I like Melissa Harris-Perry, but yesterday she let me down. On her show yesterday she discussed what is being reported as a “riot” on the Ole Miss campus which erupted in the wake of President Obama’s victory on election night. Now I would agree that what occurred was hot a full on race riot; after all, it wasn’t like 50 years ago when the school’s first black student attempted to step foot on the then lily-white campus.
Yes, let’s be honest: This country hasn’t seen a real race riot since maybe the Rodney King verdict. However, for her to downplay the actions of several students to be anything less than racially motivated was disheartening. Why? Let’s just say it wasn’t an accident that Obama didn’t win any southern states.
Now I didn’t expect her to tie up her braids, snatch her earings, and slap some Vaseline on her face while throwing up a black fist before going to war — let’s be real, she’s no Angela Davis. But to treat the event like it was just the typical frat boy behavior we’ve come to be used to at college campuses, was bullshit. To me, it was as if she deliberately took caution so as to not “upset” her new southern neighbors in New Orléans. After all, why would she rep hard for a southern city that’s often forgotten and not bring up the ugly side that is riddled with racial animus. Yeah, why would she go out of her way to play the, “See, not all southerners are racist,” card like she did?
Well it’s simple: Melissa was mindful of her husband’s political aspirations. Yep, Melissa’s husband — James Perry — recently ran a unsuccessful mayoral campaign. And quite conveniently, her husband was also a guest panelist on yesterday’s show to discuss poverty — which was excellent, by the way. Having said that, do you get the picture? Oh c’mon, do I have to spell it out for you?
Yep, it’s kind of hard to push the argument that racism is still strong in the south when your husband wants to be mayor of a major southern city right next door to Mississippi. Listen, this is just another example of her — a prominent black person and scholar — selling out for political expediency. The thing about it, however, is that you won’t hear many of my Negro cousins calling her out on it like they do my man Dr. Cornel West. And they won’t because maybe as black people we all understand that selling out is part of the process when it comes to our advancement.
But we know the truth, folks. We know that the south is still the south. We know that though there may be more black faces on predominantly white southern college campuses, the long-held beliefs and traditions of these schools still exist today like they always have — after all, it’s their legacy.
But don’t tell that to Melissa…