Hating Melissa Harris-Perry is More Fun Than Forgiving Her

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“Look, I SAID I was sorry. Now back off.”

A lot of people found 2013 to be a bad year. MSBNC had a really bad year.

The ratings have been in the toilet. They moved Ed Schultz out of prime-time to a Saturday afternoon (!) dead zone and then back to just-out of prime time though his show wasn’t getting clobbered as badly as the hapless Chris Hayes is by the invincible O’Reilly Factor.

MSBNC gave Alec Baldwin a “talk” show. At least, I guess it was. It got yanked off the air so fast over Baldwin’s bad temper and big mouth that it’s hard to remember what kind of show it was supposed to be.

Martin Bashir lost his afternoon show for suggesting someone should defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth.

Just to wrap things up in a big red bow, on the Melissa Harris-Perry show, the panel had a big tee-hee over Mitt Romney welcoming a new grandson, an adopted Black baby named Kieran Romney, to the family and hilarity ensued on the show.

“Everybody loves a baby picture,” Harris-Perry said, “and this was one that really, a lot of people had emotions about this baby picture this year. This is the Romney family. And, of course, there on Governor Romney’s knee is his adopted grandson, who is an African-American, adopted African-American child, Kieran Romney.”

As Harris-Perry made the introduction, panelist Pia Glenn sang “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” a tune whose original lyrics read “one of these things doesn’t belong.”

“And that little baby, front and center, would be the one,” she added.

“And isn’t he the most gorgeous?” Harris-Perry said. “My goal is that in 2040, the biggest thing of the year will be the wedding between Kieran Romney and North West. Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?”

Comedian Dean Obeidallah chimed in by reducing the baby to a token. “I think this picture is great,” he said. “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party, the RNC. At the convention, they find the one black person.”

There goes the neighborhood.

There goes the neighborhood.

I don’t like Mitt Romney and he would have been a lousy president, but while he is rich elitist and exhibits no particular concern for other races it doesn’t by default mean he’s overtly hostile to them either.  But even if he was that’s no reason to make fun of his Black grandson.

Harris-Perry quickly issued an apology on Twitter and her MSNBC page, but it was too late.  She had handed her critics a sword and they pounced to impale her with it accusing her of reverse-racism against the Romneys.

At the beginning of her Saturday program Harris-Perry issued another apology to Governor Romney’s family and those she offended with her failed attempt at humor, but  didn’t make it though the segment before breaking down tearfully.

Romney was scheduled to appear on Fox News the next day where he was certain to be asked about the controversy, but the blogosphere wasn’t about to wait for him as one critic sneered, “She’s only sorry because her producer/ station caught so much backlash, they knew they needed to apologize. I seriously doubt it’s heartfelt. Even abusers can turn on the tears when apologizing. Not buying into her act.”

I’ve met Melissa Harris-Perry. She’s an academic, not an actress.

When someone says they’re sorry and it’s them saying it and not a spokesperson, agent or some crisis manager, it should be accepted as genuine and heartfelt until proven otherwise. Everyone screws up. It’s how you handle the screw-up and move past it that matters.

Some folks insist on having their pound of flesh and will keep carving until they get it.

She fucked up. She apologized multiple times. The object of the insult accepted the apology.

On her Right flank, MHP is taking flak for an apology judged insincere. On her Left flank, MHP is catching hell for apologizing at all.   They’re both full of it.  Only the blindest partisans and the terminally cynical would doubt the sincerity of the apology.

Romney didn’t seem to as he said on Fox, “I think people recognize, and the folks at MSNBC who have apologized recognize, people like me are fair targets: If you get in the political game, you can expect incoming. For children, that’s beyond the line. I think they understand that and feel that as well. I think it’s a heartfelt apology, and I think for that reason we hold no ill will whatsoever.”

That should be it.  Of course it’s not.

Mitt Romney didn’t have to accept Harris-Perry’s apology as being sincere. That he did speaks  to his compassion and understanding that human beings–even ones on MSNBC–fail and when they try to do the right thing after doing the wrong thing, they should be forgiven.

Nothing has changed how I feel about Harris-Perry and her guests heavy-handed and dim-witted attempt at humor at a child’s expense. But let’s not overreact here, okay? This isn’t the first person in the media to screw up and go after a kid or any other soft target. MHP used poor judgment and she got rightfully called out for it.

I hope she learns from her mistakes and grows from the experience. Too often others in the same position haven’t apologized. Not sincerely, not insincere or at all.

For every one Harris-Perry royally effing up there are dozens of examples of a Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Bill Maher, Al Sharpton or Alec Baldwin saying something simultaneously stupid and horrific and any apology, if one is offered at all, comes grudgingly and delivered with a smirk, a snicker and a wink.

I didn’t see any of that in Harris-Perry’s apology. I guess her haters did.

In the depressingly vast sea of Whiteness of cable TV talking heads, Melissa Harris-Perry provides a shot of not only much needed racial diversity, but a degree of intelligence, wit and class to a medium conspicuously short of all the above.

It’s time to forgive and forget and mostly forget.

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The Unforgiven?

Cornel West’s Slow Slide Into Darkness

“I love you now but I’ll hate you later.”

There used to a half-serious joke that once Michael Jackson’s skin turned White and his nose started falling off, it wasn’t the real Michael Jackson.   The real Michael was sick or locked away somewhere and this freakish clone of him was the one being wheeled out to the public.

Is that what happened to Cornel West?   There’s a guy running around who looks like him.   He sort of sounds like him if Cornel West only talked about how much he despises President Obama.    He even wears the only suit in West’s closet.   It’s too bad it isn’t a clone of Cornel West trashing his own rep while he trashes the president.   It would be even easier to dismiss him as a bitter hater than it already is.

West’s latest in a series of tiresome tirades short of any intellectual insights, but long on street-level smack talk came in an interview with Tavis “Sub-Prime” Smiley, the Iago to West’s Othello:

Smiley:  “What’s your sense of how the media, and not just Fox News but beyond that, your read as you’ve been watching this, how the media handled this case?”

West:  “I think that it’s been decrepit though, brother. I mean, you get a focus on some of the upper middle class folk. I mean, what I call the ‘rent-a-negro’ phenomenon on MSNBC.”

This is almost funny.   West snipes at his former allies, Rev. Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson (and longtime adversary, Melissa Harris-Perry) for appearing on MSNBC  (a network that has given West plenty of face time) while his best buddy Smiley has whored himself out to such corporations as Wal-Mart, Exxon, Wells-Fargo and McDonald’s.  This does not trouble West as he is represented by Smiley for book publishing and speaking engagements (West earns up to $25,000  to speak).

In other words, if you got the cash, you can rent West and Smiley’s ashy asses.    If MSNBC came calling and offered West and Smiley a show, how fast would they run not walk to sign on the dotted line?

The dizzying descent of West as an intellectual has been rapid and sad to behold.  West has permitted the unscrupulous  Smiley to co-opt him into a sustained and relentless campaign of negativity and baseless criticism of President Obama and any Black person who doesn’t share West and Smiley’s opinion.

“Eff me? Eff YOU! My dear brother.”

The roots of West’s rage trace back to when Obama’s first inauguration.  West was angry Obama hadn’t personally thanked him for his support and  ensuring West was invited to the inauguration.

“There is the personal level,” he says. “I used to call my dear brother [Obama] every two weeks. I said a prayer on the phone for him, especially before a debate. And I never got a call back. And when I ran into him in the state Capitol in South Carolina when I was down there campaigning for him he was very kind. The first thing he told me was, ‘Brother West, I feel so bad. I haven’t called you back. You been calling me so much. You been giving me so much love, so much support and what have you.’ And I said, ‘I know you’re busy.’ But then a month and half later I would run into other people on the campaign and he’s calling them all the time. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. He doesn’t have time, even two seconds, to say thank you or I’m glad you’re pulling for me and praying for me, but he’s calling these other people. I said, this is very interesting. And then as it turns out with the inauguration I couldn’t get a ticket with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration. My mom says, ‘That’s something that this dear brother can get a ticket and you can’t get one, honey, all the work you did for him from Iowa.’ Beginning in Iowa to Ohio. We had to watch the thing in the hotel.”

“What it said to me on a personal level,” he goes on, “was that brother Barack Obama had no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, [no] sense of decency, just to say thank you. Is this the kind of manipulative, Machiavellian orientation we ought to get used to? That was on a personal level.”

What that says to me is the only thing bigger on Cornel West than the gap between his teeth and his busted-ass Afro is his ego. It’s as big as outdoors and Dear Brother Cornel likes to have his ego stroked frequently and often.

I respect Dear Brother West. I bought Race Matters by the Dear Brother because race does matter and so did his observations.. I watched the Dear Brother on television and heard the Dear Brother speak when he came to town. I believe the Dear Brother is one of our greatest thinkers.

When the Dear Brother bothers to think. He stopped doing that when he let his ego, the only thing larger than his ‘fro, slip off the leash and he turned himself into a vicious, hypocritical, small-minded hater and it seems to be no coincidence the descent from renowned intellectual to annoying crank came when another blood enemy of Obama began whispering sweet nothing in the acclaimed academic’s ears.

The Enabled and the Enabler.

West hasn’t written a meaningful book, penned a useful article or expressed an original thought since 2008 when he got butthurt over Obama not kissing his ass or give him a position of prominence in his administration as he did with West’s nemesis from Harvard, Larry Summers.

Seriously, isn’t Cornel West starting to look like a hip-hop Hobbit?

It seems the longer West hangs around Smiley the crazier he sounds.   Smiley’s enemies (Obama, Al Sharpton, Tom Joyner, Melissa Harris-Perry, Michael Eric Dyson) have become West’s enemies.  By lending his diminishing clout to Smiley, West only diminishes his own reputation and enhances Smiley.

West needs to put several time zones of distance between himself and Sub-Prime Smiley and get back to thinking like an intellectual instead of babbling like a damn fool.   If West were as smart as he believes himself to be, he’d realize Smiley is playing him the way a pimp plays a ho.

Sharpton, West, Dyson: Once friends, now foes.

Rabbit Season, Duck Season, Trayvon Season

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“So George, what’s the first thing you’re going to do now that you’re free?”
“Going hunting. Again.”

“Fucking punks. These assholes always get away.”  ~ George “The Hunter” Zimmerman

The fix was in.   We knew it would end this way.  It always ends this way.  Black people crying and the killers of Black people smiling triumphantly.    One is vindicated and the other is vilified.  Same as it ever was.

The last time I felt like this was in April 1992 when another jury with no Blacks on it found the four cops who beat up Rodney King not guilty.  America betrayed me then too.

Whenever we are in danger of forgetting  America reminds its Black sons and daughters exactly how cheap their lives are.   Just the same way it did for Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell and Oscar Grant and Rodney King.    With a slap on the wrist, a victorious acquittal and a big gob of spit right in the face of every one that hoped maybe this time would be the time when justice prevailed and someone would pay for killing a young Black man the way they didn’t pay for Diallo, Bell, Grant, and King.

It wouldn’t be George Zimmerman.  He walked out of the courtroom “not guilty” on all charges as a free man.   He even got the gun back he used to shoot Trayvon Martin.

Tomorrow George Zimmerman can go hunting for another Trayvon Martin. And now he has the blessings of the American justice system to do so.

No surprise. As my older brother said, “It’s a commentary on the value of a Black kid’s life.”

Six women, five White and one Hispanic, sat in the courtroom looking at Sybrina Fulton, Travyon’s mother and they concluded,  “Your son didn’t matter.  His life didn’t matter.”   They gave Gladys Zimmerman back her son George.   Sybrina Fulton can go to the cemetery if she wants to see her son.

“Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP. “We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin. This case has re-energized the movement to end racial profiling in the United States.”

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He’s got a hoodie and he’s Black! Shoot first and ask no questions later.

“It seems that Trayvon Martin was tried and found guilty of his own death”   MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry said and indeed he was.

Blackness is a crime.  Punishable by death.   Travyon was guilty of being Black.  And he’s dead.  I’d like to cry about it.  I’d like to drink myself into numbness.

But I’m not crying and I’m not drinking. I couldn’t be more sober. “American Justice?” That’s an oxymoron.

I don’t believe there will be widespread rioting or acts of violence.  There will be some, but not that much and not that bad.   While idiots were predicting mass insurrections and the blood of innocent Whites flowing in the gutters, I never believed it.   That was just wishful thinking by racists.    We are angry and we are hurt, but we are not savages.   We will not fall into the traps laid by hateful bastards like Geraldo Rivera and the Fox News cabal who can’t to chortle and say, “We told you so.  We told you those niggers would go crazy if Zimmerman walked.”

There was no Twitter, no Facebook, no Instagram, no social media in which to curse, rage and vent.    Most people are slow to anger and while there is plenty of anger, the emotion I detect most is hurt.   Hurt that yet again America reminds its Black children it is an inattentive, cold and cruel parent that does not love us as we love it and places no value or worth on our lives.    This is not a White thing.   There are plenty of pissed-off people about this abortion of “justice” and it crosses over all race lines.   No, this is an American thing and that separateness, that feeling of unequal protection and that we remain a problem to be solved and not a loyal and trusted citizen to be embraced.

I am ashamed of my country.   I don’t feel like an American.   I feel like an alien in a hostile world that doesn’t understand me and hates me and all that I love.   I wonder if there’s somewhere better than this?   Or does my skin color trump my very humanity everywhere on this wretched planet as it does everywhere in this wretched country? It’s been a while, some 21 years since the Los Angeles riots that I felt this way.   It has been over two decades since last I felt this sort of acidic and withering contempt for America and a legal system that rubber stamps the hunting and killing of unarmed teenagers.

This jury did not see Travyon as a human being with the right to live like a human being.  To them Trayvon was a disease and Zimmerman was the lethal cure.   Now he’s free to “cure” more dangerous Black teenagers.

There will be more Trayvon Martins. And now there will be more George Zimmermans to kill more Trayvon Martins.   Rabbit season.  Duck season.  Nigger season.

I have a son.  My brother has two sons.  My sister has a son.  My sister-in-law has two sons.  That’s six young Black men and any of them could be lined up in the crosshairs of the next vigilante, wannabee cop.   Black parents always have to give their sons (as well as our daughters “the Talk.”   Not the one about the birds and the bees, but about the cops or the gangs and how to avoid ending up a tragic statistic.

Now we have to add to it.   Now we have to tell our kids how to avoid the wannabee cops, the vigilantes, the bigots like Zimmerman and his whole lousy hateful family who target Black youth.

It’s not enough to keep our sons away from the raging racists like the entire Zimmerman Clan.   We must also find a way to bring back as many of those young Black men involved in gangs and crime.   We must become proactive in keeping them out of the prison-industrial complex and trying to mentor and aid those locked in it and those coming out of it.

We ignore them at our own peril.    There isn’t much comfort to find on this darkest of days, but I take a small bit from this post by Roderick Belin I came across on Twitter.

Black boys matter to their families: their parents and loved ones. Black boys matter to those of us who do not seek to profit off them but who love them for their sheer powerful presence. Black boys matter because they are created in the image of God – because they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Black boys matter because they are brilliant, strong, beautiful, powerful and have universe-altering contributions to make to the world. Those who hate Black boys know this and fear Black boys today just as Pharaoh feared and sought to deal wisely with the Hebrew boys millennia ago. But, we are wise too. We are strong. We are strategic. We love. And, because we love, God is on our side.

Love your Black sons. Love and protect them. You must.   America will not.

“Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Frederick Douglass (1817? – 1895)

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PLEASE consider signing the NAACP’s petition to have the Justice Department file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

Cornel West’s Counter-Insurgency Against Obama

A man thoroughly convinced of his own importance.

The other day  Tavis Smiley and Cornel West were bitching about President Obama.  What they were bitching about doesn’t rally matter because that’s what they do.  That’s all they do and they tear down Obama so much it makes me wonder are they angling for their own show on Fox News?   How did West and Smiley go from men of respect within Black culture to self-parody?

I’d sum it up in two words: Barack Obama. From Tavis’ perspective it’s straight up envy. He used to host a yearly gathering called “The State of the Black Union” where he would invite prominent people to discuss issues of importance to African-Americans. It was interesting to see people who were often overlooked by the White mainstream media gather to discuss and debate, but a funny thing happened with “The State of the Black Union.” Talking was all it was about. There was no action plan. There was no “Black agenda” that sprung from  these lengthy talk-a-thons.   It was equally clear if you weren’t part of the  Tavis Smiley clique of Favorite Black Folks ,   you probably weren’t going to be invited to speak. Then there’s  the issue of the gathering of Black thinkers  being underwritten by Smiley’s corporate pals,  Wal-Mart and Wells Fargo.

The defining moment came in 2008 when Smiley invited Sen. Obama to appear at the yearly gathering.   The eventual nominee was still in the middle of  primary battle with Hillary Clinton  and instead of coming off the campaign trail, he wrote Smiley a letter offering to send Michelle Obama in his stead.  Smiley flatly rejected Obama’s wife as his representative and got really ugly about it. Smiley, a Clinton supporter, invited her to appear instead and she accepted.

Smiley continued to attack Obama for not appearing.   Suddenly, even Smiley’s supporters started looking sideways at this raging egotist and wondering who was he to demand Obama appear personally to kiss his ring?

This led to Smiley eventually quitting the Tom Joyner radio show, the program that initially raised his national profile and a bitter falling out with Joyner himself. Smiley wrote a book after Obama won the presidency called “Accountable” where he pompously asserted how it was up to Black people like him to hold Obama accountable if he didn’t deliver the goods to the Black community once he took office.

The book tanked hard and Smiley griped Obama supporters had turned on him and caused the book to flop. He’s been a little pebble in a big can rattling around ever since about how Obama ain’t shit.

Cornel West…now that’s an entirely different and much sadder story. It’s also downright pathetic at points.  A frustrated supporter in 2008,  West despises Obama so much he can’t abide anyone that doesn’t share his negative opinion of the president.

“I love Brother Mike Dyson, but we’re living in a society where everybody is up for sale,” West said in a Huffington Post story. “Everything is up for sale. And he and Brother (Al) Sharpton and Sister Melissa (Harris-Perry) and others, they have sold their souls for a mess of Obama pottage. And we invite them back to the black prophetic tradition after Obama leaves. But at the moment, they want insider access, and they want to tell those kind of lies. They want to turn their back to poor and working people. And it’s a sad thing to see them as apologists for the Obama administration in that way, given the kind of critical background that all of them have had at some point.”

Who needs Cornel West’s kind of “love.”  If everybody is up for sale, where’s West hiding his price tag?

“Sister Melissa” hasn’t been reluctant to call out West for his single-minded mission to demean and defame Obama at every turn as her 2011 column in The Nation stripped West’s hypocrisy down to the bone with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel.

Harris-Perry has gone from West’s colleague to his nemesis

“As tenured professors Cornel West and I are not meaningfully accountable, no matter what our love, commitment, or self-delusions tell us. President Obama, as an elected official, can, in fact, be voted out of his job. We can’t. That is a difference that matters. As West derides the President’s economic policies he remains silent on his friend Tavis Smiley’s relationship with Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo, and McDonald’s–all corporations whose invasive and predatory actions in poor and black communities have been the target of progressive organizing for decades. I have never heard him take Tavis Smiley to task for helping convince black Americans to enter into predatory mortgages. I’ve never heard him ask whether Tavis’ decision to publish R. Kelley’s memoirs might be a less than progressive decision. He doesn’t hold Tavis accountable because Tavis is his friend and he is loyal. I respect that, but I also know that if he were in elected office the could not get off so easily. Opposition research would point out the hypocrisy in his public positions in a way that would make him vulnerable come election time. As a media personality and professor he is safely ensconced in a system that can never vote him off the island. I think an honest critique of Obama has to begin by acknowledging his own privileges.”

The days when Black Americans had  “leaders” is over and done.  We have organization heads, self-appointed experts and spokespersons on race and some celebrities who have a podium to express their beliefs. But as far as “leaders” goes, that went bye-bye when Martin and Malcolm and others left the scene, often violently and always prematurely. What we have now is a group of Second Wave Wannabees who would like to considered as picking up where King, Malcolm, Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, and so many others left off.

Martin didn’t have corporate sponsorship. Malcolm didn’t demand huge speaking fees. Rosa  didn’t have a talk show.  Nobody went looking for Smiley or  West to “lead” Black people.  We had REAL leaders.  Why settle for phony ones?

Pointing out West’s hypocrisy  is almost its own news desk.  Journalist and blogger Eric Wattree has long documented West and Smiley’s shameless self-promotion, “West is never short on words when it comes to denigrating high-profile Black people. He’s publicly criticized Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Jay Z, and of course, his favorite target, President Barack Obama. But when it comes to his good friend and associate, Tavis Smiley’s, involvement in Wells Fargo’s victimization of the Black community, he’s been curiously silent.”

The silence is being interrupted by the loudness of the Black community waking up to Smiley’s coziness with Corporate America and how he’s played the role of Judas goat leading African-Americans into financial ruin while profiting from their misery.  Following their second so-called “poverty tour” that West and Smiley claimed was supposed to spotlight the poor, but was confined to key states in the last presidential election, the due were called out by Najee Ali, a Los Angeles based activist, for Smiley’s cozy relationship with rabidly anti-union Wal-Mart.

“Wal-Mart is a billion dollar corporation. They should be able to offer a better medical package for their associates and a living wage. The involvement of corporations like Wal-Mart in Tavis Smiley’s own PBS show is troublesome,” says Ali. “Wal-Mart is one of the major sponsors of his show. Therefore, Wal-Mart plays a major role in sustaining Smiley’s popularity. If Smiley and West want to address poverty shouldn’t they involve Wal-Mart in the conversation and hold them  accountable as well?”

Pete and Repeat are back in black.

Pete and Repeat are back in black.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Dear Brother Cornel to answer that.

West is a joke. There’s a rock song entitled, “I Am What I Hated When I Was Young” and that sorry state where West is at now.  A vain, prideful man with a slight Messiah Complex,  whenever West opens his mouth he sounds more irrational, more deranged, more self-righteous and more butt hurt than ever.   There is nothing remotely intellectual in the vicious and highly personal ways West scorns the president.

What do you get when you match a vain, egotistical academic with delusions of divinity with a vain, egotistical hustler searching for a way to stay relevant?  Nothing good.  Just two clowns without a circus fighting to stay in the spotlight.   If it wasn’t so damn annoying it would be sad.

Bros Before Hos: Black Academics Style

History will be made Saturday morning when Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor of political science at Tulane University, hosts a morning political talk show on MSNBC.   Asked what her show will be about Harris-Perry told The Amsterdam News,  “Although it’s not a show about race-look, I’m a professor of African-American politics, so we’re going to be talking about race. I’m a feminist, so we’re going to be talking about gender. I’m a parent, so we’re going to be talking about kids and young people. I live in the South, so we’re going to talk about politics beyond the D.C.-to-New-York corridor. It’s a political show but it definitely has a point of view.”

Those are points of view absent from the Sunday morning talking heads shows where Black women are non-existent.  I welcome Harris-Perry and wish her well.  But there’s no news that someone can’t find a way to receive it as bad.   Enter Cornel “the ‘Fro” West and his Mini-Me, Boyce Watkins.

In an interview, West unloaded on Harris-Perry, his former colleague at Princeton. “I have a love for the sister, but she is a liar, and I hate lying,’ says West. . . . She’s become the momentary darling of the liberals, but I pray for her because she’s in over her head. She’s a fake and a fraud. I was so surprised how treacherous the sister was.’

Yet before West heated up a clothes hanger to whip on Harris-Perry with, Watkins had scribbled his own bit of character assassination with a piece, “5 Reasons Melissa Harris-Perry is Perfect for MSNBC.”

If I end up sounding like a hater, it’s because I probably am.  White people, as a collective, have never like (sic) me very much and advocating for black folks has never been an easy way to pay the bills.  Also, my gripe with Melissa is the same I’d have with any black person who allows herself to be propped up by the Democrats to do their dirty work against Cornel West as he spoke on behalf of black, brown and poor people.   Harris never proved that Dr. West was wrong – she only sought to discredit him and dismantle his voice.  In that regard, she was no different from a slave using the master’s gun to kill the leader of the negro rebellion.

She is clearly a liberal who happens to be a black woman, not a black woman who happens to be a liberal…The whole light-skinned black liberal thing works in her favor:  I should start by noting that I’m a bit light-skinned myself and nearly all of my relatives are of the “high-yella” variety (I was adopted).  So, this is not meant to offend anyone with light skin.

Watkins breaks out the pimp stick.

In one breath, Watkins says he doesn’t mean to offend light-skinned Blacks.  Can you guess what he follows that caution with?  If you guessed offending light-skinned Blacks, you win!

But, the emergence of Barack Obama has opened the door for quite a few light-skinned, non-threatening, black superstars of both politics and media:  Cory Booker, Harold Ford, Don Lemon on CNN and a few others have been able to benefit from this wave.  Harris-Perry is a perfect fit as the (in the words of cousin Pookie) “light-skinded-ded,” red-bone, highly educated liberal that white folks tend to love.  Nothing militant will come out of her mouth, unless she’s angry about a new immigration law or some civil liberties violation in the National Defense Authorization Act.  Not to say that there’s anything wrong with the “light-skinned liberal analyst” phenomenon, but I wonder how successful these folks might be if they looked like they were siblings of Wesley Snipes – darker skinned commentators and pundits deserve opportunities as well, and I argue that they are being put to the side (can you think of one dark-skinned person in prime time media?  Me neither).

The cherry on top of Watkins talking out of both sides of his mouth comes with a slap at Harris-Perry for doing the exact same thing he does.

Black journalists have long complained about what Al Sharpton referred to as “All white, all night,” in which most of the major cable news outlets didn’t have any hosts of color on their nightly branded shows.   The best way to shut down that criticism is to hire Al Sharpton himself, which is exactly what MSNBC did.  But one challenge is that neither Sharpton, nor Harris-Perry, is a professionally-trained journalist, so there are still quite a few talented black journalists who are seething over the fact that MSNBC went after black scholars and activists, rather than seasoned media professionals.

For the record, I am not a real journalist either.  I am one of those scholar/activists who’s been able to benefit from the bias of which I am speaking (I have more media appearances than nearly all of my journalist friends).

Nobody made more of an issue about Sharpton landing the MSNBC gig than I did, but Watkins has twisted the legitimate concerns of “real journalists” who would like to see Blacks who do this thing for a living a shot at these television gigs as well as Black scholars and activists.

Watkins doesn’t like Harris-Perry, he’s not happy for her and he even goes so far as to question her Blackness and commitment to Black people because she prefers Obama to West. It just comes off as that small-minded, crabs in a barrel mentality that keeps us busy squabbling over small stuff that isn’t worth squat.

Call me a cynic, but this “I won’t do cable TV ’cause I want to keep it real” rap is more than a little self-serving. There are too many Black folks who are doing cable TV and they aren’t running away from their Blackness by doing so.   Watkins spew out a hit piece that is mean, petty, and it smacks of simple envy. If MSNBC offered Watkins a show he’d run over  West to get it.

On his Facebook page, Watkins denied everything in response to my challenging him about Harris-Perry.

Never blame on malice what can be adequately explained by sexism.

Brother, I can give you the real deal on the “smell test” – my goal is not to be objective about Melissa or to politely say “congratulations” to someone I think is bad for black America.


I make it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that I am not appreciative of Melissa’s views. Her attacks on Cornel were uncalled for and unvalidated – I was very angry at the way she allowed white folks to prop her up on a platform so she could do the dirty work for the Democrats who were upset that Cornel was out speaking on behalf of poor, black and brown folks.

To answer any questions that might be asked about my remarks…no, I don’t want a f*cking job at MSNBC. I’ve been on all the networks numerous times and could have gotten quite a few gigs had I been a “good boy.” I’ve lost millions for speaking what I believe to be the truth and my only goal is to seek independence of thought and commerce for black America. In far too many cases, major black voices are controlled by white-owned media outlets and corporations – That’s why I put all my money and time into yourblackworld.com, which allows me to get my message to the public without having to ask for a white man’s permission. I don’t hate white folks, but the truth is that their agenda is almost always different from your own and they always view us as second-class citizens.

Someone who is “bad for Black America?” What is about Melissa Harris-Perry that is “bad for Black America?”  What’s really bad for Black America are Black academics talking smack like winos on the corner.

Harris-Perry took issue with West when he whined to a WHITE guy (Chris Hedges) how hurt he was that he didn’t get a personal invitation to Obama’s inauguration.

West came off like a jilted girlfriend, not a preeminent Black intellectual. It was pompous, it was small and it was arrogant as hell. Cornel West wasn’t speaking out for poor, Black and brown folks. He was ticked off that “the dear brother” who brought his bags to his hotel room had a ticket to the Inauguration and he didn’t.

There is a cost for working in the mainstream (just ask Roland Martin), but I’m not buying the line only those out of it care about, protect the interests of, and love Black people. No one is required to watch MHP on MSNBC.    Just don’t say you’re “happy” for her when you have made it crystal clear you are anything but.

Going after Harris-Perry for being “light-skinned” is as petty at it gets.  By the Boyce Watkins  standard, only folks as dark as Wesley Snipes (or Clarence Thomas!) can legitimately criticize other Blacks because they are “dark enough to decide who is really part of the club.

The weakest attack to make against someone is to cast doubts upon the content of the character based upon the color of their skin.     Black academics love a good disagreement, but when the intellectual quality of the argument doesn’t rise to the level of a beef between second-rate rappers, that’s pathetic.

West and Watkins are too smart brothers.  They should be smart enough to expend their brain power on a real problem facing Black folks.  Harris-Perry getting a TV show isn’t one of them.   Then again, maybe there’s another reason for Watkins and West’s “bros before hos”  smackdown of MHP.  Maybe it’s nothing more than sexism.  Plain and simple, they are simply asserting their male prerogative to put an uppity sista in her place.

Sometimes its most obvious reasons that are the least considered.

The next time West and Smiley plan a road trip for self-serving publicity, they should pack a booster seat in the back and bring Boyce Watkins along for the ride.

Cornel “the Crab” West Pulls Barack Back in the Barrel.

Hey, Barack, where's my invitation?

There is a tug-of-war between the Black Elites and the rest of Black America for the soul of Barack Obama. The issue is most Black folks believe Obama has one. The Elitists like Cornel West don’t think he does. I’ve talked about Princeton professor Cornel West going one from an admirer of the president to one of his most embittered critics.

In an interview West called Obama, “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

Sympathy for Osama bin Laden?  That’s bad, but West made it worse.

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men. It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man, they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”

“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want,” he says. “He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home. That is very sad for me,”

West’s amateur psychoanalysis provoked sharp responses from Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart denouncing West as part of the “Blacker than thou” crowd and his slam of Obama making him “no better than a Birther.” 

But the epic smack down came from a Princeton colleague,  Melissa Harris-Perry, who wrote of West’s remarks,  “This comment is utter hilarity coming from Cornel West who has spent the bulk of his adulthood living in those deeply rooted, culturally rich, historically important black communities of Cambridge, MA and Princeton, NJ. And it is hard to see his claim that Obama is “most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they” as anything other than a classic projection of his own comfortably ensconced life at Harvard and Princeton Universities. Harvard and Princeton are not places that are particularly noted for their liberating history for black men.

Princeton vs. Princeton: Let's get ready to rumble!


West is setting himself up as the arbiter of another man’s Blackness and some folks are just as full of spite applauding it like trained seals.

West is rapidly transitioning from being petty to being stupid.   Perhaps the most annoying thing about him is how he calls everyone a “dear brother” just before he tries to rip them a new asshole.   And West isn’t above being petty.  He’s still raw over not getting an invitation to the inauguration.

His questioning of the president’s Blackness got the most attention.  But it is his reaction to how he perceives Obama snubbed him during his inauguration that tells you best what playground West is on.

“I used to call my dear brother [Obama] every two weeks. I said a prayer on the phone for him, especially before a debate. And I never got a call back. And when I ran into him in the state Capitol in South Carolina when I was down there campaigning for him he was very kind. The first thing he told me was, ‘Brother West, I feel so bad. I haven’t called you back. You been calling me so much. You been giving me so much love, so much support and what have you.’ And I said, ‘I know you’re busy.’ But then a month and half later I would run into other people on the campaign and he’s calling them all the time. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. He doesn’t have time, even two seconds, to say thank you or I’m glad you’re pulling for me and praying for me, but he’s calling these other people. I said, this is very interesting. And then as it turns out with the inauguration I couldn’t get a ticket with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration. My mom says, ‘That’s something that this dear brother can get a ticket and you can’t get one, honey, all the work you did for him from Iowa.’ Beginning in Iowa to Ohio. We had to watch the thing in the hotel.

“What it said to me on a personal level,” he goes on, “was that brother Barack Obama had no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, [no] sense of decency, just to say thank you. Is this the kind of manipulative, Machiavellian orientation we ought to get used to? That was on a personal level.”

What that says to ME is Cornel West has a sense of entitlement a mile wide, an over-sized (and easily bruised) ego a mountain high and a personal shallowness that is a mud puddle deep.

There’s nothing remotely “intellectual” about such petulant, infantile whining.    West is acting like a spurned lover mad because Obama hasn’t called him on Friday night, not like a critically thinking intellectual..

Somehow the professional crybabies like West and his booty boy, Tavis “Subprime” Smiley and their amen corner think Obama can propose a jobs program or an education program or a free bucket of chicken program that benefits ONLY Black folks.   Yeah, let’s see how long it takes Faux News to lose their minds over that.   Then let’s see how fast John Boehner and the rest of the Republican controlled House (where ever dime of the federal budget comes from) bust their humps to help Obama galvanize the Black vote for 2012.

Anybody see Cornel West's Afro in this barrel?

You can climb up to the top of the Empire State Building, jump off singing “I Believe I Can Fly” and the last thought that goes through your brain before its turned into mushy street pizza along with the rest of your dumb ass will be, “Damn, I Believe I CAN’T Fly.”

Gravity doesn’t care what lie you tell yourself.  Gravity always wins.   Well, the same principle applies to politics.  Politics doesn’t care what West or Smiley and their amen corner wants.  Politics only cares what is possible and it is IMPOSSIBLE for this president or any of his 43 predecessors to push through legislation for a job program that ONLY benefits 12 percent of the population.

West and Smiley can jump off the Empire State Building if they want to.  I hope there’s enough of their amen corner looking up to break their fall when they come crashing down.

This is not a conversation most people enjoy having and conversations people don’t enjoy having are precisely the kind true intellectuals should compel us to hold. But not the way West did running from one White man (Chris Hedges) to another (Ed Schultz) to denounce Obama as not being authentically Black enough. That’s NOT his call to make and he damn sure doesn’t need to be pandering to White liberals who enjoy watching the Negroes play “crabs in a barrel.”

I’m sorry, Dear Brother West, but you’re thinking emotionally, not strategically. Starting this kind of drama does nothing but get people irate. It sure won’t nudge them around to the perspective you’d like them to get to.

Maybe it’s time for Dear Brother West to bust out the Afro.  It seems to be cutting off the fresh air circulating to his brain.

"How come you don't call me anymore, Barack?"