As anyone who speaks to me knows, I am an avid fan of the awesome Melissa Harris Perry. I’ve been insufferably proud ever since she got her own show on MSNBC this year. Why? Because she is an anomaly. What do you think of when you think of Black women on TV? Don’t answer that. The sad fact is that there are not a lot of intelligent, female commentators on TV, certainly not of African American descent. If I had children, MHP would be required watching.
There are things about a person that can’t be told by a string of accomplishments, or the letters after their name. When you listen to Melissa speak she invariably comes across as an intelligent, compassionate, respectful and fair minded person committed to social justice. There is a authenticity that shines through whenever she speaks which underscores that in spite of life’s good fortune, she never forgets where she came from and her commitment to truth is unwavering. That is something to be honored in a world where people frequently gloss over the truth for personal gain. To boot, I learn something on her show every single week. I would LOVE to be a student in any class she taught.
She did something absolutely stellar on her TV show on September 1st. She spoke truth with a passionate, ferocity that pushed every other consideration out of your head. Hearing her, you could not doubt that she was espousing a deeply held belief based on personal experience. Every person of conscience I know, who bemoans the state of the impoverished in America today, APPLAUDED her unvarnished, guttural response to the continual round of lies being pushed by the GOP about what it means to be poor and who is “worthy” of help in our society. The racial undertones which infect the welfare debate are undeniable and we turn a blind eye to them to our peril. Monica Mehta was completely out of her league, not to mention being rather moronic and close minded throughout the entire show. Personally, I yelled at the TV several times cause Monica was working my last nerve with her one sided/minded rhetoric. Just goes to show, a good education is no substitute for experience…or heart.
Also? When truth speaks, people sit up and LISTEN.
Here is the moment that got everyone talking, on Twitter, on Huff Post, in the LA Times, ad infinitum:
“What is riskier than living poor in America? Seriously, what in the world is riskier than being a poor person in America? I live in a neighborhood where people are shot on my street corner. I live in a neighborhood where people have to figure out how to get their kid into school because maybe it’ll be a good school and maybe it won’t. I am sick of the idea that being wealthy is risky. No! There is a huge safety net that whenever you fail will catch you and catch you and catch you. Being poor is what is risky. We have to create a safety net for poor people. And when we won’t, because they happen to look different from us, it is the pervasive ugliness! We cannot do that!” Melissa Harris Perry Show, MSNBC
You can watch the whole segment which is definitely watchworthy ;)
This might be the moment to weigh in on the Welfare debate but I will abstain as my already overtaxed brain is not up to the task and I need to catch up on last weekend’s MHP episodes….