MSNBC's Romney Apology Reflects Race Hypocrisy

Monday, 06 Jan 2014 09:47 AM

By Clarence McKee

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Add Melissa Harris-Perry to the growing list of people on MSNBC’s “apology row hall of shame” which already includes Alec Baldwin, Martin Bashir, and Ed Schultz.
 
Harris-Perry is the latest example of the adage never underestimate the hypocrisy of most liberals on race.
 
She apologized this weekend for the disrespectful and cruel comments on her program a week earlier directed at a Mitt Romney family Christmas card photo with Romney holding his black adopted grandchild, Kiernan. 
 
Anyone with an ounce of media and political savvy should have immediately known that using a picture of the Romney family with a black grandchild would be instant negative fodder for a panel of liberal comics and invite unflattering jokes — as it did.
 
But, maybe I am giving them too much credit.
 
Given the obvious political leanings of her employers, the segment probably got the desired result — ridicule of the Romney’s adoption of a black child.
 
It backfired!
 
Shame on Ms. Harris-Perry for being insensitive to the political and racial ramifications.
I commend her for her on-air apology. It appeared to be heartfelt.
 
She apologized without “reservation or qualification” to the Romney family and other families “formed through transracial adoption” adding that she was deeply sorry that “we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule."
 
She said that her intention was not malicious, but “I broke the ground rule that families are off-limits and for that I am sorry."
 
Sorry Melissa, it’s just not about families being off limits or transracial adoptions — it’s about the political and racial implications of your segment and the denigration of innocent black babies being adopted by, in this case, a prominent white Republican family.
 
Of all the people who should be have been sensitive to little Kiernan Romney, it is Harris-Perry who is biracial and was born into a white Mormon family.
 
If she cared so much about transracial adoptions, she could have used the Romney photo as an example of the goodness of our nation and commended those who adopt across racial lines.
 
Instead, she went along with the political flow.
 
In a tweet earlier in the week, she apologized to the Romney’s and families “built on loving transracial adoptions," and noted that she was a "black child born into a large white Mormon family.”
 
Assuming her apology represents her true values, why didn’t she at least chastise her guests the moment the negative comments were uttered?
 
Viewing the initial segment, there is no implication that anyone on her panel, including her, felt there was anything wrong in the jovial banter directed at a little black baby who had, from their apparent point of view, the misfortune of being adopted into the white Republican Romney family:
 
Harris-Perry: “My goal is that in 2040, the biggest thing of the year will be the wedding between Kiernan Romney and North West. Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?”
 
Dean Obeidallah: the picture “really sums up the diversity of the Republican Party, the RNC . . .”
 
Another guest, Pia Glenn sang: “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same . . . that little baby, front and center, would be the one.”
 
Apparently, Harris-Perry and company were not aware of the 1996 Multiethnic Placement Act which prohibited any adoption agency receiving federal funds from factoring race into decisions on foster care and adoption. Its purpose was to widen the pool of prospective permanent homes for black children.
 
And, they probably were not aware of statistics showing that black babies, especially boys, are much less likely to be adopted than are their white or Hispanic counterparts.
 
Based on their snide remarks, it appears that Harris-Perry’s guests were either ignorant of the above facts or just didn’t care — being funny or scoring political points was apparently more important.
 
Would they have made similar jokes about a same-sex white couple and its adopted black baby? Probably not, that’s forbidden territory and wouldn’t be politically correct! And, little black babies needing adoption do not have a politically powerful lobby.
 
Would they make jokes about Madonna, Sandra Bullock, or white South African Charlize Theron, all of whom have adopted black children?
 
I doubt it.
 
This hypocrisy is not limited to Harris-Perry and company; it also applies to those in the adoption community who profess to be advocates for the placement of black children in good homes.
 
If any of their representatives spoke out against the MSNBC segment, I missed it. I guess it’s another case of politics trumping values and conviction!
 
In case Harris-Perry and her panelists didn’t know, often black children who are not adopted wind up in foster care, become homeless, or enter the juvenile justice system and become crime statistics.
 
As Fox News’ “The Five” cohost Bob Beckel, a devout liberal, reportedly said on this issue: “Be happy that the child’s got a place to be. Be happy they’ve got a good place to live, some food on the table, and they’re being housed and clothed and given the kind of education they need.”
 
Well said!
 
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.
 
 
 

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