Tags: harris perry | apology | biracial | family

Professor Parker: Harris-Perry Apology Springs From Biracial Family

By Bill Hoffmann   |  

Melissa Harris-Perry's biracial family may have been behind her tearful apology on MSNBC for an insensitive racial joke involving Mitt Romney, according to Christopher Parker, a professor at the University of Washington.

"Quite possibly her mom or her father, quite possibly, maybe her sister [suggested it]," Parker told "The Steve Malzberg Show."

"She comes from a biracial family. Her mom is white and her dad is black. So one of them could have possibly gotten to her and told her she was wrong."

Story continues below video.



On her MSNBC show, Harris-Perry showed a Mitt Romney Christmas card with the former GOP presidential candidate surrounded by his family and holding Kieran Romney, the adopted black son of one of his sons.

She asked a panel for comment and comedian Dean Obeidallah joked that the image "sums up the diversity of the Republican party." Harris-Perry then said Kieran could one day marry North West, the child of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

"Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?" she asked, laughing. A week after the segment, Harris-Perry offered a tearful, on-air apology.

"I don't think those were crocodile tears . . . I know Melissa personally. Melissa's a very tough person and she's not going to cry if she really doesn't mean it," Parker said.

"Those were tears that were generated, I would suppose, from an interaction with her mom or dad, or maybe even both of them . . . [saying] you know what, that really was not right."

Parker is co-author of "Change They Can't Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America."

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Melissa Harris-Perry's biracial family may have been behind her tearful apology on MSNBC for an insensitive racial joke involving Mitt Romney, according to Christopher Parker, a professor at the University of Washington.
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