#StandWithMHP is a hashtag—started by @laurenarankin (according to Topsy) several days ago and trended yesterday because of @IStandWithMHP and many #nerdland supporters including a great deal of Black women—to support Melissa Harris-Perry during this attack on her as a person, a political voice, as a Black woman and as someone very rare in political media. There was a segment on her show last week where the race of Mitt Romney’s adopted Black grandson was mentioned and the context it was mentioned in was perceived as “racist” by Whites, and you already know what forms that perception (their incorrect definition of racism in addition to projection, of course). However, Melissa Harris-Perry apologized via Twitter and on her show, without reservation, especially since some of the people who stated they were hurt (not the bigots trolling her and anyone who supports her) are families with transracial adoptions.
(Links if you do not know what is going on: what happened; why MHP is facing racist attacks; some of the political issues behind this, my tweets thread regarding race/adoption and perception of this “controversy.”)
Since that first show aired, she and one of the guests, another Black woman named Pia Glenn have been under racist, sexist and misogynoiristic attacks. You see, Whites who think that mentioning the race of that child is “racist” think the adequate response to this is actual racism towards MHP and Pia. This must prove their love for that Black child Kieran Romney, of course! The same people who cheered for George Zimmerman and call these women “racist niggers” expect people to believe that they care about the adopted Black baby, Kieran Romney. Yeah ok…
In regards to the tweets above:
1) Yes, there are people calling them “racist niggers.” What they mean is “nigger nigger” because they think the word “racist” is a slur. Since their biggest fear is to be called racist (ahem, George W. Bush’s reaction to Kanye versus Katrina is an example), they project that fear onto Black people and think that they are calling us the worst slur ever, next to “nigger” stand-alone, of course. Because the Black people they call this actually understand what racism is—NOT the exchange of insults between Blacks and Whites that “go both ways" via imaginary structural power equity in America BUT IN FACT a system of oppression that privileges Whiteness (and oppresses non-Whites as well as incorporates anti-Blackness as its core by which to juxtapose Whiteness as superior) through structural power and institutional/ systemic beliefs, social norms, laws and practices in addition to microaggressive, dehumanizing, overt, oppressive and genocidal individual/group actions of Whites towards non-Whites, actions supported by the institutions that proliferate White supremacy and protect Whiteness through White privilege—they know that Whites calling Black people “racist” is just the former’s ignorance and deep seated fear, not a slur. “Nigger” would be the oppressive slur in that phrase. They don’t understand this though.
2) In 2012 she had an all Black woman panel who discussed natural hair. This year there was also a great panel who discussed Scandal. This matters since we as Black women are always talked about as objects, not subjects in our own lives.
3) Gabrielle Douglas (2 time gold medal winning Olympian and gymnast) interviewed by Parker, MHP’s daughter; Misty Copeland (professional ballet dancer); Rochelle Ballantyne (chess genius); Kelly Hall-Tomkins (violinist, chamber musician).
4) Episode where Black teen boys got national spotlight to speak of Trayvon Martin and Stop and Frisk as subjects, not objects and speak about growing up Black and male in America was important. I honestly have NEVER seen anything like this on national television where their own voices were included.
5) The MHP Show won the Momentum Media Award from the National Center For Transgender Equality.
The chart reveals the race and gender makeup of guests on the Sunday morning political shows. These Sunday shows are critical in shaping perception of public policy and actually influence policy making. Best believe that people in the White House and Congress watch these shows (and even appear on them). This chart…is why some now want Melissa Harris-Perry off of the air. It has nothing to do with what occurred on her show last week. They’ve desired this for a long time.
The MHP Show is not a perfect show. No such thing can exist in mainstream media with conservative conglomerates owning media stations. Melissa Harris-Perry is not a perfect person. No such person exists; being a Black woman means walking a tight rope (just for being alive) and an especially tight rope for her (in a media landscape dominated by White men where perspectives like hers coming from the body she embodies are ones attacked on the hour). However, the content on her show is unmatched by any on television in its genre. Voices heard nowhere else are heard there. Her work in Black feminist scholarship, art and politics from her professorship at Tulane, to her writing to her public voice advancing Black feminist thought matters. And she’s adorbs and I like her, so there.
I support her voice being heard. I support her genuine apology. (I resent that it had to be issued for a “controversy” created by conservatives and marred by false equalizations crafted through ahistorical notions on race and racism. The links in the second paragraph explain why I think this way). I support many of the voices on her show and for the ones I don’t, I know that for some of those people, there’s no other space that they would be allowed. It’s important that this show stay on the air and that Black women like her and like us without such a platform, continue to speak out; by choice, not force.
(Mitt Romney accepted her apology; I doubt this will be enough to stop the racist attacks on her, the show and her supporters, however.)