe in progressivism, believe in the intersectionality of race, class, gender etc, and yet you have other sets of black people who just see those tools as nothing more than weapons used to fight white supremacy. Those contrasting interests are unlikely to ever been resolved.

                • KNeale

                  I’m interested in what the reaction would have been had they found out that a white man was pretending to be a black man and leading up the NAACP? I don’t dispute anything you say but moreso struck by the distance you seem to put between yourself and the black women that you knew would be upset. How did you feel? Were you upset?

                  • There was no need to be upset for me.

                    I’ve always oriented my politics on what I’ve concluded to be human nature and not just mere blackness — I’ve never felt my experience, nor my tribe, nor my nation, nor my gender, nor my race was enough or sufficient to explain the entire world and the human experience which I value above all the aforementioned things. So when something like Rachel Dolezal happens, I relate it to what it means to be human. I saw in Rachel Dolezal a human being who was willing to lie and deceive people so she could be something she wasn’t born to be. Something that’s common to all races and happens all the time…

                    The distance stems from the fact that I know a lot of black people don’t share my political views, from what I know, with most black people, it’s political relativism/subjectivity vs black power, and it was people who share those same kind of politics that were battling over the Rachel Dolezal issue. I figured they would, and I also figured most black women would side on the black power side.

            • Overtymer Adio

              Still not true. Because you feel that way, does not make it that way.

        • Overtymer Adio

          No its not. Her desire to be black does not in any shape erases your existence as a lovely black woman. Thinking otherwise is foolish.

  • fxd8424

    My two favorite people. First they severely reduced Al Sharpton’s time from 5 days a week to one weekend morning for an hour. Now, Melissa Harris-Perry. I wondered what was going on with her show. I don’t move on Saturday and Sunday from 10-12 until I see her show. If I just have to be somewhere, I hit the record button. She is definitely one of our best and brightest, the best of the best, an advocate for black voices. I absolutely love Melissa Harry-Perry. Our voices will not be silenced.

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