To paraphrase the title of an off-Broadway show, when you’re in hate the whole world is racist.
Consider the plight of MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, who is back in the headlines, this time because of her assertion that “Star Wars” is racist.
Referring to Darth Vader, Perry went off on a bit of a rant, pointing out what she believes to be racism in one of the highest-grossing movie franchises of all time.
“Yeah, like, the part where he was totally a black guy whose name basically was James Earl Jones, who, and we were all, but while he was black, he was terrible and bad and awful and used to cut off white men’s hands, and didn’t, you know, actually claim his son. But as soon as he claims his son and goes over to the good, he takes off his mask and he is white. Yes, I have many, many feelings about that, but I will try to put them over here.”
While these kinds of comments are typical over at MSNBC and warrant a simple “eye-roll and move on” from most people, let me explain why her comments are not OK.
It’s this kind of ridiculous race baiting that dilutes the power of the word “racism” itself.
Every time Harris-Perry throws around the word “racist” as her own personal synonym for “a thing I didn’t like,” it minimizes the impact of personal stories of actual encounters with racism.
“Star Wars” is no more racist than peanut butter, which was outlawed by a Portland, Ore., school in 2012, but people like Harris-Perry never tire of listening for those elusive dog whistles. After watching her relentlessly read between the lines of an iconic movie and try to inject racial stereotypes into the characters to prove a political point, I have to wonder whether she is the real racist?
You can watch her comments for yourself here:
Cross-posted at DeneenBorelli.com