As liberals, we often act as if we’re completely innocent when it comes to being racially ignorant. I’m sorry, that’s just not true. Sure, liberals are often much more accepting of other races, but that doesn’t mean there’s still not ignorance and racism that exists within the liberal side of the political spectrum.
Now, is all ignorance malicious? No. Sometimes within a society we’ve just been shaped to view things a certain way. The way we were raised, our environment or who we surround ourselves with plays a huge impact on how we view the world and ultimately our reaction to what we see.
This country (just like many other countries around the world) constantly deals with racial issues. It’s a debate I enjoy having because it’s such a deep psychological circumstance. A question I always go back to is one that was posed by my Anthropology professor. He asked us to describe race to someone who had never heard of the word, was blind, and had no knowledge of color. Can you do it? Sure, you can use cultural stereotypes but that doesn’t describe race — that’s culture. Describing someone’s actual race, without using color, is an entirely different thing.
Well, unfortunately some of this non-malicious stupidity was shown off on MSNBC as a guest panel was asked to “caption” specific photos from the past year. It was more or less harmless fun until a photo of Mitt Romney was shown with all of his grandchildren surrounding him as he was holding his newest — an adopted African-American child named Kieran.
Now, some of you might remember this story from a few months ago when we slammed liberal bloggers who were throwing a fit over the child’s name. Apparently, Kieran means “black” or “dark” in Gaelic. At the time, these bloggers tried to make the asinine claim that somehow the Romney family was being “blatantly racist” toward the newly adopted member of their family.
To say this attack was pathetic would be a vast understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not by any means a defender of Mitt Romney — but for anybody to claim a family giving a child a home was somehow being racist toward that child is simply reprehensible.
Fast forward to this MSNBC panel where, when asked to caption the photo, Pia Glenn began singing “One of These Things is Not Like the Others.” An obvious comment aimed at the one African-American child in the photograph. It was clearly meant as a joke and wasn’t overly offensive, but why even go there?
Another panelist, Dean Obeidallah, took the political route by saying that the photo, “really sums up the diversity of the Republican party.” Again, not that what he said was offensive, but why try to politicize a photograph that was nothing more than a very nice family photo?
Then in bizarre and unnecessary fashion, Melissa Harris-Perry went off on some idiotic comments asking what would happen if this baby married North West (Kanye West’s daughter). She said, “Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?”
Just — stupid comments about a seemingly happy family photo. Why even go down that road?
Instead of taking that moment to praise a family for adopting an African-American child (who will now be given a life most of us can’t even dream of, filled with unlimited opportunities) this panel morphed into some sophomoric group of adolescents mocking the fact that the child isn’t white.
Again, not that anything they said was particularly disgusting or meant in a malicious way, it was just extremely disappointing to see this panel (on a major cable news network) focus on the child’s race rather than the real story of the photograph. A story of a child being adopted by a family who will hopefully provide a loving home for him. Something Kieran might not have experienced had they not.