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Were MSNBC Anchor’s Comments About Romney’s Black Grandchild Racist?

Were the comments made by MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry about Mitt Romney’s adopted African-American grandchild racist? The host has come under fire in recent days for comments both she and her panel made about baby Kieran Romney, which poked fun at the lack of diversity in both the Romney family and the Republican party. Outlets like the Washington Times have described the segment as an attack by “racist media,” prompting Harris-Perry to publicly apologize to the Romney family via Twitter.

In the segment on her self-titled show, Harris-Perry showed the photo of the Romney family that included Kieran and asked the panel to give their thoughts. “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” said actress Pia Glenn, using the same tone as the classic Sesame Street song. Perry joked that she was looking forward to the 2040 wedding between Kieran and North West (the baby daughter of Kim Kardashian and North West), while comedian Dean Obeidellah said the photo summed up the diversity of the Republican party. “I think this picture is great,” he said. “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party and the RNC, where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.”

Many viewers that Harris-Perry was tastelessly mocking trans-racial families and being just as bigoted as the conservative outlets she targets. “My white family has an adopted black grandchild in our midst whom we love and adore, just as we do all the children in the family,” wrote viewer Rebecah Kirkendoll. “To target a child in any way, even in so called jest, is detestable, and this ‘joke’ was very mean spirited. Shame on MSNBC and all who participated in this immature and hideous display of racism.”

Harris-Perry ultimately took responsibility for the controversy and tweeted her apologies to the Romney family. “I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification. I apologize to the Romney family,” she wrote. “I work by guiding principle that those who offend do not have the right to tell those who are hurting that they r wrong … as black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity with Romney family & never meant to suggest otherwise. I apologize to all families built on loving transracial adoptions who feel I degraded their lives or choices.”

(Photo: YouTube)

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  • “Even liberal outlets like the Washington Times…” – uh, what?

  • glogrrl

    “To target a child in any way, even in so called jest, is detestable, and this ‘joke’ was very mean spirited.
    Read more at https://issuehawk.com/jamal/2014/01/01/were-msnbc-anchors-comments-about-romneys-black-grandchild-racist.html#eF1C7FXLSCcJSSTz.99
    “To target a child in any way, even in so called jest, is detestable, and this ‘joke’ was very mean spirited.
    Read more at https://issuehawk.com/jamal/2014/01/01/were-msnbc-anchors-comments-about-romneys-black-grandchild-racist.html#eF1C7FXLSCcJSSTz.99
    “To target a child in any way, even in so called jest, is detestable, and this ‘joke’ was very mean spirited.
    Read more at https://issuehawk.com/jamal/2014/01/01/were-msnbc-anchors-comments-about-romneys-black-grandchild-racist.html#eF1C7FXLSCcJSSTz.99

    • Clyde01

      Wow! Good come back! (copy & repost)

  • Rose Kuo

    Romney and his followers put down Mr. Obama for his race. But like the old saying goes, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. If you want to teach Republicans and the Tea Party to have humanity and respect for those who are not white, then you must do so by example. They don’t learn with words only, they must see actual demonstrations of what it means to be not racist. Someone in Mitt’s family might be seeing clearly by doing a transracial adoption and no one should go against the only glimmer of light in that family. Even the smallest spark of enlightenment must be fanned into flame, not quenched. Perhaps Mitt will learn through this child to love the nonWhites. This is why the reporter was wrong. She tried to go against the only good thing that the family has done. She also belittled herself and put down others who do transracial adoptions. Never teach a bad man how to be good by showing him bad behavior. Glad she apologized.

  • Beth

    The child wasn’t “targeted” at all. Melissa was stating the obvious, and it wasn’t disrespectful to Kiernan in the least. Melissa, you don’t owe anyone an apology.